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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

God knows us. That is why over 2000 verses in the Bible discuss this very topic! In America, we are very blessed. With blessings sometimes however, comes stumbling blocks. To have a proper attitude towards money, just remember that every good gift comes from God! Today’s verses are Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 13:5, and James 1:17. Have a blessed day.

Did you know that the Bible talks about money, possessions, and accumulating wealth in over 2,000 verses? In fact, 11 of the 39 parables Jesus taught are about that very subject. It’s probably safe to say that God knew that there would be a temptation and tendency to handle money poorly. 

Sadly, we do love and adore money more than we should. We often wish we had more. And we think that a possession or amount of money will bring lasting gratitude, when in reality, it’s just a temporary fix that will soon need to be satisfied once again.

James 1:17 (NIV) tells us that our God is the giver of “every good and perfect gift,” and if we’ll apply this, our mindset will change when it comes to our finances. Let’s consider these tips when it comes to growing our gratitude in this area:

  • Where you live. Whether our home is big or small, most of us have a place to live. Thank God for the gift of a place to live regardless of size or style.
  • What you possess. Many of us have clothes that we don’t wear, and have the ability to stream music or read books on a device that allows us to get any information we can find. But we still want what we don’t have. Take some time to reset your mind and thank God for the provision to have what you own.
  • At your fingertips. If you have the ability to get clean water at the turn of a faucet or buy food from a grocery store, then you are more blessed than most in the world. Thank God for the gift of these conveniences. 

No matter how much money we make, it’s wise to see our income as a gift. Chances are, there are more people in the world who might think the lives we live are amazing. Keeping our lives free from the love of money will help us be more satisfied. We do this by using money, not loving it. 

At the root of our desire to gain more money or possessions is a misunderstanding of what we truly need. Philippians 4:19 NIV says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” God cares too much about us to give us everything we want, but loves us immensely and will meet our needs.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

James 1:17 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.

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Whatever you prayerfully decide to do in life, thank God for the ability to do it. Even if it’s not what you’ve planned, be grateful to have have a job. Some people don’t have one. Try a different attitude if you really don’t like your job. Do all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Today’s verses are Genesis 2:15 and Colossians 3:17. Have a blessed day.

When God created Adam, He gave him a job. Genesis 2:15 (NIV) tells us that God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to “work it and take care of it.” So, work has been around since the beginning of time! 

All of us work at something. Before we can earn a monetary wage, we may work at school or do chores at our house. As we age, we land that first job and find a newfound self-respect as we earn our first paycheck. Into adulthood, we find a role or career that suits us, even if it’s providing full-time care for our families at home. 

No matter what each of our “careers” look like, we have the opportunity to live a life of gratitude for how God has brought us to where we are. Here are some ways to be grateful for the work God has given us to do:

  • Change your lens. Even if you’re unhappy in your current job, be thankful for the ability to be employed (or stay at home with your family), and take time to pray for those who are struggling with unemployment.. 
  • You earn something.  Regardless of your income level, you can thank God for His provision in your life. You can be grateful for what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t.  
  • List what you love. Every job comes with things you love. It could be actual health or retirement benefits, or it could be a close friend you’ve made while working there. Focusing on the good will strengthen your heart toward gratefulness.

As we think about our work, we may have jobs that can bring more stress than we’d like. It’s also true that some of us may be without work at this time. Regardless, we can implement Colossians 3:17 NIV as a guide in our work life, which says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” When we adjust our outlook and see the blessing in having a job or a role as a full-time caregiver, our enjoyment of our work life will increase drastically.  

Whether you’re struggling to locate work or content where you are, always keep in mind that you’re working for God first. Do every task, assignment, and duty in His name, and thank Him regularly for the ability to do so.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

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In the four phases of health (physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental), God is in control. Thank You Jesus! While some times are harder than others, we can do our part to eat healthier, stay away from harmful habits, etc. Today’s verses are Psalm 118:24, 139:1-16, and 1 Corinthians 6:19‭-‬20. Have a blessed day.

In Psalm 139, we see a beautiful blueprint of how intimately God knows each of us. He “created our inmost beings,” “knit us together in our mother’s womb,” and “saw our unformed body.” He calls us “fearfully and wonderfully made.” How amazing is our God! 

In this fallen world in which we live, there will be struggles each of us face. Sometimes a health challenge is thrust upon us, while other times, we bring things upon ourselves.  

Regardless of where we are in these areas of our health, when we wake up each day, we have reason to thank God for our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. Let’s consider these habits as we walk in gratitude for our health:

  • Honor your body. Our bodies are God’s temple; meaning, His Spirit dwells inside of us. If we’re able to exercise and eat healthy food, let’s show our gratitude to God for having the ability to be active and choose the right foods for our bodies. 
  • Strengthen your mind. Sadly, mental illness is a real threat and often keeps people imprisoned. Most of us know someone struggling with some version of it and that can be hard to navigate. If we don’t struggle with this, let’s be grateful to God for the ability to help others through their difficult season.
  • Grow spiritually. Reading the Bible, attending church, and gathering with fellow followers of Jesus is forbidden in certain parts of the world, yet many people risk their lives to do it anyway. If you have the freedom to pursue Jesus and share Him with those around you, be thankful for this amazing gift!

In this life, we’ll experience many health issues. Some seasons will be harder than others. No matter what you’re facing in the spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical health realm, start each day with Psalm 118:24 ESV, which says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” 

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 139:1‭ O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10. Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

1 Corinthians 6:19‭ What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

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All of us have different roles in life: at work, at home, at school, etc. It’s easy to complain. Let us try to compliment. Below are some tips. Today’s verses are Romans 12:9‭-‬18 and Galatians 6:9. Have a blessed day.

Relating to people is the heartbeat of our lives. We’ll rarely go a day without having interactions with other people in our many roles. We’re daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and more. As we think about the different roles we have, let’s consider our gratitude level. Are we thankful for the people God has put in our lives? Do we express our gratefulness to (and for) them?

Maybe you’re in a marriage that’s become stale. It could be that there’s tension with a longtime friend. Or perhaps, you feel there’s too much stress between you and your child. Regardless if there’s strain or not, we have clear instructions from Romans 12 about how to treat others: be devoted to each other, honor each other, practice hospitality, and live at peace with each other, to name a few. As we learn how to be grateful for the people in our lives, here are some extra tips to help us: 

  • Replace complaints with compliments. This can be a challenge, can’t it? Most of us are prone to see the things that frustrate us instead of the things that bless us. Let’s choose to see the good! 
  • Serve someone. There’s someone in your life who’s load is heavier than yours. Show your gratitude by doing something that would lighten their burden.
  • Write it down. Write down something you’re grateful for about the people in your life. Write it on a note and leave it for them to find, or have an ongoing list and give it to them when you reach 50 or 100 things. Imagine the look on their faces!
  • Just say “thanks.” When we have eyes to see the gifts and blessings in our lives, we’ll see there’s much to be thankful for. So, daily thank your spouse, your child, your closest friend, or someone else for one thing.

It’s been said that we are like the people we spend the most time with. Who we allow in our personal inner circles affects our gratitude quotient. Be mindful of who you spend time with. One of the more challenging things in our relationships is that we may be willing to change, but other people may not. Sometimes that means relational adjustments are necessary. 

No matter who’s in our lives, we can’t neglect our role in growing our gratitude. As Galatians 6:9 NIV says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” As we express our thankfulness for—and to—the people in our lives, we’ll be overwhelmed by how it changes us, and in the process, we’ll get to watch it impact them. 

Romans 12:9‭ Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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The new reading plan is How To Be Grateful For Your Life. It ta 5 day plan. I love gratitude for many reasons. I am most grateful for Jesus Christ. Today’s verses are Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and Hebrews 11:1. Have a blessed day.

The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their trouble. — William Penn

As we read God’s Word, we can see the theme of being thankful. There are hundreds of verses telling us to give thanks or offer praise to God. Outside of the Bible, you’ll find lots of articles and research stating the benefits that come with being a grateful person. People who are thankful are known to be depressed less, get better grades in school, sleep better, stay healthy, have deeper friendships, and have a brighter outlook on life. Basically, gratitude is good for you! 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Living as grateful people is God’s will for our lives. God knew before the beginning of time how positively gratitude would affect us—long before an article or book was written about the topic. So, whether your life is moving along smoothly or it feels like you’re walking in quicksand, consider adding these daily habits to your life: 

  • Create new pathways. Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist and author, said, “As you think, you change the structure of your brain.” This isn’t easy. But, we have a choice in what we think about, so let’s allow thoughts of gratefulness to fill our minds.
  • Choose five things. Make a daily habit to say or write five things you’re thankful for. You can do it any time of the day—morning or night!
  • Set a gratitude alarm. Choose different times in the day. When the alarm goes off, ask God to bring to mind the blessings and gifts in your life and thank Him for them. 
  • Tell someone. Every day, talk to someone about what you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s their friendship, the sunrise, a powerful moment with God, or an unexpected blessing you received. Saying it makes it more real.

It’s vital that we make our gratitude habitual so that when life’s storms come upon us, we know how to navigate the rough waters. And part of this is trusting God and even choosing to be grateful when we don’t understand the world around us. 

As we build this gratitude muscle, it won’t be something we have to think about—it’ll become as natural as breathing.

Proverbs 3:5‭ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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This video is 4:44 minutes. It is also the last in this series. My prayer is for us to have grown deeper in love with the knowledge of God. Today’s verses are Genesis 15:1‭-‬6, 1 Kings 3:6, and Romans 15:8. Have a blessed day.

The word emet is a common word used to describe God in the Hebrew Bible. It can be translated as “faithfulness” or “truth.” So when the authors say that God is “full of emet,” they are saying that he is trustworthy—we can trust him. But trust isn’t always an easy thing.

For example, God promised the Israelites that he would give them a king of peace that would rule forever and ever. But Israel’s kingdom collapsed, and they found themselves without a home or a king. They wondered if God was truly faithful to his promises and cried out to him, “Where is your loyal love that you swore to David in your emet?” (Psalm 89:49). Ultimately, God answered their cries in the person of Jesus—the embodiment of God’s trustworthy character. Jesus is the faithful king whose Kingdom will endure forever, and he invites all people to trust in him.

When it’s hard to trust God because our circumstances seem to contradict the promises he has made, we can remember the history of God’s trustworthy character. God has always been faithful in the past, and he will remain true into the future. So we can join the long line of people who have put their trust in God and discovered God’s enduring faithfulness!

Reflect:

1. How do the following passages portray God’s faithfulness?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s faithful character?

Genesis 15:1‭ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3. And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 4. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 5. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

1 Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

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Loyal Love

Loyal love combines love, generosity, and enduring commitment into one. This video is 4:46. Today’s verses are Numbers 14:18‭-‬19, Psalm 136:1‭-‬26, and 1 John 3:16‭-‬18. Have a blessed day.

The Hebrew word khesed is one of the most common descriptions of God in the Hebrew Bible, and it’s almost impossible to translate into any other language! This word is rich with meaning, combining the ideas of unconditional love, loyalty, and generosity.

Ruth, for example, showed khesed to her mother-in-law Naomi by binding herself to Naomi despite the cost it could have on her future. It was a beautiful act of loyalty that revealed Ruth’s generous and faithful character. Many people attempt to show this kind of loyalty, but we often fail to endure in our love for other people. But God’s love never fails. 

God demonstrated his loyal love to us by becoming human and binding himself to us in the person of Jesus—the ultimate loyal and loving human. Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God opened a new future for humanity and all of creation. And God did this simply because it’s who he is. He is generous and faithful. When we experience the purity and beauty of God’s loyal love, we are empowered to show his love to others.

Reflect:

1. How do the following passages portray God’s loyal love?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s loyal and loving character?

Numbers 14:18‭ The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. 19. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

Psalm 136:1‭ O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 3. O give thanks to the LORD of Lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. 4. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. 5. To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. 6. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. 7. To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: 8. The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: 9. The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever. 10. To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever: 11. And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever: 12. With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever. 13. To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever: 14. And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever: 15. But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever. 16. To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever. 17. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: 18. And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: 19. Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever: 20. And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever: 21. And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever: 22. Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever. 23. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever: 24. And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. 25. Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. 26. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

1 John 3:16‭ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

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I am very grateful for God’s patience. When you look around and see what you think is others getting away with sin, they are not. (Please stop comparing yourselves to others and compare yourselves to Jesus Christ!) Today’s verses are Exodus 15:1‭-‬11, Romans 1:18‭-‬25, and 2 Peter 2:3‭-‬9. Have a blessed day.

What does it mean for God to be slow to anger? Let’s take a look at a strange Hebrew idiom together while we explore this characteristic of God.

The Hebrew phrase for “slow to anger” literally means “long of nose.” It’s a Hebrew turn of phrase that figuratively describes what happens when someone gets angry. In Hebrew, if someone wanted to say that a person is short tempered, they would say they are “short of nose” or “hot nosed.” So to say that God is “long of nose” is to say that he is patient. It takes him a long time to express his anger. He gives people plenty of time to respond to his gracious warnings.

But that doesn’t mean he never gets angry. If people do not respond to his call for justice, he will express his anger and give people over to the consequences of their own actions. So yes—he does get angry, just like we would if we saw someone bullying a young child. But unlike us, he’s slow to express his anger because he wants everyone to have a chance to turn from their wrongdoing.

God is not content to let people sit in their own self-destruction. In the Bible, God is on a mission to rescue his people. This is why Jesus went to Jerusalem to die a criminal’s death that he did not deserve. He was demonstrating his patient love by taking the consequences of his people upon himself. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see God’s anger and his love working together to provide forgiveness and life for humanity. This is what it means to say that God is slow to anger, and it’s good news for all of us.

Reflect:

1. How do the following passages portray God’s patience?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s patient character?

Exodus 15:1‭ Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11. Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Romans 1:18‭ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

2 Peter 2:3‭ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5. And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6. And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7. And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

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This video is 4:39. God is so good to us. He blessed when we don’t deserve it. Praise ye the Lord! Today’s verses are Isaiah 30:18‭-‬19, John 1:11‭-‬14, Ephesians 2:8‭-‬10, and James 4:6. Have a blessed day.

https://youtu.be/ABPVVw_aw44

What does it mean for God to be gracious? Let’s take a look at the Hebrew word for grace, khen. 

One meaning of khen is “delightful or favorable.” Things or people that naturally attract delight or favor (like jewelry or kindness) can be said to have khen, but something unattractive or someone undeserving can also receive khen. For example, when someone is in debt to another and they ask for khen, they are asking for favor in spite of what they deserve. 

Extraordinary acts of khen like these require a generous spirit. And no one does this better than God himself. He shows extreme khen over and over again. In fact, this characteristic of God is so reliable that over forty times in the book of Psalms, people cry out for God’s khen when they are sick, in danger, or in exile. And biblical prophets, like Isaiah, also talk about God’s khen as they declare that God will one day show his grace by delivering all creation from death and ruin. 

When we turn to the authors of the New Testament, they describe God’s khen with

When we turn to the authors of the New Testament, they describe God’s khen with the Greek word kharis, which means “gracious gift.” When we are introduced to Jesus in the John’s Gospel, we are told that Jesus is God’s glorious kharis become human. God knew that humanity’s destructive choices would continue to spiral into chaos, so Jesus died and rose again to give humans delight and favor instead of death and judgment. And just like any gift, all one has to do is receive it. When people humbly own their failures and ask God for grace, his response is consistent, generous, and gracious.


Reflect:

1. How do the following passages portray God’s grace?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s gracious character?

Isaiah 30:18‭. And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. 19. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.

John 1:11‭ He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Ephesians 2:8‭ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

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We could surely use a lot more of this in the world today. Let’s start with ourselves. Video is 5 minutes. Today’s verses are Isaiah 49:13‭-‬16, Matthew 9:35‭-‬36, and Ephesians 4:32. Have a blessed day.

What does it mean for God to be compassionate? Let’s take a look at the Hebrew word for compassion, rakhum.

Interestingly, this word is related to the Hebrew word for womb, rehkem. This correlation helps us understand that compassion is a powerful way to describe the strong emotional bond between a parent and their child. And it’s the first word God uses to describe himself in Exodus 34:6-7.

God is portrayed as a compassionate parent all throughout Scripture. And when we come to the story of Jesus, we see him embody the compassion of God. Jesus compared his feelings for people to that of a mother hen’s care for her young. And he suffered and labored so that many could live through him. Jesus demonstrates what God’s compassion looks like, and his followers are called to display that same compassion for one another.

Reflect:

1. How do the following passages portray God’s compassion?

2. How are we called to respond to God’s compassionate character?

Isaiah 49:13‭ Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. 14. But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

Matthew 9:35‭ And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 37. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Ephesians 4:32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

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In this six day reading plan, we are going to discover some of the attributes of God. This first video is six minutes. Today’s verses are Exodus 34:6-7. Have a blessed day.

Exodus 34:6-7 is the first description of God’s attributes found in Scripture, and it’s the most referenced passage in the entire Bible. Here, we learn that all of God’s actions are an expression of his compassion, grace, patience, loyal love, and faithfulness. This passage has been carefully designed to help us see the meaning and importance of each trait in relation to the others and understand how these five traits relate to God’s justice.

Sometimes, God brings severe consequences in response to human evil. How does God’s compassion and grace balance with his anger at destructive human behaviors?

Exodus 34:6-7 tells us that God’s core character traits are rooted in generous mercy and loyal love, which means that God’s anger is not a primary attribute. It’s a divine reaction to selfish and destructive human decisions, and it’s rooted in God’s love. Just like you would get angry if you saw a beautiful work of art being vandalized, so God’s anger is a response to evil done to or by his human image-bearers.

God’s anger and judgment are really important themes in the Bible, but they’re not the whole story. God’s core character is one of generous love that created the world, and he plans to rescue and restore his creation from human evil. Exodus 34:6-7 invites us into a lifetime of pondering the depths and mysteries of the character of God.

Let’s start by understanding the significance of the characteristics listed in Exodus 34:6: compassion, grace, slow to anger, loyal love, and faithfulness. Join us for the next five days of this reading plan to take a closer look at each attribute of God.

Reflect:

1. What do you think it would be like to live in a world that had compassion but no consequences for wrongdoing?

2. What do you think it would be like to live in a world that had consequences for wrongdoing but no compassion?

3. Why is it good to have both compassion and justice?

Exodus 34:6‭ And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

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Testify

This is the last day of this reading plan. I pray it has brought you closer to God with a better understanding of the importance of repentance. Today’s verses are Luke 5:27-32. Have a blessed day.

God sent His only son Jesus to Earth for a primary purpose: to give us new life. In Luke 5:27-32, Jesus rewords His mission this way: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repent.” Christ came so sinners like you and I could have new life through our repentance and His forgiveness. Our lives are forever changed when we repent and seek His forgiveness. Christ’s mission is also our mission. We are called to not minister to the righteous, but rather to those who are lost and in need of forgiveness. If you have sincerely repented of your sins and God has forgiven you of those sins, then you have a story to tell to those who need repentance. Your life change can create the same change in the life of another. Who do you know that needs to repent and receive God’s forgiveness? How can your story of God’s forgiveness help someone else come to repentance?

Luke 5:27‭ And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31. And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

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Lost and Found

Sin is evil. It separates us from God. It keeps us lost, depressed, afraid, angry, and more. Oh if we would only repent and become found! Today’s verses are 1 Peter 2:11‭-‬25. Have a blessed day.

Have you ever gotten lost? It can be one of the most frustrating feelings to not know where you are going. In fact, in some situations it can be terrifying. In verse 25, Peter compares us to sheep in that when we were living in sin, we were astray and lost. We didn’t know where to go, but after repenting of our sins and receiving God’s forgiveness we have returned to the flock that is led by God our shepherd. Where do you keep going astray? Maybe you are striving to stay on God’s path, but keep getting sidetracked onto the secondary roads by some sin in your life. Confess that sin to God. Repent of it today and ask God to help you in fully overcoming it.

1 Peter 2:11‭ Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23. Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

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To be forgiven is an amazing state. To forgive is a very free state. To enjoy both, come to our Lord Jesus and bare your soul to Him. He loves you and will forgive you. Today’s verses are 1 John 1:5‭-‬10. Have a blessed day.

Repentance results in forgiveness. We repent and God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Repentance is our action and forgiveness is God’s reaction to us out of His perfect love for us. While the process is simple, the power of God’s forgiveness is unfathomable. God’s forgiveness eliminates all darkness in our lives and brings us into the light no matter what sins we have committed. God’s forgiveness covers ALL sins including yours. How has the redemptive power of God’s forgiveness changed and impacted your life?

Forgiveness never meant as much to me as it did when I was finally able to forgive the man who stabbed me in my back and almost took my life. It was at that time I realized that my forgiveness is for me! I was once again free and no longer a prisoner of fear. Thank You Lord Jesus for the freedom only You can provide. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

1 John 1:5‭ This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

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Choose Sides

We are given a clear choice: live or die. We do this by accepting Jesus Christ, the One and only true Son of God, sinless, born of a virgin, put to death for our sins, and is risen on the third day. I choose Christ! Today’s verses are Luke 13:1-8 and Luke 13:9. Have a blessed day.

What side are you on? That is the question Jesus is asking in Luke 13:1-8. Are you on the side of right or wrong? The right side leads to eternal life, while the wrong side leads to destruction. Jesus’ message is simple: all you have to do is repent of your sins in order to have new life. If you don’t repent, then you will perish. God does not desire to cut us down, but rather He loves us and desires us to bear fruit. What fruit are you bearing in your life currently? What sins do you need to repent of in order to start bearing the kind of fruit God desires?

Luke 13:1‭ There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 6. He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8. And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

Luke 13:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

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God’s Word transforms the world and my life. How amazing is our God that He cares and thinks about even me! Today’s verses are Matthew 24:35, Matthew 28:18‭-‬20, John 1:1, and Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21. Have a blessed day.

Imagine everything is dark and without form until God breathes out the words, “Let there be light.” In an instant, everything changes. The light pierces the darkness, and what was once invisible is now seen clearly. One word from God changed everything … but it didn’t stop there.

The same God who created the universe with one breath is continuing to breathe new life into the world through the power of His Word. God’s Word continues to pierce the darkness. God’s Word transforms lives and renews hurting hearts. God’s Word is alive and active because He is alive and active. And we have constant access to His Word.

The more we study the Bible, the more we discover that God wants everyone in the world to experience a personal, active, restorative relationship with Him.

No matter what trials or hardships we face, God’s Word will still continue to go out and pierce the darkness. His words will continue to transform people like Ghana, Sumu, the Populucan people, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, and William Tyndale. And His words have the power to change you.

So pause and think about your story. How has God’s Word transformed you? And in what ways might God be bringing Scripture alive in your life right now?

Celebrate what God has done in your life so far, and reflect on what He’s doing in the world around you.

Going forward, choose to take part in the story God is telling. It’s a story that began when He spoke the world into being, and will continue until the day Jesus returns—a story that transcends history and is continually transforming the world.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Matthew 28:18‭ And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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

Ephesians 3:20‭ Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

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The Bible Brings Hope

When we make time to meditate on God’s Word, He can work miracles in our lives. Today’s verses are John 14:6, Psalm 55:22, John 5:24, and Romans 15:4. Have a blessed day.

Ghana* was a devout Muslim until she discovered the life-transforming power of Jesus in 2016. But after converting to Christianity, she was abandoned, shunned, and ostracized by her community and family. At one point, her children were taken away from her and sent to a different country.

And although Ghana refused to renounce Jesus, she found herself without a solid support system to help her grow closer in her faith. Lonely and depressed, she even considered committing suicide. But eventually she met someone who downloaded YouVersion onto her phone.

At first Ghana wasn’t interested, but later she began reading the Verse of the Day at dawn so that she could meditate on its meaning and use it as a guide for her day. And over time, something unexpected happened… 

“The verses became alive and dwelt inside of me. They taught me how to deal with people in healthy ways, and they helped me recover from my depression. Even though I was abandoned, I found comfort any time I read it. Anytime I read the Verse of the Day, in some special way it lifts me up and gives me hope. It’s as if God is always directly speaking to me through the verses.”

Ghana now looks for opportunities to share the Verse of the Day everywhere she goes. She posts verses online to encourage her community, and talks about Scripture at work with her coworkers and clients. 

Her story is just one example of what God’s Word can do in all of us. Situations may shift, emotions may fluctuate, people may disappoint or abandon us—but the Word of God endures forever. And because of that, we can experience peace and hope that transcends our circumstances. Because when we allow God’s Word into our hearts, it will remain there.  

Today, ask God to bring His Word to life in you by praying this prayer: 

God, You made me and You know me. You alone have the power to transform my life. So today I am asking You to align my life with Your Word. No matter what I face, give me the boldness to remain true to Your Word so that I can proclaim Your truth and love to the people You place in my life. Make the roots of my faith grow down deep as I draw close to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the person.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

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The Bible Pierces Darkness

The Bible app I am using reaches almost 500 million people! This is a good way to stay connected with our Christian family. We do need each other. Today’s verses are John 1:1‭-‬5, Psalm 119:105 and Proverbs 30:5. Have a blessed day.

Sumu didn’t want to have anything to do with Christianity. But in 2017, Sumu’s best friend shared her testimony at her New Zealand church. Sumu showed up to support her … and kept coming back. She gave her life to Jesus later that year, just before moving to India. 

Navigating a new faith in a new country without a Christian community was exhausting, and Sumu eventually became so depressed that she struggled to get out of bed each day. 

“I was so lonely and I found it really hard to connect with people. I lost a lot of my autonomy and independence when I moved to India, and a lot of toxic thoughts entered my mind. But it wasn’t until I was able to connect with Scripture in YouVersion that I was able to change the way I think.” 

YouVersion provided Sumu with a way to stay connected to other Christians and learn from them through Bible Plans. And since 2018, she’s completed over 428 of them. 

Anytime Sumu has a question, she opens her YouVersion app and searches for Plans on that topic. And the more Plans she reads, the more her faith grows. 

“Some days I’ll start 11 Plans just to try and immerse myself in truth. It’s an opportunity to learn from people who’ve walked in your shoes and get encouragement from them. I’ve been learning that I’m not alone in my struggles. I can hear from people who have gone through depression and come out on the other side, and it’s helped me realize that followers of Jesus struggle with mental health, too.” 

Now, whenever Sumu feels lonely, depressed, or isolated, she’s able to cling to God’s promises and hold up every thought she has against what Jesus says about her. 

“Sometimes, when you’re depressed, you just need a word. The app was a ‘shortcut’ that helped me figure out the Bible and my faith. Technology is such a cool tool that we can use to connect with our faith. I don’t think I would be around had I not had a way to be connected through Christ, because those times were really dark and He was the only source of light that I had—and still have.”  

Because of the power of God’s Word, isolation can be transformed into connection, and hope can be discovered in the midst of adversity.

Reflect on Sumu’s story for a moment, and then spend some time talking to God about the season you’re currently in. As you do this, ask God to reveal to you what is true about your situation, and then search the Scriptures for His words of hope and encouragement. Allow His light to pierce any darkness in your life.

John 1:1‭ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Psalm 119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

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Imagine the Bible were not translated into English. How would we know about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Thank You Jesus for Your word! Today’s verses are Hebrews 13:7 and 1 John 2:5. Have a blessed day.

Imagine introducing yourself to someone from a different country by telling them you belong to a people group whose name means “babblers.” That’s what the name “Popoluca” means, and it’s associated with an indigenous people and language of Veracruz, Mexico.

To this day, “Popoluca” is still used to describe the 35,500 people within that region who speak that language. Those who speak it though, call it “Nuntajɨ̱yi”— “the Straight Speech.”

While Nuntajɨ̱yi may seem insignificant to some, those who can now read or listen to the New Testament in their language understand it matters to the One who created it. Carolina is one of these people. A granddaughter of the translator of the Popoluca New Testament, Carolina is the first Popoluca woman to graduate from college. She has dedicated her life tosharing God’s Word in her language, and is now leading a team translating 50 of the Psalms. 

“When we read the Bible in Spanish, it seems like a wasted effort. But when we read it in our language, it arrives all the way to our heart. It touches our hearts—it moves us—because we can really understand it.” 

Carolina is an active part of the YouVersion Community, and she regularly uses YouVersion to study and share God’s Word in Nuntajɨ̱yi. 

“We’re very happy you’ve put our words into your app, because now anyone in the world can see it—our language is right there with well-known languages! So often our language is not seen as valued, but in this app, it is clear that our language is highly valued.”

Today, take a moment to thank God you have the Bible in your language. Thank God for Carolina and thousands of other Bible translators working around the world today. Because of their faithfulness and passion, God’s Word continues to spread throughout every area on earth, transforming the identities of the people who hear and understand it.

Hebrews 13:7. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

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As you read today’s verses, consider how God can use you to fulfill His purpose. Today’s verses are 2 Timothy 3:15‭-‬17, Ephesians 6:13‭-‬17, and Ephesians 3:20.

It’s the early 1800s. A 12-year-old Nigerian boy and his family are taken from their home and forced onto a Portuguese slave ship bound for America. But before the boat has a chance to leave the African coast, it’s raided by an anti-slavery patrol and the traffickers are arrested. The boy and his family are then liberated and sent to Sierra Leone. It’s here that he discovers the power of the Bible.

After becoming a Christian, Samuel Ajayi Crowther began learning multiple languages and going on missionary expeditions into the countries near Sierra Leone. But this entire time, he was studying the Bible in English because it didn’t exist in Yoruba—his Nigerian language.

This meant that the people in Nigeria who didn’t speak English couldn’t read God’s Word for themselves. So Ajayi helped create a written grammar system for Yoruba and then translated the Bible into that language.

Once he finished the Yoruba Bible, he continued to translate Scripture into other Nigerian languages so that more people could discover the life-change that he had experienced.

Crowther was later elected “Bishop of the Niger” by the Anglican church, becoming the first Black Anglican bishop. And today, the Anglican Church of Nigeria is the second largest Anglican province with over 18 million baptized members.

The same God who worked through Crowther also wants to work through you to impact the world through His Word. There are people waiting to be transformed by the Bible that only you are perfectly positioned to reach.

So today, ask God to reveal the role you can play in the story He’s telling, and watch as He does more through your life than all you can ask, think, or imagine.

2 Timothy 3:15‭. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Ephesians 6:13‭. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 3:20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

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Imagine if William Tyndale had not translated the Bible into English. How different would our lives be! He was burned at the stake for his achievement. What can we do to share the Gospel? The verses for today are Acts 12:24 and Luke 1:37. Have a blessed day.

In the 1500s, Bibles didn’t exist in most languages. Only well-educated or wealthy people could study it in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin.

But a scholar named William Tyndale was convinced that everyone deserved to have access to Scripture. And so he began to translate it into his language: English.

Many authorities were against this idea and other beliefs Tyndale had, so he fled England and later smuggled his New Testaments back into his home country. For nine years, Tyndale evaded arrest while continuing to work on the first English translation of the Bible. But eventually, he was captured, condemned for heresy, and burned at the stake.

Tyndale’s determination sparked a movement to see the Bible made accessible in language familiar to everyday people. And nearly 100 years later, change happened. The King James Bible became available in English—a version that used a lot of Tyndale’s work in the initial release.

Over time, England was transformed by the Bible. Revivals and awakenings took place, missionary movements were born, and organizations dedicated to Bible translation were formed. Scripture revived a nation—but revival started when early English translators believed everyone should have access to God’s Word … and they did something about it.

How does the courage of early Bible translators inspire you? Right now, reflect on what Tyndale went through, and then, ask God to clarify what steps you can take to share Scripture with those around you. Maybe it’s sending a verse to someone, or maybe it’s giving to a Bible translation project.

Whatever it is, consider how different your life would look if you didn’t have access to God’s Word, and then be a catalyst for change in someone else’s life.

Acts 12:24. But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Luke 1:37. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

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The Bible Is Alive

Today I am starting a new reading plan, The Bible Is Alive. Our Bible is not just a historic document, it is roadmap to follow for encouragement, reproof, instruction in righteousness, and more. Today we read Hebrews 4:12, Isaiah 40:8, and Isaiah 55:10‭-‬11. Have an blessed day.

The Bible is God’s Word to us. It’s a written narrative God told through humans about His character, and His plans to save and restore humanity. And because it is inspired by God, every section of Scripture has the power to counsel, convict, and change us. 

Think about a time when you’ve felt your mind being renewed, or seen some area of your life transformed. If you regularly read or listen to Scripture, you’ve experienced its power to inspire, encourage, and even challenge you.

The Bible is more than a history lesson. Although it is retelling what God has done, it’s also showing us what God will do. It is revealing a story that God has been unveiling throughout history; a story He wants to continue to tell through us. 

God’s Word has moved in the hearts of people since the beginning of time, and its inspiration has led to the transformation of cities, nations, and continents. 

So this week, let’s celebrate how the Bible is alive and active in our world by looking at the narrative God has been telling through Christians throughout history—a narrative that showcases the Bible’s ability to pierce darkness, bring hope, restore lives, and change the world. 

Hebrews 4:12. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Isaiah 40:8. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Isaiah 55:10‭. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

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The Blessing

Jesus began His teachings with praying and as He left this world to receive His glory, He blessed and prayed. What a powerful testimony and example to live by. Today’s verses: Luke 24:50‭-‬51 and 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Have a blessed day.

What was this blessing that Jesus gave to these disciples as He ascended to heaven? Whatever He said, it caused the disciples to stop and worship Him. Then they returned to Jerusalem with great joy—not just joy, but great joy! How could these disciples, who had been through so much with Him, leave that place full of joy, even after Jesus had vanished to heaven?

The answer if simple: Jesus had all authority, and now it was going to be bestowed on them. In a short time they would engage the most powerful force in the universe—Spirit-empowered prayer. How could they not be filled with unspeakable joy?

Those of us in the teaching profession recognize that there are many ingredients that make an effective teacher. Nonetheless, no matter how many pedagogical theories or strategies emerge, the greatest and most effective method that teachers identify is example, example, and example. Jesus’s life was the supreme example of prayer. He began His ministry in prayer at His baptism. He prayed about all things. Now, Jesus was ending His time on the earth in prayer as He ascended to the Father.

My wife’s brother, Paul, lived to serve others, in particular at-risk boys. He spent a lifetime giving himself to young men. At Paul’s funeral my wife told a story about Paul’s grandson. During the last years of Paul’s life he watched his little grandson a few days a week. One of Paul’s habits was to bring a cool bottle of water out to the trash collectors when they came. A few days after Paul’s death, his grandson was in his own home with his mom. The garbage truck could be heard coming down the street. Paul’s grandson ran to his mom and insisted they get some bottles of water from the refrigerator to take out to the trash collectors. Oh, the power of example. A living example imparts its very life to others (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Jesus’s life was a living example of prayer.

Because we have many different gifts and unique parts to play in Christ’s church, we will leave a variety of legacies. However, there is clearly one great legacy open to all of us. I believe it is one to which we all should aspire. Let this be our prayer, Lord: “May the legacy of our lives be answered prayer, as was Yours.”

Luke 24:50‭. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

1 Thessalonians 2:8. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

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In order for Christ Jesus to bear our sins and redeem us, our Father God had to turn away from His Son at that time. That is the greatest price ever paid so that we may receive the gift of salvation freely. Today’s verses are Mark 15:34 and Proverbs 16:4. Have a blessed day.

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Have you ever felt forsaken by the Lord? Abandoned? It is a lonely feeling to find yourself in the middle of a crisis or situation you can’t explain or do anything about. Can you trust Him with all the challenging events of life and live in faith? Even in the midst of suffering and pain? We must come to the conclusion and understanding that the Lord uses all things to accomplish His purposes in our lives. The Lord even uses evil things that come from the evil one (Proverbs 16:4).

Jesus claimed God as His Father, yet He lamented that the Father was withdrawing His love and care for Him. The Father abandoned Christ while Christ bore our sins on the cross. It was the greatest price that could be paid for our sin, Christ’s suffering. Though forsaken, Christ remained faithful to His mission—redemption for those who would choose salvation through Him.

I know a couple who are the epitome of godly people—they mentor and pour their lives into others like few Christians I have ever known. Their youngest daughter was the worship leader at the Christian school where I was headmaster. She was a beautiful, talented, zealous, anointed Christian girl. The first time I saw her was in a church service when she was twelve years old and giving words of encouragement to others. After she graduated from our school, she attended a Christian college to study nursing. Shortly after her first semester of college, she was tragically killed in a car accident. Many years before the same family had lost its only son in a tragic accident and later had a stillborn child. If ever people had cause to become disillusioned and lose their faith, this couple did. Yet they are full of the Spirit of our Lord, humble, peaceable, and joyous.

There will be times in life when you feel abandoned. The burden may seem more than is humanly possible to bear. We want to ask why these events happen, but why? isn’t the right question. The right question is, will you worship and follow God even if He does not meet your expectations? Will you follow Him even when you feel forsaken? Will you still pray?

Mark 15:34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Proverbs 16:4. The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

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Pray in the Spirit for the strength to be able to pray with endurance Heb. 12:1. Try it! Today’s verses are Matthew 26:36 and Matthew 26:38‭-‬44. Have a blessed day.

How much time in prayer is sufficient? Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? An hour? Jesus was distressed and troubled, and He needed the disciples to watch with Him in prayer. He had modeled prayer, and now it was time for them to support Him in prayer. But they couldn’t even pray one hour. Is prayer this tough for you?

When we pray in the flesh, we are like couch potatoes trying to run a marathon—we are winded and simply do not have what it takes to finish. When we pray, we must pray in the Spirit. It is the Spirit who provides the strength and the energy to pray. The Spirit, pneuma in the Greek, is more properly termed “breath” or “wind” (Acts 2:2). Just like the couch potato trying to run, our flesh has no strength and no breath, but the powerful wind of the Holy Spirit fills us and gives us the strength and breath we need to pray. By praying in the Spirit, we can finish the marathon of life without running out of breath. We can persevere (Ephesians 6:18). We can develop the discipline of prayer. We can “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

One of the lessons about prayer our Lord repeatedly taught is we must persevere. This may be the greatest stumbling block to the prayer life of most Christians. Answers to prayers don’t come as quickly as we anticipate.

Let’s be completely honest with ourselves here—patience is not exactly something we practice a great deal in our nanosecond -response – time culture. My definition of lust is “I want it, and I want it now!” If there is a sure prescription for failure in prayer, it is the attitude of “I want my answer, and I want it now.” Our love of ease, impatience, and spiritual laziness don’t contribute to persevering prayer.

But why doesn’t God just go ahead and answer our prayers? That’s a great question. God has an end game with us—an eternal, essential purpose. That purpose is oneness with Him and being conformed into His image. Above all things, including answering our prayers, He wants to draw us deeply into Him. Persisting in unanswered prayer is the training ground for increased faith. It’s the place where God extends grace to us, and it is the perfect soil for character building. Unanswered prayer leaves us vulnerable before the Lord, the ideal place for surrender.

Matthew 26:36. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

Matthew 26:38‭. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

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Satan is the father of disunity amongst God’s people, and we are to fight to keep God’s people unified spiritually. Today’s verses are more this, but John 17:1‭-‬26 and 2 Corinthians 10:4‭-‬5 are declared. Have a blessed day.

We need to learn this lesson—we experience the Lord three ways: through our personal experience, through the Word and prayer, and through our fellowship with others in our community. In all three of these realms Satan is at war to destroy God’s essential purpose: unity.

Satan lies to us about our personal relationship with Christ. He constantly attacks the credibility of God’s Word and diverts our attention away from prayer. Satan does this because he knows it is through the Word and prayer that we mature as Christians and become equipped to battle against him. And the enemy schemes to create division in our fellowship with other believers because he understands that division will discredit the love of Christ. Disunity in the body of Christ will cause people to doubt if Jesus really is who He said He is, the Son of God. Much of Jesus’s prayer in John 17 addresses His plea to the Father for the unity of believers with them (the Father and Son) and with one another (vv. 11, 21-23).

The Word of God reveals that there is a furious spiritual battle taking place right now in the heavens and the unseen realms (Ephesians 6:12). Most of us are unaware of this war. And if we are aware, there is an additional rebutting that takes place with many Christians when it comes to spiritual warfare. The thought of battling demons, evil spirits, or Satan himself is overwhelming and frightening.

The truth is that we are to war against Satan. God has called us to use the weapons of our warfare to defeat the enemy and crush him underfoot (Romans 8:37-39; 16:20; 1 John 2:13-14). Everyday people such as you and me are called to put on the armor of light and cast aside the works of darkness (Romans 13:12). We are called to bring God’s kingdom of heaven to earth (Matthew 6:10).

Through prayer and the Word of God we are able to discern the strongholds of the enemy and tear down his defenses (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The powers of darkness will be broken in our lives and the lives of others as we learn to war in the spirit. We will be God’s warriors, fully equipped to see the forces of evil destroyed and His kingdom and unity established in our midst. Christ’s prayer in John 17 will be realized in our lives.

John 17:1‭. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

2. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

4. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

5. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

6. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

7. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

8. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

9. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

10. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

11. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

12. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

14. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

18. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

19. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

24. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

25. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

26. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

2 Corinthians 10:4‭ (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

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Remembering back to the days when trust was the norm, not the rarity, of child-like faith; this is all that is necessary to please God. Can we do it? I pray so! Matthew 19:13‭-‬15 and John 14:13. Have a blessed day.

There is no second-guessing about what we must be like to enter the kingdom of heaven. There is no test to pass to see if we have reached the right score on the righteousness scale. There is no spiritual timepiece to measure the minimum requirement for prayer and Bible study. There is only one required standard to enter the kingdom of heaven: childlike faith in Christ as Savior.

Little children are harmless and inoffensive. They are meek, free from malice, and without pride. Little children do not have ambitious ideas or desires for superiority. Where do you go to school? How much money does your parent make? These are questions that wouldn’t cross a child’s mind.

Thursday of every week is my day to take my four-year old grandson, Isaac, to a popular chicken place with a great indoor play area. It never fails—within a few minutes of playing, he has made friends with other little kids, and they are transformed into lifelong buds. Nearly every time one of the kids he is playing with leaves or we go, it is like he is having his best friend ripped out of his life. Little children don’t judge, size up, scrutinize, evaluate, or compare. Little kids only know friends, not acquaintances, colleagues, or strangers—only friends. They just play well with others. Do you play well with others?

The question you must ask yourself is: Do I really trust my heavenly Father the way a little child trusts? Your prayers will reveal your belief system when it comes to trust in the Father. You see, I really do believe my heavenly Father is loving and faithful and has my best interests at heart. I believe He hears my prayers (John 14:13). I believe God the Father looks at me as one of His little children. He calls me up close to Him and says, “Tell Me what is on your heart, son.” He says, “Get quiet and listen to what I say to you.” So simple, so conversational, so unprofessional, so real. That’s the way He teaches us to pray. He desires the honest simplicity of praying like a little child, not praying to be heard by others or attempting to impress God. Can you imagine trying to impress God with your prayers? What a waste of time.

In coming to our Lord in prayer with the spirit of childlikeness, we will realize the Fatherhood of God in our lives.

Matthew 19:13‭. Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

John 14:13. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

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The transforming miracles of God occur in our every day lives. Answered prayers for others and ourselves, safe travels, waking up, etc. Look with your spiritual eyes, and you will see so much more. Today’s verses are Luke 9:28‭-‬29 and 2 Corinthians 3:18. Have a blessed day.

Too often we believe that we must answer the call to a particular service or put forth some heroic act to elicit the miraculous. I believe what the transfiguration of Christ reveals to us is that as we pray and seek God, we are changed and the miracles of God will slip into our ordinary life (2 Corinthians 3:18).

What qualifies as miraculous in our everyday mundane lives? It is one thing for us to encounter a great injustice and stay true to God as others see our godly character.

But what about praying for a coworker’s salvation? What about the wife who works and takes care of a home and prays for the ability to keep it all together? Are answers to prayer in these situations any less than miraculous? No, they are not.

Flashes of lightning, visions, dreams, revelations, and what we typically view as miraculous aren’t daily occurrences for most of us. I believe the Lord does want us to have huge answers to prayer every day and see miracles. That is what I am contending for in my prayer life. Truthfully I am not there. But I am a holding on, and I am putting into proper perspective the miraculous events in my daily life that aren’t lightning bolts from heaven.

When we go to work every day, we are plunged into toil and worldly things. The everyday sameness or lack of spirituality at work could cause us to miss what the Lord is doing. The same is true for those who care for children and the home or an elderly parent. But there is a great breakthrough that the Holy Spirit has planned for us. He wants us to experience His miraculous power in the dailiness of life. Prayer is the key to this experience. We can indeed live in an attitude of prayer the entire day, in every conversation and through every task we undertake. And it is through this that the mundane is truly transformed into the miraculous.

But the transformation of prayer can go much deeper. As we face the world every day, we face temptations, and this is where we need the Lord to purify us. Prayer is the vehicle that frees us from the bondage of flesh. Prayer is our road to transformation. “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” (Luke 9:29, NIV).

Luke 9:28‭. And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

2 Corinthians 3:18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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Be Still. Be Quiet.

This is decision time. Turn off every electronic device you own. Sit down. Be quiet and listen. Now you are ready for “great joy, clarity, and purity to our lives.” Today’s verses: Matthew 14:23 and Romans 12:1‭-‬2. Have a blessed day.

Silence is a stranger to most of us. To discover silence, we have to be like Jesus and go off to find a place where we can turn off the cell phone and the TV, a place with no bustling businesses or chattering people to deal with. The Lord calls us to this silence as much as He calls us to be with one another. What should our times of silence and being alone before the Lord consist of? This is where the prayer life of Jesus is such a profound example for us. Jesus shows us that these times of intimacy must first center on being quiet and listening.

We cannot put God in a box and make our relationship with Him a formula. But if we are going to follow the example of Jesus, we must get alone with God and silence ourselves. The silence that He invites us into is a silence of listening, a respectful stillness before our God. This kind of silence brings great joy, clarity, and purity to our lives.

Finding stillness may be one of the greatest challenges in our relationships with Christ and our prayer lives. There are two great hindrances we face every day in our search for stillness: our busy lifestyles and the constant noise of our culture. Are you busy? Where are you on the Facebook addiction scale? Enough said.

As simple as it may seem, we find stillness by making a choice, deciding to sit down away from all the clamor of our life and technology. God bestowed on us free will; it is not an illusion. We are not victims of our culture. We have control over the way we respond to everything that comes our way.

The science of neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to reorganize itself by developing new neural connections) makes it very clear that when we make a decision, we change the matter in our brain. It is the scientific confirmation of God’s Word: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23: 7). Every time we steal away with the Lord in quiet retreat, we transform and renew our minds and conform to the communication pathways of the kingdom (Romans 12: 1-2). And it is in the stillness that our zeal for the Lord and His ways is given the chance to grow.

Matthew 14:23. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Romans 12:1‭. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

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Pray This Way

Today they are going to discuss the Lord’s Prayer. It is given during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Verses for today: Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-4, and 2 Peter 2:9. Have a blessed day.

Of all the things the disciples could have asked of Him, they asked to be taught how to pray. As you read Jesus’s words of how to pray, ask the Holy Spirit for fresh revelation, for how you can practically respond to His instruction.

Worship is the beginning and end of prayer. “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6: 9, 13, MEV) Jesus taught the disciples and us that in prayer we are to pay homage to the reality that this is His kingdom. God has control over everything, and He can and will answer our prayers. There is nothing impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

“Your kingdom come; Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). He desires His kingdom to come. It is His will, His purpose. He has set before us a vision of a renewed community and people in unity. Jesus’s prayer reminds us that extending God’s kingdom is included in our decision to follow Him.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) Can we live in this kind of simplicity and trust, like a little child? Can we be grateful for the food, how little or much, set before us today? This is one place we repeatedly allow our peace and contentment to be stolen. We compare our provision to others.

“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt 6:12). To be forgiven, you must forgive. You must live in forgiveness daily toward everyone: your spouse, friends, enemies, children, and most of all yourself. There is great freedom in forgiveness; it is the key to the kingdom—confessing our sins, seeking forgiveness, and forgiving others.

Christ instructs us to pray a very honest prayer, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). As shocking as the thought may be, the Lord tests us (Psalm 139:23-24; Jeremiah 17:10; 1 Peter 1:6-9). The Lord desires to produce pure gold out of our lives. Also, far too many of us are not in a position to face the temptations of sin and attacks of the enemy when they come. For our protection the Lord is able to chain up the roaring lion that seeks to tempt and destroy us (2 Peter 2:9).

Do you count yourself among those who need Christ to teach them to pray? I do. So let us come together and learn from the master teacher on prayer. Let’s pray for God’s purposes, provision, pardon, and protection.

Matthew 6:9‭. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy kingdom come. 10.Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11.Give us this day our daily bread. 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Luke 11:1‭. And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3. Give us day by day our daily bread. 4. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

2 Peter 2:9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

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The Secret Place

It is important to have a place we can go to be alone with our Father God to pray. Today’s verses: Mark 1:35‭ and Matthew 11:28‭-30. Have a blessed day.

Where do you pray? Is where you pray really that important? Evidentially it is; Jesus specifically mentioned where we should and shouldn’t pray.

Where not to pray: in a location chosen so others can see you (Matthew 6:5).

Where to pray: in private in your room (Matthew 6:6).

While Jesus was in Capernaum, Mark indicated that Simon and his companions went to look for Jesus. When they found Him, they exclaimed, “Everyone is searching for You” (Mark 1:37, MEV). Jesus often went away in seclusion to pray, and everyone was trying to find Him. Obviously He didn’t stay close, and He wasn’t easy to find.

We see this pattern of the Lord’s early-morning prayer beginning at the start of His ministry. He repeatedly departed to a solitary place, either in the hills, out of town, or in a remote garden. Here He showed us the power of prayer in a secret place.

Here’s the deal. If you don’t have a familiar place, a quiet place away from others, you probably don’t have a habit of praying often. It is the great secret to prayer—you must pray in secret.

We live in turbulent and violent times. Uncertainty seems to loom around every corner. Raising children, working, challenges in relationships, and our quest for unity in our Christian fellowship are all under assault from the world. Yet the Lord has made provision for us in this tempest. God’s Word provides a way for us. He entreats us to enter the refuge where His watchfulness leads us to a place of safety (Matthew 11:28).

The marvelous truth about the secret place is that it is not so secret. And we all are eligible for entrance. It requires but two things from us to enter: time and a love for Jesus. Put these two together, and we are given an opportunity to gain understanding into the nature of God (John 14:21).

For a moment right now take a deep breath and meditate on the enormity of what Jesus speaks to us. “If a man loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him” (John 14:23, MEV). Did you see and feel that word We? The eternal God, three in one, will meet us in the secret place.

Mark 1:35‭. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. 36. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. 37. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

Matthew 11:28‭. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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This new reading plan, 10 DAYS THROUGH THE PRAYERS OF JESUS, is a deeper study of effectual prayer. Today’s verses: Luke 3:21‭-‬22, Isaiah 50:4, and Psalm 46:10. Have a blessed day.

It didn’t matter if the issue at hand was profound or an everyday incident, Jesus began all things with prayer. While Jesus was being baptized, He prayed (Luke 3:21-22). Before setting out to preach and cast out demons throughout Galilee, He rose a great while before sunrise to pray (Mark 1:35-39). When the people rolled the stone away from Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus prayed for all to hear before raising him from the dead (John11: 4-44). And as He sat at a table for dinner with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He simply prayed (Luke 24:30-31). Jesus’s example leads us to pray before taking that new job, before a proposal of marriage, and on the way to work every morning.

Beginning all things in prayer is a foundational discipline of the Christian life. The times of praying in stillness and solitude are when God reaches into our minds, emotions, and wills—the deepest minds, emotions, and wills—the deepest places of our souls. In the quietness of prayer we free ourselves from the constant distractions of the world and the nagging whispers of our past, dysfunctions, and sins. Beginning all things in prayer during the day and having close and continual fellowship in prayer with God will leave its mark on us. As we follow our Lord by beginning everything in prayer, we position ourselves to receive the glorious benefits that flow from this way of living. First and foremost, prayer is our path to intimacy with God. There is no other way to deeply know God apart from the stillness of prayer (Psalm 46:10).

One of the sweetest and most powerful benefits of beginning all things in prayer is that our “spiritual ears” will be trained to recognize His voice. We learn to quiet our thoughts, our educational training, and our persuasions. We become deaf to anything except His voice and will. By following Christ’s example and beginning all things in prayer, we are able to discern His voice above the cacophony of the world and the murmurs of the enemy. Learning to recognize His voice is fundamental preparation for hearing the Lord through the Word.

Beginning all things with prayer leads to right hearing. Right hearing produces right speaking. This is how we learn to speak words of life to people, to speak the language of the kingdom, and to call people to their destiny in Christ (Isaiah 50:4).

Luke 3:21‭. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Isaiah 50:4. The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

Psalm 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

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As this reading plan comes to the finish line, I am grateful for many things. Salvation, life, food, indoor plumbing, and on and on. Today’s verses: Psalm 103:2-5, Psalm 145:1‭-3, Psalm 119:68, and Psalm 100:5. Have a blessed day.

Just like good habits, a grateful mindset will make a huge impact on your personal satisfaction with life. A mindset of gratitude increases mental strength and is registered in the brain as optimism.  Thoughts are such powerful triggers and when repeated frequently, new neural pathways are formed—like well-worn highways in your brain. This happens with any type of repetitive thinking but can be harnessed for positivity with a regular gratitude practice. Frequent thoughts of gratitude trains the brain to choose positive thoughts.

Consistency is the key to changing your mindset and, therefore, your life. Switching your internal chatter to thoughts of gratitude and appreciation doesn’t just happen overnight.  Consider adding new action steps to cultivate a grateful mindset. Here are some suggestions:

•  Start a gratefulness journal. Record personal gratitude daily.

•  Open your eyes to see “all that which is praiseworthy.”

•  Guard your heart and mind by limiting negative input.

•  Express your gratitude to others. 

•  Share and speak about things you are grateful for with those around you

•  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and then yield to His work.

•  Interrupt anxious moments with a good praise and worship song.

•  Break the habit of complaining with a grateful comment.

•  Start learning to see the silver-lining in circumstances.

•  Give others grace and the benefit of the doubt.

•  Imagine what eternal perspective could look like to bring good out of a situation.

•  Volunteer to serve the less fortunate.

•  Meditate every morning and evening on what you are thankful for in your life. 

•  Pause when you find yourself feeling down; think about all the good things in your life. 

•  Read God’s Word daily and with your family.

•  Model and encourage a grateful heart in your home.

•  Pray daily and also together with others you love.

•  Model a life of thoughtfulness and sacrifice for others.

Gratitude is a mindset just like ingratitude is. A grateful heart leads us to more of everything—more satisfaction, more hope, more joy, even better relationships. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. True gratitude is a daily choice that will impact your life for the better. 

Ponder these thoughts: God is completely good. God is constantly good. God is unchangeably good. God will never not be good. God could never be less than good. Everything our God does is good. God gives you a peace that passes understanding. God gives you the Holy Spirit to convict, strengthen, encourage. God gives you His Word as a guide. God gives you health to bless you. God gives you friends to love you. God gives you life to enjoy. God has never stopped being good; we have just started being grateful.

I am living proof that there is a beautiful and transforming power in a grateful heart. Won’t you consider this life-changing habit?

Ponder:

Consider reasons that you are not as grateful as you might want to be. What does gratitude look like in your life? Besides the habit of gratitude, do you have a mindset of gratitude?

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I need You, and I am grateful for Your unending goodness to me. Help me develop a mindset of gratitude for all You are and have given me. I want to focus on You and all that You are. Help me to serve You with a grateful heart. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

PLAN END NOTE: Roxanne’s passion is to speak life-giving truths into the hearts of others. She loves to speak at retreats and conventions. She hosts her own DEEPER Intensive and RISE UP coaching workshops and works with clients nationwide as a personal life coach. You can contact her, order her new book and get more information at RoxanneParks.com. She would be honored to connect with you. 

Psalm 103:2‭. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 145:1‭. I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. 2. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. 3. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

Psalm 119:68. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

Psalm 100:5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

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Gratitude is also scientifically proven to lead a more successful life. More successful relationships, healthier both physically and emotionally, more kind, better sleep, joy in others accomplishments, and reduces stress. I want some of that! Today’s verses: 2 Corinthians 4:15, Colossians 3:15, 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 69:30, and James 1:17. Have a blessed day.

Did you know that there is actually cognitive science behind the impact of gratitude? Most of us intuitively recognize that it is good to stop and smell the roses every once in a while, acknowledging all that we could be grateful for. But gratitude really changes the brain and body for the better! But did you also know that gratitude has a direct correlation to success? Gratitude affects our bodies biologically. It increases our longevity, our ability to use our imagination, and our ability to solve problems.

“Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist with a Masters and Ph.D. in Communication Pathology and a BSc Logopaedics, specializing in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology. Since the early 1980s she has researched the mind-brain connection, the nature of mental health, and the formation of memory. She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input.”

Dr. Leaf, along with other professionals, has recognized the impact of gratitude on our brain. If we think differently, we can live differently. The benefits of gratitude on our hearts is astounding. Here are a few scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:

1.  Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners but showing appreciation can help you win new friends (according to a 2014 study published in Emotion.) 

2.  Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people (according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences.) 

3.  Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.

4.  Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. 

5.  Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being

6.  Gratitude improves self-esteem.  Studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments. 

7.  For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for—even during the worst times—fosters resilience.

We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Research proves that developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the biggest game-changers to improve your satisfaction with life.

Ponder:

How can you become more aware of your levels of gratitude? Ponder the thought of gratitude enhancing your satisfaction with life.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, You tell us to give thanks in all things for this is Your will for us. Help me develop a mindset of gratitude. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

2 Corinthians 4:15. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

1 Chronicles 16:34. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 69:30. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

James 1:17. 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.

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Just as a reminder, this is a reading plan. Are you feeling down? Write down each blessing you can see. Given time, we begin to see life and situations through a different lens. A grateful heart overcomes depression each time, just give it time. Today’s verses: John 10:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20; 1 Chronicles 16:8; and Psalm 136:1‭-‬3. Have a blessed day.

Depression and anxiety are suffocating emotions. During a particularly difficult season in my life, I fought back the onslaught of both. To name a few of the issues: my teens were lying, my parents were dying, we were dog broke, and I was dealing with too many menopausal issues to count. I was spinning plates as fast as I could, and yet there was no peace on the horizon. Life felt extremely heavy! The burdens I carried were weighing me down into a miserable pit. But as a Christian, I even piled shame on myself for feeling this way. Wasn’t I supposed to be living an abundant life? BUT GOD! He graciously intervened. 

During that particularly difficult season, I read the book 1000 Gifts by Anne Voskamp. Desperately needing some oxygen for living, and inspired by Anne’s story, I started journaling everything that I could possibly be grateful for. I asked God to open my eyes to even the smallest gift . . . like a knuckle to help wrap my finger around my coffee cup, like heating and air conditioning, like toilet paper, like fresh air. This daily exercise didn’t lift me out of my pit immediately, but it started a rich journey toward a new type of wholeness—a wholeness birthed through the lens of a grateful heart. As I continue to diligently open my eyes and my heart to all the gifts in my life, I began to recognize them everywhere. It was like there was a whole new world to appreciate that I hadn’t taken the time to see or made the choice to notice.

Across weeks of writing down and ”naming” these gifts, a light-heartedness developed even amidst the trials of each day. My grateful heart slowly pushed out the weightiness of my days. I began to realize that a grateful heart and an anxious heart could not simultaneously reside in the same person at the same time. It was either anxiety or gratitude taking up the space of my heart. I became excited to venture into each new day with new eyes to see new gifts. Depression gave way to a gratitude, and gratitude became my best antidepressant. Not just a “one and done” type gratitude, but a consistent, diligent gratitude that almost refused to be sucked back into that pit of despair again. My life was too precious to live that way. 

I flew through 1,000 gifts within months and decided that this was a new way of life. A grateful heart had transformed my days. Even more exciting, my grateful heart began to permeate my home and my family. So many things began to change when I changed my heart. This is a battle ground worth fighting on. I celebrated this new life-giving habit. I found that there is transforming power in a grateful heart. 

Ponder:

Ponder the tension between your gratitude and depression, between joy and sadness. How can you make deliberate choices to open your eyes and journal all the gifts you have been given?

Prayer:

Lord, help me constantly and daily choose to see Your gifts everywhere. Open my eyes to gratitude and the choice to give You thanks in all things.

John 10:10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

1 Thessalonians 5:18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Ephesians 5:20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Ephesians 5:20

1 Chronicles 16:8. Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

Psalm 136:1‭. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. 3. O give thanks to the Lord of Lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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Gratitude is a powerful weapon against Satan, depression, hopelessness, and despair. It takes time, but try making gratitude a habit of yours starting today. Verses for today are Colossians 3:17; Philippians 4:6; Psalm 107:1; and Colossians 2:7. Have a blessed day.

Whatever we do repetitively, whether that’s biting our nails or making time to exercise, slowly becomes a habit. In fact, 90% of our thoughts are repetitive, so they really become a strong habit. We have to think about the things that we think about! The thoughts on the feedback loop in our mind often come out in our words. Trash in always leads to trash out. If we think about all the junk in our lives, then complaints are likely to come out of our mouths. If we think about all the things that we are grateful for then gratitude for life will be evident. 

Gratitude is a fierce weapon! It turns out that gratitude is highly correlated with well-being and life satisfaction. My new habit of recording gratitude, across time, was deeply impactful to my heart and my family. I decided that I never wanted to stop giving thanks. This was a new intimate life-giving personal habit that I could actually be in charge of myself. No one was responsible for my new habit of gratitude but me. This new habit was producing a change in my heart and my home. 

Our enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy our joy. Gratitude is a weapon against the enemy of our souls. Since life is hard, cultivating a grateful heart isn’t always an easy task, but it is well worth the effort. Our enemy wants us to give in and give up, sinking into hopelessness, depression, and despair. But if we keep noticing the good and if we keep looking toward our divine Redeemer, then our hope will never be consumed by hopelessness. Our commitment and diligence to be grateful is a life-time game changer. 

A heart becomes even more grateful when it experiences the significant love of Christ and His redeeming work in our lives. As the intimacy of our relationship with God grows, so grows our gratitude. Each day is a gift for greater glory at hand. The intertwining of relationship with God and gratitude is real.

The Bible tells us to give thanks in ALL things for this is the will of God for us. Really, ALL things? It helped me to realize that the Bible didn’t say FOR all things but IN all things. This is a reflection of our child-like and confident trust in the Trustworthy ONE. When I choose to give thanks in all things, I choose to release the reins of my control and surrender it to the One who loves me most. 

Develop the habit of having a grateful heart. Wield this weapon against your enemy. It will be a game-changer for your days.

Ponder:

Ponder your thoughts and the daily activity of your heart. Is gratitude a mental habit? How can you develop a more grateful heart?

Prayer:

Oh Lord I want to give thanks in all things. Help me develop the new habit of a grateful heart. Help me build new mental pathways of grateful thinking. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Colossians 3:17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Philippians 4:6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Psalm 107:1. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Colossians 2:7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

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Happiness is fleeting, joy is a deeper sense of contentment. I choose joy. Today’s verses are John 15:11; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; and Proverbs 17:22. Have a blessed day.

Most people are confused with the distinction between joy and happiness. The difference is substantial. Often, we move through our days performing one tedious task after another—washing clothes, cooking dinner, catering to a demanding boss, without much joy or happiness. Most people seek happiness as a life goal. The truth is the Bible never promises happiness; however, it does promise joy. It even says our joy may be full or complete . . . a better goal. 

Happiness is an emotion based upon “happenings.” It’s easy to be happy when things are going well . . . when you have freedom from suffering, financial security, and all your relationships are good. But when you have trouble with one or more of these areas in life, what happens to your “happiness?” It’s probably gone. And you feel sad. 

On the other hand, joy is a stronger, deeper, yet less common feeling than happiness. It is not dependent on circumstances. It is rooted in who God is. It is birthed out of relationship with God, and subsequently, others. His joy supernaturally sustains our souls in seasons of heartache, injustice, and sorrow. Enduring the valleys of life is nearly impossible without the life-giving fuel of joy in Christ.

Pastor Rick Warren is quoted as saying “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” Let’s settle our hearts in this assurance and hope.

Joy can also be a by-product grounded in the idea of doing something good for someone. We have joy when—even in our suffering—we are acting for the benefit of someone else’s well-being. If you have ever selflessly given of yourself or your possessions, you are certainly familiar with this feeling of joy.

So, what motivates us in life? Is it success? Happiness? Or lasting joy? If all of our efforts are focused on trying to be happy, we are missing the point. But if our purpose is to have joy in a fulfilling life, then we have to commit to and trust the Lord and love one another in a way that seeks something better than simply personal self-satisfaction. 

What are you doing in your world that is causing you joy? Are you connecting with God and others through relationship and service? Do something good for someone else, and see how you feel. This is joy. Paul tells us that if we walk in the ways of God that joy is a resulting fruit of the Spirit. So also is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control 

Having joy includes feeling happy. But being happy doesn’t always include joy. In its fuller spiritual form, joy involves living from God’s goodness and expressing God’s goodness to others. May the joy of the Lord be your strength as a joyful heart is good medicine for your soul. It is key to a grateful life.

Ponder:

Ponder the difference between your happiness based on happenings and your joy based on an inexhaustible relationship with Your Heavenly Father. Tether your heart to His gift of joy.

Prayer:

Dear gracious Lord, Help me recognize the difference between worldly happiness and Your gift of deep, abiding joy. Continue to develop this fruit of Your Spirit within me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 15:11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Romans 15:13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Galatians 5:22‭-‬23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Proverbs 17:22. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

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We Only Know And See In Part

The Bible is filled with stories of healing, but why does God heal some and not others? All I can say is because sometimes His answer to prayer is, No. Maybe their time here is done, and God wants them with Him. Either way, we only know in part. That doesn’t mean He is not faithful and just! Remember this: He loves you, for the Bible tells us so. ☺️🙏✝️🙏 Today’s verses are Isaiah 53:4‭-‬5 and Psalm 121:1‭-‬2. Have a blessed day.

The Gospels are permeated with stories of healing. The woman with the issue of blood, Jairus’s daughter, the blind men by the side of the road, the man with the shriveled hand, the ten lepers, and Lazarus, are but a handful of people who were healed by Jesus. Right through His life and ministry, Jesus healed those who were suffering from all kinds of disease, sickness, ailments, and conditions. The Gospels also reveal to us that Jesus only did and said what the Father in heaven asked of Him.

I can’t help but think that God our Heavenly Father was utilizing His son to reinforce in us an aspect of His nature. God the great physician. Do you know of someone who was miraculously healed? Against all odds, against all reports, they were healed and are now living healthy and wholesome lives. You may also know of others who were full of faith, believing for healing, yet their answer didn’t come.

How do we reconcile this? If God is the great physician, why doesn’t He heal all those who come to Him? Why do some receive healing they are believing for and others not? To be very honest, I continue to wrestle with this thought and reconcile it by the fact that this side of eternity, we only see and understand in part.

Regardless of this dichotomy, I believe and know God to be good. I believe and know God to be a healer. What about you?

‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth’ (Psalm 121:1–2 NIV).

Written by DRUVI PERERA

Want more? Check out the Real Hope Conversations Podcast and listen to John Scott delve deeper into the topic of The Great Physician. Available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Isaiah 53:4‭. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Psalm 121:1‭. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

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He Is There

With the passing of our Mother, these words have been of great comfort. It is true that when we cling to God and cry out to Him, He does hear us and is with us. He always does and will be. The verse for today is Psalm 147:3. Have a blessed day.

The Psalmist writes of a patient God who hears His people cry out in times of stress and difficulty. He hears His people.

God hears us when we call out when we need help and comfort. The situation may not suddenly be ‘better’, but the comfort the Lord provides can bring peace and calmness to a situation where healing is needed.

There are times of grief, times of sadness, times of physical pain and suffering, times of mental anguish. We all have times when we need healing. We rightly call out to God. Sometimes the situation is resolved quickly and other times it may not be resolved in the way we had hoped. But God is there in the midst of it all. He provides comfort and that comfort can bind our wounds and all the things that afflict us.

No matter what you’re going through at this time, even if you’re not in need of specific healing, we can know and rest assured that God hears and heals and binds up wounds in a way that we can know that He is with us. Always.

Written by DAVID BARKER

Psalm 147:3. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

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Soul Healing

When struggles are hard, do you tend to fall away from God? These are the times when we need Him the most. Let us read more in today’s devotion for help and comfort. Today’s verses: Psalm 119:25, 28, and 32. Have a blessed day.

When you’re struggling deeply through the hardest times in your life, turn to God and find strength in His word! 

‘My soul clings to the dust… my soul melts away for sorrow’ – is that you today? Look what the passage says God will do for you through His Word: He will revive you, strengthen you, and enlarge your heart. 

When your world falls apart around you, you’ll be tempted to push God away in anger and become hard toward Him. But that’s like pushing away medicine when you’re sick! 

God, the great physician, wants to come and heal your soul. He will minister to you through His Word. God’s message to you in this passage today is that He has given you His Word for just such times as you are facing right now. In His Word you will hear His voice in your heart assuring you that He still loves you, helping you to see your valley from a new, higher, more positive perspective, revealing His purposes to you, strengthening and encouraging you, giving you hope.

Why don’t you open your Bible right now and say, ‘Lord, I need to hear from you’?

Written by JOHN NORTH.

Psalm 119:25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. 28. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. 32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

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The Path To Healing

What a beautiful and wondrous opportunity it is when we can share our testimony with someone along our path today. Will you please take advantage of that opportunity today and be a blessing to a stranger or friend? Verse for today’s reading: Acts 20:35. Have a blessed day.

In the beautiful but brutal film, Land, the lead character, Edee, faces an incomprehensible family tragedy and decides she must get away from society. In her grief, she chooses to purchase a cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, throws away her mobile phone, and attempts to make her way in the wilderness. The decision brings her to facing death at the hands of nature until a local hunter named Miguel comes into her cabin and life. The act leads to her salvation and eventually to learning how to live off the land. 

When Miguel was asked why he chose to help Edee, he said, ‘You were in my path’. A beautiful expression of how humanity can respond to those needing help. He was not merely being dismissive or feeling obliged to serve her. Her savior saw she had a need, and he was the right person at the right time to fulfill it. Where Miguel may have dismissed his opportunity as mere chance, the Bible would say it was providential. Many times God puts people into our path for the benefit of all. The challenge is whether we’re willing to help those who need it most and willing to accept support when it’s offered. 

These opportunities are more than the right thing to do but are also opportunities to point someone towards salvation. It may be the catalyst to sharing the motivation behind your care for others. Specifically, that you are merely wanting to represent Christ in the life of others and point them to His life-saving message. A blessing for you and for them. 

Who is in your path today? How will you respond to their needs?

Written by RUSS MATTHEWS

Acts 20:35. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring 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.

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Heart Healing

This new 5 day reading plan, The Great Physician, hopefully will be able to touch your hearts and souls as no other can; through Scripture. Today’s verse is Psalm 51:10. Have a blessed day.

This verse is often associated with our need to be cleansed from sin and to reset our spirit on God’s ways. It’s like, ‘clean me of the gunk, and help me never do it again’.

I wonder, though, if we can’t also read it through the lens of healing. 

There are hundreds of scriptures about how we need to ‘guard our heart’, how our heart is the ‘wellspring of life’, and how ‘out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’. Our hearts are a reservoir of our innermost thoughts and wellbeing. 

So what do you do if you have a sick heart? Maybe it’s been broken, become weary with life, or is simply feeling hopeless and unenthusiastic about what your future holds. 

It’s in those times we need some heart-healing. 

We need God to create in us a pure heart – one free from the bitterness, worry, and pain that may be weighing it down, and instead, one that’s full of energetic trust in Him. 

That may not be an easy process. Clearing out the gunk may involve some professional help and support from your community, but as you pray this prayer you can also ask God what steps you need to take for Him to do His work. 

Let Him guide you, and let your spirit feel fixed on Him once more.

Written by LAURA BENNETT

Psalm 51:10. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

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THANKFULNESS

This is the last day of this 12 day reading plan, Righteous Roots In The Heart. Thankfulness is the chosen state of contentment. I am glad we have had this opportunity to dig a little deeper into the fruit of the Spirit. Today’s verses: Psalm 100:1‭-‬5; Jonah 2:9; Ephesians 5:3‭-‬4; Philippians 4:11‭-‬13; Colossians 2:6‭-‬7; 3:15‭-‬17; and 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18. For more information on Julie Gossack, https://gbcmt.org/womens-ministries/#kardiology101. Have a blessed day.

Thankfulness is a contented state of heart that expresses itself in words of praise and gratitude. It is a humble love offering to God that does not demand any perceived rights.  A thankful heart is overwhelmed by the gracious gifts that flow from the mercy and goodness  of God. Contrary to thankfulness  are anxiety,  selfishness, greed, envy, and pride. 

THANKFULNESS in the heart says things such as:  “I will give thanks in all things.” “I will not grumble or complain.” “I am joyful and content.”

Psalm 100:1‭. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 .Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Jonah 2:9. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Ephesians 5:3‭. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Philippians 4:11‭. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Colossians 2:6‭. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Colossians 3:15‭. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16‭. Rejoice evermore. 17. Pray without ceasing. 18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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SELF-CONTROL

Oh, if I had only such a wonderful gift! Many of us struggle with temperance, but we have the Holy Spirit to help us. We must learn to yield to His will, not our own. Today’s verses: Proverbs 25:28; Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; 1 Thessalonians 5:5‭-‬8; Titus 2:11‭-‬12; and 2 Peter 1:5‭-‬9. Have a blessed day.

Self-control, which is often translated “sober,” is a sober-mindedness that gives thought before acting.  Self-control, which is produced by the Holy Spirit, gives way to righteous desires rather than sinful desires. Having self-control is looking to future and eternal realities rather than indulging our immediate sinful impulses. 

SELF-CONTROL in the heart says things such as: “I will give thoughts before I act.” “I will refrain from using my body to sin.” “I will deny myself.”

Proverbs 25:28. He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Thessalonians 5:5‭. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Titus 2:11‭. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

2 Peter 1:5‭. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

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PEACE

Julie pretty much said it very well below. Today’s verses: Psalm 4:8; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; Philippians 4:6‭-‬9; and Hebrews 12:14. Have a blessed day.

Peace is a contented state of heart produced by the Holy Spirit.  It is a tranquility of being that is not dependent upon our external circumstances.  Peace embraces  the very goodness of God in every situation and demonstrates a spirit of thankfulness and rest. Contrary to peace are anxiety, fear, envy, anger, and despair. 

PEACE in the heart says things such as: “I am at rest because of God’s promises.” “I trust His provision for me.” “I will fix my eyes upon Jesus and not my circumstances.”

Psalm 4:8. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Isaiah 26:3. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

2 Corinthians 13:11. Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Philippians 4:6‭. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Hebrews 12:14. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

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PATIENCE

Patience is something I struggle with many times, although not always. It is getting better the more I draw near to our Lord Jesus. Patience is also an action of inaction. We determine not to be angry or repay evil with evil. It is also the act of having mercy on others, as Christ Jesus has had mercy on us. Today’s verses: Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; Ephesians 4:1‭-‬3; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; and James 5:7‭-‬10. Have a blessed day.

Patience, or long-suffering, is forbearance shown toward others.  It is a merciful restraint  produced by the Holy Spirit that does not retaliate or give way to anger.  Patience is love for others that shows self-control, even when we are wronged.  Contrary to patience are anger, wrath, pride, selfishness, and bitterness. 

PATIENCE in the heart says things such as: “I will show kindness to others.” “I will not repay evil for evil.” “I will forgive.”

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Ephesians 4:1‭. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

1 Thessalonians 5:14. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

James 5:7‭. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

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MEEKNESS

Meekness does not mean we are to lay down and allow people to treat us like a doormat. It is the wonderful acknowledgement that God is our sovereign King and Lord, and we accept Him with joy. Today’s verses: Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5; Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:21; and James 3:13. Have a blessed day.

Meekness, also translated “gentleness,” is primarily a response to God. It is a state of heart that not only acknowledges God’s sovereign rule but also embraces His sovereign rule as good. With meekness we do not blame God for undesirable circumstances, nor do we become angry with Him when we do not get our way.

MEEKNESS must come from the power of the Holy Spirit. Contrary to meekness are despair, anger, wrath, impatience, anxiety, fear, and envy. 

Psalm 37:11. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Matthew 5:5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

James 1:21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

James 3:13. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

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LOVE

Love is an action. There are many descriptions of love, but the kind the Holy Spirit blessed us with is a sacrificial and giving love. It is the love which prefers others rather than ourselves. It is one that I have to work on every day! Today’s verses: Proverbs 10:12; Matthew 5:43-48; 22:37-40; Romans 12:9-10; Galatians 5:22-23; and 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13. Have a blessed day.

Love is a benevolence and goodwill toward others that is produced by the Holy Spirit. It is a deliberate affection and a friendly regard toward God and man that displays itself in purposeful acts of sacrifice and kindness.  Contrary to love are anger, impatience, bitterness, and envy.

LOVE in the heart says things such as: “I want to love God by obeying His Word.” “I want to consider others’ interests.” “I will sacrifice for another’s benefit.”

Proverbs 10:12. Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Matthew 5:43‭. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 22:37‭. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Romans 12:9‭. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Thessalonians 3:12‭. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13. To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

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KINDNESS

Kindness is the “new” hearts desire to be gentle and to have a servant’s heart granted by the Holy Spirit. Today’s verses: Galatians 5:22‭-‬23; Romans 12:10‭-‬13; Ephesians 2:4‭-‬7; Colossians 3:12; and 2 Peter 1:5‭-‬7. Have a blessed day.

Kindness is a pervasive spirit of gentleness and servanthood that is shaped and molded by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power. It is motivated by sincere love for others. Kindness is similar to goodness, but goodness is the act of good works whereas kindness is the heart attitude behind the good works. Contrary to kindness are anger, bitterness, selfishness, and pride. 

KINDNESS in the heart says things such as: “I want to be useful to benefit others.” “I want to care for others.” “I do not want to be harsh, rough, or rude.”

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Romans 12:10‭. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Ephesians 2:4‭. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

2 Peter 1:5‭. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

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JOY

Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit, and it produces a deep, inner peace and contentment we have no matter the circumstances around us. Today’s verses: Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 9:2; 63:4-8; John 15:11; Romans 15:13; and Philippians 4:4. Have a blessed day.

Joy is a gladness of heart produced by the Holy Spirit. Joy permeates our disposition despite trial, heartache, or pain. It is an attitude of spirit that is fixed upon eternal glories and heavenly blessings so much that the sorrows of earth do not cause our soul to despair. A joyful heart is a thankful heart. Contrary to joy are despair, anxiety, anger, and envy. 

JOY in the heart says things such as: “I will rejoice when others receive good.” “I will remember all God’s goodness on my behalf.” “I am content with God’s sovereign gifts.”

Nehemiah 8:10. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

Psalm 9:2. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Psalm 63:4‭. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6. When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

John 15:11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Romans 15:13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

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HUMILITY

Humility is the acknowledgement that we are unworthy of God’s grace and mercy. We do serve an awesome God! Today’s verses: Proverbs 11:2; Isaiah 57:15; Jeremiah 9:23-24; Micah 6:8; Philippians 2:5-8; and James 4:10. Have a blessed day.

Humility is an accurate esteeming of ourselves before God and man. It is the recognition of being unworthy to receive God’s grace and mercy. A humble person is characterized by acknowledging and confessing sin, as well as willing submission to the Word of God, God’s sovereign plans, and God-given human authority. Humility lays down any perceived rights, plans, or desires.

HUMILITY in the heart says things such as: “I am unworthy to receive God’s grace.” “I will submit my will to God’s Word and obey through His enabling grace.” “I acknowledge my sin before God and others.”

Proverbs 11:2. When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

Isaiah 57:15. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Jeremiah 9:23‭. Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24. But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Micah 6:8. He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Philippians 2:5‭. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

James 4:10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

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GOODNESS

We studied the fruit of the Spirit last night Church. Goodness can be a verb in that it is an action. It is more than being kind, it is the act of willing service toward our fellow man. Today’s verses: Romans 12:10-13; 15:1-3; Galatians 5:22-23; 6:9-10; and Titus 3:8. Have a blessed day.

Goodness is an active expression of benevolence toward others that is produced by the Holy Spirit.  It is a love that motivates us to serve others and help human need. Goodness  is similar to kindness, but kindness is the heart attitude behind the good works whereas goodness is the act of good works. Goodness does manifest itself in gentle correction of others for their benefit. Contrary to demonstrating goodness is doing evil or harm.

GOODNESS in the heart says things such as: “I want to help human need.” “I want to serve others.” “I seek to do good works.”

Romans 12:10‭. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Romans 15:1‭. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 6:9‭. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Titus 3:8. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

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FEAR of GOD

Today is the second day of this reading plan. We discuss the reverence we should have toward Him, which causes us to run toward Him in times of trouble and joy. The verses are: Psalm 25:12-14; 31:19; Proverbs 1:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13; and Hebrews 12:28-29. Have a blessed day.

To fear God means to revere, esteem, and respect Him. The fear of God includes the realization that God is so different from mankind that He is incomparable to anything our finite mind can comprehend. The fear of God is not a fear that causes us to run from Him, rather it is a reverence of His person so that it generates utter humility and love. To fear God is to have both awe and delight in His being so that it produces holiness, trust, obedience, and worship.

FEAR of God in the heart says things such as: “I want to obey God’s Word even if others do not.” “I want to trust in and put my hope in God.” “I love Him and want to worship Him with my life.”

Psalm 25:12‭. What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. 13. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. 14. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

Psalm 31:19. Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Proverbs 1:7. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Ecclesiastes 12:13. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Hebrews 12:28‭. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29. For our God is a consuming fire.

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FAITHFULNESS

This new reading plan is titled, “Righteous Roots In the Heart.” It is a 5 day devotional, and I hope you enjoy it. Today’s focus is on Faithfulness, in this instance meaning to”win over” or “to persuade.” Trusting in God is not always easy, you do have to give up that control of your life; but it is always worth it. He is truly worthy of our trust, holiness, obedience, and good good works! Share this confidently with family, friends, and neighbors. This is the Will of God, Have a blessed day.

The word for “faithfulness” in Galatians 5:22 means to “win over”  or “to persuade.”  Faith, or faithfulness, as produced by the Holy Spirit, is a firm persuasion and conviction. It is a belief and confidence in the person of God  and His revealed Word such that it brings forth  holiness, obedience, and good works. Contrary to faithfulness are unbelief,  disobedience, and ungodliness. 

FAITHFULNESS in the heart says things such as: “I want to obey God even if it is difficult.” “I believe and trust in God even if I don’t understand my situation.” “I want to be diligent in all things.”

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Proverbs 14:14. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

1 Corinthians 4:1‭. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

2 Corinthians 5:7. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Galatians 6:9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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Don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Surrender completely to Jesus, and allow Him to give you His strength and His Will. I promise it is much lighter! This is the last day of this reading plan. Here are the verses. Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:10-15; John 14:20; Galatians 2:20; and Matthew 11:29. Have a blessed day.

Our beliefs are the water we swim in. It is easy to sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. We try our hardest to live the best life possible. Then, we try even harder. 

Years ago, I was in a very desperate place in my life. So many of life’s disappointments were piling higher and higher. It felt like I was carrying the weight of a piano on my shoulders. I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I was ready and more than willing to hear God’s whispers for newness and freedom. But I just tried harder. I was attempting to live “right” by living righteous. I was doing all the right things but often getting the wrong results. How could this be? I was running so hard, juggling so much, spinning so many plates. Don’t I get an “A” for effort?

How many of us grew up on the “performance treadmill“, trying to be “good for God?” This is truly an exercise in exhaustion. We feel empty and never quite enough. We are always enough when He lives through us for His greater purposes. We are rarely enough when we live in our own strength. His Holy Spirit is the gift in us. Christ in us is our hope for glory!

God’s work WITHIN you prepares you for Him to work THROUGH you. This transformation is 100% the work of God and 100% your yieldedness to it. The true mystery is living FROM Him instead of the exhaustion of living FOR Him. Do you know that exhausting treadmill of trying harder?

Amidst my heavy piano-weighted season, exasperation and fatigue led me to a beautiful surrender and a new freedom in Christ. I decided to let go of living from my capabilities, behaviors, environment, or even my limiting beliefs. The dear Lord wants our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole soul so much that He is willing to rip everything away until there is nothing left but a sweet emptiness that demands that we lay at rest in His arms, finally FREE. 

This is our dying to live. This is where our weakness yields way to His strength within. This is where we actually begin to live FROM Him within instead of living FOR Him without

You want this freedom. Don’t wait until you have the weight of a piano on your shoulders to live from this freedom. Let Him carry the piano. Die to live. 

Ponder:

What would life be like if we cast all our burdens on Him and let His Holy Spirit carry us through? Do you have the weight of a piano on your shoulders? Give Him your burdens. Live FROM His strength and His call, not on the performance treadmill.

Prayer:

Oh Lord, I am exhausted by trying to spin all of the plates of performance. Save me from myself. I die to myself living FOR You and ask that You fill me “to overflowing” so that I can live FROM Your strength and purposes. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

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PLAN END NOTE: Roxanne’s passion is to speak life-giving truths into the hearts of others. She loves to speak at retreats and conventions. She hosts her own DEEPER Intensive and RISE UP coaching workshops and works with clients nationwide as a personal life coach. You can contact her, order her new book and get more information at RoxanneParks.com. She would be honored to connect with you.

Watch “Dying to Live – Day 10” on YouTube.

Colossians 1:27. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Romans 8:10‭. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

John 14:20. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Galatians 2:20. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Matthew 11:29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

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Many times we may not understand what is happening in our lives, because they take such a different road than we would have chosen. This is what happens when we surrender our lives to Jesus! We must trust in the fact that God works all things together for good, Romans 8:28. Today’s verses: Proverbs 19:21; Ephesians 3:19-21; Deuteronomy 31:8; John 15:5; and Genesis 50:19-20. Have a blessed day.

Have you ever had a dream or vision that died? In the Biblical story of Joseph, we see that he had a dream of his family bowing down to him (Gen 37:5-9). But God had greater purposes than Joseph could have hoped or imagined. I had a dream, too. Maybe you did, as well. Do our dreams line up with His greater purposes?

As his story goes, starting in Genesis 37, Joseph found himself in a pit, sold as a slave, falsely accused, and more. This was not in Joseph’s original vision/dream. These events looked like the “death of the vision.” Are there things in your life that look like the “death of your vision”, too? But, GOD! He was with Joseph. He is with you. He never leaves us, fails us, or forsakes us.

The Lord’s plan is a perfect one, even when it doesn’t match up with our plans. The Lord knows all—past, present, and future—and He only wants the absolute best for His children. When you die to your SELF and let Him have control, life will become an even more beautiful journey. When we are experiencing the “death of a vision” we have to consider that the sweet Lord is beckoning us to His greater vision and purposes.

Just as the vinedresser trims the dead things off the vine so that it can bear more and greater fruit, God may have to cut away some of our self-centered dreams to make room for His bigger and better purposes for our lives. This could be called a purposeful pruning or a divine downsizing. I have experienced this personally. During an extremely challenging and heart-breaking season of my life, God birthed a new, fresh vision and compassion in my heart. He stripped away old limited visions for a grander plan. I had to die so I could live.

The Lord loves us enough to help us with our distorted priorities or superficial motives. This purifying process often strips away our ego and pride to leave a beautiful gift of a totally yielded heart for His greater call. Just like Joseph, we may experience more than one death of a visIon. God often takes away something good from our lives to create room for something better. What the enemy means for evil, the Lord can turn for good. Sometimes we have to give up what we want NOW for what we want even MORE. I ultimately want to live in the sweet center of God’s will for my life. 

If the death of our self-centered limited vision can bring us into more fulness of His purposes for our lives, then may we die so we can live. 

Ponder:

How can you yield your dreams and hopes for His greater glory? Are you willing to die to your plan if it can yield His greater purposes? Do you trust Him?

Prayer:

Dear Father God, I need to know that you are close. Whenever my plans seem to fall apart, help me trust that You will work all things together for a greater good. I want Your greater purposes for my life. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Proverbs 19:21. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Ephesians 3:19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Deuteronomy 31:8. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

John 15:5. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Genesis 50:19‭. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20. But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

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In life we are given many choices. Let us choose wisely, let us choose to serve the Lord. Today’s verses: 1 Peter 5:8; Philippians 4:8-9; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Proverbs 18:21; and Colossians 3:2. Have a blessed day.

We all have choices to make daily. Yes or no? Now or later? This or that? Exercise or not? Eat healthy or not? Whine or not? Obey or not? Can we blame others for the choices that we make? 

Blaming never worked in the Garden of Eden and it doesn’t work in life, either. We also choose our thoughts and our focus. Experience has taught me that my heart was not made for the weight of anxiety, depression, and fear. I know that I thrive with life, hope, and joy. Do we have any say-so in this process? Or are we simply a victim of our lives? Can we choose to be victors instead of victims? One of the biggest game-changers for my life has been my intentional decision to “focus on that which is praiseworthy.”

When I married my husband, I focused on all that I loved about him and was delighted to say “YES”,  until death do us part. Then life happened. I found myself deeply frustrated with our relationship. How could this be? What changed? I wasn’t alert to the subtle and sneaky ways of the enemy. I found myself easily diverted and ended up focusing on the “lack” in my man. Why? My marriage was uplifting for so long and then it felt heavy and draining. Who could I blame? Of course, I wanted to blame him. My pastor reminded me that our lives will always move in the direction of our strongest thoughts and that we find what we are looking for. I was focusing on all the ways my husband wasn’t living up to who I thought he should be and all that he wasn’t doing! Even if it was true, it was killing our marriage. I began desperately looking for the things that I DID love about my husband—the reasons why I said “YES”, the reasons I choose him. 

I made a choice: to change what I was looking at. I was on a pursuit for “all that was praiseworthy” about him. It was a game-changer for our marriage. My husband hadn’t changed, but I had changed my focus which ultimately changed the environment in our home. As I spoke life-giving words from my new focus, life returned to my marriage.

The strategic choice of obedience to “focus on the praiseworthy” applies to many other areas of life, as well. As I changed my focus at my job, things suddenly got better. As I changed my focus about my children, they became more lovable. I noticed a distinct trend. My obedience was rewarded. This became a solid reality in my life. Since I don’t thrive in heaviness, ugliness, lying, deceit, or destruction, I truly limit negative things in my life. I find that trash “in” leads to trash “out.” Die to the negative truths in your life and pursue a life of focusing on that which is praiseworthy.

Ponder:

How can you focus more on the blessings in your life, your people, and your circumstances? Consider asking the Lord to help blind you to the negative, draining appearances in your life.

Prayer:

Dear precious Lord, open my eyes to that which is good, pure, and praiseworthy. Help me focus on Your daily blessings and not on those life-draining things that I cannot control. Help me choose to see Your fingerprint everywhere in my days. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Philippians 4:8‭. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Deuteronomy 30:19‭. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20. That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Proverbs 18:21. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Colossians 3:2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

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Living on solid ground through God’s Word has changed my life. I will never be able to repay Him, and He doesn’t ask me to. His desire is for me, and all of us, to follow Him. If we would only hide His truth deep within our hearts, we would be able to smell one of Satan’s lies a mile away! At least that is my prayer. Today’s verses: 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 28:7; Philippians 4:19; and Deuteronomy 31:6. Have a blessed day.

God’s Word is your solid ground for truth. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The truest thing about you is what God says, not what you think or feel and also not what others say, think, or project onto you. You have a new identity in Christ. You are who He says you are. 

God’s Word is true, regardless of our past experiences, our own reason, emotions, performances, experiences, or circumstances. Joy is our birthright. Hope is our birthright. Love is our birthright. The scriptures are loaded with truth about our rightful Christian identity. Memorize them!

Here are a few of the common lies we believe and some truths in scripture to combat them:

·  I am not good enough. (You are a royal son/daughter of the King: 1 Peter 2:9, I am perfect in Christ: Heb 10:14, Col 2:10, Eph 2:10)

·  I am unloved (You are very loved: John 15:9, Rom 8:38-39, Eph 2:4, 5:1-2)

·  This is impossible. There seems to be no way. (Jesus IS the WAY and makes a way: John 14:6, Ps 37:23, Jer 29:11, Eph 2:10)

·  I am a fearful, anxious person (You are free from fear: Ps 34:4, 2 Tim 1:7, 1 Peter 5:7, 1 John 4:18) 

·  I am not strong (You have God’s power and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit: Acts 1:8, Rom 8:9-11, Eph 1:18-19, Ps 28:7)

·  I do not have enough money for my needs (God is Jehovah—that means provider. He will meet all of your needs for His glory! Philippians 4:19, Ps 23:1)

·  I can’t make it. I don’t know which way to go. (Pray to God, He will show you the right path. Seek His word; it will light your way. Psalm 119:105, Ps 32:8, Jer 33:3)

·  I am alone. (The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged: Deut 31:6,  Ps 73:23, Is 41:10)

You are called and equipped to do the good works God has ordained you to do. Don’t allow the enemy to use limiting beliefs or lies to rob, steal, and destroy your joy in your destiny. Choose and memorize His truth. 

Ponder:

How much time do you spend memorizing power-filled truths to help navigate discouragement or lies in your life? Are you living on the solid ground of His truth?

Prayer:

Dear Lord, I confess to believing lies and not walking in the power of Your truths. Help me learn to hide Your truths in my heart so I can live a life which is glorifying to You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Romans 8:38‭. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 28:7. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Philippians 4:19. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Deuteronomy 31:6. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

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Media, parents, friends, papers, internet, social media, people’s personal agendas, etc. With so much “information,” how can we be sure we are being told the truth? If it disagrees with the Bible, it is wrong. We all have things we have believed for a long time. That doesn’t make them true! Remember from whom lies come, and put on the full armor of God each day. Today’s verses: James 4:7; John 8:44; Ephesians 6:11-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; and Romans 6:6. Have a blessed day.

Just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Lies can be perceived as truth if you believe them to be so. Have you ever felt in your gut that you were being lied to but couldn’t quite pinpoint it? This world has so many messages coming at us from every direction. Most are subtle lies from the prince of the world and the father of lies—Satan (John 8:44). Many lies start as simple misinformation early in our lives and then end up as ugly strongholds in later years.

The real tragedy of believing common lies is that the people of God do not follow and live in their God-given identity and destiny. We all fall into this trap in one way or another; no one is exempt. We all have been lied to by the media, by our bank account, by our past experiences, by our feelings, and even by loved ones around us. Our tendency is to allow our reason, emotions, or circumstances dictate our truth as final authority. 

How do we identify these lies so that we can live in the truth? The Bible is the Lord’s inspired Word, His holy instructions on how to combat the lies and live the BEST life of truth, love, and peace. 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV says that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” Psalm 119:105 NIV says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” We invite the Holy Spirit, by a volitional act of faith, to cleanse and renew our minds so we can stand on the truth and authority of God’s word. As a child of God, we simply dare to believe that we are who HE says we are! As a Christian, we are not the same anymore. The old has gone and a new life has begun. When we become followers and believers in Jesus, we lose our identity in this world and embrace our new identity in Christ. 

Memorize His power-filled truths to combat pervasive lies in your mind. When the truth is on the forefront of your mind, you will be more cognizant of the lies, and able to call them out and dismiss them. Imagine going onto a battlefield with no sword, no shield, or helmet. That would be foolish. In the same way, we need to wear the FULL ARMOR OF GOD to conquer temptation and protect ourselves from the lies of the world. We must die to the lies so that we can walk in HIS truths over our lives.

Ponder:

Identify areas where you are living below your Christian privilege as a child of God. Research the Bible for truths to shed a light on dark areas of your life.

Prayer:

Oh Lord, shed Your light on the subtle lies that I have believed to be true. Help open my eyes to the enemy’s lies and reveal Your truths so that I may walk in them. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

James 4:7. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

John 8:44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Ephesians 6:11‭. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Romans 6:6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

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If we say we love God, we must learn to trust Him. We especially need to draw near to Him during trials (and times of joy). It is the only way for us to have that intimate relationship with Him that we desire. How though? By reading your Bible. All throughout His Word He tells us of His many promises. Let us carpe diem, seize the day. Here are a few promises to begin: 1 Peter 5:7; James 1:2-5; 1 John 4:18; Philippians 4:6-7; and Psalm 56:3. Have a blessed day.

So, how can we increase faith to help conquer our fears? Romans 10:17 NKJV says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” As we learn more about God, our eyes are opened to how He is working in our lives and strengthening our faith. God wants a relationship with us. He desires us to know Him and completely rely on His direction in our lives. By hearing, reading, and meditating in the Scriptures, we begin to experience a strong, confident faith that rejects worry and fear. This is our secret place. Spending intimate time in prayer and quiet study develops a relationship with our heavenly Father that sees us through even our darkest nights. 

The Bible is also clear that our faith is matured and strengthened through trials. Like it or not, adversity is God’s most effective tool to develop a strong faith. But we do not go through trials or fearful situations alone. He promises to be with you. To never leave or abandon you. (Deut. 31:6) As we learn to obey God’s Word and allow it to saturate our thoughts, we find each trial becomes a stepping stone to increasing our faith. His faithfulness that sustained you in the past will strengthen, carry, and uphold you in the future.

The scripture is rich with promises that we can claim for ourselves to help us take hold of our fears as we develop our faith. Here are a few to keep in mind:

·  Financial trouble? … See Phil 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

·  Rejection?… See Rom 8:31, “If God is for us who can be against us!”

·  Personal fear?…  See Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” 

·  Fear about the future?… See Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

The list goes on and on. The Scripture is full of His promises. Begin to memorize His promises. This is your solid ground. Even though we will continue to face various trials, God assures us that we can know a calm peace through every situation: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV).

Ponder:

How can I develop my faith through a closer relationship with the Lord? Do I recognize lies and truth as the scripture defines them? How can I trust Him more in this area?

Prayer:

Dear precious Lord, I want to know You more intimately so that I can trust You more. I want Your truths to be my truth. Help shine a light on the limiting lies and fears that can overwhelm me, and help me to be of good courage. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

1 Peter 5:7. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

James 1:2‭. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1 John 4:18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Philippians 4:6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Psalm 56:3. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

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The difference between faith in Christ Jesus and fear is simple. Faith believes, fear does not. Faith trusts in the impossible, fear is too anxious to even get out of bed. Faith, as explained in Hebrews 11:1, is what we need to exercise each and every day! I hope you enjoy today’s reading plan by Roxanne Parks. Today’s verses: Isaiah 41:10; 2 Timothy 1:7; Psalm 34:4; Joshua 1:9; and John 14:27. Have a blessed day.

“Fear not!” is the most repeated command in the Bible. In fact, Lloyd Ogilvie in Facing the Future without Fear even said there are 366 “Fear nots” in the Bible, one for every day of the year, including Leap Year! 

God doesn’t want us to go a single day without hearing His encouragement and word of comfort: “Fear not!” Fear is so suffocating, demoralizing, and anxiety producing. It feels like a quiet death hovering over you. True faith and fear cannot exist in the same space together. But it is a real and constant tension that we must manage. So, what does the Bible say about fear versus faith?

Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 NASB as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It is an absolute belief that God is present and constantly working behind the scenes in every area of our lives, even when there is no tangible evidence to support that fact. On the other hand, fear, simply stated, is unbelief. When we allow unbelief to gain the upper hand in our thoughts, fear takes hold of our emotions. Our deliverance from fear, worry, and anxiety is based on our faith, which is the very opposite of unbelief. We need to understand that faith is not something that we can produce in and of ourselves. Faith is a 100% free gift from God, but it requires our 100% surrender to receive it. In Galatians 5:22-23, faithfulness is described as a fruit (or characteristic) that is produced in our lives by the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s faith is a confident assurance in a trustworthy God who loves us, knows our thoughts, and cares about our deepest needs. Our faith continues to grow as we study the Bible and learn the attributes of God’s amazing character.

Fear has been defined as “false evidence appearing real” but there are also true scenarios that drive our fears, like financial hardships, bad medical reports, broken-heartedness, addictions, loss, etc. As we study the “fear not” passages of the Bible, we can navigate our fears and stand on our faith. The more we learn about God and see Him working in our lives, the stronger our faith grows. Fighting our fears with our faith will be the great antidote to fear ruling our lives. The fear feels so real. Our faith is real. The tension is real. Choose faith!

God promises us that we can experience peace in every situation. Philippians 4:7 NKJV says that His peace “surpasses all understanding” and “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Choose your peace of mind. Choose faith over fear.

Ponder:

How is the tension between your fears and your faith leading you to more peace of mind? Do you need to die to your fears so that your faith can lead you with truth and peace?

Prayer:

Dear Father God, Help me increase my faith to navigate my fears. Help me to trust You when the outcome is not clear. I want to trust You as You strengthen me and hold me with Your righteous right hand. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 41:10. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

2 Timothy 1:7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Psalm 34:4. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Joshua 1:9. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

John 14:27. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

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The definition of a paradigm is, “a change from one way of thinking to another.” When I first realized I did not (not could I) carry the weight of the world on my shoulders c(although I tried), was the first moment I understood the meaning of true peace, God’s peace. This does not, however, mean that I don’t slip back to my old ways when I am not carefully obedient. It gets easier with time and practice and patience. For others it may even be easier to die to self and live through faith. I praise God that helps us all. Today’s verses: Proverbs 19:21; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 19:21; Proverbs 3:5-6; and Colossians 1:16-17. Have a blessed day.

A paradigm is a person’s frame of reference. Their paradigm is how they see the world based on all the information they have gathered and the beliefs they possess. A “paradigm shift” occurs when our usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way of thinking or acting. Paradigm shifts often occur around what we call “AHA moments”, when we suddenly understand something in a new or different way, allowing us to see the world in a new light.

As we venture through our teenage years and mature into young adults, most of us start recognizing that we have a paradigm of control within us. I refer to this as our inner “control freak.” It is sometimes dominant, sometimes abated. In this paradigm, we often think that we are the center of our world. That we are in charge and that everything will go according to our plans. As time and age bring wisdom, we learn that we cannot control other people or circumstances. However, it is imperative to know that we can control our responses. 

The response of “letting go of control and letting God” have His way in our lives is a choice to unload the pressure of outcomes. Through faith, yielding ultimate control of the “uncontrollable things” leads to a peace of mind that brings rest. This is a dying to live. The burden is shifted. As we walk, yielded to His higher purposes, life will become a more beautiful journey. Our “control-freak” often leads us down a road full of resentment, exhaustion, disbelief, and disappointment. 

Don’t get me wrong. Life is full of choices that we do control. We can control the temperature in our house, decide what we are going to eat for dinner, etc. But there is so much beyond our control like the weather, others’ behaviors, the news, and many circumstances. We do have the personal responsibility to do all that we can do, but then to trust God with that which we cannot do. Everything in this universe belongs to the Lord. He is actually in control of all things. He even gives humans choice. He will bring glory to His children, He will protect His children, He will carry the burdens of His children. In Him, all things hold together. I am grateful that I am not in charge of the world and I can find rest in that. Someday, we will need to make a paradigm shift from wanting control to wanting the rest that comes from trusting He is in control. Is today that day?

Ponder:

How can you die to your inner “control freak” and choose to walk in a trust in our good, good Father? How can you walk in more of the peace that He offers? 

Prayer:

Dear Father God, I am so exhausted by trying to be in charge of my entire world. Teach me Your ways and give me the grace to yield to Your greater plans for my life. Help me shift my paradigm from desiring control to yielding Your perfect control. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Proverbs 19:21. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Psalm 16:11. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 9:10. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Proverbs 3:5‭. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Colossians 1:16‭. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

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It is very important that we yield our will to God’s will for our lives if we desire true joy and peace. God has a special plan for each one of us individually. No matter what the circumstance we find ourselves in, knowing it is God’s will is the greatest comfort of all. Today’s verses: Psalm 139:13-18; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 26:39; and Isaiah 55:8. Have a blessed day.

Creators create things with reason, purpose, and intention. Things don’t just accidentally appear. Scriptures say that we were “knit together…fearfully and wonderfully…in the secret place…with days assigned to each of us.” That doesn’t sound accidental. It goes on to say that we were knit as the Creator’s “masterpiece/handiwork…to do good works that were assigned in advance for us to do.” Whoa! So, I was planned ON purpose, WITH purpose and FOR purpose? He intentionally created me with a personalized calling on my life.

When I was a little, I had big dreams of what life would be like when I grew up, much like you did. I had plans. Big plans. My will, my way, so to speak. But, somehow, my entire world didn’t cooperate with all my “big plans”. As years and experience bred greater learning and wisdom, I realized that I am not completely in charge of my world. I needed the cooperation of other humans. I had a hope to do things the “right way.” But what was that? My spouse had one opinion. My boss had another opinion. My children had another opinion, all about the right way. 

After a season of heart-breaking, life lessons I read about the grace of yielding. We have a choice of yielding to others, but I pondered the idea of yielding to God’s greater plans and purposes for my life, not just my little girl dreams. I was reminded of Jesus’ words and His example: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:23 NIV) This statement shows the yielding or the dying of self. Jesus chose the will of the Father over his own will. This highlights a definite “dying of self to greater purposes.”

We are all self-centered creatures with a vast propensity for “my will, my way.” Consider the grace of yielding to “His will, His way.” As our creator, His original ways for our lives are higher than ours, as His thoughts and plans our higher than ours.  When you die to your self-centered way, you then discover the beauty and power within yourself that God intended. We live in the greatest fullness of life when we are in the sweet center of that purpose and that plan. 

Ponder:

How can you live a life with a grace to yield to God’s greater plans and purposes for your days? Ponder your life’s story for His greater glory.

Prayer:

Oh Lord! I need Your help to remind me that I truly do want “Your will, Your way” over “my will, my way” as Your ways are so much higher than I could think, hope, or imagine. I choose to die to myself and my ways so that I can live for Your greater purposes for my life. Lead, guide, and direct my steps! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 139:13‭. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Ephesians 2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Matthew 26:39. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Isaiah 55:8‭. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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The title of this reading plan is Dying to Live. If that seems paradoxical, that’s because it is. Don’t worry though. Many things are, and yet they are true. This study from Roxanne Parks will teach us this day how God so gently and lovingly uses our weaknesses to strengthen us. Today’s verses: James 4:10; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 20:35; Philippians 3:7-8; and John 12:24. Have a blessed day.

Life can be confusing. There are many things that I will never understand. Praise God that His Word reminds us to “lean not on our own understanding but to acknowledge Him and He will make the paths straight.” This takes faith. This takes trust. This brings freedom.

When it comes to confusion, let’s discuss Biblical paradox. A paradox is defined as an apparently self-contradictory declaration, but is, in fact, true. To some, biblical paradoxes may seem confusing, a bit absurd, even somewhat ridiculous. Yet these very words of God were written for our admonition and learning. Wrapping our minds around their truths can bring a freedom unbeknownst to this world. Today, let’s consider a few:

1.  EXALTATION THROUGH HUMILITY (James 4:10)
God has never been pleased with the proud, boastful, and over-confident. He created us for His ultimate purposes and glory, not for our own. He delights in a humble spirit. It takes real wisdom and strength to walk in true humility.

2.  STRENGTH THROUGH WEAKNESS (2 Cor. 12:10)
With all our God-given privileges and advantages; there is always the possibility of being over-confident in our own strength. God often allows a “thorn in the flesh” to keep us ever dependent on Him so that we can walk in our ultimate strength. Can we see this as a gift? 

3.  RECEIVING THROUGH GIVING (Acts 20:35)
Giving can seem quite foolish to selfish people. Some of the most miserable people on earth are those who take and take. Some of the happiest people are givers, for they manifest and reflect God in their unselfish attitude. They become His channel of blessing! When we cheerfully and willingly give our time, talent, or treasure for God’s glory, in return, we receive love, joy, peace, satisfaction, and respect from men! 

4.  GAINING THROUGH LOSING (Phil. 3:7-8)
Materialism, fame, and love of money have always been the greatest hindrances to a personal, living relationship with the Lord. You can gain the whole world but lose your own soul (Mark 8:36) or, like Paul, you can lose earthly opportunities but gain Christ and lay-up treasure in heaven! 

5.  LIVING THROUGH DYING (John 12:24)
The kernel of wheat that falls to the ground and dies also grows and becomes productive. This is an agricultural and a spiritual principle as well. Death to the old self is the first step to Christian growth. The more you die to SELF, the more CHRIST is seen in you! John the Baptist said that Christ must increase, and we must decrease! (John 3:30). 

Ponder:

How can you consider each of these paradoxes and apply them to your life in a more significant way?

Pray:

Dear Lord, Teach me the power of living Your great paradoxical mysteries. I want to live in the freedom that You offer through living in Your ways. Help me to lean not on my own understanding, but to trust in You alone. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

James 4:10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

2 Corinthians 12:10. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Acts 20:35. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring 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.

Philippians 3:7‭. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

John 12:24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

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Today is the last day of this reading plan. Here we are reminded of God’s promises and how they are all true. We just need to wait for His perfect timing. Through this waiting, find also His perfect peace. Today’s verses: Romans 8:25; Psalm 27:13; and Psalm 46:10. Have a blessed day.

We can learn so much from the remarkable women in the Bible and their stories. We at The Kristen Collection have based our stories and collection on the women of the Bible. Sarah and Abraham were some of the great heroes of our faith. It was Sarah’s heart’s desire to have a baby. She had to TRUST God and patiently wait on Him to provide.

Even when we face pain, there is always hope for the future with God. He promises in His word that everything works together for those who love Him and are called to his name. And He promises a good future for us. “Surely I would have despaired had I not been convinced that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

While we wait for something that we really want, we learn to surrender to God. We also acknowledge that He is Sovereign and His timing is always perfect. In Genesis 21 we can take encouragement that God kept his promises to Sarah.

“The Lord came back to visit Sarah as he said he would, and he kept his promises to her. At exactly the time God said it would happen. Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age.” (Genesis 21:1-2)

As you go about your day today: “Be still and know that He is God!” (Psalm 46:10)

Application

Write down the things you are waiting for. 

Write out God’s promises found in the Bible. 

Choose to be still and know that He is in control.

Prayer

Dear God, Thank You that I can be still and know that you are in control. I will wait on You Lord, fill my heart with Your strength and courage. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Romans 8:25. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Psalm 27:13. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

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When we are serving others, we (hopefully) lose track of our focus is on them, not ourselves. We use the gifts God has blessed us with, even if we never knew we had them until then. Remembering that this is all God-centered and not me-cented is a great gift from God which I treasure. Today’s verses: 1 Peter 5:6 and 1 Peter 4:10. Have a blessed day.

Whenever something takes time it requires patience. In 1 Peter 5:6, we are encouraged to humble ourselves before God and if we are patient we will be exalted in due time.  One of the best ways to humble ourselves is to serve others with the gifts God has given us.  Our reading today reminds us that we have all been given spiritual gifts. In serving others we practice patience by using our gifts to further the kingdom of God and not our own agenda. Whether we receive recognition or not isn’t the focus of serving. It is about honoring God and serving people.  

I was taught that when you serve others, your focus is shifted and you receive a new perspective on your situation. I encourage you to patiently listen to the needs of others and to serve them with the gifts God has given you.

Application

Make a list of your talents and gifts

How can you serve others with your gifts and talents?

Prayer

Dear God, Thank You for the talents and gifts you have given me. Holy Spirit, help me to use these gifts to patiently serve others. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

1 Peter 4:10. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

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Parenting and Patience

We are now children of God, adopted into His peculiar people. Parenting is a shadow glimpse into this. As we train up our children in the ways they should go (Proverbs 22:6), they trust us to do what is right. This is not always easy. Especially when it comes to discipline. However when we trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, it becomes easier to endure the waiting periods. We can’t have candy for dinner, but after we eat all of our dinner, oh boy! Wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27:14. Today’s verses, 1 Peter 2:9-10. Have a blessed day.

We are God’s very own possession, we are His chosen people. Our reading today reminds us that before coming to know Christ we had a warped sense of identity.  Our patience matures as we grow in our understanding of our new identity in Christ. We get to know who we are, who’s we are, and also who our heavenly Father is. When we fully know that we are loved and accepted by God, we can patiently wait or endure difficult circumstances.  

Parenting can certainly test our patience, particularly when we have to discipline our children. When my children feel the affirmation of my love they grow in their trust in me as their guardian. My youngest daughter loves sweets, but I can’t allow her to have sweets for dinner. But as her trust in my leadership grows she finds it easier to respond positively to the word “No” and to wait patiently for the dessert. God loves us and we can patiently wait for His promises to be fulfilled in our lives because we trust in Him and we know we are His children. 

Application 

Do you believe that you are accepted and loved by God?

Do you trust that God has your best interest at heart?

How does this revelation challenge you in the area of patience?

Prayer

Dear Father God, Help me to believe and know that I am special to you. Thank You that I am your child and that You have given me a new identity. Help me to trust You in every situation. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

1 Peter 2:9‭. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

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Faith and Patience

In order for our faith to grow, it takes patience. Take for example a seed. You plant it, then you wait for it’s mature fruit. Then it appears to be dead but come springtime, a new season, there is another growth. We must try not to be complacent in our growth toward God. Let’s practice each day with a family member or friend by praying to God and asking His guidance and care. Today’s verses: 2 Peter 1:5-7 and Hebrews 11:1. Have a blessed day.

For our faith to mature we need patience.  The apostle Peter exhorts us to not grow complacent but to make every effort to respond to God’s promises by supplementing or adding to our faith. Building our faith isn’t a one-off experience. Seeing our faith grow takes time and patience.  Faith is like a muscle that needs to exercise over a period of time to grow.  Our faith walk is a daily patient journey. In a culture of instant gratification, we seldom take the time to patiently and actively add to our faith. 

We face different seasons in our life. Similar to the seasons in nature: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. The seasons of life teach us patience and very few environments teach us about the seasons of life like a farm. As I was growing up on a farm, I realized from a young age that farmers plant their crops and then they wait patiently for the harvest to come. It is a beautiful process. The potential for a plant is locked up inside the seed, in the right environment a great harvest will come forth. We have great potential locked up inside of us, wait patiently for God. 

I love springtime, it is a season filled with the reward of patience. Before springtime it is winter, and I don’t know about you but it is definitely not my favorite season because all the trees are barren with no fruit, but soon they will be lush, green, filled with pink blossoms everywhere.  In winter, the seeds sown lay dormant and there are no signs of life. But then Spring arrives! Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that God’s promises lay dormant in our lives. Just like the seasons change. We can wait patiently and have faith that His promises will come to pass!

Application

How can you practically supplement your faith today?

Ask a believing friend to pray with you in regards to growing your faith.

Prayer

Dear God, Help my patience to mature and help me daily to build my faith through your word. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

2 Peter 1:5‭. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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Pain and Patience

Today we reenforce the trust relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as we are reminded once again that those things which we had no power to control yesterday are the same things today. Even though it is painful while we go through these times, He is with us holding onto us. He is our faithful Lord and Savior. Won’t you trust Him today? Today’s verses: 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Psalm 27:13-14. Have a blessed day.

The Lord is intimately involved in our pain and struggles. His grace is sufficient for us as He strengthens us in our difficult times. Whether it is a business failure, family calamity, relational breakdown, or crisis of faith, these mountains can make us feel faint. Don’t despair! The grace of God is sufficient to carry us through these times. When David wrote Psalm 27 he was clearly in a desperate situation.  Yet he knew that God is his strength and he patiently waited for God. 

I am a very relational person. If you are anything like me then accusation or relational conflict is very difficult to bear. In facing relational breakdown I have learned to patiently wait on God. If I have done all I can to restore a relationship then all I can do is wait on God to bring reconciliation. It isn’t always easy to face difficulties when you can’t do anything to change the situation. But these seasons help our patience to grow.  

Application

Are you facing crises or enduring a painful situation?

How can you practically access God’s grace to empower you to be patient during this time?

Prayer 

Dear Father God, Thank You for Your amazing grace that empowers me to wait patiently. Thank You for Your comfort and love during my difficult times. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:9. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Psalm 27:13‭. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

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Today we are starting a new six day reading plan on patience. It is easy to understand why we don’t like this part of God’s plan for our lives, but it is necessary to build godly character and grow closer to Him. Today’s verses: James 1:4 and Isaiah 40:31. Have a blessed day.

To biblically persevere in a trial means that you will have to fight for your faith over a period of time. These difficult seasons produce stronger character if we are prepared to be patient. Not patient in a passive sense, but patient in knowing the battle might take a while.  It is only human to want a test to be over and done with, but God uses them to shape our lives. I find hope when reading Isaiah 40:31, God renews our strength as we hope and wait on Him. This is an amazing promise, when we wait on God we actually get stronger. 

It has been an exciting journey developing and dreaming about The Kristen Collection. Our first book in the collection teaches patience to young girls. It took us five years before we held the first copy in our hands. We are grateful that God has empowered us to patiently persevere, and we trust many families would be blessed through the collection. 

In South Africa, we are blessed with wonderful weather, and we spend a lot of our time outside. Recently we witnessed one of God’s beautiful gifts in nature–an eagle. It is such a majestic bird. And every time we see it we are reminded of the eagle God refers to as a symbol of strength in His word. 

Let’s wait patiently on the Lord and experience and see how he truly renews our strength as we wait on Him.

Application

Do you give up easily?

What is causing your biggest frustration at the moment?

Prayer

Dear God, fill me with hope and courage as I persevere in my difficult seasons of life. Thank you for making my path straight. Empower me to never give up. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

James 1:4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Isaiah 40:31. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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We’ve made it to the list of this reading plan. I hope this has helped you in your prayer life. I believe the next reading plan will be on patience. Today’s verses: Hebrews 5:7-8; 2 Corinthians 12:9; and James 5:16-18. Have a blessed day.

Hopefully, you’re praying more on your own, adding prayer to some daily habits, and are regularly looking for opportunities to pray with others. If you’ve followed each of these steps, you are moving toward confidence in your prayer life. But guess what? It’s still tough. After years of praying out loud, we still get nervous. We still cower and sometimes choose to remain silent. Although we feel scared, it is ok. Let’s remember that when we feel prompted, we are getting the chance to live like Jesus.

You are just about finished with prayer boot camp. Congratulations! Whether you completed all of the challenges or created a few modifications along the way, we are proud of your accomplishment. 

Now, invite someone to go through prayer boot camp with you. Send this plan to them, and do it together. Prayer will change your life. Praying with others… changes their lives, too.

While on earth, Jesus prayed. In Hebrews 5, it is stated that Jesus’ prayers were answered not because of His perfection but because of His “reverent submission.” Let’s humbly give everything we have to God.

Dear sweet Lord,

We devote ourselves to prayer. We desire to have a reverent and submissive position before You. We are at Your feet, inviting You to lead us. As You continue to provide strength, we will do our best to follow Your direction. Thank You that Your strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

We are proud of you for completing this plan. If you’d like to learn about other reading plans and resources by Chuck and Ashley, sign up here: https://www.elliottlifecoaching.com/subscribe.

Hebrews 5:7. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

2 Corinthians 12:9. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

James 5:16‭. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

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Set up Accountability

Through accountability, we develop deeper and more meaningful friendships. If you do not have a church yet, it is my prayer you would find one soon. I find the Baptist church to be more Bible based, and the fellowship is wonderful. Form a small prayer group. This will help you to be more accountable and grow deeper in your prayer life, closer to your friends, and most importantly, closer to God! Today’s verses: Acts 2:42 and 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Have a blessed day.

Step 14. You’ve been working to establish some new habits. Now it’s time to get some accountability to ensure that you keep praying once you finish this reading plan. 

If you’re not part of a church community, find one today. There are online and brick and mortar churches across the world; pastors and volunteers love to see others growing in their faith. Reach out and learn about opportunities to build relationships and find accountability.

If you want to create your own community, consider inviting 1-2 friends to pray.

But, be aware of some prayer group tendencies. 

Have you ever been in a group where people take turns asking others to pray for their distant family members? “Great Aunt Karen isn’t doing well”…These type of prayer moments can feel quite burdensome and difficult to remember later. Although it would be inappropriate to do so, we’ve often wanted to say, “We don’t know Aunt Karen, so it will probably be difficult for us to remember to pray for her. But we know you and care for you. How can we pray for you?”

But why do we find it easier to request prayer for others? The reasons may vary, but here are a few we’ve seen.
1) It is less vulnerable to share others’ weakness than to share our own.
2) It makes us feel more spiritual to care for others.
3) We may feel it is selfish to ask prayer for ourselves.

But remember, we are not comparing our prayers to others’ prayers. We are spending time with our Creator. He already knows our needs, and He knows we spend a lot of time thinking about our own worries.

If you begin a prayer group, ask, “How can I pray for you personally?” Spend several minutes discussing life. Share how they can pray for you as well; then take turns praying for one another. Turning on worship music will help keep your mind focused on God. Don’t feel bad if your first few sessions are 20 minutes long with 18 minutes of conversing and 2 minutes of prayer. This is boot camp. Start where you are. It is usually easier to talk than pray. Next time, determine to pray a little more than you did last time. 

God values relationship with us and with other believers. In Acts 2:42, the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Two of the four items mentioned were friendship-based: fellowship (spending time together) and breaking bread (sharing meals). It’s in these contexts that we develop spiritual intimacy that allows us to deepen our confidence in prayer, comparing our prayers less to those around us and leaning in to our relationship with Jesus. That relationship simply becomes important enough to include in our other relationships as well. 

Dear Father God,
Help us establish accountability, developing spiritual intimacy with other believers as appropriate. We are determined to be people of prayer. We need You, Lord! In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.

Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

1 Timothy 2:1‭. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

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Today is step 13. If you haven’t already made a video of a prayer for someone, you could do it now and then send it. Do not worry about if you are good enough, God our Father is! He can use each one of us today. Today’s verse: Acts 4:29. Have a blessed day.

Step 13. Did you record a video? If you haven’t already sent it, do it now.

If you’re doubting yourself, direct your attention toward God. Perhaps if you seek Him, He will grant you courage through His Spirit (Acts 4:29).

God will use you.

Recently, we sent out some texts, videos, and emails to encourage and pray for others. In one situation, we received a response saying, “I appreciate your words of comfort… I needed to read that Scripture, because it’s been very difficult. Thank you for your prayers.” In moments like these, we thank God for using us. We are needed. 

Look around our world. The average person is lonely, depressed, overweight, and in debt. Let’s direct our attention to the One who Saves. He is our hope; let’s take courage and do hard things.

Dear Heavenly Father,
We ask for courage to finish the hard things we begin. Help us pray for opportunities and then follow through with them. We can pray for others. Use us today. Amen. 

Acts 4:29. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

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Today’s focus is a doozy. They want us to make a video of ourselves praying for someone and then sending it to them! That sounds exciting and scary and everything in between. Today’s verses: Philippians 2:3 and Colossians 1:9-12. Have a blessed day.

Step 12. Ok. You signed up for boot camp. If you haven’t been challenged yet, today is the day for you.

Yep. That’s the challenge. It may be uncomfortable. But for today, you can simply record the video. You don’t even have to send it.  

Why record a video?

It’s a simple way of showing someone you are thinking of them and are willing to be vulnerable. Have you ever recorded an ordinary video of yourself?

Let today be the first of many days where you record a prayer and send it to someone you love. We haven’t ever received a video of someone praying for us, but we’re pretty sure we may get watery eyes when it happens. 

If it’s too difficult for you, modify. Maybe voice memo would be an option you could choose.

Dear Father God,
Thank You God for Your amazing power. We want You to be Lord of our technology use. Give us courage to think of others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3), thinking of how we can be vulnerable and care for them. Who should we pray for? Give us courage to send them a video of us praying for them. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Philippians 2:3. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Colossians 1:9‭. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

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This is the 10th day, and I have been quite busy. I’m going to post the other days I missed today. My apologies. Today’s focus is on regularly praying and praying with loved ones and friends. Try setting a time to do this, if possible. Today’s verses: Matthew 6:9-13 and Matthew 18:19. Have a blessed day.

Have you ever prayed together with someone close to you?

Ask someone if they would be willing to pray. If you already pray on occasion, consider suggesting a regular time to pray for a few weeks. Remember, this is prayer bootcamp. You can tailor this exercise to meet your individual needs and abilities. Just remember, we are all pushing ourselves.

If this is new to you, pray the Lord’s prayer together. It provides a great pattern to follow and is a wonderful first step to building community with God. 

If we want to learn to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), it is important to bring God into everything we do. As we grow in our ability to pray with others, we increase spiritual intimacy with them. We can grow more comfortable praying with our colleagues, friends, and family.

Dear precious Lord God,
We invite You to remind us to pray with our loved ones. Increase our ability to see opportunities to pray. When we are upset, we can pray. When we are happy, we can come to You. You are our strength. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.  

Matthew 6:9‭. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11. Give us this day our daily bread. 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 18:19‭. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

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This is the 9th day, and I have been quite busy. I’m going to post the other days I missed today. My apologies. Today’s focus is on bringing God into everything we do. By saying grace, this acknowledges His blessings and authority. Today’s verses: Acts 27:35 and 17:28. Have a blessed day.

Step 9. This is prayer bootcamp, so hopefully along the journey, you’ve already taken time to pray over a meal with someone. But if not, here’s your chance to push yourself. If you typically eat alone, you can earn some bonus points. Consider asking someone to eat with you. Then, volunteer to pray.  

I’ve also witnessed people eating alone or with others who take a moment to bow their head and pray. The purpose of prayer is to connect with God, not to impress others or avoid embarrassment. I (Ashley) personally have found it easier and less embarrassing to invite people to pray by asking, “Can I pray over our meal?”

Just push yourself. You can do hard things!

We can be intentional with our thankfulness. Taking time before meals to thank God teaches our mind to direct attention to God with our daily routines. Let’s bring God into everything we do.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for providing food each day. We want to regularly express our gratitude, even when we are around others. Use moments when we are with others to remind them of Your provision, Your greatness, and Your love. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 27:35. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

Acts 17:28. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

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This is the 8th day, and I have been quite busy. I’m going to post the other days I missed today. My apologies. Today’s focus is on praying with and for others. It is easier for me to remember who and why they may need prayer if it is written down. Find what works for you. Today’s verses: Isaiah 26:3 and Joshua 1:9. Have a blessed day.

How are you doing? Are you sore from training? Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it difficult. We are sharing these thoughts from a place of praying every day for decades. And we still struggle.

But this is prayer bootcamp. You chose to do something hard. You have grit, and you can do it.

Today’s challenge moves us from praying alone to praying with others. Are you ready for it?

Step 8:  Pray Scripture over someone via text or card.

This can be super simple. Here’s a sample you can follow. 

Dear _____, 

I have been thinking of you. I’m praying for God to give you peace.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3 KJV

Sincerely, 

_____

How are we kept in peace? By keeping our mind… steadfast…
What does that mean? Merriam-Webster defines steadfast as being “firm in belief.” We can be firm in our belief that God will take care of us no matter what we go through. As we are determined to believe that God brings peace, we will increase in our confidence that He is enough. And we can help others find God and discover peace.

Go ahead and take a minute to send a text or write a note to someone. But don’t get distracted. Get back here and finish the plan for the day or consider writing a sticky note or setting a reminder for later.

Dear Heavenly Father God,
Continue to increase our boldness as we choose to deepen our commitment to prayer. Put someone on our hearts who needs to be encouraged today. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 26:3. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Joshua 1:9. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

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Do You Feel Stronger?

This is the 11th day, and I have been quite busy. I’m going to post the other days I missed today. My apologies. Today’s focus is on our progress. Have you been able to pray aloud, with others, etc? Some things are easier than others. This is normal. Just keep practicing. Today’s verses: Psalm 34:18; James 4:8; Matthew 6:7; and Romans 15:13. Have a blessed day.

Take a moment and reflect upon your growth in the past week or so. Have you followed through with each of the challenges? If you’re unsure, take time to go back to the past few days and review the activities. Are you praying more on your own? Aloud? With others? Over a meal? You can do this! Even if you find that some activities do not come naturally, remember that you will get better as you train.

If you feel nervous to pray around others, remember this story. I (Chuck) committed to following Jesus at age 19 and went from partying to following God with everything inside of me. I knew I wanted to minister to others, so when I was asked to pray at church, I said yes. However, I felt quite uneasy and accidentally prayed, “Thank You Lord for this food…” 

It was not mealtime, and I felt humiliated. But people were gracious. They appreciated my passion.

Being nervous is part of the process. At some point most of us choose to do activities that increase our heart rate (i.e. asking someone one on a date, riding a bike, etc.). We push through because it is worth it. Prayer is important. God is important.

Step 11:  Pray with someone who is having a hard time.

People will be gracious. They will remember that you prayed for them. They probably will not remember the words you prayed unless they’re hurtful. Don’t try to say too many words, especially eloquent words.  If you do, you’re trying to impress them. They don’t need impressed. They need love. If you’re praying when someone is grieving, try to put yourself in their shoes. Don’t try to offer divine guidance or reassurance that their loved one is in a better place. Ask God to draw near to them (James 4:8). Thank Him that He’s near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34: 18).

Dear Heavenly Father,
Open our eyes so we can see the people who are hurting around us. Give us the courage, the words, and the Scripture to share with them. Fill us so we have the stamina to pour into others. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen. 

Psalm 34:18. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

James 4:8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Matthew 6:7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Romans 15:13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

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Today’s focus is on focusing our prayer time into four sections: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (asking God to fulfill our needs and requests). With the time we have to pray separated like this, we can have a more balanced prayer time. Please remember that this is only an overview of the lesson below written by someone else. Today’s verses: Gen. 1:1; Job 42:2; Psalm 51:1-13; Psalm 7:17; Phil. 4:6-7; and 1 Peter 5:7. Have a blessed day.

Step 7. Take a moment to consider the contents of your previous 2-3 prayer moments. Did you ask God for something? Did you pray for someone else? Did you honor God for His amazing attributes? Were you thankful?

Using a tool such as an acronym or prayer worksheet can help you be more balanced in prayer.
The acronym ACTS was first documented in writing back in the 1800’s to guide prayer time.

ACTS stands for:
Adoration
Confession
Thanksgiving
Supplication

How many minutes would you like to pray today? Divide that number by four and spend time on each topic. For example, if you want to pray for 8 minutes, spend 2 minutes on each topic.

Spend time adoring God; take time to contemplate His amazing qualities. He is your Creator, Father, and Friend. He holds time and is High above all things, yet He deeply cares for you.

As you move to confession, reflect upon your life and commit to turning away from sin. During this time, you may also feel compelled to make amends with those you have hurt as a result of your behavior.

Giving thanks can be so much fun. We (Chuck and Ashley) enjoy helping our toddler pray. We begin by saying, “Thank You God for ___.” He loves to look around the room and fill-in-the-blanks. Thank You God for… “mommy,” he exclaims. Thank You God for… “blanket,” he whispers as he looks around and smiles.

As our hearts are filled with gratitude, jealousy dissipates. Our mind can only actively process one thought at a time. When we choose thankfulness, we create neural pathways that make it easier to be thankful in the future.

What is supplication? Simply put, it is making requests to God. After taking time to glorify Him, repent, and thanking Him, spend some time asking God to meet your needs and the requests of people around you.

Dear Heavenly Father,
My Creator and Friend, please forgive me of our wrong attitudes and behaviors I’ve had. Thank You for Your mercy. Lead me toward the path of life in Your Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Job 42:2. I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Psalm 51:1‭. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Psalm 7:17. I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.

Philippians 4:6‭. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

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Write Your Prayers.

Today’s focus is on tools that help us remember to pray, who to pray for and why, and God’s answered prayers. Imagine if history was never written down. So many events and lessons would be lost. Let us not do that with these prayers. Today’s verses: Psalm 103:2; Psalm 105:5; and Proverb 7:3. Have a blessed day.

Step 6. What would happen if we did not document important information? Imagine the stories in history that would be lost or distorted. 

What type of information gets penned? Typically, material that is considered very important such as contracts, stories, or certificates are documented. Many of us use social media to document important events we want to remember each year.

Since prayer, community with our Creator, is more important than nearly everything else in life, let us commit to writing down our prayers.I’ll wait while you grab a notebook.
Remember, this is prayer boot camp, not prayer “I’ll do it later” camp.

Write your thoughts and prayers to God. You can list topics, needs, and people you would like to remember to lift up in prayer. If you write down your requests, you will be able to more clearly see where He has answered your prayers.

We (Chuck and Ashley) have written our prayers in different ways. Sometimes we have used small notebooks to make lists. Other times, we have journaled. Over the years, I (Ashley) have made several prayer boards where I use craft supplies to create art that will remind me to pray for people, organizations, and topics.

Lastly, when we meet new people, we sometimes list their names in the notes section of our devices and pray for them as we try to connect on future occasions.

Remember, you don’t have to be just like us. Choose what works for you. Many of you will have more creative ideas than we do.

Dear Father God,
Help us form new habits. Change is tough. We ask for supernatural strength to create space for You in our lives. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 103:2. Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Psalm 105:5. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

Proverbs 7:3. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

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Pray Without Ceasing?

Today’s focus is on incorporating prayer into our daily activities. Are you doing laundry today? Talk to God while you are waiting for them to be finished. Washing dishes? Sing praises as you do. Find what’s right for you. Today’s verses: Romans 12:2 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Have a blessed day.

Paul instructs his brothers and sisters to “Pray without ceasing.” Is this even possible?
Only if we bring prayer into our daily activities.

Step 5:Incorporate prayer into your daily routine.

Have you heard of the psychological term “association”? Scientific studies have shown that we that we can build associations between activities, such as brushing our teeth and prayer. As we remind ourselves of the association we are trying to build, we develop neural connections that make it easier to continue these behaviors. We can train our bodies and our minds to behave and think in new ways. Science has confirmed what Scripture says; we can renew our minds (Romans 12:2).

Consider a few tasks you do daily. For example, when you brush your teeth, pray. If you jog, spend some time talking with God while you exercise. While giving a baby a bath, walking a flight of stairs, or commuting, you can pray. Begin a habit of praying during one of your daily routines. It’s easiest if you start with one or two places in your day where your mind is relatively free to focus. Consider putting notes around these places to help you form an association between the daily activity and prayer. 

Here’s another option to consider. If you listen to music, create a play list with songs that direct your attention to God. Commit to playing at least one song each day.

Chuck regularly plays worship music in the morning and evening while we are at home. In fact, I (Ashley) am enjoying the benefits of a calm mind as I share these words because Chuck turned on music this morning. Godly music has a way of redirecting our hearts toward The Father and prompting prayer as we listen. 

God,
Help us become more aware of places in our day where we can direct our attention to You. Lead us as we seek to grow in our relationship with You.
Amen.

1 Thessalonians 5:17. Pray without ceasing.

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

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Step 4’s focus is on opportunities for boldness. You won’t have to look for them, God will provide the opportunities. Remember, God can use each of us with our different gifts. After all, He is the one who blessed us with them. ☺️ Verses for today: 2 Corin. 10:5; Acts 4:29-31; Romans 8:31; and 2 Timothy 1:7. Have a blessed day.

As you continue with regular prayer time, ask God for boldness. Then, notice that God will provide opportunities for you to engage with neighbors, pray with friends, or invite someone to dinner. 

Some of you introverts may be rolling your eyes about now! But, God will use your unique personality to glorify His Name. We (Chuck and Ashley) are extroverts who have been praying with others and engaging in other “bold” activities for years. Yet, it is still difficult for us.

Every boot camp exercise session we attended required endurance. And that’s ok. We humans enjoy challenges. Although it should get easier, being bold will always bring about some resistance because the enemy doesn’t want us to be brave. When the next opportunity to be bold appears, and defeating thoughts approach, take them captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Invite God’s Holy Spirit to supernaturally fill you with boldness as He did for many in the book of Acts.  

Dear Sweet Lord,
There have been times we have been too busy, too fearful, or have overlooked opportunities to reach out to people around us. “Give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word” (Acts 4:29). In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 4:29‭. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30. By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Romans 8:31. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

2 Timothy 1:7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

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The focus today is on praying Bible verses. It is amazing at what comfort we can have when we remember to turn our eyes upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Our temporary situations are put into perspective. Maybe this is an opportunity to find out if your family member or friend is sure they are going to Heaven when that day comes. Something to think about instead of questioning why. Today’s verses: Phil. 4:13; Col. 3:15; & Psalm 119:11. Have a blessed day.

Are you getting a bit more comfortable praying out loud? If not, keep at it. You’ll get there. If you’ve ever done a burpee, the first time was a bit more awkward than the 1000th. 

Step 3:  Pray Scripture out loud.
Now that you’ve begun praying out loud, begin incorporating Scripture into your regular prayer time. If you’ve hidden God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11), it will be easier to recall verses while you’re walking around your home, school, or workplace.

Recently, while traveling across a rainy university campus, I (Ashley) felt a bit overwhelmed by life. I began to pray, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). My confidence began to shift. I had the opportunity to stay overwhelmed by the rain and my circumstances, or I could turn my attention to the One who controls the rain. God didn’t suddenly stop the rain. But He encouraged my heart through His Word. 

Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us hide Your Word in our hearts. As we go about our days, bring the right verses to our hearts to encourage us and remind us that You are with us. Give us thankful hearts, filling us with peace and a desire for unity in our relationships. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Colossians 3:15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Psalm 119:11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

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Today’s focus is on step two, praying out loud on your own. This is a good way to practice in case you are ever called to pray. It is also a confidence builder. I want you to remember this: Everyone thought their prayers were not as eloquent as most people’s. As long as you pray to God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord, it will be freeing. Please practice this daily. It is like having a conversation. I do, and the words just seem to come. Today’s verses: Luke 18:9-14 and 1 John 5:14. Have a blessed day.

Do you ever pray out loud while talking to God on your own? If not, try it today. Consider it practice. If you would like to pray out loud with others, praying aloud on your own is a great opportunity to build comfort. 

Sometimes we lack confidence, worrying that our prayers are inadequate. Typically, when we have these thoughts, it’s when we are around others who seem to pray more eloquent prayers. But in Luke 18, Jesus explains how the sinful tax collector’s prayer is more acceptable than the religious Pharisee’s prayer. Why? Because the sinful person was humble, honest, and focused on communicating with God rather than elevating himself. 

When you begin to feel nervous, remind yourself that the goal of prayer is to communicate with God, not to impress others.

But why pray out loud?

Hearing your own prayer does a couple of things.
1) It helps keep your attention focused on prayer, preventing your mind from wandering.
2) There’s something about hearing your own prayers that instills a bit more faith into your heart.

God,
Strengthen our ability to pray for others. As we pray out loud, increase our faith and confidence in You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen. 

Luke 18:9‭. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

1 John 5:14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

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This is a 15 day reading plan we are beginning. The first day’s focus is on beginning a prayer relationship with God. If it is more of a one on one between God and you, rather than a chore; you will get more out of it. Step one is praying more on our own. In all things we do, let us work toward bringing others to Christ Jesus. If I may be so bold, please pray for my Mom. She is in the hospital getting tests. She 86 years old, and we are praying she doesn’t have stomach cancer. Thank you. Have a blessed day.

Congrats! You signed up for prayer boot camp. During our time together, we’ll do some exercises that will strengthen your ability to pray more alone and with others. By the end of this plan, if you follow each of the steps, you will have a stronger relationship with Jesus and more confidence regarding your ability to lead others to Christ through prayer.

Have you ever done a bootcamp-style workout? For years, we attended an outdoor boot camp program at our local YMCA. A great friend of ours led the program, and we loved it. The diversity was great. People brought courage and determined to get better. 

The exercises were set for the group, but each person had the opportunity to perform at their fitness level. If we traveled a certain distance, some ran while others walked. If we completed an obstacle course, we competed against ourselves to see how many times we could finish the course in a set amount of time. 

In a similar way, some of the prayer exercises will be super simple. Others will take grit. We will start out easier and will increase in challenge. Consider the beginning to be the warm-up. 

So what is step 1?

Step 1:  Pray more on your own. 

If you have never planned to pray on your own, let today be the first. Consider setting an alarm to remind you to pray.
How long does it need to be? This will depend on how much you’ve been praying in the past. If you’ve never planned prayer, start with 30 seconds. If you already pray for 5 minutes at a time, try to increase it to 10 minutes or improve the consistency of your prayer, carving out daily prayer time.

Pick one or two important topics that relate to your own life. Why? We are more likely to keep praying if prayer feels less of a burden and more like a relationship. God wants you to share your life with Him. For example, pray that God will increase your desire to read His Word or spend time meditating on the amazing blessings He has brought into your life.
First, we will pray together. Then, pray on your own as you read God’s Word.

Lord,
We desire to be close to You. We choose to discipline our bodies, training them to follow You (1 Corinthians 9:27). When we look in the mirror, help us see strength like David, Elijah, and Paul. We give You our weaknesses. We give You our strengths. And we ask that You make us stronger. Make us prayer warriors.
Amen.

1 Corinthians 9:27. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Romans 8:26‭. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Jeremiah 29:12. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

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God’s Absolutes

This is the last day of this reading plan. The focus will be on 3 of God’s absolutes: Love the Lord your God with your entire being (body, soul, mind, and spirit); Love your neighbor as yourself; and making disciples by sharing God’s Word. When we do this, which we know is God’s will for us, then His Will for our individual lives may be made more clear. At least we have a roadmap to start! Today’s verses: Matt. 22:37-39; Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; and 2 Peter 3:9. Have a blessed day.

When it comes to the will of God, there is so much more we know than don’t know. God’s Word is full of direction for us if we would have eyes to see. He has so much for us to do on this earth, not to earn His love, but to live out this abundant life on earth that we’ve been promised through Jesus. Instead of constantly thinking about what we wish we knew about God’s master plan, what if we focused on becoming who God wants us to be? When we do this, we’ll know what we should do. 

Love God
Often we want to know what we should do. Well, this passage in Matthew 22 could not be more clear. Jesus said the greatest commandment given to us is to love God with our entire being. Not just a part of ourselves, where we compartmentalize our walk with Him, but our whole selves — body, soul, mind, and spirit.

Love People
Jesus also taught that loving our “neighbor as ourselves” was incredibly important, second only to loving God. It’s easy for us to love ourselves. We almost always make sure our needs are met. God calls us to love others the way we would care for and love ourselves. 

Make Disciples
Since we are followers of Christ, we’re to take what we believe and invest it into others. God desires that everyone would come to know Him. Because we follow Jesus, we possess the antidote to the eternal sickness of sin that the world has. The gospel of Jesus is what the world needs to hear. This good news—which is what the word gospel means—is for everyone. So, whether someone knows Jesus as Savior and Lord or not, we can still share the good news with them. 

When we focus on the most important callings that God has given to all followers of Christ, we will become less preoccupied with the unknown part of God’s will. And as we forsake the customs of the world and instead, choose to renew our minds, knowing what God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will is will be made evident to us. 

Reflect

  • How well are you following these absolutes of God? Loving God, loving people, and making disciples?

Matthew 22:37‭. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 28:19‭. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

1 Timothy 2:3‭. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

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Today the focus is something that may make many Christians nervous. You won’t find you specific answer in the Bible when your question is of this world. Such as: Should I buy this house or that one, should I marry this person or that person, etc. A better way to frame the question would be: Would this choice be against God’s truth? Are any fears guiding my decision? Is this a wise decision (financially, emotionally, etc)? Have I sought God’s wisdom? These are easier to answer, and He does answer His children. Remember those times when you thought He didn’t answer you? The answer was No! LOL. I’m so happy I learned that. Have a blessed day.

Over the past two days, we’ve talked about both the Known and Unknown wills of God. But there’s one more aspect of God’s will that makes so many followers of Christ nervous. We often want to know just how specific His will is.

Should I buy this house or that house?
Should I go to this college or that college?
Should I marry this person or that person?
Should I choose this plan or that plan?
Should I take this job or that job?

The Bible does not answer these kinds of questions specifically, nor does it say, “You should be a doctor,” or “Marry Jim next year.” Maybe we need to take our specific questions to the Word of God and see how our desires and questions line up with the truth from God’s Word. 

Is there one perfect person for you to marry? Probably not. If that were the case, then if one person chooses the person

they shouldn’t have, then everyone else’s choice is wrong. Instead, what we do when it comes to spending our lives with someone is use wisdom and discernment as to what is God’s best. 

Now, that doesn’t mean God won’t answer a specific prayer we pray. God loves us and often surprises us with exactly what we asked for! But, most of the time it’s wise to allow God’s Word to be our guide, for it has plenty to say about decisions we should make. Let’s pray for wisdom and discernment as we learn from God’s Word and consider asking these questions:

Would this choice contradict God’s truth?
Is this the wisest decision? (financial, relational, emotional, etc.)
Are any fears guiding my decision?
Would I regret this in a week, month, year, or ten years?
Which path brings me the most peace?
Have I sought Godly wisdom? 

Too often we live with anxiety about making the wrong choice. Chances are strong that we’ll make some decisions we wish we hadn’t. Making wrong choices is often what leads us to making better choices in our future. 

But no matter the choice we make, God’s love for us never increases or diminishes. He’s absolutely smitten with us. God’s transformative power changes us. With a renewed mind that is led by God’s Spirit, we can discern God’s best for our lives. 

Reflect

  • In your life, do you often feel paralyzed when it comes to making big decisions? List a few things you are fearful about and ask God to reveal His truth to you. 

Psalm 119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Proverbs 3:5‭. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 12:15. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

James 1:5‭. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

James 3:17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

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On this third day of this 5 day reading plan, our focus is on conforming not to this world but being transformed in our minds by the Holy Spirit to do God’s Will. We will never know it all, so relax if you don’t know it. Join the Christian crowd! Be comforted in knowing the known Will of God and do it. In so doing, God is more able to reveal His Will to us. Amen! Have a blessed day. P. S. Verses for today: Luke 22:39-46 and Romans 12:1-2.

There’s so much about God’s will that we don’t know. No matter how smart we are or what we try, we’ll never know what’s going to happen in the future. That’s God’s realm. Not only that, but there are things we pray for—even beg God for—that won’t happen as we desire. We’ll still have questions until the day we depart this earth.

While we can’t know it all, we can know more of God’s will. It’s true. Romans 12:2 states that God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect and that we’ll be able to test and approve it. But, in order to do that, we have to do something that can be quite a challenge. We must eliminate our need or desire to conform to what everyone else is doing and instead, allow our minds to be transformed by God’s power. 

This isn’t easy. It’s challenging because we are surrounded by influences that are far from godly. At every turn in our lives, we get bombarded by new ideas, new fascinations, and new people. New things aren’t bad, but we do have to figure out which ones pull us from God’s best. In order to grasp any part of God’s Unknown will, we have to bring Him our transformed mind. We have a transformed and renewed mind when we seek to follow Him in the Known will of God and the things He calls us to. 

Think about it like this. When we’re living in sin, giving in to every harmful temptation that crosses our path, how likely is it that we’ll be able to truly discern what God’s best is? We wonder why we can’t sense where God is leading us, and it’s because our lives can sometimes be wrapped up in the pleasures of this world. But when we obey God’s Known will by loving others well, choosing to refrain from gossip, and walking honestly in our lives, won’t it be easier to possibly discern God’s Unknown will that is “good, pleasing, and perfect” because our minds have been transformed? 

Today begins our daily opportunity to cast aside the standards our society puts in place as truth. As we do, we seek the power of God’s Holy Spirit to transform our minds. And with transformed minds there is no telling what God will reveal to us in His perfect timing. 

Reflect

  • When it comes to the Unknown will of God, what are the things that you wish you could know now?
  • Instead of focusing on what will happen, what do you sense God is calling you to do right now?

Luke 22:39‭. And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46. And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Romans 12:1‭. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

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The Known Will of God

Today we focus on the Known Will of God. When we do those simple things such as rejoicing always, praying continually, giving thanks always (1 Thes. 5:16-18), doing good (1Peter 2:15),  avoiding sexual immorality (1Thes. 4:3), as well as loving God and others (Mt. 22:37-39), don’t gossip (Eph. 4:29), don’t murder (Mt. 5:21-26), be honest (Col. 3:9), be generous (Lk. 12:33), and help others (Phil. 2:4); this pleases God. If we cannot do these little things that God told us of, why should we expect that He would show us His unknown Will? We must do what it is that  pleases Him! Other Scripture for today:  Lk. 16:10  Let’s go forth and do His Will today. Have a blessed day.

Today, we’ll discuss the Known Will of God. A few passages in the Bible tell us exactly what it means to do God’s will. 

  • Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks always (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  • Do Good (1 Peter 2:15)
  • Avoid Sexual Sin (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

It seems like such an odd mix of guidelines to follow, doesn’t it? Be joyful, pray a lot, show gratitude, do good, oh, and don’t be sexually immoral. But surely there’s more to God’s will than that, right? 

We find many commands in the Bible from God. Here are some of them:

  • Love God and others. (Matthew 22:37-39)
  • Don’t gossip. (Ephesians 4:29)
  • Don’t murder. (Matthew 5:21-26)
  • Be honest. (Colossians 3:9)
  • Be generous. (Luke 12:33)
  • Help others. (Philippians 2:4)

It’s so common for followers of Christ to desire to make great strides in the kingdom of God. We want to change the world but don’t consider it very important to change our part of the world, let alone ourselves. We get laser-focused on the will of God that is Unknown to us and push the Known will of God aside. The Unknown will of God is much more exciting and grand to us. The Known will of God, which includes numerous dos and don’ts, tends to be boring and monotonous. We want to know what He has for us tomorrow but we disobey Him today. 

What if we directed our desire to know God’s will to do the things we actually know to do? We may not know the path ahead for us when it comes to our career, but we know that it is God’s will for us to help others today. We may not know who our spouse will be in the future, but we know that it’s God’s will for us to give thanks in all things right now. And we certainly don’t know what our financial situation will be 15 years from now, but we know that it’s God’s will for us to be generous with our time and resources now

God is looking for people who are faithful. Faithful in the little…first. Let’s be loving, kind, generous, honest, and grateful people because it’s in the small, seemingly ordinary things in life that give us a glimpse of God’s greater plan. It’s often the completion of ordinary tasks that leads to extraordinary outcomes.

Reflect

  • Do you tend to think of God’s will in a more grand sense and not in day-to-day living?
  • What is one area of your life that would fall under God’s Known will that you need to obey?

Luke 16:10. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

1 Thessalonians 4:3. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

1 Thessalonians 5:16‭. Rejoice evermore. 17. Pray without ceasing. 18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Peter 2:15. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

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Today we are starting a new 5 day reading plan. This is a question many Christmas have, What is God’s will for my life? However a better question would be, What is God’s will? The answer to this is in the Bible. While God has given to each of us individually gifts, talents, a plan for our lives; God’s will is to accomplish His purposes not ours. Over the next few days, we will discuss different aspects of God’s will. Come along and enjoy the journey. Have a blessed day.

What Is God’s Will for My Life?

The subject of God’s will is quite popular among Jesus followers. There’s one pressing question that many of us have: “What is God’s will for my life?” Because this can be a confusing thing for many, we often put our lives on hold until we “hear from God.” The truth is, we have heard from God about this very topic.

To understand God’s will, we must go to the Bible for guidance. There are Godly people around us who will have insight and advice that can be valuable. But it’s vital that we seek God’s truth above all. No amount of human reasoning or input can replace what we find in the Bible. 

God’s will is specific, and it’s not. It’s specific in that we can read what God has in store for us. But, it’s not specific in that maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking, “What is God’s will for my life?” maybe we should be asking a more simple, profound one: “What is God’s will?” 

This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have good plans for you specifically. He does. Nor does it mean that He isn’t personally concerned with you. He is. And it doesn’t mean He hasn’t gifted you to do specific things on earth. He has. It’s just that God’s will and plan on this earth are to accomplish His purposes, not ours. God is the Heavenly Director, orchestrating His plan on earth, and we get to play our part in it.

Some things are easy to decipher while others require faith and patience. Author and pastor, John Piper, describes two wills of God: His Will of Decree and His Will of Command. God’s Will of Decree can’t be undone; it will happen. It’s often considered to be unknown or a mystery. God’s Will of Command is what God commands us to do. We can disobey these if we choose. These are things from the Bible that we know we’re to do. In this Plan, we’ll simplify these wills and refer to them as Unknown and Known. 

Over the next few days of this Plan, we’ll discuss the different aspects of God’s will. Journey along with us to grasp new insight into a discussion that has been on the hearts and minds of many followers of Christ for centuries. 

Reflect

  • When you think of God’s will, what comes to your mind? 

Luke 12:6‭. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

1 Peter 4:10‭. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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Assurance Day 4

There is a devotion today, since this is the last day of this reading plan. It has been a remarkable journey. Did you memorize any verses? I find it very helpful in times of temptation and doubt. These are today’s Scriptures: 1 John 3:14 and 1 John 5:11-13. The next topic will be “How Do I Know God’s Will.” Have a blessed day.

God wants you to KNOW you are saved and will go to heaven! Your assurance grows through encountering God and meditating on His Word. The following verses, when memorized, can help you rest assured in God in all of your days. Let your life be transformed by memorizing Scripture! 

Assurance will come from knowing God more intimately. One way to do that is to memorize and meditate on His Word. These verses are some of the 500+ from 48+ topics in the MemLok Bible memory system. MemLok is simple, easy and fun. A visual clue helps you get started. Available in mobile or Windows apps. MemLok 

1 John 3:14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

1 John 5:11‭. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

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Assurance Day 3

Today’s focus is threaded through 3 verses; and it is that God has called us through His Holy Spirit, set us apart from this world, and calls us to be His own for He will never leave us not forsake us. That is so reassuring to me! Romans 8:16, Romans 11:29, and Hebrews 13:5. Have a blessed day.

Romans 8:16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 11:29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Hebrews 13:5. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

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Assurance Day 2

Today we only have 3 verses without a devotion. It is through these 3 verses, however, we see a main focus. If we believe that Jesus is the Christ, this glorifies God because we bear fruit. (John 15:8); and He will remove our sins from us so we may be His disciples (Acts 10:43); and since He removed our sins from us, there is no more condemnation because we are now walking in the Spirit and not the flesh (Romans 8:1). Hallelujah! Have a blessed day.

John 15:8. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Acts 10:43. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

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Assurance Day 1

This new reading plan is 4 days and powerful. There is Bible memorization as well as verses that assure us that God’s promises are true. Verses: John 5:24; 13:34-35; and John 14:21. Have a blessed day.

God wants you to KNOW you are saved and will go to heaven! Your assurance grows through encountering God and meditating on His Word. The following verses, when memorized, can help you rest assured in God in all of your days. Let your life be transformed by memorizing Scripture! For a comprehensive system for memorizing Scripture, visit MemLok.com  More MemLok Plans 

John 5:24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 13:34‭. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 14:21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

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This is the last day of this 3 day reading plan. Our focus will be on recognizing we are children of the living God and not who liar Satan says we are. The fight is that we have believed his lies so long, they have become entrenched in our thoughts. Two verses for help: 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Philippians 4:8. Tomorrow’s topic will be on Assurance. It is a 4 day reading plan. Have a blessed day.

One reason Satan’s strongholds are so powerful is that they become entrenched. This happens when Satan can get you to buy into the lie that your situation is hopeless. His goal is to get you to believe that by nature you are a drug addict or a manipulator or a negative person, that you are controlled by fear or shame, that nothing will ever change, and so on. Once you give in to and adopt this line of thinking, these fortresses become difficult to remove. Your behavior deteriorates even more since all of us act according to who we believe we are.

The only solution is to tear down these fortresses by “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Reprogram your mind and release yourself from captivity. This is how you unleash your full potential and free yourself up to then help other men rise to do the same.

The solution is twofold but straightforward. First, identify Christ’s thoughts on a matter, and secondly, align your own thinking under the rule of His truth. 

Then the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

In what areas of your life do you need to take your thoughts captive?

We hope this plan encouraged you. For more about the Tony Evans ministry, click here. https://tonyevans.org/

2 Corinthians 10:5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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Today’s focus is on the power over our thoughts blessed to us though Christ Jesus our Lord. We can check our thoughts with the Bible. Seriously. It’s all three! Just Google it. The words may be ours or from else, but we can discern where the thoughts come from in comparison to the Bible. Thank You Jesus! Have a blessed day.

When you tell yourself, I can’t overcome this addiction, whose thought is that? 

Or when you think, I have to have this drink, whose thought is that? 

Or when you entertain such thoughts as, I am nothing. I have no value. I don’t have power over my emotions of lust or anger, who is doing the talking? 

We know these thoughts come from Satan because they are all lies, and he is the father of lies (John 8:44).

Satan makes quick work of planting thoughts and directing them. But his thoughts do not have to have the last word. You have the power to control your own thoughts. So, how should you respond to Satan’s suggestions? The same way Jesus did when Peter tried to keep Him from going to the cross. Peter told Jesus, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”

To which Jesus replied, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:22-23).

Jesus knew that the words came from Peter, but the thoughts came from Satan. And when Satan gets into your mind, he gets into your actions. The key to overcoming him is to take your thoughts captive.

How can a believer discern between thoughts planted by Satan and the believer’s own thoughts?

John 8:44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Hebrews 3:1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

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This is a 3 day reading plan I am starting. You have come up with some very good topics. “Assurance,” “How Do I Know God’s Will?,” “A21 Prayer Guide,” and “While We Wait.” Some are 3 days, some are 5 days. Thank you for your feedback. If I missed you, please send your topic today. Now to this topic, lol. Allow God to have dominion over your thoughts, not Satan. God is love and is for you. Satan is a liar and seeks your destruction. It should be easy to decifer who is trying to control your thoughts. Choose Christ and live! Have a blessed day.

God looks at your future, while the enemy tries to keep you in your past. 

God says, “You can, in spite of what has been done!” The enemy says, “You can’t, because of what you have done!” God will never define you by your past issues, but the enemy will try to confine you by them. Whether it is the good, bad, or ugly that dominates your life up until now, it is Satan’s goal to keep you chained there. 

Never let your yesterday keep you from your tomorrow. Learn from yesterday, but don’t live in it. Your victory comes through learning and then applying what you’ve learned. Becoming who God wants you to be starts with your thoughts.

Always remember that Satan’s number one strategy is to plant unhealthy thoughts in your mind, repeating them over and over until you start to think they are your own thoughts. When Satan told Eve she would be like God if she ate of the fruit, whose thought was that? That thought came straight from Satan himself. In fact, he’d had the same thought before, as we read in Isaiah 14:14: “I will make myself like the Most High.” It was Satan’s thought, but he planted it in Eve’s mind. 

So, be mindful of the devil. Don’t let him have free reign in your mind. 

Who are you going to listen to?

1 Peter 5:8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

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Today is the last day of this reading plan. The focus will be on the balance between resting and working. We don’t rest aimlessly but with purpose. We rest to be poured out again. Be careful to make some rest time for yourself every day, not just once a year (if that)! Trust God to fill you up, and He will. Have a blessed day.

Fill Up To Pour Out.

Being filled with the Spirit is simply this — having my whole nature yielded to His power. When the soul is yielded to the Holy Spirit, God Himself will fill it. — Andrew Murray

The reason we need rest is because we have been working or exerting energy in some way. And just because we learn how to rest and may feel rested, doesn’t mean we will stay that way. 

We will work again. 
We will help others again. 
We will be emotionally drained again. 

Getting rest for the sake of rest is not the whole point. We rest and get rest so that we can work again. There is a beautiful ebb and flow of working and resting; of being filled up so that we can pour out. 

As we’ve discussed, meditating on God’s Word, journaling, and disconnecting from things that distract us are practices that fill us back up. We find rest as we do these daily. Just like our physical bodies need ample hours each night to recover, our spirits do as well. We can’t expect to have strong, vibrant spirits without investing in them. We can’t think that one week of vacation will carry us through for months and months. We must make daily deposits in our rest bucket to endure. And we have to be paying attention when too many withdrawals have been made.

In his book, Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Refueling Your Passion, author and pastor Wayne Cordeiro tells about a dream he had. A woman approached a farmer at his farm and asked him for something he didn’t have. He said, “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.” She was upset but it didn’t bother him. He just kept working. People came to his farm everyday and when he was out of eggs or milk, he would simply say, “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.” Pastor Cordeiro shared this newfound view he had after the dream:

I don’t have to tie myself to an imaginary, unrelenting cycle to produce more, make more or try to outdo last week’s numbers. I have just so much time in the day, and I want to do what I can with all my heart involved. When the clock runs out, then I’ll say, “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.”

We wake up each day with a certain amount of mental, emotional, and physical energy. When we have poured out everything we have to give, we must rest. When we are in this empty state, there is less of us to get in the way of His work in our lives. 

Lean in, be still, and rest. This is the most opportune and appropriate time to be filled up with God’s Spirit. 

Reflect

  • Do you feel that you have to meet every need that you see?
  • What is something you can incorporate into your day to feel refueled?
  • Write down any revelation that God speaks to you through today’s Bible reading or devotional.

Galatians 5:22‭. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Ephesians 3:19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

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Today’s focus is on getting rid of the disturbances of this world while we spend time relaxing with God. While many things may not seem harmful at the time, let us not forsake the time we spend in His Word. Have a blessed day.

Disconnect From Distractions.

If you don’t take time away from the world around you, you’re going to get pulled down by the world around you. — Erwin McManus

One of the definitions of rest is to be free from anxiety or disturbance. In this time in our lives, we can easily find things that would disturb our rest as well as cause anxiety. They may be enjoyable in the moment and feel like they refresh us, but in the end, we are depleted from true rest.

Countless people are talking about the different ways to disconnect in our ultra-connected world. There are books, articles, podcasts, and messages giving us three steps to not be overwhelmed by things that rob our attention. But not everyone is distracted by the same things. What distracts one person is not a struggle for the next. 

In order to break away from the distractions in our lives, we have to consider a couple of things. First, we have to know what distracts us. Those things that tear us away from the important because they either feel urgent or they are just fun to indulge in. And secondly, we have to be willing to lay down our agendas so that the most important people in our lives don’t feel like distractions. 

Whatever that thing is that steals peace and rest from us, we must set some limits. Likely after reading that sentence, we all know exactly what it is. Instead of letting distractions keep us from rest and the most important people in our lives, maybe we…

  • ...don’t open our computer for work while our kids are awake. 
  • …choose to focus on the good instead of being distracted by the worries of the world. 
  • …set a specific ringtone for our family members and let the rest go to voicemail. 
  • …choose not to watch TV until the weekend. 
  • …set aside our plans for the future so that we can live in the present. 
  • …set time limits on certain websites, apps or video games.  

If we find ourselves in a continual place of anxiety and feeling disturbed, we must decrease or even eliminate such things that cause us to feel that way. It won’t be easy. Anything worth having takes work and sacrifice. Let’s not go another day where we allow the distractions of this world to keep us from God’s best rest for us. 

Reflect

  • What is the biggest thing that distracts you from truly resting?
  • What steps do you need to take today to remove or limit these distractions in your life?
  • Write down any revelation that God speaks to you through today’s Bible reading or devotional.

To the chief Mucisian for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.

Psalm 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

To the Chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.

Psalm 62:5. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

1 John 2:15‭. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

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Today’s focus is on journaling God’s Word and His inspirations to you as you read a verse, write it down, and meditate on it. Have a blessed day.

Renew Your Mind by Journaling.

Whatever you think about grows. Don’t focus on what you are going through. Focus on what you are going to do! — Dr. Caroline Leaf

On day 2, we learned a way to rest by meditating on God’s Word so that our actions will line up with His truths. There are many ways to let Scripture penetrate our spirits. His truth will literally pour over our minds and we will begin to see things differently. As we meditate on God’s Word, our minds will be renewed and we will find rest that we didn’t think was possible.

In order to get the most out of our time in God’s Word, we can integrate journaling as part of our daily practice. Journaling doesn’t have to be in depth or in great detail if this isn’t something we are accustomed to doing. It can be as simple as writing a few lines from any insight we received while reading the Bible. There are so many ways to journal. We can write down our thoughts or prayers; some people even do artwork during their journaling time. There is no right way to do it. To help you get started, here is a simple outline to follow: 

  • Choose a verse (or multiple) and read it. 
  • Read it again. 
  • Write it down. 
  • Ask God for insight and write that down.

Maybe you decide to journal about Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” After reading through it two to three times, we write it down. We might even choose to write it down in different Bible versions. We finish off our time journaling by asking God for insight about what we’ve just read.

As we pore over Scripture using the plan outlined above, we can internalize it through the day. Journaling daily also provides a timeline that we can look back on to see the spiritual progress we’ve made and the fresh ways that God has spoken to us in the past. 

We will see things clearly and have a newfound perspective about how God’s Word applies to our lives and restores us from the inside out. And with our minds being renewed, we are receiving a rest that cannot be acquired by any earthly pleasure.  

Reflect 

  • Have you ever made journaling a part of your daily time with God?  
  • Choose one verse and journal about it using the outline above. 
  • Write down any revelation that God speaks to you through today’s Bible reading or devotional.

Romans 8:6. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 12:1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 10:5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Colossians 3:2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

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Today we will focus on meditating on God’s Word. This is simply focusing our thoughts on the words we have read, and incorporating them into our lives. Read Ephesians 4:31-32 or choose a verse or two to focus on today. Ask God to reveal to you what you are doing to please Him as well as what you need to work on. You will know when and what He answers, if you are patient and listening. Have a blessed day.

Meditate on God’s Word.

The more you read the Bible; and the more you meditate on it, the more you will be astonished with it. — Charles Spurgeon

Many Christ followers don’t understand what meditation actually means. When we meditate on something we are simply focusing our thoughts.

The Bible mentions meditation over twenty times and calls us to meditate on God’s Word. This is a beneficial practice to incorporate into our daily time with God as it provides a mental and emotional rest for us as well as spiritual growth.

As we spend time reading the Bible each day, we can look deeply into the passages and begin a conversation with God. In order to grasp how to meditate on a verse or two, let’s dissect Ephesians 4:31-32 which says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” 

Let’s read it again and ask God:

Do I have bitterness? 
Am I an angry person? 
Are my words harsh? 
Is my heart tender? 
Do I forgive others freely? 

Then we listen and wait for the powerful, yet gentle voice of God. It will rarely be audible but we will know what He is saying to us. We can allow these scriptural meditations to go with us throughout our day making us aware of any bitterness, anger, harshness, hard-heartedness, or unforgiveness that is attempting to hijack our thoughts. 

This is meditating on God’s Word. 

The truths from Scripture sink deep into our souls when we meditate on God’s Word. Meditation provides us a new level of rest for us because we are spending our mental energy thinking about God’s Word and not drowning our minds with the worries of the world. Not only that, but we have the power to apply these life-changing words from God to our lives. We can’t help but become all that God wants us to be when we put this kind of effort in. 

Reflect

  • Choose a scripture from today’s reading, or another of your choice, and meditate on it. As you read through it, ask God to show you where you are obeying Him and where you need to make changes for spiritual growth. Allow this new discovery to permeate your thoughts throughout your day.
  • Write down any revelation that God speaks to you through today’s Bible reading or devotional.

Joshua 1:8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Psalm 119:27. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

Ephesians 4:31. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

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This is a 5 day reading plan I am beginning. Here is the outline. 1. What does it mean to rest? Rest is not the lack of doing anything, but we have planned our lives too rigidly. 2. Rest is about recovery. It is good to know when our limits. It is also good to get proper sleep. 3. Rest is about refreshment. Find what energizes us and do it. 4. Rest is about renewal. We need to spend time with God each day to be spiritually renewed. Over the next 4 days, we will learn some good habits to keep us from depleting ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Verses for today: Gen. 2:3; Exodus 34:11; and Mt. 11:28-30. Have a blessed day.

What does it mean to rest?

Our schedules seem to be getting fuller with each passing month. When we attempt to get together with friends, we are surprised that our next open evening is over a month away. There are our kids’ activities, church events, work projects, birthday parties, and summer vacations. We have programmed and planned our entire lives leaving little to no room for anything that might remotely rejuvenate us and offer us rest. 

Too often we think that rest means we should be lazy. It means we can totally chill out at home and do absolutely nothing. While there may be an element of that in our restful times, that is not the whole story. 

Rest is about recovery.

It is knowing when we are drained, exhausted, and need to breathe deeply for a while. It is knowing our limits and how we are handling the demands of our daily lives. In order for our bodies to truly recover, we must receive abundant rest, which includes sleeping well at night. If we find ourselves tired on a regular basis, it would be wise for us to evaluate not only the amount of nightly sleep we are getting but the time frame we are getting it.

Rest is about refreshment. 
It is learning what energizes us and what doesn’t. It is choosing to incorporate activities or stillness that will bring refreshing times to our spirits. If we continue doing things that deplete us when we should be finding things that fill us, refreshment will never come. We must make more deposits into this bucket than withdrawals during our times of rest.

Rest is about renewal. 
It is experiencing a deep renewal in all parts of our lives. It is spending time with God so that we are spiritually made new. While we may love to do certain things that refresh us mentally, ultimately, we need our spirits refreshed by spending time with God each day. 

Over the next four days, we will dive into some ways to find rest for our bodies, minds, and spirits. We will learn how to incorporate routines that become daily habits. And in doing so, we will be on our way towards eliminating mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical depletion from our lives.

Reflect

  • When you think of getting rest, does it feel like an impossibility? 
  • What area of your life do you feel needs the most rest? Body, mind, or spirit?
  • Write down any revelation that God speaks to you through today’s Bible reading or devotional.

Genesis 2:3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Exodus 34:21. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

Matthew 11:28‭. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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Total Surrender

This is the last day of this 30 day reading plan. There will be a new plan tomorrow. Today’s focus is on  the proper motive when we surrender our lives to God. Is it so we don’t have to face the consequences of our sins, or is it because we truly desire to give our whole life to His will? The first one is selfish, the latter is with a correct motive. Let’s do our best to allow God to work on others to get saved through us today and every day. Have a blessed day.

Our Lord replies to this statement of Peter by saying that this surrender is “for My sake and the gospel’s” (10:29). It was not for the purpose of what the disciples themselves would get out of it. Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result. For example, “I’m going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy.” Being delivered from sin and being made holy are the result of being right with God, but surrender resulting from this kind of thinking is certainly not the true nature of Christianity. Our motive for surrender should not be for any personal gain at all. We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ‘This is what God has done for me.’” Gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, and being made useful to God are things that should never even be a consideration in real surrender. Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.

Where does Jesus Christ figure in when we have a concern about our natural relationships? Most of us will desert Him with this excuse—“Yes, Lord, I heard you call me, but my family needs me and I have my own interests. I just can’t go any further” (see Luke 9:57–62). “Then,” Jesus says, “you ‘cannot be My disciple’” (see Luke 14:26–33).

True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion. If we will only give up, God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender. Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God. Most of us have only a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it.

O Lord, cause my intellect to glow with Your Holy Spirit’s teaching each and every day. This is my prayer. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Mark 10:28. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

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Today is day 29 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today will be on applying the vision God has given each of us, individually and as a whole, to our everyday lives. “The only way to be obedient to ‘the heavenly vision’ is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for His glory.” Sometimes we must wait though, Habakkuk 2:3. We don’t want to miss the fulfillment of the vision by our busy-minded works. It is through God’s storms He sends us. Wait upon the Lord to plant you. In that way, we will produce much fruit. Have a blessed day.

If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible—not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life—sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.

“Though it tarries, wait for it . . .” (Habakkuk 2:3). We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning we saw the vision but did not wait for it. We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision. Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

It is essential that we live and “walk in the light” of God’s vision for us (1 John 1:7). In all matters, O Lord, I would acknowledge You. Keep me in tune with You so that others may desire the joyousness and gladness of God. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 26:19. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

P. S. I have added these next verses.

20. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

21. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.

22. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

23. That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

24. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

25. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

26. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

27. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.

28. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

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Today is day 28 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on being a holy messenger for God with our lives. “…it takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a holy example of God’s message.” Do not forget, we are now His sons and daughters. How marvelous is that?! Have a blessed day.

We are not saved only to be instruments for God, but to be His sons and daughters. He does not turn us into spiritual agents but into spiritual messengers, and the message must be a part of us. The Son of God was His own message—“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). As His disciples, our lives must be a holy example of the reality of our message. Even the natural heart of the unsaved will serve if called upon to do so, but it takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a holy example of God’s message.

There is a difference between giving a testimony and preaching. A preacher is someone who has received the call of God and is determined to use all his energy to proclaim God’s truth. God takes us beyond our own aspirations and ideas for our lives, and molds and shapes us for His purpose, just as He worked in the disciples’ lives after Pentecost. The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the incarnation of what they preached so that they would literally become God’s message in the flesh. “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8).

Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you. Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory.

Lord God Omniscient, give me wisdom this day to worship and work aright and be well-pleasing to You. Lord, interpret Yourself to me more and more in Your fullness and beauty. In Jesus’precious name I pray. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

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Today is day 27 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is whether we will live our lives dependent on Jesus Christ, or will we walk away. So many times I have found myself struggling and suffering unnecessarily, because I did not include God in my decisions. It is never too late to seek His help. He is waiting for our ultimate faith and trust and dependence in Him. Have a blessed day.

What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.

Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him. In verse 70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: “Do you also want to go away?”

Lord, how little nourishment I have been giving to the indwelling Christ in me; O Lord, forgive me. Fill me with the ample sense of Your forgiveness that I may not only joy in Your salvation, but be filled with Your Spirit for the work You have given me to do.

John 6:67. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

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The Surrendered Life

Today is day 26 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus is on how disgustingly filthy sin is, and our duty to rid ourselves of it. We must come to terms with the fact that we still have pride. We who are saved sometimes believe we no longer have sin. He cannot forgive us if we are not honestly seeing ourselves as He sees us. Are you willing to give up everything to follow Him? Are you willing to look at yourself and find the wickedness and surrender it? Do not be afraid, have courage. That’s where Christ Jesus will be again and again! Have a blessed day. Today’s verse: Galatians 2:20.

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to

surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my mind and spirit are in suitable adjustment to You. Shed abroad liberty and purity and power among and in us all. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Galatians 2:20. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

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Today is day 25 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus is on how nothing can separate the love of God from us! We must remember that it was not because of anything we did that He came to save us, rather quite the opposite. Romans 5:8. So once we are saved, nothing can snatch us out of His hand. John 10:28. We will go through very difficult times, that’s life. It is through them, however, which makes us grow. Do not be afraid. He is with you alway, even to the end. Matthew 28:20. Have a blessed day.

Paul was speaking here of the things that might seem likely to separate a saint from the love of God. But the remarkable thing is that nothing can come between the love of God and a saint. The things Paul mentioned in this passage can and do disrupt the close fellowship of our soul with God and separate our natural life from Him. But none of them is able to come between the love of God and the soul of a saint on the spiritual level. The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that “in all these things we are more than conquerors.” We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against—tribulation, suffering, and persecution—are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).

The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

Lord, I praise You for the joy of my life here—for the love of wife and child, for the students, for the favors of the Holy Spirit. What a wonder of joy and radiant blessing this place has been!

Romans 8:37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

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Taking The Next Step

Today is day 24 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on yielding our minds unto God when times seem bleak and there is no help on the horizon. Many times (a day!) in life, we find ourselves doing and doing and doing, yet we do not see the results of our doing. It took 10 years of me witnessing to my best friend, and some of those times all I could do was pray and walk the walk, before he accepted Jesus Christ as his own Lord and Savior. So don’t give up! We may never see the results of our works, but know for a fact that God sees everything. Oh, what a relief! Have a blessed day.

When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.

Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ in John 13:1–17.

O Lord, save us from the murmuring spirit, which is harmful, hurting the bloom of spiritual communion. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

2 Corinthians 6:4. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5. In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6. By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7. By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8. By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9. As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10. As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

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Is He Really My Lord?

Today is day 23 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today will be on the joy we have within us. We could only attain it through the blessing of Jesus Christ. As He obeyed His Father and received His Father’s joy, so we obey Him and receive His joy. Valuing the ministry God has called us to do is the way to a fulfilling life. You do not have to be a preacher, not everyone is called to preach. You may be called to honor a parent by taking them into your home, making quilts for those in need, go visit those church members that can’t make it to church anymore, and so much more. Today’s verse: Acts 20:24. Have a blessed day.

Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it—to consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry. Knowing that you have done what Jesus sent you to do, think how satisfying it will be to hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Savior. And we must be willing to experience the full impact of Acts 9:16—“I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

“Do you love Me?” Then, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17). He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is not the same as the call—the need is the opportunity to exercise the call. The call is to be faithful to the ministry you received when you were in true fellowship with Him. This does not imply that there is a whole series of differing ministries marked out for you. It does mean that you must be sensitive to what God has called you to do, and this may sometimes require ignoring demands for service in other areas.

O Lord, I beseech You for sustaining strength and simple joy. Keep me humble-minded in motive and design. Keep my eyes upon Jesus, Lord! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 20:24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

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Is This True Of Me?

This is day 21 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on whether or not we are doing God’s will or what we consider to be the Christian thing to do. What is the difference? The first is the calling of God to serve Him in a certain area in a certain way. The second is used by our common sense in considering what is the best value I can give. I can see why this may be hard, but serving God’s calling is much more than just showing up. It is fulfilling His Commission over our lives through Him. It is our reasonable service. Have a blessed day.

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide. You may be more prosperous and successful from the world’s perspective, and will have more leisure time, if you never acknowledge the call of God. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself.” But Paul said he considered his life dear so that he might fulfill the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude chooses our own judgment, instead of Jesus Christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use—but always consider that “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are His.

O Lord, by Your grace open my vision to You and Your infinite horizons, and take me into Your counsels regarding Your work in this place. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 20:24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

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His Commission To Us

Today is day 21 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus is on God’s love toward us. “The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus was.” Wow. Can you imagine how it must have felt when Jesus said, “Don’t testify about how much you love Me and don’t talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, just ‘Feed My sheep.’” This leads me to this conclusion, “If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions—I have to feed His sheep.” Have a blessed day.

This is love in the making. The love of God is not created—it is His nature. When we receive the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, He unites us with God so that His love is demonstrated in us. The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus was. And what kind of oneness did Jesus Christ have with the Father? He had such a oneness with the Father that He was obedient when His Father sent Him down here to be poured out for us. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

Peter now realizes that he does love Him, due to the revelation that came with the Lord’s piercing question. The Lord’s next point is—“Pour yourself out. Don’t testify about how much you love Me and don’t talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, just ‘Feed My sheep.’” Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep: some that are unkempt and dirty, some that are awkward or pushy, and some that have gone astray! But it is impossible to exhaust God’s love, and it is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me. The love of God pays no attention to my prejudices caused by my natural individuality. If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions—I have to feed His sheep. We will not be delivered or released from His commission to us. Beware of counterfeiting the love of God by following your own natural human emotions, sympathies, or understandings. That will only serve to revile and abuse the true love of God.

I would, O Lord, have all my thoughts and emotions and words redolent with love, perfect love to You, and through that to others. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 21:17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

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Today is day 20 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on our devotion to Him. Only when you love someone so deeply can you understand and feel the depths of their sorrow. Dear Father God, I am so sorry for the grief I have caused You, Your Son and the Holy Ghost. I repent of all my sins. Draw me nigh Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Thank You! Amen. Today’s verse: John 21:17. Have a blessed day.

Have you ever felt the pain, inflicted by the Lord, at the very center of your being, deep down in the most sensitive area of your life? The devil never inflicts pain there, and neither can sin nor human emotions.

Nothing can cut through to that part of our being but the Word of God. “Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’” Yet he was awakened to the fact that at the center of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus. And then he began to see what Jesus’ patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest bit of doubt left in Peter’s mind; he could never be deceived again. And there was no need for an impassioned response; no need for immediate action or an emotional display. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he simply said, “Lord, You know all things . . . .” Peter began to see how very much he did love Jesus, and there was no need to say, “Look at this or that as proof of my love.” Peter was beginning to discover within himself just how much he really did love the Lord. He discovered that his eyes were so fixed on Jesus Christ that he saw no one else in heaven above or on the earth below. But he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord were asked. The Lord’s questions always reveal the true me to myself.

Oh, the wonder of the patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the perfect time. Rarely, but probably once in each of our lives, He will back us into a corner where He will hurt us with His piercing questions. Then we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than our words can ever say.

O Lord, You have enlarged me when I was in distress. Oh, that the thoughts of my heart were more and more a well-spring of gracious treasure without ceasing!

John 21:17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

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The Piercing Question

Today is day 19 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is on the question Jesus asks us, “Do you love Me?” This is not an emotional love but an action love. One that pierces through the sin so deeply hidden in us to expose it and remove it. Thank You Lord Jesus for loving each one of us, including me, this much. Please search me for any sin or deceit within me, and remove it quickly. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Peter’s response to this piercing question is considerably different from the bold defiance he exhibited only a few days before when he declared, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matthew 26:35; also see verses 33–34). Our natural individuality, or our natural self, boldly speaks out and declares its feelings. But the true love within our inner spiritual self can be discovered only by experiencing the hurt of this question of Jesus Christ. Peter loved Jesus in the way any natural man loves a good person. Yet that is nothing but emotional love. It may reach deeply into our natural self, but it never penetrates to the spirit of a person. True love never simply declares itself. Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men [that is, confesses his love by everything he does, not merely by his words], him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8).

Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of the Word of God in our lives. The Word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could, because sin dulls our senses. But this question of the Lord intensifies our sensitivities to the point that this hurt produced by Jesus is the most exquisite pain conceivable. It hurts not only on the natural level, but also on the deeper spiritual level. “For the Word of God is living and powerful . . . , piercing even to the division of soul and spirit . . .”—to the point that no deception can remain (Hebrews 4:12). When the Lord asks us this question, it is impossible to think and respond properly, because when the Lord speaks directly to us, the pain is too intense. It causes such a tremendous hurt that any part of our life which may be out

of line with His will can feel the pain. There is never any mistaking the pain of the Lord’s Word by His children, but the moment that pain is felt is the very moment at which God reveals His truth to us.

O Lord, this morning disperse every mist. Shine forth clear and strong and invigoratingly. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 21:17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

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Today is day 18 of this 30 day reading plan. The focus today is believing in Jesus enough to allow Him to do the impossible. Is there anything in your life you have not taken to the Lord in prayer, because you thought it impossible or perhaps not important enough? Don’t give common sense the power which belongs to God! Now have a blessed day.

Is there something in your life that not only disturbs you, but makes you a disturbance to others? If so, it is always something you cannot handle yourself. “Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more . . .” (18:39). Be persistent with your disturbance until you get face to face with the Lord Himself. Don’t deify common sense. To sit calmly by, instead of creating a disturbance, serves only to deify our common sense. When Jesus asks what we want Him to do for us about the incredible problem that is confronting us, remember that He doesn’t work in commonsense ways, but only in supernatural ways.

Look at how we limit the Lord by only remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past. We say, “I always failed there, and I always will. ”Consequently, we don’t ask for what we want. Instead, we think, “It is ridiculous to ask God to do this.” If it is an impossibility, it is the very thing for which we have to ask. If it is not an impossible thing, it is not a real disturbance. And God will do what is absolutely impossible.

This man received his sight. But the most impossible thing for you is to be so closely identified with the Lord that there is literally nothing of your old life remaining. God will do it if you will ask Him. But you have to come to the point of believing Him to be almighty. We find faith by not only believing what Jesus says, but, even more, by trusting Jesus Himself. If we only look at what He says, we will never believe. Once we see Jesus, the impossible things He does in our lives become as natural as breathing. The agony we suffer is only the result of the deliberate shallowness of our own heart. We won’t believe; we won’t let go by severing the line that secures the boat to the shore—we prefer to worry.

I praise You that all I am is Yours. Oh, that I could delight You as the lily does, or the tree, or even the sparrows, just living the life You have granted! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 18:41. Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

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Today is day 17 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus is on how deep is our belief and why. We cannot do things out of a sense of duty instead of obedience to Christ, because that will lead to prideful and arrogant thinking. We must resist putting our sense of duty on the throne of our lives in place of our resurrected Saviour Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:7 “Walk in the light as He is in the light…” Amen! Have a blessed day.

Now we believe. But Jesus asks, “Do you . . . ? Indeed the hour is coming . . . that you . . . will leave Me alone” (16:31–32). Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Proverbs 3:5–6). This is not deliberate sin and there is no punishment attached to it. But once a person realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and caused uncertainties, sorrows, and difficulties for himself, it is with shame and remorse that he has to return.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to “walk in the light” of our conscience or in the light of a sense of duty, but to “walk in the light as He is in the light . . .” (1 John 1:7). When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation—just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.

O Lord, when I awake, I am still with You. Quicken my mortal body with Your mighty resurrection life; rouse me this hour with a gracious influx of power. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 16:30‭. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

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Today is day 16 of this reading plan. Our focus is on our willingness to fully surrender to Christ. Most of the time, Christians don’t fully believe God can use us, because of our human condition. You are right. That is why we must surrender to Him so He can use His attributes through us and in our lives. What an awesome we serve! Have a blessed day.

The well is deep”—and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew (4:11)! Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature—He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.

The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.

O Lord, what a wonder of perfect confidence it would create could I but hear some clear disposing word of Yours! Lord, speak it today. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

John 4:11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

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This is the 15th day of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on our own doubts, and why we shouldn’t. Remember any story of the Bible, and then said to yourself, Yes, but that’s when Jesus was alive? We forget that He became a man just as you and we are. If we believe, we should not doubt. He even told us we would achieve greater things than He. Now ponder that! Have a great day.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality—that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, “Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy to say, Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water—no means to be able to give us these things.” And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, “Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself.” If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly—“Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but

only my own. And I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”

O Lord, with what abundant relief I turn to You! I need You in unfathomable ways, and with what amazed relief and joy I find all I need in You.

John 4:11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

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Today is day 14 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is to be in the grip of the love of God to the exclusion of everything else. Through this manner, can others see the Holy Spirit at work in us. After we are saved and the Holy Spirit indwells us, then our testimony will be a witness to God. “We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward.” How cool is that! Have a blessed day.

Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. “The love of Christ compels us . . . .” When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person’s life.

When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8).

Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . . .” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do—that is basic and understood—but “witnesses to Me . . . .” We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane—he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for—to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” This total surrender to “the love of Christ” is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will

always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.

Draw me, O Lord, into vital communion with Yourself. Press through till I am thrilled with Your presence. Cause me to be Yours in the expression of Your grace as well as in the experience of it.

2 Corinthians 5:14. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

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Look Again And Think

Today is day 13 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is the fact that God is in control of everything. Let us not allow the world and the things of it to control our thoughts, because they will indeed take care for themselves. Instead, focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for you and for me; because of His great Love and Might and Justice and Mercy. He is control of it all because of who He is. Nothing less. He Ave a blessed day.

A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.

“I say to you, do not worry about your life . . . .” Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing—our relationship to Him. But our common sense shouts loudly and says, “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.

“Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, “What are your plans for next month— or next summer?” Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the “much more” of your heavenly Father (6:30).

Detach me, O Lord, from the things of sense and time, and usher me into the presence of the King. Keep the precincts of my mind and heart entirely Yours.

Matthew 6:25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

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Today is day 12 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on Jesus’ simplicity. I must admit, I can complicate the simple. “By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become amazingly simple.” Have a blessed day.

A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us because we will not be simple. How can we maintain the simplicity of Jesus so that we may understand Him? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become amazingly simple. Jesus asks us to consider that “if God so clothes the grass of the field . . .” how “much more” will He clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him? Every time we lose ground in our fellowship with God, it is because we have disrespectfully thought that we knew better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed “the cares of this world” to enter in (Matthew 13:22), while forgetting the “much more” of our heavenly Father.

“Look at the birds of the air . . .” (6:26). Their function is to obey the instincts God placed within them, and God watches over them. Jesus said that if you have the right relationship with Him and will obey His Spirit within you, then God will care for your “feathers” too.

“Consider the lilies of the field . . .” (6:28). They grow where they are planted. Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don’t take root anywhere. Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him? Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a onetime experience but an ongoing process. Am I continually separating myself and looking to God every day of my life?

O Lord, I praise You for the revelation of Your supreme Fatherhood that dawns on me through the grace of the Lord Jesus. Oh, that I may be the child of my Father in heaven!

Matthew 6:30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

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Leave Room For God

Today is day 11 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus for today is to make room for God. It doesn’t matter how good we know our Bibles, we constantly make plans for today and the future. Don’t be thrown off course if God shows up unexpectedly with a blessing or a lesson. “Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.” Have a blessed day.

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him—to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly, God meets our life—“when it pleased God.”

Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.

Dear precious Lord, breathe on me until my frame is knit to Your thoughts. Lift me up until I see Your face and trust Your Almightiness without fear or insidious unbelief. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Galatians 1:15. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

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Today is day 10 of this 30 day reading plan. Our personal focus today could be explained as having a clear vision and understanding of our right relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord. Just as Paul saw Him in a vision on the road to Damascus, so too does He give us signs. In order to realize when this happens, we need to be in tune with Him. We do this by reading His Word, prayer, faithfulness, obedience, and putting Him first in everything. There’s no other way to please Him! Have a blessed day.

The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. And Paul stated, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine.” And the Lord also says to us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go . . .” (John 15:16).

When we are born again, if we are spiritual at all, we have visions of what Jesus wants us to be. It is important that I learn not to be “disobedient to the heavenly vision”—not to doubt that it can be attained. It is not enough to give mental assent to the fact that God has redeemed the world, nor even to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did a reality in my life. I must have the foundation of a personal relationship with Him. Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. Acts 26:16 is tremendously compelling “. . . to make you a minister and a witness . . . .” There would be nothing there without a personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

O Lord, enchain me to Yourself with great bonds of adoring love; encircle me around with Your Providence for Your purposes; enlarge me until I am more and more capable of being of use to You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Acts 26:16. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

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Today is day 9 of this 30 day reading plan. Today we focus on being the mirror image of God. “When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors.” We must be very careful not to stain that imagine. We can do this by leaving our lives continuously open to God and not concentrating on the things of this world. These things could even be good things, so pay attention. Keep God first as He did for us. Have a blessed day.

The greatest characteristic a Christian can exhibit is this completely unveiled openness before God, which allows that person’s life to become a mirror for others. When the Spirit fills us, we are transformed, and by beholding God we become mirrors. You can always tell when someone has been beholding the glory of the Lord, because your inner spirit senses that he mirrors the Lord’s own character. Beware of anything that would spot or tarnish that mirror in you. It is almost always something good that will stain it—something good, but not what is best.

The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God. Let everything else including work, clothes, and food be set aside. The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. We must maintain a position of beholding Him, keeping our lives completely spiritual through and through. Let other things come and go as they will; let other people criticize us as they will; but never allow anything to obscure the life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him. This is an easy thing to allow, but we must guard against it. The most difficult lesson of the Christian life is learning how to continue “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord . . . .”

O Lord, I look to You so utterly that I am worse than useless without You. Be made wisdom and discernment and understanding unto me today.

2 Corinthians 3:18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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Am I Looking To God?

Today is day 8 of this 30 day reading plan. Where is your focus today? Is it on the celebration of liberty and freedom from sin given only through the blood of Jesus Christ? Or is it on the fireworks and BBQ? To tell be honest, mine is mostly on the first, but I am also looking forward to our Church BBQ. However, there is no freedom without the sacrifice God made through His Son, Jesus Christ. That is why God wants us to “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Thank You so very much Lord God! Have a blessed day.

Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and His blessings are what make it so difficult. Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere. The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ. “Look to Me…”

Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christians’ lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God. This is not salvation—it is not simple enough. He says, in effect, “Look to Me and you are saved,” not “You will be saved someday.” We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.

Wake yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter how many things seem to be pressing in on you, be determined to push them aside and look to Him. “Look to Me . . . .” Salvation is yours the moment you look.

Dear precious Lord Jesus, unto You do I look up. How I know that “in me dwelleth no good thing”; and how marvelous is Your grace that I now find in my heart no motive save for Your glory. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 45:22. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

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Today is day 7 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on attitude. If my attitude desires to serve and to please God, then I will be drawing closer to Him. If I get frustrated because things are not going my way, I am displeasing God. Do I desire God today as much as the day I got saved? Do you? Have a blessed day.

Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me?

Does everything in my life fill His heart with gladness, or do I constantly complain because things don’t seem to be going my way? A person who has forgotten what God treasures will not be filled with joy. It is wonderful to remember that Jesus Christ has needs which we can meet—“Give Me a drink” (John 4:7). How much kindness have I shown Him in the past week? Has my life been a good reflection on His reputation?

God is saying to His people, “You are not in love with Me now, but I remember a time when you were.” He says, “I remember . . . the love of your betrothal . . .” (Jeremiah 2:2). Am I as filled to overflowing with love for Jesus Christ as I was in the beginning, when I went out of my way to prove my devotion to Him? Does He ever find me pondering the time when I cared only for Him? Is that where I am now, or have I chosen man’s wisdom over true love for Him? Am I so in love with Him that I take no thought for where He might lead me? Or am I watching to see how much respect I get as I measure how much service I should give Him?

As I recall what God remembers about me, I may also begin to realize that He is not what He used to be to me. When this happens, I should allow the shame and humiliation it creates in my life, because it will bring godly sorrow, and “godly sorrow produces repentance . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Dear precious Lord, how I long for You to bring me face to face with Yourself! My soul thirsts for You, for the touch of Your grace, the breathing of Your Spirit, the holiness of Your being. Until then, help me to grow nearer to Thee each day. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Jeremiah 2:2. Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

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Today is day 6 of this 30 day reading plan. Our focus today is on our relationship with God. Is it fresh? Do we look forward to each part of our day with the same excitement and newness as when we were first saved? I pray my relationship with Jesus Christ never becomes stale. Lord God, I want You to be in the midst of every decision, every thought, every deed. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a prayer meeting, but do we feel that same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes? Being born again by the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, and as surprising as God Himself. We don’t know where it begins—it is hidden away in the depths of our soul. Being born again from above is an enduring, perpetual, and eternal beginning. It provides a freshness all the time in thinking, talking, and living—a continual surprise of the life of God. Staleness is an indication that something in our lives is out of step with God. We say to ourselves, “I have to do this thing or it will never get done.” That is the first sign of staleness. Do we feel fresh this very moment or are we stale, frantically searching our minds for something to do? Freshness is not the result of obedience; it comes from the Holy Spirit. Obedience keeps us “in the light as He is in the light . . .” (1 John 1:7).

Jealously guard your relationship with God. Jesus prayed “that they may be one just as We are one”—with nothing in between (John 17:22). Keep your whole life continually open to Jesus Christ. Don’t pretend to be open with Him. Are you drawing your life from any source other than God Himself? If you are depending on something else as your source of freshness and strength, you will not realize when His power is gone.

Being born of the Spirit means much more than we usually think. It gives us new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything through the never-ending supply of the life of God.

O Lord, breathe on me till I am one with You in the temper of my mind and heart and disposition. Unto You do I turn. Again, how completely I realize my lostness without You! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

John 3:3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

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Vision And Darkness

Today is day 5 of this 30 day reading plan. Today we focus on patience and discipline. Don’t try to force God’s will to come true. He is in control, and He will see that it happens. Remember God’s promise to Abram for a son? Sarai did not understand, so she gave him her handmaiden to wife. Much stress to follow because she did not wait on the LORD. Next time you get a vision, wait upon the Lord. Have a blessed day.

Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a “darkness” that comes from too much light—that is the time to listen. The story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16 is an excellent example of listening to so-called good advice during a time of darkness, rather than waiting for God to send the light. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word. Abram went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all of his self-sufficiency was destroyed. He grew past the point of relying on his own common sense. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. There is never any need to pretend that your life is filled with joy and confidence; just wait upon God and be grounded in Him (see Isaiah 50:10–11).

Do I trust at all in the flesh? Or have I learned to go beyond all confidence in myself and other people of God? Do I trust in books and prayers or other joys in my life? Or have I placed my confidence in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am Almighty God . . .” —El-Shaddai, the AllPowerful God (Genesis 17:1). The reason we are all being disciplined is that we will know God is real. As soon as God becomes real to us, people pale by comparison, becoming shadows of reality. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.

O Lord, with much dimness I draw nigh to You. Clear the dimness away from me and flood me with the light of Your countenance. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Genesis 15:12. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

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“It Is The Lord!”

Today is day 4 of this 30 day reading plan. Today our focus is our service to Him, not His service to us. We are to be pure, holy, and focused on Him. What’s that you say? Strive to be pure and holy. “15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:15-16. Has He not done enough? Have a blessed day.

Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us. Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for that word—“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” How I realize that I owe nothing to Your severity but all to Your love. Oh, that Your Love and gentleness and patience toward me were expressed through me to others! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

John 20:28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

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Today is the third day of this thirty day reading plan. Today we focus on the service we do out of pure love toward God. “Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service.” It is wonderfully amazing! Have a blessed day.

The call of God is not a call to serve Him in any particular way. My contact with the nature of God will shape my understanding of His call and will help me realize what I truly desire to do for Him. The call of God is an expression of His nature; the service which results in my life is suited to me and is an expression of my nature. The call of the natural life was stated by the apostle Paul—“When it pleased God . . . to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [that is, purely and solemnly express Him] among the Gentiles . . . .”

Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.

Dear Lord, Your Word comes so quietly and allpervadingly—“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me,” and, “If any man serve Me, him will my Father honor.” Take me as Your servant in this sense. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Galatians 1:15‭. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

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Today is the 2nd day of this 30 day reading plan. We discuss the calling of God and His nature. It is a personal calling, and only you can answer it. Empty yourself of the busyness of the day, and invite God to talk to you. Then wait patiently. Have a blessed day.

When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it. Our dealings over the call of God should be kept exclusively between ourselves and Him.

The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed.

“Let me hear Your voice”—that is my prayer. I am willing beyond all my expression to hear You, to perceive You, to be thrilled with Your presence. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 6:8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

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I am starting a 30 day reading plan today: My Utmost for His Highest. I hope you enjoy it. Have a blessed day.

My Utmost for His Highest. “. . . my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed . . . .” We will all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus the areas of our lives He has asked us to yield to Him. It’s as if Paul were saying, “My determined purpose is to be my utmost for His highest—my best for His glory.” To reach that level of determination is a matter of the will, not of debate or of reasoning. It is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will at that point. An undue amount of thought and consideration for ourselves is what keeps us from making that decision, although we cover it up with the pretense that it is others we are considering. When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn’t know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point—He does know. Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only—my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.

My Unstoppable Determination for His Holiness. “Whether it means life or death—it makes no difference!” (see 1:21). Paul was determined that nothing would stop him from doing exactly what God wanted. But before we choose to follow God’s will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God’s gentler nudges. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him and we begin to debate. He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide—for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.

Lord, the range of Your power, the touch of Your grace, the breathing of Your Spirit—how I long for these to bring me face to face with You.

Philippians 1:20. According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

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Today is the last day of this reading plan. I hope you had fun and learned a few things along the way. Have a blessed day.

God is looking for sincere worshipers. Worship is simply the expression of our love, devotion, and commitment to God. (John 4:23–24)

Discipleship.

The last command Jesus gave His followers before He ascended to heaven was to go and make disciples, to baptize these disciples, and to teach them how to obey God’s Word. Therefore, we should first be disciples or followers of Jesus, then we should teach others to follow Him. (Matthew 28:19–20; 2 Timothy 2:2)

Personal Application.

Are you being discipled, either one-to-one or in a small group setting?

Are you making disciples? Who are you teaching to obey God’s Word?

Are you an active member of a local church?

Who are three Christians you can call for help in case of a spiritual emergency?

John 4:23‭. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Matthew 28:19‭. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

2 Timothy 2:2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

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Today is day 24 of the 25 day reading plan. We discuss the Church now, and how vitally important it is to God and us. True friends and fellowship can and should be found in the Church. We edify one another and love one another as Christ Jesus commanded. I have found this to be true. Have a blessed day.

Through a revelation of the Holy Spirit, Peter confessed the true identity of Jesus, the Son of God. (Matthew 16:16-18) Jesus said this truth would be the foundation stone that His church would be built on. He also described the type of church He would build: a victorious church that would overcome the kingdom of darkness. Jesus and Paul used the word “church” in reference to the people of God. Church never referred to a religious building. Here are two benefits of being part of a local church:

Friendship.

Real friends. Everyone needs them. Few find them. The best place to look for a real friend is in the church, the people of God. True friends are those who have our best interests in mind. They stick with us through thick and thin. Real friends never lead us away from God. Instead, they provoke us to godliness. (Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24)

Fellowship.

If a piece of burning coal is removed from the fire, it will cool off. If it’s put back in the middle of a pile of red-hot coals, it will burn again. The same is true of Christians. If a Christian is removed from fellowship with other red-hot Christians, he or she will cool off spiritually. If a Christian stays in fellowship, he or she will stay on fire for God. (Acts 2:42, 44-46; 2 Corinthians 6:14)

Matthew 16:16‭. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Proverbs 17:17. A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:24. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43‭. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45. And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 

2 Corinthians 6:14. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

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Today is day 23. We have to forgive everyone who has sinned against us. So, you think that’s hard? What would cause a great and holy God to pay attention to and forgive you and me of our sins? Jesus Christ through His blood and His great love. We must forgive. Have a blessed day.

What can we pray for?

God’s will to be done… in your life, in your family, in your church, in your city, in your nation, in the whole world. (Matthew 6:10)

Provision… personal and family needs to be met. (Matthew 6:11)

Forgiveness… receive forgiveness from God and forgive those who have offended you. (Matthew 6:12)

Victory over temptation… and protection from the devil’s schemes. (Matthew 6:13)

Does God really answer prayer?

Absolutely! The more specific the prayers, the more specific the answers will be. The secret is to pray according to His will. We know His will by knowing His Word. Therefore, as we pray according to His Word, we know He’ll answer. (1 John 5:14–15)

Personal Application.

Do you have a set time and place for daily Bible reading and prayer?

Are you involved in a Bible study or discipleship group?

Have you forgiven all who have sinned against you?

Do you pray daily for God’s provision in areas of your life?

Matthew 6:10‭. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11. Give us this day our daily bread. 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

1 John 5:14‭. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

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Today is day 22. We  learn not only how to pray, but also what not to pray for. I like to fashion my prayers after the Master. Jesus Christ gave a great example in His sermon on the mount. Matthew 6:9-15. Have a blessed day.

Prayer.

Jesus is our best example for prayer. By observing His personal prayer life, we can learn important principles on how to have an intimate time of dialogue with the Father. (Luke 11:1)

How are we not to pray?

Do not pray like the hypocrites. (Matthew 6:5)

Do not pray like the pagans. (Matthew 6:7–8)

How are we to pray?

Pray to the Father, not to the mother, saints, or angels. (Matthew 6:6)

Do not pray like the pagans. (Matthew 6:7–8)

How are we to pray?

Pray to the Father, not to the mother, saints, or angels. (Matthew 6:6)

Pray through Jesus. He is the only way to the Father. (1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6)

Luke 11:1. And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Matthew 6:5‭.  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

1 Timothy 2:5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

John 14:6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

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Today is day 21. Today we focus on doing God’s will, not our own. We must submit to please Him. It isn’t always easy, but the rewards are amazing. Have a blessed day.

How can I be successful?

If you meditate on God’s Word and carefully obey it, success is inevitable. Obedience brings success. (Joshua 1:8)

How can I know God’s will for my life?

As we renew our minds by studying God’s Word, we’ll be transformed, and we’ll understand God’s will. (Romans 12:2)

What happens if I know God’s Word but don’t do what it says?

The measure of our spiritual progress is not how much of the Bible we know, but how much we obey. Those who constantly learn but fail to obey end up deceiving themselves. (James 1:22)

Joshua 1:8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

James 1:22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

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Today is day 20. We are discussing growth and temptation. Once you became a Christian, you have the opportunity for a relationship with Christ Jesus. How does this relationship grow stronger and deeper? By reading God’s Word everyday. How do we resist temptation? By knowing the word of God. I pray for everyone who reads these words: May you have a fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ while you are in this world but not of it. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen!

What is the key to spiritual growth?

As newborn babies crave milk and need it to grow, so genuine new Christians crave God’s Word and need it to grow strong in faith. (1 Peter 2:2–3)

The more we hear or read the Bible, the more our faith will grow. (Romans 10:17)

How can I resist temptation?

Jesus resisted temptation, not by willpower, but by knowing and quoting God’s Word. We can win the temptation war the same way, by knowing and speaking God’s Word. (Matthew 4:3-4)

Head knowledge and religious facts don’t produce purity and holiness. The Word planted deep in our hearts will keep us away from sin. (Psalm 119:9,11)

1 Peter 2:2‭. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Romans 10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Matthew 4:3‭. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Psalm 119:9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalm 119:11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

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Today is the 19th day, and we begin to grow deeper in our relationship with God through His Word. Have a blessed day.

Christianity is more than just a religion. It is first and foremost a relationship with God. The foundation of any healthy relationship is communication. The better the communication, the better the relationship will be. God talks to us in many ways but He primarily talks to us through His Word, the Bible. We talk to Him through prayer. We learn to listen to the sound of God’s voice in our lives when we read His Word. He listens to us when we pray. We respond to His Word with action. He responds to our prayers with action. (Acts 2:42)

The Bible.
.

More than just a random collection of stories, poems, and letters, the Bible is the inspired, written Word of God. We must follow the example of Job who valued God’s Word more than food. (Job 23:12)

Before turning to Christ, we lived by the world’s standards. Now, we accept the Bible as the final authority for what we believe and how we live. God’s Word is the ultimate and absolute standard for every area of life.

Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Job 23:12. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

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Today is day 18 in this 25 day reading plan. Tomorrow we start on devotion and prayer. Have a blessed day.

Spiritual Gifts.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the manifestation of spiritual gifts. In the Biblical accounts of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the most common spiritual gift manifested is the gift of tongues. (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:44–46; Acts 19:6)

The Gift of Tongues and Prophecy.

Tongues and prophecy are both designed for edification or for strengthening. Tongues strengthens the individual and prophecy strengthens the church. (1 Corinthians 14:1–40)

Personal Application.

Have you repented of your sins?

Have you put your trust in Christ alone for salvation?

Have you been baptized in water since you repented?

Would you like to get water baptized?

Have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

Would you like to have someone pray with you to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

Acts 2:4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 10:44‭. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Acts 19:6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

1 Corinthians 14:1‭. Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 6. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 7. And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8. For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9. So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17. For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19. Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 20. Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

14:23. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24. But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 26. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37. If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40. Let all things be done decently and in order.

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Today is the 17th day of this 25 day reading plan. Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are saved. Being baptized is an outward expression of an inward confession. It is also a step of obedience. Be blessed today.

Peter taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift promised for every believer, not just for those present during Pentecost. (Acts 2:38–39)

How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

James tells us that we don’t have because we don’t ask. In order to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we must ask — and we must ask in faith. (Luke 11:13)

The Laying on of Hands.

Many disciples in the New Testament received the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. (Acts 8:17)

Acts 2:38‭. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Luke 11:13. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Acts 8:17. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

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This is the 16th day of the 25 day reading plan, One-2-One. Today we look at baptism of the Holy Spirit. Surrender all, and begin to live for Christ Jesus. It is amazing! Have a blessed day.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It’s impossible to live the Christian life apart from the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come to lead us into all truth. (John 16:7, 13)

Jesus the Baptizer: John the Baptist taught that water baptism was an act of repentance, and pointed out that Jesus would baptize His disciples with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11)

Power to be a Witness.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be effective witnesses. A witness is one who not only tells the truth, but also lives the truth. (Acts 1:8)

John 16:7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

John 16:13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Matthew 3:11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Acts 1:8. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

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Today is the fifteenth day of the 25 day reading plan, One-2-One. It is not the water that cleanses us. If it were, we would only need to bathe. It is through the blood of our loving Lord Jesus Christ that cleanses our sins white as snow. Thank You Lord Jesus! Have a blessed day.

Crossing the Red Sea.

In the same way the Israelites were in slavery to the Egyptians, we were all slaves of sin. The Israelites were freed from their bondage by passing through the Red Sea. Baptism pictures the freedom from sin that Jesus purchased for us on the cross. (1 Corinthians 10:1–2)

The Flood.

Peter teaches that it is not the water or the “removal of dirt” that saved us, but the death and resurrection of Christ. (1 Peter 3:20–21)

1 Corinthians 10:1‭. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

1 Peter 3:20‭. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

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Today is the fourteenth day of this 25 day reading plan, One-2-One. The next five days, including today, will be discussing baptism. In my church, we believe the Bible. In the Bible, baptisms are conducted by immersion. Die to sin, be born into the Spirit of the living God. Amazing! Have a blessed day.

When the crowd asked Peter what they should do in response to his sermon, he gave them a three-fold answer: repent, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, 41) Thousands responded and were added to the fellowship of believers. The Biblical pattern is that everyone who is baptized is also added. Every baptized disciple is expected to become an active member of the local fellowship.

Water Baptism.

The Bible presents several illustrations to help us understand water baptism. Each of these pictures of water baptism shows the old life being put away and the new life emerging. In water baptism, we publicly identify with what Christ did for us on the cross, put away the old life of sin, and begin a new life of obedience to Christ.

Burial and Resurrection.

Paul compares Christian baptism to a burial. In order to be buried, a person must first die. In the same way, the prerequisite for baptism is death to sin. After we are buried in baptism, then we are raised to live a new life. (Romans 6:1–4)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Romans 6:1‭. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

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Today is day thirteen of the 25 day reading plan. I’m so glad that our God is down to earth God. He gets to the heart of our problems by cutting through the chase. The closer we come to Him, the better we are able to here the Holy Spirit’s beckoning us to repent. Thank You Jesus for loving us this much! Have a blessed day.

No Regret

Repentance is turning away from sin and turning to God. It means we stop trusting in our own good deeds and religious activity, and we start trusting in Christ alone. We were going in the wrong direction; now we’re going in the right direction. We were running from God; now we’re walking with Him. Repentance is the starting point of a new life. Repentance takes us off the treadmill of a self-centered life and puts us on the fast track of God’s glorious purpose for our lives. Turning to God means no looking back and no regrets. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Personal Application.

Is your life going in a new direction?

Are there sinful areas in your life that are still a struggle?

Are there areas of intense temptation or consistent weakness that you need prayer for?

Are there sins that you have turned away from, yet you still feel condemned about?

2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

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Today is day 12th of the 25 day reading plan One-to-One. The prodigal son, a story of true repentance. We serve a merciful such a God. Thank You Jesus! Have a blessed day.

Repentance and Forgiveness.

The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–24 is a beautiful picture of true repentance. The wayward son came to his senses, turned his back on his folly, and returned to his father. He made a 180 degree turn, walking away from his former life of sin and rebellion. His father forgave him for his offenses and received him back. In the same way, our Heavenly Father is faithful to forgive us when we turn to Him and repent of our sins. (Acts 3:19)

Ever had a stain on your shirt that you couldn’t wash out? Imagine a stain remover that would not only remove the stain, but would make the shirt just like new again. That’s what happens when we repent and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He not only cleans the sin’s stain of guilt and shame from our hearts, He gives us a new heart. (1 John 1:9)

Luke 15:11‭. And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Acts 3:19. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Today is the eleventh day of the 25 day reading plan, One-to-One. This is talking about the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. The first is genuine and bears good fruit. The latter brings death, because there is no change, no repentance. They’re just upset they got caught. Let us try to be joyful even when we have to admit wrongdoing, because God is always gracious to forgive. Amen! Have a blessed day.

Repentance, Sorrow, and Fruit.

Real repentance begins when we are truly sorry for our sins. This “godly sorrow” makes no excuses, takes full responsibility, and never places blame on people, society, or circumstances. It acknowledges that our sin is primarily against God. Godly sorrow produces true repentance and a changed life. (2 Corinthians 7:10; Psalm 32:5)

On the other hand, “worldly sorrow” only produces excuses. While godly sorrow is having a broken heart when we realize we have offended a holy God, worldly sorrow is being sorry we got caught, or being sorry we have to suffer the consequences of sin. The ultimate difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow is the fruit. Worldly sorrow never produces the fruit of a changed life; it only produces spiritual death. (Acts 26:20; Matthew 3:8)

2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Psalm 32:5. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord ; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Acts 26:20. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Matthew 3:8. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

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Today is the tenth day in this 25 day reading plan.

Driving a car in the wrong direction on a one-way street is foolish and dangerous. Some drive the wrong way out of ignorance; others out of rebellion. There’s a spiritual parallel. Whether out of ignorance or rebellion, we’re all on a dangerous one-way street that will ultimately lead to eternal separation from God. Until we turn around (repent) and begin following Christ, every step we take is a step in the wrong direction — a step away from God. (Acts 2:38)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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Today is the ninth day of this reading plan.

Lordship Is a Continuous Walk

We begin our Christian life by acknowledging that Jesus is Lord. We must continue to walk under His Lordship for the rest of our lives. Lordship is not having a one-time experience with God, but developing a lifetime walk with God. The more we know Him, the more we submit to Him. (Colossians 2:6)

Personal Application.

Are there areas in your life that you have not yet submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

Are your relationships under His Lordship?

Are your finances under His Lordship?

Is your time submitted to His Lordship?

Colossians 2:6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

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This is day eight of this 25 day reading plan.

Lordship Demands Obedience.

Anyone who claims Christ as his or her Lord is expected to do what He says. Intellectual faith and empty confession is not enough. If we say Christ is our Lord, our lifestyle should back up our claim. (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21)

Lordship Begins in the Heart.

Submitting to Christ as Lord is not about following a set of religious rules and traditions. Rather, Lordship is a matter of the heart. Lordship begins as an internal submission of the heart. If it’s genuine, it will eventually reveal itself in outward obedience. (1 Peter 3:15)

Matthew 7:21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Luke 6:46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

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Today is the seventh day of this 25 day reading plan.

Lordship is one of the central messages of the Bible. (Acts 2:36) Jesus is referred to as “Lord” ninety-two times in the book of Acts and 747 times in the whole New Testament, while being referred to as “Savior” only twice in Acts and twenty-four times in the New Testament. The Biblical emphasis is overwhelmingly on the concept of Lordship. Lord means master; the one who calls the shots, the one who makes the decisions.

Lordship and Salvation.

The starting point of salvation is the acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ. Confessing Jesus is Lord implies a submission to His Lordship in every area of life. If Jesus is not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all. We don’t have the option of receiving Him as Savior and not as Lord. Salvation is an all-or-nothing proposal. (Romans 10:9)

Acts 2:36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Romans 10:9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Luke 6:46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

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Day 6. Have you stopped trusting in yourself and are ready to trust in Jesus Christ? Welcome into this family of God! Say the simple pray in this message. O glorious day!

The Response: Receive God’s Gift by Faith.

We receive salvation when we stop trusting in ourselves and put our trust in what Christ did for us.

Our salvation is a result of God’s grace. It’s based on what Jesus did for us on the cross. It has nothing to do with what we do for Him. We cannot save ourselves or earn God’s approval through the good works we do. We’re saved by God’s grace when we realize our need for a Savior, turn from sin, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, putting our trust in Him alone for salvation. (Romans 10:9–10; Ephesians 2:8–9)

Personal Application.

Have you stopped trusting in yourself and started trusting in Christ alone for salvation?

Have you turned away from all known sin?

Have you confessed Jesus as the Lord and Master of your life?

Are you willing to follow and obey Him for the rest of your life?

Prayer for Salvation.

Heavenly Father… I acknowledge that the separation between us… is because of my sin… I confess that I have sinned… and have fallen far short of Your glory… I thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus… to pay the penalty for my sin… I believe that He died on the cross for me… I believe that You raised Him from the dead… I’m sorry for my sins… and I ask You to forgive and cleanse me… I want to turn away from everything the Bible calls sin… and receive You as my Lord, Master, and Savior… help me to love, serve, and obey You… for the rest of my life… in Jesus’ name, amen!

A New Life.

If you sincerely prayed that prayer, the Bible promises that the old has gone and the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) The next five lessons in One-2-One will introduce you to some of the new things that have come.

Romans 10:9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Ephesians 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

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This is day 4 of this reading plan about understanding salvation and discipleship to help you help lead others to Christ Jesus and beyond. Today’s focus is on salvation and reconciliation. Have a blessed day.

The Result: Our Salvation and Reconciliation

Christ died on the cross so that we could receive forgiveness of our sins, be reconciled to God, and have eternal life.

We have all sinned against a holy and righteous God. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God in hell. God is just and must punish sin. He’s also loving and does not want us to go to hell forever. Therefore, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for sin by dying on the cross. Because of His sinless life, death could not hold Jesus. He was raised from the dead on the third day. In Christ, we experience forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. In Him, we’re restored to right standing before God and given a new life as His children. (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13)

John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Ephesians 1:7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Ephesians 2:13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

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Day 4 continues to explain why it was necessary for Jesus Christ to come to earth, live, die, and rise again on third day. God paid the price which we could not through Jesus who knew no sin. Thank You Jesus! Have a blessed day.

The Solution: God’s Sacrifice and Substitution

The justice of God demands a sacrifice for man’s sin. Jesus Christ became that sacrifice and paid the penalty for our sin at the cross.

Since God is holy, righteous, and just, He could not allow sin to go unpunished. Since He is loving and compassionate, He did not want all of mankind to be eternally separated from Him. The divine solution to this problem was for Jesus, God’s only Son, to become the sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 9:26–28)

What exactly happened on the cross? Through His death on the cross, Jesus took our place and our punishment. He exchanged His righteousness for our sin. He took our curse and gave us His blessings. Because of His sinless life, Jesus was the only one qualified to pay the penalty for man’s sin and to bridge the gap between God and man. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13)

Hebrews 9:26. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

2 Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Galatians 3:13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

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On the third day of this reading plan, we discuss the reason we are separated from God to appreciate how good the good news is. We have sinned and therefore caused a division between God and us. God has provided a way back, a way to have a relationship with Him. That is truly good news! Have a blessed day.

A new creation. A fresh start. For all of us who have ever wished we could start over, this is good news. (2 Corinthians 5:17) However, before we can really appreciate this good news, we need to understand exactly why we need to start over. Why do we need to become a “new creation?” Why do we need salvation?

The Problem: Separation Because of Our Sin

There is an immeasurable gap separating God and man. The cause of this eternal separation between God and man is sin.

Have you ever felt distant from God? We all have. Feeling far from God is very common. Many who sense this vast separation suppose that if they meditate harder, learn more about their religion, or just step into a religious sanctuary, they would be closer to God.

But since our separation from God is not physical or intellectual, neither meditation nor knowledge can bring us any closer to God. What causes the separation between God and man?

The separation between God and man is a moral separation. God is holy; man is not. God is good; man is not. God is just; man is not. All men have sinned; therefore, all are eternally separated from God. All will suffer the consequences of sin, which is eternal death. (Isaiah 59:1–2; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23)

2 Cor. 5:17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Isaiah 59:1. Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Romans 3:23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Today is day 2 of this 25 day reading plan. We are encouraged to trust God, not our own knowledge; to stay away from sin; attend a discipleship class, and join our small Bible study group; to read and obey our Bibles; and to share with a dieing world how good our God truly is. Amen!

These five steps will get you off to the right S-T-A-R-T, as you follow Christ:

1. Stop trusting in yourself and your own good works, and start trusting in Christ alone for salvation. (Ephesians 2:8–9)

2. Turn away from everything the Bible calls sin. (2 Timothy 2:19)

3. Attend a small group for personal discipleship and weekly worship services. (Hebrews 10:25)

4. Read and obey your Bible every day. (Joshua 1:8)

5. Tell others about your new relationship with Christ. (Mark 5:19–20)

Eph 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

2 Tim 2:19. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Heb 10:25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Josh 1:8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Mark 5:19. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

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THE RIGHT START

I have started a new reading plan, One-to-One. It is a 25 day plan, and it’s goal is to help those who go Soul Winning to not just get people saved, but to disciple them. It is right up my alley! I hope you will enjoy it as well. Have a blessed day.

From 1974–1979, a young, upstart Presbyterian youth pastor named Ron invaded local high schools in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, boldly sharing the Gospel one-on-one with anyone who would listen — and with some who wouldn’t. Over the years, countless teenagers heard and understood God’s plan of salvation for the first time. Hundreds responded. Many went on to serve the Lord in full-time ministry as church-planters, youth ministers, pastors, and missionaries.

I’m one of those who heard the Gospel for the first time through Ron back in the mid-seventies. However, my first response to Ron and his Gospel was not to repent, but to run. I ran from Ron, from his “disciples,” and from God. I ran for about six months, avoiding Ron the best I could. It was a difficult task, as he seemed to show up everywhere. He was at every football and basketball game. He was in the school halls, in the cafeteria, in the parking lot. He and his band of disciples were always inviting me to another retreat, another Bible study, another prayer meeting, another youth night at the church. Finally in November of 1975, I responded to the Gospel. I repented and put my faith in Christ alone.

Fortunately, it didn’t end there. Ron wasn’t content just to carve a notch in his well-worn Bible to represent yet another soul saved. Since he was not out to save souls, but to make disciples, his work with me was just beginning. He added me to one of his famous “action groups” where about eight of us met together weekly and learned to walk with God.

I believe in one-to-one evangelism, one-to-one follow-up, and one-to-one discipleship. Here’s why: Ron shared the Gospel with me. I didn’t respond. I ran. Ron ran after me. For six months he ran after me, preaching to me and praying for me. He just wouldn’t go away. That’s one-to-one follow-up.

After I responded to the Gospel, Ron began to disciple me in a small group. He taught me how to study and live the Bible. He taught me how to pray. He taught me how to share my faith and how to make disciples. That’s one-to-one discipleship. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Personal follow-up and discipleship. That’s the Great Commission. That’s what One-2-One is all about.

It’s a guide. It can’t make a disciple, but it can help you make one. Most importantly, it helps a new disciple get the right start.

Steve Murrell

2 Tim 2:2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Mark 1:17. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

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Today’s video is 9:35 minutes. It is also the last day of this reading plan. Not to worry though. I’ve started another. It is the The Bible – Chronology. I will most likely start another reading plan as well. I’m looking at Prayer Boot Camp http://bible.com/r/6TP

To end James’ message to the  believers, he exhorts them in all circumstances to pray. Do you believe you have the faith of Elijah? Moses? Abraham? You do! They were men made by God. So are you. You are as precious to God as any great person of faith you can point to, because you can have a relationship with God as well! How awesome is our God that we serve! Have a blessed day.

If prayer is, essentially, talking with God, then there must be many ways to do it. Certainly we want to speak respectfully to the Creator of the universe, but that didn’t stop Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, or other biblical heroes from speaking their minds. It’s a conversation with a great God who loves us. With that in mind, choose whatever posture or format makes sense.

Scripture indicates great value in both personal prayer and group prayer, and both appear here in verses 13–14. If you’re in trouble, pray. Call out to God privately when you need His help. But there is also healing power as the community of faith gathers, with its appropriate leadership, to call upon the Lord.

The connection between sin and sickness is not an easy one to figure out. Do James’s words mean that a sick person must have sinned in some way, to bring on the sickness? No! Sometimes that could be the case, but not always.

Earlier, James challenged his readers to humble themselves before the Lord. In this last part of his letter, he shows what that looks like. The church community is praying together, confessing their sins to one another. They accept the fact that they’re “only human,” but they still expect great things from God when they pray. And when someone strays from the faith, they don’t alienate that person with harsh words of judgment. They pray. They forgive. They restore.

The Christian faith is not about setting up some ideal of perfect behavior, but of connecting with God humbly, listening to Him, letting Him reorder our priorities, and living out His passion for the needy. Our faith in Christ changes us. A true faith—a living faith—has the natural outworking of good works. And good works—no matter how good—can’t produce authentic faith. Faith is always a gift and never earned.

So as you face trials, as you experience temptation, as you minister to the needy, as you suffer, have faith in God. Trust Him for wisdom. Trust Him for compassion. Trust Him for patience. Trust Him for endurance. Trust Him for healing. Trust Him for the faith that produces a harvest of righteousness.

If you don’t already, connect with other believers for group prayer. Talk with a few friends about getting together on a regular basis to pray for the needs of your church and community.

Congratulations, you completed the reading plan! Click here https://www.rightnowmedia.org/promo/colossians to access the Book of Colossians study with Louie Giglio, another video Bible study from RightNow Media.

Jms 5:13. Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 19. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20. Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
James 5:13‭-‬20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.5.13-20.KJV

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Today’s video is 7:48 minutes. Let’s remember the audience. These believes have been scattered abroad after losing everything. Now they have to be patient?! Yes. Just as the farmer has to wait for the harvest, so too we have to wait. Don’t blow it by being angry with one another. As Christ suffered for us, we too should bear one another. Also, don’t sweat to God. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. After all this, be patient my brothers and sisters. Christ Jesus is coming again! Be ready for that glorious day! Have a blessed day.

Waiting isn’t usually our favorite activity. James uses the word “patience” four times in four verses. Remember that this was the first generation of Christians. When Jesus ascended to heaven, some surely expected Him to return in a week or a month. When the delay stretched on for years, some were losing hope—especially when life was getting more difficult for Christ-followers. But these believers weren’t just waiting; they were suffering.

The Bible is full of encouragement for those who suffer, whether that suffering comes in the form of persecution or from some other force. We can even bring suffering upon ourselves. But Scripture keeps reminding us that God still cares, that He has not abandoned us, that He sits with us in our suffering, and that we will come out of this stronger than before.

James provides two examples. First, the “prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” Jeremiah is the best example of a prophet who suffered for speaking the truth. The second example is Job.

When people are discussing suffering, Job is the go-to Bible book. Why God allowed all of Job’s suffering can be an unending debate. But James doesn’t get into the why. He wants us to see Job and other prophets as examples of those who have been blessed as the end result of suffering.

James doesn’t get into the unfairness of suffering. He acknowledges that it’s going to happen and says, “Here’s what we can do with the suffering.” As you grapple with your or another’s suffering, remember these truths from James:

¶We can make sure it doesn’t divide us (“don’t grumble against one another”).
¶We can trust that being patient, persevering, and riding it through til the end will result in our being blessed.
¶We can look to others in the past who have persevered, like the prophets and Job, as examples of those who have gone through profound suffering and come out on the other end.
¶Because of Job’s example, we can know that sometimes verbalizing the anguish and misery is part of going through it.
¶We can know that throughout suffering, God is always “full of compassion and mercy.”

Jms 5:7. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. 12. But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
James 5:7‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.5.7-12.KJV

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Today’s video is 10:07 minutes. While James is addressing the rich in these passages, let us be careful to think not that he isn’t also talking to us.. It is the condition of our hearts. Do our budgets reflect our spiritual priorities? Upon Christ’s return, let us have stored up spiritual treasures, not earthly ones that will be burned up. He is coming back, praise the Lord! Have a blessed day.

Do you think this letter is written to all “rich” people ever, to rich people in that time and place, or just to the rich people who were guilty of exploitation? The deeper question is: What are we going to do with this? James really lays into these people, and it makes us uncomfortable. If we can dodge this barrage, we want to. We want to say it’s their problem, not ours. And most of us don’t think of ourselves as rich, do we? We’re always looking at someone else who has more, and we say, Go after them, James. They’re the problem.

But whenever we come to Scripture, we want to see what’s there for us. God wants to speak to us, and we need to be ready to listen, even if it’s uncomfortable. How does God want us to use our resources? That’s the question we want to zero in on today.

In the video, Francis Chan got us off on the right track when he said, “Let’s look at our hearts and go, Why long for these earthly things so much? And, why am I acquiring more and more for myself and neglecting those who are in need?”

In the first six verses of James chapter 5 we learn what God cares about and we learn what makes Him mad. When rich people exploit poor people, that’s a big problem. God will turn the tables in His coming kingdom.

And maybe we should “weep and howl” a little more about the injustice in our world. We should certainly do what we can to help the poor. James has been saying this all along.

But all of that starts in our hearts. We might find it hard to admit how important money really is in our lives. Is it more important to us than God is? How many of our decisions are based on the bottom line rather than our higher calling?

How can we break the mastery of money in our lives? How can we center our hearts on God rather than wealth?

What can you do? Find out more about exploitation in our world today. Share your findings with other believers. Pray together about what you could do to change things.

Also examine your household budget. How do your expenditures reflect your spiritual priorities? What might need to change?

Jms 5:1. Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
James 5:1‭-‬6 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.5.1-6.KJV

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Today’s video is 7:44 minutes. In these verses, we discover why we shouldn’t take tomorrow for granted. But what sin is this represent? Pride, arrogance. We need to give all submission to God’s will. If we know God’s will and fail to do it, it is sin to him. So when we make plans, try this: God willing. Have a blessed day.

We all make plans. We have to or things would be a mess. You have to plan to make a presentation for work or study to pass an exam. You have to plan for someone to pick up your kids from school activities if you can’t do it. Making plans is not the problem James addresses here. The problem is our attitude about the plans we make.

How would you define arrogance? Do you think it is arrogant to declare your plans without first actually saying the words, “If the Lord wills”? You’ve heard it before. It can get a little crazy when you visit a restaurant and tell the waiter, “If the Lord wills, I’ll have the chicken.” Or you get up to use the restroom and say, “Excuse me. If the Lord wills, I’ll be back in a moment.”

In the video, Francis said it’s about asking, “God, am I really in submission to Your will? Am I comparing myself to other people whom I consider more arrogant, that I’ve overlooked my own arrogance? OK, Lord, I recognize that my life is in Your hand. Every breath is a gift from You. So I surrender it to You now. What do You want me to do?”

The key here is that God’s plans trump our plans. We need to be humble enough to recognize that God might have different priorities from ours, and we should be obedient enough to make plans with His priorities in mind.

Sometimes we live as if God does not exist. We conduct our business day to day without thinking a lot about what God wants. We make our plans based on our hopes and dreams, not God’s. We may have a rather moral code of conduct, but we’re not responding to God’s daily guidance.

That’s a problem, says James. A few verses earlier he was urging his readers to “submit yourselves to God” and to “draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” That humble attitude of submission is crucial if we’re going to live for Him in this world. Living in constant communication with God is necessary if we’re going to be flexible enough to change our plans based on His desires.

How do we need to change our habits so that we can hear God’s daily guidance and follow it?

What plans do you have for your life, your family, your home, your business, your church? Talk with God about these, and then listen. What does He think about all this? If your plans involve others, get them in on the praying, too.

Jms 4:13. Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
James 4:13‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.4.13-17.KJV

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Today’s video is 10:21 minutes. Before we judge others, let us examine ourselves. Why do we quarrel? It is because we are seeking fulfillment outside of God. When we pray, do we ask for the lusts of our hearts or a deeper relationship with God? To be friends of the world is to be an enemy of God. He knows what we need and want. Therefore let us be doers of the Law and not judges of it today. Trust Him in everything, and have a blessed day.

A good strategy helps tremendously in attaining any kind of goal. Putting an effective strategy together takes wisdom—the kind of wisdom we learned about in James 3. But here, James confronts the ugly, selfish result of false wisdom. The church is fighting, coveting, and speaking evil about one another. They want things their way, but they are looking for answers in all the wrong places.

James’s original readers prided themselves on being religious. But by criticizing others who are not as religious as they are, they reveal how far from God they themselves have strayed. Every time they open their mouths, they’re slandering others. They seem more interested in building their own status than in loving their brothers and sisters.

James is calling them, and us, to humility, to an accurate understanding of our place in regards to God. An essential element of humility is prayer, but not the sort of praying James’s audience had been practicing. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly. . . .” They were asking with selfish motives, relegating God to the role of benevolent benefactor and assuming He would give them whatever they asked—if they even bothered to ask.

As soon as we say it’s everyone else’s problem and not ours, then it becomes our problem. The solution is not to argue better or to prove that we’re right and others are wrong. The solution is to humble ourselves, to admit where we have fallen short, to pray for the things that God cares about, to mourn over our sinfulness, to receive God’s grace.

Are there “fights and quarrels” in your life? If you’re not seeing eye to eye with someone, do what you can to set that relationship right.

Find a humble way to serve your church or community. Clean up, fix up, help those who routinely get neglected. This is not about you getting props for a good deed, but about showing the love of God to others.

Jms. 4:1. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2. Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6. But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. 11. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
James 4:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.4.1-12.KJV

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Today’s video is 7:51 minutes. The theme is wisdom. Wisdom, according to James, can be seen through our conduct. Earthly is jealous of others and full of selfish ambition. Godly wisdom is from of above and produces purity, gentleness, impartial, merciful, peaceable and more. Evaluate our lives. If we lack wisdom, just ask God for it. He will gladly equip you with the tools you need to please Him! Have a blessed day.

Who is the wisest person you know or have known? Why do you say that? How did they show their wisdom?

In the video Francis described wisdom this way, “Wisdom is about action. It’s about character. James says if you have wisdom from above . . . then you’re going to be pure. There’s going to be a holiness about your life.”

The Bible has a great amount of teaching about wisdom. One regular theme is that true wisdom doesn’t talk about itself. The wise person recognizes his or her own limitations and does not boast. The wise person knows how short life is and has a healthy fear of the Lord.

James’s audience considered themselves wise, and they boasted about it. They liked to be well-respected, and when they saw others who got more respect, they envied them, criticized them, and tried to get ahead of them. Perhaps this started with a genuine desire for righteousness, but this desire was soon clouded by impure motives, by personal ambition.

Let’s work for peace. But let’s not be drawn in by those who boldly claim that they are wiser than everyone else. Be wary of impure motives. Be careful what you listen to. Think once more about the wisest people you know. They probably don’t have all the answers, but they’re wise enough to go to God to get the answers.

Do something to honor a person whose wisdom you have been blessed by. If the person is still living, thank them by telling them what they have taught you. If they have passed, then thank God for them, and find some way to commemorate their effect on your life.

Jms 3:13. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
James 3:13‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.3.13-18.KJV

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Today’s video is 8:16 minutes. Francis Chan discusses the itty bitty member of our body that can edify or destroy: The Tongue. What a great responsibility it is when you become aware of it. Do we praise God but curse His children, His created image? We need to repent when that happens and ask God for His forgiveness and help. He is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteous. So be blessed today!

Turn on the TV or the radio or the internet, and chances are, you’ll hear someone talking. And it’s even likely that you’ll hear someone criticizing other people. It’s easy for us to get swept into that. But God still loves those people, doesn’t He? How can we praise God one minute and in the next minute tear down people God loves? This should not be.

James, writing to many believers, must have been concerned about churches in general. Apparently, there were people speaking badly—boasting about themselves, cursing others, picking fights. James tells them all to shape up.

Who is being “called out” by James in verse 1? Why do you think teachers will be judged with greater strictness? Francis said, “We live in a day and age when everyone wants to be the one who gives advice, everyone wants to be the expert, and James is going to argue, are you sure you want to do that? Because God is going to judge you more harshly for being a teacher.”

Show, don’t tell. James followed this rule of writing to fantastic effect: ships guided by small rudders, horses guided by small bits, forests set ablaze by tiny fires. He paints these pictures to drive home his point that the tongue—such a small thing—has the potential to cause great damage.

The tongue is a powerful force for all of us, and it affects the way we influence others. Whether you lead a church or a small group or a family, what you say will have a huge impact.

Think about a time harsh words hurt you. Now consider the influence your words can have on your children, your neighbors, your students, your friends. You have great power in your hands—no, not in your hands, but in your mouth. Power to do good or to do harm. How could you help or harm people by what you say this week?

It’s impossible to tame the tongue. No human can do it, but God can. Ask the Lord to give you a tongue that seeks to bless Him and bless others. May the words of our mouths be acceptable to Him.

When you find yourself speaking badly about someone, stop—in mid-sentence if you need to. Then say a prayer for that person.

Jms 3:1. My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8. But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
James 3:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.3.1-12.KJV

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Book of James Day 5

Today’s video is 7:24 minutes. This is very true. Faith without works is dead. It is because if you are growing toward God in your daily walk, you can’t help but to do His will. Yes, we fail big time, but do not be discouraged. God is gracious and merciful. He is there to forgive us and help us to keep on doing His will. Have a blessed day.

Martin Luther, the famous German reformer, wanted to throw the book of James out of the Bible because of this specific passage. He didn’t win that argument. In this passage James addresses the question: What is the nature of genuine faith in Christ? In other words, what does it look like? What effect does it have in our lives?

Faith in the fact that there is one God is good, but not remarkable, James says. It puts you on a par with demons. In fact, demons might be a bit ahead of you, because when they think about God, they “shudder.” If your belief in God does not result in godly actions, then that faith is essentially “dead.”

Body and breath go together. A body without breath is merely a corpse. James says it’s the same thing with faith and works. Let’s stop trying to rip them apart.

Martin Luther, the famous German reformer, wanted to throw the book of James out of the Bible because of this specific passage. He didn’t win that argument. In this passage James addresses the question: What is the nature of genuine faith in Christ? In other words, what does it look like? What effect does it have in our lives?

Faith in the fact that there is one God is good, but not remarkable, James says. It puts you on a par with demons. In fact, demons might be a bit ahead of you, because when they think about God, they “shudder.” If your belief in God does not result in godly actions, then that faith is essentially “dead.”

Body and breath go together. A body without breath is merely a corpse. James says it’s the same thing with faith and works. Let’s stop trying to rip them apart.

relationship radically alters how we live. When we believe in our powerful Lord, like Abraham and Rahab did, we will find that our faith is confirmed by our actions.

Talk with God about your own faith. Do you have “faith with works” or “faith without works?” Ask God to give you the power you need to put your faith into action.

Also, talk with at least one other close Christian friend about this question: Is my faith more on the inside or the outside? Both are good. Both are important. But if you just feel your faith and don’t show it, you’re out of balance. (It’s also possible to tilt the other way, doing stuff for God, but not taking time for personal growth.)

Jms. 2:14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
James 2:14‭-‬26 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.2.14-26.KJV

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Today’s video is 6:47 minutes. Mercy triumphs over judgment is today’s theme. James is teaching us not to be partial to other persons, whether rich or poor, clean or filthy; since God did not. Praise the Lord! If He had, He would have passed me by. Have a blessed day.

Think about the most famous person you’ve ever met. How did this happen? How did you react to this person? Now reflect on the scene described in verses 2–3. If this were to happen in your church, what do you think would happen? How would you treat the two people differently?

We can figure out from this letter what the problems were with the people James wrote to. Those people gossiped sometimes. They got angry with one another. And when a rich person showed up at the church door, they shoved poor folks aside to clear the path.

So that’s the first challenge James offers in this chapter: Do we show favoritism? It’s natural to get nervous around celebrities. No one would blame us for favoring the rich folks who show up to worship with us. We are naturally blinded by the trappings of success and worldly value. But such behavior goes against all the truth of God. The rich don’t deserve special treatment; in fact, the poor do. Doesn’t the kingdom of God belong to them?

Then James accuses his very religious readers of being lawbreakers. Playing favorites? You’re no better than a murderer. You have broken God’s law. You deserve His judgment. James is saying that all of us have sinned, even religious folks. All deserve judgment. But guess what? God offers you mercy, so receive it. His mercy triumphs over judgment.

And once we realize how much we depend on God’s mercy, it’s hard to show favoritism to the rich. Instead, we value the poor, because they have mastered the one thing God wants above all else: relying on Him for everything they have.

If you have been working hard to keep God’s rules, talk with a pastor or teacher about the idea of God’s “mercy.” If you lead in your church, evaluate the church’s response to visitors— not just the stated policies, but the actual behaviors. Is favoritism shown? If so, what can you do about it? Finally, can you get involved in a ministry to the poor and homeless in your community? Many such ministries need volunteers and financial support. If you can’t find one to connect with, perhaps you could start one.

Jms. 2:1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3. And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4. Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5. Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6. But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7. Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
James 2:1‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.2.1-13.KJV

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Today’s reading of James is 1:19-27, and the video is 12:24 minutes. James is imploring Christians not to be hearers of the word only but doers. We need to act upon the word of God. Today being Sunday, it is a good day to be doers! Have a blessed day.

No shortage of Bible studies fills book stores and web sites, offering up unique topics and teachings about God’s Word. You are reading one right now. God wants us to read and hear His message of grace and truth. But He wants us to do more than that: He expects us to act upon what we’ve learned.

This passage opens with a warning still repeated—and needed—in modern culture: “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Anger, James says, does not produce godly righteousness. Listening, with patience and perseverance, allows us to receive “with meekness” the word of God. We find the source of abundant life in the scriptures, not in our own impulsive, selfish emotions.

James is writing to religious people. They know God’s law. But James keeps pushing them, and us, to take the next step. Don’t just hear it—do it! Don’t just reject the immorality of the culture around you, but also be careful about your own anger and pride. Let your faith show up in your actions.

Do you think of religion as a good thing or not? Do you think your colleagues consider religion a good thing? A lot of people these days consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” To them, religion seems narrow, restrictive, maybe even hateful toward people outside the religion. But when believers behave according to the Bible’s teaching, we look for opportunities to care for those people around us, especially those in the most need.

And beyond that, are you careful about what you say? Maybe you consider yourself religious, too. Maybe you have been a Christian for some time now. You have this faith thing figured out. But James keeps pushing us to put feet to our words, to live what we say we believe.

•Do we listen more than we speak?
•Do we keep our anger in check?
•Are we careful about what we say?
•Do we put into practice what we hear in God’s Word?
•Do we let God’s implanted Word grow within us?

So what is the next step for you? What issue is James calling you to confront?

Jms 1:19. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 1:19‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.19-27.KJV

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This is a Bible study from Francis Chan. The video is 8:14 minutes. It is about sin leading to death, and God being perfect and a giver of good gifts. Don’t get it twisted. Don’t blame God for your bad choices. Come to Him now and live. Have a blessed day.

Did you ever use the excuse, “The devil made me do it!” after giving in to a temptation? We like to deflect blame from our own poor choices, don’t we? Some people in James’s day even tried to blame God for their own failures. As though He made it impossible for them to resist wrongdoing.

But God doesn’t work that way. James 1:13 clearly states that God is not the source of temptation. Rather, our own desires entice us to take what we want, when we want it. We know the feeling of being baited, like Francis pointed out—God says something is wrong or evil, but we want it anyway. We have a choice at that moment. Just like that fish that’s being lured away, either I go and I grab it, or I swim away.

Our heavenly Father is the source of “every good gift and every perfect gift.” He started by giving us life itself. His love gives us purpose and significance, just because we are His children. All the good things in life are just bonus, extra blessings He chooses to give us.

So don’t listen to the tempter’s deceptive words. Giving in to temptation takes us down a road from temporary pleasure to sin, which, if not stopped, will lead to death. What seems so small can have big consequences: Gossip could lead to a broken relationship. Gluttony can lead to chronic illness. Speeding can lead to car accidents. Our choices point us either toward life or death.

It’s hard to believe that God’s way is best when we’re being tempted. We get easily distracted by the glitter of more things, more attention, more pleasure, right? The promises of pleasure cause temporary blindness. But James tells us not to be deceived. Remember: God gives us a whole new life that is infinitely better than anything the tempter can offer. A kind word can pull someone out of suicidal thoughts. Healthy eating honors the body God gave us. Generosity combats our selfish tendencies.

We often assume that the best way to fight temptation is self-discipline. Grit your teeth and do the right thing. Just say no. And there’s nothing wrong with saying no. But maybe there’s a better approach—also saying yes to the kind of life God wants to give us.

Think about your best strategy to fight temptation. You will be tempted—no question about that. What can you do to prepare for temptation? What positive steps can you take today to obey and honor God’s way?

Jms 1:13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17. 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. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James 1:13‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.13-18.KJV

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Why would you need wisdom? Maybe you’re facing challenges. Or you’re worried that you’ve got it all wrong, that Christianity isn’t the right way. If it was the right way, then why would God let you experience suffering or hardship like this?

If the thought has ever crossed your mind, you’re in good company with James’s audience. “The twelve tribes in the Dispersion” at the beginning of the letter described both the Jews who’d been exiled from Israel and also the Christian believers who’d scattered from Jerusalem after persecution settled in to stay.

A people sent packing due to their faith were familiar with suffering, which makes James’s opening exhortation imminently practical for them: “Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Suffering was part of life, but God wanted His children to greet trials with a counter-intuitive response. Joy.

Human nature hasn’t changed in two millennia. We want to know why we suffer. But James instead tells his readers why trials should provoke joy: “. . . for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” The word for testing (dokimion) was often used to describe precious metals put through extreme heat to remove impurities, becoming so pure you could see your reflection in it. Similarly, as God tests us and we go through the heat, we reflect His nature more. We are able to endure and remain faithful to Him.

Francis Chan said in the video, “What God wants to do is not just to make you happy. He wants to make you holy. He says He wants us mature, complete, not lacking in anything. Have you ever thought about that as the goal of your life?”

When persecution drove the Christians out into the wider world, many of them had good reason to doubt their faith. Was it really worth all the pain to stay faithful to Christ? James emphatically says “Yes!” and urges them to trust in God’s wise guidance. He says the same to us. Don’t jump in and out of your faith. Keep in touch with God when people confront you for living according to your faith, and He will get you through.

In what ways do you demonstrate your steadfast faith in Jesus? What does it look like at home or at work or with your neighbor or family members? Think back to the last time you faltered: Were you silent when you should have spoken up? Did you succumb to peer pressure and actively sin against someone? Whatever happened, confess it to God and pray for wisdom and strength when the next test comes.

If you would like to learn more about RightNow Media and our mission to resource the Church with video-based Bible study content, visit us at http://www.rightnowmedia.org.

Jms 1:1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 9. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10. But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
James 1:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.1-12.KJV

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Malachi Summary

Subtitle: Doubt in Grace. We always question God’s motives. Why did this or that happen? Show us how You love us. There are two types of doubt. Wonderment and judgment. The first is good, the second is not. God’s plan is to come and cleanse us white as snow. He is coming to purify. He is coming to save us all. Will you accept Him through faith today? Just say this simple prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You were born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, gave Your life on Calvary’s cross to take away the sins of the whole world, including mine, and rose again on the third day. I am a sinner. Please forgive me of my sins. Please come into my heart and live, so that I am saved and have a home in Heaven. Thank You Lord Jesus! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen!

P. S. This is the 40th day of our 40 day plan. Which plan would like to dive into tomorrow? One to One 25 days, My Utmost For His Highest 30 days, Proverbs Explained Part 1 5 days. Thank you for your input.

Mal. 1:5. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.
Malachi 1:5 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mal.1.5.KJV

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Zechariah Summary

Zechariah was a prophet and priest around 20 years after the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. The foundation for the temple is laid, but the temple has not yet been erected. God tells His people not to be discouraged. In chapter 12, He speaks of One who will be pierced for them. He will also take away the sins of the world in chapter 3. The Old Testament is waiting for Christ to come the first time. The New Testament is waiting for Christ’s return. O glorious day! Until then, have a blessed day.

Zech. 3:1. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. 6. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. 8. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
Zechariah 3:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/zec.3.1-10.KJV

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Haggai Summary

Subtitle: The Rebuilding. God’s greatest gift to His people is Himself. He is our hope, life, grace, mercy, and justification; The temple stands as a visual symbol of God with His people. God is with us: Emmanuel. God saw our brokeness, and He knew what needed to be done to redeem us. We have been truly blessed by God. Think on this as we face today.

Haggai 2:10. In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12. If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 13. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 14. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. 15. And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD: 16. Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. 17. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD. 18. Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider it. 19. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
Haggai 2:10‭-‬19 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/hag.2.10-19.KJV

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Zephaniah Summary

This is a book of review. Redemption is foreign to our fleshly nature. We will never reach the point where  the gospel of our loving God is boring. Here are the themes in Zephaniah.

1. The redemptive power from Genesis to Revelations. God sets His love on His people. 2. His people rebel against Him. Don’t be too hard on them. You do it too. 3. God disciplines His people. He does this because He loves us. Afterward, He extends His mercy. He does this over and over. How do judgment and mercy coexist? It is evident at the cross. Thank You Lord God for Your lovingkindness, judgment, and mercy, without which I would have no hope! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Zeph. 3:14. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. 18. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 19. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.
Zephaniah 3:14‭-‬20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/zep.3.14-20.KJV

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Habakkuk Summary

Hab. 1:1. The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3. Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. 

1:5. Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. 7. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. 8. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. 9. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. 10. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. 11. Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
Habakkuk 1:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/hab.1.1-11.KJV

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Nahum Summary

The primary audience in this book is Assyria with the implicit audience being Israel. 1. God is holy and righteous. 2. Because He is holy, He is angry with sin. 3. God will meet out His justice. We see this at the cross, where justice, righteousness, God’s anger at sin come together. He is not done yet though. When Jesus returns, we will go with Him to a place, where sin and suffering do not exist, to live forevermore. What a glorious day that will be! Until then, may God bless your walk today.

Nahum 1:1. The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2. God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. 3. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. 7. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. 8. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. 9. What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. 10. For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry. 11. There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the LORD, a wicked counsellor. 12. Thus saith the LORD; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. 13. For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. 14. And the LORD hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile. 15. Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.
Nahum 1:1‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/nam.1.1-15.KJV

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Micah Summary

Micah is the story of a warning of judgment against Samaria and Judah. God is angry because they have combined temple worship with idle worship. Warnings and judgments are always God’s grace. He wants us to repent, turn away, from our sin. Micah 5:3-5 is quoted by the wise men in the new testament (Mt 2:5-6). This foretells Jesus. His second coming is going to be a glorious day! Until that day, have a blessed one this day.

Micah 5:1. Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2. But thou, Beth–lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 3. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

5:4. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. 6. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. 7. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. 8. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. 9. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
Micah 5:1‭-‬9 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mic.5.1-9.KJV

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Jonah Summary

Subtitle: Unrelenting grace. This story of Jonah encapsulates the human condition. We have a God of inessimable awesome glory. He is in control of each detail at all times. We also have a God of unmeasurable grace. These three words can change our lives: But the Lord… But the Lord, there would be no salvation, no hope, no Bible, no Christ Jesus, and beyond. But the Lord…have a blessed day.

Jonah 1:1. Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 

1:4. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 8. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 9. And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 

1:11. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 14. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 15. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. 

1:17. Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 1:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jon.1.1-17.KJV

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Obadiah Summary

Obadiah’s subtitle: Salvation Is From the Lord. It is God who chose to place His grace on Isaac rather than Esau. Obadiah is an oracle, one of authority, against Edom (descendants of Esau). It took God’s grace for me to desire grace. Second, the Lord is the final judge. God will show grace to whom He decides. Third, the Lord defends and protects those He has given grace. Finally, the Lord blesses. Obadiah is as a finger pointing from Abraham to Jacob to Judah to Jesus to you and to me. God will complete His plan. Wow! Have a blessed day.

Obed. 1:11. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 12. But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13. Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14. Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. 15. For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 

1:17. But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.
Obadiah 1:11‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/oba.1.11-18.KJV

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Amos Summary

Subtitle: Mercy Produces Mercy. God’s plan here is not just to redeem His people after they mess up, rather He wants to transform them. In Amos, God is harsh because they would not repent. God’s grace comes to us sometimes through uncomfortable ways. This is transformative. I just pray we would draw closer to our Lord daily by reading our Bibles so we would hear and listen to the Holy Spirit’s beckoning before the harshness is necessary. Have a blessed day.

Amos 4:4. Come to Beth–el, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: 5. And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

4:6. And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 7. And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. 8. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 9. I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 10. I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 11. I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 12. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. 13. For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.
Amos 4:4‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/amo.4.4-13.KJV

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Joel Summary

Joel carries forward the theological structure of the redemptive story. It is organized in the “bad news/good news” way. The gospel, in this setting, is worst news ever. It opens our eyes to the devastating reality of our own wickedness and sin. In Noel the theme is one of “bad” news and the judgment of God; and also we find the “good” news, the rescuing grace of God.

What does it mean for God to repent? He has no sin, so that can’t be it. It means that if we repent, confess, of our sin, He will repent of, turn away from, His judgment against us and replace it with mercy and grace and blessings. Hallelujah! Now go have a wonderful day, and remember to tell someone about how good our God is and what He has done for you today.

Joel 2:12. Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15. Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16. Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Joel 2:12‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jol.2.12-17.KJV

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Hosea Summary

Subtitle: The Ultimate Payment. This is a shocking book of the Bible, and it may be hard to understand. We have to go all the way back to the promised God made to His children, the Israelites, before entering the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 6. Hosea is sad but true reflection of what sin brings. God tells Hosea to go and buy her back, after she prostitutes herself, and make her his own. That is a very good description of us. Thank You Jesus for buying us back with Your precious blood! Have a blessed and Happy Mother’s Day.

Hosea 3:1. Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. 2. So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: 3. And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. 4. For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: 5. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
Hosea 3:1‭-‬5 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/hos.3.1-5.KJV

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Daniel Summary

Subtitle: Lord of Glory. First, we see the willingness of God’s people to step into harm’s way for the Lord. Second, we see many prayers in this book that give strength to God’s people during the struggle between human glory and the glory of God. Third, nothing will thwart God’s will. I’m so joyful that I am in His will! Not because of anything I’ve done, God knows, but because of who He is. Hallelujah! Have a blessed day.

Dan 4:34. And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36. At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
Daniel 4:34‭-‬37 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/dan.4.34-37.KJV

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Ezekiel Summary

Where do you run when life makes no sense? It is tempting to question God at these times. The ultimate question: Can life come out of death? If not, we are doomed! This is the story of Jesus. In the darkest of times, God showed His great love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. Thank You Father God! Have a blessed day.

Eze. 37:1. The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2. And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O LORD God, thou knowest. 4. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

37:11. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14. And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:1‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/ezk.37.1-14.KJV

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Lamentations Summary

God’s warnings are not judgments; rather, they are grace. Have you ever told yourself this lie? If I commit this or that sin, it will be ok with God. Lamentations is a very sad book. That’s because it confronts us with the horrible consequences of sin. This is what happens when we reject God’s law for our own.  The subtitle: The Exiles. Do not be dismayed, however. Even though we were born exiles, Jesus was also made an exile through God’s grace to bring us into His fold. Amen!

Lam. 3:22. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Lamentations 3:22‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/lam.3.22-27.KJV

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Jeremiah Summary

This is another great book of the Bible. Paul Tripp would subtitle Jeremiah as the paradox. How does our holy and righteous God have a relationship with the people of the old testament? With their sin and rebellion against God, there is a tension. There has to be a payment made, and Jesus pays it all. While the cross is not mentioned, the whole story points to it. What an amazing God we serve. Have a blessed day.

Jer. 2:9. Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead. 10. For pass over the isles of Kittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. 11. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2:9‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jer.2.9-13.KJV

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Isaiah Summary

Subtitle: Looking for Jesus. Isaiah presents a central reality that there is a God in this world who is holy beyond our understanding. We have a God of justice and mercy through which we find hope. This justice and mercy meet at the cross. What a great prophet. Have a beautiful day.

Isa. 6:1. In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

6:5. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Isaiah 6:1‭-‬7 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.6.1-7.KJV

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Subtitle: God cares about the details. This describes the joys of the intimate marital relationship. How precious it can be when we follow Scriptures and work at it. It is a finger pointing the way to the intimacy and love we will experience with Christ Jesus and His Church (the love). It is going to be amazing. Have a great day.

Song of Sol. 4:1. Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. 2. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. 3. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks. 4. Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. 5. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. 6. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. 7. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

4:8. Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards. 9. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 10. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! 11. Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 12. A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. 13. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, 14. Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: 15. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. 

4:16. Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
Song of Solomon 4:1‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/sng.4.1-16.KJV

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Ecclesiastes Summary

Subtitle: The Search. Trying to figure out the meaning of life is an ongoing struggle until you find it. It boils down to this: Everything in this world will fade away and disappear. The physical world cannot supply the answers to our questions. Only God can do that, and He did by sending His Son, Jesus Christ. Our home and our hope is in Heaven. Amen!

Eccl. 1:1. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

1:4. One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. 5. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. 6. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. 8. All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

1:9. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 11. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
Ecclesiastes 1:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/ecc.1.1-11.KJV

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Proverbs Summary

Subtitle of Proverbs could be Rescue. Sin reduces all of us to fools. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. This, Paul Tripp believes, is not about the unbeliever; rather us in our arrogance. A foolish person believes he is self-sufficient. He does not need God.

The Proverbs are designed to rescue us from the greatest danger, ourselves. Imagine if you would that Wisdom is a person. God, in His grace, pours out His Wisdom for our Salvation, Jesus Christ. Then read Proverbs again. Do you see Him? How great a God we serve! Enjoy today, and praise His holy name.

Proverb 1:20. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21. She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 22. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23. Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

1:24. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25. But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26. I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27. When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29. For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30. They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 1:20‭-‬33 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.1.20-33.KJV

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Psalms Summary

The Bible is not a collection of stories or a theological outline. What Pastor Paul Tripp is doing in these summaries is finding the common thread that ties the Bible together to tell one story; God rescues a foolish and rebellious people with the gift of a Redeemer. The subtitle for the Psalms is Honest Grace.

There are 66 books written by more than 40 different men (through the inspiration of God) over a span of 1500 years and 3 different continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe) and 3 different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) without error to tell of one story: The Story of Jesus Christ’s coming to save His people from their wretchedness to be reconciled to God. Hallelujah!

Ps. 27:1. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. 5. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. 7. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. 9. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. 11. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. 12. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. 13. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 27:1‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.27.1-14.KJV

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Job Summary

Can we answer this question, Why do bad guys prosper and good guys suffer? Do we achieve the favor of God by our performance? The answer may be devastating but simple, No. Our own righteousness always falls short of God’s standard. That’s why we need Jesus. Hope is found by putting our trust in Him, the one true God, rather than our limited knowledge of our own righteousness. Did you know, BTW (by the way), that Job is the oldest book in recorded biblical history? Have a good day.

Job 38:1. Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2. Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3. Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

38:4. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8. Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9. When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10. And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11. And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? 12. Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; 13. That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 14. It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 15. And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. 16. Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? 17. Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 18. Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
Job 38:1‭-‬18 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/job.38.1-18.KJV

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Esther Summary

This is the one book of the Bible which does not mention God at all. Why is that? Maybe the absence of God is the reason Esther is in the Bible. It is at times when it appears God is so far away or even absent that He is doing a great work. Something to think about, eh? Have a nice day.

Est. 4:1. When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; 2. And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3. And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4:4. So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not. 5. Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was. 6. So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate. 7. And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. 8. Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. 9. And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

4:10. Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; 11. All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. 12. And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words. 13. Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

4:15. Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, 16. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. 17. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther 4:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/est.4.1-17.KJV

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Nehemiah Summary

Justice. Holiness. Grace. Ezra and Nehemiah are both in history about the same time. Reconciliation, restoration, and rebuilding is exactly what God does for and to us through Jesus Christ. God is a compassionate God. Instead of walking away, which He had every right to do, He remained faithful. He could not abandoned His righteousness and grace. Now we are able to glorify God by doing His will. What is His will? If you love Me, keep my commandments. John 14:15. Have a great day.

Neh. 9:26. Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. 27. Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. 28. But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; 29. And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear. 30. Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. 31. Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.
Nehemiah 9:26‭-‬31 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/neh.9.26-31.KJV

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Ezra Summary

Israel has returned from captivity. God is able to use evil to accomplish good. God used Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem. God’s toolbox includes everything and everyone. After all, He created it. Now we see God’s law being read again, His people worshipping Him again, and more. He can also use all of us, big or small, good or bad, no matter what; for the glory of His Kingdom. Wow! Have a great day.

Ezra 1:1-11. Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. 1:5. Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. 6. And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. 1:7. Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; 8. Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah. 9. And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives, 10. Thirty basins of gold, silver basins of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand. 11. All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/ezr.1.1-11.KJV

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Have you ever wondered about why the genealogies are in the Bible and especially in the Chronicles? They highlight two bloodlines: Levi the priests, and Judah, royalty. These two point to a Royal Priesthood which is why the Bible was written. The Priest, the King, the Sacrifice: Jesus Christ. While the people and nations and temple of Chronicles are in decline, look forward to Chist Jesus to come and save the the world. O what a glorious day that will be upon His return! Keep your eyes upon Jesus! Have a blessed day.

2Chron. 7:11. Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.

7:12. And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. 13. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. 16. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. 17. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; 18. Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. 19. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20. Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. 21. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? 22. And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.
2 Chronicles 7:11‭-‬22 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/2ch.7.11-22.KJV

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1st & 2nd Kings Summary

Sometimes it feels like everything has gone crazy so why would God even bother with us, but God’s promises are sure and faithful. He does things based on who He is, not based on who we are. The theme of Kings could be summed up in one word: Waiting. Waiting on the Lord! Amen. Have a blessed day.

1 Kings 8:54. And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 56. Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. 57. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: 58. That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers. 59. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: 60. That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. 61. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
1 Kings 8:54‭-‬61 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1ki.8.54-61.KJV

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Kings and The King. The contrast between King Saul and King David. The unrighteous and the righteous. No matter what, they were both flawed. So why did God love King David? Because God was the center of his heart. He was a compassionate king who cared about his people. We all need a king, just not a flawed king. We need the King of kings! Have a great day today everyone.

1Sam 18:6. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9. And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 10. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 11. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 12. And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul. 13. Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14. And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. 15. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him. 16. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.
1 Samuel 18:6‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1sa.18.6-16.KJV

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Ruth Summary

The outlaying theme here is God’s zeal for advancing the Redemptive story. What a beautiful love story between Naomi and Ruth, and Boaz and Ruth, and God and all of us. Truly amazing. Have a beautiful day.

Ruth 4:13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 14. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 15. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. 16. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. 17. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 

4:18. Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, 19. And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, 20. And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, 21. And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 22. And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
Ruth 4:13‭-‬22 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rut.4.13-22.KJV

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Judges Summary

I know how this can happen, so I am trying to be very careful not to allow myself to be entwined with anything that will take my eyes off Jesus. Once we get stability and comfort, most assuredly blessings all, the temptation is to become lazy with our relationship with God. O to be rescued from ourselves, what an amazing concept! Have an amazing day.

Judg. 2:11. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12. And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtoreth. 14. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. 16. Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. 18. And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
Judges 2:11‭-‬19 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jdg.2.11-19.KJV

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Joshua Summary

The continuing struggle between God’s plan for us and our plans for ourselves is a common theme throughout life. We are now at the point where God is finally giving His people the promised land. While His peace (and we) may be confused at times, trust God. He is the Plan Maker of our lives. He is trustworthy.

Joshua’s name points to the need for a Redeemer. Joshua means YHWH (Yahweh) saves. Have a blessed day.

Josh. 6:1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. 6. And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD. 7. And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
Joshua 6:1‭-‬7 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jos.6.1-7.KJV

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Deuteronomy Summary

https://youtu.be/PYU5X-a-fO4

Identity. Warning. Responsibility. They are to be a separated people, set apart, for God. Sounds very familiar. This should shape the way we conduct our lives, but there are so many temptations along the way. Commit to remembrance the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for you and for me. Hold on to Him. It. Is. Finished. He is not willing to lose any of His little ones, including you! Have a blessed day.

Deut. 6:10. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11. And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12. Then beware lest thou forget the LORD , which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 14. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; 15. (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 6:10‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/deu.6.10-15.KJV

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Numbers Summary

Grace. Rebellion. Travail. It is a moral struggle. God’s character is revealed. His goodness, righteousness, long-suffering, and great love. The people continued to grumble. Manna pointed to the Bread of Life! We are very much like the people who came before us. Thank You Father God for my birthday after Your Son Jesus Christ was born. Have a blessed day everyone.

Num. 11:1. And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. 2. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD , the fire was quenched. 3. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.

11:4. And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5. We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6. But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. 7. And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. 8. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. 9. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.

11:10. Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. 11. And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? 12. Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? 13. Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. 14. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. 15. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
Numbers 11:1‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/num.11.1-15.KJV

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Leviticus Summary

Holy and Unholy. This is where we see the system upon which unholy man can enter into a relationship with our Holy God through sacrifice. The sacrifice of each lamb cries out for the One perfect sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, once for all. What a wonderful gift from our Father God! Have a blessed day.

Lev. 16:1. And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; 2. And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. 5. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. 

16:11. And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: 12. And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil: 13. And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: 14. And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. 

16:15. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16. And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. 

16:20. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: 21. And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. 23. And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: 24. And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. 25. And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. 26. And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. 27. And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. 28. And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp. 29. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30. For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. 31. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. 32. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: 33. And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. 34. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Leviticus 16:1‭-‬34 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/lev.16.1-34.KJV

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Exodus Summary

https://youtu.be/-aB5pHUlJV4

He would subtitle Exodus as Slavery, Rescue, and Restoration. Please watch this beautiful video. His summary of Exodus and God’s grace is wonderful to me. Have a blessed day.

Ex. 20:1. And God spake all these words, saying, 2. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

20:12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13. Thou shalt not kill. 14. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15. Thou shalt not steal. 16. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Exodus 20:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/exo.20.1-17.KJV

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Genesis Summary

In the beginning, God. God is at the center of everything whether or not we acknowledge it. This is where Jesus is introduced to us. The Creator of man, the fall of man, and the Redeemer of man. In the first three chapters of Genesis, we find the theme for the whole Bible. It is the redemptive story of Jesus Christ our Lord. Glory to God in the highest! Have a blessed day.

Gen. 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

1:3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

1:6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

1:11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

1:14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

1:20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

1:24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

1:26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

1:29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:1‭-‬31 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/gen.1.1-31.KJV

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No. The time we spend with God studying His Word is not a waste of time. That time is building our relationship with our loving Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Have a blessed day.

P. S. The video is only 5 minutes.

Luke 18:9. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:9‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.18.9-14.KJV

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Do I walk away from my Bible study more knowledgeable and without humility or pride? Or do I walk away with a deeper, transformed love for Jesus? How about you? Let’s not miss the point of it all. Have a blessed day.

John 5:19. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23. That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27. And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. 31. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

5:32. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

5:36. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

5:37. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

5:39. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41. I receive not honour from men. 42. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
John 5:19‭-‬47 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.5.19-47.KJV

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Today’s lesson teaches us the simple meaning of the Bible: to proclaim Christ Jesus. It is the story of who He is, how He would come, how He would live a sinless life, how He must die for our sins to redeem us, and raise again in three days. The most beautiful love story I’ve ever read. Have a blessed day.

Mt. 17:1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
Matthew 17:1‭-‬8 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.17.1-8.KJV

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This is a new reading plan for 40 days, Old Testament Bible Study Summary with Paul David Tripp. There will be a 5 minute summary of a book in a video along with a few verses. I hope you enjoy it, and have a blessed day.

Isa 55:10. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Isaiah 55:10‭-‬13 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/isa.55.10-13.KJV

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THE NEW JERUSSALEM

This is the last day of the The Essential 100 reading plan. I will start the 40 day reading plan, A Journey Through Luke & Acts tomorrow. Should I continue to include the text of the Bible, or is a link to them sufficient? Please comment to let me know your opinion. Thanks and have a very happy day.

PRAY Dear Lord Jesus, You’ve promised to make all things new, and I look forward to that great day when You do! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen!

REFLECT What are you most hoping that a new heaven and earth will be like? What do you think it will be like to live in a city where God and the Lord Jesus are with you?

My hope for the new Heaven and earth is to have animals. They will no longer fear us, because the curse has been removed. Of course I am also looking forward to all of God’s promises. Peace, eternal life, worshipping Him, and so much more. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

To live in a city with God right there,? I do that today! Only I bet it would be so much more awesome. I hope I wouldn’t be so easily distracted.

APPLY When you turn on a lamp today, think of Jesus as the “lamp” and light of the new Jerusalem whose radiance and power will provide all the light that you need.

PRAY Dear holy God and Father, Please be my true light today and all the days of my life. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  Revelation 21:1‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.21.1-27.KJV and Revelation 22:1‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.22.1-21.KJV

Rev. 21:1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

21:9. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11. Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12. And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13. On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20. The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Rev. 22:1. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 

22:2. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4. And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7.  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 8. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. 10. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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Today is the last day of this reading plan. You may continue to follow him with the link provided below. Have a blessed day.

We often think of Jesus as only appearing in the New Testament, especially the gospels or the apostolic letters. But his person is actually embedded in every book of the Bible. Sometimes directly, sometimes through parable, sometimes through the sacrificial system, sometimes through prophecy or poetry.

After he rose from the dead, Jesus showed two disciples  ‘in all the Scriptures’ that it was necessary for him to suffer crucifixion and then to enter his glory (Luke 24:26). Obviously, he was referring to the Old Testament. 

For example, in the very beginning, there is a promise that a descendant of Eve would bruise the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15). This promise is defined more clearly when God tells Abraham that a descendant of his will bring blessings to all nations (Gen 12:2; 17:19).

From Exodus to Deuteronomy, the whole sacrificial system tells us again and again that one day there would be a perfect sacrifice for sin and that a prophet greater than Moses would appear (Deut 18:15). 

In the Psalms, Jesus is presented as the suffering Saviour who dies for us (Psalm 22), as the King of Glory coming into his holy temple (Psalm 24:7) and as an eternal priest and king (Psalm 110).

In Isaiah, there are astonishing prophecies of a Saviour whose name would be Immanuel—God with us—who would be the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace (Is 7:14; 9:6). In other words, he would be both God and man. Moreover, he would also take away our sins by bearing them himself and suffering in our place (Is 53). 

Then, at the end of the Bible, in Revelation, Jesus is clearly identified as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is seen in astonishing images as holy, righteous and victorious. He is the Lamb who suffers and the Lion who reigns. 

The hosts of heaven and earth sing till the earth resounds with the majesty of it:

Worthy are you… for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth…  Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing! To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever! (Rev 5:9-13).

Let’s join in the song!

What next?
As you pray today, why not ask God to fill your heart with a fresh revelation of Jesus? See Eph1:15-23.

If you haven’t come across them yet, for more on the uniqueness of Christ follow the You Version Bible Plans entitled The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, See the Invisible: Do the Impossible and Amazing Grace. You can also find the written panorama of Christ in All the Scriptures on my website www.barrychant.com/

Luke 24:13. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19. And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30. And it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Luke 24:13‭-‬32 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.24.13-32.KJV

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HALLELUJAH!

We are coming to the end of this reading plan tomorrow, and today’s lesson is on praising Jesus and the second death. If you have repented of your sins and given your life to Jesus Christ, you do not have to worry about the second death. If you or someone you know has not done so yet, now is the time! Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. Please let Him in! Have a blessed day.

PRAY Dear Father God, I want to thank You for Your constant care for the world which You have created. It was indeed good. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

REFLECT  What are some of the reasons that the heavenly hosts give for hailing Jesus in this way? What reasons do you have for enthusiastic worship and praise of Jesus?

The most significant one that comes to mind is because He is worthy of all praise and every good thing. I worship Him because He is the One true God. The Godhead=the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. I also worship Him because He redeemed my life.

APPLY   Think of a chorus or hymn of praise that you would offer to Jesus if you were in heaven today. Or maybe compose a new song of praise. Then, sing it!  Amazing Grace.

PRAY  Dear precious Lord, I can hardly think of words that are adequate to offer You the worship You deserve from my salvation and Your great love for everyone including me. Thank You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  Revelation 19:1‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.19.1-21.KJV and Revelation 20:1‭-‬15 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.20.1-15.KJV

Rev. 19:1. And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2. For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. 11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18. That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 

19:19. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Rev. 20:1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 

20:4. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 

20:7. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8. And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 

20:12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

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https://youtu.be/r6RO9QWiOJ0
Nowadays, ‘passion’ is a word commonly used of enthusiasm or romantic love. Originally the word had to do with suffering. In Christian tradition, it has been used to describe the suffering of Christ, particularly at Gethsemane and Calvary.

Jesus’s Passion was unique.

It was not only that he died for us. Thousands of people over the years have sacrificed their lives for others. It was why he suffered that was different. He suffered to take our sins upon himself.

How do we know this?

First, the Old Testament sacrificial system made it clear. For hundreds of years, thousands of animals were slain in Israel, everyone of them a symbol of the forthcoming universal sacrifice of Jesus. Especially on the Day of Atonement when offerings were specifically made to deal with the sins of the people (Lev 16:1-34).

Second, Old Testament prophets foretold it. Isaiah spoke of One who would bear our iniquities and sins, by the giving of his own life (Is chapter 53). David, Jeremiah, Micah, Zechariah and other prophets made similar declarations (e.g. Psalm 22:1-8; Zech 12:10). 

Third, Jesus himself warned his disciples that he would be crucified and that he would give his life as a ransom (Matt 20:17-19, 28). 

Fourth, the apostles proclaimed clearly that through the Cross, all who believed would be saved (see Acts 10:37-43; Rom 5:6-11; 1 Cor 15:3).

There are two further critical reasons why we believe Jesus’s death was unique. The primary one is the Resurrection. It was this that set his death apart and proved the validity of his sacrifice (Rom 1:4; 1 Cor 15:4). Many have given their lives for others but none has risen from the dead!

Finally, it is the Holy Spirit who convinces us that Jesus died for us and for our sins. This is not something that can be proven by argument or scientific experiment. Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would convince us and lead us into all truth (John 14:26; 15:26). Further, the apostles affirm that it is by the revelation of the Holy Spirit that we believe (1 Cor 2:7-16); Eph 1:17-19).

The Spirit convinces and witnesses to us that Christ both died for us and lives for us. Such conviction lies well beyond philosophy or rationalism or science. It can’t be analysed. But you can’t write it off just for that reason. Human experience has its own validity. And personal experience of Christ is life-changing. There have been millions of Christians who bear witness to this.

What can compare with the joy of knowing that our sins are forgiven? That we are deeply loved? That we serve a living Saviour? That we have an eternal hope?

Jesus was truly unique in his Passion!

What Next?

On a scale of 1 (Poor) to 10 (Wonderful), rate your experiential knowledge of Christ. How real is he to you? How well do you know him? Ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit and to lift your personal knowledge of Christ to a new level.

Phil. 3:1. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5. Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

3:7. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Philippians 3:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/php.3.1-11.KJV

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Today’s lesson is on the seven seals, the four and twenty men in white robes, four beats, and many angels. I have been in a study of Revelations. If you are interested, I will publish the notes for you. Have a blessed day.

PRAY   God in heaven, I join my spirit with all the angels in heaven to offer You my praise and worship.

REFLECT   What picture of heaven do you get from these chapters? How does it make you feel? Who is the focus of the worship taking place there?

APPLY   Take a moment to read aloud the parts of these chapters that are words of praise to the Lord Jesus. Say them slowly and reverently as your own words of praise.

PRAY   Lord, You and You alone are the One worthy of all worship, both in heaven and on earth.

READ  Revelation 4:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.4.1-11.KJV, Revelation 5:1‭-‬14 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.5.1-14.KJV, Revelation 6:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.6.1-17.KJV, and Revelation 7:1‭-‬17 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.7.1-17.KJV

Rev. 4:1. After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

4:4. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

4:6. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

4:9. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Rev. 5:1. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

5:5. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

5:9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Eev. 6:1. And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

6:3. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

6:5. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

6:7. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

6:9. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

6:12. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Rev. 7:1. And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

7:4. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

7:9. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12. Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

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https://youtu.be/hjrjcTEZqqQ

Greek mythology has numerous tales of gods visiting the earth and interacting with humanity. But there are huge differences. Sometimes the gods argue with one another about what should be done. They can be jealous or vindictive. On occasion, they set things in motion that they can neither control nor stop. Individual gods have their personal favourites. And they never become truly human.

The story of Jesus is very different.

First, Jesus was God with us when on earth. He was truly human and yet truly God. People say, ‘Oh there’s never been anyone else like that.’ Yes, that is true. 

Or they say, ‘How can someone be both human and divine? It’s impossible.’ Yes, usually it is.  

But John writes, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).   

Second, Christ is with us now by His Holy Spirit. He promised not to leave us alone but to send us another Helper or Counsellor to be with us forever (John 14:16). The word ‘another’ here in Greek means ‘another of the same kind’, not another of a different kind. So the Holy Spirit is among us to make the presence of Jesus uniquely real to us (John 16:14). 

Wherever we are, and whatever our circumstances, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is with us. We have no need of statue or temple or painting or prayer book or confessional or altar or music or church, helpful as some of these might be, because his presence does not depend on these things. In contrast to mute idols, the Holy Spirit speaks, directs, aids and strengthens us directly (1 Cor 12:2).

Third, Jesus will be visibly and powerfully present at his coming again.

The word ‘presence’ (Greek, parousia) is used in Scripture to describe his second coming (1 Cor 15:22-23; 1 Thess 5:23), when he will reappear in power and glory on earth to establish his kingdom forever.

What a great day that will be! The skies will split with His splendour. There will be thunderous shouting from the heavens, the earth-shattering voice of an archangel and the spine-tingling trumpet call of God, as Jesus comes in the clouds of glory, accompanied by countless myriads of angels. Terror will grip the hearts of the ungodly and joy and celebration will rise among the saints.

Past, present and future—Jesus is unique in his presence!

What next?

Jesus promised to be with us forever (Matt 28:20; Heb 13:5-6). On a scale of one (non-existent) to five (continuous), how would you describe your awareness of his presence with you? What do you need to do to experience his presence all the time?

Ps. 23:1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Psalms 23:1‭-‬6 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.23.1-6.KJV

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Today’s lesson is on the seven churches. There is encouragement and warning for each church, then and now. Remember, each of us individually make up the church so when He speaks of the church of which Jesus is the Head, He does mean us. Have a blessed day.

PRAY Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word has both encouragement and warnings. Help me to listen carefully to both as I read Your Word and live my life for You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ  Revelation 2:1‭-‬29 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.2.1-29.KJV and Revelation 3:1‭-‬22 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.3.1-22.KJV

(The reading is below. I’m trying something new.)

REFLECT These seven churches are very different and face different challenges. What does Jesus commend in them? What warnings does he give them? What lessons do you see?

The one that saved me from disaster and distress was Rev. 2:1-7. I had taken on so many earthly things concerning the Church that I had no idea I had forgotten my first love, Jesus Christ. I began to desire the approval of our earthly leaders. Thank You and Dr. Charles Stanley for bringing me back off that cliff.

As I struggle to remember not to overload myself again, I try not to become lukewarm either!

APPLY Before you next go to church, think about whether your church shares any of the characteristics or dangers of these seven. Pray about any challenges it faces.

PRAY Dear precious Lord Jesus, I am thankful for my church, and I pray that You will keep it faithful to You no matter what challenges we faces. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Rev. 2:1. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2. I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 2:8. And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 2:12. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. 2:18. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19. I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28. And I will give him the morning star. 29. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rev. 3:1. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 3:7. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8. I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 3:14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

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There have been all manner of theories about why Jesus lived, taught, performed acts of power, died at the hands of the Romans or why he came to this world at all, for that matter. Here are seven reasons, most of which he himself gave. 

· to save sinners (Matt 9:13). He fearlessly declared that he did not appear for the righteous. They either don’t need salvation or don’t think they do. Either way the outcome is the same. Only when we confess our need, can we, as sinners, be saved (1 Tim 1:13).

· to serve (Matt 20:28). In spite of his universal authority, Jesus came with the mellow heart of a servant. 

· to give his life as a ransom (Matt 20:28). Earthly leaders often expect their people to die for them: Jesus expected to die for his people. Imagine you have been captured and imprisoned and your country wants to arrange a prisoner exchange. What if they offered a cat in exchange for you? Or twenty captives for you? Or a million dollars? Which one would indicate your true worth and value? Which one would best show how much your people loved you? Now ask these same questions about what Jesus did for you.

· to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Even those of small value in human terms, like a lost coin or a lost lamb (Luke 15:1-10).

· to give abundant life (John 10:10). Unlike those who come to make our lives more miserable, Jesus came to make them more satisfying.

· to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). Jesus said this to the Roman governor. He stood for truth in the face of falsehood and deceit.

· to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Much of the evil in the world has satanic power behind it. Jesus came to destroy this.

To go back to the third purpose, this was only possible because he was both man and God. Only a human being has the right to represent another human being. Only God has the power to do so. In the unique God-man Jesus Christ, the great Rescue was possible.

One of the greatest examples of sacrificial ransom is the story of Father Maximilian Kolbe. In 1941, he offered to die an excruciating death in Auschwitz concentration camp in the place of Francis Gajowniczek, a father with young children. Pope Paul VI called Kolbe the most glittering figure to emerge from the darkness of Nazism. This is the kind of thing Jesus did for us. 

What next?

Re-read the seven purposes listed above and specifically thank Jesus aloud, for how each one has affected your life. (Vocalising is a biblical practice that reinforces the impact of what you are thinking and saying. Psalm 34:1-2; 89:1; Heb 13:15).

Mt. 20:20. Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:20‭-‬28 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.20.20-28.KJV

Lk. 19:1. And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.19.1-10.KJV

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Today’s lesson is one of those which gives us glimpse of who Jesus Christ really is and the depths of His love for us. When John fell down and lay there as dead, Jesus, who is God, bent over to touch him. He can touch you too. Call upon His name and be saved today!

PRAY Thank You, Lord God, that one day everything will finally be just the way You intended it to be, the place I will call home and worship You and throw my crowns at Your feet. What an awesome day that will be! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ Revelation 1:1‭-‬20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rev.1.1-20.KJV.

Rev. 1:1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

1:4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1:7. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

1:9. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19.  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

REFLECT   What does this passage tell you about Jesus, about who he is, what he has done and will do? Is there something new or surprising that you learned about Jesus here?

Jesus Christ is a the Son of man and the Son of God at the same time, perfect in every way. He gave His life for me on that old rugged cross at Calvary, and He will return to receive those who are His own. Yes. The more I learn the more I understand there is so much more I need to trust in my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and rely less on this world.

APPLY   Later today, write down in just a few sentences what you have learned throughout the E100 about who Jesus is and what his life, death and resurrection means to you.

PRAY Dear Father God, help me to hear, understand clearly and take to heart what You want me to know about Your holy Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

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Jesus is not often thought of as a prophet, although he most certainly was.

Moses foretold that one day God would send a prophet greater than he (Deut 18:15-22) who would have several distinguishing features—

· He would be of Hebrew origin

· God would put words in his mouth

· He would speak what God commanded

· His words would be true

All these were fulfilled through Jesus. 

If we take the term ‘prophet’ in its broader sense of someone who speaks God’s Word, then this is what Jesus claimed to be. His words were the Father’s words (John 8:47; 14:24; 17:8), spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34). They were both spirit and life (John 6:63). 

In fact, he said, heaven and earth would pass away, but his words would never pass away (Matt 24:55; Mark 13:31). Moreover, if we are ashamed of his words this day, he will be ashamed of us on ‘that day’ (Mark 8:38; 13:32; Luke 9:26;).

People everywhere acknowledged that there was a divine quality about the utterances of Jesus. No demonised person could speak as he spoke (John 10:21). Jesus’ disciples were amazed at his words (Mark 10:24) and people generally marvelled at them (Luke 4:22).

In the more narrow sense of foretelling the future, Jesus prophesied his own death and resurrection (Matt 17:22-23; Mark 8:31; 9:31). His disciples had trouble believing it, but as the whole world now knows, his predictions proved to be true.

He spoke extensively of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20-24) and specifically described the huge stones of the temple being thrown down (Matt 24:2; Luke 21:6), which seemed an impossibility, so immense were they.

But within a few years of his death, people could verify these events—they all happened just as he said. This is the test of a true prophet (Deut 18:22).

Of course, his foretelling of his second coming in the clouds in power and great glory (Matt 24:27-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:21-27) has not yet been fulfilled, but there is no reason to believe it will not be. In fact, on the basis of his other prophecies, there is every reason to believe they will be.

Jesus was unique in his prophesying. We do well to heed his words and to be prepared. Such warnings encourage both hope and holiness (1 John 2:28). John puts it succinctly: ‘Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself’ (1 John 3:3). 

And as the Reformers used to teach, we work as if he will not return for ages and we live as if he will come before we finish reading this page.

What next?

If Jesus were to return right now, would you shout with joy or shrink with shame?

I would shout with extreme joy! 😁🙏✝️❤️✝️🙏

1 Jn 2:28. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
1 John 2:28 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.2.28.KJV

1 Jn 3:1. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
1 John 3:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.3.1-10.KJV

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LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Today’s lesson is on 1 John 3:11–4:21. We are encouraged to love one another as Christ Jesus loved us. We are also called to obey the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. This way we can fulfill His commandments. I’m so glad God knows our flesh is weak and has sent His Holy Spirit for our Comforter! Have a blessed day.

PRAY Loving God, Your love is truly amazing. It never wavers, it never wanes, it never fails. Thank You.

READ  1 John 3:11—4:21

READ 1 John 3:11‭-‬24 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.3.11-24.KJV and 1 John 4:1‭-‬21 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1jn.4.1-21.KJV

1 Jn 3:11. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 Jn 4:1. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

4:7. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19. We love him, because he first loved us. 

4:20. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21. And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

REFLECT How do we know what the essence of true love is? How does this kind of love differ from the kind we see in our popular culture? When have you experienced love?

Read the Scriptures. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your brother’s and sisters as yourself. This is true love.

In today’s popular culture, there is selfishness, emptiness, anger, devoid of empathy toward one another let alone God. This is why they are so broken.

I experience love with every breath I take, be it awake or asleep. The love God has for me cannot be separated by anyone nor anything. I am so grateful to You Lord Jesus for loving me so perfectly!

APPLY  Identify a nearby family in need (in your church or at the city mission). Help meet their need and tell them you’re doing this because God and you love them.

PRAY Dear Lord Jesus, I want to love others with Your love. May my love be a reflection of Your love for me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

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https://youtu.be/LSfL-ohkimo

Jesus was unique in his power over death—especially his own! His resurrection was totally unlike any other.

The Bible records several instances of people being brought back to life. A Shunammite boy (2 Kings 4:18-37). Dorcas (Acts 9:36-43). Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:21-43). Lazarus (John 11:1-44). To name just a few.

There are also documented cases of people returning to life in our day—especially in a missionary context.

But the resurrection of Jesus was different. It was unique in two distinct ways. First, in every other case, resurrection was only temporary: ultimately, they all died again. Jesus remains alive forever.

Second, in every other case, people were brought back to life through the agency of someone else. A prophet, a disciple, a missionary—even, in modern times, a physician.

But the resurrection of Jesus was different. He himself returned from death, without the intervention or mediation of anyone else. His resurrection was unique. He conquered death through the power of his own endless and indestructible life (Heb 7:16).

It had to be so. Because they were mortal, Old Testament priests were prevented by death from continuing to offer sacrifices. But Jesus, having made one, eternal perfect sacrifice for sin, could not remain imprisoned by death. He is our everlasting ever-living high priest.

Years ago, a journalist named Frank Morison set out to prove the resurrection of Jesus to be a myth. He finished up being convinced of the opposite! In 1930, he published a book entitled Who Moved the Stone? This really says it all. Who did move the stone? Not a ‘crucified criminal’ (if that’s what Jesus was): he would have been too emaciated. Not the disciples: they were too scared. Not the women: the stone was too heavy. Not the soldiers: they were paid to lie about it. Not the Pharisees: it was the last thing they wanted. 

Today, if you go to Israel you will not find any trace of his body. At the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, a sign at the entrance says. ‘He is not here for he is risen’ (Mark 16:6).

Jesus was unique in his power over death. And he still is.

What next?

Paul says that if Christ was not raised, our faith is futile (1 Cor 15:14). This being so, what benefits/blessings would we have lost? Make a list of at least five things. 

1. The relationship we have with God would not exist.

2. We would still die in our sin. There would be no salvation.

3. There would be no hope for this dieing world. No reason to do what is right.

4. Our prayers would go unheard and unanswered.

5. We would go to hell for blaspheming the holy God.

Rom. 6:1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7. For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1‭-‬11 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/rom.6.1-11.KJV

Col. 3:1. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1‭-‬4 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/col.3.1-4.KJV

Heb. 4:14. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14‭-‬16 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.4.14-16.KJV

Heb. 7:24. But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:24‭-‬25 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/heb.7.24-25.KJV

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FAITH AND WORKS

Today’s lesson is on the book of James. In particular, James 1-2. Happy Resurrection Day!

PRAY  Lord Jesus, Please grow my faith, and may it always be in You.

READ James 1:1‭-‬27 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.1-27.KJV and James 2:1‭-‬26 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.2.1-26.KJV

Jms 1:1. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 9. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10. But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 

1:13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17. 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. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

1:19. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  

Jms 2:1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3. And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4. Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5. Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6. But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7. Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. 

2:14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

REFLECT  Is it really possible to consider trials and suffering “pure joy”? How? Have you had that experience? What differentiates “pure religion” from the rest?

It is possible, but I find it difficult. I do, however, try. After the trial, I can mostly see God’s hand in it and rejoice at that time. I wouldn’t have made it without Him! Trust me on that.

APPLY  Take an opportunity this week to do at least one practical thing to demonstrate the reality of your faith (helping a needy neighbor, visiting the sick, etc.).

PRAY  Dear Lord Jesus, show me how to make my faith more real and visible to those around me.

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It is Finished

This is the final day of the reading plan, It Is Finished. I pray you have enjoyed it. Much more, I pray it has touched your heart in an amazing way this year. O glorious day! May God bless you. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

The Easter Story comes to a close in this victorious scene in Matthew 28. Can you put yourself in Mary Magdalene’s shoes right before she hears the angel’s voice? In your mind, you know Jesus is dead, but your heart is holding out for the faintest of hopes that He still lives.

Then a glorious, radiant angel appears in front of you and tells you what you had hardly dared to hope.

He has risen. Just as He said.

The battle has been won. It is finished.

As you head to your Easter celebrations this weekend, I pray that hope would overflow in your heart because of the finished work of Christ. Yes, we are still building the kingdom of God on earth. Yes, we are still being sanctified. But we are not doing all of those things to get to a place of love and victory, but we are doing it from a place of love and victory. And knowing that changes everything.

It quiets the striving in my mind of proving myself. No longer do I have to wonder if I made the right sacrifices or repeated the right prayers in order to be accepted as one of God’s children.

Our victory has been secured and we can confidently share the good news, grow in Christ, and love others as we await Christ’s second coming. The ultimate Promise Keeper indeed kept His word. He is risen, just as He said.

If you haven’t accepted Christ as your savior yet and would like to do so, please pray these words along with me:

“Jesus, I acknowledge I am a sinner and I am in need of salvation. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross. Come into my heart and make me new. Thank you for your gift of eternal life. Help me to learn to walk with you now. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

If you prayed that prayer, please let a trusted friend or pastor know so they can guide you in your next steps in your next steps in your relationship with Jesus.

It’s the best decision you could ever make.

Mt. 28:1. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Matthew 28:1‭-‬10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.28.1-10.KJV

1 Cor. 15:55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55‭-‬57 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1co.15.55-57.KJV

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That Jesus worked signs and wonders does not in itself prove that he was the Son of God although if he had not been able to do so, it would clearly prove that he wasn’t. 

He demonstrated both unique power and unique authority. As we have seen, he did this as a human being anointed by the Holy Spirit and power, but uniquely anointed because the Spirit was given to him without measure (John 3:34). He had no need of regular infillings as we do (Act 4:8; 7:65; Eph 5:18). Further, this was coupled with his divine authority as God manifest in the flesh. He was both Son of Man and Son of God. To take just the gospel of Matthew, we see this unique power-and-authority in at least seven areas— 

· over sickness and disease (Matt 8:1-17). It took a Roman centurion to recognise this. He clearly saw Jesus’ healing ministry as a mark of his divine authority.

· over nature (Matt 8:23-27). People were amazed that even the winds and waves obeyed Jesus. What kind of man is this?’ they asked.

· over demons (Matt 8:28-34; 12:27-28). Even a host of evil spirits cowed before him. He was infinitely stronger than the strong. This was proof that the kingdom of God had come.

· over sin (Matt 9:1-8). By healing a disabled man, Jesus showed that he had the right to forgive sins, which amounted to a claim to be equal with God. Anyone can forgive sins perpetrated against themselves, but only God can forgive sins committed against others. Even the Pharisees understood this.

· over tradition (Matt 9:9-17). Long-standing traditions were dissolved by the authority of Jesus.

· over death (Matt 9:18-26; John 11:1-44). Jesus overcame humankind’s ultimate enemy. His enemies were afraid that this would cause everyone to believe in Him (John 11:48). He simply said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’.

· over the universe (Matt 28:18-20). This is perhaps the most extraordinary statement that Jesus ever made: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ No honest human being would presume to say such a thing. Humanity cannot reach such heights. We are forced to return again to the only options: liar, lunatic or Lord. There is no trace or hint of Jesus ever demonstrating mendacity or insanity. So we are left only with deity. There is no other choice.

What next?

On a scale of one (not at all) to five (completely) to what extent do you think it is possible for us continue the ministry of Jesus? Consider Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:20; Luke 10:18-19; 24:49; Act 1:8. Give reasons for your choice.

My answer: I state emphatically 5. I will be getting up tomorrow morning and going to my Church at 9 am. We will pray. We will walk. We will talk to people about Jesus Christ and to make sure God’s children are saved. Do you know where you are going when you leave this world? When you accept Christ Jesus into your heart, your name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life. Nothing, therefore, can separate you from the love of God. You will be in Heaven.

Mk. 16:20. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Mark 16:20 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/mrk.16.20.KJV

Lk. 10:18. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Luke 10:18‭-‬19 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.10.18-19.KJV

Lk. 24:49. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Luke 24:49 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.24.49.KJV

Acts 1:5. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7. And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:5‭-‬8 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/act.1.5-8.KJV

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Today’s lesson is on being holy. It isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be holy as He is holy. Have a blessed day. 

PRAY Dear heavenly Father, Please challenge me and encourage me as a read Your Word today. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

READ 1 Peter 1:21-‬25 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.1.1-25.KJV and 1 Peter 2:1‭-‬12 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/1pe.2.1-12.KJV

1 Pet. 1:1. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

1:10. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21. Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

1 Pet. 2:1. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 

2:4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 

2:11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

REFLECT   What do you think it means to be holy? Is it really possible for a regular person to be truly holy, or is that only for “super saints”?

1: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. 2: divine for the Lord our God is holy — Psalms 99:9 (King James Version) 3: devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity a holy temple holy prophets.

These are the definitions found in today’s dictionary. Pretty accurate I would say. I believe it is possible to draw closer to God each and in each way. Will this make us perfect? The simple answer is no. It does not mean you shouldn’t try.

APPLY Think of 2–3 steps you can take to grow in holiness in the week ahead. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask your pastor for guidance.

Pray, read your Bible, and listen for God to answer.

PRAY   Dear precious Lord Jesus, While things seem too incredible for me to overcome them, I know nothing is impossible for You. Please help me to be more holy and draw closer to You each day. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

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Silent Saturday

This is the sixth day of the seven day reading plan. Each day this week has been powerful. I pray you had time to rest in His peace.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize the gravity of Silent Saturday. The immediate trauma of Good Friday had passed, but Resurrection Sunday was still 24 hours away. And those left behind were faced with a question that we are often faced with. What do you do in the middle? In the middle of trauma and deliverance?

Those who were grieving had witnessed not only the brutal execution of Jesus, but all the other strange phenomena that accompanied Christ’s death: earthquakes, midday darkness, the tearing of the temple veil, and more. So what did they do? What do we do?

Rest.

Those who were left behind were called to rest, because it was Christ who was doing the work. Christ was at work defeating the devil in the bowels of Hell, reclaiming what was His to begin with. It was Christ with the agenda, not us. It was Christ on the warpath, not us. It was Christ who was doing, not us.

When recovering from grief and trauma, the reactions are varied to be sure, but often doing nothing (what our souls might crave) is harder to carry out. Surely there is another phone call to be made, another closet to clean out, another demand to make, another list to record. But to rest, completely?

It astounds me that God planned for the execution to take place on a Friday, knowing that the Jews, steeped in the centuries-old tradition of Sabbath would know they would have to honor this day of rest. He planned the Great Sacrifice on our day off.

Were they relieved for a moment to catch their breath? Or did they chafe under the religious traditions, wishing they could do something, anything, to undo the horror of the past 48 hours?

Whatever your “Silent Saturday” is, whatever seemingly unanswered prayers face you, whatever traumas you are trying to heal from, know that you can rest, knowing your Father is at work.

Resurrection is just around the corner.

Lk. 23:56. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
Luke 23:56 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.23.56.KJV

To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth

Ps 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalms 46:10 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.46.10.KJV

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Jesus was unique in his preaching and teaching.

This was acclaimed early in his public ministry. People were well used to rabbis quoting from the Law, the Prophets and the Writings, the three sections of the Hebrew Old Testament. And they knew that there had been a time when prophets frequently declared, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But no one spoke on their own authority. Until Jesus.

What he did was unbelievable. Knowing full well how the religious leaders would respond, he began much of his teaching with statements like, ‘You heard such and such said in times past, but I say…’

Try to imagine your pastor doing that today. He stands up in the Sunday morning service and declares, ‘Paul once said thus and thus but I say…’ Or even worse—which is the equivalent of what the Lord did—‘Jesus once said but I say…’

In the Sermon on the Mount, there are many examples. ‘You have been told you should not commit murder, but I say, don’t even be angry. It amounts to the same thing’ (Matt 5:22)’ and, ‘Moses told you not to commit adultery, but I say don’t even think about it.’ (Matt 5:28).

And so he went on, even replacing a great Mosaic command—an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Lev 24:17-20)—by telling people to suffer injustice without fighting back (Matt 5:38-42). Unheard of!

Sometimes his preaching and teaching simply endorsed an Old Testament precept (Prov 25:6-7; Luke 14:10), but frequently he took things much further. 

The outstanding example was his teaching on love: ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another’ (John 13:34). This was revolutionary. No one in the ancient world held to such a philosophy. But it was in this way that people would recognise his disciples (John 13:35).

And so it was in the early years of the Christian era. The great North African Latin scholar Tertullian, records how Romans used to say with amazement, ‘Look how these Christians love one another!’. In fact, some of the persecution directed towards those pioneer believers in Jesus was that they must have been engaged in sexual immorality because no one could love each other as they did without there being some skulduggery somewhere.

It was no wonder that at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, people were amazed at his teaching because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Matt 7:38-39). And even soldiers, used to obeying authority, said in wonder, ‘No one ever spoke like this man!’ (John 7:46).

What next?

Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt chapters 5, 6 and 7). Choose one passage that really speaks significantly to you today.

Mt. 5:1. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

5:3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

5:13. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing,