. . . Because of God

Many of us are familiar with the story of Joseph.  We have the main points in his life down pat: his coat of many colors, his dreams, and his interpretation of others’ dreams.  We know of him being sold into slavery by his own brothers, his life in Egypt, the accusations of Potiphar’s wife, and his imprisonment.  But how closely do we pay attention to his actual relationship with God?  Do we focus more on the “From the Pit to the Palace,” side of things than on his integrity before God?

In his story, Joseph appears to start out as a young man who is a bit boastful and can’t wait to tell every listening ear his dream.  (I’m not saying he was boastful, just that it appears so).  His dreams became so that they incurred the hatred of his brothers.  This hatred would boil up within them until it filled them with violent intentions.  At one point, they thought murder was one option to rid them of this dreamer.  Instead of killing him, they opted to get rid of him while making a little money on the side.  They sold him into slavery.

In what appeared as the hardest time of his young life, Joseph’s relationship with God deepened.  This showed in the way God cause him to be prosperous and favored no matter where life put him (Genesis 39:3, 21).  Joseph also displayed the importance of his devotion to God in not sinning against God (Genesis 39:9) and in his refusal to take credit for all that God was doing through him (Genesis 40:8; 41:16, 28, 32).

God blessed Joseph with this incredible gift yet in his humility and dependence upon God, he denounced any accolades of his own.  He considered himself to be a vessel, realizing that “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace,” (Genesis 41:16).

The humility of Joseph took him far in life.  Eventually, he became second in command over Egypt.  Had he gotten big-headed I’m sure the story would’ve turned out quite differently.  If he had reverted to the “Me, Myself and I” attitude that a lot of people seem to display, Joseph’s story would not have been noted as the legacy we now know.

“It’s not in me,” Joseph readily proclaims.  The Bible tells us, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  The Apostle Paul out-and-out tells us what Joseph already proclaimed.  We don’t have it in us!  Any gifts, any abilities, any special insights, and any favor – we have it because of God!  There’s no room for a self-sufficient attitude when God is trying to work in you.

When Daniel went before king Nebuchadnezzar to interpret his dream, Daniel, like Joseph, admitted his frailty as a human.  He said, “This secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living,” (Daniel 2:30).  He did not consider himself anything special just because he could interpret dreams rather, he gave glory to God, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his,” (Daniel 2:20).

Standing before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was asked, “Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?” (Daniel 2:26).  Daniel answered much like Joseph did.  He said, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days,” (Daniel 2:28).

It is amazing the miracles that God can perform through the one who will not compete with Him to gain the credit.  When God instructed Gideon to go against the Midianites with only three hundred men, He did so, “lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me,” (Judges 7:2).  When there is competition for glory, God will retain His!  If one is in competition with Him they are “against” Him and God can’t work mightily through them!

It’s not just an Old Testament thing.  Peter said, “Why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12).  Let’s face it, we are human, and unless God puts it in us – unless God gives it to us, we don’t have anything to offer this world.  “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven,” (John 3:27).

Let’s do a credit check today.  Not to decipher our financial status but rather our relationship status with God.  It’s not “Me, Myself and I,” but it’s God working in us.  Let’s stand with Joseph and declare, “It’s not in me: God shall give . . . an answer . . .” (Genesis 41:16).  Everything that we have or are able to do in life is because of God.

Blessings to you . . .

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Opinions

Opinions, everyone offers them.  Sometimes they are solicited, and sometimes not.

Opinions can be a welcomed, new perspective on a matter.  Then again, opinions can be discouraging whether the basis of them is right or wrong.

The thing we must remember about opinions when referring to people is just that, they are someone’s opinions.  What that means is it may or may not be factual.  It may or may not be the best option for your case.  It only means that is the way another views whatever matter is before them.  It is their best evaluation of the situation.

Does this mean they are wrong?  No.  Does it mean they are right?  No.  An opinion, again, is what it is, an opinion.

Does that mean we shun all opinions given to us?  If we are wise, the answer is no.  The reason being, that while opinions are opinions, the Bible constantly encourages us to seek wise counsel.  Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise,” and there are many more verses written like this that support these same thoughts.

As much as some would like to ignore the fact, there are people who know more than we do and we can glean from their knowledge, expertise, and experience concerning the different matters of life.  We do not know everything in and of ourselves and so prudence demands that we get close to wise counselors and partake of what they have and can teach us to enrich our lives.

Now, the opposite of that is invalidated opinions or harmful opinions.  The thoughts of others that can put a grinding halt on your life and mission.  These interferences disrupt the flow of your day if you allow them and can be a damper on the fire that God has placed inside of us.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul, being at the forefront of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through many regions of the world in his day often came under the scrutiny of others’ opinions.  One particular time that stands out to me was when he and the other 275 passengers aboard a broken ship had to either swim to shore for safety or float there on pieces of the broken ship (see Acts 28 and chapters prior for the entire story).

Once on shore, Paul gathered sticks for a fire, and out of the heat, a snake bit him and attached itself to his hand (Acts 28:3).  When those on the island that were gathered there saw this, they claimed that Paul was a murderer who may have escaped the sea but was still going to get his just desserts (Acts 28:4-5).

Paul, not phased by them or the snake, shook the creature off and went on about his business while the others stood to see what would become of him, expecting him to fall down dead.

When Paul didn’t respond as they thought he would to the snake bite, their opinion of Paul changed quickly in the eyes of these people.  They changed their view of him based off of what they could see with their natural eyes and started to call him a god (Acts 28:6).

That is a very dramatic turn from being labeled as a murderer and then having the script flipped to the people claiming he was a god.  This shows us how quickly, and how circumstantially, people’s views of you can change.

The problem is, that too many people have halted what God has placed in their hearts because of the opinions of others.  Too many have let others revoke their dreams or dictate their calling when it is the Father who knows His good will and thoughts toward you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Constantly looking to others for validation can hinder the mission God has placed you on.  If Paul had succumbed to their opinions, as one labeled a murder, he could have tucked-tail, turned, and hid in a corner, which would not benefit where God placed him and what God wanted to do through him.  By the way, while on that island, some were able to be healed due to the Paul becoming aware of their illness and being able to pray for them (see Acts 28:7-10).

If Paul allowed his head to get puffed-up when others claimed he was a god, he would have been no good for God’s mission in that place and in the places he was traveling to.

Please, and I mean, please with fervency on top, let me reiterate, that there is much wisdom in wise counsel.  Almost the whole book of Proverbs reads as wise counsel on what to do and not to do and the one who wants wisdom would be wise to follow it.  And verses like Proverbs 19:20, which says, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” really stand out on the importance of seeking and following through on wise instruction.  DO NOT neglect this great gift of available wisdom.

But, don’t let the invalidated opinions of others sway you from your calling.  If you are unsure about a matter, seek good, godly wisdom (as noted above).  Also, never forget that the greatest source of wisdom and knowing of what to do in an unsure time is to look to God Himself.  Proverbs 19:21 says, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

If you are having a hard time figuring it out, pray for a heart of discernment because we DO NOT want to lean on our own opinions if they are wrong, either.  Don’t get hung up on self.  Again, we have these nuggets of wisdom from Proverbs: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits” (16:2), “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (16:25), and “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts” (21:2).

Above all, we want to be right with God for it is what He thinks of us, His knowledge and His perspective about our life, and what He wants from us and for us that matters the most.

Overcome the obstacles of false opinions, seek wise counsel, and look to God above all else.  He is your confident source for all of life’s decisions.

God bless you.

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Acknowledging Prayer

“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.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  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.” Luke 11:2-4

When one acknowledges something or someone they are ascribing or giving them credit that they deserve.  Here, opening His teaching on prayer, Jesus jumps in without hesitation, stating, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven.”  Now, notice first that Jesus didn’t say “if” ye pray.  He point-blank expected that His people should have an active and working prayer life so He said, “When ye pray.”

Starting with the statement, “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus acknowledges to whom one’s prayers should be directed.  And, in the verses following God gets the credit for everything!  This is acknowledgment.

“Our Father which art in heaven,” points one in the right direction.  There are many voices that try to offer advice and insight to the world we live and to the troubles and woes we face.  Yet, none can have the insight as He who created all things.  None is Sovereign as He to really be our champion for real change.  That can only come from He who is enthroned in heaven for all eternity; by He Whom everything takes its commands: “Our Father.”

“Our Father” describes the intimate, relational context in which God wants to be committed to us.  Did you get that?  God wants to be “Our Father” so much that Jesus, God incarnate, instructed us to address Him as such in prayer.  Man may not always step up to the plate to fill this role, but God does.  He willingly takes on the role of “Father,” meaning more than provider in my view.  He takes on the responsibility to love, care and nurture those who come to Him seeking Him as daddy.  Romans 8:15 describes it as this: “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  This adoption is an on-purpose act of love that He is seeking to fulfill as the role of “Father.”  God “will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

“Hallowed be thy name.”  Part of acknowledging prayer is respecting His holiness.  Oh, I cringe when I see people take the name of the Lord in vain.  God’s name is not like any other and should not be treated as it is.  His name is holy (Isaiah 57:15), and He is the one who “dwell in the high and holy place.”  When one invokes God’s name in prayer it is not a plaything.  We are seeking His holiness to come in on our behalf; garnering His stamp of approval.  Heaven knows how to treat His name so much that they speak the word “holy” three times: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:3).

Acknowledging prayer recognizes God’s authority, His power, His Sovereignty, His control, His kingdom, and His will overall. “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”  No wonder at the end of the parallel of this prayer found in Matthew 6:13 it states, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”  We should want to see the glory of God’s will take over the atmosphere of this old stale world “as in heaven.”  We should have heavenly visions of God’s power reclaiming this earth.

Acknowledging prayer recognizes that God is the provider of all.  “Give us day by day our daily bread.”  “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  We, as all other things created, are dependent on Him as our provider.  “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  God will provide.

Acknowledging prayer knows that forgiveness comes from God: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “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.”  God wants to spiritually heal people from their sin-sick ways.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).

In return, we are expected to offer forgiveness to those who ask for it.  Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God said no to us whenever we sought for healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!  Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.  And, we acknowledge that this is His will for us.

Acknowledging prayer shows God as a deliverer: “And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” God doesn’t tempt people into sin.  “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,” (James 1:13).  Sin is a choice and so is choosing to let God lead and trusting Him to keep you in those hard times.  “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee,” (Psalm 25:20).  “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me . . .” (Psalm 19:13).  He is a keeper to them that know Him as a deliverer and He is a protector against the ultimate enemy, the devil.

The Bible gives us this wise advice: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Acknowledging prayer says that there is no part of our lives that is untethered by the touch of God’s love. Therefore, in everything, and in every way, I lean into God, trust Him, and acknowledge Him in every area of my life.

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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Praise From God

Many of us are familiar with the sons of Jesse being ceremoniously paraded before the prophet Samuel to see who would be anointed as the next king of Israel (1 Samuel 16).

As with most people, Samuel viewed the potential candidates according to what he could see, judging by their physical appearance.  But it was God who interrupted his erroneous train of thought and informed Samuel the criteria by which He judges is far from the world of human perspective, saying, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Praise from God will never be about what everyone else sees.  Praise from God will never be given based on what is done on the outside of an individual.  Outward rituals and performances never impress our God so much as the inner moving of one’s heart.

God has always been in love with the inner man, for it is only in that place of hiddenness where one’s true character and motives reside.  In this place, God’s eyes and knowing go beyond the scope of the visible.  God’s view of a person is more thorough in reach and scope than any human eye can fathom in that secret place inside.

People work strenuously to put on a show for others.  Do the right things, say the right words, and they will see that you are a good person.   Performance in a certain way will gain you the right audience and praise from people, right?

How we behave on the outside can be an overflow of the true character on the inside, but this is not always so.  While things may look good on the outside, the heart is what matters to God the most. And it is what’s in the heart that receives praise from God.

Paul wrote in Romans, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28-29; emphasis mine), meaning it doesn’t matter the rituals and performances one does on the outside to make themselves to appear to be a child of God, rather it is “the circumcision is that of the heart” that matters most.

My friend, we are living for the praise of God, living to please Him with our lives.  Outward rituals will never impress Him like a true heart that has been changed from the inside out instead of one trying to work righteousness from the outside in.

There are a lot of things that can touch your heart, but when living for God and loving Him touches it more, then something beautiful takes place there.  Something that cannot be ignored by the Father.

Prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24. 

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The Golden Rule

“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31

This is the Golden Rule, as we call it today.  God’s people are to know how to treat people in any circumstance, whether the times are favorable or if they find themselves in times of adversity.  God’s people are to respond to situations and people in the same manner as Jesus did.

Philippians 2:5 tells us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  The way we view things, people, and situations are to be filtered through thinking about how Jesus Himself would respond.  How did He handle the adversities He faced?  What was His attitude like toward those who mocked Him and so forth?  All in all, if we were to take inventory and compare our responses to that of Jesus, would they match up or even come close?

In order to be identified as a  Christian, after all, it means that we are of Christ, we are His followers, and we are Christ-minded.  If we’re not, can we truly call ourselves Christians?

The greatest commandments Jesus taught was this: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these,” (Mark 12:29-31, emphasis mine).  Loving people, and treating people as one would want to be treated is to be a priority for being a follower of Christ!  It is one of the greatest commandments and it cannot be ignored!

Today, where do you know you need to view others as Christ did and respond to them in love, with patience, and the courtesy of our Savior?

Most, if not all of us, may be a continual work in progress in this area.  People are not always kind, but we can choose to be kind.  People are not always loving, but because we want to represent our Savior well, we can, as He did, choose to be loving.  The choice is always up to us on how we treat those whom we interact with daily and the random strangers that come across our path.

May we love people well, no matter who they are.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12

Excerpt taken from Jesus Teaches His Followers

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God, My Satisfaction!

“Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.” Luke 6:21

God’s people live with an expectation of being filled.  These verses really hone in on our life with and without Christ.  Without Him, it is truly a life of lack compared to being spiritually satisfied and complete in Him.

One that hungers has not yet retained enough within him to turn over the plate and say, “Thank you, but that’s enough.  I’m done. I am completely full.”  Spiritually speaking, he that hungers has a need for more, for more of Him.  And that’s okay because that one recognizes that it is only in Christ where his soul can truly be satisfied, knowing, “Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power,” Colossians 2:10.  This is where the malnourished soul is embraced and filled with the satisfaction of the Savior.

David celebrated finding satisfaction in God alone.  He says it like this:

“Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” Psalm 36:5-9

In the verses preceding these, David describes different characteristics of those who don’t look to God for their filling.  He describes them as wicked and with whom “there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1).  These have rejected God’s way, His path, and salvation for their lives.  They live a life in opposition to the Father’s good plan and have chosen to fill themselves with the pride of self rather than seeking a life that can be made complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).

Opposite that, we who know God recognize, as David did, God’s mercy through it all.  We recognize His daily faithfulness.  We see His righteousness through the clouds of evil.  We know of His lovingkindness because we have experienced it for ourselves countless times over.  And with that, we place ourselves under His trust, sheltering under the “shadow of thy wings.”

In God, we are “abundantly satisfied.”  We rest, hope, and live in the blessings of the Lord (Acts 17:28).  And these blessings aren’t necessarily something we are seeking from the Lord, but they come as an overflow of being attached to the Lord.  

Our relationship with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, has poured out into our lives a  certain filling that the wicked of the world will never be able to comprehend.  That’s why when things aren’t okay, or when plans go awry, or when pain is introduced into areas of our life we wish it would avoid, we can still securely rest in the hope of who God is in our lives: our true soul’s satisfaction.

With God, there is a “fountain of life.”  Fountains are not stagnated.  Their waters are always moving and flowing and fresh.  God flows life over, and for,  and through His children.  He is our sustaining grace, renewing us day by day with His strength and love (2 Corinthians 4:16).

There is not a moment when God is absent or withdrawn from the lives of His children.  He is not only their breath, their joy, their song, and their life, but in God, we find everything we need, and we are completely filled in Him.  With God, we are abundantly satisfied.

  “And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:11

What a beautiful picture!   Be filled in Him today.  

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Ye Shall Laugh!

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

“Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” Luke 6:21

Many of us have been well acquainted with tears on more than one occasion.  Tears or weeping are most often shed in times of sorrow; during times of hardship and anguish.  Crying gives one an opportunity to release those pinned-up emotions that stress the body and soul of man.

Whether this weeping is associated with sorrow of sin or because of adversity of the wicked, those that endure through it now will find a time when “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying…” (Revelation 21:4).

“For ye shall laugh,” the Bible says.  Where there is laughter, joy has replaced the sorrow that was once felt.  Where there is laughter, a release is felt from the oppression of the wicked.  David once wrote, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers…” (Psalm 37:1).  If they are the source of tears, forget about it.  He goes on to say, “The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming,” (Psalm 37:13).  When God laughs, as His followers, we will share in the same joy as our Savior.

The Bible says, He will “appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” (Isaiah 61:3), and they will be able to laugh!”

God has this promise for His people: it won’t always look like this. There will come a time to laugh. Joy is on the horizon!

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” Psalm 5:11

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5

And, they shall laugh!

“For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.” Job 8:21

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” Psalm 16:9

“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 16:11

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11

“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19

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

“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2

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

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17

“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.” Romans 15:13

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“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.” 1 Peter 1:8

Excerpt taken from Jesus Teaches His Followers

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It’s up to you…

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“Jotham. . . did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. . . and the people did yet corruptly.” 2 Chronicles 27:1-2

It’s up to you to live a life that is pleasing in the sight of God.

It’s up to you to walk the path of righteousness for yourself.

It’s up to you to choose how to live your days upon the earth, days spent honoring or dishonoring the grace of these moments that God has blessed you with.

There is one thing our current culture has forgotten in their attempts to pass the blame for the how’s, what’s, and why’s of life, and that is individual responsibility. While the attitudes and actions of others can negatively affect people, many don’t have this as their reasoning. Rather, they indulge in unrighteous acts and wrong living, celebrating sinfulness, all the while expressing that it is not their fault. They shift the blame to others as a defense for their reasoning to do wrong.

The above verses show that even when you have a leader or a person of influence in your life who chooses to do right and set a good example, the people still had a choice to make for themselves. The old expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink,” comes to mind here.

There can be one who shows you the way and the hows of choosing the right path to walk, but it is the individual’s responsibility to choose to walk in it.

We are given choices in this life. And ultimately, we are the ones who will determine our eternal futures based on how we invested in this life given to us; based on which path we have chosen to walk: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

It’s up to you. Choose the blessed life (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

“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:” Deuteronomy 30:19

“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” Exodus 32:26

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:” Deuteronomy 11:26-27

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” Deuteronomy 30:15-16

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21

“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4

“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.” John 10:10

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

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Uniquely Loved

YOU ARE UNIQUELY LOVED BY GOD!

Do you know how special you are? Do you know of the creative design that brought you here today? Can you fully appreciate your uniqueness, being an altogether separate creature from all others God created?

As part of the human race, you are the climax of God’s design. Oh, the stars and objects above serve their purpose and are beautiful to look at, but they are not you. And as we look out on the horizon to view nature, we may sigh pleasantly at the glorious way the panoramic view displays His beautiful scene before us. But be sure of this, my friend. There is no scene more beautiful to God than those who were made in His image, in His likeness.

“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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:26-27

 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

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

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A Personal Audience With God

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Every time you bow the knee in prayer. Every time your hands are raised in adoration to the King. Every time your mouth opens to bless the name of God and lay your petitions before Him, He personally pays attention.

Out of the over 7,000,000,000 people that currently roam planet earth, when you pray before the Father, you enjoy a personal audience with God.

Yes, my friend, you are that special to Him. Yes, my friend, He loves you that much.

When you pray, you have God’s full attention. I don’t know how He’s able to be such a good Father in giving you and me this undivided attention, but He is.

It’s as if nothing else matters when your heart seeks Him in holy supplication. Even out of the billions, when you pray, God hears as if you are the only one.

We know He is omniscient, knowing all things, everywhere, with everyone, at one time, but He, in His love and grace, gives us this personal audience, to hear what we petition, to be mindful of us personally when we pray.

This, my friend, shows us the delight God takes in His children. Each one matters to Him personally.

Like a parent whose child calls home, God picks up the receiver and listens, giving His blessed ones His personal audience.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” – 1 John 5:14

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” – Jeremiah 33:3

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you– Matthew 7:7

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

“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 4:16

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers. . .” – 1 Peter 3:12

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