Here’s a quick reminder . . .

Here’s a quick reminder. This life can make you feel some type of way sometimes. It can make you feel isolated like you’re all alone in dealing with this stuff. But I’m here to remind you that you are NOT. God’s unfailing hand of love is holding you through every trying circumstance. Don’t let the enemy convince you otherwise. All he wants to do is steal, kill and destroy the plans God has for you. God has greater than THIS in store for you and YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS! He’s holding on to you. Keep holding on to Him! Blessings~
Word For Life Says

“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.” – Psalm 23:4

“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.” – Isaiah 41:10

“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.” – Hebrews 13:5

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Before the day was, I am He!

“Yea, before the day was I am he . . .” Isaiah 43:13

There is a time and a place for all things, that is what they say.  Some will argue their disbelief in God because they have trouble with not being able to pinpoint His beginning.  This life, this walk of faith demands that we believe God for who He says He is: “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” (Revelation 1:8), meaning there was never a time God was not.  He was before all and will continue to be, forever and ever.  The psalmist celebrated this by saying, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2), a truth repeatedly recognized throughout Scripture (Job 36:23; Psalm 93:2; Isaiah 41:4).  

The Bible begins with the very words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  God is responsible for all of the Creation events.  He “laid the foundations of the earth” (Psalm 104:5).  When “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2a), God was already there moving: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b).  Before light (Genesis 1:3-4), and even before there was a day or a night (Genesis 1:5), there was God.  He has always been and will always be.

“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things” (Isaiah 40:25-26a).  God is the Creator of all things.  Knowing who laid the foundations.  Knowing He who was before all things, solidifies our faith in the one and only true living God.

There is no one like our God.  He testified of Himself before Moses and said, ““I AM THAT I AM,” (Exodus 3:14), meaning just that.  He has always existed before anything else, and He has always been before even one day was ever noted in history.  He is God all by Himself: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

God has no equal!  There is nobody that can be measured up to Him!  There is no comparison, no rival, no match, and no substitutes – none that can be even remotely like God!  There is only one God, and from before the foundations of the earth, God has been, and He has been in control.  All we need to do is simply put our trust in Him, believe in Him, wait on Him, and watch Him work: “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).

The eternal nature of God cannot be understood by pinpointing days, only by believing in faith: “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.  They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end” (Psalm 102:25-27).

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God, plan perfectly my day.

We all have desires.  We all envision how we want our life to go.  And we are all guilty of thinking we know the best way to achieve it.  Often, we try to come to our own rescue by formulating plans, mentally putting pieces of this puzzle together, thinking, if this happens, then I’ll do this.  And if that happens, then this can be done.  Even though we may have prayed over the matter, maybe quite sincerely, that doesn’t mean we have invited God into the issue.  It doesn’t mean we have actually asked for His input, released it into His hands, or asked for His perfect will.

Leaving God out of the process means we have to have all the answers.  It means we need to know the beginning from the end and all the future consequences and ripples in our lives that those decisions cause.  It means we have to have perfect knowledge of everything about them now, and what’s to come – and, I am sorry, not sorry, to say, none of us are that smart.  No, not one.  That type of omniscient power can only be of God.  So, why do we fight so much to have it our own way?

Getting your way all the time is not all it’s cracked up to be.  With it comes more responsibility than we are equipped to handle.  So, today I urge you to release your plans, days, and life to God and pray for Him to plan it according to His perfect and unfailing will.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

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Let them find life in You!

Father God, Your love for this world is unimaginable.  You go and have gone through the extremes of love to save as many souls as possible.  Today, we are praying for the increase of Your holy kingdom.  We are praying for many souls to enter in.  We are praying for new eyes and new hearts of faith to see You and to love You for the wonderful God that You are.  “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  

You are mighty and strong.  A refuge in the time of trouble.  You are our hope and our solid rock upon which we build our trust.  Let them see You for themselves.  Let them know how much You love them, that You are the good Father who gave the best gift that we may enter Your presence, that we may enter Your glory, the place where You dwell: “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” (John 3:16).

Let them find life in You.  Searches have been made to find fulfillment in many things, but in You only there is life.  We pray for hearts, minds, and eyes to be opened to that holy truth, and that many souls will turn to You for their refuge and their soul salvation.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, AMEN!

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While We Were Yet Sinners . . .

Forgiveness is something none will make it to heaven without.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what one has done in life, from the highest to the lowest, without accepting the life Christ offers through His salvation and forgiveness, we will not make it in.  The Bible records, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).

Who could stand?  Absolutely no one! (See Romans 3:10). Without His covering and remission of sins, the pathway to heaven will be blocked; access denied!  It doesn’t matter if one’s walk of life is a Pharisee or a prostitute, there is no an individual who is worthy enough to enter the gates of glory without Jesus’ forgiveness.

Question: What would happen if today God sat down and took account of all the wrongs we have done?  What would it be like if we stood before Him unable to pay what we owe?  We were there!  Jesus knew the predicament that humanity was in.  He knew that mankind could never get himself out of the debt of sin, so through Him, we obtain that freedom along with grace, mercy, and compassion as people who don’t deserve it.

The Bible reminds us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).  I guarantee if we were to look at ourselves, we could not fathom how many times our accounts would have gone unpaid had it not been for the blood of Christ. But thank God, He acted in love to save us!  Not just us – but everyone who comes to Him in faith regardless of the background of sin.

The price has already been paid.  You are free to turn to Jesus today and accept Him for yourself:

“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” John 3:16.

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

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” Ephesians 1:7.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” Colossians 1:14.

“While we were yet sinners,” Jesus fulfilled the requirements the cross demanded on our behalf.  He paid the price we could never pay.  He didn’t wait for us to “get our act together,” for without Him, without the power of His Holy Spirit, we were never able to do this on our own.

So, with the preciousness of His life, He laid it down, so that we can experience what it is like to unload the heavy burden of sin from us and live joyfully in grace knowing how much we are loved by Him.

Adapted from the previous article: Sunday School Lesson – “Saved by Faith” Luke 7:36-50 

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A Reason for the Hope

“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.” 1 Peter 3:15

If I were to answer that question, the one that asks, “What is the reason for the hope within me?” I would first have to begin my answer by quoting 1 John 4:19 while substituting the “we” and “us” with “I” and “me,” saying, “I love Him because He first loved me.”

Today, I recognize the extremes of His love for me.  Today, with my mind’s eye, I can take a tour of my past, throughout my life, even before I was saved or born-again, and I can see the many places the hand of the Lord was working to pull me near.  I can see places where I was divinely protected.  I can see times when now, I can readily identify that it was nothing but the hand of God who brought me through.

My story is my story.  It is the testimony of what God has uniquely done in my life.  Our stories may all start out differently.  Our stories will be original to us and the experiences we have lived through.  Our testimonies will tell of the paths we have journeyed and the mighty works God has done for each of us.

While the avenues we have traveled with the stories they tell may have all started differently, they all have this one thing in common.  At the conclusion of everything, the only answer we have is Jesus.

For me to sit down and begin to tell you of all the ways that Christ has impacted my life, let’s just say that time and pages could not tell.  But what I can tell you is of the love I feel now.  Never have I been so enveloped by a love story before than the one where I was rescued.  As I look in Scripture and see Jesus’ continual compassion and mercies toward others, I readily see those caring aspects of our Lord’s loving character applied to my own life.  I see where He unashamedly welcomed me into His family.  I can see the many times I have been forgiven.

There was once a time when I wondered, looking for answers that didn’t really have questions.  There were times when I looked, but now the search is over, and I have this beautiful foundation established in the Lord Jesus Christ that wholly supports my life.

Every one of us who is holding on to that blessed hope is holding on for a reason.  We see Him.  We believe in Him.  We have witnessed Him at work in our lives.  We see His story leap from the pages of the Bible into our very lives.  This story is real.  What He has done is real.  His love is real.  And there is no greater I know.

For me, to tell another of this reason, I must begin with that love.  A love I couldn’t find anywhere, but at the same time, now I see it was a love that was chasing me down.  Being caught in His grace, I am glad for this life that now finds me in Him.

Through the course of apologetics, I could fashion sound answers that would be true over and over again.  But the testimony of my heart still tells of the reason for my hope – Jesus, and His love for me.

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Standing on the Edge

Sometimes you may come to a place that seems impossible to pass.  This is a place that edges the border of what we have been delivered from to where we are being brought to.  It is in situations like these, when God shows up, there is no doubt that His hands have been working something extraordinary through it all.  The waters may crash on the shores before and the enemy’s army may be rolling behind, but God sees you, standing there on the fringe, in a world where these two impossibilities meet, yet in Him, there is nothing impossible.  In Him, there is always a way.  In Him, you are not in a helpless position.  In Him, the victory is already won.  Before you ever came to this place, He already knew what He would do.  So rest, weary one, in His sovereignty.  Rest in His plan.  You may not understand it, but He does.  You may not know how it will work out, but He does.  This will be performed by His strength, His wisdom, and His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), not by anything we say or do.  In getting past this place, all glory, honor, praise, and credit go to God.  He is the one who will get you to the other side in peace and wholeness, with singing and rejoicing (Exodus 15:1-21).  To you who are standing on the edge, in Him, you are not standing alone.

 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” Exodus 14:13-18

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“We Cannot Bless Your Name Enough!”

Image by Ondřej Šponiar from Pixabay

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, for He has done this for you.  O soul, you that find mercy in His saving grace, in Him you are benefited.  In Him, is found love and renewal.  In Him, forgiveness resides and lives are made whole.  In Him, there is healing for mind, body, and soul.  In Him, your life is redeemed from the destruction it would have known without Him.

It is God, our heavenly Father, who has crowned your life so beautifully with these undeserving gifts.  It was His faithfulness toward you that bestowed such lovingkindness in your life.

Tender are His mercies toward you.  Let us never forget where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1-2).  Let us always be reminded where our hope is found (Psalm 147:11), and that it is God alone who can be attributed to pouring “good things” into our lives (Psalm 103:5).

In Him, we are renewed, as with the strength of an eagle with our wings spread, gliding upon the winds of His Spirit, soaring high in this day, and in the days to come.  You, O God, are our constant help through anything we face (Psalm 46:1), and we cannot bless Your name enough.

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“There is no place . . .”

Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalm 139:7-12)

There is no place, O God, that can keep me from Your sight.  Your eyes see me.  Your heart knows me.  Your love shelters me.  Your mercy follows me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).

Help me to walk through my days in this holy confidence: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” (Hebrews 13:5).

Your Word has assured me, for it cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).  Your Spirit comforts me (John 14:16; 16:7).  With Your hand holding us, You tell us not to fear (Isaiah 41:10).

Although some days seem dismal, You are the Light that shines in my life (Psalm 18:28).

Where can I go . . .?  You have the words to eternal life (John 6:68), therefore, I will most gladly plant myself in Your presence, at Your feet alongside Mary (Luke 10:39).

Thank You, for Your knowledge of me, O God.  Thank You, for Your precious thoughts toward me (Psalm 139:17).  Thank You, for anchoring me and not leaving me on the waters of this life to drift about aimlessly (Hebrews 6:19).  And thank You, for leading me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:24).

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“Resetting Holiness!”

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

“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” (Ezekiel 44:23).

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6).

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Resetting holiness.  Has the church lost this all-important standard?  Has the desire to become a seeker-friendly church (which I have nothing against) and the like caused us to shift our focus from how God calls us to worship, live, and operate?

Have we become like the temple that Ezekiel witnessed, whose people caused the glory of God to leave that place?

Studying Ezekiel 8, we see while there was “worship” going on in the temple, it was not God’s worship.  The people who were to live in a covenant relationship with God were bowing down to false gods and giving themselves over completely to idolatry.  The people who were to live pure and holy, a sanctified (set apart) people, their lives and practices now celebrated the things God called abominations.  Things that were wrong and out of order of the true reverence of God were now being declared to be right and acceptable.

In that, I wonder how far the modern church has drifted from God’s holy standards and how close we are to being like those people of old.  Those who “worshiped” wrongly behind the walls believing it did not matter and that nobody, including God, saw them (ref. Ezekiel 8:12).

While we may not be involved in those exact things, and while I have nothing against the modern uses whereby we usher in worship, I must wonder if in our coming together, we are coming in the right spirit.  When David penned the words, “Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:1-2), I see in those beautiful verses what God deserves, and I must ask myself are we giving Him what He deserves?

Are we magnifying His glory in our building and in our lives, or are we chasing His glory away from the center of what we call worship, as seen in Ezekiel 10?

For God’s glory to be strong with us, we must be strong in God!  God doesn’t want us to honor Him with our mouths only, but He wants us to live and worship Him from the heart (Matthew 15:8; Isaiah 29:13).

And, my friends, it is from the heart where the resetting needs to begin, a heart that longs for more of God.  It is worship that invites His presence to come closer rather than repelling.  We want God’s glory permeating the atmosphere as in the days of old when they were overwhelmed in worship by His presence in a good way (1 Kings 8:10-11).

But for that to happen, things must change.  Wherever God’s presence is, things cannot go on as before.  He is a holy God, and the environment where He resides must be holy.  There is a transformation that must take place where the people worship.

God’s desire has always been to be near His people.  And in Ezekiel 43, he sees a light of hope.  Instead of seeing God’s glory moving away from His people, God’s glory is moving toward His people, toward His temple (43:3-5).

With that also came a message of warning: “And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.  And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile . . .” (43:6-7).

God cannot reside in an unsanctified place.  The people’s responsibility was to get in line with what God wanted.  For Him, there has always been a line between holy and unholy (Leviticus 10:10).  There must be a resetting of holiness as the standard then, as well as now: “This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy . . .” (Ezekiel 43:12).

In all of this, you may be wondering how exactly do we go about the business of resetting holiness?

First, I must say that resetting holiness should always begin with repentance.  God’s glory left the temple because of the people’s sin.  Sin corrupts.  Sin interrupts fellowship with God.  Sin will prohibit Him from coming to where you are.  They were to “put away” from them those things that defiled the place of worship (Ezekiel 43:7-9).

James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (see also Isaiah 1:16 and 2 Timothy 2:21).

Then, there must be the restoration of proper worship.  They had to do more than take the wrong things out.  They had to bring in or adopt the right things, the right ways.

For them, the focus was on the altar and how it was to be consecrated, respected, and used (Ezekiel 43:13-25).  They had to fully honor God in His service.  They do this by honoring the way He prescribed things to be done.

How this restoration of true worship may look for us today is for us to refocus on why we are here, what we are doing here, and who are we honoring here.  Answering those questions will help us to realign our purpose for being here, which all boils down to one complete, overall answer: God.

Why are we here? – God.

What are we doing here? – God.

Who are we honoring here? – God.

When we keep those three things in proper perspective, we reset holiness as the standard in our lives and in our worship, and the glory of God can take over the atmosphere.

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