A Thousand Hallelujah’s, A Thousand Thousand More for My God in Whom is my Dwelling Place, Whom I Trust!!!

We cannot trust a person until we know him or her. It is the same with God too. How well do you actually know God and how well do you genuinely know God? How have you experienced God working in you through those difficult places? Do you 100% believe there is even a 0.1% chance of breakthrough in your life? I pray you will come to find out the truth of “breakthrough!” This devotional will throw light on knowing and trusting God through all the situations of our life.

Psalm 91:1-2 New American Standard Bible

Security of One Who Trusts in the Lord.

91 One who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

For those of us who were born and brought up in Christian homes, Psalm 91 is a familiar one, which many of us may have read or even memorized as a child. Nonetheless, in this devotional we will explore as to what it means to trust in God as the Psalmist declared about God in the above-mentioned verse.

Truth be Revealed, we will only truly trust a person only when we get to know him or her. It is the same with God, we can trust Him only when we know who He is, and only when we are able to comprehend His divine attributes. When Jesus lived here on earth, he chose twelve men to be His disciples. A closer look at their lives will perhaps help us understand why they decided to trust in Jesus.

1. Peter, the fisherman

Peter was a fisherman by profession, but the day he met Jesus who filled his empty nets with a miraculous and bountiful catch, Peter chose to follow and trust Jesus immediately without any hesitation. The reason Peter gave up his livelihood which included his boat and nets to follow after Jesus, was because Peter instantly trusted Jesus. Peter believed that if he made Jesus his Master, He would take care of him, and provide him with all that he ever needed.

2. Matthew, the tax collector

Levi/Matthew who was another disciple, was a tax collector for the Roman government. Matthew always sought to align himself with the powerful and when he heard the call of Jesus, he understood that Jesus was much greater than the Roman Government that he was working for. So, at the call of Jesus, he too surrendered his riches and left everything as it was and followed after Jesus.

Every disciple of Jesus who followed Him did so because they curious what might be waiting if they trusted Him, as a result heeded His call to follow Him.

We too have at some point in our life must make a decision to trust someone. I am not an island; you are not an island unto ourselves. To get through this life feeling as though we are not and never were alone, and never have to be alone, we must (timidly) step forth in faith, baby-steps to trust on at least one front. Humanity is too likely to repeatedly let us down, serving their own interests,

We look to the examples set forth by God through His Scriptures to follow Jesus and to be “hip to hip” alongside His disciples. The point that each of us need to ponder is whether we have learnt to completely trust Him in all circumstances.

Trusting Jesus through the storms

We read in Matthew 8:23-24 (NRSV), 23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.

Some of the disciples of Jesus who accompanied Him on the boat that day were seasoned fishermen who had probably encountered many fierce storms in the very same sea. Strangely, the storm that challenged them that day seemed to be unlike any that they had seen before. The winds were so fierce and the waves so boisterous that they were quickly overwhelmed with the fear of sudden death. In the midst of such a raging storm, Jesus was fast asleep in that same boat.

When the disciples set out with Jesus, they got into the boat following Jesus.

We read in Matthew 8:23 that the disciples simply did so because Jesus went on board a fishing boat. When the storm raged on with intensity, and threatened their very lives, they might have wondered if they did the right thing to follow Jesus into that boat. They had probably decided to follow Jesus with hope that they would have absolute safety and personal security, no storms whatsoever.

But the storm they encountered, proved to be contradictory to their belief.

There may be those who are stressed out with such incredible hardships and are praying, wondering as to why the Lord has not intervened or revealed Himself, to somehow, in some way ease or even miraculously eliminate their situation.

Do keep in mind that we have a God who is altogether trustworthy. Our many difficulties might make us speculate if we made the right decision to follow Jesus. Our Savior Jesus wants to assure such people that there is no need to be perturbed, for the Lord is with us all the time.

For others who might pontificate that they are weak in their faith, let us be comforted that even the disciples of Jesus, who were with Him, and saw all the wonders He performed, were completely perplexed in the midst of that storm.

We read in Matthew 8:25 (NRSV), 25 And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

Jesus and the disciples were all in the exact same boat, but the way they each addressed Jesus was as if He were somewhere else, and not with them in their crisis. That is why they said to Jesus, “Master, save us, we are drowning!”

What they failed to realize was that Jesus was in their boat, and as long as He was there, there would be no way that their boat would drown, and they would not die without fulfilling their life’s mission. Jesus woke up, got up and ordered the winds “to be still,” the waves “to be still,” they immediately calmed down.

In the midst of our fears, let us say along with the Psalmist, ‘my God, in whom I (with maximum possible confidence) trust’ for when we affirm this over and over again, our faith will “grow up,” and our hearts will be filled with courage.

We read in Psalm 107:1-3 (NRSV),

Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Many Troubles

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.[a]

This is the word of steadfast and immovable encouragement from the Lord that we should trust Him completely in all life’s situations for all our breakthroughs.

The truths which are so intricately intertwined within this beautiful Psalm 91 are precious promises that every one of God’s blood-bought children are able to claim as their own. However, the majority of theologians correctly identify this section as a Messianic psalm… for our Lord and Savior Jesus is the only One Who truly dwells in the shelter of the Most High. He is the Man of men, Who abides forever in the shadow of the Almighty.

When the eternal Son of God was born into His own creation as the perfect Son of Man, He lived His life dwelling in the shelter of the Most High God. He abodes in the shadow of the Almighty.

He depended entirely on the Father as His refuge, strength and fortress and demonstrated to us all how a man should live – by trusting God in all things.

In many respects, the Lord Jesus is the only Man Who can legitimately claim God as His refuge and fortress – His God in Whom He trusted implicitly. But praise God that even when we fail, “GOD IS still our refuge and our strength,” because of our position IN Christ.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus is the one and the only Person Who could honestly claim God as His refuge and fortress – and He did this on our account because He went to the Cross for us – in obedience to His Father’s will.

Ephesians 2:8-10 We who are saved by grace through faith, find our everlasting refuge in Christ, Who took the ultimate punishment for our sin and became our strong Fortress, strength, our everlasting Refuge, and the Rock of our salvation.

Jesus is the only One who can legitimately confess that the Lord is My God, in Whom I place my trust, and Who will deliver me from the snare of the fowler and the deadly pestilence.

Throughout His earthly life, the Lord Jesus was hidden under the shadow of His Father’s wings, in Whom He sought ultimate refuge. God was His hiding place Who preserved Him from all trouble, and because we are IN Christ, we can also sing songs of deliverance for God’s faithfulness and favour towards us. We can also claim and trust our God to be our mighty Shield and an eternal Bulwark.

Throughout His earthly life, the Lord Jesus maintained ongoing and never-failing fellowship with His Father. He only did the things which He heard from His Father. He only did those things that He saw His Father doing.

Throughout His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus was ready and willing to say, “Thy Will, not Mine be done.” He was 100% able to trust the Lord with every circumstance of His life, for His undivided hope was in God.

Jesus was free from every fear because His trust was in God, and in the power of the Almighty, He fulfilled all righteousness and became qualified to become the perfect, sinless sacrifice for the sake of mankind.

And we are called to imitate the way He lived. We are to hide under the shadow of His wings every moment of the day and say to Him – You are my Refuge and Fortress. You are my God, in Whom I trust.

Although the Lord Jesus was fully God, in full trust, he literally surrendered all He was and had. He lived His entire life as a Man. He lived His life and faced His death in utter and total dependence upon His heavenly Father for everything.

Although the Lord Jesus was the eternal God, He lived His life as a perfect Man, setting an example to every member of the human race… showing every child of God how our heavenly Father expects each one of us to live. 

Can there be any doubt left that the man who penned this Messianic psalm was himself absolutely convinced of the wonderful security that is found in the Lord his God because his faith was credited to him as righteousness, and he could legitimately confess that his trust was in the Most High God – the Almighty King of all Creation Who is a thousand times a thousand times magnified as the Sovereign Ruler of all, the Divine Protector of those that believe on His name.

But the psalmist was inspired to write words that would look forward to the God-Man, Who was wounded for our transgressions and bore the sin of the world on His shoulders, so that all who trust in Him can identify with His death, burial, and resurrection to a new life, and state confidently 100%, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!”

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us pray,

O Lord, my God, I am here to say thank you that your work is perfect, your ways are 100% just, you are a God of faithfulness. You have said that in all things at all times, you will supply all that I need. Please help me to trust in your power to bring breakthroughs in situations where I cannot find a solution. Be exalted far above me and far above the heavens, O Savior God. Let Your glory be above all the earth. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Search Me, O God, Know My Heart!!! Examine Me and Know my Thoughts! More Time with God. Psalms 139:23

Well, I hope we have decided that we will sit in God’s witness chair and let Him have free reign and ask whatever question He wants. And we have decided we are going to give Him all the answers He requires into the depths with which he needs. The questions will undoubtedly be tough and probing and quite rigorous. This questioning will by no means be comfortable – nor is it ever meant to be so for our sakes. Who knows how long we’ll be sitting there, how many questions we will be barraged by? But we have chosen to stay seated in the witness seat.

The question is … Why should we willingly stay seated for such in-depth times.

Psalm 139:23-24 New Revised Standard Version

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any wicked[a] way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.[b]

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Psalm 139 begins with David’s acknowledgement that God has “examined” his heart. The Lord knows everything about him (Ps. 139:1). Nothing about David or his life can be hidden from God, who knows even what David will say before he says it (Ps. 139:4). If he tried to escape from the Lord, in every place God would be present (Ps. 139:7-13). In fact, God knew David even in his mother’s womb as he knit him together wonderfully (Ps. 139:13-16).

The first eighteen verses of Psalm 139 celebrate the Lord’s intimate knowledge of David. Verse 19 changes the subject abruptly: “O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers!” (Ps. 139:19). It’s as if the memory of those who sought David’s life interrupted his celebration of God’s presence and filled his heart with a sudden rush, hatred for his enemies.

Then Psalm 139 takes another unexpected turn, concluding with a prayer for the Lord to examine David’s heart: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Ps. 139:23-24). Perhaps David realized that his hatred exceeded an appropriate zeal for justice, love for God.

Perhaps he remembered that, like his enemies, he himself had done things that badly dishonored the Lord. So, he invited God to search him and reveal anything offensive. “Put me in your witness chair! O God of my salvation!!!” The implied understanding is that David would repent of those sins in order that God might “examine [him] lead [him] along the path of everlasting life” (Ps. 139:24).

With a reluctant heart I confess I need God to search me in this way. Don’t you? Though a part of me resists dealing with what is wrong in my heart, I know that I need to see my sin as God sees it, so that I might confess and be forgiven, and so that I might find hope, turn from my sin to follow the Lord more completely.

The great unknown from sitting in His witness chair. How does God reveal my sin to me? In many ways: through reading Scripture, through hearing the Word of God preached, through the challenging love of friends, and through the still small voice of the Spirit. In asking God to search me, I am inviting him also to open my heart so that I might receive the conviction of his Spirit. I am saying, “Go ahead! Point out anything in me that offends you, and I will listen to you!”

David’s “disquieting thoughts” are those thoughts that caused him to become troubled, or anxious. Again, the challenge is whether we are at peace with our thought life. When the light of God’s truth is shone upon our lives, do we or do we not squirm and hide, or do we or do we not stand up with confidence? Do we or do we not want our sin to be illuminated by our Heavenly Father, so He might lead us away from that path to the eternal path? Or do we or do we not want to hide our sin away from God, and protect it from the Lord’s cleansing grace?

The challenge of Psalm 139? We need to be willing to let go of all that disquiets us–every sinful thought, desire, and motive. Our chief desire is not only to have a blameless reputation before men, but more importantly, to have a character that glorifies God in its reflection of His goodness and purity. This requires us exposing ourselves to His refining fire, allowing Him to search out our hearts and draw out of us the remaining sin in our lives. It won’t be pleasant, but it’s necessary if we are to be sanctified and useful unto the Lord in His kingdom.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

Can I really be ready? Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee ….

Search my heart, O God! Take my life and let it be, consecrated unto thee ….

Ask any question, O God! Take my life and let it be, consecrated unto thee ….

Ask all questions, O God! Take my life and let it be, consecrated unto thee ….

I am fearful an anxious but, go right on ahead and ask your questions anyway!

Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee ….

Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.

2. Take my voice, and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
filled with messages from thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
every power as thou shalt choose.

3. Take my will, and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.

Take your place upon God’s witness stand …. contemplate His questions ….

Have there been times in your life when God has revealed things to you that were hard, but essential, for you to hear? What helps you to attend to the all- convicting voice of God’s Spirit? Are you ready for God to point out anything in your life that offends him? What might help you to get ready, if you’re not?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us pray,

O Lord my God, my eternal Father, thank you that you are my ever-present help in times of trouble. Help me to trust in what is unseen. Remind me of the truth of your power, that you surround me, and you are fighting for me. Never give up on me! Give me favor and breakthrough in my life. You are the Sovereign King of all ages, immortal, invisible, the only wise God. To you be honor and glory forever and ever.  Through Jesus Christ, our Savior, Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of God? – Remember! One Passion! One Devotion! One Love! Exactly One God!

The world is all too often a hostile place for believers. Goliaths no longer try to hide themselves from public view or from public judgement. They stand tall in their perceived invulnerability; surround, abound around every street corner. Goliath says, “you cannot touch me! “You cannot beat me!” “You are nothing!” We are intimidated by the sheer force of their size, their strength, their words. We shake and we quake in our boots – too easily accept unconditional defeat!

God wants his spiritual children to know, however, that they are not alone. He lives in us with His Son, our Savior Jesus, through his Spirit. We can be assured, therefore, that no matter what evil design someone else may have, the Holy Spirit of God is greater, more powerful, and more glorious. The victory is ours because God’s presence in us is infinitely greater than any force we will ever face. We have our victory assured over all forces, powers, spirits, or opponents.

The Question remains to be answered – if we are to claim such an overwhelming victory through God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, if we are to claim it and own it and possess it as the greatest gift, treasure, there is, to fully live into everything God has set aside for those who believe and conquered, then whose eyes do we look through whose perspective do we make all our own?

Our perspective through our finite eyes and limited wisdom and understanding?

Defined by our shame? Our Guilt? Our brokenness? Our weaknesses? Mistakes? Someone else’s opinion thrust upon us by those rampaging, ranting Goliaths?

God’s perspective through God’s eyes, knowledge and wisdom? (Psalm 139)

1 John 4:4-6 Authorized (King James) Version

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. They are of the world: therefore, speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 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.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Whether we like it or not, or realize, admit it or not, in our humanity, we are finite. We have a beginning; we have an end. It is the natural flow of our lives and is seen in everything from a good day’s work to a bedtime story for our kids. But when we brush up against eternity, we find that it has neither beginning, nor an ending. It always was, and it always will be. Such is the nature of love.

Scripture tells us in 1 John 4 that God is love. Therefore, since we know that God is eternal, we can reasonably assume that God’s love is also eternal. Love begins and love ends with God. But God is not stingy with this love. He longs to share Himself with every person on the face of the earth, and the tangible expression of that love is His Church, redeemed by the blood of His Son, our Savior, Jesus.

When you and I go to the source of love and find that we are indeed beloved by the God of the universe, it changes everything. Once our hearts are filled with His love and truth, we are given new eyes for others, and can’t help but want to share the priceless treasure we have found!

In his groundbreaking book, The Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, Henri Nouwen says this,

“When we claim and constantly reclaim the truth of being the chosen ones, we soon discover within ourselves a deep desire to reveal to others their own chosenness. Instead of making us feel that we are better, more precious or valuable than others, our awareness of being chosen opens our eyes to the chosenness of others. That is the great joy of being chosen: the discovery that others are chosen as well. In the house of God there are many mansions. There is a place for everyone – a unique, special place. Once we deeply trust that we ourselves are precious in God’s eyes, we are able to recognize the preciousness of others and their unique places in God’s heart.”

Whatever you and I are facing in life, or whatever is coming in your future, God has already given you the steadfast faith, the living hope and deepest love for it. It may not look like it now, and you may not feel like you have what it takes to overcome, but faith in God is never based on our circumstances or how we feel.

The enemy would like for you to believe that you don’t have a chance in life, that you’re a loser, too weak, too poor, too whatever. But God has a different perspective of you (Psalm 139). God sees you through the eyes of love. He sees not what you can be, but what He has invested in you, not what you or others may see from the egregiously limited perspective we have “worldly” learned.

Seeing yourself the way God sees you leads to a life of overwhelming victory. Living into that vision God has always had of us offers to us many challenges.

But it takes faith. You can’t just hear that God loves you and sees you as His child, you have to believe it. It takes faith to move forward and overcome the challenges of life. And faith does you no good if you don’t know how to release it, how to unleash it. You have to release your 100% faith in order for it to work.

We release faith through our words, actions and, of course, through prayer. It’s up to us to act.

1 John 4:4 is a scripture we quote a lot, and almost anytime I say this verse in a church or meeting, everybody claps and cheers. But how many people really do believe these words; “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world?”

The truth is, the One in you is greater and He loves you. So, stretch your faith today, stretch your hopes today and stretch your love today and see yourself the exact way God sees you. It doesn’t matter what the enemy wants you to see or how things might look. Our faith overcomes through the One who lives in us!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us pray,

Father, my Guide, illuminate my mind so I can understand how you want me to live. Your word tells me that people of integrity who follow your instructions are joyful. You have said that those who obey your laws and search for you with all their hearts are blessed and happy. I want that joy! Holy Spirit, please guard me against allowing evil to influence what I believe and do. Help me walk only in your paths. May my actions consistently reflect what you have said is right and good. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone – A Brief Reflection upon Matthew 4:4

“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

“And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a second thought.”
― St. Augustine of Hippo

“The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

“The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo,

Matthew 4:1-11 New American Standard Bible

The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He [a]then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” (Emphasis is my own for this devotional reflection)

Then the devil *took Him along into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and he *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written:

‘He will give His angels orders concerning You’;

and

‘On their hands they will lift You up,
So that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “[b]On the other hand, it is written: ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil *took Him along to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and [c]worship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and [d]serve Him only.’” 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to serve Him.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Today’s Gospel

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” (The Message)

Have you ever read the Bible but felt overwhelmed?

Have you ever read the Bible and felt underwhelmed?

Maybe the book seems really big.

Maybe the book seems too heavy to lift off of the dusty bookshelf.

Maybe the book seems really small.

Maybe the book looks too much like your smart phone.

Perhaps you simply don’t like reading “books” but looking at smart phones.

After all those “small screen tiny letter” technological things can make Bible reading seem really hard. However, the study of the Word of God is critical.

Today’s verse from Matthew’s “Temptation Narrative” shows us that we aren’t to just eat “bread” for food and that’s all we need for growth. Instead, it tells us that we also need also need to feast on the Word of God. Feeding on God’s word might sound 21st century weird, but it’s really helpful for your spiritual growth.

The Bible helps us learn right from wrong. It helps us to make good decisions and makes us wise.

God’s word is a powerful tool in our lives. Your heart was made for God’s word.

The Word of God for the Children of God is a seed that produces growth and life in your life. So, if you have not picked up or planted any new seeds lately, find ways to make time for God’s word. It might or could be something simple like picking up or looking up a small devotional book reading every day, listening to a YouTube sermon or Podcast. Even if you just don’t like to read there are many ways to get God’s word in your heart. Simply look up into the starry night sky!

Matthew 4:4 Complete Jewish Bible

But he answered, “The Tanakh says,

‘Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of Adonai

This verse should be many Christians’ motto. 

God’s Word IS the truth and the daily bread of our life.

Because of God’s word, we are supplied and sated in our spirit; so that we have “fed” faith to stand testimony when we encounter failure and defeat, trials and refinement, just as God’s word says, “Jesus (the man, the Rabbi, teacher) said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,’ which means that, although man lives in a physical body, what gives him real life, what allows his physical body to live and breathe, is not physical food, but all the words uttered by the mouth of God are.

On the one hand, man regards these words as truth. The words give him faith, make him feel that he can depend on God, that God is truth. On the other hand, is there a practical aspect to these words?

Yes! There is! Why? Because the man, Rabbi Jesus had fasted for 40 days and nights and He is still standing there, still alive. Is this a healthy illustration?

The point here is that He had not eaten anything, any food for 40 days and nights. He is still alive. This is the powerful evidence behind His phrase.

The phrase is simple, but, as far as our Rabbi Jesus is concerned, was His phrase taught to Him by someone else, or did He think of it only because of what Satan had said to Him trying to play him for a fool? Think about it. God is truth. God is life. God is the Way. Was God’s truth and God’s life and God’s Way a late Gospel add-on? Was it born of experience? No!! It is innate in God, meaning that truth and life already reside in God’s very abundance, in God’s abundant substance.

Whatever befalls Him, what He reveals is truth. This truth, this phrase—whether its content is long or short—it can let man live, give him life; it can enable man to find, within itself, truth, clarity about life’s journey, and enable him to have that well-nourished, well-sustained, faith and hope in God alone.

This is the source of God’s use of this phrase. The source is positive, so is this positive thing holy? (Yes.)” Thank God for bestowing His word to us so that we can each know God from His word and also understand the meaning of life and pursue the nourishing growth of life (Psalm 23:5-6) in God’s word every day.

“I have read in the writings of Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” ― Saint Augustine of Hippo

“The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let’s Pray

“Oh, God, to know you is life. To serve You is freedom. To praise you is the soul’s joy and delight. Guard me with the power of Your grace here and in all places. Now and at all times, forever. Amen.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo

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I am Practicing the Presence of God today. I need His Healing Presence! Abiding in the Presence of My Jesus!

Every Christian I know wants to live a healthy and effective life for Jesus. The key to this healthy life, the key to this healing life, the key to succeeding in this is practicing His presence, abiding in him. Abiding in Christ is foundational to centering your whole life around God. Our efforts at tapping into Savior Christ’s healing presence and power is what will allow you to bear good fruit in this life. It is my hope that after today we are more aware, we are more equipped, and we are more empowered to live out a life centered on the healing presence of God.

John 15:1-8J.B. Phillips New Testament

Jesus teaches union with himself

15 1-8 “I am the real vine, my Father is the vinedresser. He removes any of my branches which are not bearing fruit and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit to increase its yield. Now, you have already been pruned by my words. You must go on growing in me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. I am the vine itself; you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share my life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away. He becomes just like the dry sticks that men pick up and use for the firewood. But if you live your life in me, and my words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like, and it will come true for you. This is how my Father will be glorified—in your becoming [healthy and] fruitful and being my disciples.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

So often out of a right desire to do good and God-honoring works we try too hard and force fruit out of ourselves without taking the time to rest and receive the healing nutrients we can only get from abiding in our heavenly Father. A branch disconnected from an apple tree can no more produce good apples than you and I can do good works apart from our continual abiding in the love, grace, and healing presence of God. Without truly centering our lives around meeting with God on a secluded park bench far away from the deepest uncivility of our world, we’ll never get to producing the healthy fruit we were created to make. 

John 15:1-5 New American Standard Bible

Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already [b]clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, [c]and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit [d]of itself [e]but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him [f]bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

God’s heart is for us to abide in him all day, every day. How incredible is that! You and I can graft ourselves every day into the perfect, good, and powerfully connected vine of our healing heavenly Father. We can wake up every day, open our hearts to God, practice His presence, daily acknowledge Him, daily sit, pray with Him and live out of the union afforded us by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus.

Rather than striving to do good works from the moment our feet hit the ground, we must take time to be loved by our heavenly Father.

Rather than making our own opportunities to serve God, we must allow him to guide us to the healing works he’s set out for us.

Rather than trying to lead others to Jesus by our own efforts, we must simply live openly and honestly with others, thereby revealing God’s heart to meet with those who are broken and in need of him.

And rather than living as if God has left us to our own unhealthy devices, we must acknowledge our healing union with the Holy Spirit in every moment, thereby allowing his loving presence to permeate inside everything we do.

James 2:21-26 The Message

21-24 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that weave of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?

25-26 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

James 2:26 teaches, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” Connect yourself to the wonderful vine of Jesus today. Center your life around meeting with him. It’s only in abiding in God that your faith will produce works that are alive, eternal, filled with the transformational, healing and restoring power of God’s Spirit. May you discover the freedom and love available to you in continual communion with your heavenly Father today.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Take some time to heal yourself with Prayer

1. Meditate and Ponder upon the undeniable importance of abiding in the vine. Be healed! Allow Scripture to stir up your desires to rest in God today.

Psalm 23:1-3 The Message

23 1-3 God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh[a]
    and refreshment[b] to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Proverbs 3:5-10

“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

2. Where have you been striving too hard to do too many good works apart from the abiding presence of your Creator? What parts of your life need to have a greater connection to the love of God? What part of your life need His healing?

3. Take time to rest in the presence of God. Abide in him. Don’t look to or think about the things YOU set before you today. There will be plenty of time for tasks and relationships. Focus all your attention on the reality of God’s nearness and open your heart to receive all the love he has for you in this EXACTING moment.

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The Spirit Knows! Our True Happiness Is in Understanding and Obedience!

I have heard the words over and over again, Happiness comes from Obedience! Yet, I also think and pray to myself Lord, so much of the Bible seems hard and way too confusing, and that has made me put it down and become discouraged.

My mind has a tendency to follow one too many rabbit trails and things that are moving me further and further away from the perfect heart of God.  My fervent desire is to submit my whole mind to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit and then I can hopefully stay closer to the practical application of God’s truth.

Now through my further efforts to stay true to God, I ask God to forgive me for that horribly bad decision. Holy Spirit, Come! Create in me a fresh desire for remaining true to Your Word, and grace for an understanding far beyond what I knew before. Jesus, teach me and guide me as I read and study. I know now that our true happiness is found in Your instructions, and I simply want to dive into a significantly deeper relationship with God from now on. For Jesus’ sake alone!

Psalm 119:33-40 Names of God Bible

33 Teach me, O Yahweh, how to live by your laws,
    and I will obey them to the end.
34 Help me understand so that I can follow your teachings.
    I will guard them with all my heart.
35 Lead me on the path of your commandments,
    because I am happy with them.
36 Direct my heart toward your written instructions
    rather than getting rich in underhanded ways.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things.
    Give me a new life in your ways.
38 Keep your promise to me
    so that I can fear you.
39 Take away insults, which I dread,
    because your regulations are good.
40 I long for your guiding principles.
    Give me a new life in your righteousness.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

John Wesley traveled 250,000 miles on horseback, averaging twenty miles a day for forty years; preached 4,000 sermons; produced 400 books; he knew well ten languages.  At the age of eighty-three he was annoyed that he could not write more than fifteen hours a day without hurting his eyes, and at eighty-six he was ashamed he could not preach more than twice a day.  He complained in his diary that there was an increasing desire to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning. (Source unknown).

What drives us to such a length of devotion? Such a deep desire to be obedient?

Answer? Understanding born of the Holy Spirit! Knowledge born of the Holy Spirit! God’s leadership through His Word is the pathway to personal revival. God’s Word is not a document to be learned but a path to be followed. He does not promise His route to be the smoothest but the direct route to His blessings, to our true place of indescribable Shalom, our genuinely abundant happiness.

Reading and re-reading, study and more study, praying and fervent praying without ceasing, our thoughts ever more focused on God in Christ Jesus above, making sense of the ever our changing morality and politically defined ethics, to seek more and more of the desires of Lord alone in the way we should go. I have this constant battle within myself to try and comprehend “God’s desires.”

God’s desire is to capturing our minds (vv. 33-34).

God’s teaching ministry is essential for obedience. “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end” (v. 33)

God’s enlightening ministry is essential for our desiring greater obedience. “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law…” (v. 34).

God’s desire is, through our obedience, to be channeling our hearts (vv. 35-37).

God directs our will. “Make me go in the path of thy commandments…” (v. 35a).

God, through our obedience, directs our emotions. “…for therein do I delight.” (v. 35b).

God, through our obedience, directs our heart. “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies.” (v. 36)

God, through our obedience, directs our eyes. “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity. (v. 37).

God’s desire is, through our obedience, to be directing our focus (v. 38-40).

God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, through our obedience, focuses us to understand His Word. “Stablish thy word unto thy servant…” (v. 38a).

God, through our obedience to His Statutes, outlined through His Word, focuses us to not be fearful of men …“who is devoted to thy fear.” (v. 38b).

God, through our raised spiritual awareness, discernment and understanding, focuses us to turn from our sinful ways; “Turn away my reproach.” (v. 39).

God, through our raised spiritual awareness, discernment, and understanding, directs us, focuses and refocuses us to be obedient to His Word. “…I have longed after thy precepts.” (v. 40).

The ability to understand and minister from the Bible is something which God, through the Holy Spirit, gives to us. Awareness, Discernment, Understanding are spiritual gifts from God, not something we conjure from within ourselves.

As Christians we have the ultimate opportunity in life to have God, by the Holy Spirit to give us perfect counsel and direction. He has a perfect knowledge and an understanding of what is best. He has perfect knowledge of what works and what will have poor results. He is so far superior to everyone else combined that no one has anything, even some small discovery, for which they can teach God.

To receive these gifts of awareness, discernment and understanding we need to read, pray, recognize our position as Christ’s servant who needs understanding. In order to properly understand and draw insights from stories in the Bible, we need the ministry of the Holy Spirit working within us for God’s understanding.

We cannot arrive at the same understanding that God has through intellectual reasoning. God gives us understanding when we ask Him for it, but we can not get it on our own or buy it through a college education. Spiritual understanding requires the Holy Spirit not the intellect, in order to have it and to understand it. However, we have to first PRAY, to ask God to give us understanding and then study the Bible diligently to find the understanding that God has for us to know.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now engage the living, ever transformational word of God in a time of prayer, meditation;

God, teach me lessons for living
    so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
    my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
    I love traveling this freeway!
Give me an appetite for your words of wisdom,
    and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
    invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
    promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
    but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
    preserve my life through your righteous ways!

In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

For The Spirit Searches All Things, The Spirit Understands All Things! Much More Like Jesus, Less Like Me.

Accepting the Risk! Taking the Risk! Knowing God’s will and having fellowship with God require spiritual understanding. Oh Jehovah, give me understanding according to Your word, and I shall live. Your understanding is unsearchable!

Psalm 119:33-40 Names of God Bible

33 Teach me, O Yahweh, how to live by your laws,
    and I will obey them to the end.
34 Help me understand so that I can follow your teachings.
    I will guard them with all my heart.
35 Lead me on the path of your commandments,
    because I am happy with them.
36 Direct my heart toward your written instructions
    rather than getting rich in underhanded ways.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things.
    Give me a new life in your ways.
38 Keep your promise to me
    so that I can fear you.
39 Take away insults, which I dread,
    because your regulations are good.
40 I long for your guiding principles.
    Give me a new life in your righteousness.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

THE SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING

The feelings of an understanding heart give us the sweet spirit of assurance of not only knowing but doing what is right, no matter what the circumstances. As we read God’s Word, it’s the Spirit of Understanding that will reveal and expose these things so that we can “deal” with them.

When we do not diligently read, study and pray over the Word, the Spirit of Understanding is not allowed to operate, then we will not be able to see or find our way. Hosea 4:14 says “…people that do not understand shall fall.”

How many times have you and I sat down for devotions and read God’s Word, gotten up and have found ourselves unable to remember a thing we had read?

Well, I believe it can be said, God’s Spirit of Understanding was not operating.

The Spirit of Understanding is God’s supernatural revelation – His secret insights to His Word. The Spirit of God illuminates our hearts and gives us understanding of His Wisdom. In other words, He “turns on the lights for us.” (Nancy Missler – https://www.khouse.org/articles/1996/138/)

It gives us discernment. When you have understanding, you’ll see the following things in your life:

— You’ll understand what’s going on behind the scenes. You’ll be able to piece together what’s really happening.

— You’ll perceive why people act the way they do.

— You’ll find it easier to see people and situations with God’s eyes and maintain His perspective.

— You’ll be able to discern the cause of things that you deal with from day to day and God’s timing more easily.

No matter how good a man or woman believes their understanding is, it is not enough for any of us to know the true and genuine will of God for any of them.

Knowing and living in God’s will for us and having fellowship with God requires spiritual understanding. Only spiritual understanding leads one to the realm of the Spirit and enables one to know and live in God’s will. Fleshly understanding enables one to know some superficial truths, but these surface truths will only briefly remain in one’s mind. Spiritual understanding can transform what it has superficially understood into abundant life because it comes from the Spirit.

God’s Holy Spirit, A spirit of revelation and spiritual understanding go side by side with each other. God has given each and everyone of us a spirit of wisdom and revelation; by His grace, He has also given us spiritual understanding. The wisdom and revelation from Him we receive in our spirit must be realized by the “ah ha” understanding before we can know the real meaning of the revelation.

Revelation is what we receive from God; understanding is comprehending the revelation we have received from God. Spiritual understanding expresses to us the meaning of all the movement within our spirit; it enables us to know some measurable degree and measure God’s will. It gives us permission to: “Risk It!”

Our connection, our fellowship with God relies on our spirit receiving God’s revelation, on the intuition of our spirit sensing this revelation, and on the gift of spiritual understanding to interpret the meaning of this revelation. Our own surface understanding can never resolve anything. When our spirit enlightens our surface understanding, the latter knows the purpose of God’s movement.

Spiritual enlightenment comes through the diligent exercise of daily prayer.

The 5th stanza of Psalm 119 continues a prayer which the psalmist began in stanza 4 and continues uninterrupted into the 6th stanza through verse 49.

As you read and re-read and pray over this 5th stanza of the psalm, notice just what the psalmist prays for. He longs to be taught how to have a heart for God.

33. Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;
and I shall keep it to the end.

34. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law;
I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35. Make me to go in the path of your commandments;
for I delight in it.

36. Incline my heart unto your testimonies,
and not to covetousness.

37. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life according to your way.

38. Establish your word to your servant,
as it produces reverence for Thee.

39. Turn away my reproach which I fear:
for your judgments are good.
40. Behold, I have longed after your precepts:
Revive me through your righteousness.

The psalmist knew that a humble heart before God requires prayer.

To keep his heart right before God, he had to be teachable (119:33), humble (119:34), go forward in God’s power (119:35), incline his heart to the word (119:36), focus his eyes in God’s direction (119:37), be grounded in his faith (119:38-39), and rely on God’s grace.

These are the things he prayed for, and this gives us an example of how to pray for ourselves, those we love as we live our day to day lives. This is also a guide in how to pray for the leaders of our country at this crucial time in our history.

Let’s take a look at these prayer concerns one at a time:

First, to be teachable means not only to be open to learn from God’s Word, but to actively apply what we’ve been taught. It means to be practical and not just ideological. God does not teach us so we can proudly share our learning with others and espouse grand ideas. God teaches us for the purpose of reaching out to others in practical ways to help make life better, not just for ourselves, but for others whom God calls our neighbors, and especially for those in need.

Secondly, the psalmist observed the need for humility. It should humble us that the Creator of the universe reaches down from eternity, not only to teach us through His Word, but to give us a measure of understanding through the power of His Holy Spirit. Does that inspire you to humble yourself and obey?

Thirdly, as we open our hearts and minds to learn, we need to pray for the will and the power to risk doing His work in the sphere where He has placed us. It is God who gives us to power to go to “risk”– to act in His will and in His Name.

Fourthly, as we go forward, we need to go with hearts yielded to God. And we need to go with “all our heart”. Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:28-34

It is God who keeps our hearts from straying into the world and the worlds’ ways. He is the one who protects our hearts from being carried away by worldly philosophies and lusts. It is God who draws our hearts to Himself and reveals the “excellence of obedience” (Charles Spurgeon). Is your heart safe, is my heart safe in the loving hands of God or any safer straying into the clutches of the world?

The mention of covetousness in verse 36 leads the psalmist to pray next (fifth request) for his eyes, asking God to keep them focused in the right direction — upon Him and His ways, turned away from worldly, fleshy, lusty temptation.

Remember that sin entered the world through the “lust of the eye”. That is a warning that we need to be aware of the dangers of the world as they press in upon us. Our eyes need to be open and not shut, but our focus is important. Our focus is to be upon God, His Word, and His ways.

It is clear the psalmist realizes his total dependence upon God, as his sixth request is for his faith to be established. Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), and it is established as we become firmly grounded in God’s truth and live lives that honor Him. In this way we remain steadfast and persevere in the face of temptation. As God’s children, we have no need to fear the judgments of men, but we must have deep reverence for God’s judgments which are good.

Finally, the prayer closes with a desire for God’s grace to go forward with hope and resolve to live a life of righteousness. And should not we all have that one longing as we read and study, and pray and meditate daily upon God’s Word?

This fifth stanza of Psalm 119 is the Psalmists sure prayer of hope — hope in God and in the power of His life changing Word. Do you and I cling to the effort of trying to place ourselves deep inside the Psalmist’s hope? Is his hope ours?

Beloved Scottish pastor George MacDonald, wrote: “Hope in the God who first breathed into your nostrils the breath of life; that He would at length so fill you with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that you should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding therein your own life, only glorified infinitely.”

For The Spirit Searches All Things, The Spirit Understands All Things! My only prayer now is that I become Much More Like Jesus, a Whole Lot Less Like Me.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray;

God, teach me lessons for living
    so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
    my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
    I love traveling this freeway!
Give me an appetite for your words of wisdom,
    and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
    invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
    promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
    but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
    preserve my life through your righteous ways!

In Excelsis Deo!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

All That Matters is What God Already Knows of Us! A Living Faith, A Dying Fear. I accept that I’m Risking Failure

How willing are you and I to take a step of faith into the unknown? How willing are we to risk failure? Are we people who like to play it safe, get all our ducks lined up in a row, do our “pro vs con” sheet and then timidly step forward, or are we someone who enjoys the thrill of jumping out into uncharted territory?

Theologian and Protestant Reformer Martin Luther wrote: “God, our Father, has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing.”

If you and I see ourselves as someone who likes to play it safe, let me say this: God is not looking for extraordinary daredevils who foolishly take risks for the thrill of it. He is looking for ordinary people who risk praying, prepare, count the cost, and then willingly venture out into the unknown because they have heard the clarion call of God and have confidence that God will hold them up.

It only takes a mustard seed faith, a little faith in a Great God to please God. 

Any man or woman who has stood at an altar before God and their friends to take a vow of marriage knows what it means to risk everything, take a leap of faith into the unknown world of matrimony. There was no guarantee of success, and no previous experience to calm the fear, but couples take this leap because they are willing to risk it all, they are in love and they want to be married and raise a family. We will step out in faith when we really risk wanting something.

Anyone who has ever gone out on a job interview, or taken a new position has demonstrated faith despite their fear and uncertainty. You needed and wanted work and so you went through the very scary interview process. That took faith.

I could give many more examples, the point I am trying to make is this: Only those who are willing to take a risk, and take that risk, a step of faith, and move out into uncharted territory enjoy the blessings that this life have to offer. God knows the fullest measure of our heart, how much we’re willing to risk for Him.

However, we also have to be extraordinarily aware of exactly how far we have stretched the bounds of our very fragile hearts and even more fragile souls. It is a very real possibility we take ourselves beyond reasonable limits absent God. It is here where we hear the Psalmists words, become hyper aware of a great need.

Psalm 119:25-32 AKJV

ד  Daleth

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust:
quicken thou me according to thy word.
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me:
teach me thy statutes.
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts:
so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
28 My soul melteth for heaviness:
strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
29 Remove from me the way of lying:
and grant me thy law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth:
thy judgments have I laid before me.
31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies:
O Lord, put me not to shame.
32 I will run the way of thy commandments,
when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

From this deeply heartfelt passage, it appears the Psalmist is experiencing too many difficult trials and troubles in his life but as a believer he is willing to risk it all for a deeper understanding and a greater insight into God’s Word. Even though his difficulties are a result of his own weaknesses he is not driven away from God but risks being drawn closer ever to Him. It seems that this passage is divided into two parts: My ways and God’s ways. It is for certain that we cannot live a committed Christian life and be satisfied living according to our own ways.

This section is structured by the powerful effects of God’s Word. It revives the soul (v. 25); it imparts inner strength (v. 28); it guides into truth (v. 30); and it enlarges the heart (v; 32). When we are down, afflicted, grieving or suffering, we need risk acknowledging, engaging the Word of God. So our psalmist reveals his condition, then risks everything, confessing that God’s Word is the answer 

  1. My ways (vv. 25-29).
    1. The confession of my ways (v. 25). “My soul cleaveth unto the dust..”
    2. The conviction of my ways (vv. 26-27).
      1. “Now teach me your principles” (v. 26). Reading the Bible for information and not for instruction.
      2. “Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,..” (v. 27) A desire to do God’s Word, not just wanting to understand it.      
    3. The contradiction of my ways (vv. 28-29). “Remove from me the way of lying:..” (v. 29).
      1. Singing and praising the Lord on Sunday and living for the devil the rest of the week.
      2. Claiming we belong to Christ and not demonstrating it the way we live.
  2. Thy ways (vv. 30-32).
    1. The choice of God’s ways (v. 30). “I have chosen the way of truth:..”
    2. The commitment to God’s ways (v. 31). “I have stuck (cleave) unto thy testimonies:..”
    3. The clarity (quickness) of God’s ways (v. 32). “I will run the way of thy commandments.” The psalmist is saying that I have made a choice to run God’s ways; I am committed and now I must respond with swiftness, without delay.

Restoration, Refreshment and Revival comes only when we reach the end of our own resources, repent, and call upon God to intervene. The psalmist is clearly in this condition. He is greatly humbled and broken. His soul is cast into the dust.

What then can he do? The answer is, “Nothing.” Thus, he prays, “Revive me according to Your Word.” This prayer for revival is based upon God’s Word, for God’s promises to give life to those who seek Him. The arousing inspiring Word of the Lord is the surest source of help in all tribulation of body, mind, or soul.

These verses from Psalm 119 testify to the undeniable ministry of God’s divine Word upon a heart filled with sorrow and mourning because of the deadening effects of the world around and the fallenness within. The psalmist prayed for reviving because he was laid low (v. 25). He then asked God for understanding, strengthening, and provision (vv. 26-29). When God gave him understanding, he would surely risk it all to comply because he treasured the Law (v. 30-32).

There are times in my life when I feel that I ought to be more in control of my Christian walk. However as my heart is enlarged with the Word of God (v. 32) my desire as the psalmist is, risk it all, run the way of God’s commandments.

It is my guess that I am not the only one with such a sentiment in my heart. It is my guess that whoever it is who comes across this short devotional is in a place very similar, if not exactly like the Psalmist, is struggling mightily for answers. Such is the nature of those struggles that they are willing to risk everything. I fervently pray that they will literally risk everything, engage the Word of God! Because I know someone quite literally risked everything to tell them of God!

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray,

In times and measures of weakness and hour of need,
yours, Father God is the strength by which we carry on,
Your Son Jesus, the shoulder we look to rest our head upon.
When our load, as the Psalmists is heavy and too much to bear,
yours and yours alone are the arms stretched out to help us
the grace, the only mercy, the great Shalom that we depend on.
In times and degrees of greatest weakness and hours of need,
from among the heavens and the stars above your voice is heard,
‘Come unto Me… Risk Unburdening Yourself…Risk finding rest.’
This is the indescribable, immeasurable undeniable grace divine,
the narrow path, through the eye of the needle, we tread to wholeness
of body and mind, soul and spirit, literally everything we are
the sure and certain path we risk treading which leads solely to you,
and for which we now offer our offering of thanksgiving and praise.

In Excelsis Deo!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

What Really Matters in Life is NOT What We NOW Think of Ourselves but What God Already Knows About Us!

Romans 12:1-2 AKJV

12 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. 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.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

When we get to the reality of the matter, What really matters to us in life?

What we think of ourselves? What others and everybody else think of us?

Life. It’s a funny thing. Each of us, if we’re reading this little devotional, has been given a life, made up of the breath we breathe, the intellect we use, and the relationships we share. With every spoken word and every decision made, we each play a central role in the purpose our lives hold and legacy our lives leave.

Yet, time moves by so quickly and the resource of life can be used up before we realize. It takes hindsight observation to help us see clearly once again. Perhaps it’s a yearly celebration, a family reunion, or the turn of a new year. But, it’s only when we take that moment to reflect, respond, and re-new our decisions that we can change the course of the life we’ve been given.

Intentionality and pre-determined priorities help ensure we’re sacrificing the resource of our life to the things we value. So, before more life is sacrificed to the wrong things of this world, we must take time to determine what we value in Savior Jesus. Before you read, then reread today’s text, let’s stop to reflect.

What mercies has God offered to you in 2021?

What mercies from God definitely still await you in the days, weeks and months, years ahead of you?

List several ways you’ve seen God show up in obvious or subtle ways this year. Then, read Romans 12:1-2 in its various biblical versions and translations.

Romans 12:1-2 J.B. Phillips New Testament

We have seen God’s mercy and wisdom: how shall we respond?

12 1-2 With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

Romans 12:1-2 The Message

Place Your Life Before God

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2 Amplified Bible

Dedicated Service

12 [a]Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Chapter 12 is the central shift in the book of Romans and today marks a shift in our lives. It’s a fresh start. We look back at what God’s done for us, so we can turn our eyes then toward a renewed way of living with the new year ahead. In view of what God’s done for you, both in the last year and in generations past, what one area in your personal and spiritual life do you want to respond to with priority in the remaining days of Real Thanksgiving ahead in 2021 into 2022?

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us Pray;

God of Grace, you call us to be different from the world, but the world is seductive, and so we come here to be strengthened. God of Vision, you hold before us an alternate way of life, different priorities, different loyalties, different values. But we know that the world is not only seductive but powerful, and so we are drawn in to following its priorities, accepting its values, showing loyalty to its gods. God who blesses the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful, forgive us when we lose sight of these qualities, when we misunderstand their role in the world. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Exalt the Name of the Lord our God! Exalt the Truth of the Lord our God! What Can We Learn From Psalm 119?

A verse for the ages, as young men and women battle the influence of sin in this world, especially in our times. The younger generations are encouraged to be free, to experience all that the world has to offer, to find their “own” way, and make decisions that will make them happy whatever it might be. It becomes all about selfishly satisfying one’s desires, wants with an inward-looking focus.

Psalm 119:9-16 Names of God Bible

How can a young person keep his life pure?
    He can do it by holding on to your word.
10 I wholeheartedly searched for you.
    Do not let me wander away from your commandments.
11 I have treasured your promise in my heart
    so that I may not sin against you.
12 Thanks be to you, O Yahweh.
    Teach me your laws.
13 With my lips I have repeated
    every regulation that comes from your mouth.
14 I find joy in the way shown by your written instructions
    more than I find joy in all kinds of riches.
15 I want to reflect on your guiding principles
    and study your ways.
16 Your laws make me happy.
    I never forget your word.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

How can a young Man keep his heart pure?

How can a young Woman keep her heart pure?

What can we teach our brothers and sisters, whether they are believers or not, to give aide, guidance and support to their day to life choices and decisions?

What can we ourselves learn from the length and breadth of Psalm 119 to give ourselves an answer to these questions when we are the one’s who are asking?

Containing 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest single chapter in the Bible.

The author of Psalm 119 is unknown, but most scholars agree that it was written by David, Ezra, or Daniel.

Each of these proposed authors suffered serious difficulties in his life, and the author of Psalm 119 reflects that in descriptions of plots, slanders, and taunts against him (verses 23, 42, 51, 150 ), persecutions (verses 61, 86, 95, 110, 121, 134, 157, 161), and afflictions (verses 67, 71, 143, 153). The persecution and affliction of both the man (and woman) of God is a major theme of Psalm 119.

Another prominent theme in Psalm 119 is the profound truth that the Word of God is all-sufficient. 

The full throated expression of Psalm 119 is a natural expansion and extension of Psalm 19:7-9:

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.”

There are eight different terms referring to the Word of God throughout the psalm: lawtestimoniespreceptsstatuescommandmentsjudgmentsword, and ordinances. In almost every verse, the Word of God is clearly mentioned. 

Psalm 119 affirms not only the character of the Scriptures, but it affirms that God’s Word reflects the very character of God Himself.

Notice these attributes of God ascribed to Scripture in Psalm 119:

1. Righteousness (verses 7, 62, 75, 106, 123, 138, 144, 160, 164, 172)
2. Trustworthiness (verse 42)
3. Truthfulness (verses 43, 142, 151, 160)
4. Faithfulness (verse 86)
5. Unchangeableness (verse 89)
6. Eternality (verses 90,152)
7. Light (verse 105)
8. Purity (verse 140)

The format of Psalm 119 is an alphabetic acrostic, meaning that the first letters of each line in Hebrew follow through the alphabet, 8 lines per letter, thus 8 lines x 22 letters in Hebrew = 176 lines. One sure and certain message of this psalm is that we are to first and foremost exalt the Lord our God, live a lifestyle which demonstrates our sure and certain obedience to the truth of the Lord, the Lord who is a God of order (hence the acrostic structure), not of a god of chaos.

The Word of God here begins quickly. Right away we read how the psalm opens with two beatitudes. “Blessed” are those whose ways are blameless, who live according to God’s law, who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart.

The author of the psalm is a man who has known great trouble in his life, but also one who has come through it with a deep and passionate understanding of God’s unfailing love and compassion (Psalm 119:75-77).

Throughout his affliction, the author clings to the truths he learns from the Scriptures, which are eternal, “stand firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89-91). His love for the Word of God and his dedication to remember it and live by it is a theme repeated over and over (verses 11, 15–16, 24, 34, 44, 47, 55, 60, etc.).

These are but a select few the vast number of lessons for us in this great psalm. I am sure and certain that with much prayer and diligent study you’ll find more!

John 17:1-3 Names Of God Bible

Jesus Prays for Himself, His Disciples, and His Church

17 After saying this, Yeshua looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time is here. Give your Son glory so that your Son can give you glory. After all, you’ve given him authority over all humanity so that he can give eternal life to all those you gave to him. This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Yeshua Christ, whom you sent.

John 17:13-18 English Standard Version

13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a]16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

The Word of God is sufficient to make us wise, train us in righteousness, and equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The Scriptures are a true reflection of God’s nature, and from them we can learn that we can trust His character and His plan and His purposes for mankind, even when those plans include affliction and persecution. Blessed indeed are we if our delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law we meditate day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray;

Gracious and ever-living God,
You have given your promise for us to treasure in our hearts,
and your justice for us to declare with our lips.
You have given your commandments as a sure path for us,
and your decrees for our richest delight.
You have given your Covenant so that we may have life in its fullness,
and the urgings of your Spirit for our attentive listening to your word.

Eternal God,
whose creative word
brought life out of darkness,
we praise you.
Suffering God,
whose incarnate word
lived and died among us to show us your love,
we adore you.
Gracious and ever-living God,
whose living word
breathed your Holy Spirit on the church,
we worship you.
— Copyright © 2000 Jeff Shrowder, http://thebillabong.info/

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