Who Embraces a God Like our God of Forgiveness and Mercy? Micah 7:18-20

Micah 7:18-20Amplified Bible

18 
Who is a God like You, who forgives wickedness
And passes over the rebellious acts of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He [constantly] delights in mercy and lovingkindness.
19 
He shall again have compassion on us;
He will subdue and tread underfoot our wickedness [destroying sin’s power].
Yes, You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
20 
You shall give truth to Jacob
And lovingkindness and mercy to Abraham,
As You have sworn to our forefathers
From the days of old.

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

Sometimes words are just not enough. God’s creation – it leaves you speechless.

Your spouse’s strength of character – it bears no comparison.

Your child’s imagination, laughter, growth, maturity – it tests your vocabu­lary.

Sometimes words can’t ever say enough.

The prophet Micah understood that concept as well.

His prophecy alternates between visions of doom and hope.

In chapter 7 he starts with a very bleak picture: “What misery is mine! … The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains” (vv. 1, 2).

The prophet sees both Israel and Judah in need of ref­ormation.

Both kingdoms were living in affluence, which produced self­ish materialism.

Morals floundered, and corruption abounded.

Exile was awaiting.

Yet Micah does not despair but can end his prophecy with such great hope.

He sees that God will graciously forgive his people and restore her fortunes, and this puts Micah over the moon – All he can really say is, “Who is a God like you?”

What a beautiful question!

This exclamation is a play on the meaning of Micah’s own name: “Who is like Yahweh?”

Micah’s question is one that other nations – Egyptians, Babylon­ians, Assyrians –also asked as a way of praising their gods.

Yet Micah by no means implies that there are other gods.

The one and only God is 100% incomparable because of his forgiving character!

“Who is a God like you, who par­dons sin?”

Another way of reading this is, “Who is a God like you, who carries away sin?”

We come across that phrase in Leviticus 16, concerning the Day of Atonement.

Aaron the high priest was to lay his hands on the head of the live goat, confess all the iniquities of Is­rael over it, thereby transfer those iniquities to the goat.

Leviticus 16:22 says, “The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place.” 

Through the high priest the Lord transferred the burden of Israel’s guilt to another, and that substitute carried away all Israel’s sin and guilt.

And that’s what Micah is getting at.

God “pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance.”

In mercy Yahweh pre­served for himself a remnant, and he forgives that remnant!

This applies to us today as the church of Christ.

When you consider forgiving the people who have hurt you, you must always consider how much Jesus has forgiven you!

You don’t deserve His love and can never earn it.

He forgave you because He is a merciful, gracious God.

Because you have already been forgiven of ALL your sins and set free, you must forgive others by becoming so transparent that His mercy and grace will radiate through every aspect of your life.

You are never to be a giver of condemnation but always a giver of mercy.

Mercy is distinctly different from forgiveness because God is merciful to us even when you don’t sin, just as you can be merciful to those who have never done anything against you.

God’s mercy doesn’t just forgive your failures and faults but reaches deep into all your weakness and need.

His attitude toward you is merciful.

We are his possession by grace.

We don’t deserve forgiveness and salvation.

But it has been promised to God’s family, God’s inheritance, in Christ!

And it is given only to those who, like Micah, are deeply sorrowful over their sins, and cry out for forgiveness.

Micah’s song of praise continues: “You do not stay angry forever.” 

The remnant would experience the judg­ment and punishment of the Lord.

But marvel upon marvel, the Lord does not hold onto his anger.

So, the people of God could look away from their time of judgment and toward the Lord.

They could rejoice that this was just tempor­ary. “You do not stay angry forever, but you delight to show mercy.”

This is all very remarkable.

Micah is saying that the Lord acts this way

– God carries away our sins,

– God forgives our rebellion, shows his mercy

be­cause that’s just who he is.

It kind of leaves us scratching our heads and asking, “Why is he that way?”

The only answer we get is, “It is my delight to do it this way!” 

Our God, by his very nature, is so very ready to forgive sinners.

That leaves us dumbstruck at the forgiving character of our God.

We see God’s forgiving charac­ter especially in his Son.

The words Micah uses in verse 18 are also used for the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Verses 10-12,

Yet it was the Lord’s will (pleasure!) to crush him and cause him to suffer … Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, be­cause he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgres­sors. For he bore (carried away) the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

The LORD God does not wink at sin.

He offered the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ.

He came to take our sin outside the city, to the cross of Golgotha.

He shared in our sins.

That is just who Christ is.

It moves us to bow our heads, bend our spirits to say, “Who is a God like you?”

Do you see his incredible mercy for sinners?

Mercy is also related to grace.

Grace is what saves you – mercy is what sustains you.

Mercy eliminates the pain; grace cures the disease.

Mercy offers relief from punishment; grace offers pardon from the crime.

Mercy is a word you will hear used in the legal system.

After the conviction has been made, the jury has unanimously declared the persons guilt, the sentence is about to be handed down, MERCY is begged for.

The Hebrew word for mercy is “chesed”

which means to get inside someone’s skin,

to look at where they view life and feel what they are experiencing; to move in and act on behalf of the one whose hurting.

That is exactly what Jesus did when He chose to leave the indescribable comfort and glory of Heaven to become one of us.

Mercy has also been defined as the giving of compassionate treatment, having the disposition to be kind and forgiving when kindness and forgiveness are not your first thoughts, would not define or characterize any of your first actions.

As God gives you a fresh start each new day, so should you reach beyond the pain and give to those who have hurt you a fresh start through your forgiveness.

Mercy is forgiveness soaked in the life blood of Jesus, soaked in the love of God.

Every day, when you forgive, the anger, bitterness, resentment and pain that you feel from the wrong suffered at the hands of another is weakened.

It’s only through the giving of mercy that our emotional wounds will be healed.

If you do not show mercy and forgive the unforgivable you may never find total and complete healing for your spirit, mind and body.

Right in this exact moment, do you see your God is ever ready to give mercy?

Right in this exact moment, do you see that your God is ever ready to forgive?

Only when you fully see all these can you genuinely embrace a holy fear of our awesome God, only then can you wor­ship him truly, in utter speechlessness.

This is the God whom we adore.

Cherish and embrace his mercy for repentant sinners!

Cherish and embrace his forgiveness for repentant sinners!

Cherish God as God cherishes you!

Embrace God as God embraces you!

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

Let us Pray,

Loving Heavenly Father, Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy forgiveness and mercy which you have shown. You have loved me with immeasurable love. You are love. I pray that I will be strengthened in my inner being – in my soul – with the love that is wider than I can understand, deeper than I am able to imagine, and greater than I could ever know. As You encourage and embolden my life, may I more fully know the mystery of the Gospel as revealed through my life. In the love of Christ, I pray. Amen.

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Embracing Forgiveness. Choosing only to Embrace the Grace, the Embrace of ABBA, our Father God. Matthew 6:14-15

Matthew 6:14-15Amplified Bible

14 For if you forgive [a]others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.

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

I believe most people have arrived at the conclusion that it is utterly impossible as human beings to avoid somehow and, in some way, offending others by our words, or lack of words and being offended by others, when we are still alive.

And, while we do not have the ability to control how others feel or act when they somehow feel offended by us, we do very much have free will over our own lives to decide how we will react or will not react when allegedly offended by others.

Our making the choice – Forgiving others wholeheartedly is the definite secret of a happy and prolonged relationship in all facets of life: in our family, in our work, at school, in Church, community, neighborhoods, mission and ministry.

It is definitely not easy to forgive others, but it’s what Jesus commands us to do.

Even if the other person is not really sorry, even if we are not very sorry about our actions, we still have to forgive sincerely in order to fulfil the will of God.

Matthew 6:14-15Easy-to-Read Version

14 Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do.

Jesus’ teaching here at the end of the Lord’s Prayer might be confusing.

It almost sounds as if we have to earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving others.

So, we definitely need heavy dose of a different kind of thought process here.

Ephesians 4:30-32Amplified Bible

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin]. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. 32 Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave [a]you.

I envision about any kitchen sponge that has not been used for a long time.

When you put it under the tap, at first the water runs right over the sponge.

But if you set that old sponge in a bucket of ­water for a few minutes, it will gradually and inevitably transform, will soften and becomes usable again.

Our own hearts and our souls and our spirits can be, can become like that too.

When we hold onto new resentments and old bitterness’s, nursing our anger, hugging old grudges close to our chests, hearts can become as hard as a rock, and God’s grace for us will be like water running over a rock – it won’t soak in.

At this point – someone needs to get on our case – come into our throne rooms and disrupt our lives, disrupt our dysfunctional patterns of behaving, thinking.

We are not hiding anything from God – but we are trying to – and this will most definitely get big time God’s attention – God will send someone – guaranteed!

That moment of confrontation will inevitably occur – someone will arrive and will get up inside our personal space – then we will have to make some serious choices – push that other person back out the door they entered or “get God!”

Reckon ourselves with our actions – then reckon, reason things out with God:

Psalm 51:1-12English Standard Version

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

51 Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

But when we are “pried” open by our remembrance of God’s forgiveness of us, we are “exposed” to forgiving others, we become soft like a moistened sponge.

God, our Father’s boundless and bottomless grace soaks in and saturates the entirety of our hearts, and we become abundantly available to share his grace.

Just as a wet sponge moistens other things when it touches them, we can share grace, the blood of Christ helping to wipe others’ dirt away as we forgive others.

Dying to our accumulated resentment, anger, and bitterness softens our hearts to receive God’s all-encompassing amazing grace, to share it freely with others.

Psalm 103:11-13English Standard Version

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so, the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Why should any of this matter – of what relevance – of what significance to me?

The question of genuine forgiveness is one of eternal importance and relevance.

And why is it, you may ask, so crucial that Christians forgive?

For starters, Jesus’ statement in today’s text is quite a compelling reason, for “if you do not forgive others…neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Suffice it to say then, we had better make sure we are forgiving “our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

Here’s the bottom line: forgiveness is such a central element to Christianity that it is an indicator of salvation!

Not that we are saved by any works of our own, such as forgiving others, but that when we are reconciled to God through the lifeblood of our Savior Jesus Christ, our new life will be eternally marked by grace giving and forgiveness.

Remember, our unrighteousness was exchanged for Jesus’ righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), our wrong for His 100% right, our injustice for His justice.

God meets our enfeebled efforts at rebellion and pride with His matchless grace in and through the person and work of our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Those to whom grace is extended should also extend grace, and those to whom forgiveness is extended should also extend forgiveness.

Forgive as you have been forgiven.

Not because it’s easy, but because it’s at the very exact core of who you are in Christ.

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

Let us Pray,

Dear Lord, search my heart. Reveal to me any remaining burs of hurt where I have attempted to forgive apart from You. I pray You would cover these hurts in Your healing grace, and through Your strength, empower me to forgive others as wholly and completely and utterly as You first forgave me. In Savior Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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In God we will Trust though the earth gives way beneath our feet, the winds blow and the houses crumble into the heart of the sea, we will still not fear!

The earth was once an empty place!

Chaos was everywhere or as one translation puts it; the earth was a total wasteland. It was filled with darkness.

And in the darkness, the Spirit of God moved to prepare for God’s creative work.

The Lord is a Creator!

God is a God of order!

For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” Hebrews 3:4.

God took a mess of chaos and made it orderly.

From ugliness emerged beauty.

Chaos is replaced by order.

Purpose takes the place of emptiness.

God transformed darkness into light.

Are things falling apart around you?

Life rarely turns out the way we’ve planned.

We all have those times when life seems to take an unexpected turn and we wonder what to do.

Perhaps there is a problem in your relationships?

Are you facing difficulties at work or is it unemployment?

Do you have a health issue?

Are you experiencing a crisis in your ministry, business, or family?

Has your house quite literally collapsed around you?

Has your house quite literally fallen into the sea?

There’s no cause for alarm.

You’re not alone!

The Holy Spirit is present with you.

Your life may seem to be without purpose, but God’s there to turn it around.

He’ll never leave you or forsake you.

So be conscious of His presence everyday!

The presence of God gives us inward peace and joy even though our external circumstances may be turbulent.

Be still and place your hope in Him.

Psalm 46:1-3Amplified Bible

God the Refuge of His People.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to soprano voices. A Song.

46 God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains be shaken and slip into the heart of the seas,

Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains tremble at its roaring. Selah.

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

The ancient cities were often protected by large surrounding walls and imposing gates.

Inside the walls was peace and a safe atmosphere where commerce could thrive.

God is our fortress!

The Lord is our refuge.

He is the constant and consistent place of refuge and safety in the times of trouble.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

There is not a promise in the Bible that says we’ll be free from troubles.

Yet those whose confidence is in the Lord have nothing to be afraid of.

Fear is a faith killer!

When a believer is afraid, it means he does not trust God enough to bring him or her out of trouble.

To act on our fear is to act as though the problem is bigger than the Almighty God.

But the truth is, there is nothing too big for Him.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…….” 1 Corinthians 14:33.

The Online Dictionary defines chaos as, “A condition or place of great disorder or confusion.”

It is a state of havoc.

Chaos is discord.

It is a state of anarchy and lawlessness.

Chaos is a state of mess.

It is mayhem.

Chaos is disruption.

It is a state of disturbance.

Chaos is turbulence.

It is a state of pandemonium.

Nothing flourishes in a state of chaos.

Chaos takes away your joy and peace of mind.

But God is a God of order and not chaos.

PERFECT PEACE:

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3.

Everyone desires peace.

We want peace in our mind, marriage, business, circumstances and ministry.

But God has something much better for us! His agenda is for us to experience His perfect peace every day.

“Peace, I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.

The world defines peace as ‘a concept of friendship and harmony in the absence of strife, hostility and attack.’

It is a lack of conflict.

Peace is the handshake between two enemies.

It is the laying down of arms.

Peace is the lack of trouble.

It is freedom from the fear of violence between individuals or groups.

So human peace is based on feelings and circumstances!

It is conditional upon the fulfillment of a certain assumption.

Worldly peace is not permanent!

In every generation, there has always been treaties made to hopefully ensure world peace, yet so many times these treaties are violated and short lived.

But God always has His own better alternative.

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom which means ‘calm, tranquility, serenity, harmony, wholeness, completeness, and wellness.’

Shalom is an inner sense of contentment and quietness, regardless of the circumstances.

Perfect peace is internal stability!

You may be in the midst of the worst kind of trouble and still have peace.

It is irrelevant to the chaos around.

Perfect peace is calmness and reassurance in the midst of conflict.

Perfect peace is not the absence of a storm but the ability to remain calm in spite of the hopeless situation.

It is the calm of mind and heart that isn’t shaken by adversity.

Perfect peace is to be joyful in the midst of unhappiness.

It is not a trouble-free life; perfect peace is serene in the midst of difficulties.

Perfect peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.

So, how can we stay calm when there seems to be turmoil all around?

In a broken world, how can we find stability?

How do you keep calm when things aren’t going the way you want them to?

1. Seek peace with God.

Sin makes us enemies of God but the blood of the righteousness of Christ brings us peace with Him.

It is therefore important that we seek peace with God.

Are you still living in sin?

Have you encountered the Lord Jesus?

Are you saved and living a life pleasing to God?

Perfect peace begins when we enter into relationship with God through Christ.

So, fix your broken relationship with God first. Proverb 16:7.

2. Remember the goodness of the Lord.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:” Psalm 103:2.

God knows our tendency to forget.

That is why He is adamant that we should be intentional about remembering His goodness.

It’s good to look back and praise God for His presence, power, provision, and the people He has placed in our life.

Forgetting leads to unbelief and discouragement.

Remembering helps us overcome fear.

It fuels thanksgiving, praise and worship.

Spend time daily reflecting on God’s goodness. Psalm 77:11-12.

3. Take it to God in prayer.

Until you cast all your burdens on the Lord, you may not know perfect peace. Prayer will stay your mind on God and fill your thoughts with His peace.

“In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6.

Take everything to God in prayers, pray without ceasing and let the peace of God reign in your heart. Colossians 3:15.

4. Read and Meditate on the Word of God.

God wants us to fill our hearts constantly with His Word.

When a crisis comes up, He wants His Word to be so deeply rooted and firmly established in our hearts that we will automatically react to what His Word says instead of reacting with fear. Psalm 112:6-8.

Turn to the Scriptures for fresh spiritual nourishment each day.

5. Guard your heart.

We often relinquish the peace that God has given us by the words that we allow to come out of our mouths when we are under stress.

So, control your tongue!

You and I will never enjoy perfect peace unless you learn to control it.

In other to control your tongue you need to guard what goes into your heart and what you believe in.

The information you feed into your mind determines what you believe.

So, if your heart is troubled, it means you’re looking at, and feeding in, the wrong information.

If your heart is full of worry, fear and doubt, in the times of crisis, it will bring forth words of defeat.

If your heart is full of the Word of God, your tongue will constantly speak it.

6. Give thanks.

A lifestyle of continuous thanksgiving, praise and worship keeps us in perfect peace.

Paul and Silas had peace in the prison; they gave thanks to God at the midnight season of their lives.

Although this may be the last thing you feel like doing in times of yet it’s what God first requires of us.

You can keep a bright outlook in the midst of crisis.

You can have peace when there’s trouble and chaos all around.

The Joy of the Lord is your strength.

7. Win the battle over worry.

Worry is the chief robber of peace.

It prevents you from lying down and sleeping in peace at night.

So, whenever a troubling thought shows up in your mind, pray about it.

Give it to God, and step forward in faith as He leads you.

Ask Him to exchange your worries for peace.

Don’t let your worries grow into fear.

8. Place your trust in God.

Even when you don’t understand why He has allowed certain challenges, you can trust His love and purpose.

Shift your focus away from your circumstances.

God is bigger than your challenges and is able to help you.

9. Get rid of bitterness.

Refuse to hold onto anger and resentment.

Flush out the poison of bitterness.

Choose to forgive as an act of your will, despite your feelings.

Trust God to bring about justice rather than wasting your time and energy trying to get revenge.

A vengeful attitude is a cancer of the mind.

It destroys joy and peace.

Be willing to pray for the people you’re forgiving, and act in love toward them.

Enjoy the freedom that forgiveness gives.

11. Don’t give up!

Remember that God is not through with you yet.

Wait on God to complete His good work in your life.

Keep placing your hope in God and finding your strength in Him.

12. Be still.

“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.

The original Hebrew word used for being still is Raphah.

It means for us to stop striving, to cause yourself to let go and to willingly submit ourselves wholly unto God and his control, surrender to God, to stop worrying, to relax or to be quiet.

When we’re still with God we become small, He becomes big. (John 3:29-30)

When we become smaller, we place less and less trust in ourselves.

We begin to put our trust in Him.

When we’re still God’s gentle whispers are heard.

We will have perfect peace of mind when we stop striving.

“I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.” Psalm 16:8-9.

In this world we will have troubles.

You may be in a situation right now where everything around you seem to be falling apart.

Maybe it is your ministry, career, health, or business or whole life.

Perhaps there’s a crisis within your family.

Sometimes the challenges of life shake us off balance, blowing us to and fro in ways that we never expected.

But God doesn’t want us to live stressed out!

He wants us to live a life of rest and peace.

It’s the will of God that we stand firm in faith and unshaken in the storms of life.

We should not be afraid, agitated, and intimidated when trouble comes.

God is our Rock and Refuge!

He is our Strength and Shield!

With Him by our side, we’ll not be shaken.

So, pray! and stand firm, be still read your Bibles and be at peace!

When you’re at peace, you’re displaying your unconditional faith in God.

If you focus on Him, you won’t be moved by circumstances.

The mind that is stayed on God is always calm.

You will be renewed and refreshed!

When you release your burdens to the Lord, you’ll find rest for your weary soul.

When you prioritize your thoughts on God, you’ll experience His perfect peace.

“10 For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10.

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

PRAYER POINTS:

1. Father, thank You for always being with me in the times of trouble, in Jesus name.

2. O Lord, teach me how to find Your presence in the midst of uncertainty, in Jesus name.

3. Father, help me to turn away from my circumstances and enable me to be still, in Jesus name.

4. O Lord, help me to stay steadfast in my faith, in Jesus name.

5. I will not allow my heart to be troubled, but I will trust in God, in Jesus name.

6. O Lord, help me to stand firm. Help my heart not to be troubled, in Jesus name.

7. Thank You, Lord, for answering my prayers.

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How To Have Faith in God When Life Gets Tough – Building Up Our House, Hearing God’s Words. Matthew 7:24

Matthew 7:24-27Amplified Bible

The Two Foundations

24 “So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great and complete was its fall.”

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

In our Gospel narrative story of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus explains that it’s not enough to hear God’s Word.

We also have to put it into practice.

We need to live, love and breathe in and breathe out the choice: obey the Lord and seek to follow and to serve him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Picture the two kinds of people in the illustrations Jesus gives here.

Both hear his words, but one puts them into practice and the other does not.

One hears and obeys; the other hears and ignores.

Both have had the same basic instruction.

But while one follows the proven practice of building on a firm foundation, the other ignores that wisdom and builds a house that has no foundation at all.

Jesus is using a simple illustration that even children can understand.

Among his listeners, everyone knew that only a fool would try to build a house without a foundation.

A house like that would fall apart in the path of a heavy storm.

But a house with a firm foundation would withstand many storms.

Similarly, Jesus was saying, we must put God’s words into practice.

The only way to build a life that will last is to base it on the firm foundation of God and his Word.

As the psalmist had said many years earlier, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2).

As we consider these Words of God today, in truth, how well can we say that?

As we faithfully ponder and meditate upon these Words of God today, in truth, how much faith-filled faith do we choose to have and exercise in these days?

It’s easy to have faith in God when things are going well.

But what about when life gets tough, and it feels like He’s nowhere to be found?

Here are 3 ways to exercise our hearts, souls and minds to build a foundation of strong, enduring faith in God when life inevitably, subtly, suddenly gets hard.

Faith In God Through Prayer

First things first: pray.

Proverbs 27:17Amplified Bible

17 
As iron sharpens iron,
So, one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].

Talk to God like you would a friend.

Tell Him what’s going on and how you’re feeling.

Connect and engage and relate with God! Ask for his help and guidance.

Prayer will connect us with God even when we are feeling lost or alone.

He is a God who hears us.

Study Scripture, Increase Your Faith

Another thing which has helped me maintain my faith is studying Scripture.

There are so many passages and verses throughout the Bible that offer comfort and hope in times of trouble.

When I’m struggling, I will often turn to familiar passages like Psalm 46:1-3:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam and the mountains tremble with its tumult.”

These “go to” verses reminds me that no matter the severity of what happens, God my Father is always going to be with me, and he will never leave me alone.

Get Moving and Get Serving

Finally, we build our faith by choosing to move forward and serving others.

When I am outwardly focused on helping others, it helps me zoom out.

My fears become dim and more distant. My troubles gradually become small.

When we actively partner with the Holy Spirit, we see just how big our God is.

Jesus Didn’t Promise Easy

In John 16:33b, Jesus said:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Inevitably life will certainly become hard—but in the end, Jesus always wins.

And so do we.

1 Corinthians 15:57-58Amplified Bible

57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].

By disciplining ourselves, we build our houses – praying, studying Scripture, serving others, we will stay connected to God even when we feel lost or alone.

Let’s not only hear the Word, but also obey it.

In God’s strength we can build houses which will withstand whatever comes!

In God’s strength we can build churches which will withstand whatever comes!

In God’s strength we can build up and we can edify God’s Neighborhood which will withstand whatever comes.

Whether sunshine or rain, whether severest droughts or mightiest hurricanes, with God on our side, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

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

Let us Pray,

My Father, You are the author and sustainer of my soul. Lord, I thank You for the strength that You give. Through Your Scriptures, You embolden me with courage and cause me to stand upright. I am so grateful for Your presence in my life. In all of life, may I turn to You for an increase in these qualities. Keep me from looking within myself or to sources other than You. I thank You in the name of the Son. Amen.

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Being the Content Christian: Keep Calm, Carry On! Philippians 4:11-13

Philippians 4:11-13 Amplified Bible

11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

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

Contentment was a powerful word to the Greek-speaking people of Paul’s day.

To be content literally means “to find everything you need within yourself.”

Many teachers in that day believed contentment was the greatest virtue.

But their version of contentment was based on their self-accomplishment.

To become content, they taught, a person had to be able to provide completely and fully and utterly everything for himself or herself.

Paul knew that it was a myth to think that a human being can be completely self-sustaining – but it did not stop him from zealously, over zealously, trying.

And yet here within our passage from Philippians chapter 4, he looks deeply within himself and joyfully finds that everything he needs is there within him.

How did it get there?

God weaved it there even before he was born (Psalm 139:13-18).

God’s own Spirit had already begun living inside of Paul.

This contentment provided by the Spirit of God gave Paul tremendous freedom.

He goes on to say sometimes his physical needs have been met, and sometimes they have not been met.

But even when he has not had enough food, clothing, money, or other basic needs, he still found God’s peace and strength have been present within him.

I just realized something – You know what’s great about being a Christian?

Christian Life comes with a survival kit.

In all the roller coaster twists and turns and hiccups and hang-ups of life, we have a trusty and handy source of strength which can get us through it all.

Of course, I’m referring to the strength we find in our Lord and Savior Jesus.

The life of Saul the Master Pharisee, The Apostle Paul, serves as an excellent example in these perilous seasons of surviving everything life throws his way.

12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.

Please entertain this question – What hadn’t Paul been through in his life?

At the top of his Profession as a learned and educated, influential Pharisee.

Trained and mentored by Israel’s greatest Rabbi of that time – Gamaliel …

He was the “go to Pharisee” – the #1 expert in the Law and its applications.

He had great power and influence with the Temple Authorities to pursue the “new followers” of Jesus to the ends of the earth and arrest, imprison them.

Everyone knew you didn’t get in his way – the price of such action was severe.

Then at the peak of his greatness, his power and his influence, he encountered the Resurrected Jesus on the Damascus Road and stopped cold in his own tracks.

Suddenly, he was quite literally blinded.

In less than an instant, he was made utterly helpless.

For three days he fasted and prayed – not knowing whether or not help would ever arrive, if he would ever see again, if he would be reduced to blind begging.

From the very pinnacles of success, from the top of living then thrust straight to the bottom at the snap of someone else’s finger – someone he did not know.

He no longer had his great power or his vast influence over the people.

In an instant, he was now virtually “untouchable” ……

And he was still “alive” – trying to sort out what or who was coming next!

Can we begin to place ourselves into his mounting levels of stress and anxiety?

Suddenly thrust into the unknown – he was utterly helpless as a newborn baby.

He had to “figure out” how to live in a world which he could not see and may never see again – waiting for someone, anyone, to offer him a little charity.

He did not know who he could rely on for whatever assistance was going to be required for meeting his hourly and daily needs – food, clothing, and shelter.

Then, suddenly within his blindness, Paul received a vision – Acts 9:12

Then a man named Ananias, a man called by Jesus from his life of contentment, suddenly came to his bedside – touched Paul’s eyes and healed him – “In the name of JESUS CHRIST, Be Healed” and Saul/Paul’s sight was literally restored.

Then he received meat and was strengthened ….

Sight restored Paul took up residence with the disciples who were at Damascus.

After Three Days of Prayer and Fasting – Jesus redeemed his life from the Pit.

Psalm 40:1-2

40 I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path.

Humbled to the maximum, he began to proclaim Jesus in the Synagogues ….

Acts 9:17-20

17 So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18  Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took some food and was strengthened.

Saul Begins to Preach Christ

For several days [afterward] Saul remained with the disciples who were at Damascus. 20 And immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “This Man is the Son of God [the promised Messiah]!”

Now, several years later, after who knows how many beatings and hardships,

He wrote today’s devotional Bible Passage from “house arrest” a Roman Prison.

How’s that progression for setting the example for us in 2022, learning how to be content no matter what pinnacles and “valleys of death” life sends our way?

Verse 13 is often used more on a regular basis by than the previous two verses: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13).

I especially love the fact that this verse is written in direct support of “I can be content in any situation.”

So often we isolate verse 13 and we apply it to only encourage us to believe we can do the impossible because Christ strengthens us, which I am 100% all for.

However, sometimes we need to remember that this strength from Christ is not the strength to rip car doors off their hinges or to lift tractors or to lift boulders.

That strength comes from within from crazy high levels of Adrenaline when we are under an acute level of stress – following car accidents so to rescue a person.

The strength of Christ Paul talks about here in verse 13 is to help us manage the long concourse of our workdays, survive thru our toughest day to day activities.

Paul says he can remain content no matter what the circumstances are around him – he had absolute confidence, faith, hope, love and trust in Jesus his Savior.

Paul is saying the presence of the Holy Spirit within him would get him through any and all experiences – no matter how potentially catastrophic the situation.

I do not pretend to know what is going on in your life now but think about it.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words while he was locked away in a prison.

And even while captured, he wrote to people he never met about rejoicing and being full of joy (Philippians 4:4)!

I heard a preacher once say,

“You’re either in a storm, just got out of one, or about to enter one.”

That can sound daunting at first, but realistically we all know change and difficulty happen at a moment’s notice and even without a moment’s notice.

Anything can change for the better or for the worse at the snap of a finger.

Self-Related, Family Related. Work Related, Financially Related and Medically.

Like Saul who became Paul, we still have to work out the details of how we are going to actually live and navigate ourselves through these very trying times.

Koinonia Fellowship, Prayer, Fasting and Bible Study are all critically essential.

Connection and Relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – are our absolute #1 priority – drawing from the strength which we simply will not have.

Through Jesus, we can breathe easy, rest confidently because we can handle it.

How ever gentle or severe or even catastrophic our hiccups, our let downs or our hang-ups, the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus gives us additional strength.

And he is with us before, after, and during the bad parts in our lives (Psalm 121).

When the winds of change blow, whether a gentle breeze or hurricane force winds, or unsearchable troubles are on the horizon, or everything goes swimmingly, know Christ has your back and will be your source of strength to keep calm and carry on!

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

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, thank You for this example of generous giving and of gracious receiving. I pray that I may be content in all things, whether I have much or little, but I also pray that You will prompt me give of what I have, when others are in need, not out of obligation but out of love for You. Thank You that all good and perfect things come from You, and may I be a good steward of all I have… and by your strength, trust You for all I need – in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

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A Most Amazing Question: If God is for Us Who Else Can Be Against Us? God has Got Your Back! Romans 8:31

Romans 8:31Amplified Bible

31 What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us?

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

Amazingly enough, this is a question that we should be asking ourselves regularly. ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ 

In Romans 8 alone, Paul has written extensively to prove this very point.

God loves us, he sent his son Jesus to die for us, he gave us the Holy Spirit to be our counselor and guide and to remind us of everything Jesus told us.

In lieu of this, this question holds amazing implications for us as believers… understanding the dynamics of how God feels about you will change your life.

When we are holding this perspective in view and weighing everything else that happens against this revelation of God’s unceasing love, unceasing protection towards you and me, then the rest seems less than relevant and unimportant.

David held this perspective throughout his entire life, he wrote in the Psalms, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6).

He penned this in the midst of the high potential for great turmoil and unrest.

Reasonably, the people would be mightily afraid of that turmoil and unrest as in the briefest of moments people’s lives could go from wonderful to catastrophic.

Reasonably, the people wanted to know who would protect them and who could protect them and who should be protecting them from the coming Roman fury.

Significant questions to ask since no human being could long stand against a Roman soldier with Roman training carrying Romans Swords, Roman Spears.

Who could stand up to or against the commands of an unstable Emperor Nero?

Based on human history, Paul knew the Emperor was going to do whatever was on his mind, was going to give his orders and his will would not be questioned.

Ask yourselves this question: how many times Paul had asked himself the same question during his missionary journeys when he had no control over his life, how much time did he have to live, who was going to be trying to end his words.

Paul undoubtedly had asked himself – “who was powerful enough, who was loving enough, who was strong enough, could protect him from “what’ next?”

But all of his life – he had earned one very valuable lesson – there was always God who would never, ever leave his side under any circumstance (Psalm 121)

He could write about God’s eternal vigilance (Psalm 23) because he knew God and knew that God always loved him and in light of that, nothing else mattered.

Just as asking this question is important, so is our reminding ourselves of the answer. 

‘If God is for us, then who is against us?’ 

Who can be our foe if God is on our side?

With growing confidence, Paul goes on in the next couple of verses to explain how God is the one who justified us (Romans 8:33) and Jesus is the one who died for us (Romans 8:34) so in reality who can bring an accusation against us.

This is so critically important to teach our children, the stranger on the street.

This is so critically important for everyone to hear.

This is so critically important for everyone to listen to.

This is so critically important to for everyone to learn.

This is so critically important to understand.

This is so critically important for us to “wrap our minds and our lives” around.

So many people, too many people miss it in life, take God’s grace for granted, if they do not understand the boundless extent of God’s daily love towards them.

Jude tells us to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:21) because he knew that having this revelation equips the saints to be powerful in the kingdom.

It is amazing to me to know that God chose me and called me to be his child.

It is beyond amazing to know Jesus died for me, while yet his enemy, and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us all – “As Iron Sharpens Iron!”

It is amazing to know that nothing can separate me from his love.

Understanding this will empower you to overcome any obstacle you face.

Understanding this will release you from the fear that keeps you in chains.

David said in the Psalm, 

“The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall, I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). 

And in today’s passage Paul asks,

What, then, shall we say in response to this?” 

What is there to say?

Could anything be a stronger encouragement to faith than the unalterable evidence of what God has already done for the salvation of His people of faith?

God is the Sovereign Lord, and it is from Him that our salvation comes and with Him that our salvation forever rests and remains undeniably, eternally secure.

God who gave so amazingly and so abundantly of Himself to provide salvation will certainly give continued, final salvation, protect His Children at all costs.

To those who are “in Christ Jesus” ……

there are no rational grounds for apprehension for their salvation is secured.

In spite of my many unanswered questions,

with my whole heart, I believe.

I believe in the living God, the joy of the universe,

  who is the pulse and purpose of all things seen and unseen,

  who from the dust of earth calls up living beings to be children of eternity,

  who through countless ages has provided for us many liberators

  and tirelessly seeks to bring victory out of defeat and life out of decay.

I believe in Jesus the Christ, God’s one and only true Son,

  who is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,

  who took upon himself the healing of the human race,

  who bearing the burden of our sins went to Golgotha carrying his cross,

  who was betrayed, crucified, dead and buried in a borrowed tomb,

  who on the third day was found to be gloriously alive,

  meeting with those who trust him and serve him to the end of the world.

I believe in the Holy Spirit of God,

  within and among all who cherish Christ and his way, truth and life

  who brings hope out of despair, love out of apathy, and joy out of sorrow,

  who unceasingly regenerates and reforms and transforms His church

  that it may always be the contemporary body of the risen Christ,

  loving the world through prayer, word and deed.

I believe that even I am caught up in the resurgent life of Christ Jesus,

  and that nothing in life or death can separate me from his love and joy.

In spite of unanswered questions, yes! I believe. Amen!

This affirmation, this glorious revelation leaves me absolutely speechless!

Today, I am blessed to know and understand that God loves me, and nothing can or will separate me from him.

Today we celebrate our life for what and where it is, with our families, may we take time to praise God for the marvelous thing he has done by sending Jesus.

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

Let us Pray,

Thank You, God, for being my Father and forgiving all my sins, not because I deserve it, but because in absolute love Christ died in my place to pay the price for my sins, all of them. Thank You for all You have done for me, will continue to do, and that my future glorification is as equally complete in Christ as my past justification, when I first trusted Jesus as my only Savior. Thank You that because I am in Christ, You are 100% ‘for me.’ Let me never forget that amazing truth. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

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Consistent Habits Will Consistently Change Everything. The Key to Desire God’s Word and Prayer. Psalm 119:18

Psalm 119:17-24Amplified Bible

Gimel.

17 
Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word [treasuring it and being guided by it day by day].
18 
Open my eyes [to spiritual truth] so that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.
19 
I am a stranger on the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
20 
My soul is crushed with longing
For Your ordinances at all times.
21 
You rebuke the presumptuous and arrogant, the cursed ones,
Who wander from Your commandments.
22 
Take reproach and contempt away from me,
For I observe Your testimonies.
23 
Even though princes sit and talk to one another against me,
Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
24 
Your testimonies also are my delight
And my counselors.

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

Let us begin with a short prayer from today’s biblical text for this devotion,

17 
Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word [treasuring it and being guided by it day by day].

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

The prayer of the Psalmist is for God to deal “bountifully” with His servant.

We read this prayer because we opened our Bibles, and we opened our eyes.

When we opened our eyes, we gave God full and unfettered access to our souls.

Except,

When we never open up our Bibles, what will we consistently never find?

When we sporadically open up our Bibles, what do we consistently expect to find?

When we consistently open up our Bibles, what do we consistently expect to find?

When we habitually open up our Bibles, who do we consistently hope to find?

When we habitually open our eyes to read our Bibles, what is likely to happen?

If like David, we could, would, should, expect to discover “wondrous things.”

If we are like David, we expect to discover “wonderful things” done by God.

Remember, David only had a small portion of the Bible God’s given us today!

The reality is this…

There is no wasted moment reading God’s Word!

Let me qualify that statement a bit – there is no wasted moment reading God’s Word when we do with consistently open eyes, consistently open hearts, souls.

Even if you only read a single verse, you are hearing from God himself.

And you have the chance to “behold wondrous GOD things” in his Word.

From now on, starting today, learn a new habit, never let a single day pass without consistently reading at least one verse.

We can do that, right?

With consistent practice, then “enlarge thy tent”- read two… Three… Four…

And before you know it, you are consistently reading whole entire chapters.

This tiny habit, consistently done will consistently snowball and change your life.

Will we do this?

Perhaps and then again, perhaps not ….

Psalm 1:1-2Amplified Bible

Book One

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

[a]Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of [b]scoffers (ridiculers).

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.

Perhaps we are in that moment of life when we are not consistently feeling so blessed, not feeling so very fortunate, or so prosperous and so favored by God.

And that is why we have our eyes and our hearts, and our souls closed off now.

Psalm 13:1-4Amplified Bible

Prayer for Help in Trouble.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

13 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart day after day?
How long will my enemy exalt himself and triumph over me?


Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Give light (life) to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.

Have you ever spent seasons where consistently getting into the Bible felt more like ceaseless drudgery than ceaseless delight?

Where you perhaps have felt guilty, because you knew you should be studying God’s Word every day, but you just simply never felt like consistently doing it?

If so, you’re not alone.

Many “steadfast, stout hearted” Christians said that their biggest struggle in their devotional life was a lack of desire to “read the Bible and to pray daily.”

This certainly isn’t something to feel guilty about.

Instead, it’s a consistent reality a lot of us will consistently face every day.

One has to wonder – if we consider all of the intrigue David experienced on a daily basis, if we recall all of his efforts to hide from Saul, avoid his enemies and avoid his own son, Absalom, his hours, days and weeks spent hiding in caves,

Did David really have the time to consistently read and study God’s Scriptures every single day – or have them read and then interpreted to him “on the run?”

But what if it could be different for us?

Imagine this…

Changing your mindset …. use what we have learned from our consistently inconsistent efforts at reading and studying and praying through the Bible,

To learn a new habit – we can consistently and habitually get our hearts, minds and souls into…… letting God open our eyes, revealing, teaching us about trust.

Psalm 13:5-6Amplified Bible


But I have trusted and relied on and been confident in Your lovingkindness and faithfulness;
My heart shall rejoice and delight in Your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

A great place to begin learning and practicing this new habit is with Psalm 119.

This lengthy but beautifully written Psalm has its entire focus on the Word of God, which contains the instructions of our Heavenly Father for His Children.

How we consistently need the Word of God, for it is our daily food, and it is refreshment for our souls.

Psalm 119:1-7Amplified Bible

Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God.

[a]Aleph.

119 How blessed and favored by God are those whose way is blameless [those with personal integrity, the upright, the guileless],
Who walk in the law [and who are guided by the precepts and revealed will] of the Lord.

Blessed and favored by God are those who keep His testimonies,
And who [consistently] seek Him and long for Him with all their heart.

They do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.

You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should follow them with [careful] diligence.

Oh, that my ways may be established
To observe and keep Your statutes [obediently accepting and honoring them]!

Then I will not be ashamed
When I look [with respect] to all Your commandments [as my guide].

I will give thanks to You with an upright heart,
When I learn [through discipline] Your righteous judgments [for my transgressions].

When I slowly, subtly, begin to give thanks to God with an upright heart ……

When I slowly, subtly begin to learn ….

When I slowly, subtly, begin to discover ….

When I slowly, subtly, begin to change what I believed to be unchangeable ….

When through discipline, I start to realize it is God who is consistently trying to reveal something indescribably wonderful – to “shock open” my eyes and soul.

How we should consistently treasure the Word of God, for it is our #1 guide and #1 teacher, our strength, and our #1 sure and certain and consistent defense.

How we should consistently read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Word of God, for it is consistent life and health, it is peace and light, it is joy and hope.

And as the Psalmist trawls the depth of its treasures, his whispered prayer is: “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your Law.”

We are not only servants and students of the Word, but we are sons and daughters of its Author, and so that should stir our hearts to search the Scriptures daily to discover the truths in which the Lord desires to teach and train us, as well as the areas in which He seeks to guard and correct us.

As His children, we should treasure His Word in our heart that we might not sin against Him, and as we reach for our Bible, our prayer should mirror that of the Psalmist: “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your Law.”

We need to ensure that our eyes are wide open to all that is in the Word as we saturate ourselves in His wonderful ways, reflect on the beauty of His person.

We should crave for the milk of the ever-Living, ever transformational, Word of God so that we may continually grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and we should habitually meditate upon the meat of the Word so that we may walk in spirit and truth and live in submission to the guiding of the Spirit.

Day by day, our prayer should consistently be: “God, my Father, God, my teacher, open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your Law.”

When our eyes are open and earnestly looking to Jesus, they are not searching out the things of this world.

When our heart is gasping for the Lord, it is not lusting after the things of the flesh.

But when our eyes are consistently closed in disinterest or discouragement, our own imagination can be consistently, tragically, funneled in a wrong direction.

Let us continually, consistently look to the Lord in excitement, open our eyes in prayerful expectation that we WILL see the wonderful things that are written in Scripture and contemplate on the glories that are contained in the Word of God.

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

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, I pray that You will open my eyes, that I too may behold wonderful things from Your Law. Open my eyes so that I may contemplate the glories of Your person and gain nourishment from Your instruction. Open my eyes, I pray, to see the consistently wonderful truths in the precious Word of God. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

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Leading Lives of Consistency. Nehemiah 11:1-2, 1 John 2:4-6

Nehemiah 11:1-2 Amplified Bible

Time Passes; Heads of Provinces

11 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem; but the rest of the people cast lots to bring one [person] out of ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while nine-tenths remained in the other cities. And the people blessed all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.

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

As time passes us by ……

And time will consistently pass us by ……

We can consistently bet our lives on it and time will always consistently win.

As the clock keeps right on ticking even after we remove the inner workings of the watch, even after we slam the snooze button, or we unplug the alarm clock.

Examining pros and cons, benefits, detractions of daylight savings time.

Time keeps right on going whether we like it or not, consistently, every second.

Time is going to do whatever it is time wants to do – consistently, every single moment of every single second of every single day – for quite literally, eternity.

How do we consistently contemplate leading lives of such equal consistency as Christians in this consistently busy, consistently fast paced, changing world?

To begin with, we might try consistently contemplating our living out this consistency exactly where God has placed us.

We are needed where we are planted, in our homes and community as a church.

There are constantly people who consistently live with real needs all around us.

What if we consistently sacrificed our lives on a daily basis, celebrating what God has done in us, by serving others and sharing the good news of Jesus? What if we consistently stepped out into God’s neighborhood to make a difference?

In Nehemiah 11, we see a people, immediately after rededicating their lives to the Lord their God, and renewing their covenant with Him in chapter 10, stayed consistent and began taking consistent and decisive, definitive steps to fulfill their renewed covenant commitment by moving their lives into Jerusalem.

This was not an easy or safe task, but one that showed their consistent devotion to God, which they declared in the previous chapter 10.

What we learn from this is that leading lives of consistency is not a one-time thing; not once a month, not weekly, but hourly and even second by second.

We are called to consistently sacrifice for God’s mission and to be an example (of Jesus) to others consistently.

It is forever easy to say you want to be more constant with your walk with Jesus after a great night of worship, but it is another to live it out in all your daily life.

How consistent are you to consistently live out the faith you consistently profess?

Can you make a change today that will help you live more consistently for Jesus?

1 John 2:4-6Amplified Bible

Whoever says, “I have come to know Him,” but does not habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings), is a liar, and the truth [of the divine word] is not in him. But whoever habitually keeps His word and obeys His precepts [and treasures His message in its entirety], in him the love of God has truly been perfected [it is completed and has reached maturity]. By this we know [for certain] that we are in Him: whoever says he lives in Christ [that is, whoever says he has accepted Him as God and Savior] ought [as a moral obligation] to walk and conduct himself just as He walked and conducted Himself.

Now, we will discuss other side of consistency being inconsistency. What does it look like when you know that someone’s words are different than their actions?

In 1 John 2 we see a sobering picture of what consistency is, and what it is not.

Paraphrasing the first part of chapter 2, John essentially says that if you say you have “consistently” received the love and grace of Jesus Christ, but do not live by His commandments, then you are a liar, and the truth of God is not in you.

In other words,

if you have put your faith in Jesus and there is no outward change, no want nor desire to know Him more, no want to love the things He loves, no care for His mission with consistency, then you should stop and really examine your heart.

You should contemplate stopping and examine your walk and relationship with Him, because something consistently appears to be consistently out of order.

Our walk and growth in Jesus will never be perfect… so please do not hear me saying when we have the slightest mess up, we should question all of our faith.

What I am saying is what John is: when we do sin, we have an advocate with the father, who has paid the price for our mess-ups and His name is Savior Jesus.

Lord and Savior Jesus set the perfect example, which should consistently serve to consistently inspire us to consistently strive for consistency in all our faith.

Someone who is consistent behaves in the same way, has the same attitudes towards people or things, or achieves the same level of success in something.

In consistency, there is no contradiction.

there is continuity, practice, determination, faithfulness, balance, harmony, stability, orderliness, reliability and quality.

As Christians, we need to accept nothing less than true consistency!

Paul and Barnabas spoke of the need for a congregation to be consistent 

– Acts 13:43 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to {consistently} continue in the grace of God

Consider contemplating Acts 14:22 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to {consistently} continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

From God’s own Words, the declaration is clear that we as Christians should be consistent in godly living, consistently continue in the covenant ways of God.

There is no need for anyone to think that consistency is not needed in our lives!

When we do everything, God requires from us, we must not slack nor be distracted because there is nothing to glory about it.

We still have a whole lot more Kingdom work to do for the transformation process to continue. 

Luke 17:10 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” 

Reality: God has shown the greatest love to mankind by the death of His Son. God has done more for us by allowing us to find an entrance into His church.

Because more is consistently done for us, we have a consistent obligation to do more to ensure the transformation process God intends continues to manifest.

It not only brings consistency, but it also shows reflection that we are grateful to God for the work of redemption.

“To whom much is given — of them much shall be required.”

The blessings we consistently enjoy are not the fruit of our merit — but the fruit of God’s consistent and never changing and always and forever available mercy.

By how much the more grace we have received (Romans 6:1) — by so much the more the maximum magnitude of glory we are obliged to return unto the Giver. 

grateful mind is a great mind.

A consistent life means that we carefully consider the effect our lifestyle on our society.

A consistent life is a looking-glass, wherein Christ sees His own likeness. 

A consistent life means that we recognize that our dependency is on God. 

We must be consistent in our Christian lives because we know our consistency is not derived from our finite strength or finite skill but from the power of God. 

Godly duties performed are regarded before God when we allow Christ fills them.

Any good work we do can never be sustained without the support of Christ or the power of the Holy Spirit.

If we ever do any good work, it is still not the reason for our continued physical existence – Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the very reason why we are alive.

When we have kept all the commandments, there is one commandment above all to be kept; that is, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags!”

In most of our works — we are abominable sinners; and in the best of our works — we are consistently unprofitable servants, consistently unconscionable sinners.

Hebrews 13:8Amplified Bible

Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever.

Let us always go in the unchanging, unchangeable strength of our Savior God.

What areas of our “Christian life” are consistently showing inconsistency?

How can we consistently make those continuous changes God presents to us?

And consistently focus on what Jesus is consistently calling each of us to do?

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

Let us Pray,

Great God in heaven, unchanging, unchangeable Savior, I believe in you and trust in you. I want to walk as Jesus walked. I want to abide in You. Be with me as I go about my day. Help me to make wise, wiser, decisions as I work to be more like you. Amen.

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Our Crossroads and God’s Roadmap. Jeremiah 6:16 and Matthew 7:13-14

Jeremiah 6:16Amplified Bible

16 
Thus says the Lord,
“Stand by the roads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is; then walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’

Matthew 7:13-14Amplified Bible

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.

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

Just because a certain path seems right does not mean it’s the right one to take.

But that does not mean it is wrong either.

We must, therefore, ask and trust God to show us which way to go.

He knows the end from the beginning.

God will lead us in the right way.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

What a wonderfully assuring thing it is to believe that even when we are faced, confronted by the biggest and most difficult decisions in life, the Word of God for the Children of God makes known to us the sure paths that will bring life.

WHAT ARE CROSSROADS?

Literally, a crossroad is a road that crosses another.

It is the place where two or more roads intersect.

Figuratively, to be “at a crossroad” is to be at a stage in one’s life when it is necessary to choose a path that will affect one’s life in truly profound ways.

A crossroad is a place of decision.

It is a place of doubts and questions.

A crossroad is a place where we wrestle with conflicting voices.

It is a transit point.

A crossroad is a gate or access point.

It is a place of separation and goodbye.

A crossroads is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another one.

A crossroad is a critical moment.

It can be a place of crisis, where the pains of yesterday connects us to the hope of the coming tomorrow.

A crossroad is a place of opportunity, where the road ahead offers promises.

A crossroad is a point in your life where you have several options that you need to weigh.

Each option on each crossroad will lead you to a different destination or goal.

Each path on each crossroad will to a different destination.

Crossroads are unavoidable.

Crossroads are inevitable.

Every day, we make significant decision that will affects our lives positively or negatively.

The choice to continue the same straight path is no longer possible.

A decision has to be made.

The straight road has now split into two or more.

Which decision will you make?

Looking left, right, back from where you came, and looking straight ahead.

Where do you turn?

Do you turn back to where you came, choose a path to follow, or do you stand around in the middle of the road and continuously scratch at your bald spot?

Which road is the right one?

And carefully, prayerfully weigh the consequence of choosing a decisive path?

Today, you may be standing at a crossroad.

Your crossroads could be one to decide your ministry or career path.

It could be the start or end of a relationship.

Your crossroad could be a choice of making a change right now or if you wait too long it might just become “too late” – whatever “too late” means to God.

It could be the choice of what course to study for what career field in college.

Do you make a choice of asking mom and dad – about entering into the military, or do you just go ahead on your own and enlist, ask for mom and dad’s support.

Your crossroad could be whether to start a business or hold on to your job.

It might be starting a relationship with that “special, lifelong someone,” and doing the career thing or to get married and starting a family of your very own.

Perhaps you are in a crossroad where you are faced with the decision to stay where you are or move on to another place – to another job or career field.

Perhaps it might even be a decision to finally put in your retirement papers.

Whatever pathway you decide to take, it will definitely affect the course of your life and destiny for an indeterminate period of time.

Are we ready for that “indeterminate period of time” right this exact moment?

When standing at the crossroads, the one thing we really need is guidance.

God definitely has set aside a path for us which leads to life! (Psalm 16:11)

He promises to guide, instructs, direct us when we are at the crossroads of life.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21.

God will always give you and me a direction to take in life.

But you and I still need to sharpen our hearing ability.

Matthew 7:13-14Amplified Bible

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.

The parable of the two gates pictures the people of Earth walking on two roads.

One road is broad, and many walk that way.

The other road is narrow, and few find the gate to it.

These two roads don’t lead to the same place (Matthew 7:13-14).

We are fond of dividing the world into two.

We speak of the rich and the poor, but there are many people who are neither rich nor poor.

We speak of the bosses and the workers, but many people are neither, and some are both.

We speak of the educated and uneducated, but some people have education yet lack wisdom, whilst some uneducated people are very wise.

This just shows that dividing the world in two, or even three, is usually presumptuous, simplistic, inaccurate, and perhaps even alienating.

But does this apply to all cases?

In particular, is the world divided into the saved and the unsaved —those in God’s way and those following Satan?

Many folks would call that a presumptuous, simplistic, inaccurate, and alienating view of the world.

Only Two Ways

Rabbi Jesus, however, here divides humanity in just that manner: people are travelling either the broad road to destruction or the narrow road to life —just two groups and no exceptions (Matthew 7:13-14).

Later in that chapter, he again divides people into two groups: the wise who hear and do his words (Matthew 7:24), and the foolish who do not hear and do his words (Matthew 7:26).

On a later occasion, Jesus spoke of how he will, at the last judgment, separate the people of all nations into two “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32-33).

The “sheep” at his right hand will inherit the kingdom prepared for them (Matthew 25:34). 

The “goats” at his left hand will be sent into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). 

When these two groups have gone their way, nobody else shall remain (Matthew 25:46).

So, when Jesus pictures the two gates, or two builders, or the sheep separated from the goats, he has included all human beings.

Each of us is on one of those pathways.

Or to point the finger, you, I, are in one of those groups. 

Which one?

The Way of the Many

Not only has Jesus divided the world in two, but appallingly, he has numbered those who are on the road to destruction as “many” and those on the road to life as only a “few” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Why are there “many” going in at the wrong gate, walking on the wrong road?

Jesus gives no reason for the number.

He does not even indicate that the number cannot be changed.

He leaves it open that the majority could walk the way to life, and only a few walk the way to destruction, or for that matter everyone could walk the way to life leaving deserted the road which leads to inevitable destruction.

When Jesus says, “enter by the narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13), presumably he means anyone who listens to him say that, can make the choice do exactly that.

Why would Rabbi Jesus tell everybody to enter by the narrow gate, and walk the narrow way, if most of them cannot do that?

You might say, “Jesus does give the reason why many go down the broad way.

The word translated narrow means difficult.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/mat/7/13-14/t_conc_936014

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2346/kjv/tr/0-1/

It’s the nature of human beings to choose what’s easy, not what’s hard.”

Well, I am not so sure.

People do all kinds of things that are difficult because they think those things are right, they enjoy the challenge, they deem the reward well worth the effort.

Surely the Christian life is a worthy challenge, and brings a wonderful reward, such that you would expect many more people to choose it than actually do.

Choosing Destiny

Anyway, there is nothing compelling people to follow the broad way leading to destruction, even though most people do.

Destiny doesn’t force people to follow one of the two roads.

They choose the gate they enter; they choose the road they walk; hence they choose their destiny.

There is nothing preventing people from following the right way leading to life, even though few do.

The Way of the Few

Although Jesus speaks of two roads, only one of them is of his making.

Jesus never desired that there be a road to destruction, and he never caused anyone to follow it.

The broad road represents a way of living designed by Satan.

Jesus provides an alternative way, represented by the narrow road.

When Jesus says, “enter by the narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13), he refers to the gospel way of living.

In early times, Christianity was actually called “the Way” (Acts 19:9,23).

In fact, Jesus called himself the way: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6).

Seeking the Way

When Jesus mentioned the narrow gate and the difficult path beyond it, he said, “And few there be who find it” (Matthew 7:14). 

There are two ways you can find something.

One is to stumble upon it by some fortunate circumstance; the other is to seek it by making an intelligent and systematic search.

Rabbi Jesus tells us which way to find the gate to the true way: 

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 NASB).

Total Commitment

We can gather from this that walking the narrow way means making an absolute and total commitment to Jesus Christ.

It means loving him, obeying him, depending on him, worshipping him, giving all of us to him, being his utterly committed and utterly devoted disciples.

And where do we start?

The Holy Spirit tells us clearly what to do to begin this journey, as follows…

DIVINE GUIDANCE and DIRECTION!

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:1-2.

When God is your Shepherd, you have access to all things that you need.

Divine guidance is God having the final say in running the affairs of your life.

When He’s leading, you are never alone.

God has a definite blueprint for your life and a road map to get you there.

WHAT TO DO WHEN AT LIFE’S CROSSROADS?

1. Know God.

Do you know Him?

Most people know about God, but they don’t really know Him.

To know God is to spend time with Him.

It is a relationship!

To know God is to obey Him.

To know God is to fear Him.

To know God is to trust Him unconditionally.

You must have a continuous daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

2. Be known by God.

Are you a child of God? (John 1:12-13)

Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? (Romans 10:9-13)

You must be born again. (John 3:1-15)

3. Pray the prayer of enquiry.

Prayer of enquiry is prayer for insight, guidance and direction.

It is asking God what to do about a particular situation.

Prayer of enquiry is to know God’s will concerning an issue.

It is a prayer to ask God why? Which? How? and When but NOT Why?

Ask him to give you ears to hear and eyes to see the ways He is speaking to you.

Consider fasting occasionally to help you focus more on God.

4. You must have faith.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight:” 2 Corinthians 5:7.

It is not for those who will walk by sight or logic.

Have unconditional faith in God’s promises to guide you.

5. Cultivate the presence of God through praise and worship.

Praise invites God into your situation immediately.

And where God is, there is liberty and fullness of joy. (2 Corinthians 3:15-18)

He will guide you when you give Him high praise and worship.

6. Dig deeper in the Bible.

The Bible has been rightly defined as, “Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.”

The Bible is our spiritual GPS, always available to tell us which way leads to where we want to go and how to turn around if we get on the wrong path.

7. Be humble. Psalm 25:9.

He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.

God loves humble people

8. Cultivate quietness.

Set aside a consistent time every day to meet with God.

Try starting out with a half-hour quiet time, and after you’ve developed greater intimacy with Him, increase that time to an hour.

It usually takes about five to ten minutes during the start of your quiet time to clear your mind enough to focus fully on God, so do not rush your quiet time.

9. Practice unconditional love.

Live without unforgiveness, malice, bitterness and anger.

10. Listen.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27.

God can speak through the following ways:

His Word. Psalm 107:20.

Audible voice. Genesis 12:1;

Dreams. Judges 7:13.

Visions. Genesis 46:2; and Prophets. Ezra 9:11.

Let your heart be still. Psalm 46:10

Block out the distraction.

Tune in to heaven’s radio.

11. Seek wise counsel

To some people, crossroads are places of confusion.

Don’t be afraid to ask for directions and seek wise counsel from family, trusted friends, a pastor or counsellor.

12. Be patient; Don’t be in a hurry.

No matter how long it takes, be confident that God has heard your prayers and will respond. Let your mind be at rest. Don’t try to rush through the process.

“Show me your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4.

There is comfort in knowing God is guiding, leading and instructing us, especially when we are standing on crossroads.

But not many people are willing to ask for direction.

Come to God today!

Don’t live your life on logic, human reasoning, and trials.

It will only lead you to broken heart, failures and disappointments.

God has a better plan.

Don’t take steps on your own or make important decisions without asking Him.

Always strive to know the will of God concerning everything you are doing.

SO, WHAT’S OUR DECISION?

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.

There is no neutral ground.

The Lord Jesus, who on the Cross at Calvary made the greatest sacrifice for us at the crossroad of Golgotha, said there is a broad road that leads to destruction and a narrow road that leads to eternal life.

What road have you chosen?

If you realized you are on the wrong road, why not repent and get on the right road today?

If you are willing to repent and surrender your life to Jesus Christ, then pray this prayer right now:

LORD Jesus, I come to You right now. I know I am a sinner, please forgive me my sins. With my mouth, I declare that Jesus, from today, I accept You as the LORD of my life. Change my heart from a disobedient heart to a heart that will obey You. With my new heart, I believe that it is because of me that You came into this world; You died for my sins, take away my problems, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, write my name in the Book of Life, and make me brand new in Jesus mighty name.

PRAYER POINTS

1. O Lord, have Mercy for placing my confidence in human reasoning, in Jesus name.

2. By Your Mercy, O Lord, save me from every wrong decision I have made, in Jesus name.

3. O Lord, open up my spiritual understanding, in Jesus name.

4. O God, teach me deep and secret things, in Jesus name.

5. O Lord, thank You for the revelation power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus name.

6. O God, remove from me every form of distractions that has blocked my spiritual eyes and ears, in Jesus name..

7. My Father, give me the spirit of revelation and wisdom in the knowledge of You, in Jesus’ name.

8. Open my spiritual eyes, O Lord, to see visions concerning my life, in Jesus name.

9. I reject the manipulation of the spirit of confusion, in Jesus name.

10. My Father, guide and direct me in knowing Your mind, in Jesus name.

11. If . . . (mention it) is not Your will for me, O Lord, re-direct my steps, in Jesus name.

12. Thank God for answering your prayers.

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

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Lord, When I Look Up at Your Skies, at what Your Fingers have Made, Tell Me, what is Your Purpose for Me? Psalm 8:4

Psalm 8:1-4New American Standard Bible

The Lord’s Glory and Mankind’s Dignity.

For the music director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
You who have [a]displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouths of infants and nursing babies You have established [b]strength
Because of Your enemies,
To do away with the enemy and the revengeful.

When I [c]consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have set in place;
What is man that You think of him,
And a son of man that You are concerned about him?

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

In this psalm the glory of God and the glory of humanity are folded together like the fingers of two hands.

And yet it seems like a mismatch.

What is our fragile existence compared to the majesty of God?

Yet Psalm 8 links the wonder of human existence with divine splendor.

God is pleased to fold his glories into ours to create a unique and wonderful fellowship.

As a boy, I would look up into the heavens on a clear night, through a telescope my father gave me, and we would see an array of uncountable numbers of stars.

If we know our constellations, we can tell where the “Big” and “Little Dipper” are, and we can find the North Star by its brightness – but from how far away?

Do we still follow the Mars Rover Perseverance Launched in 2020?

https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

Do we still have the child like curiosity of what the surface of Mars looks like?

Do we still look at the images being sent back?

Aside from what we “see” on the surface of Mars, its rocks, its hills, its craters, its far distant mountains, its further distant horizons and sun rise and sunset.

What else do we see which may not be so obvious to the human eye?

We see the ‘tracks’ of humanity left by the Man-Made Perseverance Rover!

Yet, we have yet to actually put human feet to Martian soil.

But we have that curiosity – what does it look like?

But we have that curiosity – what would it feel like to be the first to step on it?

But we have that curiosity – what would it feel like to hold soil in our hands?

But we have that curiosity to keep right on trying, overcome the technological obstacles in our path which keeps us from answering those questions I asked.

We have that insatiable drive to overcome the enormous challenges, to invent the non-existent technology which would be needed to truly set foot on Mars.

Probably not in our generation – maybe not in the next two or three or four, but it is inevitable that one day humanity will launch that Manned Space Craft like it did in July 1969 – the Apollo 11 Moon walk by Late Astronaut, Neil Armstrong.

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11.html

Psalm 8:1-5Complete Jewish Bible

(0) For the leader. On the gittit. A psalm of David:

(1) Adonai! Our Lord! How glorious
is your name throughout the earth!
The fame of your majesty
spreads even above the heavens!

(2) From the mouths of babies and infants at the breast
you established strength because of your foes,
in order that you might silence
the enemy and the avenger.

4 (3) When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place —
5 (4) what are mere mortals, that you concern yourself with them;
humans, that you watch over them with such care?

The psalmist tells us that God, the Creator and Author of our humanity, is mindful of our human tracks, as faint as they may seem in the universe.

Between the infinite abyss of outer space and the quanta of subatomic particles are the very unique and singular personal prints of life made in God’s image.

Heaven zooms in on this track, for it holds the undeniable promise of a glorious communion with its Author and its Creator and its Maintainer and its Sustainer.

Put yourself in David’s place on that singular night which he craned his neck up, whether it was from his perspective as a shepherd or viewpoint of a King.

How big was the Moon that night he penned that verse?

Against the backdrop of that Moon,

How many stars did he count before he simply gave up trying to count them all.

Until God finally reached His own point of connection, a time of quiet, intimate, contemplative relationship deep inside David’s soul – and we have Psalms 8?

No matter how plain your life may seem, your Creator wants to weave his own vision of His own handwork deep into yours – as Deep as He reached David’s.

Nowadays, just what keeps us and our children from reaching those “depths?”

An insatiable “Lack of Curiosity?”

An insatiable “Lack of Faith?”

An insatiable “Lack of Hope?”

An insatiable “Lack of Love?”

An insatiable “Lack of Perseverance?”

An insatiable “Lack of God, the Father, God the Son and God, the Holy Spirit?”

Psalm 8:1-4The Message

God, brilliant Lord,
    yours is a household name.

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
    toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
    and silence atheist babble.

3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
    your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
    Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
    Why take a second look our way?

God the Father, on the other hand, always has us on his mind.

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them . . . ?”

Though we don’t often act like it, we humans are at the top of creation’s glory.

“God created mankind in his own image . . . male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

But then their sin scarred his image in them.

It wasn’t obliterated, but it was definitely blurred in an indescribable manner.

Yet every­ image bearing child reveals more of God’s glory.

Creation bears God’s fingerprints; we bear his very likeness.

The psalmist’s question is profoundly humbling and wondrously uplifting: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them . . .?”

We are each made in the image of God.

And though the rebellion of sin reverberates in our daily lives, God still sees his likeness in us.

His Son came to redeem and restore us.

We are “growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

What a blessing it is that God is mindful of his image bearers!

What a blessing it is to know his image bearers have a fruitful purpose!

Look up into the heavens as David did that night – what is your purpose?

Contemplate and Meditate upon the Future which God has in store for us!

It does not matter at what stage of life you find yourself in this exact moment.

Become insatiably curious for witnessing God handiworks in that future!

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

Let us Pray,

You, O Lord, are more wonderful than our lips can proclaim!
When we look up, consider the awesome works of your hands,
Your .01% consideration, love for us is more than amazing!
You have actually trusted us with the whole of the earth,
And put everything we see under the care of our hands.
Lord, O Sovereign Lord, the earth is filled with your glory!

Lord God,

Mere words are not enough to express Your awesomeness,

Your majesty, Your holiness.

Our highest expressions of theology are but baby talk next to You:

Your creation, Your very self.

Make us insatiably curious and aware, through Your Holy Spirit,

that You are absolutely in heaven’s fullness and here among us.

May this awareness lead us to approach this hour more carefully.

The words we speak, the tunes we sing, the worship we bring,

the thoughts we think, the joy and sadness we feel, the life we live,

may these be an aroma ultimately pleasing to You.

For in spite of the inadequacy of our words,

this humble and incomplete expression of worship is addressed to You.

Make it complete, whole, full to overflowing,

O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer.

In Savior Christ’s name we pray. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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