The Secret Place of the Most High…

Where do we find God’s secret place of refuge?

Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress‘ “

When you’re in the secret place of the Most High, the enemy can’t even see you, and NOTHING from the enemy can actually touch you.

He doesn’t even know how to locate you. He can run right at you and not even see you.

Our Secret Place is like a Star Trek cloaking device; that renders us invisible to the enemy’s sensors and attacks

The Bible tells us that it is because of Christ’s propitious sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross and our faith in Him, that we can NOW boldly and confidently come into God’s presence (Eph 3:12).

And it is in Psalm 100 that we are given the keys of entry into God’s Presence:

Psalm 100:1-4

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.

Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

These are the rules for engaging the enemy in spiritual warfare that the Apostle Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

Adjusting our thinking and putting on the Mind of Christ is something that we, as Christians, have to practice everyday.

The Lord is Our Refuge

Written by Dick Mills

“The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms”
— Deut. 33:27

A refuge is a place of safety. In a game of refuge, the animals instinctively know they will not be trapped or shot at.

Likewise, we Christians have a refuge, a place of safety and security from the traps and direct attacks of the enemy.

In speaking in this sense of security in the Lord, the psalmist David wrote:

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them”
(Ps. 119:165).

In modern versions, this word “offend” is usually translated, “snare, trap, capture.”

Thus, this is a Biblical terminology for Satan’s attempts to capture believers and make them into prisoners of fear, poverty, sickness, anger, lust, insecurity, etc.

In the original Hebrew, the word translated “refuge” here is me’ownah (meh-o-naw’), meaning “a lair, den, asylum, retreat, or home.”

As believers, our place of safety, of retreat, of refuge from the assaults of the enemy, is the Lord God of hosts.

“Refuge” (me’ownah) is also the word used for the tabernacle or temple where God dwells.

We Christians have our individual dwelling places, our me’ownah. God also has His tabernacle, or me’ownah – His dwelling place.

We not only have the security of our own homes, but we also have an added spiritual security in the place of worship.

When we worship the Lord in spirit and in truth we find a beneficial refuge from doubt, disbelief, distrust, despair, dismay, and disturbance.

The Lord is our refuge: our lair, den, our retreat, our home, and our tabernacle!

[Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Daily Devotional by Dick Mills]

Come join the Adventure!

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What does LOVE YOUR ENEMIES mean?

The Bible says that when you feed your enemy, it’s like heaping coals of fire upon their head…

Proverbs 25:21-22

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.

So what’s with the coals of fire on the head?

God’s ways and thoughts are certainly different from ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

This whole wording happens to be another Jewish idiom that makes absolutely no sense to us, in our Western mindset.

We’re told in the Bible that when you feed your enemy you will heap coals of fire on their head.

Heaping coals of fire on one’s head:

In the Bible lands almost everything is carried on the head water jars, baskets of fruit, vegetables, fish or any other article.

Those carrying the burden rarely touch it with the hands, and they walk through crowded streets and lanes with perfect ease.

In many homes the only fire they have is kept in a brazier, which they use for simple cooking as well as for warmth.

They plan to always keep it burning. If it should go out, some member of the family will take the brazier to a neighbors house to borrow fire.

Then she will lift the brazier to her head and start for home.

If her neighbor is a generous woman, she will heap the brazier full of coals.

To feed an enemy and give him drink was like heaping the empty brazier with live coals, which meant food, warmth and almost life itself to the person or home needing it, and was the symbol of finest generosity.

[From B.M. Bowen, Strange Scriptures that Perplex the Western Mind]

Agape love, as explained in the Bible, is the God kind of LOVE, that’s freely given and comes without strings; and is God’s true nature and our source of power to overcome this world.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love!”

— 1 Corinthians 13:13

This is what LOVE (Agape) looks like and how it is to be expressed in our life, if we are willing to get ourselves out of the way and be God’s conduit.

It basically means that we, as Gods ambassadors in the Earth, that we must learn to treat other people, based on the value God has placed upon them.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Living Bible (TLB)

4 Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, 5 never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way.

It is not irritable or touchy.

It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.
Love does not demand its own way.

It is not irritable or touchy.

It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.
6 It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.
7 If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

Part of our “PUTTING ON THE MIND OF CHRIST,” every day (as we’re told to do in Philippians 2:5), involves our learning to think and react as Christ would in our everyday situations.

The reason being, we’re here as His ambassadors, to represent His interests and not our own.

We’re here to be His distributors of LOVE and LIGHT into all the dark places of this Earth.

So here are our marching orders from on High:

Matthew 5:43-48

The Message (MSG)

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’

I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.

This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to EVERYONE, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.

If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, GROW UP. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.

Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Come join the Adventure!

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What does it mean to seek God’s face…

The importance of seeking God’s face – His PRESENCE in your life & be in relationship with Him 24/7 365 – above all else…

April 27
My Utmost for His Highest

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Do you seek great things for yourself?
— Jeremiah 45:5

Are you seeking great things for yourself, instead of seeking to be a great person?

God wants you to be in a much closer relationship with Himself than simply receiving His gifts— He wants you to get to know Him.

Even some large thing we want is only incidental; it comes and it goes. But God never gives us anything incidental.

There is nothing easier than getting into the right relationship with God, unless it is not God you seek, but only what He can give you.

If you have only come as far as asking God for things, you have never come to the point of understanding the least bit of what surrender really means.

You have become a Christian based on your own terms. You protest, saying, “I asked God for the Holy Spirit, but He didn’t give me the rest and the peace I expected.”

And instantly God puts His finger on the reason– you are not seeking the Lord at all; you are seeking something for yourself.

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7).

Ask God for what you want and do not be concerned about asking for the wrong thing, because as you draw ever closer to Him, you will cease asking for things altogether.

“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).

Then why should you ask?

So that you may get to know Him.

Are you seeking great things for yourself?

Have you said, “Oh, Lord, completely fill me with your Holy Spirit”?

If God does not, it is because you are not totally surrendered to Him; there is something you still refuse to do.

Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it?

God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness.

He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you—

“…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).

Come join the Adventure!

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What’s going on with with Kim Jong Un?

Amos 3:7 tells us that, “Certainly the Sovereign Lord does NOTHING without first revealing His plan to His servants the prophets”…

So what is going on with Kim Jong Un, in North Korea?

Ever since Donald Trump began to surge forth as a candidate in 2016, Christians have been pointing to the book of Isaiah and comparing Donald Trump with the ancient Persian king Cyrus, whom God had named 150 years before he was born, and call him his servant.

Isaiah 44:28
Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My servant,
And he shall perform all My pleasure,
Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,”
And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ’

There have been several modern day prophets, on the subject of Donald Trump, who have claimed that God has revealed to them that He will use Donald Trump for the good of America, just as He used Cyrus for the good of the Jewish people.

Long before Donald Trump was even on the radar to become president, Kim Clement had already prophecied his election to office.

From 2007 to 2014 a series of prophecies were given by Kim Clement.

When Clement first named that Donald Trump would be President in 2007, it was a little hard to take seriously.

Trump was on no one’s radar. He was just a real estate mogul and reality tv star.

Although he had been in the public eye his entire career, and at various times flirted with the idea of running for the office, no one really took it seriously.

Over the course of seven years, Kim Clement made 7 major prophecies about Trump. Six of which have already come to pass.
They are as follows:

1. Donald Trump by name
2. his hot blooded nature
3. the mockery of mainstream media
4. Impeachment
5. Trump’s desire to protect America
6. Trump’s successful economy

All six of these prophecies are powerful on their own, but when combined, they demand to be noticed.

They could have been about any person or six separate individuals, but Clement specifically gave these prophecies concerning Donald Trump.

The seventh prophetic point that is yet to come to pass is

7. Trumps second term.

America is now at a crossroads of decision, in that God, through this modern day “Cyrus” – Donald Trump, is given our nation an opportunity to repent.

This is all happening as our world is fast approaching this event on the prophetic stage, as the second coming of our Lord approaches:

Revelation 11:15
Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and loud voices called out in heaven: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.”

Come join the Adventure!

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Getting out of Dodge, while there’s still time…

Sodom and Gemorah

Initially it was Lot, his wife and his two daughters who where escaping Sodom and Gemorah, but his wife, against the orders of the two angels, held back and perished…

[Here’s the backstory]

Genesis 19:1-17

The Voice (VOICE)

1 The two heavenly messengers arrived in Sodom that evening, and Lot was sitting at the gate of the city.

When Lot saw them, he went out to meet them and bowed low, his face touching the ground.

Lot: 2 Please, my lords, take time to come into your servant’s house to spend the night and wash your feet. Then you can rise early and be on your way.

Messengers: No, we will be fine spending the night in the city square.

3 But Lot persisted and urged them to come home with him and enjoy his hospitality.

They agreed finally and came with Lot to his house.

Lot prepared a huge meal for them, served with unleavened bread, and they ate until they were full. 4 But before they could lie down to rest for the night, the men of the city—that is, the men of Sodom, young and old alike, every last one of them—surrounded the house 5 and called out to Lot.

Men of Sodom: Where are the men who came with you to your house tonight? We saw them go in with you! Bring them out here. We want to have sex with them!

6 Lot slipped out of the door to address the men, shutting it firmly behind him.

Lot: 7 Look, I beg you, brothers, don’t do this. Don’t sink to this level of depravity!

8 Look—I have two daughters. Both are virgins. How about this: I’ll bring them out for you instead. You can do with them as you please. But please don’t do anything to these men. They are my guests. They deserve the protection of my home.

[NOTE: Lot leaves the safety of his home to negotiate with the men of the city, all of whom seem determined to have sex with his guests.

Although his courage is commendable, his solution is deplorable—offering his virgin daughters for the deviant pleasures of his neighbors.

But Lot knows their sexual preference is for his guests, not his daughters; so the offer is safe, and he has bought some time.]

Men of Sodom: 9 Get out of the way, man!

(to each other) Look, this guy came to our city as a stranger. He’s not one of us, and yet he thinks he has the right to judge all of us!

(to Lot) You better watch out, or we’ll treat you far worse than we will your guests!

They came at Lot and pushed him hard against the door until it was about to break. 10 Just then the men inside reached out and pulled Lot into the house with them, shutting the door securely to block the men of Sodom out.

11 Then the heavenly messengers struck all of the men pressing at the door with blindness—both young and old alike. It wasn’t long before they exhausted themselves blindly groping for the door.

Messengers (to Lot): 12 Do you have anyone else here in the city—sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any other members of your family—whom you want to save?

If so, you need to get them out of here right now! 13 We are going to destroy this place. Because of the immense outcry the Eternal One has received regarding the depravity of this city, the Eternal has sent us here to destroy it.

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!”
But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

[NOTE: Abraham had negotiated God down to agree that if there were 10 righteous souls in the city that God would forego the destruction of Sodom and Gemorah.

What was going on in Abraham’s head, and why did he stop at 10 souls?

I believe that it was because Abraham was concerned for Lot and his family.

[NOTE: Apparently, Lot not only had 2 virgin daughters, who were not married and were still living at home; but he must also have had three daughters that were married too (hence these son-in-laws); and if you do the math, Lot, his wife, his 2 virgin daughters, plus 3 married daughters and their husbands, all together that would have added up to 10 souls]

Lot: Get up, and get out of this place. The Eternal One is going to destroy the city!

But his sons-in-law thought he was kidding and wouldn’t budge.

15 At dawn, the heavenly messengers urged Lot to action again.

Messengers: Lot, you need to get up and take your wife and two daughters out of here. Otherwise you will be consumed along with the rest of the city.

16 But Lot kept procrastinating, so the two heavenly messengers grabbed him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand. They took them outside the city, a safe distance away, because the Eternal decided to show mercy to Lot and his family.

17 As they were leading them to safety, one of the messengers gave this instruction:

Messenger: Now run! Run for your lives! Don’t look back or stop anywhere in the plain. Head for the hills, or you’ll die along with everyone else.

Here are the ruins of Sodom and Gemorah today:

Here’s a warning that Peter gives,
in the New Testament, about the prevalent feelings and beliefs of the unbelievers, in the last days, just before Jesus returns:

2 Peter 3:1-9

The Voice (VOICE)

3 This is now, my dear friends, my second letter to you. In both of them, I have tried to inspire you to a sincere and pure way of thinking by reminding you of what you already know.

2 Remember the words spoken earlier by God’s holy prophets and the commandment that our Lord and Savior gave to you through your emissaries.
3 Above all, be sure to remember that in the last days mockers will come, following their own desires and taunting you, 4 saying, “So what happened to the promised second coming of Jesus?

For everything keeps going just the way it has since our ancestors fell asleep in death; since the beginning of creation, nothing’s changed.”

[These believers face persecution every day and eagerly await the day when Jesus will return and judge their enemies. But what is taking so long?]

5 When they make fun of you, it’s as if the scoffers are deliberately forgetting that long ago when God spoke the word, the heavens came into existence and the earth formed from water and by water.

6 The waters later flooded and destroyed that world. 7 By that same word, the heavens and earth we see now are being reserved for destruction by fire, preserved until the time comes for the godless on the day of judgment.

8 Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.

[Scoffers use the delay in His second coming to question if He is going to return at all.Peter responds by saying that God’s perspective on time is not like ours.

What seems long from a finite, human perspective is incredibly short from an eternal one.

Peter also describes how God is not slow, but patient. God wants to allow the time needed for as many sinners as possible to turn from their sinful ways.

Unlike some depictions of God as vindictive and enjoying inflicting punishment on people, the God we see here desires that ALL be saved and not destroyed.

If we had true spiritual insight, we would not be amazed by the severity of eternal judgment but by the intensity of God’s mercy.
Peter responds by saying that God’s perspective on time is not like ours.

What seems long from a finite, human perspective is incredibly short from an eternal one.

Peter also describes how God is not slow, but patient. God wants to allow the time needed for as many sinners as possible to turn from their sinful ways.

Unlike some depictions of God as vindictive and enjoying inflicting punishment on people, the God we see here desires that ALL be saved and not destroyed.

If we had true spiritual insight, we would not be amazed by the severity of eternal judgment but by the intensity of God’s mercy.]

9 Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise—slow is how some people want to characterize it—no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s.

The Bible admontages us, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, and to Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

So come along with us and join this grand Adventure, while the door is still open!

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God is the Potter and we are the clay…

What does it mean to “delight” yourself in the Lord?

Psalms 37:4
“DELIGHT yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”

(Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary)
Dictionary Definition

DELIGHT in Hebrew h6026. עָנַג ‘ânag̱: a primitive root meaning to be soft or pliable.

God is the Potter – We are the Clay

by Michael Bradley

One of the most powerful analogies in the Bible regarding our transformation and sanctification in the Lord has to be the analogy of the potter and the clay. The Bible says that God is the Potter and we are the clay.

It is up to God to mold, transform, and sanctify us as we journey through this earthly life.

Whenever God gives us a specific analogy in the Bible, this means that we have to seek into the revelation of that analogy in order to pick up what He is trying to tell us with the analogy.

If we do, then we will see exactly what God is trying to tell us in reference to the actual analogy itself.

In other words, we have to find exactly how pottery is made if we want to fully understand what God is trying to tell us in this most incredible analogy.

Here is the key verse from Scripture that will give us this specific revelation that God is the Potter and we are His clay:

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

How Actual Pottery Is Made & How It Fits Into God’s Sanctification With Us

I will break down the main steps on how pottery is actually made, along with the appropriate explanations as to how all of this perfectly fits into God’s actual sanctification with us under the specific captions below.

1. God Needs the Word in Us Before He Can Start the Sanctification Process
The first thing Pat will show you is the lump of clay that he will actually use to make the piece of pottery he is looking to make.

Before Pat can put this piece of clay on an electric wheel to start the actual molding process to make the kind of pottery he wants to make, he first has to add enough WATER into it in order to make it pliable and soft enough for him to be able to actually use it.

If he does not add enough water into the clay, the clay will remain too hard and rigid for him to be able to actually use.

When the water is added into the clay, it makes the clay soft and pliable. If the clay is not soft and pliable enough, the potter cannot begin to use it to make the pottery he wants to make.

The analogy for us to pick up on this first step is that the water used in this process represents the Word of God.

Here is a good verse giving us the actual revelation that the word “water” in the Bible is symbolic of the Word of God. In other words, the Word of God is like water to our souls.

Just like our physical bodies need water in order to be able to live and survive in this world, in the same way our souls need God’s Word flowing through us in order to feed us on the inside in our inner man.

” … that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:26)

What this is telling us is that God cannot even begin to mold and transform us in this life unless we are first willing do our part.

And our part has to be to get into His Word and try to read, understand, and assimilate what is in the Bible as best we can, with the Holy Spirit also helping us to understand what we are actually reading.

The Bible says that we are to grow in the knowledge of God, and one of the main ways that you will grow in the knowledge of God is to read from the one Book that will give you this direct knowledge – the Bible!
There is no other way into the knowledge of God other than through the Bible.

If you do not spend enough reasonable time in this life trying to read from the Bible and assimilate the actual knowledge that is in this Book as best you can, then God will have very little to work with in your own personal growth with Him, and you will see very little, if any actual spiritual growth in Him in this life.

The reason why so many of God’s saints are not spiritually growing in this life and being properly sanctified in the Holy Spirit is because they are not spending enough time trying to read and understand the Bible as best they can, and then see how the actual knowledge in this Book can be implemented into their daily lives.

The Holy Spirit needs something to work with in order to get this growth process kicked into full gear – and that something is knowledge – and that knowledge can only be gained by reading the Bible. There is no other way!

Just as the potter cannot use the clay unless there is enough water added into it – in the same way God cannot start the sanctification process in our lives unless we first start to get enough of the Word in us.

The Word cannot start to effectively work in you and your life unless you first start to attempt to get it into you in the first place.

So without question, the very first step you have to take, if you really want God to mold and shape you into the kind of person He really wants you to become in Him in this life, is to spend enough reasonable time in the Word – trying to understand, with the help of the Holy Spirit, all of the knowledge that is contained in it, and exactly how all of this knowledge can be incorporated into your personal life and walk with the Lord.

2. You Have to Be Properly “Centered” in Jesus Christ
After Pat adds enough water into the clay to make it soft and pliable so he can now start to work with it – the next thing he will do is put the piece of clay in the center of an electric wheel.

This wheel will then start to spin so he can then use his hands to start the molding and shaping process with the clay as it is actually spinning on the wheel.

However, if the piece of clay is not properly centered in the middle of the wheel, then he will not be able to work with it, and he will not be able to make the pottery he wants to make.

Pat said having the lump of clay perfectly centered in the middle of the electric wheel is the first step in being able to actually make a piece of pottery.

If he tries to make a piece of pottery with a lump of clay that is not properly centered in the middle of the wheel, it will eventually tear apart before he can finish the process.

In the same way that the clay has to be properly centered in the middle of the wheel before the potter can even begin to mold and shape it – we have to be properly centered in Jesus Christ before God can start to mold and shape us.

So what does it mean to be properly centered in Jesus?

I believe what it means to be properly centered in Jesus is that you have to be under a complete and full surrender of you and your entire life with Him where He is now in full control of your entire life.

Jesus has to become both Lord and Savior in your life, not just your Savior. Too many Christians do not have Jesus as the real Lord in their lives.

Again, this is all fully explained to you in our article titled, “The Full Surrender” in the Bible Basics section of our site.

In this article we give you all of the main verses from Scripture to show you exactly what this full surrender is all about, along with a good full surrender prayer that will actually get you into this realm with the Lord.

Bottom line – you have to enter into God’s perfect will for your life before He will start to guide both you and your life in the direction that He will want to take it in.
God will not fully guide you to your divine destiny in Him, and fully sanctify you to the degree that He would really like in this life unless you first come into this full surrender with Him.

It’s your all for His all.

Just like the potter cannot mold the piece of clay into the piece of pottery that he is trying to make unless it is perfectly centered in the middle of the wheel – in the same way the Lord cannot begin to properly work with us in this life unless we are perfectly centered in Him in this full surrender…

[Article link: https://www.bible-knowledge.com/potter-and-the-clay/%5D

———

In other words, God’s promise is to grant the desires of our heart ONLY to those who are centered in Christ and are soft and pliable in the hands of the Master Potter, who is God; and this can only happen as we immerse ourselves, like the Potter’s clay, in the water of the Word and Spirit.

(NOTE: in the Bible, WATER is used as a symbol for both God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, hence to immerse ourselves in water means to immerse ourselves in both]

Come join the Adventure!

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Course and heading…

Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet…

This was David’s prayer, as he was facing the frustrations and disappointments of his time; and was, in spite of all the negativity and disappointments, he is recognizing the importance of getting in sync and getting his head on right with God each day.

Let’s all take our course and heading first thing this morning and every morning.

[Please read the whole Psalm and make it your prayer today]

Psalm 25
The Passion Translation (TPT)

Don’t Fail Me, God!
King David’s poetic praise to God

1 Forever I will lift up my soul into your presence, Lord.
2 Be there for me, God, for I keep trusting in you.

Don’t allow my foes to gloat over me or
the shame of defeat to overtake me.

3 For how could anyone be disgraced
when he has entwined his heart with you?

But they will all be defeated and ashamed
when they harm the innocent.

4 Lord, direct me throughout my journey
so I can experience your plans for my life.

Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you.

5 Escort me along the way; take me by the hand and teach me.
For you are the God of my increasing salvation;
I have wrapped my heart into yours!

6–7 Forgive my failures as a young man,
and overlook the sins of my immaturity.
Give me grace, Lord! Always look at me
through your eyes of love—
your forgiving eyes of mercy and compassion.

When you think of me, see me as one you love and care for.

How good you are to me!
8 When people turn to you,
they discover how easy you are to please—so faithful and true!

Joyfully you teach them the proper path,
even when they go astray.

9 Keep showing the humble your path,
and lead them into the best decision.

Bring revelation-light that trains them in the truth.

10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who follow the ways of his covenant.

11 For the honor of your name, Lord,
never count my sins, and forgive them all—
lift their burden off of my life!

12 Who are they that live in the holy fear of God?
You will show them the right path to take.

13 Then prosperity and favor will be their portion,
and their descendants will inherit all that is good.

14 There’s a private place reserved for the lovers of God,
where they sit near him and receive
the revelation-secrets of his promises.

15 Rescue me, Lord, for you’re my only hero.

16 Sorrows fill my heart as I feel helpless, mistreated—
I’m all alone and in misery!
Come closer to me now, Lord, for I need your mercy.

17 Turn to me, for my problems seem to be going from bad to worse.
Only you can free me from all these troubles!

18 Until you lift this burden, the burden of all my sins,
my troubles and trials will be more than I can handle.

Can’t you feel my pain?
19 Vicious enemies hate me.
There are so many, Lord. Can’t you see?

20 Will you protect me from their power against me?
Let it never be said that I trusted you
and you didn’t come to my rescue.

21 Your perfection and faithfulness are my bodyguards,
for you are my hope and I trust in you as my only protection.

22 Zealously, God, we ask you
to come save Israel from all her troubles,
for you provide the ransom price for your people!

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Avoiding the Second Death…

What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?

Is Hell Really Eternal? Does The Bible Say?

by JACK WELLMAN

Is hell real or just a metaphor? Is it eternal and without end as the Scriptures seem to indicate?

What does the Bible say about whether hell is eternal or not?

The Old Testament uses a different word for hell than does the New Testament and that shouldn’t surprise us because the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew while the New Testament was written in Greek, although there is some Aramaic because that is what was commonly spoken in Judea at the time.

So what are the differences between what translators used for the word hell in the Bible?

Old Testament Hell – Sheol
The Old Testament uses the word “hell” 31 times and each time in the Hebrew it is Sheol.

While our English word hell seems to refer to a place of eternal torment, the Old Testament word for hell, Sheol, is not.

It simply refers to the grave or the abiding place of the dead. It is not particularly a place of eternal punishment for the wicked as hell is mentioned in the New Testament, however it does appear that Sheol was divided into two different sections; one for the departed wicked and one for the righteous dead (like Abraham for example).
Samuel was in the Sheol for the righteous when the wicked king Saul summoned him up from the grave (1 Samuel 28), but Sheol is also a place of torture for those who died outside of the faith in the Old Testament while awaiting a final resurrection for judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20.

Prior to Jesus’ atoning work at Calvary, He spoke about such a place in a parable about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16).

The rich man was in Sheol while Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom but both were dead.

Is the place of the deceased righteous in the Old Testament what was called “Paradise?”

It could well be. The Greek word of Paradise is “paradeisos” which refers to the Greeks’ idea of a Persian concept of a well-watered garden, park or hunting ground that is abundantly provisioned.

Paradise is what Israel believed was the destination for those who had faith in God and died in the faith.

From this parable that Jesus’ gave, it would appear that there are two places for the deceased after death.

One place is a place of torture while the other is like a Paradise.

It appears that after Jesus’ death on the cross, He made possible the way for those to cross over from Paradise into the presence of the Lord.

New Testament Hells – Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna
In the New Testament, there are three words translated “hell,” but that doesn’t mean that there are three different locations of hell or three different hells.

The words Hades and Tartarus are Greek, and Gehenna, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew words Gee and Hinnom, meaning “the valley of Hinnom.”

Let’s separate these to see what each means.

Hades
The Greek word for Hades occurs 11 times in the New Testament and refers to the grave and not necessarily a place of torment.

Hell is what the English used to refer to as a pit in the ground and that is likely why the King James translations uses the word hell.

Hades can refer to being in the state of death as well as we see Paul using it in:

2 Corinthians 15:55

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” and also in:

Revelation 6:8

“And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him.

And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth” and so we see that Hades can refer to a grave or death and this is what is referred to when Jesus is said to have conquered or defeated death.

One important point about Hades is that it can refer to the place of the departed wicked and being in torment as this was where the rich man was at when he saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham; so context is everything.

Tartarus
This Greek word for hell is used only one time and it refers to a place of judgment and torment. It is mentioned only in,

2 Peter 2:4,
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [Tartarus] and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment.”

This is not the place to enter into an exposition on why these angels were placed there and if they are still there today, but it may well be that these angels were so wicked or despicable that God chained them up to keep them from doing such evil that they would have caused enormous destruction in the world.

Are these the foul or unclean spirits that will be released in the tribulation (Revelation 16:13)?

We can not be certain of this.

Gehenna
This Greek word occurs only 12 times and is always translated as hell.

Gehenna was originally a Hebrew word and came from the “valley of Hinnom.”

This same Hebrew word is used in

Jeremiah 7:31

“and they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.”

This valley was for the purpose of burning all the idols that were an abomination to God and this valley that is called “Tophet” became synonymous with a place of such abomination that all kinds of things were burnt up in it; dead carcasses, filth, unburied bodies, detestable tings, and refuse.

The fire never went out because it was a garbage dump where every bit of trash and unclean things were being continually deposited and the fire never went out so as to burn everything up, thus Gehenna became symbolic of the place of an everlasting fire, a severe and eternal punishment.

This may be why Jesus referred to hell “Gehenna” as the place “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48) which seems to point to its eternity.

The fire in the Valley of Gehenna and the worms eating the decaying bodies or garbage would never cease.

Is Hell Eternal?
The words that are associated or written next to the different hells seem to indicate that it is forever.

The definitions that are given for the noun, “aionon “ and the adjective “aionios” are accepted as authoritative for the teaching of the word used in the New Testament “everlasting” when used with “punishment.“

The Greek word for everlasting or eternal is “aionios” and is always restricted to the use of time, in its adjective form, in three ways that essentially mean the same thing; “without end,” “without beginning,“ and “without end or beginning.”

This is used in Matthew 12:32 when Jesus said “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age [aionon ] or in the age [aionon ] to come.”

This verse then clearly indicates that a person’s forgiveness in this case “will be without end.”

That is, it means that it will be something that they will never, ever, and for ages without end, be forgiven.

The Greek term “aionas ton aionon” means and is literally translated as “ages of the ages.”

The word “eternal” is the same as everlasting and it means that it is without end when the context is about judgment.

It never indicates that it is a temporary state that will end because by definition “aionon ” or “aionios” is ALWAYS without end.

The same thing is mentioned by Mark (3:29) where Jesus says, “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”

We can not take the context of this in any other way than that of being “without end” because the other two possible renderings for “aionon ” is “without beginning” and “without end or beginning,” which makes the verse nonsensical, thus it can only mean “for ever” or what seems the best interpretation of the context and the Greek wording, “for ages without end.”

Some believe that eternal “punishment” is different; that eternal “punishing” in the sense that the wicked will be punished and then cease to exist, and that is why they claim the use of the word “punishment” is a one time event.

I return again to Mark 9:48 where Jesus said about hell “Gehenna” as the place “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48) which seems to have no ending.

The fire in the Valley of Gehenna and the worms eating the decaying bodies or garbage would never cease.

Jesus uses the words “does not” and “is not” which are indicative of a time that is unceasing.

The literal rendering can mean nothing else but what it implies. We see that by what Jesus was teaching in this setting in:

Mark 9:42-49
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

For everyone will be salted with fire.”

Conclusion
We clearly see that hell is forever or for “ages without end,” as Jesus warned all who would not believe in Him, in Matthew 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

If the righteous have eternal life which means that we will live forever, then we see that the same word for “eternal” means the same thing for punishment.

Jesus can not mean that we will have life without end but then the punishment will have an end.

That would be contradictory.

If this were so, then this would seem highly unfair as Hitler would be annihilated just the same as the nice lady next door who, even though she was not saved, never hurt anyone.

In what is the most widely recognized verse of all, even by those who are not Christian, John 3:16 says,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

but we must not take this verse out of context for the following verses say in verses 17-18,

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Is there any better reason for us to tell people of the coming judgment?

We must be about the Great Commission and why Jude wrote in verse 23 to “Save others by snatching them from the fire.”

[https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/is-hell-really-eternal-does-the-bible-say/]

In my view the bottom line, in all of this, is that to deny Jesus or to ignore Him will mean that you will spend eternity separated from Him (wherever that place is), and on the other hand to be saved (by accepting and obeying the Gospel message, by faith), means that you will spend eternity in heaven with Jesus.

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No weapon formed against you shall prosper…

No weapon formed against you shall prosper…”
—Isaiah 54:17

What does this mean — “NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU?”

Let’s take a look at various other translations of Isaiah 54:17:

Isaiah 54:17 NIV
…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.

Isaiah 54:17 KJV
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 54:17 NLT
But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!

Isaiah 54:17 HCSB
No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me.” This is the LORD’s declaration.

These are the promises of God and, as Christians – Covenant children of the Most High – we can take it to the bank and hang our very life on them!

In fact Christians have been doing just that for centuries.

Even though we may find ourselves under attack by the enemy, “El Turkey” himself – AKA Satan.

Our job, as Christians, is to KEEP the FAITH, stand our ground, by standing on the promises of God’s Word, and thereby keeping the “Turkey” under our feet, hanging our Faith on this one promise, that truly NO WEAPON formed against us will prosper!

Even though it could be that Satan today is attacking your health, your finances, or maybe he’s using lies or slander against you; maybe you are facing bankruptcy, a lawsuit, or some other legal issue.

Whatever the problem, God’s promise remains, it WILL NOT destroy you!

We have to learn the Rules of engagement in these situations, meaning we will have to learn endure, trusting GOD every step of the way.

We may suffer temporarily, but it won’t be forever.

Isaiah 54:17 references how God’s bride (his church) will not be destroyed.

The sovereign God who created everything also has the power to protect us.

He has promise that no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and so whatever weapon it is that is being raised against you today, GOD’s promise remains, that it WILL NOT destroy you!

The following chapter of Isaiah is directed at the “barren woman,” an euphemism that is used to describe the “House of Israel” – AKA the lost tribes of Israel.

This is GOD’s commitment to them, that even though they have strayed away and have broken covenant with GOD, nevertheless GOD is faithful and He will restore them.

[see Jeremiah 3:8-10; 16; Hosea 1]

This is GOD’s message to the “barron sister” of the House of Judah.

Isaiah 54

The Message (MSG)

Spread Out! Think Big!
54 1-6 “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.

Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth!

You’re ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women.” God says so!

“Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.

You’re going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.

You’re going to take over whole nations;
you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.

Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.

You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.

For your Maker is your bridegroom,
his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
known as God of the whole earth.

You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
and then left,” says your God.

7-8 Your Redeemer God says:

“I left you, but only for a moment.

Now, with enormous compassion, I’m bringing you back.

In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you—
but only for a moment.

It’s with lasting love
that I’m tenderly caring for you.

9-10 “This exile is just like the days of Noah for me:
I promised then that the waters of Noah
would never again flood the earth.

I’m promising now no more anger,
no more dressing you down.

For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”

The God who has compassion on you says so.

11-17 “Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied:
I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,

Lay your foundations with sapphires,
construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
and all your walls with precious stones.

All your children will have God for their teacher—
what a mentor for your children!

You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
far from terror—it won’t even come close!

If anyone attacks you,
don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
nothing will come of it.

I create the blacksmith
who fires up his forge
and makes a weapon designed to kill.

I also create the destroyer—
but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.

Any accuser who takes you to court
will be dismissed as a liar.

This is what God’s servants can expect.

I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.”
God’s Decree.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, God has you covered; but out of necessity we must learn how to petition Heaven; how to do spiritual warfare – and to stand our ground, in the face of whatever weapon that is being formed against us; always looking to GOD for resolution.

The following devotion kind of speaks to this:

The Spirit-Filled Believer

ENEMIES AND LIARS

Written by Dick Mills

“Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.”
(Deut. 33:29)

He was in tears and visibly shaken by his circumstances. He was the proprietor of a local doughnut shop and had been doing well until trouble came his way.

An unscrupulous person came into his store and staged a phony accidental fall. Right behind the “injured party” was a person with a camera to take a picture of the “accident.”

Behind that person was another man ready to take down the names of convenient “witnesses.” A lawsuit for an exorbitant sum of money was then filed by the “victim” who had staged the whole scenario.

This dear brother told me, “Dick, I could lose it all. My insurance policy for this type of accident is minimal at best. If this fellow wins this case, I could lose everything I own.”

I stood in agreement with the shopkeeper, praying with him that the Lord would work a miracle of deliverance.

How I appreciate the faithfulness of the Lord in these situations. I was not familiar with Deuteronomy 33:29, but the Holy Spirit quickened it to me: “All your enemies shall be found as liars unto you.”

The next day, in his private chambers, the judge in charge of the case began to read over the records. The trial was to start in one hour.

Suddenly the magistrate was heard to make this statement in disgust: “This is a travesty of justice. The plaintiff is obviously a pathological liar. I refuse to hear this case. I am throwing it out of court.”

An overnight fulfillment of a word from the Lord! Case dismissed! Another enemy found as a liar!

Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Daily Devotional by Dick Mills

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We are NEVER alone…

God’s promise is that He will NEVER abandon us; but the question is, are we walking with Jesus, in intimate fellowship, or are we following Him from afar?

Matthew 28:16-20

The Message (MSG)

16-17 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion.

The moment they saw Him they worshiped Him. SOME, THOUGH, HELD BACK, NOT SURE ABOUT WORSHIP, ABOUT RISKING THEMSELVES TOTALLY.

18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave His charge:

“God authorized and commanded Me to commission you:

Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Then instruct them in the practice of ALL I have commanded you.

I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

Question: ARE we fulfilling God’s command, or are we holding back?

Are we worried about what others may think, OR are we risking ourselves totally, offering up our life, as Christ did for us (see Romans 12:1-2)?

Here’s what the Bible says,

“If someone claims, ‘I know Him well!’ but doesn’t keep His commandments, he’s obviously a liar.

His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s Word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love.

This is the ONLY way to be sure we’re walking in GOD and with Him. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.”
(see 1 John 2:6)

There is an ancient Jewish proverb that says,

“Follow the rabbi, drink in his words, and be covered with the dust of his feet.”

Back in Jesus’ day, students of a rabbi would follow him around and in order to be sure they didn’t miss anything important, that the rabbi said, they’d have to stick close behind him… in other words, one would end up covered in his dust for having stayed so close to the rabbi while walking along the roads of the Holy Land.

We’ve all probably had seasons where we, as the Bible says of Peter – before denying Jesus three times – that he was following Jesus from a far (see Luke 22:54).

Hopefully we also have had seasons where we, as the above Jewish proverb says, were we’ve been following so close that we’ve been covered in His dust.

In other words, we are walking in His steps, in close fellowship (24/7 365), right behind Him, identifying with Him totally and fulfilling His mission.

This is what it means to be a disciple – you’re a follower of Christ.

In another place, Jesus asked the question, why do you call Me Lord and yet don’t do the things I’m telling you to do (see Luke 6:45-49)?

Don’t be double-minded and wishy-washy when it comes to your faith in Jesus.

If we truly love Jesus, He says we show it by how we keep His Word and obey His Commandments, and then He says, “the Father and I will come and make our abode with you” (see John 14:15; 23)

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