There’s joy in the presence of God as we fellowship with Him…

God inhabits the Praises of His people (Ps 22:3)…

“Only in acts of worship and praise can a person learn to believe in the goodness and the greatness of God. God wants us to praise Him, not because He needs or craves, in any sense, our flattery. But because He knows that praise creates joy and thankfulness.”
— CS Lewis

Praise is not something that we do for God. Nor is it something that we do in order to get God’s approval so that He will grant our desires.

When we praise God, we are changed—even if our circumstances are not.

While God is present everywhere, all the time, He is present in a special way when His people praise Him.

The Christian walk is all about our committing ourselves totally and completely to Jesus and keeping our focus on Him each and every day.

Read Psalm 63

David’s Passion for God (63:1-5)…

Hiding from his enemies in the barren wilderness of Judah, David was intensely lonely.

He longed for a friend he could trust to ease his loneliness.

No wonder he cried out, “O God, you are my God; . . . My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”

If you are lonely or thirsty for something lasting in your life, remember David’s prayer. God alone can satisfy our deepest longings.

In these verses, David affirms his soul’s consuming passion to behold God.

David began by declaring, O God, you are my God. He identified God as “my God,” reflecting the intimate relationship he had with the Lord.

More than just believing in the existence of God, and more than just knowing about God, David actually knew him personally as “my God.”

Therefore, David stated, Earnestly I seek you, revealing his longing to pursue the knowledge of God by taking the initiative.

Finding himself in a barren wilderness, a dry and weary land where there is no water, David felt more than a physical thirst for water.

He experienced an intense inner longing for God:

“My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you.”

He knew that he must maintain a close, vibrant walk with God to be sustained, strengthened, and satisfied.

His soul could no more live without God than his body could live without water (cp. Pss. 42:1-2; 84:2; 143:6; Matt. 5:6; John 7:37).

David’s passionate longing for God was intensified because of a past encounter he had back in Jerusalem in the sanctuary.

In this experience he beheld God in His power and glory.

Perhaps this was similar to Isaiah’s vision of God’s holiness (Isa. 6:1-8).

This high view of God, leading to a deeper knowledge of God, had gripped David’s soul at a time before his enemies drove him into the wilderness.

It was David’s experience of God’s glory in his life that led him to seek God so passionately.

He had beheld the great King of the universe, exalted in absolute power, undiminished in blazing glory, awesome and transcendent.

David’s Praise for God (63:3-5)…

David declares his commitment to praise God in whom his soul delights.

Having encountered God so dramatically, David was moved to praise Him. My lips will glorify you, he vowed, because your love is better than life.

This steadfast love by which God had committed Himself to David was more valuable to him than life itself.

He knew that God was not only with him but for him through thick and thin, in good times and bad times, both on and off the throne, in the royal court as well as in the rugged wilderness.

Because of God’s unconditional love, David pledged, I will praise you as long as I live.

God’s steadfast love for David prompted the same kind of love in David for God.

In the midst of this wilderness experience, his lips were active in praising God.

In your name I will lift up my hands, he declared, assuming a humble posture in prayer.

He was ready to receive every good gift through personal trust in God alone.

In God, David declared, my soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods.

He used the metaphor of a royal banquet prepared with the choicest of foods.

David probably remembered the stately feasts he enjoyed as Israel’s king.

With this regal background, he reminded his own heart that only God could satisfy the true yearnings of his soul (John 4:13-14; 6:35).

As a result, David stated in jubilation, With singing lips my mouth will praise you.

David’s Pursuit of God (63:6-8)…

David remembers how his mind was consumed with thoughts of God.

On my bed I remember you, David declared, recalling what he had seen “in the sanctuary” (v. 2).

He thought of God through the watches of the night.

When David awoke in the night, his first and best thought was about God.

He was a man with a mind that sought the Lord.

No wonder he had a God-satisfied soul.

David explained why he was so preoccupied with God: Because you are my help.

Because of this, he was singing in the shadow of God’s wings.

David was surely baking under the hot sun of the wilderness.

He found occasional relief in the shade that brought comfort and peace.

This cooling shade was precisely what God was to his troubled soul.

Under the fiery heat of trials, he found relief in the shadow of God’s presence.

This divine shadow, able to shield him from all fear and anxiety, is compared to the way a mother bird shelters her young beneath her wings.

God was David’s strength and encouragement in this scorching trial.

David stated that his soul was clinging to God with a strong grasp of faith.

But at the same time, God’s right hand was holding him up.

Who was holding whom? While David was clinging to God, God was upholding him.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
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Tuesday, Oct 4
Faithit Daily Devotional

SING NOW, SING FOREVER!

“For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”
— Psalm 63:7

Oftentimes, we think only of singing when we’re happy and times are good, but singing bringing strength for trial comes out in Acts 16.

Paul and Silas are unjustly imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel, and what do they do while they’re in prison? Sing! (Acts 16:25)

Even in suffering, SING!

As you study Scripture on this point you’ll notice that sometimes singing gives birth to joy and sometimes joy gives birth to singing.

But persistently in Scripture, joy and singing are bound together.

You can’t study one of those two biblical themes without encountering the other.

If you struggle for joy – SING!

If you are joyful – SING!

In God’s perfect design and in His perfect understanding of the human condition He has bound joy and singing together for His people.

Singing has such a unique way of bringing your heart, soul, mind, and strength together to focus entirely and completely on God.

In an age of distraction, singing grabs the attention of all our senses and focuses us on God.

In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages singing before the Lamb,

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Eternity awaits.

Will you on that day be one of the great multitude that no one could number, singing the song of the Lamb, singing His praises?

I hope you’ll be there, singing the song of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER
Dear God, please help me to turn to You with a song in my heart throughout the day. In Jesus’ name. Amen .
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Thanks to Calvary, Satan is already a defeated foe…

God’s preparation for Ministry, for all of us, comes by way of the cross, which Jesus tells us we are to pick up daily and follow Him (Mat 16:24-26)…

This necessitates are putting Christ first and living for Him each and every day!

Galatians 2:20-21
The Message

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work.

So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man.

Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it.

I identified myself completely with him.

Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God.

Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

21 Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God?

I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace.

If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Read Luke 4

The Backstory:

PREPARATION OF THE SON OF MAN TO MINISTER (3:1—4:30)

Preparation by His Forerunner (3:1–20)

Luke starts out in chapter 3 identifying the year that John began to preach by naming the political and religious leaders who were then in power—one emperor (Caesar), one governor, three with the title of tetrarch, and two high priests.

The political rulers mentioned imply the iron grip with which the nation of Israel was held in subjugation.

The fact that there were two high priests in Israel indicates that the nation was in disorder religiously as well as politically.

Though these were great men in the world’s estimation, they were wicked, unscrupulous men in God’s eyes.

Therefore when He wanted to speak to men, He by-passed the palace and the synagogue and sent His message to John the son of Zacharias, out in the wilderness.

John immediately traveled to all the region around the Jordan River, probably near Jericho.

There he called upon the nation of Israel to repent of its sins in order to receive forgiveness, and thus be prepared for the coming of the Messiah.

He also called upon the people to be baptized as an outward sign that they had truly repented.

John was a true prophet, an embodied conscience, crying out against sin, and calling for spiritual renewal.

His ministry was thus in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3–5.

He was a voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Spiritually speaking, Israel was a wilderness at this time.

As a nation, it was arid and cheerless, bringing forth no fruit for God. In order to be ready for the coming of the Lord, the people had to undergo a moral change.

When a king was going to make a royal visit in those days, elaborate preparations were made to smooth the highways and to make his approach as direct as possible.

This is what John called upon the people to do, only it was not a matter of repairing literal Roads, but of preparing their own hearts to receive Him.
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In Luke 4, we’re told about the Savior’s Ministry of Kingdom Good News: about Testing, Rejection, and Authority.

“It little matters where we are if we can pray; but prayer is never more real and acceptable than when it rises out of the worst places.

Deep places beget deep devotion.

Depths of earnestness are stirred by depths of tribulation.

Diamonds sparkle most amid the darkness.

He that prays in the depth will not sink out of his depth.

The one that cries out of the depths shall soon sing in the heights.”
— Charles Haddon Spurgeon

After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness.

There Satan tempted Him to reject the Father’s plan for His ministry.

Triumphing over Satan’s temptations, Jesus returned to Galilee, where His own friends rejected Him.

Moving on to Capernaum, Jesus began to give evidence of His unique authority through signs and wonders.

Jesus passed earthly testing by the devil, and ministry rejection by hometown people, before He entered the ministry of kingdom good news.

Testing people who minister for Him is God’s way of preparing them to minister.

He wants to give us experience in relying on Scripture and experiencing Him rather than on human qualifications, methods, and abilities.

Chapter 4 starts out when John the Baptist disappears and Jesus takes center stage.

The One coming to baptize with the Spirit and with fire (3:16), and acknowledged by the dove-appearing Spirit (3:22), now followed the Spirit into ministry.

His first stop was the desert, a place of isolation and desolation, outside the urban life of the city, outside the cultivated life of the farm country.

It was on the stony, barren slopes of the Judean mountains toward the Dead Sea and lower Jordan River valley.

Here robbers and revolutionaries gathered.

Civilized people avoided the wilderness. But here Jesus followed the Spirit in faith.

The stay proved long and arduous—forty days without family, friends, fellowship, or food.

Only one other person ventured into the desert with Jesus: the devil,

Mr. Temptation himself. Jesus faced the slandering, tempting adversary for over a month with no physical resources.

He had to depend on spiritual strength.

Jesus did not fast because this was a religious requirement.

Jesus fasted to devote full time to God’s business and God’s presence rather than devote time to satisfying His personal needs.

Ministry and devotion took top priority over physical hunger and self-satisfaction.

Later, Jesus would teach people to make fasting an intensely personal relationship with God, hiding all signs of it from the outside world (Matt. 6:17).

Facing the devil is certainly the time to fast, to face God as intensely as possible at the same time the devil faces you.

So as Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness for disobeying God, so Jesus stayed forty days in the wilderness in complete obedience to God.

The devil, who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden, also tempted Jesus in the wilderness.

Satan is a real being—a created but rebellious angelic being—and not a symbol or an idea.

He constantly fights against God and those who follow and obey God.

Jesus was a prime target for the devil’s temptations.

Satan had succeeded with Adam and Eve, and he hoped to succeed with Jesus as well.

Although Satan’s ultimate defeat is assured (Revelation 20:7-10), he is not to be trifled with; he still wields tremendous power on earth and will do so until the Day of Judgment, when Jesus will come again to set up his eternal Kingdom.

With Jesus’ help, stand firmly against him (see Ephesians 6:10-18).

Sometimes we feel that if the Holy Spirit leads us, it will always be “beside peaceful streams” (Psalm 23:2).

But that is not necessarily true. He led Jesus into the wilderness for a long and difficult time of testing, and he may also lead us into difficult situations.

When facing trials, first make sure you haven’t brought them on yourself through sin or unwise choices.

If you find no sin to confess or unwise behavior to change, then ask God to strengthen you for your test.

Finally, be careful to follow faithfully wherever the Holy Spirit leads.
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Thanks to Jesus’ propitious sacrifice and shed blood, on Calvary’s Cross, Satan is already a defeated foe.

The greatest battle that ever took place on this earth is not written about in any of the world’s history-books.

It was on Calvary, when Jesus through His death defeated Satan, the prince of this world.

One verse that you should never forget in your whole life is Hebrews 2:14,15.

I am sure Satan would not like you to know this verse. No one likes to hear about his own defeat or failure, and Satan is no exception.

Here is the verse:
“Since then the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He (Jesus) Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death (His death on Calvary’s cross), He might destroy him who had the power of death that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

When Jesus died He made the devil powerless. Why?

So that we might be forever free of Satan and the bondage of fear that he had put on us throughout our lifetime.

There are many types of fears that people in the world have – fear of sickness, fear of poverty, fear of failure, fear of people, fear of the future etc.,

The greatest of all fears however is the fear of death.

Every other fear is inferior to the fear of death. The fear of death leads on to the fear of what will happen after death.

The Bible teaches very clearly that those who live in sin will finally go to hell – the place that God has reserved for those who do not repent.

The devil also will spend eternity in the lake of fire, along with those whom he deceived and led into sin on this earth.

Jesus came to the earth to save us from that eternal hell, by taking the punishment from our sins. He also destroyed Satan’s power over us so that he can never harm us again.

The Bible tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).

When we are born-again, we become a new creation in Christ, old things are passed away and behold all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17).

To those who are born-again and know who they are in Christ, Satan now becomes a toothless tiger!

Colossians 2:11-15
New King James Version

11 In Him (Jesus) you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.

And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
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Satan was permanently defeated at the Cross by Jesus, the crucifixion opened the door for all who believe to be forgiven of their sins and go to heaven.

Satan’s worst day is yet to come where he himself will be thrown into the lake of his own fire (Revelations 20:10)

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
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July 6, 2021
Love Worth Finding Ministries
Adrian Rogers

Spiritual Journey

HOW JESUS DEFEATED SATAN

“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil.

And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry… And Jesus answered and said to him,

“Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
— Luke 4:1-2, 8


Ponder This
Jesus defeated Satan, but how?

He did not defeat Satan as God, though He was God.

He defeated Satan as a man should defeat Satan—as a man.

Jesus in the wilderness temptation did not pull rank on us.

He used the two weapons that were available to Adam in the garden of Eden and the two weapons that are available to us today: the Spirit of God and the Word of God.

The Bible says that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power; He went about doing good.

He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness. The Holy Spirit of God was upon Him and when Satan came to tempt Him, Jesus unsheathed the Word of God and ran Satan through with the sword.

Jesus defeated Satan by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, the two weapons given to man by God.

Adam had those same weapons, but where the first Adam fell in a garden, the second Adam won in a wilderness.

Practice This
Spend time in the Word and prayer today as a practical means of preparing for the attacks of Satan.
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Moving Mountains through our faith in Jesus and the power of Prayer…

“The prayers of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16)…

The Bible teaches us to keep those lines of communication open with God 24/7 365 (1 Thes 5:17).

Paul also instructs us to…

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere”
— Ephesians 6:18

Prayer is not mentioned as a part of the armor; but we would not be overrating its importance if we say that it is the atmosphere in which the soldier must live and breathe.

It is the spirit in which he must don the armor and face the foe.

Prayer should be continual, not sporadic; a habit, not an isolated act.

Then too the soldier should use all kinds of prayer: public and private; deliberate and spontaneous; supplication and intercession; confession and humiliation; praise and thanksgiving.

And prayer should be in the Spirit, that is, inspired and led by Him, including the daily use of our spiritual prayer language, which the Bible tells us will edify us and build up our most holy faith (read Rom 8:26-27, 1 Cor 14:2-5 and Jude 1:20).

Formal prayers recited merely by rote (without giving thought to their meaning)—of what value are they in combat against the hosts of hell?

We are to WATCH and PRAY… remaining vigilant in our prayers, as we are watchful, meaning (like Gideon’s 300 – Judges 7), being aware of the enemy’s devices, movements and strategies.

When we pray for others, we are essentially asking God to bless them and help them.

We can pray for anyone we know- our friends, family members, co-workers, or even strangers.

Prayer is one of the most powerful things we can do to connect with God and His will for our lives.

When we pray for others, we are asking God to intervene on their behalf. We are bringing their needs before the throne of grace and asking for His help.

Praying for others is not only a selfless act, but it is also one that can have a profound impact on our own lives.

As we pray for the needs of others, we open our hearts to God’s love and compassion.

We become more aware of the needs of those around us, and we are better able to connect with them on a deeper level.

When we pray for others, it also allows us to experience the joy that comes from seeing someone else receive God’s blessings.

It is a wonderful feeling to know that we have played a part in someone else’s healing or salvation.
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Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…

Ephesians 5:21—6:24

To fight effectively in their spiritual battle, the Ephesians must know Christ, obey His standards, and be prepared to fight.

Each Christian has a responsibility to love, honor, and respect.

If faithful to these duties, Christians will find themselves united against the spiritual power of evil.

We are urged to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

Well we should, for they are organized.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Jesus spoke of the “gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18 KJV), a phrase that suggests the “council of hell.”

Our enemy has a complex and conniving spiritual army.

Dismiss any image of a red-suited Satan with pitchfork and pointy tail.

The devil is a strong devil. . . . For a toothless ol’ varmint, Satan sure has some bite!

He spooks our work, disrupts our activities, and leaves us thinking twice about where we step.

Which we need to do.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Alertness is needed. Panic is not.

The serpent still wiggles and intimidates, but he has no poison.

He is defeated, and he knows it! “He knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Believe it. Trust the work of your Savior.

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

In the meantime, the best he can do is squirm.
(From Next Door Savior by Max Lucado)

Suffice it to say, we are in a spiritual battle against the powers of the evil world.

Read about each piece of God’s armor as recorded in Ephesians 6, then mentally “put on” each piece of armor.

Then think about how that piece will help you in your battle.

When we pray we’re entering a spiritual zone. Our prayers penetrate a spiritual zone. We are communicating through the air over hostile territory.

The Bible teaches us the Rules of Engagement in spiritual warfare, and how we are to conduct such warfare, and it most definitely is NOT through our carnal minds, nor through our flesh.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6
New King James Version

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

It’s through our time alone with God and through our daily devotional prayers and communion with Him that we are actually putting on the mind of Christ and are getting our battle instructions.

When we pray we’re setting ourselves in direct opposition to the demonic activity in this world.
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Wednesday, Sept 28
Faithit Devotionals

“I’M PRAYING FOR YOU”
by Kelsey Straeter

It’s one of the most common phrases Christians blurt out in response to a friend or family member’s hardships—but how often do we actually follow through?

“I’m praying for you” has almost become a colloquial cliché as commonplace as the “How are you?” we say to passing colleagues in the hallway and the “I’m sorry for your loss” we offer to hurting friends at a funeral.

The difference, however, is that the latter two phrases do not require action, whereas “I’m praying for you” does.

So often, I believe we fail to follow up on this promise to pray because we are not equipped with the knowledge of how we are supposed to pray.

As believers who desire to live with intention and purpose, it’s important that we learn how to pray well, both for our own personal good and on behalf of our fellow brothers and sisters.

So who better to look to as an example than our own Lord and Savior Jesus, who set the gold standard for praying to God boldly, believingly, and fervently in the face of a wide array of afflictions.

Here are 11 Bible verses that reflect on how our Savior prayed and teach us how God commanded us to pray both in our daily walks and in response to hardship:

1.) Matthew 6:9-13
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”

2.) Mark 1:35
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

3.) Philippians 4:3-7
“Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all, for the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

4.) Romans 12:12
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

5.) Luke 22:42
“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ’Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me: yet not my will, but yours be done.’”

6.) 1 John 5:14
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

7.) James 1:6
“Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves.”

8.) 2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

9.) Ephesians 6:18
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

10.) Mark 11:24
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

11.) Matthew 6:7
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
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If you are a covenant child of God, the fact is wherever you go, God is always out in front…

God’s Word teaches us how to be prepared for the storms of life…

God Is All-Present

In Psalms 139:7, David is overcome that God is always with him.

Not only is God omniscient; He is omnipresent as well.

He is in all places at one and the same time.

The Bible teaches that God is a Person who is separate and distinct from His creation.

Is there any place where man can evade the Holy Spirit of God?

Is there any place where he can hide from the presence of the Lord?

Suppose man should ascend into heaven, would he elude God there?

Of course not; heaven is the throne of God (Matt. 5:34).

Even if he made his bed in Sheol, the disembodied state, he would find the Lord there as well.

The fact that God is omnipresent means He is present everywhere.

Because of this, you can never escape from His Spirit.

This is good news to those who know and love God, because no matter what we do or where we go, we can never be far from God’s guiding and comforting presence (see Romans 8:35-39).

How-be-it, nevertheless the Lord requires Obedience of His children, because when push comes to shove in your life, as it surely will, only those who have taken the time to build their faith on the solid rock of Jesus Christ will find that their house will stand.

Luke 6:46-49
New King James Version

Build on the Rock
46 Jesus speaking: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:

48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.

And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

THE PARABLE OF THE TWO BUILDERS

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
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Wednesday, Sept 21
The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young

MORNING IS COMING

“Where can I go from Your Spirit, or where can I flee from your presence?” — Psalm 139:7

When a storm hits, it will reveal whether your life is built on a solid foundation or on sand.

Storms give us an opportunity to honor God in a better way than at any other time.

We don’t invite storms, but we can face them because we know that God’s grace will be sufficient.

One night, a little girl became frightened because a terrible storm with lightning and strong winds was keeping her awake.

The next morning, at the breakfast table, she asked her father, “Where was God last night in the middle of that storm?”

Before her dad could answer her, she said, “I think I know. I think He was busy making a morning.”

In the worst of life’s storms, we too can be confident that God is making a morning.
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God says fear not, for I am with you wherever you go (read Isa 43:1-7)…

God has not given us a spirit of fear…

Like the three Hebrew children in Daniel – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – God never promised that they wouldn’t go through the fire, but He did meet them in the midst of it.

Where does Fear come from?

The Bible says,

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.” (2 Tim 1:7)

God has equipped every believer to be useful and productive in Christian living, and He tells us also that we are more than conquerors when we abide in Him (Rom 8:37).

His Spirit enables us in whatever task God gives, but we must fulfill our responsibility by continually granting His Spirit freedom of expression through us.

In the above verse, Paul is telling Timothy that the spirit of fear does not come from God!

Fear is a tool or weapon which the enemy uses to either paralyze us, or cause us to flee in the opposite direction from where God is leading us.

The Bible teaches us that we NEVER should run away from our fears or avoid them, but we are to face them head on, in the power that Jesus Christ gives us.

A good friend of mine had this quote taped on his refrigerator door, it’s a line from an old John Wayne movie, “In Harm’s Way” (1965), and it says:

“All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else!”

I think that kind of sums it up very succinctly. Fear comes as a part of life, but the key point is how do we react to it?

Never let your fears control you, because if you give place to fears in your Life, you’re giving place to the devil.

The Bible teaches us how to face our fears and not run from them.

Paul himself was walking his talk when he was riding this letter to Timothy.

Facing martyrdom himself, Paul takes time out to remind Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fear or cowardice.

There is no time for fearfulness or timidity.

But God has given us a spirit of POWER.

Unlimited strength is at our disposal.

Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, the believer can serve valiantly, endure patiently, suffer triumphantly, and, if need be, die gloriously.

God has also given us a spirit of LOVE.

It is our love for God that casts out fear and makes us willing to give ourselves for Christ, whatever the cost may be.

It is our love for our fellow men that makes us willing to endure all kinds of persecutions and repay them with kindness.

Finally, God has given us a spirit of a SOUND MIND, or discipline.

The words a sound mind do not completely convey the thought.

What this verse is teaching is that God has given us a spirit of self-control or self-mastery.

We are to use discretion and not to act emotionally, rashly, hastily, or foolishly.

No matter how adverse our circumstances, we should maintain balanced judgment and act soberly.

This is my go to scripture when everything around me is going to hell in a handbasket:

Psalm 46

God the Refuge of His People and Conqueror of the Nations
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM (that I AM is) God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
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Monday, Sept 19
Worthy Brief

DON’T BE SHAKEN!

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
— 2 Timothy 1:7

A major earthquake struck Taiwan over the weekend, which triggered a tsunami warning as far away as Japan.

This reminded me of when we first moved to Israel in 2003.

I was in my Hebrew class downtown, and my wife and one-month-old baby were alone in our Jerusalem apartment.

My wife called me immediately, and this is what she told me; I’ll never forget it.

She was sitting in our bedroom with our 1-month-old in her arms when out of nowhere came a sudden loud roaring sound, followed by a shaking of all four walls and all the contents within banging back and forth against them rapidly and with great force.

So many things were going through her mind at that moment as she tried to remember what you’re supposed to do in a scenario like this.

Are you supposed to get under the bed? Or maybe get outside?

Yeah, outside!

But it would be three flights of steps to get outside, and with a newborn baby in her arms — how?!

She just froze in fright, thinking about what could happen next.

But in the midst of it all, Riv looked down at Elianna in her arms.

Would you believe she was perfectly content — happy, smiling, even drifting off to sleep as the whole earth shook all around her. Wow.

Each of us can take a lesson from Elianna.

Even in the midst of all the chaos, distress, or crises beyond our control, we must rest, trusting that we’re safe in the loving arms of the Father.

We shouldn’t have a care in the world.

Is your world being shaken right now?

Know that God is holding you today. No matter what you’re facing, you can trust Him to cover you. Just lay back and enjoy the ride!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, & Obadiah
Baltimore, Maryland
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We must abide in Christ…

The emphasis here is our operating IN and THROUGH Christ, and our totally abiding in Him 24/7 365

Christ in you, is the hope of glory…

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people to empower them for service, but then He would leave again.

New Testament believers have a different experience, as the Holy Spirit indwells us permanently.

The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit given to New Testament believers was a “mystery” to the Old Testament saints.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, never to leave (John 14:16–17; 16:7).

Jesus told His disciples, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father . . . and I am in you” (John 14:20).

The Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

In other words, the Spirit’s presence in our hearts GUARANTEES our ultimate salvation.

Though we are in this world, we are not of it (John 17:16).

God will continue to work in us until He is finished perfecting us (see Philippians 1:6).

This forward-looking guarantee of perfection is what is meant by “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

The J. B. Phillips translation of Colossians 1:27 puts it this way:

“The secret is simply this: Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with Him the hope of all glorious things to come.”

The hope of glory is the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore us and all creation (see Romans 8:19–21 and 1 Peter 5:10).

This hope is not a wishful thought, but the confident, expectant, joyful knowledge that we are being changed by God and will one day see Christ face to face, having been conformed to His image (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

Christ’s presence in us is the hope of glory, and this truth is full of “glorious riches.”

Our once dead, darkened spirits are made alive.

Christ is in our hearts, and we know that there is life beyond this earthly existence—a life that will be glorious beyond all imagination.

In the meantime, the ministry is all about the hard work of bringing all believers to maturity in Christ.

The Bible even says of Jesus, that He learned obedience through the things He suffered (Heb 5:8).

James 1:2-8

Profiting from Trials
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

1 Peter 1:3-9
The Message

A New Life
3-5 What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!

God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.

The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

6-7 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.

When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

8-9 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing.

Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

The key is to hang in there and don’t give up… QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION, you never ever quit!

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

When you feel beaten down, when you’re too tired to keep going, remember we are promised the crown of life. Our reward in heaven is worth the trials we face on earth — the same way the exhilaration of completing your first marathon is worth the pain of training and running it.

No matter how hard we pray, at times it can feel like God is taking an eternity to show up and do something about our circumstances. In those moments, Satan wants to use our impatience to convince us to doubt God’s faithfulness.

God reminds us through the Bible that He is with us and He has not forgotten us.

4 Verses When Hard Times Hit

1. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

When we experience affliction — whether it’s the death of a family member, the pain of divorce, or the heartbreak of a disobedient child — the author of Romans tells us to be patient. Pray earnestly. God can work anything out for our good and His glory.

2. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

It’s not easy to keep doing the right thing when it feels like you’re getting nothing in return. The Bible promises if we will persevere, we will see a return on our investment. Our words and actions can make an eternal impact on the people around us. We might not know the legacy we left on this side of eternity, but we can trust that Jesus will bless our hard work.

3. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

When you feel beaten down, when you’re too tired to keep going, remember we are promised the crown of life. Our reward in heaven is worth the trials we face on earth — the same way the exhilaration of completing your first marathon is worth the pain of training and running it.

4. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7).

God always hears us when we call on Him.

He doesn’t always give us what we want, but He always gives us what is best for us.

If we trust the Lord, even when we don’t understand, we can begin to see where the Lord is working in our lives, whether it’s experiencing His faithfulness through a financial need or His goodness through our Christian friendships that show us support and encouragement.

When we ask for help and then seek God, He will open our eyes to experience Him in new ways that bring us closer to Him.

God’s understanding is far greater than ours and we have to trust that His timing is perfect.

We serve a mighty God who will never abandon us and who wants the best for our lives.

It’s not always easy to wait in a world of instant gratification.

But if we stop limiting God to our own deadlines, demands, and desires, we can experience a calmness amidst the chaos in our lives.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
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Sunday, Sept 18
God Calling
by Two Listeners

DWELL THERE

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
— Psalm 91:1

Hidden in a sure place, known only to God and you.

So secret that no power on Earth can even find it.

But, My beloved children, you must dwell therein.

No fitful visit, a real abiding.

Make it your home. Your dwelling-place.

Over that home shall My Shadow rest, to make it doubly safe, doubly secret.

Like brooding mother-bird wings that Shadow rests. How safe, how sure, you must feel there.

When fears assail you and cares trouble you, it is because you have ventured out of that protecting Shadow.

Then the one, the only thing to do is to creep back into shelter again. So rest.
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Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25
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In the words of a song by Bob Dylan, he said “everyone has to serve somebody,” so the question for every Christian should be who are you really serving?…

The importance of our seeking after the Lord with ALL of our Heart…

Give me Jesus

There are three main themes that you will find repeated and underscored over and over again in the Bible, and that is the importance of our remaining attached to the Father, being obedient to Him and bearing fruit.

The Bible tells us that God has a plan, a purpose and a destiny for each one of us, in order that this may happen.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Ephesians 1:3-6

3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

We each are expected to bear fruit, in Jesus’ name.

Jesus tells us in John 15:1-8 (The Voice),

1 Jesus: I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard.

2 My Father examines every branch in Me and cuts away those who do not bear fruit.

He leaves those bearing fruit and carefully prunes them so that they will bear more fruit;

3 already you are clean because you have heard My voice.

4 Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.

A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.

5 I am the vine, and you are the branches.

If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit.

Without Me, you will accomplish nothing.

6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up and is later gathered to be tossed into the fire to burn.

7 If you abide in Me and My voice abides in you, anything you ask will come to pass for you.

8 Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father.
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The first theme for us to make note of is the extreme importance that each and every Christian enter into a FULL SURRENDER with the Lord so that He can then enter them into His perfect plan and destiny for their lives.

The second main theme that you will see repeated over and over again is the extreme importance that each and every Christian seek to establish a good, close, intimate, personal relationship with the Lord.

When you really stop and think about the big picture and what is really most important in this life, and then study the Bible to see where all of our priorities should be set at in this life – there is one special message and revelation that comes jumping off all the pages of the Bible.

This one special message and revelation is that God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit are looking to establish and make a direct, one-on-one, intimate, personal relationship with each person He has created.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was slain from the foundation of the Earth (Rev 13:8).

This means that God knew beforehand that Adam and Eve were going to blow it in the Garden of Eden.

God knew beforehand that every man and woman that would be born after them would all turn out to be unholy sinners in His sight, and that none of us would ever be good enough or righteous enough to be able to enter into His kingdom based upon any our own good works.

The word for sin in Greek is Hamartía and it means to “miss the mark”; and the Bible makes it very clear that we ALL have missed the mark and therefore we have all fallen short of God’s minimum requirements for entry into heaven, based on our own merit.

At this point, God could have easily given up on the entire human race after the fall of Adam and Eve, but for some strange reason, He chose not to do so. Why?

When you really stop to think about what unholy sinners we all really are, and how fallen and corrupt our human nature really is, you have to wonder – what does God see in any of us that makes us so redeemable in His sight?

Why would God the Father go to such extreme and painful lengths to bring us all back to Himself by sending down His one and only Son Jesus Christ to our cursed earth to go through the worst and most horrible form of physical death that anyone could have possibly undergone at the time He came down to our world – crucifixion by nails?

For God the Father to go to such an extreme and painful length to get all of us back to Himself shows us only one possible thing – and that one thing is how much our God really, truly, and unconditionally loves each man and each woman He has ever created.

There is no way that God the Father is going to send down and sacrifice His one and only Son on a cross if He did not have some kind of special, maximum intense, passionate, jealous, all-consuming type of fire love for each person He has ever created.

The fact that God and Jesus would ever allow this kind of scenario to unfold just to be able to save us and bring us back to Themselves is truly a maximum kind of intense and unconditional love that our human minds have a hard time in really being able to fully grasp.

This kind of total, complete, unconditional, and perfect love is beyond our ability to fully understand or comprehend, especially in the type of world we live in today.

What exactly does God see in all of us that makes us so redeemable in His sight?

God is obviously seeing something in all of us that is making us salvageable in His sight, otherwise He would have never wasted His time sending His Son Jesus down to our earth to save us.

After studying the Bible from start to finish, I believe we will find that there is one main reason why the Lord has gone to such extreme and painful lengths to bring all of us back to Himself – and that one main reason is for intimate fellowship.

I believe the main reason that God created the first man and the first woman was for intimate fellowship.

And God was not only wanting intimate fellowship with Adam and Eve, but He was also going to want it with every man and woman that would follow after them.

Though Adam and Eve blew it for every man and woman that would be born after them, God still has not changed His mind from what His original intentions were going to be.

God still has this incredible perfect and unconditional love for each one of us, and He has now made a way for all of us to be able to receive that divine love – and that way is through His Son Jesus and the Blood that Jesus has personally shed for each one of us on the cross.

The Blood that Jesus has personally shed for each and everyone of us on the cross now gives us full entrance back into the kingdom of God the Father.

Our spiritual relationship with God the Father, which was completely torn and severed with the first sin of Adam and Eve, has now been fully restored through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

We have now all been made spiritually whole and complete again if we are willing to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

We have now come full circle again! We have now got back what Adam and Eve lost in their first original paradise.

Our spiritual relationship has now been fully restored back with God the Father.

Now that we have come full circle again with God the Father, there is now one more thing that each Christian must decide on in this life.

The veil has now been torn apart between God and us. There are now no more walls, barriers, hindrances, and roadblocks between us and God.

There is now nothing but clear and smooth sailing ahead of us as far as our own personal relationship with God is concerned.

The Bible tells us that we are now all free to approach the throne of God anytime we want for prayer and intimate communication with complete confidence and boldness.

God is now waiting with wide and open arms for all of us to approach Him.

And what exactly is God waiting for?

Intimate fellowship, intimate prayer and communication, intimate dialogue and conversations about anything and everything, and intimate sharing of our most personal, private, and secret thoughts.

Bottom line – God is looking for seekers!

God is looking for those who will not be afraid to try and establish a one-on-one, personal, on-fire, passionate, intense, and willing to tell-all and share-all love relationship with Him.

God is looking for a maximum intense kind of personal relationship with no holds barred. He is looking for on-fire and passionate people who will try and tear into Him, who will try and take a hold of Him, and who will try to understand Him and all of His ways.

Now that the channels have been completely opened back up between God and us, each Christian must now make a personal choice in this life as to whether or not they want to make an attempt get to know this awesome and loving God of ours by establishing this kind of deep, close, intimate, personal relationship with Him.

For those of you who would really like to enter into and start to establish this kind of a deeper personal relationship with the Lord, the Scripture verses I will list below will give you the key and secret to being able to really do this in this life.

You do not have to wait until you get to heaven to be able to make direct contact with God. You can learn how to establish a good, powerful, personal relationship with the Lord right where you are standing at right now.

The key and secret to being able to establish this kind of deeper, personal, intimate relationship with the Lord in this life is dependent upon one, simple, little thing – and this one, simple, little thing is that you have to be willing to seek after it, with all of your heart and mind and strength!

Jeremiah 29:13

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

God is looking for men and women who will cast the total of their trust, reliance and faith upon the reliability and trustworthiness of Himself and His Word, regardless of any sightsense evidence to the contrary.

And in Hebrews chapter 11, God gives us a picture of what this kind of faith looks like, in the person of Enoch.

Hebrews 11:5-6

5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

6 But without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who Diligently seek Him!

The purpose in all of this is that we are to become one in Christ.

If we want to learn what God’s original plan for Adam was, then all we have to do is look at Jesus, whom the Bible calls the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45).

Jesus says to us that He only does what He sees the Father doing (John 5:19), and He only even speaks what He hears His Father speaking (John 12:49); and then He says that as the father is sending me, I’m sending you (John 20:21).

Jesus wants to be the hub of our life, like the Hub of a wheel, around which everything in our life revolves, so that our life does not even work without Him.

This is what He is saying when He tells us that we must abide in Him, that He is the vine and we are the branches, and that we can do nothing of any consequence, nor produce any good fruit apart from Him.

In other words, He wants to have 24/7 365, unending communion and fellowship with us, to the extent that we become one with Him.

This is what Jesus means when He says we must take up our cross (the symbol of our death to self) daily and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24-27

Take Up the Cross and Follow Him
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
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The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

One of the first things most parents teach their children as soon as they can is their home address and phone number.

Mom and Dad want their little ones to know where they live if they should ever become lost or separated from them. But knowing the answer to the question, “Where do you live?” is helpful for adults, too.

A young Nazi was being initiated into a very elite group of soldiers and was asked by his commanding officer,

“Son, where do you live?”

“I live in Stuttgart, sir,” he replied.

“Wrong answer!” barked the officer. “Where do you live?”

The soldier thought and answered a second time:

“I live in Germany, sir.” The officer inched closer to him, and shouted more loudly than before:

“Wrong! Where do you live?”

Now he had it. “I live in the Third Reich, sir.” But he was wrong again.

When he was asked the fourth time, the young soldier gave up, saying “Sir, I don’t know how to answer.”

The officer then told him, “From this day forward, when someone asks you ‘Where do you live?’ you say, ‘I live in Hitler’.”

His residence was not a place…but a person.

Moses, at the end of his life, still did not dwell in Canaan…he lived in the Lord God Almighty.

That was his home address.

God was his dwelling place.

The problem with most of those who are Christians is that they do not dwell or abide in Christ…they just come home for a visit every now and then.

They visit on Sundays. On Easter and Christmas.

In times of personal crisis, perhaps. But they do not make their home in Him.

Jesus said “Abide in me.” We do not need to wonder for a moment where we should live.

Memory Verse

Psalms 90:1
Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
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Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, lest you give a foothold to the enemy in your life (Eph 4:26-27)…

The instructions of the Bible is that we are to “be angry and sin not”…

God’s Calm Assurance

“The sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests His head at night, giving perfect peace.”
— Charles H. Spurgeon

Life should be lived with the assurance of God’s sovereignty, knowing that He rules over everything for His glory.

Even when it seems as if the ungodly have dominated the scene, believers should remember that God has chosen the godly for Himself and will not forsake them.

This is the central message of Psalm 4, a song that provides a Godward focus in the midst of life’s storms.

Often called “the Evening Psalm,” this “psalm of David” was a prayer of trust offered to God at the close of a long, trouble-filled day.

Many interpreters believe that Psalms 3 and 4 once formed a single unit.

The third psalm was a prayer expressed in the early morning (3:5), and the fourth psalm was to be offered up to God in the evening (4:8).

If this connection exists, the background of Psalm 4 is the same as Psalm 3—the revolt of Absalom against David (cp. 2 Sam. 15-18).

The superscription reads, “For the director of music,” a title directing the worship leader during the public worship service.

As this psalm was sung, it was to be accompanied “with stringed instruments,” the harp and lyre acting as an orchestra.

This psalm expresses the psalmist’s confidence in God during an hour of desperate need.

The psalmist could rest secure because God reigned supreme.
____

Read Psalm 4:

Read Psalm 4:4-5
in the Expanded Bible:

4 When you ·are angry [are disturbed;  tremble], do not sin.

·Think about these things [Meditate;  Speak to your heart] quietly
·as you go to bed [on your bed]. ·Selah [Interlude]

5 ·Do what is right as a sacrifice to the Lord [Sacrifice right/righteous sacrifices]
and trust the Lord.
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David’s Request (4:1)

In the midst of persecution, David called upon God for relief, asking the Lord to bring repentance to his enemies and divine favor to his supporters.

4:1-8 This psalm may have been written as David was asking his enemies to reconsider their support of Absalom.

It was probably written shortly after Psalm 3 was.

Psalms 4:4
4:4 How quickly anger springs up when we are falsely accused, opposed, or ignored.

The greater the cause or the higher the principle involved, the more likely we are to be outraged.

In these situations, David says to take a time-out and reconsider quietly, not to lash out.

Constrain your anger until you can respond in a way that speaks truth while also honoring God.

4:5 Worship in David’s day included animal sacrifices by the priests in the Tabernacle.

An animal’s blood covered the sins of the person who offered the animal.

Specific rules had been given for offering sacrifices, but more important to God than ceremony was the offerer’s attitude of submission and obedience (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

Though we no longer sacrifice animals, sacrifices of our time, resources, and energy offered in the right spirit are still pleasing to God.

However, He wants our obedience and our praise before our gifts (Hebrews 13:15).

Offer God your sacrifice of total obedience and heartfelt praise.

Two kinds of joy are contrasted here—joy that comes from knowing and trusting God, and joy that comes as a result of pleasant circumstances.

Both are good, but the joy that comes from a deep relationship with God is strong and steady and can’t be shaken.

There is nothing wrong with being happy about pleasant circumstances (for example, a family gathered around a table with plenty of good food).

But pleasant circumstances are unpredictable; they come and go.

And when they go, can you still be happy?

Can you still have that strong and steady joy that defeats discouragement?

Make sure you have the kind of joy in the Lord that is lasting, and then you can be happy no matter what circumstances come your way.
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What does it mean to “be angry and do not sin” (Psalm 4:4)?

Psalm 4 is a psalm of trust written by David.

The psalm is brief, only eight verses (nine, including the Hebrew ascription “for the choir director, on stringed instruments, a Psalm of David”).

The psalm is written in three sections with a “selah” (a marker for a pause or musical interlude) at the end of verses 2 and 4.

In the second short section, David sings, “Tremble and do not sin” (Psalm 4:4, NASB) or, as the ESV puts it, “Be angry and do not sin.”

The Hebrew word translated in the ESV as “be angry” is ragaz, and it can mean “to be disturbed or agitated.”

David recognizes there are legitimate causes to be agitated but cautions against going so far as to be sinful.

In the New Testament, Paul quotes from Psalm 4:4 while giving instructions on Christian living in Ephesians 4:26.

David calls out for God to hear him as God has done before (Psalm 4:1).

David seems to be concerned about men who are mistreating him in falsehood (Psalm 4:2).

David affirms his confidence in God as having set apart the godly person and hearing him when he calls out to Him (Psalm 4:3).

So, one can be bothered—or even angry—and yet, because the godly person knows that God hears and delivers, that anger should not extend to sinfulness (Psalm 4:4).

In the same way, David calls to the hearer to meditate (on God’s faithfulness) quietly in the night and to be still (Psalm 4:5).

In the final and longest section of the psalm, after reminding the hearer to “be angry and do not sin,” David exhorts that we should “offer right sacrifices, and put [our] trust in the LORD” (Psalm 4:5, ESV).

Because of that trust in the Lord, the godly person never needs to fret about wrongdoers.

Even when others are not showing us good, God shines His light on us (Psalm 4:6).

He is the one who puts gladness in our hearts even more than having plenty (Psalm 4:7).

We rest peacefully in the night because of Him (Psalm 4:8).

This psalm is, among other things, a helpful reminder that we can “be angry and do not sin.”

We may be upset, but we do not need to be overcome with anger, because we trust in Him.

Paul later quotes Psalm 4:4 (translating the Hebrew ragaz with the Greek orgizo, indicating that the term angry is an accurate rendering), reminding believers that anger is acceptable if it does not extend to sin.

Paul also puts an important time limit on anger, as he says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26, ESV).

David’s song was seemingly to be sung at night, as it focused on God’s provision good rest because of our trust in the Lord, and Paul challenges his readers not to take anger to bed with them.

While David’s words appeal to the heart, Paul’s are more an appeal to the intellect, but they are providing the same prescription: don’t end your day overcome with anger, but rather have confidence in the Lord.

Anger and faith are mutually exclusive ideas, as the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:20).

God is trustworthy, and anything that might bother us to the point of anger can be given to Him. We can trust Him to handle it.

(From Got Questions – S. Michael Houdmann)
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Friday, Sept 16
Living Free Everyday

I’M NOT ANGRY!:
CHOOSE YOUR RESPONSE
by Larry Heath

Scripture
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
— Psalm 19:14 NLT

Thoughts for the Day
Part of making anger your servant instead of your master involves making choices.

Make choices about how you will respond when those feelings of anger are rising up in you.

Choose to keep your words and your attitude pleasing to the Lord. And ask God to help you do that.

A good place to start is to examine how you are expressing anger now and then prayerfully overcoming the negative responses with positive ones.

Think of the people in your life: spouse, children, parents, employer, coworkers, friends, and others.

Have you expressed anger to any of them recently? How? By holding it back?

By expressing it indirectly? By expressing it directly?

In each instance, how did they respond to your expression of anger?

What can you do to make your expression of anger healthier and more productive?

Set some goals and ask God to help you meet them.

Consider This . . .
Use these scriptures and others like them to guide you in your goal setting:

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Ephesians 4:29 NLT

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Proverbs 15:1 NLT

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4 NLT

There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
Proverbs 29:20 NLT

A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.
Proverbs 12:16 NLT

Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Colossians 3:13 NLT

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”
Luke 6:31 NLT

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 NLT

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Matthew 5:44 NLT

Prayer

Father, help me be more aware of how I am expressing my anger. Give me the wisdom and strength to make right choices. I pray that anger will be my servant, not my master, and that I will use anger only for God’s glory.
In Jesus’ name.
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Jesus is Faithful…

First Things First…

How do we organize our lives to put first things first?

How do we show that we know who is in charge of our lives and the events of history?

We give top attention to Jesus.

We fit everything else under that priority.

In this chapter we see that Jesus is superior to Moses because Jesus served as a son over God’s house while Moses was a servant in … God’s house (Heb. 3:1-6).

A son with authority is more significant than a servant without authority.

Thus, rejecting Jesus is more serious than rejecting Moses (3:7-19).

The generation of Israelites who wandered in the wilderness had rejected God’s commands and paid a stiff price (Num. 14:20-38).

Don’t repeat their mistake.

Read Hebrews 3:

The Failure of God’s People under Moses (Heb 3:7-19)…

Rejecting Jesus in unbelief is more serious than rejecting Moses, so God’s people need encouragement to overcome sin and endure in their commitment to Christ.

Verses 7-11 quote Psalm 95:7b-11 to compare the experience of Israel with that of the church.

These believers faced a serious danger, and they needed to avoid repeating Israel’s failures and experiencing Israel’s fate.

Psalm 95 begins with praise (vv. 1-7a) and concludes with a warning (vv. 7b-11), based on the story recorded in Exodus

The judgment mentioned occurred in Numbers 14:20-38. The writer of Hebrews followed the psalmist in urging his readers not to imitate the folly of the generation of Jews who died in the wilderness under God’s judgment.

Two words in verse 7 catch our attention.

First, though a human author penned the words, the writer of Hebrews knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking.

He recognized these words as a strong warning based on divine authority.

Second, he used the psalmist’s reference to Today to apply the words to his readers.

He went back into the Old Testament history, but his mind was on his readers.

He wanted them to hear the present voice of God in the ancient message.

Hardening the heart takes place whenever someone rejects God’s call or instructions.

Hardening is an action which we develop in ourselves by our own choice to disobey God.

A constant response of resistance leads to a habit of disobedience and to a judicial sentence from God.

The wilderness generation hardened their own hearts, and it was possible that the readers of Hebrews might do the same thing.

The term rebellion in Hebrews 3:8 is translated as Meribah in Psalm 95:8.

The term testing in Hebrews 3:8 is translated as Massah in Psalm 95:8.

The terms describe the attitudes of the Jewish people mentioned in Exodus 17:1-7 and above all in Numbers 14:20-38.

Throughout the entire period from Exodus 17 to Numbers 14, the Jewish people had rebelled against the Lord.

For forty years they resisted God’s demands. They had hardened their hearts.

God was slow to anger, but forty years was too much even for Him.

Their rebellion developed into a settled habit of mind and led God to pronounce judgment.

Hebrews warns against a repetition of rebellion against God.

The reference to forty years would have special significance if forty years had passed since the ministry of Jesus.

Many scholars believe that the author penned Hebrews just before A.D. 70.

God could have been warning the Christian readers that just as He had dealt with Israel for a probationary period of forty years, so now they, too, had arrived at the end of the same period of probation.

They had a special reason to avoid the deceitfulness of sin (3:13).

Does God really become angry? We can answer “yes” to that question, but God’s anger does not resemble human anger.

We become angry when a sales clerk takes too long or when a slow car forces us to wait at a red light.

God’s anger always has a just cause, and it does not show a peevish nature in God but a consistent opposition to sin.

We often use human analogies to understand God.

Whenever we attribute a human emotion such as anger to God, we produce many questions in understanding what happened.

However, unless we express God in such human terms, we will find it hard to understand Him.

God does become angry, but He tempers His anger with justice and love.

Two actions of the Jews in the wilderness contributed to divine anger.

First, the Jews habitually strayed from God.

Second, they did not know God’s ways.

One sin reinforced the other. This persistent practice of sin led God to deliver His verdict with an oath.

The reference to an oath seems to reflect Numbers 14:21, where God supported His Word with an oath.

God used this oath when the spies returned to bring an unfavorable report of the prospects for entering the Promised Land.

The people of Israel rebelled against trusting God and accused Moses of bringing them to the wilderness to die.

God swore that such rebels would never experience His rest.

For the present we can realize that all rebels place themselves outside of God’s protection.

These cantankerous people had to move ahead on their own resources.

Dreadful failure lay ahead.

Later the Jews would clearly learn that it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).

All of us can learn from observing what has happened in the past.

We can apply past experiences to the present.

When we find hints of the past recurring in the present, we call that pattern typology.

In this instance a typological interpretation of the Exodus is used to warn the readers of Hebrews not to imitate the actions of the wilderness generation.

The present generation could also fall into the same pattern of unbelief.

The warning message of the writer of Hebrews was quite clear. Readers could see what happened to those who fell in the wilderness.

They could realize that they faced the same dangers. They must turn from their foolish disobedience before it was too late!

We should warn each other about the danger of missing God’s rest.

If we let doubt about God’s promises, lack of trust in His power, or rejection of His love overtake us, we could forfeit the good things He has for us.

Our hearts turn away from the living God when we stubbornly refuse to believe Him.

If we persist in our unbelief, God will eventually leave us alone in our sin and rebellion.

But God can give us new hearts, new desires, and new spirits (Ezekiel 36:22-27).

To prevent yourself from having an unbelieving heart, stay in fellowship with other believers, talk daily with them about your mutual faith, be aware of the deceitfulness of sin (which attracts but also destroys), and encourage one another with love and concern.
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Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…

Hebrews 2:1—3:19

As God’s Son, Jesus’ authority surpassed any prophet or angel.

He is God, yet He became man.

Because Jesus became man, we know He understands our human frustrations.

Ever have so many demands that you can’t stop for lunch?

[Jesus] can relate.

“For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31).

Do you have too much email to fit in a screen or too many calls to make in a day?

Christ has been there.

“Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them” (Matthew 15:30).

How about family tension?

“When His family heard what was happening, they tried to take Him home with them.

‘He’s out of his mind,’ they said” (Mark 3:21 NLT).

Have you been falsely accused?

Enemies called Jesus a wino and a chowhound (Matthew 11:19).

The night before His death people “sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death” (Matthew 26:59).

Do your friends ever let you down?

When Christ needed help, His friends dozed off.

“What? Could you not watch with Me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40).

Unsure of the future? Jesus was. Regarding the last day of history, He explained,

“Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

Can Jesus be the Son of God and not know something?

He can if He chooses not to.

Knowing you would face the unknown, He chose to face the same.

Jesus has been there. “He Himself has suffered, being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

Jesus was angry enough to purge the temple, hungry enough to eat raw grain, distraught enough to weep in public, fun loving enough to be called a drunkard, winsome enough to attract kids, weary enough to sleep in a storm-bounced boat, poor enough to sleep on dirt and borrow a coin for a sermon illustration, radical enough to get kicked out of town, responsible enough to care for His mother, tempted enough to know the smell of Satan, and fearful enough to sweat blood.

But why? Why would heaven’s finest Son endure earth’s toughest pain?

So you would know that “He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

(From Next Door Savior by Max Lucado)

Jesus knows all about life on earth. Tell Him what will be your biggest temptations and struggles today.

Ask Him to provide you with strength and encouragement. He knows how you feel.
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September 14
God Calling
by Two Listeners

WHEN FAITH FAILS

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
— Hebrews 3:12

“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

This cry of the human heart is as expressive of human need as it was when uttered to Me while I was on earth. It expresses the soul’s progress.

As a soul realizes Me and My Power, and knows Me as Helper and Savior, that soul believes in Me more and more.

At the same time it is more conscious than before of its falling short of absolute trust in Me.

“Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.”

The soul’s progress – an increased belief – then a cry for more faith – a plea to conquer all unbelief, all lack of trust.

That cry heard. That prayer answered. More faith, and at the same time more power to see where trust is lacking.

My children seek to go up this path, leading by each stage, nearer to Me.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25
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This is an Urgent Message for anyone who has a soul and has not given his or her life to Jesus Christ…

Is Queen Elizabeth In Heaven?

Whenever a famous actor or someone of notoriety dies, I always have the question: did they know the Lord?

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth this past week I asked that same question, and then I ran across this video from Living Waters (see below) and I thought it very interesting.

Anyone who was genuine in their faith and is born-again will definitely be in heaven.

1 John 5:11-13
New Living Translation

11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
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The Bible tells us that it is appointed for every man and woman “once to die and then the judgment” (Heb 9:27).

Whether you believe in God or not, this applies to every living soul, and the only time any of us have to get right with God is sometime between our birth and our departure from this life.

If you lived your life either ignoring the Gospel Message, or rejecting it and thereby also consequently ignoring and rejecting Jesus, then your fate is sealed for all eternity once you pass from this life… and there’s no turning back!

Listen to what God says in the book of Isaiah chapter 55:

Isaiah 55:1-6
New Living Translation

Invitation to the Lord’s Salvation
55 “Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
it’s all free!

2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.

3 “Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

4 See how I used him to display my power among the peoples.
I made him a leader among the nations.

5 You also will command nations you do not know,
and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey,
because I, the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.”

6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
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Jesus, who is the Christ (Heb: Messiah – anointed of God) came and died on Calvary’s Cross in order that our sins may be forgiven and that we may be reconciled back into God’s family.

John 14:6 makes it very clear that there is no other way, except through Jesus and His propitious sacrifice and shed blood on Calvary’s Cross, for us to be reconciled back into God’s family.

In Acts 4:12 we are told:

“…Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

God loves you!

John 3:16-21

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
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Here’s the Gospel Message hidden within the first genealogy in the Bible, in Genesis 5:

When you put it all together this is what it says:

“Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.”

Click on link below:

Is Queen Elizabeth in heaven?

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