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Showing posts from 2012

Don't Be Muddy...

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A flatlander was invited to preach in a Baptist church set in the mountains. He was worried, remembering that the people in this region despised educated preachers and were known for their fundamentalism and simplistic approach to the gospel. He preached with masterful command if allegory and hard truths veiled in simile. At the close of his message he gave the normal invitation. He was amazed to see that an old gentleman in starched overalls responded. Thinking he'd made an impact on the man's heart, he approached him. However, the old man came forward and whispered in the minister's ear, "Young feller, just because the water's muddy, don't mean it's deep! I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom: preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not list

Wait and Inherit

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Don’t fret because of evildoers, neither be envious against those who work unrighteousness. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in Yahweh, and do good. Dwell in the land, and enjoy safe pasture. Also delight yourself in Yahweh, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Yahweh. Trust also in him, and he will do this: he will make your righteousness go out as the light, and your justice as the noon day sun. Rest in Yahweh, and wait patiently for him. Don’t fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who makes wicked plots happen. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Don’t fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land. For yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more. Yes, though you look for his place, he isn’t there. But the humble shall inherit the land, and shall delight themselves in the abundance

Wait and Take Courage

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Yahweh is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?  Yahweh is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers came at me to eat up my flesh, even my adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I have asked of Yahweh, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in Yahweh's house all the days of my life, to see Yahweh's beauty, and to inquire in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion. In the covert of his tabernacle he will hide me. He will lift me up on a rock. Now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me. I will offer sacrifices of joy in his tent. I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to Yahweh. Here, Yahweh, when I cry with my voice. Have mercy also on me, and answer me. When you said, "Seek my face," my heart said to you, "I will see

Even Through the Bad, God is Faithful

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It is because of Yahweh’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion doesn’t fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22-23 WEB* The most significant thing about this wonderful passage is where we find it in the Bible. The Book of Lamentations tells of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which took place over 587 and 586 BC when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar overran the city. The surviving inhabitants either fled to other countries, were carried away to Babylon as slaves or remained under the brutal rule of an occupying force. Lamentations does not name its author, but it is generally attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. For many years Jeremiah had warned the people and their leaders about their unfaithfulness to God. Jeremiah knew that being chosen by God did not translate to a free pass. He knew that actions had consequences. If God's people were not faithful to God's instructions, bad things would

A Pattern for Prayer

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"Pray like this: 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.' " —Matthew 6:9-13 WEB* He said to them, "When you pray, say, 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come. May your will be dine on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' " —Luke 11:2-4 WEB* Whether you call it the Lord's Prayer, the Disciples' Prayer, the Pater Noster, or the Our Father, it is a prayer given by Jesus to His followers. Jesus was teaching how to pray and gave this examp

My Shepherd, My Host

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Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in Yahweh’s house forever. —Psalm 23 WEB* This psalm of David has been described as his most beautiful song of trust. In the psalm, David pictures the Lord as the great Shepherd who provides for, guides and protects His sheep. David goes on to describe the Lord as the gracious Host who protects and provides abundantly for His guests. David's caring imagery of God as a shepherd is used by others in the Old Testament. In addition to Ps

God's Plan

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What do you learn about God as you read the Bible; the Word of God? Through the Bible, you can discover peace when you are worried... In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.  —Philippians 4:6-7 ...and comfort when you are sad. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ.  —2 Corinthians 1:3-5 One of the greatest discoveries in the Bible is new life—the gift of eternal life with Jesus. The Bible contains God’s plan of salvation and new life. To receive God's

Pray

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If you have been saved by the grace of God, and are a followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are called by God to certain tasks. In all and through all, you are called to pray. “If I shut up the sky so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now my eyes shall be open, and my ears attentive, to the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and made this house holy, that my name may be there forever; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually." —2 Chronicles 7:13-16 WEB* Yahweh is near to all those who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. —Psalm 145:18 WEB* Jesus answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, if you have faith, and don’t doubt, you will not only do

Give

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If you have been saved by the grace of God, and are a followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are called by God to certain tasks. One of these is to give of your time, your talents and your treasure. Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. —2 Corinthians 8:1-6 WEB* Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; you being enriched in everything to all liberality, which

Witness

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If you have been saved by the grace of God, and are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are called by God to certain tasks. One of these is to witness. Therefore don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News. —2 Timothy 1:8-10 WEB* Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. —Matthew 10:32-33 WEB* "Go,and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son a

Fellowship with Other Believers

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If you have been saved by the grace of God, and are a followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are called by God to certain tasks. One of these is to fellowship with other believers. Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord. Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him. —Colossians 3:12-17 WEB* Let us consider how to provoke one anot

Read the Bible

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If you have been saved by the grace of God, and are a followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are called by God to certain tasks. One of these is to read the Bible, the Word of God. Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path. —Psalm 119:105 WEB* Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth. —2 Timothy 2:15 WEB* Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17 WEB* For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. —Hebrews 4:12 WEB* * WEB - The World English Bible, a Public Domain, Modern English translation of the Holy Bible

Repent and Be Baptized

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If you have been saved by the grace of God, and are a followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are called by God to certain tasks. One of these is to repent of your old ways and be baptized as an outward sign to others of your inward change. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. But John would have hindered him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?” But Jesus, answering, said to him, “Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” —Matthew 3:13-6 WEB*   Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “R

Two Ways Before Us

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Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand on the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in Yahweh's law. On his law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that produces its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper. The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish. — Psalm 1 WEB* Open to us are two ways of life: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. One way means blessedness, happiness, and fruitfulness. The other means cursedness, unhappiness, and judgment. Through the compare and contrast of the two ways, we see the importance and absolute necessity of the Bible, and the changed character, stabilit

Thanksgiving in Our Prayer

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Praise Yahweh, my soul! All that is within me, praise his holy name! Praise Yahweh, my soul, and don’t forget all his benefits; who forgives all your sins; who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; who satisfies your desire with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. —  Psalm 103:1-5 WEB* In verses 1 and 2 the Hebrew word used is transliterated barak , meaning to kneel or to bless. In the case of our conferring of blessing on God, it means to praise or glorify God. Verse 2 tells us to remember the things that God does for us. The Hebrew word here is gemul , meaning a dealing, a recompense, or a reward. Scripture tells us that we should always remember what God has done for us and that we should thank God each time we enter into His presence (Psalm 100:4-6; Psalm 103:1-5; Psalm 107:15; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). But what has Go

We Are Accountable

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Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance. — Proverbs 27:17 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord. Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him. — Colossians 3:12-17 To be accountable is to be responsible for one’s actions. Accountability is essential in any society or organization. All of us are held a

Prayer is Hard Work

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Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus towards you. —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The Apostle Paul wrote this passage in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, then the capital and largest city of the Roman province of Macedonia. The establishment of this church by Paul and Silas is recorded in Acts 17. Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. Paul, as was his custom, went in to them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and not a few of the chief women. But the unpersuaded Jews took along some wicked men from the marketplace, and gathering a crowd,

Forgiveness and Persistence in Prayer

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"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions." —Mark 11:25 WEB* Jesus is talking about standing to pray to God for forgiveness. Scholars suggest that Jesus is referring to the practice of praying before the altar at the temple in Jerusalem. We presume this is when the priest is sacrificing and burning an offering in order for God to forgive the sins of the one who brought the offering and who is now praying before the altar. For the Christian, there is no longer the need of a recurring sacrifice because Jesus, God's Son, became our sacrifice, dying once for the sins of all. We have only to claim what Jesus has done for us in order to become a child of God and have eternal life with Him. And yet, being human, we will continue to sin, and these new sins must also be recognized and given to God so that we may daily enjoy a relationship with our Heavenly Fa

Go Into Your Closet to Pray

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“When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” — Matthew 6:5-6 WEB* Jesus is describing the practice of the religious leaders of the day to pray very openly and loudly in public places. Jesus calls these people hypocrites. The Greek word is transliterated as hupokrit├ęs , meaning one who acts, or who performs a role. These people are not being themselves, but are playing a character. Jesus knows that they are not sincere in their prayers. Their public display might be better described as a form of religious street entertainment. Rather than receiving their payment in money, they receive the admiration and respect of those who wat

When God Answers Our Prayer

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Now about that time, King Herod stretched out his hands to oppress some of the assembly. He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This was during the days of unleavened bread. When he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. Peter therefore was kept in the prison, but constant prayer was made by the assembly to God for him. The same night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards in front of the door kept the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side, and woke him up, saying, “Stand up quickly!” His chains fell off his hands. The angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” He did so. He said to him, “Put on your cloak

The Results of Prayer

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Then Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us, and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with God’s rod in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed. When he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side. His hands were steady until sunset. Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. —Exodus 17:8-13 WEB* It has been suggested that this passage, more than any other in the Bible, demonstrates that prayer has significant results. The people of Israel were camped at a desert place known as Rephidim. While there, the army of Amalek — the Amalekites — came near to Israel's camp a

Prayer Changes Us

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Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. — Romans 12:2 WEB* In this passage the Apostle Paul reminds us that, as followers of Christ, we should no longer be as the world is, but as God wants us to be  —  we must be changed. The Greek word used here is transliterated as metamorpho├│ , meaning to literally change from one form into another  —  to transform. Our transformation should come through the renewing of our mind. The word used for our mind is the Greek word nous , which means our mind, our understanding, our reason. But how do we renew our mind? We do so through the study of God's Word  —  the Bible  —  and through prayer. God not only invites us to pray, but commands that we pray. As we are consistent in this duty, we are going to be changed. A life of prayer is a life of obedience to God. Our prayer life should be one of supplication with a

Pray What We Mean

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“In praying, don’t use vain repetitions as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need before you ask him.”  —Matthew 6:7-8 Do our prayers have meaningless repetition? Do we babble to God? Reflecting on these words of Jesus may cause us to think of the Old Testament “sacrifice showdown” on Mount Carmel between the prophet Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal, in which Elijah challenged the prophets to prove that Baal was the true god (1 Kings 18:20-40). All morning the prophets of Baal prayed and danced, calling out for Baal, again and again, to consume the sacrifice they had prepared for him. When that didn’t work, they prayed louder, they danced wilder, and they ritually cut themselves, but still nothing happened. Finally, when it was Elijah’s turn, he looked heavenward and addressed God simply and confidently. So that the surrounding crowd could hear, Elijah reminded G

The Priority of Prayer

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But he withdrew himself into the desert, and prayed. —Luke 5:16 WEB* Jesus knew the importance of prayer during His earthly ministry. He began His days with prayer (Mark 1:35). He used every spare moment to pray (Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16; Luke 22:39). Jesus would pray all night before making significant decisions, such as the choosing of His twelve disciples (Luke 6:12). Jesus prayed in times of great stress, such as prior to His betrayal by Judas (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 17). It was following long periods of prayer that Jesus demonstrated most greatly His authority over the elements (Mark 6:45-52) and over demons (Mark 9:14-29). His disciples were so convinced of the power in Jesus' prayer that they asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). And yet, His disciples found it difficult to place the same importance on prayer that Jesus did (Matthew 26:40, 43, 45; Mark 14:37, 40, 42; Luke 22:45). Like the disciples, we also seem to find it difficu

Adoration in Our Prayer

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Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name. —Psalm 100:4 WEB* The model for prayer given to us by Jesus (also called the Lord's Prayer, the Disciples Prayer and the Our Father) begins with adoration (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). We should enter God's presence with praise (Psalm 100:4). We should praise God for several reasons. First, God worthy of our praise. Second, praise sets the proper tone for our prayer. Third, praise reminds us of who God is and His inclination toward us. And fourth, praise purges us of other concerns and softens our hearts for prayer. Many Scripture passages in the Bible remind us of the importance of praise. For example, we are called to praise God, in recognition of what God has done for us (1 John 3:1; 1 Peter 2:9-10; 1 John 5:14). Through our praise we show our respect and fear — reverential awe — for God (Psalm 34:11). By our praise we focus the attention of others onto God (Psa

Supplication in Our Prayer

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"I will bring these to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” —Isaiah 56:7 WEB* The passage in Isaiah 56:3-8 is foretelling of a time, during the Messiah's millennial reign on earth, when God will be openly worshipped by believers from all nations. All will offer to God continual thanksgiving, worship and praise, described here simply as "prayer" (the Hebrew tephillah ). These will be the "sacrifice" (the Hebrew zebach ) and the "burnt offering" (the Hebrew olah ). These will be placed on God's "altar" (the Hebrew mizbeach ). No longer literal sacrifice, but spiritual sacrifice will be offered that is genuine and sincere (Psalm 141:2; 51:17; Malachi 1:11). Jesus quoted from this passage of Isaiah as He cleared the temple of merchants and money changers (Matthew 21:13;