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Welcome to the New Year! 

    Welcome to the New Year! If you are like me, you are hoping for big things to happen in 2019. I have some goals that I would love to see accomplished. It’s going to take perseverance and faith on my part, and trusting God to do the rest. While I was reflecting on all of this, I had a thought. Although, we don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, we always celebrate Christmas at the end of the old year right before the new year. How ironic is that! Christ came so that we all might have a new beginning and new life in Him. When He saves us and we abide in Him and He in us, the old person is done away with, and the new person is born.

 

   2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. We can have a fresh start and become new just as the old year has passed, and the new year has come along. We can have a life that is renewed and strengthened by God. How wonderful is that! Jesus declared in John 10:10 (KJV), “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” So, not only can we have life, we can have more abundant life. A life that is productive, fruitful, and overflowing with the good blessings that He gives us. Even when the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, or trials come; as long as we stay connected to the giver of life, we will never lose this abundant life.

 

   Not only is it an abundant life, it is an everlasting life. Jesus says in John 3:15-16 (KJV), “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This means that, if we believe in Jesus, and He washes our sins away, we will have everlasting life. When our body dies, our soul will ascend to heaven, and we will live forever. Those who do not believe, and are not washed by the blood, will have eternal death in hell. In Romans 6:23 (KJV), Paul reminds us of this fact, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Again, we have eternal life when we accept Jesus. In fact, Paul references it as a gift. God gave the ultimate gift, when He sent his only Son to be born in a manger so that He might die for our sins. He paid the ultimate price so that we can leave our past behind and start afresh. We can set out on a new path, going a new direction, to a new place, and leave our failures, old habits, and hurts behind!

 

   God gave the prophet Isaiah this word concerning Israel, and it is still for us today. These promises in these verses I have been standing on for my life, and I welcome you to do the same! Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV), “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” So, maybe right now, things are not great where you are right now in life, or you looking to attain goals and ambitions; let God have control, and have faith that God will work His will and start a new thing in you this New Year!

Peace. 

Colossians 3:15 (KJV)

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Peace. When we think of the word peace, we think of tranquility, doves, calm seas, gentle breezes blowing, and everything being smooth sailing in our lives. However, there can be peace and calm in the midst of a whirlwind! We have to let peace rule our hearts and minds. Peace is trust. Peace is saying I know that things are not going good right now, but regardless of the outcome, in end all will be well. If we trust that God knows best, and is in control of our lives and destiny, then we will have peace about our situation. We will also be thankful because of it. Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” If we trust God, we will have faith that He will take care of us, and our situation according to His will. But, we have to let the peace of God rule. We have to choose to not live in worry and fear. I know it can be awfully hard sometimes, when we are looking at situations, deadlines, our bank accounts, or doors being shut, etc. But, when we have trust and faith, peace will automatically come.

John 14:27 (KJV) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

God will not let us go through life without equipping us with what we need to handle all that we face. He freely gives us the peace that we need so that we will not make ourselves sick with worry and fear. But, we have to receive it and not let the peace go to waste so to say. The world can give us false peace, false hope, and false sense of security. Inevitably, the world will let us down and disappoint us. That’s why Jesus said not as the world giveth. With the peace that He gives, you can count on it. He will never disappoint His children.

How can we get peace?

Philippians 4:6-8 (KJV) 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Here we find the answer to that question. Paul told the Philippians to not worry about anything, but to pray for their needs, then the peace of God that surpassed their knowledge, would keep their hearts and minds. How? Through Christ Jesus. We must follow the same instructions in order to receive God’s peace. Another thing we can do is change our thoughts. If we constantly think negative things, we are going to have negative feelings. Have you ever heard of the saying, “you are what you eat”? It is the same with our mental and emotional part of our body. If we consistently feed our minds worrisome, fearful, and anxious thoughts, our hearts will absorb it, and we will be an emotional wreak! So, Paul addresses this issue and gives a list of things to think on. If we do this, our state of mind will be peaceful.

Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop. - Wanda E. Brunstetter

I came across this quote several years ago and loved it because it provided a vivid image of what thoughts of worry will do. So, let us let the peace of God rule our hearts and minds so positive things can develop and prayers can be answered. I have had a lot of prayers answered here lately, but every time I have needed something or was worried about something, I just gave it to God, and prayed. When I started to worry or the devil started to torment me about it. I would just give it back to God, and leave it there. I found myself at peace, and the situations worked out. It happened not because I’m something special, but I have been trusting and having faith that God would work it out according to His plan, and that He would fix it. Then peace came because I knew it was being taken care of by God. Oh, what a wonderful feeling to know that He is on your side, and that nothing will stop Him from taking care of you!

God's Faithfulness 

    1 Kings 17:1-6, And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 2 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, 3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 5 So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.”

 

    Elijah was a prophet of God who followed the Lord’s command, and told the wicked king Ahab, that there was going to be no rain. This meant that there would be famine in the land because they would have no real way to water their crops. However, due to the fact that Elijah was obedient to the Lord, God was faithful to him and provided for him no matter where he went. Could you just imagine being by a brook and all of the sudden a bird gives you food to eat?!?! But, that is exactly what happened! If we are faithful to God He will certainly be faithful to us. We must first be obedient and dedicated to him regardless of the trials and hardships we might face. Yes, at times, it is hard, but God will always be with us through it all. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells his disciples right before He ascended back into Heaven these words, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” You will notice that first He tells them that He has all power, then He issues a commandment. God will never tell us to do something without His power. He will equip us before, during, and after He sends us! The last thing He told them before He went up into the clouds, was the fact He would always be with them even unto the end of the world. So, since the word has not ended, that includes us! Though, we cannot see Him, we can feel His presence and know He is there with us, through everything that we face.

    Now, let’s go back to the Prophet Elijah. He did as the Lord commanded, and yet the brook dried up due to no rain. He could have questioned God, and asked why God didn’t perform a miracle and keep water in the brook. However, as we are about to find out, there was some other people that needed God’s provision as well. God was going to use Elijah to do it. Elijah just waited until God told him what to do. 1 Kings 17:7-16, “And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 8 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, 9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12 And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.” Now, looking back, we know what God had in mind. However, Elijah didn’t know before hand, and the widow women certainly didn’t either. She could have argued or even ignored Elijah. She already said that she only had a handful of meal and a little oil, and yet Elijah told her to make him a cake first. I probably would have thought hard about that. But, she did it promptly, believing that God would do what He said He would do for her and her son. I do believe God tested her faith by having her make Elijah a little cake first. God can perform the miraculous when we believe His word and His faithfulness! But, we must prove it by our attitudes and our actions. God is so faithful and it is beyond our comprehension. Psalm 36:5 says, “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” Psalm 119:89-90 says, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. 90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.” His faithfulness fills this vast universe, and His word and His faithfulness, will last for ever, and be there for every generation. This shows that His faithfulness is so great and so big, that everyone that has lived in the past, living now, or will live in the future can experience His faithfulness! So, when we are not sure how we are going to make it or what will happen to us, we can rely on God and his vast faithfulness. The following scriptures are great scriptures for us to cling too. I thought they were too good not to share!

    Lamentations 3:22-26 (KJV), “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”

   Isaiah 41:10 (KJV), “ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Honesty is Always the Best Policy! 

   There are times when it seems like it would be “easier” to lie than to tell the truth, or to try to conceal something than to do the right thing. However, in the end, the consequences are devastating. Sometimes, not only for us, but for other people as well. Remember how Achan was dishonest and not only disobeyed the Lord, but tried to hide the sin. Not only did he suffer and ended up dying for it, but caused his whole family, and all that he had to die for it. Revelations 21:8 (KJV) tells us that, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” There is a Judgment Day coming, and we better be prepared for it. We wouldn’t want to do anything that would send us to hell. It is better to tell the truth, and maybe even suffer for it here, than to lie, and suffer for all of eternity! And if we lie, we might lead others to sin, and cause them to suffer as well!

    God expects us to be honest in all of our dealings no matter what. If we are not honest, we cannot be trusted, and if we cannot be trusted, we are not qualified to be responsible for the things that are entrusted to us. I recently had a situation at work, where I had to say no to something because it was not honest. I had to be honest, even if I had to go against what another person wanted me to do. As a well-respected preacher I know (Bro. Russell McDonald) has said so often, “Nothing or nobody is worth going to hell over”, which is so very true. Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV) says, 16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Lying is what started the sin curse upon this whole wide world. The serpent lied to Eve, and for whatever the reason, she believed the serpent rather than God. God hates lying. For when someone lies, they are trying to cover up something, and most of the time that is yet more sin!

   Even if they are successful in telling the lie, eventually it will catch up to them either in this life or on Judgment Day. Numbers 32:23 (KJV) says, “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.” In this Scripture, Moses was telling the children of Israel if they did not obey God in doing what he said to do, their sin would be discovered. Proverbs 12:12 (KJV) states, “The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.” People who lie will get trapped by their own lies. I have seen it many times, when a person told a lie, they had to lie to cover up lies. They told so many different versions of their “story” because they could not remember to keep it to one version. Therefore, it became apparent that they were lying. Some people lie so much, it does not seem to bother them anymore, how sad is that! In that same chapter, in verse 19, it reads, “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” This means if the truth is told, it will last forever. One will not have to worry about remembering what they said to one person in order to tell it to the next person. One will always remember the truth, and can tell it again and again. But, a person who lies, their story will not hold up. They will start contradicting their selves, and eventually most of them will end up looking foolish. And if they do not end up looking foolish here on earth, on Judgment Day, they will be ashamed and condemned. In verse 22 of the same chapter, it tells us that, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.” If we want to please God and be a delight to God, we need to be honest in all of our dealings. Those who please the Lord will receive His unfailing blessings and be established. When God delights in us, He will provide for our needs and fight our battles! Proverbs 16:7 (KJV) says, “When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” That is a promise we can stand on if we are doing right. 1 John 2:17 states that, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” So if we live right, do right, and be honest toward God and man, we have the promise of eternal life according to God’s word. I don’t know about you, but I want to live in such a way, that I can live under God’s provision, and be in fellowship with Him. There is no way I would want to attempt to live this life without Him. I can call on Him and He is there in the good times and in the bad times. So, remember when it might be tempting to lie or be dishonest, look at the consequences of it. Also, look at all the benefits you’d be missing out on if you did something God was not pleased with!

Made in the Image of God. 

Genesis 1:26-28, (KJV) 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

 

 

Have you ever felt like you were not good enough, smart enough, or that you were ugly?

 

     I have many of times. I’ve looked in the mirror wondering why and how, and wishing to be different, smarter, and better looking. All the while looking at all of my flaws whether it was physical attributes or abilities and hating them. Here is the deal though, when we do that we are forgetting that we are made in the very image of God! God created the world and all of the creatures here on the earth, the planets and stars in the vast universe. Multiplying galaxies upon galaxies above, and dividing the oceans beneath. Yet, he looked down and said something is missing! Then He created male and female, and not only that, He made them to be rulers over the earth and all of the creatures He had made. How marvelous is that! He wanted to have someone in His own likeness.

 

     In Psalms 139, David goes into great detail about it. Psalm 139:1-18 (KJV), “O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” In the first part of the Psalm, David proclaimed about how God knew every move he made, every word he said, and there was nowhere God was not with him. He told about how God took the time to search him out and knew every little detail of his being. He went on to say that God wrote in His own book all the members of David’s body. All of this applies to us as well. Just imagine, God writing down our body parts, and fashioning them as He saw fit! Just think about how many people there are in the world, yet God knows us individually in intricate detail! David says that God’s thoughts are more than of the sand. There is no way we could count the grains of sand, yet God thoughts toward us is more than that. He knows every move we make, and everything we say or do. So, anytime, we start to tear our own selves down, remember we are talking bad about God’s handiwork! Anytime, we feel inadequate or not loved, we are not remembering how God took time to make us special, and that he loved us enough to do so. As David said, God knows all about us, and even wrote about us in His own book! I can’t think of any better proof that he loves us and that He has taken time to make us the person we are. No matter what we or other people think about us, we are special to God, and God has gone through great lengths to show us how much He cares about us.

 

      If we ever doubt that there is someone who loves us, we can rest assured God does! He loved us so much, that He sent His only Son to die for our sins, that we might be saved, and not go to hell. He wanted to fellowship with us so much that Jesus hung on the cross and was crucified. How much love is that! John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Always a Chance! 

We all have had times when it felt like we weren’t doing any good. At times, maybe we have even felt like a failure; that everything we touched seemed to fall apart. Most of the time though, it is not even as bad as we believe or feel that it is. Satan loves to fill our head with lies, and get us to a depressed state of mind. Once he achieves that, we have no purpose or drive to go fulfill the work that God would love for us to do. Therefore, if he can get us down, he doesn’t have to worry about us doing something for God, and disrupting his plans. If we only would realize how important and how valuable our work for the Lord is, we would not be so apt to give up!

 

God uses us to fulfill his will and help bring others to know him. He also uses us to encourage others and help them keep living this Christian life. We do not have to do it alone. We have power through God and the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, working in us to do the things we need and desire to do. In Philippians 4:13, the Bible tells us that, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” In verse 19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Christ not only strengthens us to do the work, and also supplies our need according to his riches. How rich is God?!? He is by far richer than anything we could even fathom! We have an endless supply that will never run out! Not only will he supply out of his riches, he will reward us for our diligence and our perseverance. Galatians 6:9 states, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” We will most certainly reap the benefits of serving God, but we first must sow the seed. A farmer doesn’t reap a harvest without first plowing the fallow ground, planting the seed, watering, and fertilizing the crop. It takes a lot of dedication and patience to grow a crop. If the farmer gives up at any certain time, he will not reap the benefits and have a harvest. Sometimes, he suffers a crop failure even after doing all that he can. However, he must not give up or else he will never have a harvest, and never reap the benefits. He must go back and sow the field all over again the next year.

 

Galatians 6:10 says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Paul lets us know that there is always opportunity. There is never a time, when the chance to do good is not available. He also lets us know that there is no prerequisite or respect of persons when it comes to people to do good too. He said to all men. He did say to make sure that our fellow Christians received good. If we cannot do good to our own fellow Christians, how do we expect to do good to those in the world, and win them over to Christ. We must set an example to them. So, when you are tempted to give up and give in; just remember there is always a chance to do good, no matter the task or dream! And even when you have a failure, there is always a chance for another harvest!

Faith. 

   Faith. It is such a simple word, but yet sometimes, it is the most complex thing to grasp. However, in Hebrews 11:6 (KJV), the writer states, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Therefore, in order to please and be right with God, we must have faith. To have faith in something, is to believe in that thing. For example, if we didn’t have faith that our vehicle would get us to work, we would never get behind the wheel. It is the same way with God. As the writer stated, we must first believe that He exists and not only that, but that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. What is faith? Faith not only is the belief in things we can see or feel, but it goes beyond that. Faith sees what we cannot see, and causes us to feel inside things we cannot explain or see with the naked eye. In Hebrews 11:1 (KJV), it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith takes the place of what we hope for and what we do not see yet. Faith is the placeholder and the reservation card at the table of miracles. For faith will be there waiting on the miracle to come. However, if faith is not there, there will be no place for miracles to come. Faith has power and ushers in God’s providence. It is the open invitation for God to work in our lives. If we did not have faith for God to save us, we would never ask for His forgiveness, and believe that He shed is blood for our salvation. If we did not have faith for God to heal us, we would never ask for His healing touch or believe that His stripes were for our healing. If we did not have faith for God to work in our finances, jobs, homes, families, ect, we would not even ask.

    When we ask in faith believing, all things are possible. Like in Mark 9:23, when a man brought his son that was possessed with a dumb spirit that was torturing him to Jesus, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Faith opens the door of opportunities wide open. Don’t be afraid to have faith and believe, and dare to step out on God’s promises. In Luke 7, we find a woman who had faith and acted upon it. While Jesus was eating at a Pharisee’s house, she came with an alabaster box of ointment. In verse 38, it says, “And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Then the story goes on to say that the Pharisee judged and criticized the woman for her sincere efforts. Jesus promptly rebuked the Pharisee and told him a parable of forgiveness, and pointed out the Pharisee’s own lack of action. But, the main point I want to bring out, is what Jesus told the woman in verses 48 and 50, (especially, verse 50). Luke 7:48, “And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.” Verse 50, “And he said to the woman, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” Her faith is what set in motion the events that would change her life and save her soul! If we don’t have faith we have nothing. No salvation, no healing, no miracles! If we do not have faith, we do not have our life preserver and our life boat that will carry us through the storms of life. Our faith and the Spirit of God is what carries us directly to His presence, and takes us to the place where miracles happen!

    One last thing, I want to point out, if we have faith we will not only ask God for things, but we will praise God in advance for the things that He will do. Why? Because we have faith and know that He will do it, and we are thanking Him early. Just as I put in an email so many times, “thank you in advance for your time and consideration”, we should thank Him for taking the time to consider us and for the things that he will do for us!

   Psalm 103 King James Version (KJV) 103 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. 19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.

Instant in Season. 

    Has something ever caught you off guard? Where you were surprised at what happened in a situation? Maybe it was something someone said or done, and you couldn’t think of a good response? I have been there before, and later I thought about what I could have said or done to help the situation, or maybe even what I shouldn’t have said or done. 2 Timothy 4:2 (KJV), says “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” Paul was instructing Timothy to be ready to say and do what needed to be said or done at any moment’s notice. This takes study and practice. In order to be knowledgeable about something, one has to research and get information about the subject. When I was in nursing school, we had to write research papers, and be ready to discuss the topic if necessary. In life, we have times where a situation arises, and we must have the wisdom and knowledge to know how to handle the situation. We may not have time to phone a friend, family member, or our pastor, ect. However, if we think about things before hand and study them out in God’s Word and in prayer, when the time comes, it will not catch us unaware. I remember times on the job, all I had time to do was say a quick prayer for direction, and God helped me.

 

     1 Peter 3:15 (KJV) states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Notice the order in which Peter gave the instruction here. First, we must sanctify God in our hearts. If we do not have a sanctified heart and life before God, we will not have any convictions, and we will not have any stability, and be more likely to compromise. I’ve known of people that I thought had convictions, but when the time came, they caved! I was deeply saddened at the missed opportunity to stand for what was right by those people. It is a serious thing, because we will have to answer to God for what we said or done. If they had settled it in their heart before then, there wouldn’t have been any questions about it later. The second thing Peter said was, to be ready always. Not sometimes, not every now and then, but always ready to give an answer and a reason of the hope that is “IN YOU.” Again, it is very important to have it in our hearts. Peter expected those he was writing to, to have it in them, not just a head knowledge.

 

      Sometimes, a door will open for us to witness to someone. If we are not careful, we will get busy with our day and things we must do, and not even realize the opportunity is there. I had encountered an elderly person one time who was dying and had dementia. She was confused and had been for a while. One day, I started talking to her, and she had a moment where she was anxious about dying. To make a long story short, I asked if she wanted me to pray for her. She responded, “Yes”. I prayed the sinner’s prayer while choking back the tears, not knowing how much she was understanding. After I said, “Amen,” she said, “Amen”! I realized that she was listening to every word I said. I felt more peace about her dying after that. She had a moment of clarity! Within two days after that, she passed away. What if I had been too busy with what I had to do, to take time to really talk with her? What if I said, she is confused, there’s no need in trying? But, thank God, in that moment of time, I knew what to do and walked through that door of opportunity to help someone know God!

   

      Finally, in 2 Timothy 4:2, it says “with all long suffering and doctrine,” and in 1 Peter 3:15, he tells us, with “meekness and fear”. Sometimes, we say what needs to be said or do what needs to be done, but with the wrong attitude. In both scriptures, they stressed the importance of being patient, gentle, and having a reverence for the truth and the person or situation we are dealing with. It is not something to be taken lightly, hurriedly, or rudely. If we do take it lightly, be in a hurry, or be rude, we will do more damage than we would ever do good! Any benefit from it would be lost, and we will stand in judgment for the lost opportunity, and for also how it affected other people. I can certainly see where I can move up in these areas. Lord, help us all to be instant and have wisdom in every situation we encounter! Let this be our prayer every day!

You Just Might Win! 

Don’t ever give up, don’t ever give in, cause that might just be the time that you win! ~Lacy Harrison

 

     We all have experienced defeat, failure, and heart break. That thing that we thought we had to get just seemed so out of reach! If we are not careful, it can lead to depression instead of perseverance. Proverbs 13:12 (KJV) tells us that, Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. We have to look at things from a different point of view. Instead of saying, why didn’t God let me have that? Or why is God not opening that door for me? We should say, God must have known it wouldn’t have been a good thing for me, or He has something better and greater for me down the road. We pray for God’s will, but we often times forget that; when things don’t go as we believe they ought to. God knows the desires of our hearts, and He knows what is best for us. He sees what we cannot see! However, if we continue to do our best, pray and follow His leading, the time will come when the right time and opportunity will come along.

 

   God always answers our prayers. It might be yes, no, or wait depending on the situation, and what He ultimately wants to do in our lives. It is so wonderful to know that we don’t have to orchestrate every detail of our lives! All we have to do is have faith, believe, and follow his leading, and He’ll do the rest. I know it’s easier said than done. I have struggled with this myself with knowing God’s perfect will. But, if we will continually seek His face, His will always direct us. Luke 11:9-13, And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? God is our heavenly Father, and it doesn’t get no better than that! He will not ignore us, or give us something that would cause us harm. I believe this is why sometimes, God says no. We sometimes believe that this certain job, relationship, real estate, ect. will be exactly what we need, and it will be the best thing ever. However, God sees the future, and knows what will harm us, or pull us away from God, or people who will do us wrong, or the business deal that will turn sour. He is waiting for the right time, to give us the right thing!

 

    Have you ever heard the old saying, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? It is very to the point and true. Sometimes, we are one prayer away from victory! Just at the point we are about to break and give up, that is when God shows up. The following parable in the Bible illustrates this point very well. Luke 18:1-8 (KJV), And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? This widow had an adversary that was grieving her and vexing her. So, she took her cause to the one who could help her. In all reality, he was a wicked judge and ignored her pleadings. But, in the end her persistence paid off, and he finally did what she asked him. How much more will our Father help us in the time of need! I do believe that He is just wanting us to have faith and be persistent enough to press on to get what we need from Him. I would hate to know I gave up to soon and missed out on what God had in store for me. It is exciting to know today could be the day our prayers could be answered!

More of Jesus! 

How desperate are we to get more of Jesus? I’ve been thinking about that this past week, and I can definitely see where I can do better. You see, it takes more than just saying I want more of Jesus. It takes actually doing something about it. We might even be ridiculed or made fun of for doing things that brings us closer to Jesus. However, the persecution is only temporary. Our soul is eternal. What it really comes down to is, how bad to we want Him? Would we rather please those around us? What is more valuable to us? What do we give our time and energy too? I’ve heard it said many times, you can tell what things people love by how much time they spend doing something. Zacchaeus, in the Bible, was a great example of not caring what it took or what people thought of him in order to get to Jesus. He was a man of great prominence and wealth. He could have disregarded Jesus, and not even seen His need of Him. Luke 19:1-9 says, “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” The first thing we see is that Zacchaeus was the chief among the publicans, and had a lot of money. He could have said that he had it all, and had need of nothing. He could have said that he was fine just like he was. Instead, He was desperate for Jesus! Secondly, not only could his status have hindered him, there were physical things that could have prevented him from being close to Jesus. First off, there was the press or the crowd of people gathered around Jesus that day, and on top of that, Zacchaeus was short. I can relate here! He could have given up and went home. He could have said it’s not worth the time nor the effort it is going to require me to get to Him. I hate crowds, or there is no way, I’m going to climb up a sycomore tree! What will people think of me?!? But, he went on ahead, and done what he needed to do to get to Jesus. When Jesus came, not only did Jesus know where he was, but he called him by name! And the icing on the cake, so to say, was that Jesus told him he wanted to go to his house. Wow, what if Zacchaeus had not done what he needed to in order to get to Jesus! Not only was he changed, but Jesus told him that salvation was come to his house as well. The odd part was people complained and said that Jesus was going to a sinner’s house. But, that is Jesus’s whole mission to seek and to save that which is lost. Zacchaeus immediately started making changes in his life because Christ had become part of his life. He gave half of his goods to the poor, and if he had stolen, he was going to restore it fourfold. If we really come in contact with Jesus, and surrender to Him. We will be changed! I could tell more stories about blind Bartimaeus, the women with the issue of blood, or of the four that brought their friend that was sick of the palsy to Jesus through the roof! The moral of all of these stories is that, if we want Jesus bad enough we can do whatever it takes to get to Him; no matter the cost, and no matter what people may think of us. It will take more prayer in the Spirit, more Bible reading, fasting, and laying things down that we shouldn’t be doing. Whatever it takes, it is worth it to get more of Him, and have our needs meet, no matter what they are!

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