In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Today’s gospel passage makes it seem so simple! Ask God for what you want and you’ll get it; look for what you want and you’ll find it; just knock and doors will be opened to you. However, Jesus reminds us that God is a good father and will not give us what is wrong for us! When you were young, did you ever ask your parents for something that was just not right for you? Perhaps your children have done the same to you. You don’t give a baby a steak, nor do you give a toddler a 10 speed bicycle. You wouldn’t let your children look for milk in the cabinet where you keep your cleaning supplies. But sometimes we are looking for what we think we need in all the wrong places. Yes, Jesus tells us to keep asking for what we need and we will receive it, but he also expects that we will be asking for the right things. We are bombarded with ads that tell us what we need to do or own in order to be happy, but are those things truly what we need? Jesus tells us that we need hearts that are open to others, that we must be people of peace and forgiveness, and when we ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit, we will surely receive. When we pray, do we ask God to give us those things which He knows we need in order to be happy, or do we ask for what the media says we need? If we leave the decisions up to God, then we will always receive what we ask for; we will find what we are looking for; and doors will open at our knock.

Through Jesus Christ, we can have boldness in our speech as we speak about Him, and boldness as we live knowing that death is gain. Through Jesus, we also get access to the Father, whom we wouldn’t have access to without Jesus. Beyond that, we can come to the Father confidently in the name of Jesus because Jesus covers us. He puts on us His perfection and victory over sin. Through Jesus, by faith, we get great rewards.

Father in Heaven, I am so glad that I can come before You confidently. Thank you for sending Jesus so that through Him I would be able to approach You. You have given me great things, so let me live boldly. I have no one to fear but You, Lord. You are the only one who needs to be pleased with me. Make me confident as I live out my days for You – not for men. You are good. You are beautiful. I truly serve the God of all things who created all things. There is no evil in You. I come to You, Father, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

We belong to God. We are His children. Whenever the enemy tries to tell you otherwise, stand firm on God’s word and remind the enemy of whom you belong to – God, the Father.

I really love the psalms! I hope that you are reading this on a glorious January day, but if it’s rainy or gloomy, this psalm should perk you up! How often do we really take the time to just praise God? We turn to God when we need something, when friends or family are suffering, or we hear of a tragedy. Sometimes we remember to say “thank you” to God for prayers answered, and we might even ask forgiveness for the times we have sinned, but how often do we just praise God for his goodness, for the blessing of a sunny day, for the glory of his creation or his saving grace? This psalm is the perfect prayer of praise. We are reminded of God’s goodness, his mercy and faithfulness, not just to Israel but also to us. We are invited to sing God’s praises with all creation. Actually the psalms in general are a great place to find the words when we don’t know what to pray. The psalmists were honest with God and with themselves and so we have psalms of praise and worship, fear of abandonment and thanksgiving for rescue. We have psalms where they express their anger and frustration, their hopes and their joys. There will always be times in our lives when we can’t find the words, when this happens, let us turn to the psalms. And may we find some time in each day to sing your praises.

Dear God, I thank you that I have my identity in you – as your child. Lord, I pray that when anyone tries to make me doubt who I am, I will simply shake them off and tell them, confidently, that I belong to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Lord, I thank You that You have made me a citizen of Your kingdom. You have built a firm foundation resting on all those who came before me and You have made Christ the cornerstone that holds it all together. Help me to show good citizenship in this community and pay proper respect and homage to those who laid the foundation of my faith. Amen.

Through Commenting We improve Our Writing and Communication With One Another in Jesus name Amen

“I Choose to Forgive

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 
Colossians 3:13

C S. Lewis pointed out that “forgiving does not mean excusing . . . if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive.” The people of Paducah, Kentucky, understood this. A few years ago, fourteen‐year‐old Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of students who had gathered in prayer. In seconds, ten were wounded, three fatally. Yet the students and people from the community showed a remarkable willing‐ness to forgive. Placards appeared at the high school reading, “We Forgive You, Mike.” Kelly Carneal, Michael’s sister, was not only embraced by her peers, but was also asked to sing in the choir at the slain girls’ funeral.

During the town’s annual Christmas parade, the people lifted up a moment of silent prayer on behalf of Michael and his family. One young girl said it best: “I can hate Michael and bear the scars of what he did for the rest of my life. But I choose to forgive him and get beyond it.”CONTINUE READING →

All So Read!

How to Help Your Spouse Grieve Beth Ann Baus

Helping your spouse grieve is a privilege because it’s an opportunity to love, support, comfort, and rely on the Lord in a very specific way.CONTINUE READING →

What Does the Bible Say about Interracial Marriage? Emma Danzey

No matter what a person believes on the matter of interracial marriage, I want to begin with the fact that we are all made in the image of God.CONTINUE READING →

                                                         Bible Trivia Question of the Day                                                             What did the townsfolk of Gerasenes ask of Jesus after he cast the legion of demons out of the possessed man into the herd of pigs?
A. they asked Jesus to heal their sick
B. they asked Jesus to leave their town
C. they asked Jesus to perform more miracles
D. they asked Jesus to feed them

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The things that we receive from God are always good and they always refresh us. The world tries to offer us counterfeit forms of the good things God gives us, but they can never match up. Stick to the things of God; they will refresh your soul and make you feel as if you will remain a youth forever.

This begs the question – Do I cry out for God’s help and mercy? It’s hard to ask for help when we live in such a do-it-yourself world. We seem to have bought into the idea that we can do it all and do it without help. Just look at all the books on the subject! But there are situations when we have to admit that we need help. The older I get, the more I realize this. The more I recognize the need for God and others. The more I recognize the need for forgiveness as sins of the past come more to the forefront of memory. We all cry out to God when people we love are ill or in trouble, when we lose a family member or friend, but do we ask for healing of resentments, of past hurts? Do we reach out to God even in the day to day needs we experience? Are we aware of the times in our lives that God has been merciful towards us? God is not doing this because we are faithful to him, but because HE is faithful to us. God’s mercy is not earned, it is a free gift. When we cry out for God’s help, we sometimes we are directed to someone within the community for the help we need. How often we don’t even recognize that God has answered our prayer! I know that my morning prayer often begins with a thank you for another day and a plea for help to get though it! God cares about us so much more than we can ever imagine. It’s not only okay to ask for help, it’s what God wants us to do, and who wants to disappoint God?

This passage marks a shift from book 42 of Isaiah. Much of the previous chapter is taken up with rebukes and denouncements from God has been disappointed by His chosen people. Here, however, we see a God who fiercely declares to His people, “I have redeemed you; you are mine.” God once again shows up as a loving parent, who disciplines us because He loves us. Even though we continue to be disobedient children, nothing prevents God from claiming us as His own. Nothing takes away the redemption He has promised.

Father, I’ll belong to You. You have redeemed me. Even though I have disappointed You time and time again, You still call me Yours and for that I am thankful. Amen.

Dear God, I thank you that the things that come from you are good and true. May you help me discern what is from you and what is not. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Moral Strength: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Exodus: 32:26 – Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the LORD’s side – come with me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

God gave the Bible to back up the science we see today. Wernher Von Braun was known as the father of the American Space Program.

“Put your money where your mouth is!” Have you ever heard that phrase? It is often said to us when we make a claim that others think we can’t back up. Sometimes we talk a good game, but can’t play it. We let our mouths get carried away and sometimes that leads to all kinds of trouble. When we make a habit of talk, talk, talk but can’t follow it up with do, do, do, then we lose credibility and no one will believe a word we say. This verse reminds us that if we are going to “talk the talk,” then we must “walk the walk.” When we talk a lot about being a Christian and how we pray all the time and how we read our Bibles all the time and how we go to church all the time, people have an expectation of how we should behave. When our behavior contradicts what we say about ourselves, people lose faith in us. And because we represent Christianity to them, they lose faith in all Christians. It is a terrible thing to mislead someone about Christ. We must be excellent ambassadors for Him, in word and deed.

Father, I ask You to help me to live the way You would have me to. Let the words of my mouth and the actions of my heart be the same. If I speak about love, let me be known for love. If I recite scripture, let me first live by that scripture. Help me to be able to match my “walk” and my “talk.” Amen.

“The LORD has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him.”

Isaiah 8:17 (GNT)

It’s easy to worship God when things are going great in your life—when he’s provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. So, how do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

The writer Philip Yancey once noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”

That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation—times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness and doubt as “the dark night of the soul.”

King David understood days like these. Even though God called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22 NIV), David sometimes complained about God’s apparent absence:

  • “Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?” (Psalm 10:1 TLB).
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?” (Psalm 22:1 NLT).
  • “Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2 GNT).

Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he’ll never leave you. God has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5 GNT).PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

  • What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a difficult season?
  • What do you think God might want you to learn during these times?
  • What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?

Have you trusted God’s promise of salvation through Jesus Christ?

If you’re ready to commit your life to Jesus, then pray this prayer:

“Dear Jesus, you have promised that if I believe in you, everything I’ve ever done wrong will be forgiven, I will learn the purpose of my life, and you will accept me into your eternal home in heaven one day.

“I confess my sin, and I receive you into my life as my Lord and Savior. You have promised that if I confess my sin and trust you, I will be saved. I trust you when you say salvation comes by grace, through faith, and not by anything I do. Today I’m turning over every part of my life to your management.

“I’m grateful for your unconditional love. I want to use the rest of my life to love and serve you instead of serving myself. I commit my life to you and ask you to save me and accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

God will never hide from us. He desires that we seek more and more of Him, so that we grow in our knowledge of Him. Growing in the knowledge of God builds our confidence in Him and serves as a constant reminder of why we can trust in Him. Sometimes we get all tied up trying to figure out what people want from us. It can be very frustrating and sometimes even confusing. God plainly tells us what He wants from us: to “do justly,” “love mercy,” and “walk humbly with thy God.” What does this mean to us in plain terms? God desires us to do the right thing, the “just” thing, the fair thing. To be honest in our dealings with people. He desires that we are merciful to each other. That we give people the benefit of the doubt. That we don’t give up on people too easily. And He asks that we walk with a humble spirit, not an arrogant one. That we see the need for Him and that we understand that we are nothing without Him. When our spirits are humble, we can be instructed. We can be led. Please God is a very simple thing, but the benefits are greater than anything we can imagine. No matter how good or glorious the wealth and possessions of the wicked may look, it all means nothing. It will all pass away and the wicked will be left to face the consequences of their actions. Dear Christian, you have no reason to envy what the wicked have. You are a child of God and God will always provide for you. Most importantly, you are saved. That is more important than anything in this world.

Dear God, I thank you that I can always know you more. Father, I pray that I grow in my knowledge of you on a daily basis, because in knowing you there is life and there is freedom. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Surviving Human Trafficking! And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

I am a 47 year old Native American woman who has servived being raped, being beaten and being shot by my husband who then selflessly killed himself in front of me. Seven years have past but I still can’t get the image out of my head. But, I thank God for keeping me alive. My past is my experience. An experience you can’t get in any class room. It was a hard challenging life, but By the grace of God I am here. Only to be a true testimony for the living God. To glorify His Holy Name. Fasting and prayer work hand in hand with each other. You cannot fast without praying – otherwise you will simply be on a hunger strike. The point of fasting is to sacrifice earthly needs in order to focus more on communing with God. Prayer is how we commune with God during this time of fellowship. It is in these times we can receive visions, revelations of God’s word, and a refreshed assurance in the goodness of God.

Boy, are we just like the people in Jesus’ day! We say we will follow Jesus, but we put it off with all kinds of excuses! I need to work; my kids are in sports; I’ll do it when I’m older. I don’t have time right now for you, Jesus, but the day will come when I will have time. Imagine how that works with our earthly relationships! There’s an old song called “Cat’s in the Cradle” that talks about a father who doesn’t have time for his son while the son is growing up and only realizes what he has done when he retires and the son now has no time for him. The good news is that Jesus will always have time for us no matter how long it takes for us to wake up and make room for him in our lives. But think of what we miss! We can miss years, or in some cases, a lifetime, of knowing that Jesus has our back – he will always be there to help and guide us. His grace will be there to keep us from making some pretty terrible mistakes. All we need to do is follow him. In one of the classes we had this spring, the video instructor explained that the “yoke” that Jesus asks us to take for our own, is not a burdensome piece of wood that keeps us tied to the plow, but rather, a point of view. Jesus asks us to view life as he did – working for justice, in communion with one another, always connected to the God who made us. Yes, it can be difficult at times because the world is always pulling us in all directions, but with the grace of God, we can do it. What has happened when you didn’t follow Jesus? I know that in my life, that’s when I was on my knees begging God to get me out of the mess I made. In the long run, life is actually easier when we give in, let go of the excuses, and just follow Jesus.

Dear God, my prayer is that everything I do will never be done out of ignorance or selfish desire. May I never have any ulterior motives in my actions because I know how this can nullify the very act. May I remember that the importance of all I do is to communicate with you and to ensure that your name is glorified at all times. In Jesus name I pray Amen

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Has someone ever said to you, “You just made my day!” and you wondered what you did or said? Just think for a moment how you feel when that happens. You just brought the Good News of Christ to that person! You made that person feel better about themselves or more loved or more accepted. This is what following Jesus and being a disciple is all about. We don’t always know what it means to someone to say that we will pray for them, or to tell them they’re special or loved. When we act as Jesus would act, we are bringing God’s love into whatever situation we are in. The world can get us down sometimes. We can wonder if it’s all worth it to do the right thing when we see others profiting from the unhappiness of others. We need to hear the good news of salvation. But someone needs to bring us that good news! Bringing someone else joy, gives us joy as well. In our Gospel passage today, the seventy-two disciples returned to Jesus full of joy and couldn’t wait to tell him about their experience of spreading the Good News of the Kingdom. The message of Jesus was and is “God loves you.” When we can look in the mirror, into the eyes of a friend, into the face of a stranger and be able to say, “God loves you,” we are bringing the Good News of Christ to all we meet and we will experience joy. So, this week, go make someone’s day!

https://journeyintothewild.quora.com/https-thebohemianlounge-quora-com-Motherly-love-1?ch=18&oid=57522366&share=586517de&srid=nTc3I&target_type=post

We have a lesson to learn from John the Baptist. Many people had approached John wondering if he might be the Messiah. As we see in this passage from Mark’s Gospel, John made sure that they were mistaken, that there was “another” coming who was greater than he who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Soon Jesus comes to John to be baptized. The lesson we should take from John is that WE are also not the Messiah. Our task, as was John’s, is to lead others to Christ, not to ourselves. I have seen many examples over the years, as I’m sure you have as well, of preachers who seem more interested in drawing attention to themselves rather than to Christ. Who appear to act as if they are the only ones who can save us. They can’t. Jesus has already done that! I once knew a woman who had emerged from a cult and who was engaged to marry a Methodist minister. Even though she had left the cult, she still had fears that by leaving, she was condemning herself to hell. The leader of the cult still held power over her, a power he never should have taken upon himself. Just as John understood that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the promised one, we need to help others to come to know Jesus even if they never come to know us. Once John knew that Jesus had begun his ministry he declared that he, John, must decrease so that Jesus could increase. May we have the humility of John. There is nothing more lovely to see than a child reaching up to his/her parent in love and trust. It is to such as these that Jesus tells us we must be. Children have faith that they will be cared for by those who love them. When we were children, we didn’t really have any problems believing that God loves us, but as we grow older, we seem to become jaded by a world that lets us down, and so we can easily believe that God will do likewise. The early Christians knew what it meant to be church. They met in homes, gathered to share their memories of Jesus, or the stories they had heard, reading letters from Paul or other disciples and sharing a meal. On the Sabbath they would go to the temple to pray – until it became impossible. As time went by the spreading of the Good News was left to professionals. Today things must change if we want our children to know of God’s love for them. The emphasis now is on our role to reach out to others, to witness our faith in the home, the workplace, the neighborhood. No longer is it just the job of ministers and priests to bring others to Christ, it is our job as well. Change is difficult and personal responsibility is always a challenge. Faith, like any other relationship, needs to be nurtured and this is perhaps the greatest challenge of all. Let us take this year to grow in our knowledge of Christ; let us take more time for prayer; let us delve into the Scriptures and learn just how to truly follow Jesus. Just as we encourage our children to grow and provide opportunities for them, may we take advantage of the opportunities that will be offered to us this year, so that we may have enough faith to last a lifetime and beyond – into eternity.

Our relationship with God consists of us realizing the areas in which we need reformation, and following God’s guidance so that we can be healed, reformed, and transformed. Only the power of God can change our ways. We can’t do it without His help.

Dear God, I ask that you reveal to me any areas of my life that I need to do better in. Lord, I also ask that you help me improve in these areas because it is only through you that I can achieve such. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Lord Do Not Delay!

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In this psalm, we pray that we delight to do God’s will. I wonder if we really mean what we pray, or if we just say the words. First, we need to think about what God’s will really is. When we read the Scriptures we see certain themes – justice, peace, and especially, love. These themes run through the Old Testament as well as the New. We are told to take care of the poor, the most vulnerable in our society. We are asked to remember that we were once strangers in the lands we now occupy. We are told to treat others the way we want to be treated, to forgive. These are not easy tasks and sometimes we do not “delight” in doing them. We want justice but not if it interferes with our comfort. We want peace, but our speech is often loaded with violence. We say we want to be forgiven but find it hard to forgive. We don’t always welcome the stranger, and we sometimes suspect the poor of being responsible for their situation. When we continue to read this psalm, we read a confession of sorts admitting that we often fail in doing the will of God. We also hear the author asking for God’s mercy and faithfulness. We need to look at ourselves with honesty and see how we can work better to bring about God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

Dear God, I pray that I will always be kind in my ways to everyone around me. I desire that when I leave this earth, I will be remembered for being someone who expressed your love – not someone who inflicted pain on others. May I be known for being peaceful and loving and always ready to help, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Paul continues to express to his listeners the events of Christ’s return. Here he references a passage from Isaiah 25. He says that death will be “swallowed up.” What an appropriate end for Death! Death swallows up all its victims. People waste away in the throes of cancer and disease as death just consumes them. To know that one day, death itself will be swallowed up brings hope to the believer. In the glorious world Paul talks about, the power of the grave will be no more. Death will take no more loved ones. We won’t have to watch anyone else we love to die. God will wipe away the tears we’ve shed over what death has stolen from us and put an end to death once and for all.

Father, I look forward to the day when death will die. You will swallow it up and eliminate its power. No more tears will I ever have to cry because Death has stolen someone I love. You have assured me of that and I praise You for it. Amen.

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