Lord, Thank you for caring for me, for providing for my needs, for making me feel safe and protected. In You I see my true worth. I am treasured by You and Your love gives me confidence. In You, I am everything. Amen.

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This is a praise of joy in the Lord. The writer of this Psalm rejoices in the Lord. So should we. We should exalt in the Lord, the Highest. He is all things to us. We should praise His Holy name forever. He is worthy of all praise. Praise is one of the most powerful weapons against the enemy that we possess. When we praise, we affect ourselves, God, the enemy. When we praise, walls fall and troubles disappear. The lack of praise conversely affects everything in your life. While almost everyone would agree that praise is a good thing, many people don’t see the responsibility to praise God even when we don’t feel like it. When we give this “sacrifice” of praise unto God, we are overcomers. Praise comes naturally when we recognize the goodness in our lives. We should make it a point to praise Him every day.

The Christian life is a wondrous adventure, full of twists and turns, good times and also difficult challenges. Through all of it, God’s Word is our greatest resource for insight, wisdom, hope, and guidance. Every problem we face has its solution in the Word of God. Where there is a need for comfort, peace, or courage, He provides it. To find His wisdom, there is simply no substitute for spending time alone with Him in prayer and the study of His Scriptures. Each year I receive countless letters from people who ask if there is a way for them to know God’s will for their lives. The answer is yes. But before He will reveal this to us, we need to get to know Him—the way He thinks, acts, and demonstrates His love for us.

Are you tired of trying to overcome sin on your own? Are you worn out from trying to be perfect, in your own power? Have you tried to be righteous on your own and found yourself seriously wanting? Here is the good news: you don’t have to do this on your own. Jesus Christ paid the price for us, so that we could be saved from our sin, and so that we could also be partakers of the Father’s inheritance. The life of Christ is an unburdened life, filled with rest and blessed assurance.

Dear God, I thank you for the rest and peace I have in you as a result of what your son, Jesus Christ, did for me. Lord, I have struggled with my sin and I have grown weary from trying to be perfect on my own. Thank you, Father, for removing the burden from my shoulders and helping me overcome my struggles. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Even Jesus rested, and He encouraged his apostles to rest. He wanted them to take breaks and rest. To take the time to go away and eat. There is nothing wrong with needing rest. God meant for us to take a Sabbath just as He did. He created the world in six days, and He rested on the seventh. You are not greater than God; take a rest.

Even Jesus rested, and He encouraged his apostles to rest. He wanted them to take breaks and rest. To take the time to go away and eat. There is nothing wrong with needing rest. God meant for us to take a Sabbath just as He did. He created the world in six days, and He rested on the seventh. You are not greater than God; take a rest.

Police Departments Across America Have Lost Their Intarigy.

The are no more God fearing Police Officers in America. Most police officers today are only cops because they got beat up in high school.

The police today are murdering people and its legal. To get judge to forget about it because they are in on the criminal side as well.

The police are targeting reformed sex offenders. Entrapment is against the law and yet the police brake the law and get with it.

Hearsay is against the law and yet warrants are written. Magistrates fet paid by how many warrants they write.

Prophets did not always bring good news. The role of a prophet was to tell God’s truth. We don’t always want to hear the truth. Jeremiah was trying to tell the people of Judah that they were on a collision course with destruction. No one wanted to listen and Babylon soon overtook Judah and sent the citizens into exile. We don’t like prophets either. We don’t like it when we are warned that we need to change our behavior or we will run into a problem. Now, that can be as simple as letting the gas in your car get down to the warning light believing that you will always be able to find a gas station before you run out and then you get stuck because of an accident and you run out of gas on the highway. Don’t you just hate those people who were always warning you not to do that! It can be as serious as the world’s refusal to believe that over use of fossil fuels and the decimation of the world’s rain forests will result in weather changes we won’t like. But, these last few years have brought problems we now have to find ways to either fix or better prepare to survive. We are often no different from the people of Judah. We don’t want to think about what can happen when we disregard the teachings of Christ. It’s too late for us to join the group that wanted to kill Jeremiah, but we still might not want to listen to him. Let us use this time to remember the warnings of Jeremiah and also those of Jesus and work at following God’s will.

Have you ever wondered how Joseph must have felt when he found out that Mary was pregnant? He had plans, he had found a woman he loved and was getting ready to welcome her into his home. But not like this! According to the law, she had committed adultery and the punishment for adultery was stoning. What was he going to do? Joseph believed the angel who appeared to him in that dream and welcomed Mary and Jesus into his home, raising Jesus as his own son. We can learn so much from Joseph. He believed that God had a plan for him and he was ready to accept it. How do we react when our plans don’t work out the way we want them to? We can be like Joseph, in love planning our future with the one we love and boom! It could be that he/she decides he/she is not ready for marriage and backs out. Maybe he/she dies. Maybe the wedding takes place and a few years later, it just isn’t working. Do we get angry with God thinking he has failed us? What do we do? Joseph is the perfect model. He was willing to accept that God had a better plan for him, trusting him to be father to his Son. God has a plan for us as well. If we are patient and pray, God will show us the path that will lead to happiness.

Think of the people you know. Who do you trust? Who makes you feel good to be with? When you find out that someone has lied to you, how can you know when they’re telling the truth? If you lie, how can people trust you? The people we feel good to be with are ones we can trust, who are kind. They are the ones who follow through with their promises, who are always ready to help out, who go out of their way to do acts of kindness. And, when we are with them, we want to treat them the same way. If we want to be treated well, we need to be those people! When I taught, it wasn’t always easy to get through the hallway crowded with teenagers trying to get in their lockers and make their way to the next class. One day in the faculty lounge, one of the teachers was complaining about the rudeness of the kids who never even bothered to hold the door. I commented that I didn’t have that problem. The kids usually held to door for me, and of course I would hold it for them if their arms were full. She just shrugged her shoulders and said that she wouldn’t hold a door for those ruffians. The way we treat others does matter. If you are judgmental, don’t be surprised if you find yourself judged. If you gossip, you may find yourself the object of gossip. The reverse is also true. If you are forgiving, you will be forgiven. If you are kind, you will be treated with kindness. It’s your choice and mine.

One of the biggest fears that most people have is being made a fool. They are afraid to trust others because they don’t want that trust to be misplaced or misused. Often people will speak of having “acquaintances” rather than “friends”. They’re afraid to get too close to anyone or let anyone get close to them because they are afraid that their trust will be betrayed. It’s easy to transfer our feelings about people to our feelings about God. There are so many people who are afraid to trust God because they’ve been betrayed by other people. They have major trust issues with everybody and God the Father is certainly not excluded. David also had a difficult time in trusting people. His own father-in-law tried to kill him. He was on the run. He had to hide to save his life. Still he put his trust in God. David put his faith in God. He says here that he has taken refuge in the Lord. He has placed his confidence in the Lord and prays that trust will not be unfounded and make him “ashamed.” David has reached a point where he can trust no one, but he trusts God to deliver him. We can take this to heart, as well. Even when the world has let us down, we can trust in the Lord and he is faithful to deliver us with His righteousness.

Father, I thank You for being my refuge. I trust You and I know You are faithful to deliver me. I know that I will never regret my decision to follow You. Amen.

Dear God, it is easy to be enticed by the things of this world. When I am tempted by earthly goods or earthly status, remind me that they are not eternal. The only thing that is eternal is your love. Help me to do your will and to follow the path you’ve laid for me. Give me the courage to turn away from the things of this world and follow you with my whole heart. Thank you, O Lord, for the gift of eternal life. May I spend my days following you and serving you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

What can the world offer you that lasts? Nothing. Everything in this world will pass away. Therefore, it is hopeless to cling to material possessions or earthly status. In the end, none of these earthly things will matter. However, those who love God and do his will shall have eternal life. Rather than invest in earthly goods, invest in the Lord. Where your time and money are, there your heart will be. Spend your time and money investing in doing God’s will and you will never be separated from him.

Let’s read this again. It gives lie to the attitude present in Jesus’ time, and sometimes in our own, the children should bear the shame of a parent’s transgression or that the parent should be blamed if a child does something wrong. It also lets us know that there is always room to change the direction of our lives and that God will gladly welcome us back. We are not always as generous as God. Families can be ruined if a member is sent to prison. Parents can be blamed because a child turns to alcohol or drugs. The woman who suffers a miscarriage is often asked what she did to cause it. For a long time, anyone who was HIV positive was thought to be condemned, and isolated along with either parents or children – a modern day leper. In Jesus’ time it was the man born blind who was asked whose sin had caused it, his or his parents’. If we steal and are fired, that’s reasonable. If we steal and our children are fired, that’s not reasonable. If a child goes to jail, the parents need to be consoled, not blamed. Our sins are our own, our punishment is our own. At the same time, God waits. God doesn’t want to lose any of his children. He pursues us with his grace and gladly welcomes us when we repent and return. May we do the same.

Dear God,I come before You to lay my panic and anxiety at Your feet. When I’m crushed by my fears and worries, remind me of Your power and Your grace. Fill me with Your peace as I trust in You and You alone. I know I can’t beat this on my own, but I also know that I have You, Lord, and You have already paid the ultimate price to carry my burdens. For this I thank you, All of us struggle with anxiety and stress. For every person living on earth there are life situations outside of our control that lead to worry and fear. If you are in the middle of an especially stressful situation such as financial burdens, troubled relationships, or health issues, you know that it can become easy to let worry take over. This can lead to physical symptoms, insomnia, and more. We encourage you to memorize some Bible verses that overcome worries and stress so that you can speak to yourself, say it out loud, or write it out when you have an anxiety attack. Amen.

. Give a Tithe Unto the Lord”Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse (of Israel), so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Malachi 3:10

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”

Matthew 28:18-19 (NIV)

One thing is made very clear in Scripture: God wants you to tell people the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. In fact, some of the first and last recorded words of Jesus were about sharing the hope you have in him.

In Matthew 4:19, at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus gathered a small group of fishermen and carpenters—just ordinary people—and said, “Follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (NLT) These were some of the very first words Jesus spoke to his followers.

Do you see Jesus’ logic in that verse? If you’re not fishing for people, then you’re not really following him. The proof that you are truly in God’s family is that you’re bringing other people into the family.

Later in the book of Matthew, Jesus talked again about sharing your hope. This passage is called the Great Commission. Jesus said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19 NIV). These were some of the very last words of Jesus before he went back to heaven.

Why does Jesus have “all authority in heaven and on earth”? Because he created the universe, so he’s been given all authority over it. Jesus authorizes you to go make disciples. This means you are God’s agent!

Is anyone going to be in heaven because of you? Have you ever led anybody to faith in Christ? Follow the first and last words of Jesus, and people will one day say to you in heaven, “Thank you! I’m in heaven today because of you.”

What Are the 4 Spiritual Laws that Every Christian Should Know?

What Are the Four Spiritual Laws in the Bible?

The term “Four Spiritual Laws” does not appear in Scripture, but the principles do. CRU’s goal was to create an outreach tool that would organize biblically based steps for salvation into a straightforward, easy-to-understand format. The introduction included in the little booklet states that “Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws that govern your relationship with God.”

This four-point evangelistic model has been used by Believers for decades to introduce the plan of salvation to anyone who hasn’t yet heard about Jesus. What makes this method different than similar witnessing tools is that the steps begin on a positive note.

Law #1 of the Four Spiritual Laws focuses on God’s nature and his intent toward humanity. Using John 3:16 as a reference, this first law describes God’s love for the world, as demonstrated through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus. This law also emphasizes God’s favorable plans for mankind through salvation. “I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Many believe this biblical representation of God is an essential part of effective evangelism. The idea that our Creator loves us and has good plans for the world may seem like a no-brainer to Believers, but it’s likely a foreign concept to many who were raised in other religions. God’s loving nature and benevolence also may come as a surprise to an increasing number of unbelievers who have only seen and heard about God through warped representations in secular media and cynical culture.

The first section of the pamphlet concludes with the question, “Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life?”

Law #2 answers the question with a definitive statement. “Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.” 

The pamphlet cites Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” then expands upon the Scripture’s truth by defining sin in real terms and explaining the consequences associated with sin. According to this law, humanity was created to experience a close and loving fellowship with our creator. But because we preferred our own will to His, our rebellion caused a rift in the sacred relationship that ultimately led to a death sentence (Romans 6:23).

A simple diagram in the pamphlet illustrates the first law by depicting God’s holiness as opposed to humanity’s sinfulness. The gulf between the two points seems impossible to bridge because man has no means of reaching God through any human effort.

Law #3 shows the reader that the only way fallen mankind can ever reunite with a Holy God is through Jesus. “Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him, you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.”

Using Romans 5:81 Corinthians 15:3-6, and John 14:6, the third law not only shows the reader the Way to God, but also explains the Truth about the cost of our salvation, and the Life it required—all pointing to Jesus.

The diagram accompanying this law illustrates Jesus as the only bridge for the eternal gulf that separates God from man. His Son died on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.

Law #4 is the action step that provides readers with practical instruction to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This law uses John 1:12Ephesians 2:8-9, and John 3:1-8 to explain what it means to receive Christ through faith and what it means to be born again.

Next, the fourth law reveals Christ’s invitation for salvation (Revelation 3:20). Through the use of another diagram, repentance and surrender are emphasized as crucial prerequisites for salvation, and a clear warning is issued about emotion-based or half-hearted decisions. “Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, it is an act of the will,” the pamphlet explains

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Who has the right to boast? Someone who is a gifted artist, a musician, the top student in class, the wealthy man or woman, the top model, the award winning actor? That’s a partial list and you might add a few more. But what right do any of them have to boast? Who gave them the artistic ability, the musician’s ear or voice, the intelligence, the looks, the opportunities? The answer of course, is God. We didn’t earn the right to be born with any of these gifts. Nor are people who have fewer advantages being punished. As St. Paul says, if we are to boast – glory – let it be in the Lord. All that we have is gift! We didn’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, but we do have a responsibility to use and develop our gifts. The artist didn’t just get up one day, pick up a paint brush and bring the first attempt to the museum to be welcomed with open arms.

I have known intelligent people who sailed through high school and flunked out of college the first semester because he/she never learned how to study. We also have been gifted with faith. But faith, like any other gift needs to be practiced. I might sound like a broken record, but we do need to take advantage of this wonderful season to check and see how well we are doing. Let us show our gratitude for the gifts we have been given by thanking God and using them to the best of our ability.

Throughout the New Testament, we see examples of Jesus giving water to those who are thirsty. While this holy water is symbolic for the water of life that only comes from believing in Jesus, Jesus also tells his followers that if they give actual water to those who are thirsty because they follow him, they will be rewarded. Those serving Jesus should not just be sharing the Gospel with others, but also giving to those in need of food and drink. We are called to help those in need – sometimes it begins with offering a cup of water.

Dear God, allow me to see those who are in need and show me how to meet their basic needs as well as their spiritual needs. Help me not to overlook how serving in simple ways shows the love of Jesus. Give me opportunities to love others following your example. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to not only save me from my sins, but to be an example of love for all mankind. May I live a love of love that brings others to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Father, thank You for protecting me from the deep water and the burning flames. You fight my battles so that I am not overcome. With You by my side, I am never alone. Amen. Memorial Day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day?wprov=sfla1

Temptations abound. As a Christ follower, we must understand that we will face temptation regularly. Even Christ was tempted. However, Christ did not give in to temptation. He withstood it. Using his example, we can also withstand temptation. The Lord knows we will be challenged, but He promises that we will be rewarded for staying strong and not giving in to temptation. When we do not allow temptation to separate us from the love of God, we will be blessed with eternal life.

Dear God, When I struggle with temptation, help me to cling to you. Do not allow me to fall under the weight of temptation and give in. I know sin separates me from you – help me to withstand temptation and hold strong to your truths so that I will never be apart from you. Help me to follow the example of your son, Jesus Christ, gave us when he resisted the devil. Give me the strength to endure temptation so that I may spend eternity with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Father in Heaven, You are the great teacher. You know all and You teach others Your truths. Help me to grow and mature into a good teacher of Your truth. Instill wisdom in me so that as I age others benefit from knowing me. Help me to have character that is worthy of Your calling and reflects Your holiness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

This is great advice for anyone, but here it is specifically given to older women. They are to have holy character reflecting Jesus. They are not supposed to drink too much or falsely accuse people. Lastly, they are to teach good things. It is interesting that older women are instructed to teach. Knowing they have a lot of wisdom, they are instructed to pass that wisdom on.

I find this passage interesting. Hate goes against God’s laws. God is love, so there is no hate in God. Even in the story of Cain and Abel, God marks Cain so that no one will kill him. So how can we hate? It’s okay not to like someone, we all do that, but hate implies that we wish someone evil. That’s not okay.

To love our neighbor means that we don’t wish him any evil. This doesn’t mean that we have to approve everything our neighbor does. No, not at all, in fact this passage tells us it’s okay to rebuke someone, even a friend or family member and not get involved in behavior contrary to God’s law. Going back to Cain and Abel, revenge is also contrary to God’s will for us. So much violence would be avoided if people didn’t seek revenge.

As I mentioned the other day, today, a person who feels disrespected often gathers friends to “get even” with that person. This leads to a larger group of friends getting even with the others and so on and so on. Feuds of this sort have become commonplace among many groups of young people as we have become such a “them” and “us” society. Some feuds seem to last one generation to the next and often people don’t even remember when the bad feelings began, nor do they know the cause. How do you want to be treated? How do I? If I want to be treated kindly, with respect, then it is my responsibility to treat others the same. It’s not always easy to love those we don’t like, but that’s what God not only expects of us, but commands.

God created both male and female in his image. From the beginning, he made both man and woman and caused them to fellowship with him and with each other in the garden. And God gave Eve to Adam to be his wife, and this was for a picture of the Church, the bride of Christ, whom the Father would give to the Son.

O Lord, we know you have created men and women both in your image and for your glory. You have given them each their proper strengths and roles. Some you call to serve you as singles, and devote fuller time to your kingdom. Others you call to marriage, and this is a picture of your love for your Church. May we all be content with the calling you have called us with.

God dwells in us as a result of His Love. How does He dwell in us? Through His Spirit. We have accepted the Spirit of God to reside in us and this means that we are subjected to his counsel and his guidance. We are not slaves to our selfish cravings or desires. We are now able to rise above them and live according to the way of the Spirit.

Dear God, I thank you that I am now one with you as a result of your Spirit living within me. Father I ask that I will always pay attention to your will for me and not what my selfish demands. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Bible Hub,

Bible League: Living His Word For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD. — Romans 6:23 NKJV In Romans Chapter 6 the Apostle Paul contrasts the state of being a slave to sin with the state of being a slave to righteousness. Each […]

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Adopted Lone Narwhal Traveling Among Belugas Could Produce Narluga Calves

The mammal, now reaching sexual maturity, could mate soon, giving researchers more insight into the previously elusive hybrid animals


An image of a pod of beluga whales traveling with a lone male narwhal. The mammals are seen from above as they swim in the ocean.

Researchers suspect that breeding is a possibility because of how close the narwhal is to the pod of belugas. GREMM/Baleines En Direct Via YouTube

Since 2016, scientists have been tracking a pod of beluga whales that seems to have adopted a lone male narwhal in Canada’s St. Lawrence River. At about 12 years old, the narwhal is reaching sexual maturity, and experts are watching to see if the lone male will mate with one of its beluga peers to produce a hybrid known as a “narluga,” reports Robyn White for Newsweek.

The narwhal was first spotted after scientists at the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) used a drone to study social behaviors in beluga whales. Since joining the beluga pod, the narwhal has made itself at home and appears to be fitting in. 

“It behaves like it was one of the boys,” says Robert Michaud, GREMM’s president and scientific director, to CBC’s Emily Chung in 2018. “It’s like a big social ball of young juveniles that are playing some social, sexual games.”

Belugas and narwhals belong to the same cetacean family, Monodontidae, and bob around in the Arctic Ocean. However, belugas will migrate further south in the winter when sea ice forms, while narwhals stay in the Arctic and spend up to five months under ice-covered waters, per Newsweek.

The two species rarely interact in the wild, so it is surprising to researchers how the narwhal joined the pod. Behavioral ecologist Erica Siracusa tells Newsweek that the narwhal may have joined for protection against predators or because the two species are social creatures. Climate change may also create more interaction between the two species, as it continues to alter northern habitats, reported Brigit Katz for Smithsonian in 2018.   

Speculations of narluga hybrids have persisted over time, but it wasn’t until 2019 when DNA analysis of a skull confirmed their elusive existence, reports Matt Galloway for CBC. An Inuit subsistence hunter saved the skull of an odd cetacean he had hunted in Greenland in 1980s. It differed from the skulls of both belugas and narwhals, with mini tusks on its upper jaw and corkscrew-like lower teeth. DNA and chemical analysis found that the skull belonged to a first-generation narluga hybrid, according to the study published in Scientific Reports.

However, it is unknown if this narluga ever reproduced. While most hybrid species survive into adulthood, some hybrid species like mules are infertile and others, like the liger—a mix between a lion and a tiger—are fertile.

“We know that hybridization is possible … it did happen a few times,” Michaud told CBC.

Researchers suspect breeding is a possibility because of how bonded the narwhal is to the pod of belugas. Lots of interactions between the narwhal and the beluga whales have been seen, including social sexual behaviors in both species, Newsweek reports. For a narwhal to successfully reproduce, it will need to get close enough to the other beluga males to form an alliance. After the coalition is formed, as a group, they will approach and court the female whales, per CBC. Female beluga whales travel in a separate pod to raise and care for the young. If the lone narwhal successfully woos a female beluga, researchers will have to wait for it to grow to distinguish it from beluga calves.

Until then, scientists are gearing up to observe the unique pod of mammals when they return to the St. Lawrence River as early as late March to study their communication. It is currently not known if the narwhal can understand beluga vocalizations, per CBC.

“It’s fun, it’s intriguing, but it’s also very powerful and useful information for us tracking the life of this narwhal amongst the belugas,” Michaud tells CBC. “If he’s doing well, he might be here for the next 40 years — they live up to 60, 80 years old.”

Credit goes to Smithsonian writer’s.

Lord, I am so grateful for Your resurrection. My hope and my faith depend solely upon that fact. No matter what I am going through, that fact never wavers, so my faith never waivers. I thank You for the hope I have found in You. Amen.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

The Resurrection of Christ. It is the core of our Christian belief. It is not that Christ went to the Cross or that He died and was buried in a borrowed tomb that is the crux of our faith. It is His glorious resurrection. Without it, there would be no Christianity. He would be another dead prophet. But the fact that He was raised from the dead…THAT is the foundation of our faith. That is where our hope comes from. It doesn’t matter what our circumstances–Jesus was resurrected. It doesn’t matter who has left our lives or how many times we have failed–Jesus was resurrected. When we base our faith on that fact, it doesn’t matter what is going on in our lives, our faith doesn’t falter because that fact never changes. Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and therein lies the faith of the Christian believer.

Jesus never said it would be easy to follow him. We all have crosses to bear. No one escapes. We may think that riches will buy happiness, but even the wealthiest get sick, lose people they love and eventually die. What about power? There are people who spend their whole life climbing over other people to get to the top whether in business, politics, or wealth, only to discover that they are not happy and have no one left except those who want to pull them down. Fame can bring more problems than it solves. What is Jesus trying to tell us, then?

I believe that he reminds us of what is important, that our priorities need to be to love the people we love, to be kind to strangers, to put God first in our lives. Neither money nor power nor fame will soothe the pain of illness, or the death of a loved one. Jesus tells us that he will help us carry our cross; all we need to do is ask for help. There’s a tendency to think that whatever cross we bear must be easier than the crosses of others. A story is told about a man who complained to God about the difficulty of carrying his cross. God invites him to a hall where the crosses of other men and women are lined up and he is told that he can exchange his cross for one of the other crosses lined up against the walls. The man takes his time as he circles the room and experiences the difficulties involved in these other crosses. When he completes the circle, he chooses to pick up his own cross. Let us carry our crosses and not desire to be any other than we are; knowing that Jesus is with us all the time.

Thank You Father for hearing my prayers in Jesus name Amen

Dear God, I have chosen to submit my life to your will. Lord, I pray that any time the enemy tries to mess with me, may I find strength in you to resist his wiles. I know that he will flee with time. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

When we see wicked people entering troubling times we should not fear – and neither should we gloat. We should simply take comfort in God, knowing that all will be well and that the fate of the wicked is not the fate we, God’s children, will face.

To whom are we to show our loyalty?

This question is no easier to answer today than it was in the time of Jesus. What do we do when the demands of the gospel and the demands of the government conflict? Although there are many people in the world who don’t have the option to choose their leadership, many countries support an elected government. The government in question could be local, state or national. We pay taxes and by doing so, often support behavior that we do not agree with and that does not agree with gospel values. However, if we do not pay what is due, then we are subject to fines and possibly imprisonment. How did Jesus answer the question of his day?

Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what is God’s. We may not be able to easily choose what our money supports, but we can help determine what our government supports. We have a responsibility to know what those running for office – on every level – stand for and support. We have a responsibility to let our elected leaders know what bills we want them to help pass, and those we want to see defeated. This also means that we have a duty to register to vote and then to vote on Election Day. Apathy enables special interest groups to have the last say, not the general public.

How is this rendering to God the things that are God’s? How is this showing our support of the poor and the vulnerable? Are we willing to take the time to check out which of the candidates are committed to our values? Are we willing to make sure that our vote will count on Election Day? If we are truly committed to social justice, then we will take the time to make sure that when we render to Caesar, we are also rendering to God. And we can continue to advocate for those who do not have the rights that so many of us take for granted.

In Genesis, the rite of circumcision was begun as part of God’s covenant with Abraham. It was a way of setting God’s people apart (though it was only performed on males). Today it is practiced by a wide variety of cultures, primarily for hygiene purposes. But during the time that Galatians was written, it was still being practiced as a religious rite among the Hebrews. It was an area of contention during early Christianity because Gentiles were not circumcised, and therefore seen as unworthy in the eyes of their Hebrew brothers. Paul clarifies in this scripture that circumcision means nothing when it comes to following Christ. It is our faith, coupled with acts of love, that makes us worthy–not some ritual which has nothing to do with our heart. Paul makes it clear in this passage that faith is the only thing that matters to Christ.

Lord, Sometimes I get caught up in the ritual of things. I know that I am guilty of trying to do all the right things the right way. I sometimes judge others harshly because they don’t pray the way that I pray or read their bible as often as I think they should or attend all the services that I do. Help me to stop judging people based on things that just don’t matter to You. Help me to see a person’s heart. Help me to exercise faith coupled with love so that I may be what You want me to be. Amen.

Father, I know that You supply all my needs, according to Your riches in glory. Help me to remember that when I put others ahead of You. Remind me that I am not to put my trust on man, but in You. Man cannot love me like You do. Man cannot understand me the way You do. Only You know my heart. Only You know what I need. I thank You for Your abiding love for me. Amen. Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Thank You, Father God, in Your Son Jesus name Amen

We have come to the last Sunday before Lent and we are presented with an unusual reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians.

One of the biggest distortions I have heard is that only some can be saved. Jesus is clear that he came to save all. Whether all will have eternal life with him is another question for another day, but since salvation is a gift, not something to be earned, to say that some cannot be saved doesn’t ring true. Paul answered this question in many of his letters as does John in his. Luke’s gospel in his prologue gives us the guide we need to judge if what we are being told is true to the gospel. Sometimes it seems daunting to read a gospel straight through, but it’s the best way to get a feel for what the evangelist is trying to say.

This is important because another way the gospel message can be perverted is to quote it out of context. Almost anything can be proved if you take things out of context! When my first child was born, I wanted to know everything I could about how to raise a child. I consulted several different “baby books” to see what I should be doing. What did I find? Let the baby cry, don’t let the baby cry. Feed the baby when he’s hungry, feed the baby on a schedule. Don’t use physical punishment, no problem with physical punishment. You get the picture. Scripture out of context is the same. If you really want to know the true gospel, read it, study it, reflect upon it. Don’t be led astray.

God wills us to be conscious of the paths we take in life. Sometimes we actually have to stand still, take a look at the options before us, and ask God which way we should go. It’s better to take these lengths to ensure we are walking in the right way, than to rush ahead and make a ton of mistakes.

Dear God, in times where I am at a crossroad in my life, I ask that you will give me the counsel that will help me make the right decision. I do not desire to go in the way that is not pleasing to you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

He lifts the poor from the dust
    and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
    placing them in seats of honor.

— I Samuel 2:8 NLT

I Samuel 1 and 2 tells the story of Hannah. Chapter 1 tells us that Hannah had prayed to God with “deep anguish” while “crying bitterly.” She vowed that if God would give her a son she would give him back to the LORD. When Eli the priest found out about her prayer he said, “. . . go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of Him,” and Hannah did find peace in his words and was no longer sad. And the LORD did grant her request and she gave birth to Samuel.

Chapter 2 records a second prayer Hannah prayed after she had given Samuel back to God at the Tabernacle in Shiloh. It is a paean of praise and thanksgiving to God. Its main proclamation is “There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” The earth is the LORD’s and He has the power to lift up those who are faithful to Him and He has the power to bring down the wicked and proud.

Our verse for today is part of Hannah’s second prayer. Just as the LORD lifted Hannah up from her sadness and shame to a place of rejoicing and strength, so likewise He can lift the poor and needy from the dust to a place of honor. The contrast could not be greater. The poor can move all the way from the garbage dump (other translations say “dunghill”) to a position held by princes.

Perhaps you feel today like you have been cast down to the dust and have been thrown into the garbage dump. You have prayed to the LORD with deep anguish while crying bitterly. Go in peace! The LORD has heard the request you have asked of Him. One day, just like Hannah, He will fill your heart with a paean of praise and thanksgiving because of the great things He has done for you.

Bible in a Year

Old Testament Reading
Numbers 30, 31

Numbers 30 — The Law of Vows

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Numbers 31 — The Slaughter of the Midianites and Division of the Spoils

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


New Testament Reading
Mark 9:30-50

Mark 9 — Jesus is Transfigured, Heals a Boy with an Evil Spirit; Who Is the Greatest; Do Not Cause to Sin

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Reading Plan Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.

Tyndale Life Application Daily Devotion

But then I recall all you have done, O LORD;
        I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
        I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

— Psalm 77:11-12 NLT

Insight
Memories of God’s miracles and faithfulness sustained Israel through its difficulties. The Israelites knew that God was capable and trustworthy.
Challenge
When you meet new trials, review how good God has been to you, and this will strengthen your faith.

Morning and Evening by Spurgeon

Isaiah 48:10 I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

Comfort thyself, tried believer, with this thought: God saith, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Does not the word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not an asbestos armour, against which the heat hath no power? Let affliction come–God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayst stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and he has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayst intrude, but I have a balsam ready–God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that he has “chosen” me. If, believer, thou requirest still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sitteth by your side One whom thou hast not seen, but whom thou lovest; and ofttimes when thou knowest it not, he makes all thy bed in thy affliction, and smooths thy pillow for thee. Thou art in poverty; but in that lovely house of thine the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that he may visit thee. Thy friend sticks closely to thee. Thou canst not see him, but thou mayst feel the pressure of his hands. Dost thou not hear his voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death he says, “Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” Remember that noble speech of Caesar: “Fear not, thou carriest Caesar and all his fortune.” Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, his presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom he has chosen for his own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is his sure word of promise to his chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.” Wilt thou not, then, take fast hold of Christ, and say–

“Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,

I’ll follow where he goes.”

Daily Light on the Daily Path

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. • In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Psalm 62:8  Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Psalm 32:8-10  I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. • Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you. • Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.

Isaiah 30:21  Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

Exodus 33:15,16  Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. • “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

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