And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. Ezekiel!

In this passage, we see a God who is not too happy with His chosen people. Because of their disobedience, they have blackened the name of the Lord. His reputation has been smeared among the heathen people of the area. He tells Isaiah to give His people a message: that He plans to restore His own name. He will ensure that these people know that He is God. Wow! Wouldn’t it be an awful thing to let God down in this way? To “profane” His name among His enemies? Sadly, we do the same thing when we don’t give Him the honor that is due Him while we are among his enemies in the world. When we allow people to speak against Him, or when we fail to lift Him up in their presence, we blacken His name. We cause Him to have to “vindicate the Holiness” of His own name, because we have refused to make His name holy. What a dreadful and treacherous decision! To put ourselves is such a position is a foolish thing indeed.

The entire book of Romans 8 about the assurance of salvation. Every Christian wants to be assured that he is actually saved. Many people wander around “in the flesh” believing that they’re saved, but if they read this chapter, it becomes the actual measure of salvation. It is a really good chapter to read if you want the assurance that you are indeed saved. This particular verse says that those who are walking in the spirit of God are the sons of God. If we’re led by the Spirit of God, what does that mean? What Paul is trying to tell us here is that if we are walking in the spirit of God, then we are actually going to kill the sin in our lives. We’re going to want it dead in order to please God, to glorify Him. You see, people who are not in the spirit, who were still walking in the flesh don’t really want to kill their sin. People who lie don’t want to stop lying; people who gossip don’t want to stop gossiping. If they do put on some semblance of killing their sin, it’s just so they’ll look better– not because they want to please God, Paul tells us here that if we truly want to be the sons of God, the children of God, then we are going to be led by the spirit. So one assurance of our salvation is this: we ask ourselves the question, “Am I trying to kill my own sin because I want to please God?” If the answer to that question is “yes,” then you are the child of God. That is evidence that the spirit lives in You because only the spirit in You would want to put an end to the sin in Your life. If you want assurance of salvation, look within to see what your motivations are for ending your own sin.

Father, I want to make Your name Holy. I want to be Your champion and tell the world of Your goodness and righteousness. Help me not to cower in the face of Your enemies, but to stand up and defend Your honor. Help me to be strong, even when I am afraid of the adversaries around me. With Your help and with Your power, You will never have to clean up a mess I have made of Your name. Amen.

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.

Help us to appreciate those who minister the Word to us, Lord, and to submit to the Word instead of opposing it, which amounts to “opposing ourselves” (2 Timothy 2:25). Help us to discern between true and false teaching and teachers and to respond in faith and obedience to all genuine Biblical teaching.

Ministers of the Word, pastors and missionaries in our churches, are duty-bound to preach Christ in such manner as to labor “till Christ be formed in” their hearers. (Galatians 4:19) For Christlikeness is the ultimate rule of maturity and, in the next life, of perfection. God uses Biblical teaching and Bible-based warnings delivered by men of God in the pulpit and classroom and elsewhere to accomplish this.

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

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.

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Paul, of course, does not excuse sin here and supposedly assert that sin is not sin if you do it not thinking it to be sin. In truth, we all have a conscience given us by God that reveals to us the dictates of his holy law, convicts us with guilt when we violate it, and approves of our actions when we follow that law of God written on the heart of every man. But sin is sin because of the impure motivations and attitudes that necessarily attach to it and from which it flows. To the impure, whose very hearts and minds are defiled, everything is twisted into perverseness; but a pure mind will see the good in the things God has put in the world around us.

May our minds be purified day by day, being renewed by your Word and your Spirit. May our hearts be made singel in purpose, with the purpose to honor you in all things. May our consciences be kept active and healthy, and may we not ignore them to our own peril. As Martin Luther said, so may it be our motto as well, “To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. “

Not easy to love our enemies, especially when the faults of our enemies are often being placed in front of us by well-meaning friends or the media! But who really is our enemy? Usually the term enemy refers to someone we fear and fear usually comes from a lack of knowledge. This isn’t to say that there aren’t people who have enemies, who have been threatened or harmed by others. There are countries that attack other countries and violence under any circumstance needs to be stopped. But I don’t think that these are the enemies Jesus is talking about. Just because we disagree with the attitudes of others doesn’t mean that we have the right to hate. The best way to deal with enemies is to pray for them. In order to end hate in this world, we need to replace it with love and the author of love is God. I wonder what would happen if the entire Christian world prayed for an end of violence and hate every day for a year. An interesting thought, isn’t it! Perhaps all who are reading this today might make a vow to begin this Lent to pray each day, either in the morning or at night for an end of violence in our homes, our neighborhoods and our world.

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.

This passage from Isaiah talks about the purpose of God’s Word. Scripture isn’t written down and passed down to each generation because it’s a nice story. God’s Word has purpose just as the snow and rain do. It’s our job to discover what the purpose is for us. The overall purpose was to let us know of God’s love and saving power; that he was sending his son into the world to earn for us eternal life. His word would help us understand the forgiving nature of God and keep reminding us our responsibilities to ourselves, God and others. Lent is a perfect time to listen to this comparison of the nature of God and the elements of nature for Lent is the season of spring. We are hoping for the end of the snowy season of winter and looking forward to the rains of spring which will reawaken the earth so it will produce both beauty and food for us to enjoy. God’s Word can reawaken our joy which can become dormant during a cold winter season, and it is important that we take advantage of this season. Baptism has planted a seed in us, but unless it is nourished, it will not grow and we will not experience the joy and power that God wishes for us. The Scriptures will provide the water to nurture this seed, help it bud and bring it to fulfillment. May God’s Word in us not return to him void.

This psalm of David is considered to be his plea to God to forgive him for his sin in taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite because he lusted after her and then making sure that Uriah was killed in battle. I’m sure that none of you are guilty of such a crime. But, even if one of us were, God can forgive us. David was king of Israel at this time, and his reign did not end because of this offense. In fact, even though the child that he had conceived through his sin died, Bathsheba becomes the mother of Solomon and the Davidic line continues. Although we might not be guilty of such serious sin, who of us can say we have never sinned? David recognized his sinfulness and pleaded with God for mercy and forgiveness. We, too, need to recognize our sins, take responsibility and beg God for mercy and forgiveness.

Lent is a good time to add an “examination of conscience” to your nightly prayers. This gives us a daily review of how we are doing. What opportunities have I taken advantage of in which I could show God’s love? What chances did I miss, or totally reject? We need to remember that sins can be of omission too! The more aware we are of our behavior, the more the chance is that we will do the right thing. In college, I studied Russian and from the first month our teacher made us write down a sentence in Russian, even if it was only to say “it’s cold!” But, the need to do the assignment meant that every day we needed to think in the little bit of the language we were learning. It’s the same with the rest of our lives. If we are watching for opportunities to do the right thing, we are less apt to do the wrong.

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.

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.

Support Our Enemies in Pray, Revenge Belongs to the Lord.

Prayer for your enemies is one of the deepest forms of love, because it means that you have to really want that something good happen to them. You might do nice things for your enemy without any genuine desire that things go well with them. But prayer for them is in the presence of God who knows your heart, and prayer is interceding with God on their behalf. It may be for their conversion. It may be for their repentance. It may be that they would be awakened to the enmity in their hearts. It may be that they will be stopped in their downward spiral of sin, even if it takes disease or calamity to do it. But the prayer Jesus has in mind here is always for their good. Our hearts should desire their salvation and desire their presence in heaven with us and desire their eternal happiness. May God give us grace to pray like the apostle Paul for the Jewish people, many of whom made life very hard for Paul.

Therefore, in view of Your mercy, transform me by renewing my mind with Your word. Cause me to see (name of person) as you see them, to have a heart of love for them as you love them to understand them through Your eyes and to have speech seasoned with wisdom when I speak to them. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. 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.

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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.

Father, All around me I see the wicked prosper. It looks to me as if doing bad things gets good results, but I know in my heart that isn’t true. Your word reminds me that I shouldn’t be envious of those who do evil. Their fate is sealed. You have everything under control and in Your hands, nothing evil endures. Help me to stay in Your will and encourage me in my discouragement. I seek to follow after You alone. Thank you Father for hearing my pray in Jesus name Amen.

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.

It is sometimes easy to get caught up in other people. We see people all the time who do bad things, but still seem to get ahead. The fellow employee who goofs off, but still manages to get promoted. The classmate who cheats on every assignment, but gets a scholarship. It is frustrating. In this passage, David reminds us that the wicked never really prosper, though it may seem that way. We are not to be envious of these people because they are doomed to “wither” and “fade.” Wickedness does not last. Only the things of God endure.

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.

— Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV

What’s it all about, in the final analysis? What’s the meaning and purpose of life, when you get to the very core of the matter? This is the subject that the teacher, King Solomon, deals with in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Before he gave his final answer in Chapter 12 at the very end of the book, he explored the various alternatives there are in the search for meaning in life.

His search encompassed many of the things that foolish people try to center their lives around. He tried wine, women, and song. He tried to find meaning in great projects like the building of homes, vineyards, gardens, parks, and reservoirs. He bought himself everything money could buy—slaves, flocks and herds, goods and services of every kind imaginable. He amassed gold and silver and got himself a harem. He searched everything and everywhere and denied himself nothing in the process.

What he discovered is that focusing one’s life around these creaturely things is meaningless: “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Nothing could satisfy his search for meaning and purpose, because everything he tried was temporary and limited in nature. You heap up wealth, for example, but you have to leave it to somebody else when you die. Thus, “This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:17-19). Even the search for wisdom itself is meaningless if it is done for its own sake.

Here in chapter 12 the teacher comes to the end of the matter. The final purpose of life cannot be found within the created order. Every good thing within the creation has its time and place, but if it is set up as the very focus of one’s life it turns into an elusive and meaningless chasing after wind.

Only the reverential fear of and love for the transcendent God of heaven and earth can provide us with a life whose significance will last for all eternity. Only the keeping of His commandments can offer us a purpose that will never fade away or lose its meaning.

© 2016 by Bible League International

Bible in a Year

Old Testament Reading
Numbers 34, 35, 36

Numbers 34 — Borders of Canaan

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Numbers 35 — Designation of Cities for the Levites and Refuge

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Numbers 36 — Zelophehad’s Daughters Marry

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


New Testament Reading
Mark 10:32-52

Mark 10 — Divorce; Let the little children; Rich Young Ruler; Jesus Predicts His Death; James and John’s Request; Blind Bart

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Reading Plan Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.

Tyndale Life Application Daily Devotion

How lovely is your dwelling place,
        O LORD of Heaven’s Armies…What joy for those who can live in your house,
        always singing your praises.

— Psalm 84:1-4 NLT

Insight
The writer longed to get away from the bustling world to meet God inside his dwelling place, his holy temple.
Challenge
We can meet God anywhere, at any time. But we know that going into a church building can help us step aside from the busy mainstream of life so we can quietly meditate and pray. We find joy not only in the beautiful building but also in the prayers, music, lessons, sermons, and fellowship.

Psalm 35:3 Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my evening’s petition; but first let it yield me an instructive meditation. The text informs me first of all that David had his doubts; for why should he pray, “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation,” if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only saint who has to complain of weakness of faith. If David doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I have doubts. The text reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he repaired at once to the mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine gold. I too must labor after an abiding sense of my acceptance in the Beloved, and must have no joy when his love is not shed abroad in my soul. When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul must and will fast. I learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying, “Say unto my soul I am thy salvation.” I must be much alone with God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus’ love. Let my prayers cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress. I notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source. “Say unto my soul.” Lord, do thou say it! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it. “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” Lord, if thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless thou shouldst say it to me. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, “I am thy salvation.” Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am thine, and that thou art mine.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Corinthians 7:5  For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.

2 Kings 6:16  So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Ephesians 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

1 Samuel 17:45  Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.

2 Samuel 22:33,35  “God is my strong fortress; And He sets the blameless in His way. • “He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

2 Corinthians 3:5  Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

Psalm 34:7  The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.

2 Kings 6:17  Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Hebrews 11:32-34  And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, • who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, • quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

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