“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Psalms 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all myfears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Unhappiness and dissatisfaction cannot exist when you put your faith in the Lord and He takes away your fears.
We have a responsibility as followers of Christ to defend the Bible and correct misquotations and deliberate manipulations of His Word –1 Peter 3:15– and in his post, Mr. Turner used a partial quote in order to fit his agenda. I do not know this man but in reading his post the intent is clear. The complete verse, Matthew 22:21 They said to Him, Ceasar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
The intent of Jesus is clear here, He was asked about paying taxes. He made clear taxes were the product of man and government, God doesn’t require taxes. God does have a part in marriage. God was clear about that as well. Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Marriage has always been the province of God!!!! The United States formally recognized marriage in the law in 1923. But even if marriage is recognized by law, it remains something that belongs to God and therefore what He tells us is a priority over what man or government orders.
The statement by Mr. Turner misleads what the Bible says and is therefore a false declaration on what is required by the followers of Christ. In all that we do if there is a conflict between man’s law and God, God is always first.
I was listening to a sermon this morning and the Pastor was remarking that Jesus told us we are to be as salt, Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth,”
He made the point that salt is a preserver and that we are required to be more than an addition but the preservation of life! Jesus did not come for additional flavor but He is the essential ingredient without whom we will not live.
Keeping this in mind whenever we are confronted with decisions, always remember that it is God whom we are serving, not man! Therefore we have no hesitation when man and the world wish us to do their will. It is always Jesus we follow and remember that God is our master!
Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3: 17-21
During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)
The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.
in times of great stress;
for we are weakest,
in the midst of mess.
We need our Savior,
our strength to stand strong;
to resist tempting,
in truth, carry on.
To stand strong in Christ,
first we’re meant to pray;
and seek the support,
of friends on the way.
Our focus must be,
on God and His plan;
so we aren’t deterred,
and by faith, we’ll stand.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.
When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:2)
God gives gifts to each of us. The intent of these gifts is that we would use them to love and bless others in such a way, that they may see Him through us. Just having the gifts is not enough. Our motivation and purpose must be fueled by love. For if we have not love, we cannot accomplish the purpose that God has set before us. In fact, the greatest command we are given is to: love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself. – (Luke 10:27) If we are loving God and others as we utilize the gifts that He has placed in us, the mountains will be moved, and much shall be accomplished in His strength. May we go forth and love well with all that we have been created to be.
found in each of us;
if we have not love,
they are meaningless.
For each of the things,
that God has granted;
love’s power planted.
May our focus be,
on those who surround;
and how to love well,
so lost may be found.
With all that we are,
heart, soul, strength and mind;
may we love and serve,
the Lord and mankind.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us good gifts, but even more than that – You give us Your unconditional, incomparable, outrageous and lavish love. Thank You that it is Your love that covers and carries us, and gives us worth. Thank You that when we act in love, we honor You. Forgive us for the times that we have been nothing but ugly noise or empty actions, as we did not act in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that everything we do, will be done in love. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your mighty love for them, individually. Be glorified O God, as we do all things in Your love. Amen.
They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7
It is incredible to see what God will do when faith intersects. As one in need and another obedient to pour out, both by faith say yes to the Lord, mountains are moved and miracles happen. In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. – (Acts 14:8-10)
Despite having been inflicted since birth, the man received hope when it was offered. Imagine hearing of a Healer, when all you’d ever known was brokenness… Additionally, Paul, as he shared the great news of Christ, was sensitive to the Spirit, and was aware of the Lord’s leading for that moment in that place. Two men chose to say yes to God, despite the crowd and chaos around them. Each opted for the hope that Christ was offering in that time and space. May we too, find the faith to both hold hope in the seemingly impossible spaces, and obediently reach out, wherever Christ calls us to offer a word, a touch, or a helping hand.
we need be aware;
as we choose by faith,
to offer each prayer.
When we are in need,
He knows what to do;
by faith we must trust,
He will see us through.
In our times of strength,
as He has us move;
may we obey well,
what we’re called to do.
As faith intersects,
hope is on the rise;
He heals the broken,
and opens blind eyes.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see our small seeds of faith, and call on us to rise up. Thank You that when we do, miracles happen in our hearts, homes and communities. Thank You too, that You have placed You Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who believe. Thank You that if we will be still and listen, You will speak to our hearts and show us the ways in which You are calling us to go. Forgive us for not heeding the call, or for being too busy to truly listen so that we will clearly hear from You. Teach us to trust You more and to quiet our hearts and minds before You, so that we will not miss all that You have for us. Lead us to love others in a way that helps them find faith in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we follow in faith for all of our days. Amen.
Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13
Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.
In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)
lean into the Lord;
for He is our strength,
all grace He affords.
Our power when weak,
He’s steadfast and true;
He will guide us through.
finish work in you;
to grow and mature,
in Christ, ever new.
Lacking for nothing,
may God guide our hearts;
in His light and love,
let us do our part.
Witness the wonder,
of all that He is;
in all times and things,
give praise to Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.
He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25