Little Utica United Methodist Church
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Inspirational Messages



Weekly Inspirational Messages

From Barbara Camic

Inspired by God

Acts 3:19 REPENT therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.

Dictionary definition of REPENT—Feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.

REPENT—WHY??? If God knows all, sees all, then why do we need to verbally REPENT? How important is it, really? Proverbs 28:13
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
In Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and REPENT.” So, I guess, it’s very important to God that we REPENT, even to the end.”
“Confess our sins and obtain mercy” Proverbs 28:13. Who doesn’t want and need mercy? Think of the many times we are aware of a sin. Perhaps a lie, oh, it’s just a little white lie, we say. Or something we have repeated that can only be called gossip. Most of us don’t rob or kill, but we do manage to sin. Some of our sins seem so inconsequential that we don’t even recognize that they exist. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
And Mark 10:45 says, “The Son of man came to give His life as a ransom for many.”
1 John 1:8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” JESUS is our ransom! Through Him we are bought and paid for and our sins are forgiven. God wants us to come to His throne REPENTING.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach REPENTANCE.” God is patient waiting for us. We don’t REPENT for God’s sake, but for our own. Sinning injures our soul, and we need divine treatment of healing. The Lord pleads with insistence, love, and persuasion that we REPENT. In Luke 13:3 Jesus says, “No, I tell you, but unless you REPENT, you will all likewise perish.” Admitting our sins helps to change our minds and hearts leading us to do what is right instead of doing what is wrong. This attitude brings us closer to God. We look at ourselves differently, as well as those around us.
Luke 15:10 “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who REPENTS.”
Imagine, we bring joy to the angels of God when we REPENT.  REPENTING keeps us humble, and brings us closer to Jesus, the One who forgives unconditionally. We need never feel defeated, because once again we sin, even when we try not to. Our precious Savior is ready and able filled with love and forgiveness for us. Father in Heaven, we praise and thank You for Your patience with us, waiting for us to REPENT. Please, heal our souls with Your divine touch, that teaches us to think and feel differently, which brings us closer to You. We Praise Your Holy Name.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the MEEK: for they shall inherit the earth.

Dictionary definition of MEEK—Enduring injury with patience and without resentment—humble, lowly, unassuming, unpretentious, modest.

MEEK—This word is often used to describe someone who is weak. No one wants to think of themselves as weak. We are programmed from an early age to be brave and strong. The Bible even tells us to be “strong and courageous” Joshua 1:9. So what are we to think about this word MEEK? The dictionary definition tells us the MEEK are humble, modest, unassuming, not weak. So why do we insist on resenting this word? Jesus said in Matthew 11:29 “Learn from Me; for I am MEEK and lowly in heart.” Surely, JESUS isn’t weak!! It’s really very sad when the word MEEK is misinterpreted, when people think that being MEEK makes them vulnerable to those who want to harm or take advantage of them and see them as weak. It might be said that Jesus' MEEKNESS led to His demise, but God looks at His MEEKNESS as a blessing to all of us, and so should we. Without the Cross how would our salvation and forgiveness of sins be made available to us? Jesus was both MEEK and courageous, as well as self-sacrificing.
Psalm 149:4  “He will beautify the MEEK with salvation.”
Psalm 25:9 The MEEK will He guide in judgement: and the MEEK will He teach His way.”
1 Peter 3:4 “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
It’s very clear in the Bible that MEEKNESS is NOT weakness !!!
Numbers 12:3 “Now the man Moses was very MEEK, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” And yet God chose him!! Why? As we learn in the Bible, Moses was a strong and courageous man, but also deeply humble and self-sacrificing; a man of prayer and trust in the Word of God, willing to defend it at all costs. In God’s eyes being MEEK is a delight to Him, and so He surrounds the MEEK with His grace.
Psalm 37:11 “But the MEEK shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Who wouldn’t want peace? We look for it in many earthly ways, wasting time and money looking, when God has given us the key to peace. A MEEK spirit enables a Christian to maintain composure in the face of opposition, to accept adversity without complaint, promotion without arrogance, demotion without resentment. It produces a peace that no trouble can disturb and that no prosperity can puff-up. In our world the MEEK can have a stigma attached to it, but in God’s sight it is a beautiful thing to be humble.  Psalm 147:6a “The Lord lifts up the humble.”  We must remember, though the world may mistake MEEKNESS for weakness,  God does not. Thank you Father for gracing us with the ability to be MEEK, pleasing to your eyes. With You all things are possible.
Psalm 149:4 “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” Praise Your Holy Name.
1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full ACCEPTANCE. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Dictionary definition of ACCEPTANCE—The action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

ACCEPTANCE—We spend our lives looking for it! That interview for a job? We thought it went well, but will I be ACCEPTED? We may get the job, but will I be ACCEPTED as one of the team? Found a lovely house in a great neighborhood, near good schools, but will the bank ACCEPT our credit? Fabulous, the bank said “yes”!! Next we think, will our neighbors ACCEPT us into their community? And on and on it goes!! We have a great need to be and feel ACCEPTED. It’s a significant part of our lives, and very necessary to our well being. However, there is One we never need wonder about.
1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
This scripture is beautiful. Imagine chosen, special possession, no longer in darkness. And, as if all of this isn’t wonderful enough, in Isaiah 49:16 God says, “I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” And in Luke 12:7 “We are told “Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid you are worth more than many sparrows.” And listen to this, Romans 2:11
“For there is no partiality with God.”
And 2 Corinthians 8:12 “For if the readiness is present, it is ACCEPTABLE according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” In our world to be ACCEPTED, we need to fit in, in some way, but with God, because He chose us, we no longer need to think the same way. He has our name written on the palms of His hands, He numbers the hairs on our heads, He shows no partiality, He ACCEPTS what we can offer Him. I don’t know about you, but even though the world still has it’s standards to deal with, our hearts can rest peacefully knowing that our Heavenly Father sees us as His own. Being a possession of the Most Holy, God Himself, is an honor, one that can fill us with a knowledge that only knowing God can provide. He says in 1 Peter 2:9 that we have been “called out of the darkness into the light.” We now need to spend our time praising God instead of thinking about worldly ACCEPTANCE. Give all our fears, worries, needs, to Him who chose us to be His. Romans 5:17 has very comforting words to share with us. “Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what JESUS Christ has done. God has been so kind to us and He ACCEPTED us because of Jesus. And so we will live and rule like kings.”
And so, we finally get to the root of our ACCEPTANCE, Jesus, our brother. We are special and ACCEPTED through Jesus. Praise You JESUS for all You did for us on the Cross. We are now a royal priesthood because of You, our Lord, ACCEPTED, left now to share You with others so they, too, can walk out of the darkness, into the light. 
Proverbs 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

Dictionary definition of TREASURE—Wealth of any kind or in any form—something of great worth or value.

TREASURE—Most of us, boys and girls, when we were young, had our own TREASURE box. It held the small valuable things that we held dear. Perhaps a small rock collected from a time that we enjoyed, or a tiny jewel from a piece that is now broken. Maybe a note from a special person. When looked at, these TREASURES brought back comforting, joyful feelings. They became more valuable as time went on. Then there are those who dig for buried TREASURE. They become obsessed with the need to find it, giving up their time and money just to look for it. Some people look at their ability to earn and collect money, watching their accounts soar making them feel secure. All of our worldly TREASURES, though meaningful in our time, can not compare to the TREASURES we have in God. Luke 12:15 “Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” There is more to life than our worldly possessions. Job experienced many losses is his worldly TREASURES and yet in Job 23:12 he says—I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have TREASURED the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Then in Psalm 119:72 “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” God’s Word is our TREASURE, not just our worldly valuables. 1 Timothy 6:17 “Instruct those who are rich in the present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” We might be thinking, but what is God supplying us with if not worldly possessions?
Colossians 2:2-3 explains it this way, “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the TREASURES of wisdom and knowledge.” Christ and God’s Word are our TREASURE. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus clearly tells us “Do not store up for yourselves TREASURES on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves TREASURES in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where your TREASURE is, there your heart will be also.” So, then, what are these TREASURES we should be storing up in heaven?
1 Timothy 6:18-19 “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves TREASURES of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” Think for a moment about Job. His story touches us all deeply. We can hardly imagine what it must be like to experience his losses, and yet he continued to TREASURE God’s Word through it all, even when encouraged to give up on God, he refused, saying Job 2:10b “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In the end, God went on to replace more than he had lost. Job 42:12 “The Lord blessed the latter part of his life more than the first.” Let’s add to our TREASURE box God’s Word and notes about Jesus and His works, so when we open it, it comforts us and brings us joy. Plus, each time we reach out to help someone with our prayers, resources, or our time, our TREASURE box gets fuller and fuller. Isaiah 33:6, “And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is his TREASURE.”
Dear Lord, thank you, for the TREASURES You bless us with, Your Word and our dear Jesus. Help us daily to build our TREASURES in heaven by serving you and Your people. Praise Your Holy Name.
John 1:3 All things came into being through Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Dictionary definition of CREATOR—A person or thing that brings something new or original into being.

CREATOR—The word CREATOR is used often in our lives. Writers of books, plays, movies CREATE something into being that was not there. Inventors of many kinds do the same thing, they CREATE something out of nothing. However, there is truly only one CREATOR through all else that is CREATED. Man thinks he CREATES, but only through God. John 1:3 says it very clearly, “All things came into being through Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” So, where do we go to from here? Ephesians 3:9 says, “And to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who CREATED all things.” As we live our precious lives CREATING, through us God’s light will shine sharing His mystery. What is His mystery? Hebrews 1:1-2 “God after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” God’s Son!!!
How blessed we are to have God’s Son as our brother, heirs of His.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was CREATED by the WORD of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God.” God’s WORD holds many mysteries for us to ponder.
Jeremiah 14:22 “Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O Lord our God? We set our hope on You, for You do all these things.”
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God CREATED the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath.”
Think of all the inventions CREATED that are recorded in history, the books and plays written. All gifts from God Himself, through which nothing is CREATED, but through Him. We will continue to CREATE, through Him, so His light can shine through us. We, His greatest CREATION, CREATED in His image.
Genesis 1:27 “So God CREATED man in His own image, in the image of God He CREATED him, male and female, He CREATED them.” Mankind is assigned to use the gifts God has so generously and graciously given each one to CREATE, so His light can continue to shine through us for all the world to see. Our CREATIONS are a reflection of our one true CREATOR, all are in His name. Our faith in our CREATOR can not be shaken. Thank you Heavenly Father for Your special gift to CREATE, as we ourselves were CREATED in Your image. We are honored to let Your light shine through us. Praise Your Holy Name. 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice ALWAYS, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.

Dictionary definition of ALWAYS—At all times, invariably, repeatedly, eternally, forever.

ALWAYS—This is a word that is probably over used, never thinking of the depth of its meaning. The dictionary definition explains the word, but how do we live the word? ALWAYS is a promise. How many of us have made this very promise? Have we been able to keep it, or has life and its twists and turns caused as to break our ALWAYS promise? There is one who NEVER EVER breaks His promise of ALWAYS. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said, “And, lo, I am with you ALWAYS, even unto the end of the world.” Now, that is quite a promise! ALWAYS also has a number of exhortations in Scripture, commitments for us to adhere to. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “ALWAYS, abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, ALWAYS having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work.”
Luke 18:1 Jesus said, “That men ought ALWAYS to pray, and not to faint.”
Ephesians 5:20 “Give thanks ALWAYS for all things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord JESUS Christ.”
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.”
1 Peter 3:15, “Be ready ALWAYS to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you.” ALWAYS is a word loaded with meaning, but thrown around as if it means very little. How many have been hurt by an ALWAYS unkept? The Lord, our God, has shown us through His Word how He feels about ALWAYS, committing Himself to us ALWAYS, but also, expecting us to be as committed to Him as He is to us. These scriptures are a window into God’s thoughts about ALWAYS. Perhaps, we think, well all of that is great for God, He is perfect, after all. But, me, I make mistakes daily. How can I ever live up to His expectations of ALWAYS? 2 Corinthians 9:8 is clear when it says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, ALWAYS having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” You see, God knew we would worry as we are apt to do, so He told us that His grace would abound and through Him we would be able. DO NOT  worry. Worry is NEVER from God. He has provided us with all we need to meet our ALWAYS commitments, praying unceasingly, never fainting, rejoicing in the Lord, even on our worst days, knowing we never serve the Lord in vain, giving thanks in Jesus name even when we feel overwhelmed with the world, and able to give anyone who asks, the reason why we have such hope in Jesus. Sounds like a lot, right? Never fear, God’s grace abounds. We WILL be more than able. How? Because God says so, the ultimate promise maker and keeper. As we learn in scripture, God doesn’t take the word ALWAYS lightly. He ALWAYS means what He says, yesterday, today, and forever.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace ALWAYS in every way. The Lord be with you all.” Remember, no worrying, doubting maybe, but no worrying. Why? Psalm 16:8 is our way of letting the Lord know we are ALWAYS working toward being in His imagine. “I have set the Lord ALWAYS before me, because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
Praise Your Holy Name, our dear Father, keeper of ALWAYS.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things unseen.

Dictionary definition of EVIDENCE—The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

EVIDENCE—In our worldly lives we yearn for proof of many things. We have heard it said that Missouri is the “show me” state. If we are honest, we all like EVIDENCE. TV and movies are good examples of our need for proof. For years programs like Perry Mason were ever so popular. Law and Order both in the US and England, along with its spin offs, have been watched for many years. Law and Order itself was on for 20 seasons, the longest law-enforcement series in American television. And let’s not forget the reruns we continue to watch. We as a people, are always looking for EVIDENCE to prove the truth. The loyalty to these TV shows is the proof that humans crave EVIDENCE. People have always looked for, craved, and needed EVIDENCE. Acts 17:11 tells us how the Jewish people handled God’s Word, testing it to find its truths. “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Let’s think about Eve, who though had “it all” still was looking for EVIDENCE and when lied to, believed the wrong EVIDENCE. As humans we sometimes believe the wrong EVIDENCE even today. God’s Word is our source, but do we always believe it? Colossians 1:16 is an interesting scripture leaving us to choose what to believe or discard. “For by Him all things were created, in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him.” There are many examples in God’s Word of those who chose to believe the EVIDENCE or discard it. The biggest and most important is CHRIST on the Cross. We who believe, all know the story of those who chose to believe and those who did not. The TV show Law and Order depicts in each episode those who deny the EVIDENCE presented. Jesus knew that even though He had revealed many truths to His disciples, they would begin to question those truths when He was gone. So in John 14:26 Jesus says, “But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” So like in our TV shows, God has presented us with the EVIDENCE of His truths, but we are still urged to do our own testing.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 “But test everything; hold fast what is good.” So, there we have it. Test God’s Word, look for the EVIDENCE and as we do, study His Word and meditate on it. The proof and truth is found there.
1 John 3:9 “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abided in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. Our daily lives are filled with questions and choices. The truth (EVIDENCE) is in God’s Word. It’s up to each of us to listen to the Holy Spirit, our gift left by Jesus, to guide and inform us. We will never be let down, but it’s our choice to listen and obey. Living a life Jesus had set out for us, IS THE EVIDENCE, proof of God and His Word. We are the EVIDENCE. Thank you Father for all that You have shared with us, Your truth, Your EVIDENCE.
2 Timothy 3:16 clarifies for us. “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Praise Your Holy Name Father. Help us to always turn to Your truths. 
Ephesians 6:11   Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

Dictionary definition of PROTECT—Keep safe someone or something from harm or injury.

PROTECT-The word PROTECT came to English by way of the Latin verb PROTEGERE, which is a combination of PRO-meaning “in front” and TEGERE meaning “to cover.” When we PROTECT someone or something we are covering it or them from harm. All of us want, and need, and crave to be PROTECTED. We go about it in many worldly ways. Our homes keep us PROTECTED from the elements, and from those who wish to hurt or steal from us. We keep a close watch over our children to PROTECT them from harm. We keep our vehicles in good repair as a way to PROTECT us. God wants us to be PROTECTED as well, through His Word. In Exodus 12:13 God said, “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.“ God told the ancients how He would PROTECT them if they followed His instructions. Much later His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, was sacrificed on the Cross, to PROTECT us with His blood. We spend a great deal of time PROTECTING our children and others here on earth in our worldly ways. In Ephesians 6:11-12 Paul says to “put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We, in the world, tend to think that all danger and harm come from earthly powers.
Ephesians 6:11-12  clearly tells us that our struggle to be PROTECTED is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and authorities and powers of spiritual forces. This information could be scary, but JESUS assured us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” How completely comforting JESUS' words are. God knew we would struggle to keep ourselves and others PROTECTED and that we would need a “how to,” list of instructions and so we have Ephesians 6:16-18. First we are told how essential the shield of faith is to help us stay strong and defend ourselves and others when the enemy comes against us with thoughts of fear, doubt, and confusion. In ancient times a shield was as big as a door and was used in battle for PROTECTION. Remember that no matter how many fiery darts the devil pitches at us, they will be deflected by our shield of faith. We need to face our future with boldness and the mighty SHIELD of faith.
Then let’s always wear the helmet of salvation. The Greek word SOTERIA does include eternal life but is an all encompassing word meaning deliverance from enemies, disease, depression, fears, and all evils. Remember to let JESUS’    (SOTERIA) HELMET insulate our minds against the enemies lies. Lastly the sword of the spirit, Gods word. We need to wield that sword into every situation. Declare God’s promises and the truth of His grace over all circumstances of ours and others, guarding us against thoughts of hopelessness, despair, and fear. As we believe God is for us, not against us, His truth, righteousness, faith, gospel, and salvation will act as weapons SWORD of right believing to overcome the devil's attacks. The SHIELD of faith, the HELMET of salvation, and the SWORD of the spirit are our defense against harm of any kind. Thank You Father for the PROTECTION Your Word provides, and is made available at our very finger tips. Most of all, thank You for the precious blood of Jesus. Today and always we praise Your Holy Name,
Isaiah 43:8 God says, “SUMMON my people to court. They have eyes, but they are blind; they have ears, but they are deaf.”

Dictionary definition of SUMMON—Authoritatively or urgently call on someone to be present—urgently demand to call forth.

SUMMON —Most of us at one time or another have been SUMMONED to court for grand jury or jury duty. We understand that a SUMMON means business. We must appear. So, too, when SUMMONED by a parent, teacher, boss etc. Not many reasons of refusal will satisfy those who SUMMON us. We just prepare to answer their call. There may be times when we DO NOT want to answer, but do not want to suffer consequences. We all know that if we do not answer the SUMMON, we will not be happy with the result. So, too, it is when SUMMONED by God and refuse to answer. Isaiah 46:10 “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.  From the east I SUMMON a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about, what I have planned that I will do.”
God is sovereign!! What He said, or says, stands. At times we may wonder if we are SUMMONED. 1 Peter 2:9-10 answers this way, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” Read and think about this scripture over and over, meditating on it. Let it roll around in our mind. Take it into our hearts. Darkness, light, which do we prefer? God has SUMMONED us into the light to be His people with Him, which offers us His mercy. How does it feel to be a royal priesthood, holy and special? We truly do want to proclaim Him, praising and singing His Holy Name. However, when God SUMMONS us, will we respond with a willing and available “yes” to Him or “no” and stay in the dark? Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them.” Imagine, for a moment the magnitude of this scripture. God has prepared for us before hand through Christ Jesus what we should walk in. That’s pretty powerful. Just like in our earthly life, If SUMMONED for jury duty, or by a parent, how can we refuse God’s SUMMON?  1 Corinthians 1:26 “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” Just as for our worldly jury duty, not all are chosen, so, too, it is with God’s calling. John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Still wondering if we are called? Romans 9:24 “Even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also the Gentiles.” We ARE called, SUMMONED, through Jesus Christ. Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Colossians 3:12 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, meekness, and patience.” When my parents called, I ran to them. When SUMMONED to jury duty, i went. Let’s answer God’s SUMMONs the same way, running to be close to Him through Jesus. As we enjoy God’s light, we will serve and honor Him by being His hands and feet while performing the works He set out for us before hand. Father we thank you with our whole hearts for SUMMONING us to Your family. Help us daily to stay focused on You and Your love and light. Guide us as we serve and honor Your Holy Name. Never do we forget the gift of Your Son JESUS who leads us in His Holy ways. Praise Your Holy Name. 
Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

Dictionary definition of DISTRACTION—This is a great word to consider its effect on our lives. We are faced with many DISTRACTIONS daily. Sometimes we walk into a room or open a closet and wonder what we are there for. Perhaps while watching our children at play, we lose sight of them because we turned to talk to someone. Ever look down at the dash while driving, only to look up and see the ditch of the road rushing at you? DISTRACTIONS are, whether we like it or not, a big part of our everyday lives. How do we stay focused in an ever changing worldly existence? Some DISTRACTIONS are caused by worry, but JESUS has a Word for us regarding worry.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it’s own trouble.” So let’s listen to JESUS and not let the worries of tomorrow and beyond, DISTRACT us from today. Today is a precious gift from God meant to be enjoyed and appreciated knowing God is with and for us.
Ever get DISTRACTED by what others have and you don’t? Hebrews 13:15 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
DISTRACTIONS cause us to turn away from God and His Word. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Now there’s a word not many use or hear, the devil, unless in a joke. He is, however, DISTRACTING us every chance he gets, causing us to focus on our challenges and not on God. Matthew 13:22 Jesus tells us this way. “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and it proves unfruitful.” Think about how many times we have either heard or read the Word, and yet the devil can still successfully DISTRACT us if we are not vigilant.
Proverbs 5:1 says, “My son, be attentive to My wisdom; incline your ears to My understanding.” Have you ever been praying, or listening to someone else praying, and found your mind wandering? Perhaps thinking, oh sure, this prayer will never be fulfilled? Why do we think we are being DISTRACTED? Perhaps, just perhaps, the devil is anxious for the prayer request to fail.
Matthew 21:22 says plainly, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Let’s think about the woman in the Bible who had been bleeding for 12 years who didn’t let DISTRACTIONS cause her to doubt and get in her way of healing. Even JESUS said to her in Matthew 9:22, “It is your faith that has made you well.” What would have happened to her is she had been DISTRACTED by doubtful thoughts? Remember, God never, ever is DISTRACTED. It is we humans who allow doubt, worry, and what others says or do DISTRACT us from our Heavenly Father and His precious Word.
In Matthew 13:23 Jesus said, “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the Word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or 30 times what was sown.” Let us be producers of much good fruit, turning our backs on the devil and his scheming ways that intend to DISTRACT us. He is good at his schemes, but our God and His Word are much, much better. We, truly, do “Have it all" in our God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. What more could we possibly need?
Ephesians 4:14 “So that we may no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching, and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”
Let’s not be tossed back and forth by DISTRACTIONS. Our God is a good, loving God, ready to help and comfort us through what ever may come. Thank you God for sending us JESUS to help keep our eyes on You, which keeps us from the DISTRACTIONS of this world. We praise Your Holy Name.
1 Peter 2:5 You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Dictionary definition of RECONSTRUCT—To recreate or reimagine something.

RECONSTRUCT—How exciting it is to see an old building get a do-over, intended to lengthen its life. New windows, roof, and perhaps siding. And what about the inside, new fixtures, walls, floors, and ceilings. Yes, RECONSTRUCTING is very exciting to see the transformation leading to saving the building. How does being saved, transformed, or RECONSTRUCTED apply to us? Ezekiel 11:19 God says, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” We RECONSTRUCT buildings to save them, but just how does a new heart save us?
Jeremiah 31:33  The Lord says, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” We still might wonder about this new heart idea. How will we be able to tell if the new heart is really in us? Someone who God has given a new heart behaves differently. Saul is an example of this in 1 Samuel 10:1 and 9. God has chosen Saul to be the first king of Israel. Saul was a nobody, but God chose him anyway and sent the prophet Samuel to anoint him king. Verse 9 says, “As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day.” Saul’s new heart RECONSTRUCTED him from an average nobody to the king of Israel. Not only was his status changed, but his entire outlook was RECONSTRUCTED by the power of God. Our RECONSTRUCTION began when God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit to reside in our hearts. Long before JESUS, God told Jeremiah 31:31 the prophet, “The time is coming," declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant.” JESUS is that new covenant, and all that He offers us. Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lords doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.” JESUS is the cornerstone in this new CONSTRUCTION. We, the people, are the body of His church. The new hearts believe, trust in, and love Jesus enough to follow Him and God’s new covenant make up this Holy church. We are “born again,” RECONSTRUCTED and ready to serve Almighty God. Proverbs 24:3 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.” We find this wisdom and understanding for our RECONSTRUCTION in God’s Word, the Bible. We learn that the human heart was created to mirror God’s own heart (Genesis 1:2 and James 3:9) We were designed to love Him, love righteousness, and walk in harmony with God and others.” Micah 6:8
So we need not worry about our new heart. It will be obvious to those who know us, of the changes they see in us. They will witness our peace and joy, and want to experience the same RECONSTRUCTION that we have had. As we walk in God’s ways, learned from His Word, we will want to be God’s hands and feet serving and helping others as He sends them our way. Thank you God for our new hearts, for RECONSTRUCTING us in ways to better serve You. As we go through this process, thank you for forgiving and loving us, through Your precious Son, JESUS, our cornerstone. We praise Your Holy Name. 
Jeremiah 29:12. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will LISTEN to you.

Dictionary definition of LISTEN—To pay attention to sound.

LISTEN—How many times in our lives have we heard this word? Too many to count, I imagine! Our lives are full of LISTENING, music, baby crying, dog barking, cat purring, birds singing, kids playing, people laughing, sirens screaming, angry shouts. Some sounds are soothing, others annoying, and still others, troublesome. LISTENING to each other talk is a daily experience, but are we hearing what is said, or only LISTENING? There is a difference between LISTENING and hearing. The dictionary definition of hear is to perceive with the ear the sound made by someone or something. LISTENING means paying attention. Perhaps, to that siren — hearing means to perceive that it is announcing trouble of some kind. LISTENING to the baby’s cry— but hearing is to perceive what baby needs. When we pray, do we just keep talking? And if we LISTEN for God to answer, do we hear (perceive) what He is really saying, or do we interpret His words as we wish them to be? Luke 11:28 “He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” We can’t possibly perceive ( hear ) what God is telling us if we first don’t LISTEN. And so it is with each other. We may be LISTENING to someone speak, but are we hearing ( perceiving ) what they are really saying? James 1:19 gives us this advice, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to LISTEN, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
So, as we wonder how to really hear and not merely LISTEN, God gave us James 1:19 for us to follow. We must be quick to LISTEN, slow to speak, and slow to anger. God never leaves us to figure things out on our own. He always gives us His divine guidance to follow. James 1:22, “Do not merely LISTEN to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Doing what God’s Word says is very challenging at times. We have lots to say, and want to be heard, rather than LISTENING, anger may rise up in us suffocating our good intentions to obey God’s divine advice. We must keep trying to LISTEN though, not only to each other, but to God also. What is He saying to us?
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” This scripture tells us that it’s always to our benefit to LISTEN and hear what God has to say. When we LISTEN, will we be able to hear ( perceive )?
Yes, in our spirit, for He is Spirit.
Psalm 116:1-2 “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice.” And He LISTENS for and hears our heart's desires, our tears, our joys. He, also, hears our praise for His faithfulness, protection, and love for us. 1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” So when the struggles of life become overwhelming, and we think God is not LISTENING, let’s remember Jeremiah 29:12 “Then you will call on Me, and come and pray to Me, and I will LISTEN to you.” He is not only LISTENING, but He also HEARS ( perceives ) what we are truly saying, what we can’t say out loud, to any one we know. Thank You Father for teaching us to not only LISTEN, but to hear. Help us Lord to do both, not only with each other, but with You especially. We praise Your Holy Name.
Luke 2:47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

Dictionary definition of WHY?—Reason, cause.

WHY?—Lets admit it! We have question. Some might be silly, while others are serious. WHY is the grass green? WHY is that person so tall? WHY did it rain today? Lots of our WHY questions can also be for God. WHY am I going through this situation? WHY did You let that happen? Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, this is what God has to say about our questions. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Do you suppose this is God’s way of saying, just as we say to our children, “Because I said so”? Psalm 18:30 says, “God’s ways are perfect and, therefore, He never makes mistakes,” so it all comes down to trusting Him, because He has His reasons. Just like we expected our children to trust our decisions and our reasons. Sometimes trials help us to grow, just as trials helped our children to grow. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.” His ways and thoughts are definitely NOT our ways and thoughts, just as our ways and thoughts are not our children’s ways and thoughts. Most of us, if asked to be joyful with trials, will say, “No way, no thanks,” but God wants us to be perfect and complete, and He says working through trials with Him will accomplish this for us. Some of our questions are asking for wrong reasons. Such as , WHY, God, can’t I win the lottery? James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” God will not take an active part in selfishness. Try asking for something that JESUS would ask for. Without a job? Without a spouse? Without hope? When we don’t have what we need or want, we become desperate. God wants to be the One we turn to and be dependent on when we are desperate. Deuteronomy 13:4 commands us to, “follow the Lord Your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” Let’s be desperate for God and He will become our answer. Sometimes our “WHY” questions are premature. Psalm 84:11 says, “No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” So let’s keep walking righteously and in time the “WHY” will be answered. Sometimes our WHY is not answered yet because He has something better for us. God has not forgotten us. JESUS said in Matthew 7:11 “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” Could God be waiting to give us something better than we have thought to ask for? We know how hard waiting is, but while waiting, never give up hope, don’t stop praying, keep the faith, keep serving God, keep His commandments, enjoy every day of our lives. Let’s remember, Jesus' words in Matthew 7:11, “Your Father in heaven gives good things to those who ask Him.” Father, we thank You for Your loving, giving heart for us. Help us to go through the trials with You, and to be patient while waiting for Your perfect timing for our WHY’S. We praise Your Holy Name. 
Psalm  57:2   I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His PURPOSE for me.

Dictionary definition of PURPOSE—The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. Intention or objective.

PURPOSE—Where does one begin when thinking of this word? Many often think “What is my PURPOSE?” “Why am I here?” Our worldly thoughts turn to education, work, raising a family. Those are all very worthy PURPOSES, for sure. Proverbs 19:21  “Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the Lord’s PURPOSE that prevails.” God certainly wants us to learn, work, and have families, but while doing these things, what else does He have planned for us?
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has numbered our days and will fulfill every PURPOSE He has for us. But what are these PURPOSES? 1 Peter 2:9 tells us one very important PURPOSE. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
We start fulfilling our PURPOSE by praising and glorifying our Heavenly Father. Let’s share His wonderful works with others, so they too, can experience His power and also glorify Him. Encourage others to look at the sky and it’s wonders, the land and sea and their magnificence. Our Lord’s creation is something to praise and glorify Him for. Exodus 9:16 But for the PURPOSE I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
We were created to worship, praise and glorify God while answering our calling, using the gifts He has blessed us with.
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
When we realize that God created us to glorify Him, and we start to act in ways that fulfill that PURPOSE, then we will begin to experience an intensity of joy and fulfillment in the Lord that we have never known before, making it only natural to share Him and His good works with others. Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the PURPOSE of His heart through all generations.” We are not accidents of time and place. No, we are not!!! We are created on PURPOSE, for a PURPOSE, on PURPOSE in the time of God’s choosing.
Isaiah 46:11 “From the last I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my PURPOSE. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned that I will do.” So there we have it, our God is our PURPOSE.
Honoring, obeying, praising, worshipping Him, as we go through our lives knowing we are His special, chosen people. The results will be joy beyond comprehension, peace felt deeply, along with health, prosperity, and wisdom.
John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
Father, remind us daily of who we are in You and what our PURPOSE is. Help us to fulfill Your chosen PURPOSE for us. With You all things are possible. Lord we praise Your Holy Name and glorify You and Your wonderful works.
Isaiah 33:6  He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Dictionary definition of ANCHOR—Something that serves to hold an object firmly.

ANCHOR—Naturally, this word brings thoughts of boats needing to be held in place. Perhaps, on a nice sunny summer day to swim carefree, but to secure our boat in the same place so when we return it will be there. Or, maybe we’ve been told of a great fishing spot. Lots of fish we are told, so we drop ANCHOR in that promising place. The ANCHOR is used in the Bible as well. Paul, in Acts 27:29 on a boat sailing to Rome along with less than 300 others, because he was under arrest. “Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped 4 ANCHORS from the stern of the boat and prayed for daylight.” While feeling helpless and fearful, in the middle of their struggles, an Angel of the Lord appeared to Paul and promised that all of them would be saved. Those words gave Paul hope and became an ANCHOR for his soul, even stronger than the ANCHORS of the ship. Hebrews 6:19 even mentions this “We have this hope as an ANCHOR for the soul; firm and secure.” An ANCHOR is something that provides a firm foundation and security. In scripture the term ANCHOR is used metaphorically to represent God and faith, that which keeps us steadfast and gives us hope during trials and storms of life. When troubles come, we need to stay ANCHORED in the Lord. God is sure and steadfast. To realize the worth of the ANCHOR, we need to feel the storm.
Proverbs 23:18 tells us, “There is surely a future Hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” JESUS is our Invisible ANCHOR in our life. Glory be to God that He gave us His one and only Son. The ANCHOR is a reminder that Jesus has us ANCHORED to Him.  Just as the ANCHOR secures a ship or boat, Jesus secures our soul. The ANCHOR must be connected to the boat in order for it to do it’s job to stabilize. Jesus wants to be our ANCHOR in the storms of life and He longs for us to be connected to Him. But what do we often do in a crisis? We begin to drift away from our goals or forget whose we are or where we are headed and begin to lose our values, drifting without our  ANCHOR. We may begin to discard like Paul and the sailors did, throwing things over board in the hopes that that might help. Let’s not be compulsive and give up on our dreams. And most of all, let’s not despair.
Acts 27:20 says, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued to rage, we finally gave up hope of being saved.” We, too, eventually lose hope. We must look to the Scripture 1 Peter 5:10. An Angel of the Lord came to Paul in the middle of the storm and told him they would all be saved. Faith and belief are a choice. Paul could have doubted, but he chose to believe and a supernatural peace and calm over took him. Paul had the Angel of the Lord, and we have God’s Word in scripture.
1 Peter 5:10 that assures us of our special ANCHOR. “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” You see, Jesus is our ANCHOR, keeping us from drifting, discarding, and despairing. God’s Word is always sure and dependable. Heavenly Father thank you for our ANCHOR, Jesus Christ. We praise Your Holy Name. 
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of VAINGLORY, provoking one another, envying one another.

Dictionary definition of VAINGLORY—Boastful, big-headed, egotistic, prideful, self-conceited, empty pride.

VAINGLORY—This is a word we rarely, if ever, read, hear, or use, and yet after reading the dictionary definition, we may be confused. What, exactly, does this word mean to us? First of all, let’s not mix up a good work ethic, of doing a good job, of going the extra mile, with empty pride. Philippians 2:3 says this, “Let nothing be done through strife or VAINGLORY; but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves.” This society we live in struggles with who is better than who. And we know who is involved in this worldly struggle.
Matthew 16:23 reminds us, JESUS turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” VAIN people are more concerned about receiving the praise of men than about living a truly praiseworthy life. Whereas, the magnanimous person seeks to do good and live an honorable life, even if he is never noticed. Such a virtuous person can be confident that even if no one on earth notices his efforts, his Heavenly Father sees and will reward him. This all comes down to the heart, as we read this we may wonder about our own motivations. But we must always remember, God sees our heart. Is our heart motivated by human recognition, or is it motivated to serve God?
Matthew 5:16 Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven!” If our good works are performed in order to receive human recognition, we spoil the gift we could have given God. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in VAIN. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in VAIN.”
Our successes are gifts from God performed for His glory. Yes, it feels wonderful to be humanly thanked and appreciated, but that does not make us VAINGLORIOUS. We just always need to remember it is our Almighty God who gets the glory. We are His hands and feet, without Him we would never have any successes. As we glorify Him, He will reward us. We never need be in competition with others. Instead building each other up in the service of our Lord. Remember what Philippians 2:3 tells us. “Let nothing be done through strife of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves.” So go ahead as Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before man, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Don't stop doing good for fear of being VAINGLORIOUS, God sees the heart. He needs our efforts to accomplish His plans, we are His foot soldiers, His earthly angels. Our role is to be His hands and feet, and to give Him the glory and He then will reward us.
Thank you Father for trusting us to be Your earthly servants. Help us to remember we are in Your care, and that You are right beside us as we serve and glorify You.
2 John 1:9. Anyone who goes too far and does not ABIDE in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who ABIDES in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

Dictionary definition of ABIDE—accept or act in accordance with a rule, decision, or recommendation. To remain stable or fixed in a state of love, continue in place.

ABIDE—In our modern culture, this word is not often used, and yet it’s definition is something we are very familiar with. We do follow rules, such as stop signs and stop lights. We do remain steadfast in our love of family and our mates. Often decisions or recommendations are made that become the very thing we follow and that inhabits our lives. ABIDE is used 82 times in the King James Version of the Bible in 77 verses. It seems that this word mattered very much to God and JESUS. In John 15:14 Jesus says, “ABIDE in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it ABIDES in the vine, so neither can you unless you ABIDE in Me.” Staying close to JESUS is as necessary as breathing. Going off on our own leads to withering and dying. John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will ABIDE in My love; just as I have kept My Fathers commandments and ABIDE in His love.” Like the tiny leaf in spring time, it must ABIDE in the tree for its nourishment. If plucked from the tree, it will not reach maturity, and wither and die. So it is with us, as we grow in our faith, we learn more about ABIDING in Christ. ABIDING in Christ is a life-long process of nurturing faith through seeking and worshipping God. We achieve this through prayer and meditating on God’s Word. Don’t let the word meditate frighten you. Simply put, it means to let God’s word wander and roll around in your mind over and over and over, repeating itself until it becomes a part of your soul. We meditate all the time when we think of all that we let roll around over and over again in our minds. “Will we get well or remain as we are today?” “Will there ever be enough money?” “Our children are having difficulties, will they ever be truly happy?” “Our world is falling apart. We mourn the past.” Many thoughts play a large roll in our minds, without us realizing that all those fears, worries, and concerns then become a part of us. During life’s difficult times, both praying and meditating on God’s Word, can help preserve our faith. Never minimize the power of prayer. It brings us close to our Lord. As God’s love flows into us for nourishment through prayer and meditating, we can show love and service to this hurting world. 1 John 2:6, “The one who says he ABIDES in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
We all know how JESUS thought and behaved helping anyone who called out to Him. Do as Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and full assurance of faith.” And James 4:8 assures us this way, “Come near to God, and He will come near to you.”
ABIDE!! Such a lovely word, really. It says so much so simply. There is no question in our minds that if the tiny leaf is no longer attached to the vine or tree, it WILL wither and die!! Jesus’ words have created a clear picture for us of how essential it is for us to remain close to the Father through Him. So let’s think about what we let play and replay in our minds. Will it be worries, concerns, fears, although they all are very real, leading us to wither and die, or God’s word that is life giving. As always, it is our choice. God and Jesus have laid out the plan for us to follow, a plan that leads to life. John 15:7, “If you ABIDE in Me, and My words ABIDE in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” This scripture takes my breath away. Thank you our Lord for your love and faithfulness to us. Lead us to life with You. Help us to think of Your Word and it’s power over death. Praise Your Holy Name. 
Romans 15:15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to REMIND you again, because of the grace that was given me by God.

Dictionary definition of REMINDERS- Something that calls a memory or thought to the mind.

REMINDERS—How many of us need notes to REMIND us of up-coming events or need to do’s? Drs appointments? Baby sitting little ones? Taking young ones to dance or ball practice? Meeting friends for dinner? Some people use their smart phones and a ting ting REMINDS them while others still use pen and paper. Whatever method is used, we sometimes need REMINDERS. Some of us more than others. I, for one, use pen and paper. Notes of what to purchase at the grocery, when dentist appointment is and on and on, but those REMINDERS help me get through daily life, and I’m very grateful for them. I’m not embarrassed that I need the help. REMINDERS are better than forgetting. And so it is with God’s Word. REMINDERS help us to remember, not only His Word, is true, but that He’s right by our side always. You see, like the dentist appointment, or the items at the grocery, it’s not that we don’t know about those things, it’s that we can sometimes forget. It’s the same with God’s Word. We know it, recognize it, but do we always remember? Again, I say, I’m not embarrassed to admit I DO SOMETIMES FORGET. I need REMINDERS like, the sunsets or sunrises of such magnificence that only God could be the Maker. The sweet balmy air touching my skin as the breeze goes by me REMINDS me of His gentle touch, just when I need comforting. The babbling brook as it meanders down stream. The delicate scent of flowers on the air. God provides for us sights, sounds, smells, and touches to REMIND us that He is all around, surrounding us with His love, gentleness, and let’s not forget His power. But He doesn’t stop there. His Word, every word, REMINDS us of who and what our Lord is. Psalm 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven, His love endures forever.”
A REMINDER note from Him.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
This note let’s us know that even when there are too many items on our to do list, we have no worries with Jesus as our helper.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”
This note REMINDS us that when things do not seem fair, or tragedy strikes, we are in the hands of our Almighty God and He is in control and that we are in good hands.
How many times do we need to be REMINDED to watch what we say. Sometimes the urge is so great we may feel like bursting, but Psalm 141:3 REMINDS us by saying, “Set a guard over my mouth; keep watching over the door of my lips.”
God’s notes of REMINDERS are many and they come in many forms. He wants us to know, feel, and believe He is all around, always. After all, He sent His Son to die for us and the Holy Spirit to live in us. The notes that we write to help us through our daily lives are nothing in comparison to the notes that God has for us to help us through our daily lives. We just need to read them, believe them, then live them out with His guiding hand.
Psalm 19:7-9 “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making the wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.”
Thank you Lord for all of the REMINDERS You provide for us. Open our hearts, eyes, and minds to see and believe. Praise Your Holy Name.
Exodus 3:8  I have come down to RESCUE them.

Dictionary definition of RESCUE—An act of saving or being saved from danger or distress.

RESCUE—The sound of wailing sirens as emergency vehicles race to assist. The 911 call signaling distress. The sound of “Help, help” coming from a pool area. The cat caught high up in a tree crying to get down, or a dog left outside in the heat without shelter, food, or water. These things remind us that there are times RESCUE is necessary. We send up a silent prayer for God to help those in distress, while doing what we can, knowing He hears us and that all prayers are answered. God has always known, and still does, that evil and troubles lurk on this earth. His Word in 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” We need not fret or become stressed, because Colossians 1:13 assures us, “For He has RESCUED us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” This is the biggest, most all encompassing RESCUE of all time, both our lives on earth and our eternal life through our precious JESUS Christ. Galatians 1:34 says it so beautifully, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord JESUS Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to RESCUE us from the present evil age.” The book of Exodus describes the culmination of the Israelites' time in Egypt. They had been there 430 years and had become many in number, leading the Egyptians to treat them harshly to prevent them from increasing. But God had promised Abraham that his descendants would go to the “land of milk and honey,” and God ALWAYS keeps His promises. Even when the people were freed, they still experienced many challenges. We learn in the Word that when all seems lost, God RESCUES. The story of the Israelites reveals to us God’s heart, and let’s not forget His power, to help us when in need. Even if our situation feels and looks hopeless, lift our hearts and eyes, and watch for the One who loves to RESCUE!  Isaiah 46:4 is wonderful, because we may think that as we age, God won’t hear us. “The Lord says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will RESCUE you.” How wonderful to be assured by our Father that no matter where we are in life, either young, old, or in between, God never leaves our side. He made us and will carry us. Psalm 91:12 says, “They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” The angels are ready to assist. The word RESCUE need not cause us feelings of fear or worry, because God is forever beside us. Psalm 91: 14-15 God clearly tells us, “Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My name. When he calls Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will RESCUE him and honor him.” Let’s remember that no matter the challenge, call out to our Heavenly Father, He hears us, because He always keeps His promises. He will RESCUE and honor us. What a God we have!! Father, how do we say thank you? You know our hearts and the love we have for You.  Help us each day to share the love You have for us, every where we go. We just might be RESCUING someone in Your honor and glory. Praise Your Holy Name. 
Psalm 50:2 Out of Zion, the perfection of BEAUTY, God shines forth.

Dictionary definition of BEAUTY—A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

BEAUTY-What might we be thinking about when the word BEAUTY crosses our minds? Perhaps looking at a flower garden with all its colors and shapes, or driving along a country road lined with trees and bushes, and are struck by the BEAUTY of God’s handy work. Sometimes we are in awe of the BEAUTY in a child’s eyes that reminds us of God’s blessings. Then there are times at night we look up in the sky and the moon and stars take our breath away by their BEAUTY. We are surrounded by BEAUTY if only we take the time to look and realize what is right in front of us. God is the creator of all that is BEAUTIFUL. God sees beyond our ability to see. 1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  How wonderful to know that our God sees beyond our outward appearance. The gnarled tree that some may reject, God sees as BEAUTIFUL. The bush that may have seen better days, can be pruned, new growth then appears and BEAUTY is restored. The one lonely rose on a bush otherwise barren, God rejoices for its BEAUTY. And so it is with God and his children. He sees BEAUTY in us, even if no one else does. He will nurture and teach, prune when necessary. He knows that BEAUTY is just below the surface in our hearts and souls and will bring it forth.
1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of your hair and putting on of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable BEAUTY of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is precious.” Do you ever think of yourself as precious to God? If not, start today, because we are His precious creation.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
God is BEAUTIFUL and we are created in His image. Our BEAUTY is found deep inside us. Our outward appearance, that the world sees and judges, is not all that we are. God created us as BEAUTIFUL works of art. We all have eyes, noses, ears, legs, arms, but each one is His perfect creation, arranged as He sees fit. Rest in the BEAUTY that you are as we see the trees, flowers, sky, and earth and know who created us. Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I asked of the Lord that will I seek often: that I may dwell in the house of the lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the BEAUTY of the Lord, to inquire in His temple.” God and His BEAUTY are all around us. Enjoy the sights and sounds of His creation, including each of us, His children. We’ve all heard the sang “BEAUTY is in the eyes of the beholder.” What perfect eyes we have looking at us, God Himself. How blessed we are. Thank you Father for creating us in Your image, seeing us with BEAUTY only You know and understand. Remind us daily to be humble, but to know we are Yours. Praise Your Holy Name.
2 Corinthians 1:22 Who also has sealed us, and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a GUARANTEE

Dictionary definition of GUARANTEE—A formal promise or assurance, usually in writing, that certain conditions will be fulfilled.

GUARANTEE—If asked, most would say, that the word GUARANTEE conjures up thoughts of promises on something we have purchased and that it will work or perform as the GUARANTEE has promised. If that doesn’t occur, we will be compensated in some way, perhaps a repair or replacement of said item. We also look for assurances (GUARANTEES) that a relationship will be fulfilled as promised. When, or if, that promise is broken, we are filled with doubt, uncertainty, and skepticism. Broken promises, unfaithfulness, betrayal, deception, all lead us to hearts that no longer trust. However, there is a GUARANTEE that we can trust and rely on.
1 Corinthians 2:10,12 “God has revealed them to us through His Spirit—Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
Remember how comforting it is to do business or have a relationship with someone who keeps their promises? It gives us a certain peace of mind that leads to a calm feeling that we are protected from disaster. Well, friends, that’s exactly who and what our God is. He is trustworthy to keep His promises and like the dictionary definition, His promises are even in writing. Jesus promised or GUARANTEED the Holy Spirit to live in us. John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” Such a beautiful GUARANTEE. When we believed in the gospel we were saved, God sealed us with the Holy Spirit. We have been given the free gift of righteousness and the gift of eternal life through Jesus' finished work. That’s why when we hear the gospel of grace being preached, the Holy Spirit in us responds with great joy, and great peace. The Holy Spirit is God’s GUARANTEE that He will give us the inheritance He has promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people.
Ephesians 1:13-14 “And you who also were included in Christ when you heard the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit GUARANTEEING our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of His glory.”
So often we forget who lives in us when we believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said He had to leave those He was with all those years ago, but He would not leave them alone. What a beautiful loving heart God has for His people. He let the humans of that time see, hear and touch Him through Jesus, but didn’t really want to leave them and so—He left the Holy Spirit behind, not just here on earth, but in us!! Now that’s  a GUARANTEE to be honored and to be grateful for.
John 16:7, JESUS loved us so much that His leaving was for our benefit. “nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” Sadly, much of the time we forget how close God really is to us. Oh, we sing and read, say we believe, but daily do we really feel His presence inside of us? He’s there!! Always patient, always kind, always loving, just filled with help and advice for any and all of our earthly challenges, if we ask. Let today be the day, the beginning, of never forgetting just how blessed we really are and how close God, and Jesus are through the Holy Spirit living in us. The Bible says we are never alone, and we are not, if we just believe. Thank you Father God for this great love You have for us and knowing our great need for GUARANTEES, You sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always. Our love for You grows day by day as we live out and experience Your great love for us. We praise Your Holy Name. 
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father who has QUALIFIED us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Dictionary definition of QUALIFIED—Fitted (as by training or experience) for a given purpose; competent.

QUALIFIED — We usually think of school, college, or some sort of training to QUALIFY us for a particular job or assignment. Every interview we ever go through is to learn if we are QUALIFIED. Sometimes we are not QUALIFIED. Perhaps we haven’t enough training, knowledge or experience. Yes, that word experience. I’ve often wondered how to get that experience if not given the opportunity to get said experience. God, however, QUALIFIES us through the inheritance of the saints in the light without any experience. 2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” We were made QUALIFIED when we received JESUS. Being righteous—or in right standing with God—is all the QUALIFICATION we need. Righteousness is a free gift that we receive when we receive Jesus. Jesus is our righteousness.
Romans 5:17b  “Those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”
Because righteousness is a free gift, not earned, we can partake of the inheritance of the saints of God. We have a right given to us by God to share in all that God has. Now that is pretty awesome, don’t you think? It is up to us to believe this free gift and the QUALIFIED position it puts us in. After all of this, what exactly are we QUALIFIED for?
We are QUALIFIED to be completely forgiven, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to receive healing, to prosper, to have prayers answered, to live with God in Heaven. This is quite a list of QUALIFICATIONS if only we believe. Jesus paid a high price to QUALIFY us. Because of His precious blood we are QUALIFIED. Don’t believe the lies told by the devil that we are not good enough. WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH through the precious blood of Jesus. All of the blessings we receive are appropriated by faith. Romans 5:2 “Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Let’s remember that God doesn’t call the QUALIFIED, but that He QUALIFIES the called. John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
We are selected knowing our weaknesses and incompetence. He made what was useless useful, what was fruitless fruitful. Making the impossible possible is God’s specialty.
Thank you Father for this precious gift of Your Son that through Him we are QUALIFIED if only we believe. Help us today Father by washing our unbelief away and leaving us with a mighty faith. We praise Your Holy Name.
Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through FIRE you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Dictionary definition of FIRE—Combustion or burning in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke.

FIRE—Imagine, if you will, sitting around a camp FIRE on a lovely summer evening. Chairs with friends/family sitting around the FIRE chatting and laughing while enjoying the beauty of the flames, and the wood smoke smells. Then there are those who use wood FIRES to warm their homes when the winter temperatures grow cold. However, FIRE can also cause havoc and damage of life and property when a building is being consumed by flames, heat and smoke. FIRE can be a source of comfort, warmth, and peace as well as horror and devastation. Remember in Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego when they refused to serve Nebuchadnezzar’s gods, nor worship the golden image the king had set up? How angry the king must have been!! He ordered the men to be bound and thrown into the FIERY furnace which had been made seven times hotter than usual on his orders. These men bound, and fully clothed were then thrown into that FIRE, while those throwing them in were burned alive.
In Daniel 3.25 the king said — “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the FIRE, and they have no hurt; and the form of the forth is like the Son of God.”
Daniel 3:27 explains the astonishment of those watching how these three men were not burned, their clothes were unchanged, nor did they smell like smoke. The FIRE had no power over them. Pretty astonishing, right? Do we sometimes feel like these three men, in a FIRE sometimes of our own making and sometimes of someone else’s making? What do we do during these trying times? Do we panic with fear that consumes us, or do we remember the story of Shadrach, Michach, and Abednego? They weren’t in the FIRE alone and neither are we. Their faith in God kept them alive and unharmed. Our faith today can do the same. The God they trusted and worshiped is the same God we trust and worship today. Remember they didn’t avoid the FIRE. Oh, how we wish that we could!! But the FIRES in our lives make us stronger, while we begin to realize we are NOT alone. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Remember in Isaiah 55:8a “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,“ declares the Lord.
So, going through a FIRE in God’s mind is not a bad thing, even though we, if given a choice, would skip it. Father, thank you for the strength and endurance to face and go through the FIRES necessary to make us mature and complete in Your eyes. Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who walks with us every step of the way, no matter how hot the FIRE. Remind us that we are never alone. We praise Your Holy Name.
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being RENEWED day by day.

Dictionary definition of RENEWED—To make or become new, fresh, or strong again.

RENEWED—Who doesn’t love to renovate something old into a fresh new look? Many of us welcome the coming of spring when the tree and plants burst into RENEWAL after a long, harsh winter. The new greens and bright colors warm our hearts and remind us of the hope of RENEWAL that we all hunger for. After an illness or accident, with a long recovery with much struggle, we are delighted to feel RENEWED and ready for the challenges and delights the life before us has to offer. In Jeremiah 31:25 God said, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
God is so faithful to His promises. He is always ready and willing to offer us help and wisdom. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we learn, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.” But just what does the new look like? Do we wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and there is the new? Hardly!!! Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Repenting is, in itself, a RENEWAL and a refreshing experience.
2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” We may wonder how, God, how? We certainly do wish to be RENEWED, and become closer to You day by day.
Romans 12:2 answers our question this way.  “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the RENEWING of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—What is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We know that Jesus, has been, and is our dear friend, who is always there to give us help, love, comfort, and wisdom. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 He tells us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle, and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” If we begin to falter, and are afraid we aren’t able to be RENEWED, Ephesians 4:22-24 reminds us “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
As we walk in this RENEWED life, perhaps slipping at times, we can look forward to the perfect RENEWAL when Jesus returns.
Revelation 21:4 encourages us with, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and more neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” In the mean time while we wait for JESUS’ return, we live the RENEWED life JESUS on the Cross has made available to those who live and believe in Him. Living as JESUS lives, will become common and habitual, feeling like second nature to us, as we walk side by side with Him. If we falter, no worries, Isaiah 40:31 comforts us with this, “But they who wait for the Lord shall RENEW their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
How comforting to know we won’t faint, or become weary, we will be like the eagle, with RENEWED strength. How exciting our hope in the Lord is. Psalm 51:10-12 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and RENEW a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Praise Your Holy Name, Father. Our earthly challenges are many, and we thank you for Your help, comfort, and hope. With Jesus we can settle into our RENEWED life with hope and joy.
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every DECISION is from the Lord.

Dictionary definition of DECISION—A conclusion or resolution after consideration.

DECISION—We all know how DECISION making can be, sometimes very difficult, and sometimes, even a relief. We feel the heavy burden on our shoulders,  while seeking information and answers, always hoping to make the correct DECISION. Psalm 25:12 “Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose.” Biblical definition of “fear of the Lord” means instruction of wisdom, not being afraid of God. We, who believe in the living God, respect Him and His Word. This respect brings with it a willingness and humbleness to be taught the way we should choose. DECISIONS we have to make need not be made alone. They do not need to be on our shoulders only. Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” The first DECISION needed is to choose God over the world. The world has plenty of advice as to what we should do. We need not look far and advice comes spilling out to tell us what we should decide. But what does God say? We can learn His thoughts and ways through His Word. Make it a habit to study, memorize and meditate on His Word so that it becomes a part of our very souls. The Holy Spirit is always there to remind us least we forget or become too overwhelmed to remember. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Perhaps the first thing we need to ask ourselves, “Do we believe God’s Word and do we trust it?” This may sound harsh, but we have to know solidly what we believe. The world and the evil one will try to pull us away from God. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Who doesn’t want the devil gone, with God in his place?”
1 Corinthians 10:13 tells it this way. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” DECISION making does not have to be a solitary activity or a frightening one. The Holy Spirit is always tucked in our hearts to assist and teach. God’s Word is an insight into His very thoughts. And let’s remember Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” “All things work together for good” is such a relief. Trusting God, believing His Word, leaning on the Holy Spirit, all help us to make DECISIONS that are as God would have them. Not only are we not alone, but we have an army of support and help. And with God everything will work out to the good. How awesome is that? Yes, there will still be difficult DECISIONS to make, but we can take heart knowing that with God all things are possible and all will be well. Thank you Father for all of Your help. We praise Your Holy Name. We know that You are in all of our DECISION making as we lean on You. 
Jeremiah 17:17 Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose CONFIDENCE is in Him.

Dictionary definition of CONFIDENCE—The feeling or relief that one can rely on someone or something: firm trust.

CONFIDENCE—How does it feel to walk alone into a room full of strangers? Or to take on a new activity, task, hobby, or job? How did, or do any of us feel attending a new school, or place of employment, for the first time? Did we wish to have someone to walk, talk or eat with? We have all experienced, and still may, times when we lack CONFIDENCE. We wonder, will someone talk to us, are we smart enough? When raising our children, we may wonder if we are doing things right. Will the children be ok with me as their parent? So many questions? So many doubts? So little CONFIDENCE. These feelings come pretty naturally to many of us, and all too often, I might add. God, in his infinite wisdom, has provided scripture to encourage and infuse CONFIDENCE into us. Proverbs 3:26 “For the Lord will be your CONFIDENCE and will keep your foot from being caught.” And let’s think about Hebrews 13:6 “So we can CONFIDENTLY say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"
Even with these reassurances, what happens to us when fear fills us with dread? I don’t know about you, but I might tend to forget God’s words when in that crowd of people, no one befriends me. Or when the children in my care, chronically behave badly? We might begin to wonder what is next to do?
2 Timothy 1:7 a scripture worth memorizing and meditating on, says, “For the Lord gave us a spirit not of fear; but of power, love, and self-control.” So where does this fear come from that invades our very being?
1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and sober minded. Your adversary, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” And John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The “I” in John 10:10 is our beloved JESUS Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is determined that, even though the world offers many challenges and dangers, He is with us to help us to have an abundant life.
2 Corinthians 3:4 “Such is the CONFIDENCE that we have through Christ toward God.” Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with CONFIDENCE draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The help is available to fill us with CONFIDENCE.
Numbers 23:19 “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it”? Our CONFIDENCE comes from God, who is unshakable, not from man or from us. As we renew our thoughts, and begin to lean on and trust God, we can walk into that room of people alone, and raise our children, with Godly CONFIDENCE. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” John 16:23 “In that day you will ask nothing of Me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” Now that’s CONFIDENCE!!! So let us have the CONFIDENCE that Jesus has in our Father. Thank you, Father, for giving us the spirit of power, love, and self-control. With You, all things are possible. Thank You Father, and we praise Your Holy Name.
JEREMIAH 33:3  Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unspeakable things you do not know.

Dictionary definition of ACCIDENTAL—Happening by chance, not planned, unexpected, nonessential, incidental.

ACCIDENTAL—Oops, the door slammed, sorry!! I ACCIDENTALLY, missed seeing the stop sign. Reports said the icy and snowy roads caused many cars to crash, ACCIDENTALLY. While shopping recently, I happened to run into an old, old friend. ACCIDENTS of varying degrees happen regularly. Some, we just over look and go on, others are life changing. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are not ACCIDENTS, and neither are we. Psalm 139:13-14 “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Isn’t it fabulous to know we aren’t ACCIDENTS? God created us just as He wanted us to be, which can give us great confidence, if we believe. Perhaps we can’t sing, but want to, or dance, or our intelligence isn’t enough to suit some. Maybe, we are too tall, too short, brown eyes not blue. We could go on and on about what we are not, but we must remember what we are. We are just as God intended, we are not ACCIDENTAL. Think about the many different flowers and trees and birds, fishes, etc. they are different because God made them so, and so are we. We are different for God’s purpose, even when we think we have nothing to offer, He knows better. Our presence in this time and space matter to God. Galatians 1:15 “But when He who set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace.” Imagine, what we may see in ourselves as inadequate or full of flaws, God sees as His work of art. Ephesians 1:4 “Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” Jesus, too, is not an ACCIDENT. In John 17:24 Jesus says, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
Beautiful words of Jesus in John 17:24. JESUS wants us with Him so we can see His glory. John 15:16 Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” Over and over again, God’s Word tells us we are not ACCIDENTAL, neither is the world, and everything in it, JESUS, and the Holy Spirit. We all have a special place in God’s kingdom, unique to His purposes. We, also, know that through Jesus, the Father hears and answers us.  John 15:16.
1 John 5:15 “And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” Let's put our trust in our Heavenly Father. He can make a way when there seems to be no way. Meditate on His Word, memorize it, speak it, believe it. For Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them.”
Thank you Father for Your faithfulness to us, Your creation. Help us to remember how special we all are to You. And we praise Your Holy Name for Jesus, a gift beyond measure. 
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Dictionary definition of EVERYDAY—Encountered or used routinely or typically.

EVERYDAY—Just think about the things we do EVERYDAY—necessary things such as eating, drinking water, and sleeping. We wouldn’t function very well, if at all, if we didn’t do these essential things EVERYDAY. Whom among us forgets to eat, drink, or sleep? Not many, I think!! We need to replenish our food, drink, and sleep each and EVERYDAY because none of these things can be stored up for another day. We don’t give these things much thought, we just do them EVERYDAY. These are things in life that CANNOT be stored. JESUS needs to be added to our list of things not stored but needed EVERYDAY. Yes, we can memorize scripture about Him, but we need Him EVERYDAY. Remember the prayer He taught the disciples? Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day, our daily BREAD.” And in John 6:48 JESUS said, “I am the BREAD of life.” We need BREAD EVERYDAY. Right? In Exodus 16:4 God made it clear that the mana would be an EVERYDAY thing, not to be stored because He was testing the faith of the people. “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain down BREAD from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion EVERYDAY, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.” Even if they tried to store the mana, which they did try, it became wormy and spoiled. Exodus 16:20 “However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.” God made it very clear in Exodus 16:4 and 16:20 what He intended. First, and foremost, we must listen to and obey God. Mark 9:7 says, “Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud. “This is My Son, whom I love, listen to Him.” And this is what JESUS said in John 6:35 “JESUS said to them, “I am the BREAD of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.” Remember, in Exodus 16:20 those who didn’t listen to Moses, their manna became uneatable. Now we have the opportunity to listen to JESUS, who is the true BREAD of life. Both Moses and JESUS were instructed by the Father to talk to the people. We can choose to listen and obey the Father or not. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” We now have JESUS, the BREAD of life, who died on the Cross for our sins and salvation. We have been saved from the curse of the law as Galatians 3:13 tells us. Our Savior is Jesus Christ who’s finished work on the Cross is everything to us. So YES, we need JESUS EVERYDAY, not just Sunday at church, or during our devotional time, not even only during the Bible study we attend, but EVERYDAY, every minute. That is why He left the Holy Spirit, we are never hungry or thirsty, no not ever. Jesus' love for us is never ending, and bigger and brighter than we can imagine. Saying thank you to JESUS never seems enough, so let’s work at living the life He has set before us of love and mercy for others. They, too, will never thirst or hunger, but learn to know Jesus through us. Praise Your Holy Name Father.
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a FOUNDATION other than that which is laid, which is JESUS Christ.

Dictionary definition of FOUNDATION—The lowest load bearing part of a building, typically below ground level—an underlying basis or principle.

FOUNDATION—What comes to mind when we think of this word? Our thoughts may turn to buildings that need a good FOUNDATION, because strong storms can topple them if they do not have a sturdy FOUNDATION. Or we may think of a family needing a good FOUNDATION in order to withstand the storms of life. Even businesses, that hope to survive and grow, must be built on a strong FOUNDATION. Let’s think about our spiritual FOUNDATION. How sturdy is it? Can it whether the storms that batter our lives?
1 Corinthians 3:11 says, “For no one can lay a FOUNDATION other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” JESUS is not only our FOUNDATION, He is also the Cornerstone. What significance does a cornerstone have to the FOUNDATION? Since ancient times, builders have used cornerstones in their construction projects. A cornerstone is the principle stone, usually placed at the corner of the project to guide workers. It is usually the largest and most solid. Once the cornerstone is set it becomes the basis for determining every measurement in the remaining construction. Everything was aligned with it. The Bible describes JESUS as the Cornerstone that the church would be built on. Ephesians 2:20 “Built on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone.” As the Cornerstone of the Church, Jesus is our standard of measurement and alignment. Isaiah 28:16-17 “So this is what the sovereign Lord says, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure FOUNDATION; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.” We live in a world where storms, stress and confusion are daily challenges. We need never be concerned though, because Jesus has been laid as our Cornerstone, strong and trustworthy. Yes, the winds may blow. We may bend, but we will not break under the load, because Jesus is our strength.
 Luke 6:48 “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the FOUNDATION on the rock-and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” We, like that house, will not break. We are spiritually well built.  Oh, we may stumble and weave, but with Jesus at our side, we will get back up again. 1 Peter 1:20 “He was known before the FOUNDATION of the world, but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you.” My, oh my, made manifest for us!! The winds and rains will not defeat us. WE WILL GET BACK UP AGAIN. Our Cornerstone is strong making our spiritual FOUNDATION worthy of all the attempts to knock us down. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, our strength, our rock, our everything. Thank you Father for our Cornerstone, Jesus Your Son. Our FOUNDATION is secure in Him. Praise Your Holy Name. 
Psalm 119:105 Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my PATH.

Dictionary definition of PATH—A trodden way, course, or route.

PATH—Ever walk down a tree lined PATH shaded from the glaring sun giving cool refreshing air, or in the winter time, follow the big foot prints ahead of us making our way easier through the deep snow? PATHS usually have a way of making our journey, either short or long, clearer to follow. In a life time, we will follow many different PATHS. We may follow in the footsteps of someone who leads us to a career, or to learning how to live a life of good character. Or there are other PATHS we should never have taken. Dark PATHS of anger, promises broken. Maybe even a destructive relationship that we knew we should never have entered into.
The scripture Psalm 119:115 says, “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my PATH.” Who better to follow than God Himself? Even with God, many of our PATHS will be dark and foggy, while others will be bright, cheerful, and soothing. Many PATHS are filled with curves and hills, with no way to see the end. Jeremiah 6:16 “The Lord proclaimed: Stop at the crossroads and look around; ask for the ancient PATHS. Where is the good way? Then walk in it and find a resting place for yourselves.” God knew that some of our PATHS would be difficult with many challenges and choices. That we would need rest in order to reach the end of each particular PATH. We need never be concerned though, because our God, full of grace that He is, will lead the way through the use of His Word. We need to arm ourselves with scripture, spending time reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word so whatever PATH we find ourselves on we will always know our way.
In Matthew 4:19 JESUS said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”
And Luke 9:23 Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
And let’s not forget these beautiful words of Jesus John 8:12, “Again JESUS said to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” There is much to be joyful about the PATHS we might still need to travel. These scriptures reassure us that Jesus is always ready, willing and able to lead the way. Follow His light!!! Micah 6:8 says it this way. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” We might still wonder, how exactly should we follow, and how should we think and feel?
Proverbs 6:16-19 helps us with these words.
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him, haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”
God is so amazing!! He never asks us to do anything without His guidance and reassurance. And let’s always remember the love He has for us all. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So no worries!!! Our PATH is full of light and leads to our Heavenly Father. What could be better than that?
Our dear Almighty Father, we humbly thank you for the gift of Your Son, and Your grace and mercy to help lead us on the PATH to You. You are amazing. We exalt Your Holy name.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Dictionary definition of PERFECT—Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

PERFECT—Who among us, if honest, doesn’t wish to be PERFECT? This world, with its commercials, TV, and movies works to convince us, if we are less than PERFECT, we have failed in some way. So we strive for PERFECT bodies, PERFECT hair, PERFECT homes, PERFECT children, PERFECT relationships, the PERFECT car, boat etc. No wonder many of us need antidepressant, anti anxiety, therapy, and on and on it goes. Yet there is still so much unhappiness, worry, and anxiety. Listen to what God has to say in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” What does God mean? Haven’t we been told often enough, there is only one who is PERFECT? His name is Jesus.” So how can we ever be “PERFECT?”
1 John 1:7 says, “But, if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” As believers, we have perhaps thought, we haven’t done enough, been enough, and so we don’t deserve God’s blessings — that our imPERFECTIONS disqualify us from receiving anything from God. Remember, the world is always telling us, there is only one PERFECT one. But let’s remember who is the father of lies. He is the enemy. Don’t listen to him. Listen to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures. Hard work does not bring us PERFECTION no matter what the world says. The good news is, Jesus' finished work on the Cross has done that for us, we are forever forgiven and PERFECTED by the cleansing blood of Jesus. Good news!! Under the old covenant it was the blood of a PERFECT animal that was necessary, but the new covenant, JESUS finished work cleanses us. 1 John 2:1 “My children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, JESUS Christ the righteous.”
So we may say there is no way for me to be PERFECT. I lose my temper, I find it very difficult to forgive when hurt badly, I don’t always love the unlovable. But listen to this scripture 1 John: 4:17 “By this is love PERFECTED with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as HE is so also are we in this world.” So there you have it!! We may not be able to not sin but, “because as He is so also are we in this world.” We must always remember, it is the precious  blood of Jesus washing us “white as snow” that allows us to be seen in God’s eyes like JESUS, PERFECT.
Philippians 3:12 Paul puts it, forgive me, PERFECTLY. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already PERFECT, but I press on to make it my own, because CHRIST Jesus has made me His own.” Isn’t that fabulous news? So let’s not add another stress to our already stressful lives. Let’s be confident like Paul, pressing on by faith, to make JESUS' PERFECTION our own. Because JESUS has made us His own. Thank you Father, once more, for this fabulous gift of Your only begotten Son, Jesus, The Christ. Holy is Your Name. 
Proverbs 30:5 Every Word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

Dictionary definition of REPUTATION—A widespread belief that someone or something has a particular habit or characteristic.

REPUTATION—We each have a REPUTATION that proceeds us as we walk through our daily lives. What is it? Do others have positive thoughts about us or are we thought of as unpleasant? In Ephesians 5:8 Paul reminds believers that they “were once darkness” but quickly noted, “but now you are light in the Lord.” Live as children of light.” We as believers in Jesus have much to offer those engulfed in this world’s darkness. How do we want to be remembered, as darkness or light? What is our REPUTATION?
In Galatians 3:24-26 we are told about the “fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Let the fruit of the spirit start to grow in our lives. Proverbs 16:24 says, “The Lord has told you what is good and this is what He requires of you; to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
We all know that the list given in Galatians 3:24 is not always attainable for us. We sometimes aren’t as loving, kind, gentle or in control as we or God would like. But take heart! God has us covered. Hebrews 8:12 says, “For I will be merciful to the unrighteous, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” What a loving God we have! God’s will, which is revealed in His Word, never changes—it is enduring and eternally the same, for all—rich, poor, powerful or meek. He is forever the same to all who seek Him. This is His REPUTATION!!  2 Kings 20:5 says with clarity, “I hear your prayer, I see your tears, I heal you.” What a fabulous God we have!! “He is always there to comfort us,” as 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “In all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
Let’s never forget what Romans 8:28 has to tell us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” He is always with us comforting, helping, healing, listening to our prayers, protecting. There is nothing we will ever need that our God is not willing and able to help us with. His Word is flawless and is a shield and refuge. Proverbs 30:5 God’s character/REPUTATION is something we all can depend on. Proverbs 3:24-26 says it so beautifully. “when you lie down, you shall not be afraid: yes, you shall lie down and your sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes.
For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught.”
Oh, our God, Heavenly Father, what can we say? Thank you for all that You are to us. We can always depend on You to help us stay in the light and fulfill all that You ask of us.
Psalm 63:7 Because You are my help, I sing in the SHADOW of Your wings.

Dictionary definition of SHADOW—A dark area or shape by a body coming between rays of light and a surface.

SHADOW—Think about the SHADOW of a tree on a hot summer day. We feel the relief from the heat and welcome the coolness the SHADOW affords us. We are grateful for that comforting SHADOW and it’s relief.
In Isaiah 51:16 God says, “I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the SHADOW of my hand. I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion ‘You are my people.’
God’s SHADOW is like the refreshing comfort of the tree. Psalm 36:7 says, “How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the SHADOW of Your wings.” What are some of the things God’s SHADOW does for us? Of course, there is protection from the storms of life. Relational, financial, physical storms leaving us vulnerable and stressed, but God’s wings give us shelter from the storms. God say’s in Isaiah 4:6 “I will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.” We may think a SHADOW is something that children try to jump over while laughing as the SHADOW keeps moving, but God’s SHADOW is a haven of rest for believers and it does not leap away as we get closer to it. No, on the contrary, instead, we pray Psalm 57:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for you my soul take refuge. I will take refuge in the SHADOW of Your wings until the disaster has passed.” As we think about the SHADOW of God’s wings we are comforted. As children we depend on our parents for all of our needs and comfort. Now, as adults we are expected to be independent, self-sufficient, accountable and responsible, to name only a few. However, we may wonder, where do we turn for comfort and protection? I remember the story of a mother hen when the fox enters the farm yard. She stops in place, spreads her wings, and begins calling her chicks. They begin to scurry to hide under her wings. As they all arrive, she drops her wings, and the chicks are now safe and secure. The fox will have to go through mama to reach the chicks. Notice, the chicks have to come to her. We, like the chicks, have God and His protection. Can you hear Him calling like the mother hen calls, or are the noises of this world too loud to hear His voice? The protection offered is a choice. Each chick could have decided to stay away from mama’s wings of protection remaining vulnerable and unsafe. We, too, have a choice. There are times the noise of the world causes us to forget, but let’s remember Psalm 91:1-2, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the SHADOW of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for the protection You offer us under Your wings. Help us, Lord, to shut out the noise of the world, and hear You calling for us instead. You are our help, comfort, and safety. Lord, we are so grateful for Your SHADOW. We praise Your Holy Name. 
John 10:27 My sheep hear My VOICE, I know them and they follow me.

Dictionary definition of VOICE—The sound produced in a persons larynx and uttered through the mouth, as speech or song.

VOICE—When the phone rings we welcome the VOICE that we recognize. Over time, we still remember the VOICE of our parents, even though they are no longer with us. When we wish to call out to someone at a distance, we raise our VOICE, so they can hear us. They recognize our VOICE and respond to our call. Most of us want to hear God’s VOICE. We want to know what He thinks about where we should go and when, what we should do, and what to say and not say. Just how does that happen? First, study God’s Word so we can get to know Him better. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He has given us a window into His mind through the beautiful words in the Bible. Reading, studying, meditating on His Word brings us closer in relationship to Him, as we get to know Him better. If our own thoughts are dark, we know they aren’t from God. Psalm 85:8 “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.” In 1 Kings 19:12 the Bible talks about the Lord speaking to Elijah through a gentle whisper or a still small VOICE. God’s still small VOICE may come to us in the form of a thought or whisper in our mind, an impression in our spirit like a tug on our heart or a deep sense of knowing in our spirit. Sometimes, we just know that we know, that we know. Then there are times we see a picture in our mind, or a vision. The Bible should always be our foundation for hearing and confirming the VOICE of God in our mind because His VOICE always points to Scripture. His VOICE will never contradict the BIBLE. God’s still small VOICE will never ask us to lie, steal, or sin in any way, no matter what the circumstances. This means our first source of confirmation should always be to compare what we are hearing with what scripture says. How we feel inside can also be an indicator; do we feel peace about our decision? “It is His peace which passes all understanding which guards our hearts and minds while leading us at the same time.” Philippians 4:7. Start stepping out and practicing hearing God’s VOICE. Mistakes are always possible, but He will never leave or forsake us. Eventually, we will get better at listening and discerning, then acting on that still small VOICE. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed by this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable and perfect.” Thank you Father for talking to us through Your still small VOICE, and for opening our hearts, minds, and spirits to that glorious VOICE. We praise Your Holy Name.
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to live kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Dictionary definition of EXPECTATION—A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

EXPECTATION—We all have EXPECTATIONS — of each other and of ourselves, and even of our lives. At times, we are tougher on ourselves than we are on others. Then there are the worldly things: example, when we flip the light switch on the wall, we expect the electricity to turn on the light. The electric company EXPECTS us to pay for the electricity we use. EXPECTATIONS of the customer as well as the provider of the electricity, and so it is with most of our lives. Some EXPECTATIONS are very clear as with the electric company, but other times EXPECTATIONS are very unclear. God, also has His EXPECTATIONS of His children.
John 1:12 “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” God does have EXPECTATIONS of us as we in turn have them of Him. Matthew 6:33, “But, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous, and all these things will be added to you.”
Then, what do we EXPEXT from God?
Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near Your throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” So, often in life, stress and division occur because EXPECTATIONS have not been met. But God’s love never wavers, even when we resist or run away. When God gave the Ten Commandments, they were commands not suggestions. One of His clear EXPECTATIONS is that we are to love Him and carry out His commands, 1 John 5:2. By the Holy Spirits power, we are made able to carry out these commands, as we experience God’s love. But do we love God in return? Are we obeying His commands as the Spirit guides us? 1 John 3:16-18 “This is how we know what love is: JESUS Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need, but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.” As we love our brothers and sisters, that love will be a shining witness to the world that doesn’t yet know God’s love. God has made His EXPECTATIONS very clear in His Word. Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Something that is not hidden and that we do know is that God EXPECTS us to accept His Son, the Lord JESUS Christ, as our Savior. He EXPECTS us to give our lives to Him, and in so doing, develop the character of Christ. We are told in Matthew 24:44 “Therefore, you also, must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not EXPECT.” So as we live with EXPECTATIONS, both of others and of our own, we are asked to develop the character of Christ, and be prepared for His return. Psalm 62:5 says, “My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him, for my hope and EXPECTATION are from Him.” Thank you, God, for the assurance You share with us in Your Word. Help us, with the Spirits guidance, to fulfill Your EXPECTATIONS. We praise Your Holy Name. 
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces PERSEVERANCE. Let PERSEVERANCE finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Dictionary definition of PERSEVERANCE—It is doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

PERSEVERANCE— We may not give this word much thought because we do things with a persistence or in a dogged kind of way, because we have to, or because we are expected to. Some things can only be accomplished with PERSEVERANCE. Many things do not happen in a blink of an eye. They take much learning, planning, and certainly lots of time and energy, as well. Think of the time and energy invested to raise a family, or to climb the corporate ladder. PERSEVERANCE is needed as stumbling blocks or challenges get in the way of accomplishing our goals. However, in the middle of all of the challenges we face, we try to apply Godly principles.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “But as for you brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.” And Galatians 6:9 says it this way, “Do not lose heart in doing good for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
James 1:12 confirms God’s intentions that if we PERSEVERE we will not grow weary of doing good. “Blessed is the man who PERSEVERES under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” PERSEVERANCE is the continued effort to fight or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. The Bible says that Christians will face trials and tribulations on earth.
John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in one ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Scripture warns us of these trials and gives encouragement to PERSEVERE through hardships of this world.
Ephesians 6:18 “With all prayer and petition pray that at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all PERSEVERANCE and petition for all the saints.” Facts of this world may change, and they usually do, but God’s Word remains the same. Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” When trials and tribulations settle in our hearts, we feel very troubled. However, if we remember to let the truths of God’s Word settle in our hearts instead, we feel the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the truths we are believing. John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” We must never, ever, “give up”, “give in”, or “quit”. There are times we think we can not possibly go on, but then God sends us a friend’s kind words, or we hear a phrase in a song, or we see a sunset or a rainbow that reminds us of Him and His Word, leading us to renewed hope and PERSEVERANCE. Revelation 3:11 JESUS says, “I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Thank you God, JESUS and the Holy Spirit, for the gift of hope leading us to PERSEVERE. We are grateful to you for always being there to remind us of the hope we have in Jesus, which makes PERSEVERANCE even possible. Jesus' words from Matthew 24:13 ring in our ears leading us on. “But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” We have much to PERSEVERE for. Praise Your Holy Name.
2 Peter 1:2 The grace which is the undeserved FAVOR of God, and peace, can be multiplied to you.

Dictionary definition of FAVOR - Something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or remuneration; a kind act.

FAVOR—How many times have been asked this question? “Will you do me a FAVOR?” We may answer, “Sure, if I can, what is it?” The dictionary says a FAVOR is something done out of goodwill, a kind act. There is One who FAVORS us out of His grace, God Himself. As 2 Peter 1:2 says, we, though undeserved, receive God’s FAVOR and PEACE. Peace is the word “Shalom” in Hebrew. It’s definition includes wholeness, health, safety, and provision. When we walk in divine FAVOR and PEACE, we will walk in blessings in every area of our life. But how does underserved FAVOR “Shalom” of God increase in our life as 2 Peter 1:2 tells us? Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; It is the gift of God.” In other words, grace is FAVOR, God’s FAVOR that changes everything for us.  Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” As much as we want to do a FAVOR for someone, we can never be as generous as our Father in Heaven. Think of Joseph in Acts 7:9-10 that tells us, “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made Joseph ruler of Egypt and all his palace.” What a generous Father in Heaven! It is not our laboring or toiling that brings us FAVOR. No, we do not earn it. The Bible says it comes as our knowledge of Jesus and His finished work. Learning more and believing JESUS' sacrifice on the cross brings us that much needed and appreciated FAVOR, which multiplies in our lives as we believe we share in Christ. Everything JESUS has we have also. Believing JESUS' work on the cross is essential to our ability to release God’s FAVOR (grace) by speaking God’s Word in faith. Psalm 5:12 is a scripture that helps us as we speak it. “Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your FAVOR, as a shield.”
And Proverbs 3:1-4 gives us explicit instructions, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then, you will win FAVOR and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Even though God’s FAVOR (grace) is more than we can ask or imagine, let us extend Grace (FAVOR) to those here in earth, undeserved though it may be, just as God does to us. We become an Extension of Him, as His servants, when we give grace to others. Praise Your Holy Name, Lord, for this fabulous gift of grace. As undeserving as we are, you shower us with Your peace, FAVOR, and grace. All good things come from You. Help us to serve and honor You, as we extend grace to others.
Matthew 18:20 When two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.

Dictionary definition of MEETING—An act or process of coming together.

MEETING—Now this word most of us find very familiar. We might even say, “Oh, no not another MEETING. But MEETINGS are necessary to make arrangements. Even families find MEETINGS to be helpful to keep all members informed and coordinated. Each MEETING has its purpose, and if the purpose has been carried out, we consider the MEETING successful. Think about what it must have felt like to Moses when he MET with God. Exodus 18:3-4a “And Moses went up into God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; if you indeed will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all people.”
The purpose of this MEETING was made very clear by God, and scripture Exodus 19:3-8 tells us that this MEETING's purpose was fulfilled. There are several ways to MEET with God. Start by finding a solitary place, sing songs of praise, read psalms, write scripture, read a good devotional, and remember to spend time in prayer. But how can we tell if we are in God’s presence? If while doing any of these things we feel filled with love, faith, peace, joy, hope, humility and passion for God, we know we are filled with God. Being in God’s presence equips us with the blessing, joy, and peace He has planned for us. When we spend time with Him, the fruit of the Spirit becomes an outflow of that relationship, and when you go to the presence of God in the midst of rough times, He will go to work for you.
Malachi 3:1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His Temple. The messenger of the covenant, when you desire, will come, “says the Lord Almighty.” What happens when you are in God’s presence? Some of the things that happen will be power and you will have supernatural results in your life. Whenever the presence of God breaks through supernatural things happen, healing, fear of the Lord, insight, amazing results, and the list could go on and on. The overwhelming testimony of Scripture is that when God shows up things change. Isaiah 60-1-3
“The prophet Isaiah said there is coming a day when the people of God will shine with such radiance in the glory of God that whole nations will come to our light. He said Kings will come to the brightness of our rising.”
Being in the presence of God is one of the most marvelous blessings.
In Jeremiah 29:13 the Lord said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
What a relief to know that we can MEET our Lord anytime. Seek Him with all our hearts and we will find Him! Thank you Heavenly Father for this fabulous gift of welcoming us anytime we seek you. Praise Your Holy Name.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak from want for I have learned to be CONTENT in whatever circumstance I am.

Dictionary definition of CONTENT—In a state of happiness—a state of satisfaction—satisfied or showing satisfaction with things as they are.

CONTENT—Being CONTENT is such a comforting feeling, one we wish would go on forever. Remember as a child meeting friends to go out and play with CONTENT to enjoy the world around us with those who we loved being with. Or later in life waking to our alarm clock and going to a job that brought us great satisfaction and happiness. What about sitting on a big rock beside the lake and soaking in the colors of the sunset while realizing the sight was a gift from God. Then there are the memories that remind us of our dissatisfaction and or unhappiness. Perhaps life is more challenging than we had hoped with relational, financial, or health issues leading to our disCONTENT. All through our lives we search for that elusive feeling of CONTENTMENT. The Bible calls us to allow our convictions, not our circumstances to govern our sense of CONTENTMENT. What convictions does the Bible refer to? The Bible is referring to Christ’s power, provision and purpose as being sufficient for every circumstance.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I am well CONTENT with weakness, insults, distresses, persecution, difficulty for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” We are to learn how to walk through all kinds of adversity, even if it seems impossible, all the while believing in and experiencing Christ’s sufficiency. It’s up to us to choose to rest on God's good promises despite what may be going on in our lives. Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests CONTENT, untouched by trouble.” True CONTENTMENT comes from accepting Christ, and having faith that in Him we will have everything we need. Christ is sufficient and His promises are enough.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
What does CONTENTMENT look like?  Those who are CONTENT hate greed. Greed is the desire for more than we need or can afford. Satisfaction is being CONTENT and feeling joy in what we do have. Humble people do not brag about what they have, and they shun envy. There are benefits to CONTENTMENT worth cultivating. CONTENTMENT leads to peace of mind. It promotes happiness, and simplicity. One who is CONTENT is able to distinguish wants from needs, which leads to CONTENTMENT. Add to this the practice of gratitude, learning to enjoy simple things and living in the moment. Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be CONTENT with what you have for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Let’s sit in our favorite chair, with our favorite scripture and favorite hymn playing, while looking out at God’s beautiful world, letting Christ’s love wash over each of us creating that fabulous feeling of CONTENTMENT. Philippians 4:6-7 says it best, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer, petition and thanksgiving, make your request known to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Praise your Holy Name and thank you for the precious gift of CONTENTMENT through our Lord JESUS. 
Matthew 1:23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name IMMANUEL, which means, God with us.

Dictionary definition of IMMANUEL—A male given name from the Hebrew word meaning “God with us.”

IMMANUEL—God with us !! During our darkest times we may feel alone. We might even forget these precious words. Facing life-threatening challenges, financial crisis, or relational issues that tears us up inside, may cause us to  forget what and who IMMANUEL really is. We may even wonder where is God. We seem to see only darkness. So what is in a name after all? In Biblical days names were commonly used to describe a person. Abram meant exalted father and Abraham meant father of a multitude, and so his name was changed. Names were used to describe a person, but what does the name IMMANUEL mean to us now? “God with us” is very comforting, but how does God with us manifest itself today? John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word tells us how the name Abraham manifested its meaning in this earthly realm. IMMANUEL “God with us” is made clear in many scriptures how this name is manifested to mankind.
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you where ever you go.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord Your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Even after all these precious words, God, in His great love for us, wanted us to have more assurance. And so, enter JESUS (IMMANUEL) our Lord and Savior born as a sweet baby who grew into a man who created miracles, died on the cross for our sins and salvation, leaving us the Holy Spirit to live in each of us.
John 14:16-17 JESUS said, “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
At the times we feel most alone, we never really are, because the Holy Spirit lives in us. God is not only all around us, He is in us  !!
And Hebrews 13:8 reminds us by saying, “JESUS Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Nothing has changed since the Holy Spirit was given all those years ago.1 John 4:9 “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
IMMANUEL (JESUS) !! So, what’s in a name? Just everything we will ever need is in this name. “God with us”, always and forever.
Thank you God for the precious gift of IMMANUEL (JESUS). Thank you for never leaving or forsaking us. Help us to remember, when things look dark, this precious gift you so generously gave all those who believe.
Psalm 47:7 For God is the King of all the EARTH; sing praises with a skillful psalm.

Dictionary definition of EARTH—Planet on which we live: the world.

EARTH—Which we often take for granted, and yet it is our very life source. This planet we have been blessed with supplies our food, air, water, and everything else we need to sustain life. EARTH really is quite a marvel and an absolute blessing to all living things.
Psalm 115:6 “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the EARTH he has given to the sons of men.“ Think about the different animals and birds, as well as the flowers, trees, even the weeds. God gave us so much when He gave us the EARTH.
Genesis 1:26-28 “And God said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the EARTH, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the EARTH.”
Lest we think the EARTH is to be used any way mankind sees fit, let us remember we are made in God’s image. How would God treat the EARTH? We know from His Word that He is a caretaker of mankind, and so we might think His idea of dominion over the EARTH means that we are caretakers of the EARTH as He is caretaker of us.
Matthew 6:10 says, “Your kingdom come Your will be done on EARTH as it is in heaven.” Our responsibility, then, is to care for the fabulous gift of this EARTH the way God would wish. Most of us, when receiving a valuable gift, assume the responsibility of caring for that gift in appreciation of the giver. And so, it shouldn’t be any different for the valuable gift of EARTH. Our very existence depends on EARTH’S ability to keep replenishing it’s resources for our survival. I can’t think of a more valuable gift. Can you? And the giver, the Holy Triune, Creator of all that exists, has honored us with Their trust that allows us to care for such a splendid gift. Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the gentile, for they shall inherit the EARTH.“ Caring for the EARTH shows our appreciation to the giver in a very tangible way. As we all know, we as humans, have free will. And so there are those who do not honor this fabulous gift, EARTH. However, it remains up to each of us to care for EARTH as we are able, which may be as little as properly taking care of trash. God sees all and knows our hearts and intent. Nothing is too little for Him. Being caretaker of EARTH may be a life long journey, but one that is filled with blessings.
Thank you, to the Holy Triune, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, for such a fabulous gift EARTH. We praise and sing to You. Help us, on our journey of caring for EARTH, to remember that by doing so, we honor You, Creator of all that exists.
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest and on EARTH peace among men with whom He is well pleased.” 
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall SUPPLY all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Dictionary definition of SUPPLY—Make something needed or wanted available to someone; provide.

SUPPLY—I grew up in the north country in a time when it could and did snow for days, without stopping, making trips to town very difficult. My mother taught us how to be prepared with a SUPPLY of food that would last as long as necessary. Recently we have experienced a time when SUPPLIES were scarce. In these troubling times when SUPPLIES can and have been hard to find, we as people collectively have begun to add to our SUPPLY of necessities in the event that we no longer can get what’s needed. These times in life cause us to wonder how much we should do and how much should we lean on God and His Word? Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Let’s remember that even if we, as people, need to contribute to our SUPPLY, God never meant for us to worry or be afraid. Genesis 9:3 says, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” Not long ago we did witness a panic that consumed many because needed SUPPLIES were either non existent or sparse. God wants us to trust Him that if we do our part, whatever that may be, He will do His part. We are His children and He wants us to always have our needs met. Matthew 7:11 says, “If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” Sometimes we get caught up in our own frenzy thinking we have to “do it all,” which causes us great anxiety and fear because we know the limitations of ourselves and this world. God wants us to know that that is not necessary. We need to call on Him for His help. We tend to forget how big our God is and how loving He is. Matthew 6:26 “Behold the fowl of the air; for they sow not; neither do they reap, nor gather into barns: yet our Heavenly Father feeds them. Are ye not much better than they?” And what about Matthew 6:28-29 “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Think about the woman who was asked by Elijah to make him a cake. As she explained to him that she had so little that she and her son would soon die. Elijah still asked her for a small cake, and even through her fear and worry, she did as he asked. Elijah told her in 1 Kings 17:13-14 “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.” We must always remember that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and that He is a good God who wants only the best for His children. He is clear in His Word that He does not want us to be afraid 1 Kings 17:13 or to be anxious Matthew 6:28. Just as 1 Kings 17:15-16 says, “The woman went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the Word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”
Who are we to worry about our SUPPLY when we have a mighty God our Lord? Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
Thank You our dear Heavenly Father for all you SUPPLY us with. Forgive us when we doubt and worry and fear. Help us to remember to lean on You for our SUPPLY and for the peace and joy that comes from knowing that we “do not have to do it all.” Praise Your Holy Name.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its TIME. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Dictionary definition of TIME—The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

TIME—When we were young, we were taught to tell TIME, what the little hand and the big hand meant on the clock. We soon learned that TIME guided our very lives. TIME to eat, go to school, play, sleep and even when to go to church. As adults that same clock tells us when to go to work, appointments, plant and harvest, all TIMED. How would we function if TIME did not guide us? TIME!! God in heaven has the sun and moon to help us along our TIMED path. We usually give little thought to TIME because it has always been so much a part of our every day lives. God, however, operates outside of our earthly TIME as we know it, and does not do things according to our TIME schedule.
2 Peter 3:8-9 says, “But do not forget this one thing dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousands years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.“
Ever pray and wonder why we have not heard from God for such a long TIME? Nothing seems to change. God reminds us in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” But remember we are used to our earthly TIME, and so God, at TIMES, seems to be slow in His answering our prayers, while other TIMES the word suddenly fits God’s response to our prayers. So, what then, are we left to think? If God’s TIMING is different from our understanding, then we must never give up hoping and praying and, yes, trusting. We are reminded in
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asks receives, he that seeks finds and to him that knocks it shall be opened.” And we say, “When, O Lord, when?” Psalm 31:15 says, “My TIMES are in Your hand, at the right TIME God will provide our need.” God’s perfect TIMING does two things. It grows our faith as we are forced to wait and trust God, and it makes certain that He, and He alone, gets the glory and praise for pulling us through. Think about what it must have felt like to be Paul and Silas while they were in prison. Acts 16:25-26. While they waited they chose to sing hymns and praise God. The other prisoners listened to them. SUDDENLY, there was such a violent earth quake that the foundation of the prison was shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose.” Surely, God got the glory for their release. We must always remember that we are bound by earthly limitations. We can not see a full picture of past, present, and future, but God can. Let’s also remember that God loves us so much that He always wants what is best for us. What we are asking for may not be as good as what He has planned for us, or the TIMING may not be beneficial to us.
Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
What is TIME really but an earthly measure we need to live by, but faith, trust and hope can not be measured, as God can not be measured. Isaiah 22:22 says, “When He opens doors no one will be able to close them; when He closes doors, no one will be able to open them.”
God and His ways are a mystery leaving us to grow in our faith and trust of Him. As Psalm 31:15 says, “My TIME is in Your hands.” While we remember God’s love and faithfulness to us, let us return that love and faithfulness to Him. Praise Your Holy Name. 
James 4:6 But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Dictionary definition of ENTITLED—The fact of having a right to something. The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

ENTITLED—Think of a time in a restaurant when children were noisy which disturbed other diners. Then there are those who think nothing of other's needs but only of their own. Those who feel ENTITLED encroach on other's personal space or individual rights. We all need to learn that it is equally important to recognize and respect the rights of others. Even those who have been mistreated need to find a balance of self-respect with respect for others. At extreme levels ENTITLEMENT is a toxic trait repeatedly exposing people to the risk of feeling frustrated, unhappy, and disappointed with life. Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heareth his father’s instructions; but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”
ENTITLEMENT produces a demanding nature in our interactions with others. It makes it more difficult to endure life’s challenging seasons. When we feel ENTITLED, and we all do at certain times in our lives, we can easily default to passivity or laziness expecting things to come our way without hard work and perseverance. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Perseverance is not giving up. It is persistence and tenacity, the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end, even if it’s hard. ENTITLEMENT encourages us to give up while expecting others to handle the challenge. Philippians 2:4-5 tells us to, “Let each of us look NOT to our own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus.” We all know that looking to other's interests before our own can be quite a challenge, but with God all things are possible. Ephesians 3:20 says, “With God’s power working in us, God can do much much more than we can ask or imagine.” And so with God’s power working in us we are able to become more and more grateful even for the trials in our lives. Impossible, we say?  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Feelings of gratitude and not ENTITLEMENT will create a calm, peaceful life filled with joy even in the toughest of times. On occasion we may slip into the feelings of ENTITLEMENT, but let’s not give up. Let’s just start thanking God and appreciating all that He is. Psalm 103:2-5 says it so beautifully, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Thank you Lord for Your Word, Your steadfastness, and love. We are so GRATEFUL.
Lamentations 3:22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your FAITHFULNESS.

Dictionary definition of FAITHFULNESS—Steadfast in affection or allegiance - Firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty.

FAITHFULNESS—Ever have a promise broken or perhaps broke a promise? Broken promises lead to sadness and distrust. Promises broken are hard to forget even with forgiveness. We are left with an underlying uneasy feeling. We think, if one promise is broken perhaps another one looms on the horizon. Who, then, is FAITHFUL? There is One who we can always trust and depend on in His FAITHFULNESS and does not break His promises. Psalm 119:90 says, “Your FAITHFULNESS endured to all generations, You have established the earth, and it stands fast.” Just think about the earth as an example of God’s FAITHFULNESS. The oceans and rivers, mountains, trees, land and animals, and humans all around the world. The life of all that exists, because God is FAITHFUL. Psalm 33:4 says, “For the Word of the Lord is upright, and all His work done in FAITHFULNESS.” So much of our earthly lives are challenged with broken promises for we are imperfect. God, however, never wavers in His perfection. 2 Timothy 2:13 tells us, “If we FAITHLESS, He remains FAITHFUL for He cannot deny Himself.” How great this Word is? God cannot deny Himself because that is who He is. FAITHFUL.
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know, therefore, that the Lord, your God is God, the FAITHFUL God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.” A thousand generations? How’s that for FAITHFULNESS? We are so blessed with a God who never leaves or forsakes us.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 “The Lord is FAITHFUL, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” As we walk this earth, vulnerable though we may be, we have the One and only God to watch over us.
Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His FAITHFULNESS is a shield and bulwark.” Oh, I know for many of us there are times, we feel alone struggling with our earthly challenges by ourselves, but that is what the evil one wants us to think and believe, even though we are told in 2 Thessalonians “He will guard us from the evil one.” We must never believe the liar. We must keep our sights focused on our God, the FAITHFUL One. Darkness may close in on us at times, but the light is always there for the taking. Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised us is FAITHFUL.” Wavering, a human response, when life challenges us and we feel darkness closing in. God, please help us to “hold fast the confession of our hope in You, the FAITHFUL One.” The One we can trust and rely on. You, the One who never wavers, the One who holds fast to His promises and is ever FAITHFUL. Thank you for this marvelous gift that we just need to reach out and accept. So let’s rest easy in God’s trustworthy promises, great is His FAITHFULNESS.
Acts 3:21. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to RESTORE everything, as He promised long ago through His prophets.

Dictionary definition of RESTORATION-the action of returning something to a former owner, place or condition.

RESTORATION—What comes to our minds when we think of this word. Perhaps a house or building that after years of neglect needed to be RESTORED, or a valuable painting faded with time needing to be RESTORED to its original brilliance. Then there may be members of a family/friendship torn apart by circumstances that needs to be RESTORED to its original loving state. In God’s mind all things can be RESTORED to the glory He has in mind for us even though the world may pull us away from His plans.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Isn’t this exciting news? No matter what our past has been, or how many trials and sadness we have endured, it is comforting to know that God has RESTORATION plans for us. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself RESTORE, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” In our minds we can’t imagine how God can or will RESTORE us, but Ephesians 3:20 tells us clearly that “with God’s power working in us, God can do much much more than we can ask or imagine.” This is another piece of exciting information that enables us to have hope. We don’t have to know how God can RESTORE us or what we have lost, we need only believe that He can and will. Psalm 51:12 says, “RESTORE to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Think about what it must have felt like to be Job. As he began to lose everything that defined his life, not only financial, but more importantly his family and his health, he must have had moments of helplessness,  and hopelessness. As we learn in scripture, God RESTORED all, yes all, that he had lost two-fold. Two-fold, hard to imagine, right? Yet Job 42:10 says, “The Lord RESTORED the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had two-fold.” We learn from Job’s experience that even in our worst times, we need to be praying for others. Our efforts to reach out and help others brings blessings that our minds can’t comprehend. God wants us always to be a benefit to others in His kingdom no matter our struggles. Imagine receiving double for our trouble.
Job 42:12 says, “and the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” We must never lose hope no matter how difficult that is at times. Never stop believing in God’s goodness. He wants to RESTORE everything “the thief” has stolen from us.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Thank you God for Your gift of RESTORATION and the gift of hope that it brings to us. You are our One true God, the One in whom we can trust and depend on. Help us to never forget who You are and that You are pure goodness. Jeremiah 29:11 you tell us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you future and a hope.” Thank you Lord.
Psalm 145:9 The Lord is GOOD to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.

Dictionary definition of GOODNESS—The quality of being morally GOOD or virtuous.

GOODNESS—We say this about people who always seem to be there to help others. We may say it about children whose behavior meets our expectations. We may even say it about the food we eat that is prepared to our taste. TV shows, movies, or music may receive this rating in our eyes. Then there is God whom we many at times say He is GOOD.
1 Chronicles 16:34 says it this way, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is GOOD! For His mercies endure forever.” But what does “God is GOOD” really mean? God is not GOOD because we avoid danger and trials. God’s GOODNESS is not dependent on an outcome of a barely-missed doom story. God is GOOD because when the storms of life hit, He comes closer to us than the storm ever could. He holds us in His loving arms. He doesn’t change. He doesn’t falter. He doesn’t quit. He doesn’t leave. And no matter what, He never lets go. James 1:17 says, “Every GOOD gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” The Bible doesn’t just say that God IS GOOD. It’s not just what He does. It’s who He is, and who He is never changes. The stories of Joseph, Job, and Daniel are great examples of God in their lives. They didn’t avoid hardship, trials and loss. No, actually, their hardships were quite horrible I think. Joseph, betrayed by his own flesh and blood, Job, the loss of his children and fortune, and his own health, and Daniel, threatened to be eaten by lions. Where was God? The Bible tells us that he had favor over Joseph all the time he was in captivity. His story is actually a beautiful story. God was preparing Joseph to be a leader, while Joseph avoided bitterness and chose to forgive. Proverbs 3:5-7 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Job’s story brings us great sorrow as we imagine what his life must have felt like during his time of loss and illness. However, during this time Job believed in His God. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And poor Daniel only wanted to worship his God and was protected against the wild beasts because he had done no wrong in the sight of God. Yes we will endure hardship, loss, illness. All types of trials, but our God in His GOODNESS is close to us as He was to Joseph, Job, and Daniel protecting us with His mercies and favor. Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is GOOD; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.” Thank you God for showering us with Your GOODNESS through our trials and challenges. Help us to always feel You near. Help us to remember Your Word. You are our One True God. 
Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take REFUGE in Him.

Dictionary definition of REFUGE—A condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. A place of protection.

REFUGE—Think back on a time in our lives that we’ve needed REFUGE. I remember a time while driving home from work the radio said a violent hail storm with golf size hail was coming very soon. I began to pray, God just let me get home, and put this car in the garage before it or I am injured. I prayed all the way and His faithfulness allowed me to reach the REFUGE of the garage before the violent storm started, and it was a violent storm. There may be many times throughout our lives that we seek REFUGE from storms, or worldly challenges that overwhelm us and we need to seek God’s REFUGE. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our REFUGE and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” Strength, now that’s a time we need God as our REFUGE. Ever run out of strength and pray to God to fill you with a supernatural strength to face whatever you need to face? Sometimes when our hearts are overwhelmed, all we need do is cry out to God and ask that in our desperation and fear, God would place us on stable ground. God would comfort and lead us to safety. God would shelter and deliver us. Psalm 17:8 says, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Then I will say, Psalm 91:2 “My REFUGE and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” To take REFUGE in God means despite our underlying circumstances we can make the decision to put our lives in the hands of God and find complete security in Him. This means that when we are weak we are able to look to our Father and find REFUGE—a place of security and home in Him. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” We need not feel badly when we feel weak and seek REFUGE. God is there to hold us up and protect us under His wings. Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find REFUGE; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” The reality is that there will be difficult times, but God promises to be our REFUGE. God wants to hear our hearts, to lay out our requests before Him, and to trust Him. When we take REFUGE in something physical we are trusting it will take care of us or at least make us feel safe and secure. When we take REFUGE in God, we are offering that trust to Him instead. JESUS said in John 19:28-29 some comforting words, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” I don’t know about you but that’s just where I want to be, in the Father’s hand, always. Life is very challenging and I need God all the time. How about you? Isaiah 12:4 says how I feel, “In that day you will say, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.”
Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” God, is our REFUGE, strength, all we ever need. Thank you Father.
Psalm 37:28 Indeed, the Lord loves justice, and He will not ABANDON His Godly ones. They are kept safe forever, but the lawless will be chased away, and the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.

Dictionary definition of ABANDONED— Having been deserted or cast off.

ABANDONED—Ever have to sit alone in school during lunch? How did that make you feel? Deserted or cast off? What about that high school crush that suddenly ended leaving you feeling great loneliness and loss? Did you ever get turned down for a job you had earned and deserved? Or perhaps a family member who no long wants to be around you? Such events in our lives leave us feeling hurt and ABANDONED, but there is one who will never desert or cast us off. One who will never leave us alone. Psalm 94:14 says, “For the Lord will not ABANDON His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance.”
Our God will never cast us aside. No, indeed. In fact, He loves us so very dearly.
1 Samuel 12:22 says, “For the Lord will not ABANDON His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.”
We may have times in our lives when it seems as if God is no where around, and we simply can’t feel Him, but He will never, no never, forsake His children. Trust in Him and know that He loves us and remember that all things work together for good.
Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Isn’t this a great scripture? One we should meditate on and remember. In life when it feels as if everyone has ABANDONED us, God will never. Let’s continually build our prayer lives and pour our hearts out to Him. He will help us and we will see the goodness of the Lord. We will go through trials, but we can be assured that God will not lie. Because He said He won’t leave us, no matter how bad our situation may seem, we can believe He will not leave us. Many times we can’t see what God is doing, but we can rejoice in the fact that we are praying to God more than ever. We are able to truly see that without Christ we have nothing. Psalm 9:10-11 says, “Those who know Your name will trust You for You have not forsaken those who seek You Lord. Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion; declare His mighty deeds among the people.” We will hold on to Christ and we will stand firm in faith. God will work in our life for our good and His good purpose. We won’t go through trials forever. No one said the Christian life will be the easiest. John 16:22 says, “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” Our God will NEVER, NEVER ABANDON us. He is not absent! Joshua 1:9 says, “God assures us, “I’ve commanded you haven’t I? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be fearful or discouraged because the Lord your God is with you where ever you go.” Thank you our Father for always keeping Your promise to never ABANDON us. Without You we are lost and alone, but with You all things are possible. 
Isaiah 48:21 They did not thirst when he led them through the DESERT. He made the water flow out of rock for them; He split the rock and the water gushed forth.

Dictionary definition of DESERT—A region of little rain fall—supports very little vegetation if any—very sandy and can support very little forms of life.

DESERT—We are all familiar with the DESERT and know that not much exists there and it is only the toughest who can survive its harshness. Why then does the Bible have so much to say about the DESERT? Elijah and Moses in the Old Testament spent time there and Matthew, Mark, and Luke make it clear that the Spirit led Jesus there. DESERTS are such hard places to survive with landscapes of little or no vegetation lacking water. Creatures that dwell there are often predatory and poisonous. DESERTS are simply very hard places to survive. DESERTS can be literal or metaphorical. We also learn in the Bible that they can be places where God finally finds us and calls us back to life with Him. The dangers DESERTS present to human survival can also be a warning of what life becomes when God is evicted from our lives. DESERTS can invite deep reflection on spiritual realities. As the lushness of the material world is stripped from our senses by the barrenness of a DESERT, we might turn our hearts toward God and seek to discover what is truly important in our lives. Deuteronomy 2:7 says, “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done, He has known your wandering through the great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God had been with you, you have not lacked a thing.” Because a DESERT is such a difficult threatening terrain, it represents barriers, obstacles, and challenges. A spiritual DESERT is a place of loneliness and discomfort. We may spin our wheels making little or no progress just as the Israelites did. We may even feel as if God has forgotten us. The Bible says that God never leaves or forsakes us. Deuteronomy 31:6. In a world that encourages us to believe in ourselves and to achieve all we deserve, it is paramount to understand who and whose we are. Hebrews 13:5 also says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So even if or when we experience time in the DESERT, we must never lose sight of whose we are and His repeated promise to “never forsake us.” He will lead us through our DESERT experience. Deuteronomy 8;15 says, “Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, where in were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought. Where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint?”
Nothing with God is wasted, even our times spent in the DESERT. Even though our time in the DESERT is a tough struggle, with God, we can come though our experience stronger and closer to our Heavenly Father. Psalm 126:5 assures us of God’s faithfulness. “Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts.” Thank you God for never forsaking us and for leading us to a better day.
1 Corinthians 2:10 These are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

Dictionary definition of KNOWING—Showing or suggesting that one has knowledge or awareness that is secret or known to only a few. The state of being aware or informed.

KNOWING—Have you ever had the feeling “you KNOW that you KNOW, that you KNOW? It’s a feeling of certainty that no one or no circumstance can deter you from. You just know and are content to wait till it is, what ever it is, is manifested in the natural. You don’t need to defend it or explain it. It just is. Some call it intuition, while others call it sixth sense. Then there are those who believe that it is the Holy Spirit imparting Information. 1 Corinthians 2:12 tells us “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” John 16:13 says, “When the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all the truth.” This is very comforting to know we have a guide close at hand to help us maneuver through the challenges of this world. Ever needed to have a conversation about something very important but were at a loss of what to say? Luke 12:12 says, “The Holy Spirit will teach you in the very hour what all you ought to say.” Wow! Just think how marvelous this kind of assistance really is. Words are powerful. They can hurt or help. Lift up or tear down. Once said can never be retrieved. Proverbs:12:18 says, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings, healing.” Again, how comforting to know we can avoid hurt and division when the Holy Spirit is helping and guiding.
1 Corinthians 2:13 says, “This is what we speak not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” The Holy Spirit is our faithful friend who is all KNOWING, so why not listen to His advice? But as 1 Corinthians 2.14 says, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but consider them foolishness, and can not understand them, because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” Now remember we have free will with choices. So if that feeling of “KNOW that you KNOW, that you KNOW” comes over us, we can refuse to listen to it. We can choose to listen to the world and our own feelings or choose to follow the Holy Spirits nudging. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord and not lean on your own understandings, and He will make your paths straight.”
1 Corinthians 2:10 says, “These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit for the Spirit sees everything, even the depth of God.” Jesus said it best in John 14:26, “But the helper whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all I have said to you.” Thank you Father for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. Open our hearts to feel the nudgings of the Spirit, and to trust You. 
2 Corinthians 1:3 God is our comfort in the midst of SUFFERING

Dictionary definition of SUFFER—Experience or be subjected to something bad or unpleasant.

SUFFER—We look at this word and recoil. None of us wants or chooses to SUFFER. However, we live in a fallen world where SUFFERING is a part of our lives. There is no way around it. We can hope and pray to avoid it but James 1:2 says to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” And JESUS said in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have over come the world.” So I guess it’s pretty clear we will SUFFER, there will be trials and trouble, but JESUS in His loving compassion has given us a way to get through the trials and troubles. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because, having stood the test that person will receive the Crown of Life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” I’m sure we all would love to receive the Crown of Life but still want to avoid the trials and troubles. I know I would, but it is those very trials and troubles that James 1:3 says, “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” SUFFERING is a battle for our soul. There are two ways to respond to our challenges. We can either curse God, or praise Him. The choice is ours. Think about what 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 has to say, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed.” How often in our lives have we said, “It never rains, but what it pours?” How often do we feel we can’t possibly handle or deal with another thing? Yet, somehow we find ourselves moving forward and eventually looking behind us to those SUFFERING  times thinking, “Praise God. It is only His love and grace that got us through it all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” SUFFERING  is still not easy. It is a process that causes us emotional and physical challenges, but produces perseverance and steadfastness. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “and the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have SUFFERED a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Thank you Father for what SUFFERING teaches us. Thank you for loving and helping us through the trials. Help us to trust and lean on You our one true God. Amen
Ephesians 1:9 Making known unto us the MYSTERY of His will according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ.

Dictionary definition of MYSTERY—Something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain.

MYSTERY—Many of us love a good MYSTERY. We may have favored MYSTERY writers of the books we love to read, or certain movies and TV shows. Over the years writers and actors have become famous for the roles they play in those favored MYSTERIES. A MYSTERY is like a puzzle to solve. Solving a good MYSTERY feels like a worth while task, but some MYSTERIES will forever remain unsolved. But it’s ok not to have all the answers because Christians “walk by faith not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7. Job 1:7 describes God as MYSTERIOUS. Job 11:7-9 “Can you fathom the MYSTERIES of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.”
Walking by sight means relying solely on answers to lead the way. Faith, therefore, allows for questioning. The Christian faith does not rely on answers to every question. Belief in God means acceptance of not knowing everything but still believing He is everything. If we could find answers to all our questions, there would be no need for God. Not knowing leads us to rely on Him for guidance and understanding. One of the greatest MYSTERIES for us to ponder is when will Jesus return? Jesus said in John 14:1-3 “Let your hearts not be troubled. In my Father’s house are mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” And Mark 13:34 says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. So what do we do while we wait? How shall we prepare for His return? Watch for false prophets.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 says “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.” We need to accept the uncertainty of His second coming. If Jesus was content not knowing the day or hour, then we can be content with “no one knows” only the Father. We can also live in the light of Jesus first coming. Those who profess Christ as Lord and live according to their profession will receive great reward when Jesus returns. Let’s live as if today is the day. Keep doing the work Jesus left for us to do. While we wait let’s remember what is said in 1 Timothy 3:16, “Great indeed, we confess, is the MYSTERY of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”
And so even though the time of His return is a MYSTERY, we know HE WILL RETURN because God’s Word is forever and reliable, and we walk by faith not by sight.
Philippians 4:19–Paul wrote “My God will meet all your NEEDS according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus."

Dictionary definition of NEED—Require something because it is essential or very important.

NEED—Well now, what do we NEED? There are the things we truly NEED and the things we think we NEED. We NEED shelter from the elements and for safety. We NEED food for survival and water for our thirst. God says He will meet all of our NEEDS in Philippians 4:19 and Matthew 6:8b says, “The Father knows what you NEED before you ask Him.” And Romans 8:32 goes on to say, “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” So we know spiritually that God will provide. Right? But are we like the Israelites while in the wilderness, worrying that we won’t have all that we NEED? In Genesis 9:3 God says, “Every moving thing that lives should be good for you, and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” He gave us everything. Astounding, really. But sometimes the lack we feel still causes us anxiety and worry. Matthew 6:26 comforts us with these beautiful words, “Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” I’m sure we think, “Well sure I’m more value than a bird.” But our lack still scares us. in Philippians 4:11-12 Paul makes an amazing statement. “Not that I am speaking of being in NEED, for I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and NEED.” Secret? What secret is Paul referring to? Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”  Psalm 34:10 says, “The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” The kingdom of God refers to the realm over which God reigns as King, or the fulfillment of God’s will on earth. Seeking God means to vigorously look for God’s presence and look for ways to do His will, and follow His ways. Scripture says, all else will follow without worry and anxiety. Even though the kingdom of God is invisible, through us who seek His kingdom and strive to live in His presence, the kingdom of God can become visible. I imagine that there will be times of NEED and lack, but let’s remember to seek God and His kingdom first and let our worries and cares float away on the breeze confident in our God in Heaven. Thank you God for watching out for our NEEDS. Help us to turn our cares over to You trusting in all of Your goodness. Amen.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.

Dictionary definition of DETOUR—A deviation from a direct course or the usual procedure.

DETOUR—How many of us have experienced a DETOUR? Lots, I would guess. Some DETOURS keep us from an important appointment or event, while others turn out to be a blessing perhaps leading us to see beauty or to meet people we otherwise would not have met. Proverbs 16:9 tells us clearly, “Man may make a plan, but God directs his steps.” Perhaps some of those DETOURS were God’s way of directing our steps. DETOURS can sometimes protect us. Perhaps a flight we should have been on is cancelled upsetting us greatly but at the same time saving us from a tragedy. Then again a DETOUR can lead to meeting people meant to be in our lives that we would never have met if following our plan.  Each time we can see God’s presence, His hand reaching out to lead us the way we should go. Joseph certainly had a DETOUR, when his brothers led him to a pit which led to slavery. But, oh, what a DETOUR! Years later Joseph’s DETOUR led him to save many from starvation. Genesis 47:25 says, “You have saved our lives,” they said, “May we find favor in the eyes of our Lord.”
Moses' DETOUR was also quite an experience. Forty years in the desert where he acquired a wife and family, which was a much different life than he had experienced in his first 40 years, when God called him to save “His people.”  What an honor! Exodus 3:4 says, “When the Lord saw that Moses was coming closer, He called him from the middle of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” He answered, “Yes, here I am.” What did Joseph and Moses think when years passed? Did they wonder what their lives were all about during those long years? They were living lives that certainly were not like their lives had been. Did they worry about or resent what they had lost? How do we react when life doesn’t go as we have planned? God in His divine sovereignty and wisdom, has a reason for the DETOURS He instates upon our lives, and because we know God is good, we can trust that His every reason for these DETOURS is equally good. Isaiah 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The lives of Joseph and Moses were good, perhaps not as they had planned, but nevertheless, good, very very good. And so it is with our lives. We can trust God and the DETOURS, because our God is good, very good. Psalm 100:5 “For the Lord is good,” His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”
Heavenly Father we praise and thank you for the DETOURS because we know that Your plans are always better than ours. Help us to follow You and Your ways. 
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His HANDS.

Dictionary definition of HAND—The end part of a persons arm beyond the wrist, including the palm, fingers, and thumb.

HAND—When we think of the word we may remember how tiny and delicate a babies hand is, or how gnarled and wrinkled the HAND of the elderly. The HANDS in between those two ages may go unnoticed, because they are not memorable. But the baby HAND so smooth and new, and the elderly HAND that records the passing of time and activities through its many wrinkles, catches our attention. Both HANDS are beautiful in its own special way. However, there is another HAND that should get our attention that will never change, remaining the same for all eternity. Acts 7:50 says, “Was it not My HAND which made all those things.” Our Heavenly Father’s HAND is on everything and everyone. He is, after all, the Maker of all that exists.
Isaiah 66:2 says, “For My HAND made all these things. Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word.” We who love the Lord are in awe of His wondrous works. Psalm 8:3 “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained.” We also recognize His handy work in all of creation. Psalm 95:5 “The sea is His for it was He who made it, and His HANDS formed the dry land.” Then His HAND created man. Isaiah 64:8 “O, Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You are the potter. And all of us are the work of Your HAND” So just as we recognize the HAND writing of a good friend, we recognize the HAND writing of our Heavenly Father. The beauty He created, and continues to create, all around us in the sky, animals, birds, and human kind, is more than we can ever imagine. So we remain in awe of His wondrous works. We must take time to appreciate the magnificent rainbow, the stunning sun rise and sun set, the nourishing rain, the vivid colors of the birds of the air, the many delicate flowers, with fabulous colors. So, like the sweet baby HAND and the lovely wrinkled HAND of the elderly, we admire and remain in awe of His beauty, detail, and Imagination. 1 Chronicles 29:12 “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all and in Your HAND is power and might; and it lies in Your HAND to make great and to strengthen everyone.” This leaves us with just one thing to say. Psalm 92:4 “For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done. I will sing for joy at the work of Your HANDS.” Praise Your Holy Name Father for Your HAND on all that exists, giving us Your beautiful creation, which includes each of us, whether it be a sweet new baby HAND or the beauty of the elderly HAND. Amen.
John 15:2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He PRUNES it so it may bear more fruit.

Dictionary definition of PRUNE—Trim a tree, shrub, or bush by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to Increase fruitfulness and growth.

PRUNE—I have met people who don’t want to cut back or PRUNE branches of either rose bushes or fruit bearing trees. They feel great pain as if they may be hurting the plant which leads to straggly bushes bearing nearly nothing. Other people have the courage to do the necessary PRUNING and their plants are lush and beautiful. Our spiritual lives are much like this. Those not PRUNED never bear as much good fruit as those who have been lovingly PRUNED by God. When you lovingly PRUNE that rose bush it allows it to concentrate its energy closer to its heart, allowing beautiful full healthy roses to appear instead of tiny under nourished roses without much color or beauty. We are much like that rose bush. We are blessed when God lovingly PRUNES us even though it may be painful, because it is always for our own good and His glory. PRUNING by God is not a punishment. It is a reward. Spiritual PRUNING enhances spiritual growth by removing whatever Inhibits spiritual growth
JESUS said in John 15:1, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser, every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He PRUNES that it may bear more fruit.”
Why does God PRUNE us? God does not PRUNE us because He is angry at us, nor does He PRUNE us because JESUS’ sacrifice was not enough. God PRUNES us, His branches, so that we may bear more fruit. John 15:2
If God sees that we are out of balance with dead branches and suckers of sin draining away our spiritual vitality He steps in and PRUNES. He also PRUNES so that we will become more dependent on Him. He doesn’t PRUNE to discourage us, but so that we will learn to abide in Christ, the true source of life. Too often we become proud and independent. This will never lead to greater fruitfulness. JESUS said, “Abide in Me and I in you.” John 15:4
Therefore, God loves us enough to PRUNE us so that we remember to rest in Christ. God also PRUNES us so that He may be glorified. “By this my Father is glorified, that you may bear much fruit. John 15:8a. To glorify means to magnify, to enlarge and to draw attention to. As believers in Christ, we do not live to draw attention to ourselves, but to our glorious God and Savior. “So apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5. When the pain of PRUNING happens to us, let’s look at it as an award from our loving Father who cares so much for us that He sees great potential in us and the beautiful fruit that we have yet to produce. Thank you Father for Your love and gift of PRUNING. 
Matthew 11:29-30 Take my YOKE upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls - For my YOKE is easy and my burden is light.

Dictionary definition of YOKE —A wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals such as oxen are joined at the heads or necks for working together.

YOKE—Many of us may think the YOKE to be oppressive, but it all depends on who we are YOKED with. The old oxen is YOKED with the young inexperienced oxen. The young one learns from the older more experienced ox. Not a bad idea really for either animal. The older one leads, but the younger one has new unused strength to help the older oxen. It’s win win for both animals. The younger one learns in a very easy pleasant way without too much burden while the older one gains new strength, and so it is with being YOKED with JESUS. He leads the way, we follow and learn. We can trust Him because He wants to give us rest. Matthew 11:30 He says, “For my YOKE is easy and my burden is light.” It isn’t hard to glow with Jesus because He will not lay anything heavy on us, and YOKED to Him will lead to rest for our souls. If our burden or burdens happen to be heavy, they are not from God, because being YOKED with Jesus leads us to be less anxious and worried. We are told to be “anxious for nothing” Philippians 4:6.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
The older oxen steers the younger one to the left or right or forward gently. Throughout their travels together the younger one is learning from the older oxen. So it is with Jesus. Stay close to Him. He is righteous and sin free, the One we can trust to lead us in the ways of God.
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good morals.”
2 Timothy 3:5 “Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally YOKED with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship had light with darkness.”
Deuteronomy 22:10 “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.”
The above scriptures are a sample of God’s ways in which JESUS leads us.
It’s very clear that being YOKED to only the right people is extremely important. 2 John 1:9 says, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
Unlike the young oxen who has no choice, we have a choice whether to be YOKED with Christ or not. What shall it be? Heavenly Father in our human weakness, help us to make the right choice to be YOKED with Jesus our Lord, the One who will lead us to Your ways and take our earthly burdens to give our souls the rest we urgently need. Amen.
2 Samuel 22:2 He said, “The Lord is my rock and my FORTRESS and my deliverer.”

Dictionary definition of FORTRESS—A fortified place especially a large and permanent fortification including a town.

FORTRESS—Many of us have visited historical FORTS and wondered what life behind those walls must have felt like. People of the day must have been grateful for a FORTRESS to protect them from danger. The Bible explains a FORTRESS as a large building or complex of buildings used as a military stronghold designed for defense of territories in warfare and is also used to solidify rule in a region during peace time. The term FORTRESS is derived from the Latin FORTIS (strong) and FACERE (to make). Some other words used in place of FORTRESS are stronghold, barrier, castle, fortification, fort, citadel, bastille, garrison, rampart. We think of our homes as that stronghold or fortification, where we feel safe and secure from the storms of  life. A place of refuge. We have locks on our doors and windows to give us the protection we are looking for when really our true protection comes from God. He is the place the enemy can not penetrate which means there is no opening, we are surrounded. Psalm 18:2 says, “The Lord is my rock and my FORTRESS and my deliverer. My God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Sometimes we may not feel surrounded and protected from the enemy and the evil of this world, but we are assured in Philippians 4:6 to “be anxious for nothing, but with prayer, petition, and thanksgiving make our requests known to God.” And Philippians 4:13 that says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Our spiritual FORTRESS is God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit along with the scriptures given to us by God Himself. Psalm 31:3 says, “For thou art my rock and my FORTRESS; therefore for thy names sake lead me, and guide me.” God will lead and guide us into the safety and protection (FORTRESS) that He offers us. Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” We all need a spiritual FORTRESS at one time or another. A place to run to for that much needed protection. Let’s remember that that FORTRESS is God and the scriptures He so generously has given to us. We need His safety and protection. Psalm 91:2 says, “I will say to the Lord, “my refuge and my FORTRESS,” my God, in whom I trust.” Praise Your Holy Name, our One and only true God. Thank you for being our FORTRESS that keeps us safe and secure. 
Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Dictionary definition of RELIANCE—Dependence on or trust in someone or something.

RELIANCE—Growing up we RELY on our parents or those caring for us for all of our needs. As we grow older we begin to RELY more and more on ourselves. While going through life, we sometimes are disappointed in those we RELY on, including ourselves. Promises are broken, expectations are not met, or perhaps, even are unrealistic. People come and go in our lives leaving a void that hurts. Bad decisions are made. Hearts may be broken, feelings trampled on, cutting words said in anger that linger far too long, all of which lead to disappointment and heart ache. However, there is One we can always RELY on. God Himself!!
Psalm 9:8 says, “The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed.  A stronghold in times of trouble.” Trusting in GOD’s Word may seem hard at times but Isaiah 26:4 tells us, “Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” Then God Himself says to us in Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God who upholds your right hand, who says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” Powerful words coming from the One we can RELY on, but because of our past disappointments and heart aches, we wonder, “Can we really RELY on God’s promises.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 tells us, “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Disappointments and heart aches can be very painful and long lasting but God’s Word is forever. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” And Psalm 34:18 says, “He saves the crushed in spirit.” So no matter how damaged we might feel we are, God is our refuge and strength. Psalm 46:1 And Psalm 46:3 says, “Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it’s water roar and foam and mountains quake with their surging, we will not fear.” We CAN RELY on God and have a hope of healing and becoming whole once again to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. Ephesians 3:20 says, “With God’s power working in us, God can do much much more than we can ask or imagine.” Though our worldly life teaches us not to RELY on others, God insists that we RELY on Him. Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” It’s comforting to know that there really is One we can RELY on. As we are buffeted around by the roaring seas of life, God holds us in the palm of His hand healing us with His love and protection. Psalm 18:2 says it best, “The Lord is my Rock and my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” We praise Your Holy Name, God of our salvation, the One who shields and protects us. We thank You for Your love and healing. Help us to RELY on You, the One who never leaves or forsakes us.
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the SWORD of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Dictionary definition of SWORD—A weapon with a long metal blade and a hilt with a hand guard, used for thrusting or striking.

SWORD—We all have a pretty good idea of what a SWORD is and what it is used for. When sharpened the SWORD can pierce almost anything. The Roman soldier used the SWORD as a weapon against their enemies. We don’t use a SWORD in our everyday lives, or do we? Look at Ephesians 6:17 that says “the SWORD of the Spirit is the Word of God.” Well then, “SWORD of the Spirit is the Word of God.”  Have we ever thought of the Word of God as a SWORD? So let’s think about the Word of God. Our ability to effectively use the SWORD of the Spirit (Gods Word) depends upon our knowledge of the Scriptures. This knowledge will increase as we read, meditate, study, and memorize the Scriptures. As we spend time with God’s Word we may not think of it as a protective tool to deflect the schemes of the evil one, or to silence our enemies just as JESUS did, but the Bible is telling us that that is exactly what it is. John 10:10 tells us that “the thief comes to rob, kill, and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” The thief is a serous adversary, that we need to be prepared for at all times to deflect his sneaky attempts of destruction. Memorizing God’s Word keeps God close to us at all times, protecting us from attack. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged SWORD, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” As we wield the SWORD (God’s Word) it protects our sincerity, holiness, righteousness,and hope. All of it is protected and defended by the Word of God, the Scriptures, and that’s why we need this SWORD so much in our lives. Our SWORD is two-edged because it is used for defense and offense. So we not only defend ourselves against the devil with God’s Word, but we advance against him as well. We are meant to send the devil in retreat. John 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We can have victory over Satan’s schemes by filling our minds and hearts with the truth of the Bible.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” This is good news, right? The truth is, we are conquerors through our precious Christ. So we need not worry or fear for we have all we need to win each and every battle. Romans 8:37-39 says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Thank you Heavenly Father for this precious gift of love and protection through Jesus Christ. Help us to turn to You and Your Word, the SWORD of the Spirit. Amen.
James 3:18 And the SEED whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Dictionary definition of SEED—The grains or ripened ovules of plants used for sowing.

SEED—Many of us have at one time or another planted a SEED, nurtured it and waited for it to grow then to produce its fruit. The thrill we have when it produces is such a great feeling. So how do we think God feels when we sow spiritual SEED? We are all farmers. We scatter spiritual SEEDS across the field of life. SEEDS of grace, joy, love, gratitude, anger, hatred etc. All of these SEEDS will bear fruit at harvest time. What kind of fruit they produce is determined by what kind of SEEDS they are. Paul lays it down as a law of nature. Galatians 6:8 says, “He that soweth  to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” We need not sow to ourselves but to serve mankind. Galatians 6:10 says, “So we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Sowing to mankind in such ways as gratitude, a touch of comfort, a gift to meet a need, will give an everlasting harvest. However, we must remember the harvest is not our responsibility, only the sowing of the SEED. We plant, nurture and God grows.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants, nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” As for me, that takes a great deal of pressure from my shoulders. We need only plant the Spiritual SEED of kindness, thoughtfulness, consideration, empathy, etc. and God will grow them. Some people give up sowing SEED because they feel their contribution is too ordinary and of little or no value but Matthew 10:42 says, “Give to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink.” Everything we do no matter how small has great significance in the spiritual world of God. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not lose heart in well doing, for in due time we will redo if we do not grow weary.” We might be thinking, “Well, I believed I was a SEED planted in God’s spiritual garden, but I haven’t seen a harvest.” Like in the natural world, there are reasons SEEDS don’t grow in the spiritual world either. They may be planted too deep. We can’t allow others to throw things on us that will choke out the SEED God has planted within us. It could also be bad soil. We may be a good SEED but the soil has no good nutrients. Good SEED in bad soil will never grow. SEEDS, also, don’t grow in bad weather conditions. A church that is cold can not grow good SEED.
Then there are SEED snatchers also around because they don’t have their own harvest. And lastly, SEED needs to be tended. In the spiritual world reading God’s word and believing it is essential for a good harvest. Let’s not grow weary in sowing SEED or nurturing the SEED God has planted in us because 2 Corinthians 9:6 “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully, will also reap bountifully.”
Praise Your Holy Name God, for the SEEDS You have so lovingly planted in us, and for a bountiful harvest through Your grace.
Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will SHINE like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let them hear.

Dictionary definition of SHINING—Producing or reflecting a bright, steady light.

SHINING—Bright and brilliant, the sun and the moon! God’s SHINING examples of His love of light. Then we can also, on a very dark clear night see all of the SHINING stars that He has created. We realize that light is very close to God’s heart when we take the time to notice the brilliance of His creation. God didn’t stop with His love of light SHINING with the sun, moon, and stars. No, He went on to create humankind.
Ephesians 5:8 says, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light.” Do we ever think of ourselves as a SHINING light? Perhaps not, but God sees us that way. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and set it under a basket, but on a stand, and gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light SHINE before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Our light is to SHINE for God’s glory, not for our own. That knowledge puts a different perspective on our SHINE. Daniel 12:3 says, “And those who are wise shall SHINE like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness; like the stars forever and ever.” As we begin to understand that we are “the light of the world”, a light that cannot be hidden, but that we give light to all who see us which glorified the Lord, we become more willing to share that light with others because of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 says, “For God, who said, “Let light SHINE out of darkness, has SHONE in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Even if doubt overtakes us and we think people will judge us, and we think we have nothing of value to share, God knows that our light is as important as anyone else’s. We just need to stay focused on Him and not on people! Trust Him to lead us to people, places, and to say the right words that are pleasing to Him. We can feel comfortable knowing God is guarding us. Isaiah 60:1-2 says it so beautifully, “Arise, SHINE, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For, Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people, but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you.” This amazing scripture can bring us great peace and assurance that our light SHINING for Jesus matters to God. As we allow our light to SHINE, we can help others find their way out of the darkness and into the light of Jesus our Lord and Savior. John 8:12 “And Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Heavenly Father praise Your Holy Name. Thank you for the SHINING light of Jesus. Lead us to SHINE that light to others in His precious name. Amen. 
Acts 16:30-31 “Sirs, what must I do to be SAVED?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be SAVED, you and your household.”

Dictionary definition of SALVATION—Deliverance from the power and effects of sin—deliverance from danger or difficulty.

SALVATION—Christians are familiar with this word, but what does it mean to be SAVED? Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been SAVED through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” This scripture lets us know that SALVATION is a gift from God, not something we can do for ourselves. God doesn’t want us to be able to boast. The next question is, who can be SAVED? Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth,  “Jesus is Lord,“ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be SAVED. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are SAVED.” SALVATION is available for any one who believes that Jesus was raised from the dead and is our SAVIOR. As we confess with our mouth, and believe in our hearts, we are SAVED. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Even the disciples with Jesus were astonished and so they asked, Matthew 19:25-26 “Who then can be SAVED? “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And then in Matthew 9:6 we are assured that, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Jesus goes on to say in John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whosoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.” SALVATION from sin was the purpose of Jesus life, death and resurrection. Jesus has power over life and death and therefore, has the authority and the power to give people eternal life. Psalm 62:1 says, “My soul finds rest in God alone, my SALVATION comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my SALVATION, He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Then we learn in John 3:16 “That God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” SALVATION is God’s way of forgiving sin and providing a means for man to receive eternal life now and in heaven. We must always remember that God loves, forgives, and SAVES us not because of who we are or what we do, but because of the work of Christ. Psalm 27:1 tells it this way, “The Lord is my light and my SALVATION, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Praise Your Holy Name for the gift of SALVATION, which leads us to eternal life.
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Dictionary definition of CONTROL— The exercise restraining or directing influence over, to have power over.

CONTROL—We humans are famous for making plans. Plans for our future, for our families, our next vacation, our education. Even what we shall eat tomorrow. On and on we plan and plan. All of these plans give us a feeling of CONTROL that we crave. CONTROL makes us feel calm and comforted. Knowing what to expect from day to day gives us a sense of peace. Isaiah 14:24 tell us, “The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” This scripture is quite a revelation to me. I need to rethink who really is in CONTROL. We spend a great deal of our lives thinking we are. After all, isn’t that what the world tells us? In Ephesians 1:11 we are told to look to our Heavenly Father instead. “in Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” We all would love to rest in God’s divine peace, but how do we go about turning over CONTROL of our lives when we have thought so long that it was all up to us?  Like any other habit that we need to change, it will take practice and thought because we will slip back into our old pattern of thinking. There are a few steps we can take to help us make this transition. I ran across a very helpful list of steps that I want to share with you written by Crystal McDowell.
Give our situations over to God in prayer. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will never let the righteous be shaken”
Repent of any actions to CONTROL the situation without God. Proverbs 1:23  “Repent my rebuke: then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.”
Refuse to allow satanic thoughts to penetrate your mind. 2 Corinthians 10:4 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Receive help from those who God sends your way. 1 Peter 5:5 “All of you, cloth yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”
Read and meditate on God’s Word every day. Psalm 111:7 “The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy.”
Renew your commitment to live out this difficult journey in Christ’s name. Hebrews 10:38  “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”
Remember that God is the One in CONTROL. Job 37:15 “Do you know how God CONTROLS the clouds and makes His lightning flash?”
So as we lay our head on our pillow tonight, let’s cast our cares on the Lord trusting Him to know what is best for us and go to sleep in peace. 
Philippians 4:4 REJOICE in the Lord always, again I say, REJOICE.

Dictionary definition of REJOICE—Feel or show great joy or delight.

REJOICE — We all have experienced great joy or delight. Thank God for those moments in time, as there are many other times that we find ourselves in despair instead, as our strength weakens and we lose our joy, as we wonder how we will ever get through this, whatever this may be. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” is a phrase we often hear, but what does it really mean? Ever feel like your strength is running out? Some days when looking at what might lie ahead we struggle with doubt, and wonder how we will ever make it through the day, let alone all the days to come. “The joy of the Lord is our strength” comes from Nehemiah 8 where Ezra the scribe reads the words of God’s law to the people, while they stand in reverence for hours, and as they begin to understand it, they begin to weep. Romans 12:15 says, REJOICE with those who REJOICE, and weep with those who weep.” When we feel sorrow whether it be the realization of sin, or from difficult circumstances, it is vital to remember, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” However, where does this joy and strength come from? It does not come from us, certainly, but from the Lord Himself. As Christians, we have access to God’s boundless joy, a joy that does not come from our circumstances or within our selves. It does not depend on how strong or spiritual we are. This joy comes from God alone, and the relationship we have with Him. What is the key to accessing God’s strength and joy in our weakness? First we must meditate on scripture always going deeper in our thinking, beyond just reading, while repeating the scripture we are meditating on many times throughout the day. Then we must make an effort to look for God everywhere, finding Him in the ordinary of our daily life. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Next we need to constantly pray, asking God how to deal with the difficulty that is sapping our strength and joy. Talk to Him about how we are feeling, and He will help us deal with it. Here’s a challenging one, for me anyway—LET GO and let God take control of our life. Oh boy, this phrase always annoys me because I really don’t know how to LET GO, but there is so much in life that cannot be changed no matter how hard we try.
1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” And lastly, do the next thing, whatever that might be, using the strength and talents God has given us to better our situation and leave the rest to God. Even when we feel our circumstances are too difficult, God says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Thank You God for the strength and joy You make available to us for without You we are without hope. We praise Your Holy Name. Psalm 33:21 says, “For our hearts REJOICE in Him, because we trust in His Holy Name.”
Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or the left your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Dictionary definition of GUIDANCE—Advice or information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty, especially as given by someone in authority.

GUIDANCE—As we walk this road called life, we have learned that being GUIDED saves a great deal of heartache, time and usually resources, and yet there are times we strike out on our own. Why is that? Why don’t we seek GUIDANCE first rather than as a last resort? However, that is what we sometimes do, even Christians who love and trust God. Scripture is full of GUIDANCE, advice and encouragement. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Imagine, God gives GUIDANCE generously, and yet there are still times we seem to forget His generosity, as well as His knowledge and power. Do you suppose that during those times, we just want to do things our own way, not God’s way? Psalm 25:9 says, “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.” Humble, the dictionary says that humble is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance, as well as not being haughty and offers a spirit of deference or submission. Wow!! This seems challenging! What do you think? Proverbs 1:5 says clearly, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain GUIDANCE.” Let’s think about what it must have felt like to be Abraham when God instructed him to leave and go to another place. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty challenging and scary. There are two key words in this scripture, faith and obey, and both display a humble heart. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Trust and submit, challenging, right? Abraham had faith, he obeyed, trusted and submitted. What a guy, he then becomes our model to follow when life throws us into a tail spin and we just don’t know what to do. While getting advice from all directions, do this, do that, no not that, we become confused not knowing how to choose, but there is a way to obtain peace and spiritual success if we would just ask and the Lord begins to act on our behalf making our path straight. Psalm 25:4:5 says, “Show me Your way, Lord, teach me your path, GUIDE me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”
Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him, though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” So let’s not worry about choosing the wrong path, because these two scriptures can be a map to our success in all our decision making. Even though life may be more than we can bear at times, demanding decisions we find difficult to make, we have God as our GUIDE. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.” And God wants us to know In Psalm 32:8 that, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Praise Your Holy Name. Thank You for Your love and GUIDANCE. Remind us to always look to You first rather than last. 
Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times; people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a REFUGE for us.

Dictionary definition of REFUGE—A condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble, something providing shelter.

REFUGE—To take REFUGE is to find a safe place. Have you ever needed to find a safe place. Perhaps under a bridge during a hail storm, or in a basement during a tornado. REFUGE comes from the French word meaning “to flee” and in most cases, a REFUGE is a place to flee to in order to get away from people or places that are unsafe. Another way to look at REFUGE is it’s a “shelter or protection from danger or distress.” Taking REFUGE is like finding a safe place during a storm, or getting comfort in a time of trouble. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our REFUGE and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The reality is that there will be difficult times, but God promises to be our REFUGE. When our world seems to be shattered, God has not failed us. 2 Samuel 22:3 says, “The God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my REFUGE, my savior, thou savest me from violence.” How do we take REFUGE in God? To take REFUGE in God means despite our underlying circumstances we can make the decision to put our lives in the hands of God and find complete security in Him. This means that when we are weak we are able to look to our Father and find REFUGE—a place of security and home. Psalm 59:16 tells of how we “can sing of His power,  yea, I will sing aloud of the mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and REFUGE in the day of my trouble.” As we sing our praises to God, we began to feel His presence near us, giving us that feeling of security and the much needed REFUGE to protect us from our troubles. Our troubled thoughts and worries will begin to diminish as Psalm 91:2 says, “I will say of the Lord, my REFUGE and my fortress; my God; in Him I will trust.”  Trust is a big issue for most of us. We know what the Bible says, but do we trust it and God? We know His promises, but are they for us? Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the fears of the Lord is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of REFUGE.” So, yes, because we are God’s children, we can trust His promises. he is our REFUGE in times of trouble.  Deuteronomy 33:27 says it this way, “The eternal God is thy REFUGE, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, destroy”.  Praise Your Holy Name for the REFUGE you provide for us, and for the promise that you will always be near to protect us in our times of trouble.
2 Peter 1:21 For no PROPHECY was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Dictionary definition of PROPHECY—day that a specific thing will happen in the future.

PROPHECY—What is a PROPHECY? It is the foretelling or prediction of what is to come, something that is declared by a PROPHET, especially a divinely inspired prediction, instruction, or exhortation.
2 Peter 1:19 says, “And we have something more surely, the PROPHETIC word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” PROPHECY is also a way to speak as a mediator between God and humankind or in God’s stead. Amos 3:7 says, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing  His secrets to His servants the PROPHETS.”
PROPHETS testify to Gods will, prepare us for the future, as well as guide us. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “On the other hand, the one who PROPHESIES speaks to people for their up building and encouragement and consolation.
What are some biblical PROPHECIES that have been fulfilled? The Israelite exodus led by Moses when he warned the pharaoh that unless the Israelites were freed, the Egyptians would be afflicted with sickness, pestilence, and ultimately the death of their firstborn sons. Exodus 7-12 Each of these PROPHECIES came to pass. Then there is the destruction of Jerusalem when Jeremiah 25:2,9,11 which history records did happen in 587  BC. Then there was the great Apostasy which is a period when God’s authority was not found on the earth. Paul taught that the church JESUS established would fall away before Christ came again.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 says, “Let no man deceive you by any means for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.” There is the PROPHECY that we are most familiar with. Isaiah 7:14 says, “The PROPHET Isaiah said “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and  bear a son, and shall call His name Emmanuel (God with us).
There are many PROPHECIES recorded in the Bible that have not been fulfilled, but the one we are most familiar with is the second coming of Christ. Revelation 1:7 says. “Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so. Amen” We are blessed to believe the PROPHECIES and you have the opportunity to preach them, because based on the already fulfilled PROPHECIES we can expect to have the unfulfilled to come to pass in God’s time. Acts 13:40 says, “Beware, therefore, least what is said in the PROPHETS should come about.” Thank you God for sharing these PROPHECIES with us. We praise Your Holy Name. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the PROPHECY, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” 
Matthew 13:43 Then the RIGHTEOUS will shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Dictionary definition of RIGHTEOUS—Morally right or justifiable, virtuous.

RIGHTEOUS—This word is written 558 times in the Bible, so we can see it’s an extremely important matter, but what does it really mean? Let’s look at some Bible verses to get a better understanding of a word that matters so much. The second piece of the armor of God that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6 is the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS. To be RIGHTEOUS means to obey God’s commandments and live in a way that is honorable to Him. Scripture tells us in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they shall be filled.” And we learn in James 1:20 “The anger of man does not produce the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God.”
So how can our behavior honor God? Psalm 1:6 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.” God’s word explains His thoughts about RIGHTEOUSNESS better than any thing we could say, so let’s see what else He has to say.
Proverbs 10:6-7, 11, 25 says, Blessings are on the head of the RIGHTEOUS—The memory of the RIGHTEOUS is blessed—The mouth of the RIGHTEOUS is a well of life—But the RIGHTEOUS has an everlasting foundation.” In the Old Testament God shared His thoughts about RIGHTEOUSNESS. Isaiah 32:17 says, “The work of RIGHTEOUSNESS will be peace, and the effect of RIGHTEOUSNESS, quietness and assurance forever.” In Hebrews 1:9 we have good news, “You have loved RIGHTEOUSNESS and hated lawlessness therefore, Lord your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions.” And in 1 Peter 3:14 we are reassured “if we should suffer for RIGHTEOUSNESS sake we will be blessed. And we should have no fear of them, nor be troubled,” for in Romans 10:4, “CHRIST is the end of the law for RIGHTEOUSNESS to everyone who believes.” These scriptures bring much comfort and hope, but RIGHTEOUSNESS is a process for our entire lives. The world and the flesh along with Satan, continually attempts to pull us away from God and His ways, stealing the blessings that God offers us. Psalm 106:3 says, “How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice RIGHTEOUSNESS at all times”, and
2 Timothy 2:22 lets us know how we can stay close to God. “So flee youthful passions and pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” Notice how many times BLESSINGS are offered to the RIGHTEOUS. Let’s look for ways to accept those blessings through RIGHTEOUSNESS. Thank You Lord for making the way to You a clear path through Your Word bringing us to the blessings You have planned for us if only we choose to follow Your lead. Praise Your Holy Name. We are truly blessed to have You as our one true God.
Jude 1:25–To the only wise God our SAVIOR, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen

Dictionary definition of SAVIOR—A person who saves someone or something from danger, and who is regarded with the veneration of a religious figure.

SAVIOR—What can be said about this word? As we read the Bible, we see that this word is used in the Old and New Testament and refers to both God and Jesus. Hosea 13:4 says, “Yet I the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but Me: for there is no SAVIOR beside Me.” Even Luke 1:47 says, “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my SAVIOR.” But then in Luke 2:11 we learn that, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOR which is Christ the Lord.”
SAVIOR — Christ or God?
1 Timothy 4:10 goes on to say, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the SAVIOR of all men, specially of those that believe.”
But 2 Timothy 1:10 says, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our SAVIOR Jesus Christ who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” So who is our Savior? John 14:7 Jesus said, “If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
When Jesus was questioned by Philip, He answered this way. John 14:9, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?”
These powerful scriptures give us insight into the question, ‘Who is our SAVIOR?” God and Jesus are one and the same. God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to save us, to be our SAVIOR. His death on the Cross secured our salvation, along with the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is our salvation. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so through Him we might become the righteousness of God.” We always must remember that it is only through Jesus that our salvation is secured. It is not something we can do for ourselves. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” Let’s remember that Jesus opened a very important door for us. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Jesus will have the last word on this question of SAVIOR. John 5:24 He says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that hear my words, and believe on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Heavenly Father, praise for all that You and Your Son are to us. Your love is eternal. All we need do is reach out and accept it. 
Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then let us continually offer up a SACRIFICE of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.

Dictionary definition of SACRIFICE—Act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.

SACRIFICE—We don’t think about this word often in relationship to ourselves. We may not look at the things we give up as SACRIFICES, but, indeed, I’m sure most of us SACRIFICE something daily. It might be our time, finances, and of course, love. Parents SACRIFICE for their children. Perhaps we give some of our limited time for family, friends, or charity work. As we grow older our aged parents need care. Our lives are often spent SACRIFICING without our even thinking about it.
What does SACRIFICE really mean? Giving a SACRIFICE involves giving something that has value to the giver, and therefore, involves giving something that most people would rather keep for themselves. We may find giving up our valuable time challenging, but there is one who gave it all, Jesus. Hebrews 9:28 says, “So Christ was SACRIFICED once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Then in Hebrews 10:14 we learn that “For by one SACRIFICE He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Because Jesus died for our sins we are made holy with the opportunity to SACRIFICE our bodies to our living God. Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living SACRIFICE, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” How do we give our bodies to God? After all, we need our bodies to function. Paul meant that we are to dedicate our hearts, minds, and resources to God’s service. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
We may wonder just how we will be able to dedicate our lives and bodies to God with all the worldly temptations and responsibilities that we face each and every day. We often feel too weak and in need of strength to fulfill our calling from God, but there is help.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” But the greatest SACRIFICE of all was Romans 5:8 “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Praise Your Holy Name, Father. Thank You for the precious gift of Your Son for our salvation. Help us to honor you with our bodies. Amen
3 John 1:2 BELOVED, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.

Dictionary definition of BELOVED — a much loved person.

BELOVED—Such a beautiful sounding word. It conjures up thoughts of a deep love of someone very special. There may be a few people in our lives that we feel this way about. Perhaps we even wonder if we are BELOVED to anyone. We need not wonder any more. Colossians 3:12 says, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, Holy and BELOVED, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Even after reading this scripture we still may wonder if we are BELOVED by God.
1 John 4:9-10 assures us “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son Into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
There is no greater love than this. Jesus’ death cleared the way for our favor with God. Through His death He made a way for our sins to be forgiven, and we are His BELOVED.
We learn in Matthew 17:5 “While He was still speaking a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is my BELOVED Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” Listen to Him!! God is very specific!! We are instructed to listen to JESUS His BELOVED Son. What does JESUS want us to hear? Now that we are forgiven through Jesus sacrifice of His life on the Cross and are dearly BELOVED, we are then asked to pass that love on to others.
1 John 4:7-8 “BELOVED, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.” Yet do we sometimes wonder if we can ever love as JESUS loves? Romans 5:5 assures us “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” So when we are encouraged to love as JESUS loved, we only need to remember that through the Holy Spirit, yes we are able. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my BELOVED brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
We along with Jesus are God’s BELOVED because we are co-heirs of Jesus. We are His brothers and sisters dearly BELOVED by our Heavenly Father.
Romans 1:7 “To all who are BELOVED of God in Rome, called as Saints; grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Praise your Holy Name for loving us as You love Your Son JESUS. Thank You for the gift that He is to us. You are our one true God. 
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are TEMPORAL; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Dictionary definition of TEMPORAL—Of or relating to times as opposed to eternity—of or relating to earthly life.

TEMPORAL—We commonly use the word TEMPORARY which means “lasting for a limited time” and is opposite of permanent. Biblically TEMPORAL means that the things we see are TEMPORARY, but the things we can’t see are eternal. We all know what we see here in our earthly lives common to all of us. Challenges and situations that cause stress and worry plus the many pleasant things we experience, as well as our need for shelter, food and clothing etc. All of these are TEMPORAL, not lasting. But what are the unseen things that are lasting?
There is grace for consolation and hope spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:16 that says, “Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace.”
Then there is grace for endurance.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
And John 1:16 goes on to say, “Grace upon grace” for whatever is needed.
All of this is available through daily dependence upon the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith not by sight.” The Christian life is lived by faith in the Lord, not by mastery of observable circumstances. We enter into His blessings by trusting Him.
Colossians 3:1 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Imagine, we will share in Christ’s glory. Now that’s eternal and not TEMPORAL. So when our earthly challenges become too much for us, and they sometimes do, let’s try to remember to turn to God and His Word to help us through.
Psalm 102:26 says, “As for the heavens and the earth they will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away.” JESUS even says in Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” We can always depend on Jesus to help us when we call Him. Things here on earth seem to be long, challenging, and overwhelming sometimes, but in God’s eyes these challenges are TEMPORAL. In Philippians 3:20 Paul reminds us “that our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Let’s not become discouraged or dismayed when we face darkness. Joshua 1:9 God says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Our life and experiences here on earth are TEMPORAL, but our life with Christ and His glory are eternal. Thank you Heavenly Father for this wonderful gift. Help us, Father, when our earthly challenges become too much, to remember to turn to You and think of our future eternal life with You.
Matthew 9:36 When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a SHEPHERD.

Dictionary definition of SHEPHERD—A person who tends sheep—to guide or guard—mentor, coach, counsel.

SHEPHERD—What does this word make us think about? Do we think about a young boy out on a hillside watching over his sheep? 1Samuel 17:34 says, “And David said unto Saul, thy servant kept his fathers sheep; and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock.” 17:35 goes on to say, “I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from it’s mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by the hair, struck it and killed it.” This sounds very brave for a young boy, but he believed His God would help him stay safe while saving his sheep. Shepherds are willing to lay down their lives for their flock, even for just one, where as a hired hand, one who does not own the sheep, may see danger coming, and leave the flock vulnerable. Jesus is our “Good SHEPHERD,” we are His sheep. He says in John 10:11, “ I am the good SHEPHERD. The good SHEPHERD lays down His life for the sheep.” He goes on to say in John 10:14, “I am the good SHEPHERD. I know my own and my own know me.” In Matthew 18:10-14 Jesus taught His disciples a simple story to illustrate spiritual truth. The sheep was lost. The word “lost” is the same word that means “perish”. In other words, in great danger, headed for destruction because it had left the safety of the SHEPHERD'S flock with all of it’s protection. The lost sheep represents a lost human being, one left vulnerable and unprotected. The image of God rejoicing at the recovery of even “one” who is lost is very comforting. John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Isn’t this exciting, to think that even if we stray, we still recognize Jesus’ voice, but better yet, He will come looking for us? We may think we will never stray far from the safety of the flock, and it’s protection, but life and circumstances can, and sometimes does, pull us away from safety.
1 Peter 2:25 says, “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the SHEPHERD and overseer of your souls.” WOW!!!
How wonderful to know that we can always return to the safety and protection of the flock that we dearly need. Jesus is our true “Good SHEPHERD” who is willing to die and did die for those who put their faith in Him. False Shepherds do exist, but there is only one Good SHEPHERD, Jesus the Christ. This is a wonderful message for anyone who seeks peace with God and security in eternity. Jesus is the door to eternal salvation and Jesus is the “Good SHEPHERD” who cares, watches, and protects those who believe in Him.
John 10:15 says, “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
1 Peter 5:4 says, “And when the chief SHEPHERD appears, you will receive the unfading Crown of Glory.”
Praise your heavenly name Father for Your safety and protection. In Jesus name. 
Psalm 126:5 They that sow in TEARS shall reap in joy.

Dictionary definition of TEARS—Fluid appearing in or flowing from the eye as the result of emotion, especially grief.

TEARS—Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “There is a time to WEEP, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” We have all experienced TEARS at one time or another. Perhaps mourning the loss of a loved one, a job loss, broken relationship, or devastating illness. Psalm 56:8 tells us, “You have kept count of my tossing; put my TEARS in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” It’s comforting to know God is keeping track of our TEARS with compassion. In Psalm 116:8 we learn that “You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from TEARS, my feet from stumbling.” God delivers us from our TEARS so that a time to laugh and dance is in our future.” However, there are still times TEARS seem to flow. We have our doubts about trusting God to see us through our current anguish, and like the father in Mark 9:24 that says, “And straightaway the father of the child cried out, and said with TEARS, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” We should never feel ashamed of our TEARS, and confessing our doubts to God for in John 11:35 even “JESUS WEPT.” He wasn’t ashamed to let the Father and others know and see how deeply He felt. Then there is Paul in Corinthians 2:2-4 who shares his reason for TEARS. “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many TEARS; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.” We come to realize there are many reasons for TEARS, some are TEARS of joy and love, while others are for sadness and loss, but all TEARS are accounted for by God as He comforts and loves us.
As Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us there is a time for WEEPING, but there are times we tire of our own TEARS. Psalm 6:6 says, “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my TEARS.” Ecclesiastes also says there is a time to laugh, so we expect and get ready for a time to dance. TEARS are only temporary because Psalm 30:5 says, “WEEPING may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” At the times our TEARS seem never to end, when life and our challenging circumstances seem to go on forever, we learn in
Revelation 7:17 that, “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every TEAR from their eyes.” We have good reason for hope that our TEARS will end and there will be joy, because JESUS, the Lamb, is in the midst of our storm walking along side us guiding us down that rocky road to springs of living water.
No matter how much of our anguish has gone unnoticed by others, not one moment has escaped the attention of our God who “never slumbers nor sleeps.” Psalm 121:4
God’s fatherly compassion compels Him to “draw near to the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3. So when we feel we can’t endure or TEARS any longer, let’s try to remember that “what is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27.
Father we praise Your Holy Name and thank You for watching over our TEARS with Your compassion and love leading us to the joy only you can bring.
Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever HARDENS his HEART will fall into calamity.

Dictionary definition of HARDENED HEART—To stop having kind or friendly feelings for someone or caring about something.

HARDENED HEART—Is a spiritual condition. It’s the inability to see, understand, hear and remember. I bet most of us think we do not have a HARDENED HEART, but have we ever got lost in a current challenge or sorrow, and forgot how God has blessed us in the past? We can be much like the Israelites in the wilderness, that when a new calamity arose in their lives, their hearts were filled with fear and concern. This also happens to us. Sadly, this reveals to God the little faith we have in His promise to take care of us. Matthew 6:32-33.
So how does a HARDENED HEART manifest itself? One way is when we think we have to figure everything out on our own leaving God out of the picture. Even during the times we see God’s loving touch in ours or others lives, we may think we can go it alone doing things our own way. This would be a good time to remember  King Solomon Proverbs 14:12 that says, “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.” Another cause of a HARDENED HEART is sin, especially continual and unrepentant sin. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” However, we know that if we confess our sins, we are forgiven through Jesus.
1 John 1:9. Unconfessed sins have a cumulative and desensitizing  effect making it difficult to recognize our own sins. So where does this leave us? We don’t want to have a HARDENED HEART, after all God is our everything, and we love and worship Him. However, our poor memory causing us to forget His many mercies in our lives, our pride of thinking we can go it alone, as well as the sins we commit both small and large, all contribute to a HARDENED HEART toward God and His ways.
What is the antidote to a HARDENED HEART? First we must recognize the effect this spiritual disease has on us. God will help us to see our heart’s condition when we ask Him.
Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me O God, and know my heart, see if there is any offensive way in me. Lead me in the way everlasting.”
God can heal any heart once we recognize our disobedience and repent our sins. True repentance is more than a resolute feeling of determination. Repentance manifests itself in a changed life. Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and forever not lean on your own understanding.” And
Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Heavenly Father help us in our effort to recognize our need for You and Your ways as Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Praise Your Holy Name. 
2 Peter 1:4 It is written, “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be PARTAKERS of the DIVINE nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Dictionary definition of DIVINE — Relating to or proceeding directly from God — supremely good.

DIVINE — Wow this is quite a word. Most of us use it to describe something of great quality. Perhaps a DIVINE dessert, or a DIVINE sunset. However, when used to describe God, DIVINE takes on a different depth. God is supremely DIVINE, the Creator of all that exists. Our words simply cannot do justice to describe our Holy DIVINE God. God possesses attributes that He shares with us through His Word to help us understand Him. What are some of God’s DIVINE attributes?
He is infinite-self existing, without origin.
Colossians 1:17 says, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power, His understanding is beyond measure.”
When Moses asked God, “Who shall I tell Pharaoh has sent me? God said,
God never changes. Malachi 3:6 says, “I the Lord do not change. So you the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Who He is never changes. His DIVINE attributes are the same from before the beginning of time into eternity. This brings us incredible joy.
God is self-sufficient. He has no needs. As limited humans, we have incredible needs. God, however, has never once been in need of anything. God is perfectly complete within His own being.
God is Omnipotent. He is all powerful. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth.”
Psalm 24:8 says, “Nothing is too hard for Him to accomplish.”
God is Omniscient — all knowing as well as Omnipresent — always  everywhere. Psalm 139:7-10 says,
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”
In 2 Peter 1:4 we are told that we may be PARTAKERS of the DIVINE nature. This is good news. It isn’t blasphemy to say that we could be DIVINE - like God. Believing that we can be PARTAKERS of the DIVINE nature does not mean that we are trying to become greater than God. We aren’t even trying to be on His level. Becoming a PARTAKER of the DIVINE nature means that the characteristics of Gods nature become our own. For example, the DIVINE nature is GOOD, GENTLE, RIGHTEOUS,  MERCIFUL, FORGIVING, LONGSUFFERING, PATIENT, JOYFUL, PEACEFUL, SELF - CONTROLLED, FAITHFUL, KIND, HONEST, and above all LOVING. We do not have these characteristics as part of our human nature, without them being tainted by sin at some level. Transformation is a process that allows us to have these characteristics created in our lives by our Creator. Galatians 5:16-26 says, “As I continue to faithfully follow Jesus on the way to overcoming sin, my actual nature becomes DIVINE instead of human. We can follow Jesus' example because of the Holy Spirit with in us, who shows us the truth and empowers us to overcome.”
As PARTAKERS of the DIVINE nature, believers are no longer enslaved to the passions and sins of the flesh and are made part of the family of God, which results in changed lives. Believers have the Holy Spirit living in them.
We thank our Heavenly Father for His faithfulness to keep His great and precious promises, and we Praise Him for our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and for the gift of the Holy Spirit as we enjoy everlasting life as PARTAKERS of the DIVINE nature.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from HEARING, and HEARING through the Word of Christ.

Dictionary definition of HEAR—Perceive with ear the sound made by someone or something—Be aware of—Be told or Informed.

HEAR—Know anyone that has difficulty HEARING? Perhaps needing a HEARING aid? When a person has difficulty HEARING, they miss a great deal. However, with assistance, a whole new world opens up to them. So it is with HEARING the Word of God, assistance is sometimes needed. Matthew 11:15 says, “He who has ears to HEAR, let Him HEAR.” We assume that because we have ears, we will be able to HEAR God’s Word, but there are times that our HEARING is blocked. What might block the HEARING of God’s Word? James 1:19 says, “Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to HEAR, slow to speak, slow to anger for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.“  WOW, a common emotion such as anger acts as a block to HEARING God’s Word creating a distancing from Him. How, then, do we manage anger? Luke 8:15 says, “As for that in the good soil, there are those who, HEARING the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” So, the good news is, anger can be managed with a good and honest heart, which produces patience. James 1:25 tells us we need to be “doers of the Word, and not only HEARERS, deceiving ourselves.” HEARING the Word is only the beginning of our faith in Jesus our Risen Lord. The ear receives the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, faith begins in the HEARER. We begin to understand that faith is a gift from God, not something we produce on our own. Ephesians 2:8 says, “God gives us faith as a gift, through which Christ’s righteousness is credited to us.” JESUS tells us in John 10:27 that, “My sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” This is such exciting news to HEAR. We are the sheep that are able to recognize JESUS’ voice, then begin to follow Him. And better yet, He knows us. 2 Corinthians 2:5 says, “That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” If we could reach out and take faith for ourselves, we would be able to save ourselves and that contradicts Scripture and our need for the Savior. Faith is confidence not in our ability to do good works, but in the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Galatians 3:2 says, “Let me ask you only this: Did  you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by HEARING with faith?” May JESUS be the object of your faith today and everyday, and may you share the good news about Him that you have HEARD as often as possible. Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all Creation.” So during this special season, let us, when called, share the “Good News,” the Gospel of JESUS Christ. Acts 20:24 “But I do not account my life, of any value as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God.”
Praise Your Holy Name for the gift of HEARING the Gospel through the Holy Spirit, which leads us to our faith in JESUS Christ on the Cross. Help us to HEAR Your call to share this Divine Word as often as possible.
Psalm 75:1 We PRAISE you, God, we PRAISE You, for Your Name is near; people tell of Your wonderful deeds.

Dictionary definition of PRAISE — Expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.

PRAISE — Are there ever times in our lives when we do not feel like PRAISING God? We are struggling and weary. We may even wonder where God is in the midst of our troubles. He just feels so far away. Painful blows and losses may send us spiraling. However, when we make the decision to fix our eyes on God, and daily give Him PRAISE, even when we do not feel like it, we begin to realize God has begun to release the grip those struggles have over us. Psalm 42:11 says, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet PRAISE Him, my Savior and my God.” Can any of us look back on our lives and think of the times God has been there for us? Each of us has a story to tell. Like the Israelites freed from Egypt, who when in the wilderness began to complain and fear, forgetting what God had already done for them, we too in troubled, challenging times forget His past mercies and grace. Ephesians 1:6 says, “Let us PRAISE God for His glorious grace, for the free gift He gave us in His dear Son.” When we are weary, stressed, and challenged it’s easy to lose our focus on God. When things are going along well, it’s easy to PRAISE His Holy Name.
Deuteronomy 10:21 says, “He is the One you PRAISE; He is Your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” There is power in our PRAISE. It brings us closer to Him and gets our focus off ourselves and back on God. Psalm 105:2 says, “PRAISE Him for His mighty deeds; PRAISE Him according to His excellent greatness.” PRAISE also brings us to a place of humility. As we PRAISE Him as Creator and King of the world, we admit and recognize that we are not in control, but that He is. Evil will not stick around if we are PRAISING our God, who will fight our battles for us. PRAISE, also, leaves no room for complaining or negativity. We are reminded of what He has already done in our lives, and He knows what concerns us, and is capable of taking care of all that burdens us. PRAISE opens the gateway of blessings as we come into the Presence of our King.
Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” PRAISE invites His Presences. Psalm 22:3 says, “He inhabits the PRAISE of His people.” In His Presences our spirits are refreshed and renewed. Psalm 16:11 says, “In His Presences, there is fullness of joy.” PRAISE paves the way for God’s power to be displayed and miracles happen. Isaiah 25:1 says, “Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and PRAISE Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.
2 Kings 20:5   I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears, I will HEAL you.

Dictionary definition of HEAL — to become sound or healthy again.

HEAL. We are all familiar with injury, pain, or mental anguish. As we travel the road of life we encounter many trials, some minor, others more serious and damaging, but in all cases we need HEALING. A broken arm needs a cast, illness leaves us weak with lots of fluids and bed rest our prescription. A broken heart or spirit needs more than a cast or prescription. Our bones may HEAL, we may recover from the illness, but a broken heart or spirit needs God’s mercy and grace. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Where do we find a cheerful heart” when our pain is so intense and all consuming? Psalm 146:8 says, “The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down. The Lord loves the righteous.” Then again in Exodus 23:25 we learn to, “Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.” God tells us in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Have faith that the Lord, our God is always near, for even through the trials and tribulations of life, we never walk alone. Even with all of God’s assurances, we sometimes get lost in our pain and forget how near God is to us. Psalm 6:2 says, “Lord, HEAL me, for my bones are shaking with terror.” God hears us at our most fearful times. Let us not hesitate to reach out in our moment of greatest need. We need not worry that our faith is weak when we are most stressed. God is not angry with us. He only wants to comfort and HEAL us because of His great love for us.
Isaiah 53.4-6 says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, upon Him was punishment that made us whole, and by His bruises we are HEALED. The sacrifice of our Savior makes HEALING possible for all who call on Him. In our weakest moment we can meditate on God’s comforting scriptures. Never give up! Keep reaching out for God’s hand. He is always near even when He feels far away. God reminds us of a future filled with hope. Praying scripture back to God helps us focus on His promises and provision. Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and HEAL your wounds, declares the Lord.” How comforting this scripture is! Then we say back to our precious Lord Isaiah 33:2, “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” 
Mark 16:15 “He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'”

Dictionary definition of EVANGELISM
The spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.

EVANGELISM — What does this word mean to Christians? Sometimes we think it means standing on a street corner preaching the gospel to passers by, or perhaps the famous Billy Graham and those like him who spread the Word. Psalm 105:1 says, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” Many of us think, “No way can I do what the others do. It’s just not me.”
Let’s think of sharing the gospel another way. First, we can do nothing without God’s help and Luke 4:18 tells us we are anointed. This scripture is very exciting. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
How we feel about our Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will help us easily share the gospel with others, as we are called by God.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give them reason for hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect.”
We think, “Ok God, you have anointed us, so we will share you with others, but who are the others? Luke 4:18 tells us the others are those who do not know the Lord, His love and salvation. 1 Peter 3:15 says to share God’s Word with gentleness and respect, and so the question then becomes, “What do we share?” Isaiah 12:4 answers this way, “In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.” What has the Lord done in our lives? We can share our stories, gently and with respect. God has anointed us and made us a light.
Acts 13:47 tells it this way, “For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” How exciting this gift of EVANGELISM really is. We need not worry about when or who or what to share. God will lead us. Romans 1:26 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Gentiles.”
And Romans 10:17 goes on to give us more reason to share the gospel.
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ.”
How grateful we are that the message was shared with us at some point in our lives, and that we get to share it with others. Thank you Father for this gift of Your Word, the gospel.
Acts 20:24 says, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord JESUS has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
1 Corinthians 15:57  But thanks be to God! He gives us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dictionary definition of VICTORY—An act of defeating an enemy in battle, game, or other competition achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.

VICTORY — How many of us continue to live our lives in “struggle mode?” We struggle with health, relationships, finances, addictive habits, guilt, shame, anger just to name a few. How would it feel to walk in “VICTORY mode” Instead? God wants to set us free, through Jesus Christ, from our “struggle mode”, while the enemy is trying to keep us in bondage. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, Holy and pleasing to God —this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, and pleasing and perfect will.”
God wants us to be set apart and different from the rest of the world, different than we used to be while in “struggle mode.” When we become transformed, and start to live differently, we will be wiser and more capable of discerning God’s will for our lives, which will lead us to VICTORY. We must not let anything  be our master except Jesus, not fear, Insecurity, worry, temptation, drugs, alcohol, anger. bitterness, unforgiveness, nor selfishness, NOT ANYTHING!! I know, we think, how do we do all that? We must give everything over to Jesus, and let His grace equip us for a brand new life and lifestyle with VICTORY our new way of living. God has given us everything we need to be able to live His way. We just need to embrace and accept it. 1 John 5:4 says, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the VICTORY that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
Psalm 91:9-10 tells us, “If you make the Lord your habitation no evil shall befall thee, neither shall any plague come neigh your dwelling.”
Because in Psalm 91:11 “God will command His angels to protect you wherever you go.” So if we really want to walk in VICTORY, we need to read and study God’s word. We need to go one step further according to James 4:7-8 which says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” If we resist the devil he will flee from us. Praise God we aren't stuck being tormented. We are not powerless. We have more authority over the enemy than we think. All we need do is draw near to God and He will draw near to us. It’s important to set our hearts and minds on Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore. If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” So let’s begin to walk in VICTORY and give up our “struggle mode”. Praise Your Holy name Lord for our true gift of freedom from struggle. 
Psalm 95:1. O come, let us SING for joy to the Lord. Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

Dictionary definition of SING—Make musical sound with the voice, especially words with a set tune.

SING—Does anybody like to SING in the shower where no one can hear us SING off key, or, perhaps, driving down the road alone with the radio turned up high? SINGING somehow warms the heart and puts a tingle of joy in our weary nerves. Music was created for the purpose of worshiping and praising God. The Bible written thousands of years ago, contains numerous examples of the right purpose for music. Such as Psalm 147:7 that says, “SING to the Lord with thanksgiving; SING praises to our God on the lyre.”
There are times we do not feel like SINGING, when life gets too hard and we are discouraged. James 5:12 says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to SING praises.”
In Acts 16:25 we learn what Paul and Silas did even though they were in great distress. “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and SINGING hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Here these two men were in prison for something they didn’t even do, yet they SING and praise God for His goodness. Just then an earthquake shakes the foundation of the prison, not only opening the prison doors but everyone’s shackles were unfastened. All of this startled the jailer from his sleep, leading him to want to kill himself by his own sword because he thought the prisoners had escaped. It was then that Paul shouted, “Do not harm yourself, we are all here.” Acts 16:28. The jailer then brought them out of the prison saying, “What shall I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30. Their answer was Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord JESUS Christ and you will be saved, you and your household as well.” Both Matthew 26:30 and
Mark 14:26 tell us that JESUS and His disciples SANG a hymn before they went to the Mount of Olives the night He was arrested. SINGING praises to God is very important in our spiritual journey. JESUS thought so, too. Psalm 101:1 says, “I will SING of loving kindness and justice, to you, O Lord, I will SING praises.”
Paul, Silas, and Jesus turned to SINGING and praying in their time of trouble. Through their SINGING they expressed a supernatural joy evidenced by their SINGING and praying. Their joy could not have been a natural response because there was nothing in the natural to be joyful about. We, too, can SING and pray expressing our joy even under trial because as Christians we understand our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Psalm 104:33, “I will SING to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath.”  Thank you God for our salvation in Jesus leading us to a supernatural joy, so we can SING and praise You.
1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a CHRISTIAN, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Dictionary definition of CHRISTIAN—a person who has received CHRISTIAN baptism or is a believer in CHRISTIANITY

Being a CHRISTIAN is not about keeping rules and regulations, performing rituals, or even going to church. It’s about a friendship with JESUS Christ. In the book of Romans, the Bible states that the wages of a sin is death, but the gift from God is eternal life in Jesus Christ. The history of CHRISTIANITY began with Jesus and His apostles. CHRISTIANITY is based on the birth, life, death, resurrection, and teaching of JESUS Christ.
Act 11:26 tells us clearly when the word CHRISTIAN was first used. “And when he had found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For a whole year they assembled together and were guests of the church and instructed a large number of people; and in Antioch the disciples were first called CHRISTIANS.” The name identified them as followers of Christ. The term became well known even among unbelievers. Acts 26:28 “Agrippa said unto Paul, “You think it is a small task to make a CHRISTIAN of me.”
Acts 26:29 “Paul replied, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you, but also all who are listening to me today, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
Agrippa thought it would take more than a short testimony too make a CHRISTIAN of him. Eventually the title CHRISTIAN was regarded with contempt and reproach. But Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:16 that there is no shame involved in the name CHRISTIAN, or in following Christ. Peter, no doubt, recalled the shame he felt for denying the name of Christ. Luke 22:57, but he also recalled with thankfulness how that even though the Jewish council had “commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, Acts 5:40, he and the other apostles departed, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name, Acts 5:41. Somewhere in the world, even today there are those persecuted for following Jesus. He remains a threat to the evil one, Satan. We have the opportunity in our everyday lives to honor or dishonor the title CHRISTIAN by our actions.
What does it look like to be a CHRISTIAN?
1. Understanding that we are a new creation. Corinthians 5:17 declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
2. Transforming and renewing our minds. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not confirm any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will to able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
3. Treating others with love. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
4. Living out the teaching of Christ. Matthew 5:3-10 “JESUS taught blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst, the merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted.”
5. Sharing our faith. Matthew 5:14 says, “We are the light of the world.”
Living a CHRISTIAN life does not mean living a life of ease and never experiencing problems. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” No matter what opposition we face, while living a CHRISTIAN life it is worth it. Enjoying a relationship with God and His Son JESUS, being confident of where we will spend eternity and living in day to day fellowship with Him is far greater than any opposition we may face for in John 16:33  Jesus said, “Take heart, I have overcome the world,”
Father, we praise Your Holy name for the gift of Jesus and our CHRISTIAN lives. 
Genesis 9:16 Whenever the RAINBOW appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures.

Dictionary definition of RAINBOW — An arc or circle that exhibits in concentric bands the color of the spectrum and that is formed opposite the sun by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in raindrops, spray, or mist.

RAINBOW — We all have witnessed and been mesmerized by the beauty of a RAINBOW. RAINBOWS make us stop, take a breath, and be in awe of God and His magnificence. We are reminded of the magnitude of His abilities as our eyes see the stunning colors. But there is so much more to the RAINBOW that we are blessed to see in the sky. In Genesis 9:13 God made a covenant with the earth and those inhabiting it. He said, “I have set my RAINBOW in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”
What exactly is a covenant? A covenant is a means whereby two or more entities bond together in a relationship for a specific purpose, in a commitment of love and faithfulness to the other party. The covenant in Genesis 9:13 is between God and the earth. God wants His people to remember through the sign of the RAINBOW that His heart and intention is to keep His covenant.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:24 we learn that, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” When God makes a covenant we don’t have to worry that He will at some unidentified time change His mind. Genesis 17:7 He tells us, “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” Isn’t this heartwarming information? We have a God who loves us so much that His covenant goes to our offspring throughout many generations. WOW!! God reminds us in Hebrews 10:23 to, “Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” As we go through this life each day we need to remember what a fabulous God we have been blessed with. He is forever faithful to His Word. His Word itself is a covenant from a God who loves and cares for His people.
Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” As we enjoy our next RAINBOW, let’s remember that God’s covenants are not only forever, but are reminders that He is always with us, and that His love is steadfast, and He is faithful. I imagine Deuteronomy 31:8 to be a love letter to us from our Lord. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Praise Your Holy Name our dear loving God for Your beautiful RAINBOW and all that You tell us through it.
Psalm 107:29 He made the STORM be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Dictionary definition of STORM — A violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning  or snow — a tumultuous reaction; an uproar or controversy.

STORM — We all experiences STORMS at one time or another. Perhaps a blinding snow dropping many feet of snow, or so much wind and rain that flooding is inevitable. Then there are the STORMS in life such as loved ones in trouble, or financial trials that knock us to our knees. And let’s not forget those health STORMS that put us into a fear that can lead us to feel hopeless. I’m sure that everyone reading this has experienced some kind of STORM that produces fear that envelops us, but what do we do about it?
In Matthew 8:23-27 “JESUS entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep. And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us: we perish.” And He said to them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!” We can just imagine the fear the disciples felt as the boat was being covered with waves and JESUS was asleep. Asleep? How could He be asleep? After all they were being swamped, death was nearing them. They didn’t want to perish. Notice what they did next. They woke JESUS up asking for help, and He asked them why they were so afraid. Imagine how we would respond to that question. Why are we afraid? Our boat is being swamped, we are about to sink into the sea. Why are we afraid? Are you kidding? Isn’t this just what we feel like when we are being swamped and about to perish? Fear is consuming us. We are convinced we aren’t going to survive. We experience panic. This can happen to us in any type of STORM. This is when we need to remember what the disciples did and then in response what JESUS did.  First we, through prayer, ask JESUS for help and in return He says, “Why are you afraid?” Then He calms the STORM. He is our HOPE.
Matthew 7:25 says, “The rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the Rock.” Rock? What is our Rock? JESUS is our Rock. Psalm 89:9 tells us, “You rule the raging of the sea; when it’s waves rise, You still them.”
It truly doesn’t matter what our STORM is. When we are threatened and panicking, the fear consumes us. We need help! The fear causes us to forget who our Rock is, and what our contribution to calming the STORM is. Proverbs 1:26 tells us, “When terror strikes you like a STORM, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.” JESUS is our HOPE. We need not fear, instead “Pray in faith with no doubting” James 1:6 “For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” We all long for peace, calm and hope. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, looking to JESUS, our Rock, to calm our STORM.
Mark 4:39 says, “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quit, Be still!” The wind died down and it was completely calm.”
Let’s try to remember to pray in faith without doubting, giving our STORMS to our loving, faithful Father and go to sleep in peace. 
JOHN 15:3  - You are already CLEAN because of the Word which I have spoken to you.

Dictionary definition of CLEANSE - To rid of impurities by or as if by washing.

CLEANSE — What comes to mind when we think of the word CLEANSE? A hot shower after a sweaty workout? A soothing bath to relax with at the end of a stressful day? We then feel CLEAN and relaxed. The Bible talks about a different kind of CLEAN.
Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a CLEAN heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” WOW!! A CLEAN heart and spirit, but how can we have a CLEAN heart and spirit?
Psalm 51:7 says, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be CLEAN, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Who wouldn’t want to be CLEAN and pure? Imagine, a heart and spirit as white as snow. Do we ever have a guilty conscience, worried that we have sinned? Perhaps our conscience condemns us for gossiping, lying, being angry, prideful or envious. So here we are condemned by our conscience. What can we do about it? Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled CLEAN from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” When our conscience says we have sinned and must be punished, that is when we must look to the cross and say, yes, it’s true, I’ve sinned, but this sin and every other sin were punished to the maximum in the body of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, CLEANSE your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” When we look to the cross, our conscience is relieved because we understand we are CLEANSED by the blood of Jesus. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of JESUS, His Son, CLEANSES us from all sin.” God’s Word wants us to understand that we are CLEANSED by the blood of Jesus. So let’s remember, if guilt threatens to smother us, we need only look to the cross and Jesus. 
1 Peter 2:24 says, “Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.“ Even though as Christians we aim to not sin, if we do sin and our conscience tries to condemn us, we know we have been raised to a new life of less sin because Galatians 2:20 tells us, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” What a relief to know that our sinful nature is buried and that we have been raised to a new life. Thank you God for this fabulous gift, Your one and only Son, Jesus Christ, who raised us from sin. Praise Your Holy Name.
Colossians 1:20 — And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Dictionary definition of SHALOM — Used as a Jewish greeting and farewell.

SHALOM — We usually think SHALOM means hello or good bye, but the definition of this beautiful Hebrew word is multidimensional. Experiencing SHALOM can mean complete well being, physic, psychological,  social, and spiritual; and it flows from all of ones relationships being put right, with God, within oneself, and with others. Now that’s quite a word, SHALOM!! SHALOM is one of the key words and images for salvation in the Bible. The Hebrew word refers most commonly to a person being uninjured and safe, whole and sound. In the New Testament SHALOM is revealed as the reconciliation of all things to God through the Word of Christ. Colossians 1:19-20 says, “God was pleased through Christ to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through Christ blood, shed on the cross.” In order to understand Jesus in John 14:27 we must reflect on the many facets of the crucial Hebrew term SHALOM which lies behind the English word PEACE. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” SHALOM is not only peace between us and God, but peace with others. 1 Kings 5:12 says, “The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and they made a treaty.” SHALOM consists of not only outward peacefulness - peace between parties - but also peace within. Those who trust in the Lord have inner security, and they sleep well.
Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I both lie down and sleep for you, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.” God gives perfect peace, (SHALOM) profound psychological and emotional peace — to those who steadfastly set their minds on Him. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”
The result of righteousness before God is peace. Isaiah 32:17 says, “And the effect of righteousness will be peace and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.” Only God can create SHALOM, perfect peace.
Isaiah 45:7a says, “I form the light and create darkness and I create peace,” and this gift will come through the work of the Messiah, the Prince of SHALOM. Isaiah 9:6 tells us, “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Therefore, SHALOM is perhaps the most basic characteristic of the future kingdom of God, a time when the Lord Himself comes to heal all that is wrong with the world.
John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Thank You God for Your gift of Jesus and SHALOM. 
Job 22:28 Thou shalt also DECREE a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

Dictionary definition of DECREE — a formal and authoritative order, especially one having the force of law.

DECREE — A word not commonly used in our culture, yet one of great importance. Presidents and Kings are able to issue DECREES that are backed by law, or if ruled by DECREE, one is usually under a dictatorship, absolute monarch, or military leader. During Biblical times we learn in Daniel 6 the story of how Darius issued a DECREE that for 30 days no prayers should be addressed to any god or man but Darius himself. Then in the New Testament Luke 2:1 says, “In those days a DECREE went out from Cesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. We learn of a DECREE that God made in Jeremiah 5:22, “Fear ye not me? saith the Lord; Will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual DECREE, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves there of toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it.” Now that’s quite a DECREE. The waves, no matter how they roar, cannot move boundaries set by God Almighty.
How does this all pertain to our current lives? Do we ever get to make a DECREE? After all most of us are not Presidents, Kings, monarchs, or military leaders. Do we have power and authority? Luke 10:19 says, ”Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” A spiritual DECREE creates and makes changes in the spiritual and physical realm. Scripture is a powerful force that creates change in both the physical and spiritual world when spoken. We have been given power and authority to issue DECREES through the blood of Jesus, after all we are His co-heirs. Romans 8:17 tells us, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His suffering in order that we may also share in His glory.
As co-heirs of Jesus we are able to issue DECREES but with this power and authority comes responsibility and accountability not to issue unrighteous DECREES. Isaiah 10:1 says, “Woe, unto them that DECREE unrighteous DECREES, and that write grievances which they have prescribed. Because we should never DECREE anything unrighteous, let’s let scripture be our guide. For example,
I don't have a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
I cast all my care on the Lord for He cares for me. 1 Peter 5:7
I will study the Word of God. I will pray. 2 Timothy 2:15.
All that we DECREE through the blood of Jesus will be done as Matthew 16:19 tells us, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. So let’s use our gift of power and authority through the blood of Jesus, with God and His ways in mind. We will DECREE only that which will benefit and lift up. We will never be harmful or tear down for Proverbs 18:21 says, “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” And James 3 :8-10 says, “We have the power to bless or curse with words of our mouth.” So let’s bless and be a blessing to all those we meet. Praise Your Holy Name for trusting us with power and authority to DECREE only good to all.
Isaiah 44:22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have REDEEMED you.

Dictionary definition of REDEEM — To buy back, repurchase, ransom, restore.

Originally Creation was in the hands of Adam, until He choose to rebel against God allowing sin to enter the world throwing its inhabitants into bondage with Satan. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon men, for that all have sinned.” And
Romans  6:20 tells us we became “servants of sin.” The loss of physical sin is often tied to spiritual disobedience such as worshiping false gods. But time and again the One True God forgave His people and REDEEMED them. Even today, many people are living in spiritual slavery without realizing it. We chase false gods of money, success, personal comfort and romantic love — only to realize they still have an emptiness that can’t be filled by any of those things. The question then becomes, can we be REDEEMED? (Saved from slavery) in order to be freed, a slave must be REDEEMED, but cannot buy himself back even with gold and silver. So does God still REDEEM? When Jesus began His short period of ministry on earth, He announced He was the One that God’s people had been waiting for since the fall of humanity with Adam. He read from Isaiah a passage referring to the Messiah, or the Savior of the world.  When He read He was saying the future had arrived and liberty would come through Him. Luke 4:17-21 He opened the scroll and read from Isaiah, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He then rolled up the scroll and said, “Today the scripture had been fulfilled in your hearing.”
So does God still REDEEM? The core message of the Christian Faith - The  Gospel -  is that Jesus Christ rescued us from slavery of sin and offers true freedom in this life and beyond. Jesus said in John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Even though those who believe in Christ still battle sin, they are no longer slaves. Through the power of Christ we can be set free from bondage of greed, vanity, pride, gluttony, selfishness - and any other sin under the sun. Jesus tells us in John 8:31, “If you abide in My word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And in John 8:34-36 He said, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the Son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Again the question is, does God still REDEEM us? The answer is a resounding YES. God’s Word points us to freedom from bondage through Christ. He doesn’t leave us wondering how to be REDEEMED (bought back). Choosing Jesus and following Him daily can break the bonds of slavery and lead us to true freedom, now and forever. Thank you God for your faithfulness to set us free. Praise Your Holy Name. 
2 Corinthians 10:18. For it is not he who commends himself that is APPROVED, but he whom the Lord commends.

Dictionary definition of APPROVAL — The belief that someone or something is good or acceptable.

APPROVAL — Do any of us remember moving to a new home and looking for the APPROVAL of our new neighbors hoping we can make new friends, or stepping into a new classroom or work situation that produced sweaty palms and a knot in the pit of our stomach while waiting to be accepted. At all ages, we long for and need APPROVAL. The feeling of belonging and being accepted is necessary for our well-being. Have any of us held back APPROVAL? Were we ever the neighbor that didn’t welcome the new family, or the child at school who didn’t invite the new student to join our group? I’m sure most of us have been on both sides of APPROVAL either struggling to be accepted or not as welcoming as we might be. But there is One who always welcomes, never ignores, always loves. Romans 13:1 tells us, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.” How do we know we are APPROVED by God? We might think we have to prove ourselves worthy of God by suffering tests and trials? We may live with guilt and shame without knowing that it is what Jesus has already done that provides us with God’s APPROVAL. We need never struggle or wonder? What a relief it is to rest and relax knowing that God APPROVES of us, not because of anything we have done or will ever do, but because of Jesus, the perfect One. Whenever we question God’s APPROVAL and acceptance, we live in denial of what Jesus did for us through His death, burial, and resurrection.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20 says, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
We have so much in Christ that we don’t even recognize. We don’t need the APPROVAL of men, yet we still yearn for it. Galatians 1:10 says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of God.” So as we crave APPROVAL, let us believe and have faith in God’s Word. Psalm 100:3 says, “Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” What do we think of that? If any doubt remains Romans 14:8 tells us, “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.” Here’s one more comforting Word from the Lord.
1 John 3:1a, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.”
So who’s APPROVAL do we have? Let’s rest in the knowledge that wherever we go, whoever we are with, we need never worry if we are accepted because our Heavenly Father carries us with Him.
John 10:28 says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
I don’t know about you, but these scriptures bring me a great deal of comfort. However, when we are in the middle of a challenging situation we may need more convincing. Revelation 21:3 tells it this way. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will Be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.”
Isn’t this lovely? All we need is God. Praise Your Holy Name Father.
2 Corinthians 12:9 — But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my POWER is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s POWER may rest on me.”

Dictionary definition of POWER — the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.

POWER — What comes to mind when we think of this word? Lines of big poles that bring electricity (POWER) to our homes, businesses, schools etc. Large equipment (POWER) with big engines able to move earth and rock. Heads of companies wielding (POWER) to create wealth and jobs. Nations with mighty armies (POWER). POWER comes in many forms, some used for good and some used for evil. Where does all the POWER come from? Some think from their own abilities.
1 Corinthians 2:5 says, “So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on Gods POWER.”
God wants us to know that all POWER comes from Him.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 says,  “You may say to yourself, “My POWER and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord Your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors as it is today.
But do we realize what POWER our God really has? Do we put Him in a tiny box with our small thoughts and our small prayers not believing just how POWERFUL and LOVING our God we call Father is?
Ephesians 1:19-20 reveals His POWER to us, “And His incomparably great POWER for us who believe. That POWER is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heavenly realms.”
Oh, we are familiar and very comfortable believing Genesis and the creation, but what about our current lives? Then what do we believe? Do we ask, is our God big enough, POWERFUL enough, LOVING enough to answer our prayers, our needs, our challenges?
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.”
The answer is YES!! Our God is big, POWERFUL and LOVING enough, and He wants us to be courageous and trusting in the knowledge that He gives us POWER as well.
POWER you say? We have POWER? Hard to believe? Listen to what we are told in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” And to confirm that we have POWER we learn in
Colossians 1:11 that, “being strengthened with all POWER according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.” Why did God bless us with His POWER? What do we use this great POWER for?
We pray big, bold prayers with confidence, and an unshakable faith.
We serve God and His people with divine strength and endurance. We see and witness the light of Christ and share it with others. As we walk through this life, we glorify our Heavenly Father, praise and trust JESUS, and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as we boldly, but humbly become witnesses sharing God’s great love with others. And our POWER enables us to keep the evil one at bay leaving only the light of Christ to shine. Ephesians 3:16 gives us this lovely prayer, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He May strengthen you with POWER through His Spirit in your inner being.” We praise Your Holy Name as we thank You for blessing us with Your divine POWER. 
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore, go and make DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Dictionary definition of DISCIPLE — One who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.

DISCIPLE — At one point in His ministry Jesus said to some fishermen Matthew 5:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Fishers of men? What does that mean. Let’s find out together. Jesus wanted them to leave their lives, follow Him, and learn to fish for men, but first they needed to learn about Him and His ways. When Jesus thought they knew enough about Him and were equipped to fish for men, He said in Matthew 28:19, “Go and make DISCIPLES of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Just as we need the equipment to catch fish, we also need equipment to be fishers of men. What equipment might we need?
Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us insight into what we need to be successful by teaching us to put on the Armor of God as a way to be ready at all times with everything we need. What is the Armor of God? It is the Shield of Faith with which we can ward off the opposition from demonic forces who don’t want to see men saved by the Gospel of Christ, as well as the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God that will keep us spiritually equipped to fish for men.
Romans 10:14-15 says, “How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is Written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Paul points out that we believe in Jesus because someone shared the Gospel with us. Making DISCIPLES is about continuing the cycle of passing on the faith that was passed on to us. So how do we become DISCIPLES equipped to go out and make new DISCIPLES? Acts 1:8 tells it this way, “But you receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus calls His DISCIPLES witnesses, encouraging them to share the things they have seen and heard in His presence. As we fish for men we not only share accounts of what Jesus DISCIPLES saw, but our own accounts of what we’ve personally experienced as we follow Jesus. A follower literally only follows, but a  DISCIPLE learns from another then teaches what they have learned to others. Jesus thinks we are ready to fish when in Mark 16:15 “He said to them, ‘Go Into the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”
What do we think? Have we learned enough about Jesus to feel comfortable? Are we equipped? Do we have our Shield of Faith and Sword of the Spirit firmly in place? God’s Word says we have received the Holy Spirit's power and we are now His witnesses, as Jesus sends us out to all the nations. Let’s not be overwhelmed while over thinking whether we can share the Good News in any way God calls us. We can relax in God’s peace knowing He will guide each of us as He knows is best helping us to be fishers of men.
Luke 24:38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do DOUBTS arise in your hearts?"

Dictionary definition of DOUBT — A feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction, question the truth or fact of something.

DOUBT— Wow, I imagine that we all at one time or another have experienced DOUBT of someone or something. Perhaps someone who makes promises, but does not keep them. Maybe you DOUBTED that you could reach a goal you had set for yourself. You or someone you know has received a medical diagnosis that fills you with DOUBT. In our everyday lives we have plenty of opportunities to have DOUBT rise up and create hopelessness in us. Jude 1:22 says, “Have mercy on those who DOUBT.” God knew that DOUBT would be a real challenge for us humans. In Isaiah 41:10 God attempts to help us overcome our DOUBTS when He says, “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Yet DOUBTS grab us by the throat promising to squeeze the life out of us. We may become depressed, joyless, worried, illness can even ascend on us. We know that JESUS wants us to have faith and cast out DOUBT. Matthew 14:31 “JESUS immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you DOUBT?” But sometimes even Jesus’ words aren’t enough to keep us from our DOUBTS. In John 20:24-29 Thomas was filled with DOUBT not believing that JESUS was really who He said He was. JESUS convinced Thomas when He told him to “reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop DOUBTING and believe.” John 20:28. Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and My God!” It was then that Jesus told him(29) “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The Bible is filled with scripture reminding us to have faith, believe, and not DOUBT.
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no DOUBTING, for the one who DOUBTS is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
We all know what the sea looks like as it is driven and tossed by the wind. Do we really want to be that unstable? Sometimes DOUBTING, while sometimes believing. Or do we want to be steady leaning on God and His Word, and not on ourselves and the world?
As hard as it may seem, we do have a choice. Like the father in Mark 9:24 when he cried out saying, “I believe, help my unbelief.” This father realized he had a choice to make but that he desperately needed God’s help with his unbelief.  Let’s make a choice to cast out DOUBT, and to pray for help with our unbelief. God is always faithful to hear our cries. In Psalm 91 He encourages us to be joyful, full of peace, and secure under His wings. We praise and thank you Father while You continue to reassure us just as Jesus did when He commanded Thomas in John 20:27b, “Stop DOUBTING and believe.”
Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS for they shall be called the children of God.

Dictionary definition of PEACEMAKER — One Who makes PEACE, especially by reconciling parties at variance — go-between, intercessor, mediator.

PEACEMAKER — is Indispensable. We need as many as we can get; at work, in the family, and just about everywhere we go. This is as true today as it was in biblical times. The story about Abram and Lot paints a beautiful picture of a PEACEMAKER in action. Genesis 13:8-9, “Abram said to Lot, 'Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if thou take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.'” Abram was an incredible PEACEMAKER!! He was willing to take whatever was left over after Lot made his decision first in order to create PEACE. The two men needed to separate because the land could not support their many possessions, Genesis 13:5, and quarreling arose between their herdsmen, leading Abram to say, “We are relatives. Let’s not quarrel.” How often have we been presented with the opportunity to be a PEACEMAKER? How has this attempt been received? With cooperation like Lot or opposition? If you are rebuked Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
And 1 Thessalonians 5:15 says, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” And let us remember that if we are tempted to retaliate, become angry or broken-hearted,
1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man, God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Escape? How does one do that? Jesus Christ Himself is the way. Colossians 1:20 says, “And having made PEACE through the blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” As we attempt to be PEACEMAKERS, we must remember that there can be no lasting PEACE between man and man as long as there is hostility or animosity between man and God.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 tells us how we can become the PEACEMAKERS God calls us to be, “And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” WOW!! Now that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation through the Cross, we are ambassadors for Christ. True ambassadors for PEACE.
There are times when PEACE is possible like with Abram and Lot, and then there are times PEACE is illusive. That’s when we must remember, Matthew 19:26, “All things are possible with God.”
2 Corinthians 13:11 tells us, “Finally, brothers, REJOICE.  AIM for restoration, COMFORT one another, AGREE with one another, LIVE in PEACE; and the God of love and PEACE will be with you.”
Keep being a PEACEMAKER, even when PEACE seems out of reach for God sees our efforts and our hearts.
James 3:18 says, “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in PEACE by those who make PEACE.”
James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various TRIALS

Dictionary definition of TRIALS — A test of performance, qualities, or suitability of someone or something — Format examination of evidence before a judge.

TRIALS — The first thing that often comes to mind is a courtroom, lawyers, judge, jury, and the accused. But there are many other TRIALS that we may encounter often in our lives, such as health issues, financial challenges, or troubled relationships. We could go on and on. Most of us do not feel comfortable or at peace with TRIALS. We struggle, worry, complain, and are so filled with anxiety that we often become ill. So how should we respond to TRIALS?
James 1:2-3 tells us to, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various TRIALS, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
JOY, now I ask you, is James kidding? Tell me, how do most of us feel when experiencing a TRIAL? Joyful? No, more likely frightened, worried, fretful, frantic, hopeless or even confused to name just a few emotions that we experience.
1 Peter 1:6 tells us again to rejoice and 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I can do the praying part, even say thank you, but I stumble with rejoicing. Jesus talks to us in John 16:33 saying, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but take heart; I have overcome the world.” Now with those wonderful words from Jesus we should feel His peace, comfort and assurance that all will be well. So, why don’t we? In Romans 8:28 we are even told that, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Remember Jesus said in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation.
Darn !! We would love to avoid that part of life. We’d rather have only sunny, happy days, without the TRIALS. But James 1:12 says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under TRIAL; for once he has been approved he will, receive the Crown of Life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Well, well, well, so we are to persevere, continually pray, rejoice, while giving thanks so we can receive the Crown of Life. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am in, to be content.” I admire Paul every time I read this passage. He is someone to emulate, but I must admit I’m not there yet. I still do not like TRIALS, however, I do persistently pray, I am grateful and thankful for the many blessings God sends my way. Rejoicing is still a stretch for me, but I do love God and I persevere looking to the finish line of my current TRIAL. Even though we don’t understand it all, let’s continue to pray and turn to our Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Let’s remember that what we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19
Powerful words!! So here God, we give You our TRIALS. We are loosing them on earth for you to do the impossible in heaven. Praise Your Holy Name. 
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.

Dictionary definition of WORTH — The value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration — the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

WORTH — How do we gauge our WORTH? By how educated we are? What our family heritage is? How much money we make? How many charities we serve? What house or neighborhood we live in? God gauges our WORTH differently.
Isaiah 55:8 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” says the Lord.
What are God’s thoughts and ways?
Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful I know full well.”  We are wonderfully made!! How exciting is that?
Then God went on to create us in His image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Our WORTH begins with the fact that we are made by the hand of the Creator in His very image.
Jeremiah 31:3 says, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.” But God is not done yet!! The best is yet to come!!
1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold — but with the precious blood of Christ.” God was willing to pay the highest price in the universe to redeem us — the blood of His dear Son.
1 John 3:1 says, “Behold what manners of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.” My, My, My, God actually considers us His very own precious child.
WORTH? Let’s see! Perhaps as the world gauges WORTH we fall short. We haven’t invented anything, or created great art. Nor have we started and grown a successful business? Our family name is unknown, but in God’s mind and heart we are His precious children created in His very own image. Plus we have been redeemed by the previous blood of Jesus, and loved infinitely by our Creator as His cherished treasure. Even after all this good news God made us ambassadors as 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us.” 
God has given us a high calling as ambassadors to share His great love with others. His trust in us is more wonderful than words can express.
So I’ll ask again, what is our WORTH?
Our Father in Heaven feels that we are more precious than gold or silver, and His love for us is endless. He sent His beloved Son to redeem us. He then entrusts us to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Thank you Heavenly Father for Your love and trust in us Your dear children. AMEN
Colossians 3:2 — Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Dictionary definition of FOCUS — The center of interest or activity — The state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.

FOCUS — This Word may bring memories of an eye exam when the doctor asks us to read the eye chart, or thoughts of school exams flooding our minds. Maybe driving in a rain or snow storm. FOCUSING becomes our one and only thought to get us through the challenge we are experiencing. Think about what might happen if we loose our FOCUS on any of these examples. Our thoughts about God can be much the same way. Staying FOCUSED on Him is essential to our well-being.
Romans 8:5 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
Staying FOCUSED, now that’s a challenge.
Romans 12:2 explains it this way, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We are told not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. For us humble humans we say “Help us Lord, and He answers this  way. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” God wants us to FOCUS on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise because as
1 Peter 5:8 clearly states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful, your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
So with this adversary prowling around how do we stay FOCUSED?
Matthew 6:33 gives us a clue, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
God will help us stay FOCUSED on Spiritual things, while ignoring the flesh and any evil prowling around.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
So as we learn to trust in God and His Word more and more each day, Psalm 110:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
FOCUSED!! With God’s Word lighting our path, we can stay FOCUSED on things of the Spirit which will lead us to God’s perfect peace. Let’s remember what God tells us in Isaiah 43:18, “The Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing.”
Let’s not look back and miss the blessings God has in store for us. Always look forward to the “new things” God is doing in our lives. Father we praise Your Holy Name. 
Psalm 145:4 — One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

Dictionary definition of LEGACY — something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or professor or from the past.

LEGACY — Ever think about your LEGACY? Perhaps you are good at knitting or woodworking and you teach many people these same skills. Maybe you have a knack for always seeing the best in people, and others want to be like you. It’s a nice feeling to think something of you will remain. This LEGACY will warm the hearts of those who knew you.
What LEGACY might we leave behind about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit either by example or by word?
Psalm 103:17-18 says, “God’s righteousness reaches to the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant and remember to keep His commands.”
Imagine that what we share about our love and knowledge of God today can teach generations yet unborn. How exciting is that?
Proverbs 13:22a says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s, children.”
What will our inheritance (LEGACY) be? The love, hope and trust we have in Jesus? The gift of knowing God is always available through prayer? The knowledge that God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and forever? Also, that God is a loving, forgiving God full of mercy and grace?
Psalm 75:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.”
In the Bible, Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, (2 Timothy 3:10-17) taught him scripture that brought him to faith. Then it was up to Timothy to continue what his grandmother and mother had started. Wouldn’t we all like to be role models like Lois, Eunice, and Timothy sharing with others all that God really is? There is no one way to leave a LEGACY. Praise and glorify His Holy Name as we share His love, mercy, kindness, and mighty deeds either through our actions or words.
Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation shall command Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”
So let’s share our Heavenly Father and His mighty deeds with others in whatever God calls us.
Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in AWE of Him

Dictionary definition of AWE — A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.

AWE — This is a great word — reverential respect — wonder! A beautiful starry night — a colorful rainbow — a beautiful singing voice — the sweet smell of a newborn baby. These are only a few of the things to be in AWE of. And who do we think provides these wonders?
John 1:3 says, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”
We have a glorious God creating opportunities for us to experience Him and His wonders.
Exodus 15:11 says, “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, AWESOME in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”
Our God is AWESOME, WONDROUS and  MAJESTIC!! How can we let Him know how AWESOME we think He is?
Isaiah 12:5 tells it this way, “Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth.”
How do you feel when you see a beautiful sunset? Do you take a picture, then show others how breathtaking it is? Perhaps even develop and frame it for all to see. Have you ever stood on a mountain top looking over a valley of green, in wonder of its size and beauty? God provides regularly AWESOME beauty and wonder for us to enjoy and be in AWE of.
Psalm 65:8 says, “So that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in AWE of Your signs, You make going out of the morning and evening for us to shout for joy.” Joy and wonder at His mighty deeds!! Let us also never forget God’s Word available for all to read. His AWESOME promises, protection, wisdom, grace, mercy, love and forgiveness are all there just waiting to enrich our lives with joy and peace.
Hebrews 12:28-29 says it best, “Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and AWE.” Let’s praise and worship our mighty AWESOME God.
You are our mighty one true God. We praise and glorify Your Holy Name today and always. Thank you for Your many wonders giving us a life worth living. You are truly AWESOME. 
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.

Dictionary definition of UNLEASHED — Released from a restraint, let loose, to throw, shoot or set in motion forcefully.

UNLEASHED — Ephesians 3:20 tells us, “With Gods power working in us, God can do much much more than we can ask or imagine.”
How do we UNLEASH the power of God working in us?
Jesus said in Matthew 21:21, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.”
Imagine for a moment that God’s power is working in us. We as humans tend to put God in a box, limiting His ability to work through us. But what might happen if we UNLEASH Him in our lives? If we dare to believe in the impossible?
We might be bold in prayer, able to love the unlovable, be more fruitful in all that we do, and forgive the impossible. Remember Peter who denied knowing Jesus in Mark 14:68?
But later in Acts 3:6 in the name of Jesus Christ he healed a man lame from birth. What gave Peter the ability to heal? The Holy Spirit was UNLEASHED in Peter. Acts 2:4 says, “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance,” The impossible had now become possible. Exciting! Right? You might think, that’s great for Peter. That was then, but this is now, this is me. Who am I after all? I’m not biblically trained, I’m no one special. Oh, but you are! You are a child of God and Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and FOREVER. So if Jesus says we can move mountains, Matthew 21:21 it’s true. When we allow the Holy Spirit to be UNLEASHED in us, God goes to work helping us to be more fruitful, powerful, bold, adaptable and more filled with sacrificial love. Let’s not put God in a box, limiting His power and ability. Let’s open that box with excitement and allow all of God’s gifts to tumble out enriching ours and others lives. We all know about the tiny mustard seed.
Matthew 17:20 says, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
UNLEASH God. As we let him out of the box, believe the impossible.
Thank you, Jesus, for your encouragement, your steadfastness, and faithfulness. You teach us to have faith as a mustard seed making nothing impossible for us. Amen
Isaiah 60:22 When the TIME is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.

Dictionary definition of TIME—The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues.

TIME — SomeTIMES we have too much of it, and other TIMES not enough. TIME? How do we treat it? Perhaps, as if it will never run out, as we waste what God has allotted us.  We may think there is always tomorrow to be happy, or make amends, or say I love you. Tomorrow! Enough TIME, but is there really enough or are we just fooling ourselves?
Ephesians 5:15 says, “Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your TIME because the TIMES are evil.”
Then there are those who pack so much into their allotted TIME that they enjoy or appreciate nothing.
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” A heart of wisdom? God wants us to use our TIME wisely making each moment count.
James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little TIME and then vanishes.” God is the creator of TIME, and the decision maker of it.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 tells us, “There is a season for everything, and a TIME for every event under heaven; a TIME to be born, and a TIME to die; a TIME to plant, and a TIME to uproot what was planted.”
We humans, at TIMES, forget the role God plays in our TIME.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us beautifully how God feels about TIME. “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own TIME. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Let’s begin to look at TIME through the eyes of God. He says in Isaiah 60:22, “When the TIME is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” Then we can say to Him in return as Psalm 31:14 says, “But I trust in you, Lord, I say, ‘You are my God. My TIMES are in Your hands.’
So when we are tempted to be unwise with our TIME, let’s remember the part God plays in our TIME, trusting that He is perfect and all is well.
2 Corinthians 6:2 assures us, For he says, “In the TIME of my favor I heard you, and in the day of Salvation I helped you. I tell you now is the TIME of God’s favor, now is the day of Salvation.”
1 Corinthians 14:33 God is not the author of CONFUSION, but of peace.

Dictionary definition of CONFUSION — lack of understanding, uncertainty, state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind about something.

CONFUSION — Ever been CONFUSED? I suspect most of us have at one time or another felt uncertain.  I know I have. The dictionary definition says CONFUSION is a state of bewilderment or uncertainty. Perhaps you have two job offers with benefits to both, or two houses to choose from when you move. Many choices can cause the mind to to be unclear causing CONFUSION.
The Bible tells us that God is not the author of CONFUSION, so where does it come from? In Genesis 3:1 we learn about the serpent who was the most cunning of all the wild animals the Lord God made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden.’ The woman became CONFUSED leading her to sin against God. 
1 Peter 5:8 tells us to, “Be alert and sober minded. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” So the devil causes CONFUSION! We may not realize this truth in our everyday experiences, but
2 Corinthians 11:14 wants us to understand, “And no wonder, for Satan Himself masquerades as an angel of light.” No wonder there are times of CONFUSION. Satan tried to CONFUSE Jesus in Matthew 5:1-4, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Jesus was not CONFUSED. Why? Because He looked to and trusted in God’s Word, not in His own heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” WOW! The heart is sick! Pretty harsh words but, think about it. Our hearts can change from day to day, experience to experience causing us CONFUSION, but God’s Word is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. How comforting to know that God’s Word is true, trustworthy, and never changing leading us out of our CONFUSION. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” So the answer to our CONFUSION no matter the cause?
Jeremiah 32:27 tells us, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Thank you God for your Word, love, and peace that leads us out of CONFUSION.
Deuteronomy 29:1 Be not afraid of them; for the Lord thy God is with thee.

Dictionary definition of GIANT— a living being of great size, a person of extraordinary powers, something unusually large or powerful.

GIANTS- What comes to mind when we think of the word GIANT.  Some of us might think of a ball team or perhaps movies where GIANTS are the theme. GIANTS can create fear in us because of their very size. Let’s think about a very famous GIANT Goliath and young David who shows no fear of this big person.
1 Chronicles 20:8 tells us, “These were descended from the GIANTS OF Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of His servants.” And 1 Chronicles 20:6 that says, “Again there was at Gath, where there was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot; and he also was descended from the GIANTS.” Pretty scary for a boy like David? Right? Wrong! I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure I would have been very afraid if I had to face the GIANT that David did. Why wasn’t David afraid? He believed God was with him and was his protector. 1 Samuel 17:37 says, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” David believed if God protected him once or twice He would do it again.
But what about the GIANTS we face everyday such as insurmountable problems and issues? We try to fell these GIANTS but they often seem to grow stronger with time and we want to run from them in fear. Let’s look face to face at some of our common GIANTS.  Insecurity — lack of confidence in ourselves.
Philippians 4:13 has an antidote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Approval of others — When we put our faith in man instead of God, our lives are opened up to disappointment and a world of failed expectations. Proverbs 29:25 has some good advice for us. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
The list of GIANTS is endless, fear, pride, envy, anger, just to name a few.
How do we fight our GIANTS? David used a sling shot with a stone, and a strong belief in God to stand by with help. What should we do when we are in a battle? First we need to show up like David ready to fight while expecting a Godly outcome. Psalm 6:31 says, “Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He May have to give up all the substance of his house.” And most importantly we must not run from the battle in fear. David didn’t run. Psalm 118:6 reminds us, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
The answer for David is the same answer for us. When face to face with a GIANT, be brave, call on, depend on, and trust in God. God tells us in Joshua 1:9, “This is my command - be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord God is with you wherever you go.”
GIANTS? We all have them. Even though we may be afraid or discouraged, let’s face them believing God is with us and like David He will help us fell our GIANTS if only we believe.
Praise Your Holy Name dear Lord for staying by our side, helping and protecting us as we face our GIANTS. 
1 John 4:13 This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us; He has given us His SPIRIT

Dictionary definition of HOLY SPIRIT
The third person of the Trinity. God as spiritually active in the Word.

HOLY SPIRIT — What do these two words mean to each of us? Let’s explore together the HOLY SPIRIT!
We learn in Acts 2:3-4 that the apostles experienced a great event. “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the HOLY SPIRIT and began to speak in other tongues as the SPIRIT enabled them.”
We also learn in Romans 8:14 that, “For those who are led by the SPIRIT of God are the Children of God.”
In 1 John 4:24 we are told, “God is SPIRIT, and His worshipers must worship in the SPIRIT and truth.” We also find in Romans 8:6 “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the SPIRIT is life and peace.”
As we explore these scriptures a picture begins to emerge of who and how important the HOLY SPIRIT is to each of us. Jesus goes on to tell us in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the HOLY SPIRIT whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Straight from Jesus we learn that the HOLY SPIRIT will be sent to each of us to teach us ALL things. God’s Word is clear. The HOLY SPIRIT is sent to us through Jesus Christ. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us some very important information.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the HOLY SPIRIT within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.”
The HOLY SPIRIT unites us to Jesus Christ . The SPIRIT reveals Christ to us, gives us His life, and makes Christ alive in us. The SPIRIT takes the experiences of Jesus and brings them into our own experiences.
Romans 5:5 tells us an important truth. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the HOLY SPIRIT who has been given to us.” Hope does not bring us shame! How wonderful! Jesus comforts and encourages us in John 6:63 when He says these beautiful words. “It is the SPIRIT who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are SPIRIT and life.”
Exploring the HOLY SPIRIT leaves us with this truth. As we experience our faith walk, we become more aware that the HOLY SPIRIT gives us life, peace, hope, understanding and joy. And for this we say thank you Heavenly Father for the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. We praise your Holy Name.
John 15:8  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much FRUIT and so prove to be my disciples.

Dictionary definition of FRUIT — result or reward of work or activity, off spring, harvest.

FRUIT — When we think of the word FRUIT we might think of a juicy red apple, or a sweet tasting orange. How much fun is it to pick luscious, ripe blueberries or strawberries? You notice that the FRUIT we choose is juicy, sweet and luscious. Would we want dried, sour or shriveled up FRUIT? Answer, no!! How is good FRUIT produced? In order to produce healthy FRUIT, the trees or bushes need to be nurtured and disease free. Matthew 7:17 tells us, “So every healthy tree bears good FRUIT, but the diseased tree bears bad FRUIT.” What is Jesus talking about in Matthew 7:17 when He refers to FRUIT? Let’s find out.
He goes on to say in Matthew 12:33 that, “Either make the tree good and its FRUIT good, or make the tree bad and its FRUIT bad, for the tree is known by its FRUIT.” Jesus talks about “making” the tree good so it will produce good FRUIT. We know how to do that when speaking of a tree or bush. Give it good light, soil, food, water, pruning etc. for it to produce good FRUIT. Let’s think about producing good FRUIT from the heart. In the Bible, the word FRUIT is used to describe a person's outward actions that are the result of the condition of the heart. Jesus told us clearly in John 15:4-5 how to produce good FRUIT. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear FRUIT of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much FRUIT, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” As disciples of Christ, we must stay firmly connected to Him to remain spiritually productive enabling us to produce good FRUIT. When we ignore the Word of God, skimp on prayer, and withhold areas of our lives from scrutiny of the Holy Spirit, we are like a branch broken off the vine. Our lives become FRUITless. Galatians 5:16 tells us to “walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Staying intimately connected to the TRUE VINE (Jesus) is the only way to “bear FRUIT into old age,” Psalm 92:14, to “run and not grow weary” Isaiah 40:13, and not to “grow weary in well-doing” Galatians 6:9. Jesus assures us in John 15:16 that we are able to produce good FRUIT with these beautiful words. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear FRUIT and that your FRUIT abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.”
Thank you Jesus for choosing us, enabling us to produce good FRUIT. Keep us close to You and Your loving mercy. Lead us to go out and share You with others. Amen.
Galatians 4:6 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, than an HEIR of God through Christ.

Dictionary definition of HEIR — A person legally entitled to the property or rank of another on that persons death, successor, descendant.

HEIR — We all enjoy the thought of being an HEIR. We might inherit Grandma's eye color, Dad’s humor, or Aunt Sally’s cooking skills. But what about what we INHERIT from Jesus? Romans 8:17 tells us, “Now if we are Children, then we are HEIRS of God and Co-HEIRS with Christ; if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” We know that Jesus is the Son of God. Hebrews 1:2 says, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed HEIR of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.” Just think what this scripture means to us. Jesus is appointed HEIR of ALL things. And we are Co-HEIRS of Jesus. Stunning, don’t you think? Can we even imagine what all of this means to our lives? 1 John 4:9 says, “This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” God wants us to remember this truth when the worldly challenges crash down around us. WE ARE CO-HEIRS WITH JESUS. All that He is we have INHERITED!! We are full of truth, full of grace, humble, sitting at the right hand of God. Authority was given to Jesus on earth and in heaven, and salvation is found through Him. 1 John 4:15 tells us, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.” WOW!!! Fabulous!!
Jesus gave us something else even more stunning. In John 20:28-30 He says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one will snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Incredible!! And very comforting. Thank you God for blessing us with the gift of Your Son and that through Him we are
Co-HEIRS having received all that He is. Our hearts are full of joy and gratitude. Help us Father to always remember and enjoy our INHERITANCE  because it was paid for by the precious blood of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 9:8 — And God is ABLE to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

Dictionary definition of ABLE — Having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something.

ABLE — Have you  ever been presented with a challenge and felt completely unABLE to accomplish it? Perhaps a task you have never tackled before, or a disagreement between loved ones that you can’t seem to help resolve? But there is one who is always ABLE. Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched  arm. Nothing is too hard for You.“
Then there may be times we think that temptation is too much for us and that we will be unABLE to follow God’s ways. Perhaps we are tempted to anger, gossip, worry, fear, or jealousy. Here we learn good news in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overcome you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are ABLE, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape. Also, so that you will be ABLE to endure.” Comforting news, right? God shows us how to resist and overcome temptation. Romans 4:21 says, “And being fully assured that what God has promised, He was ABLE also to perform.” ABLE to perform whatever, whenever, wherever we are called. WOW! God even goes one step further in Ephesians 3:20 to tell us that, “Now to Him who is ABLE to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” What power? God’s power! God can do more than we can imagine with His power working in us.
Psalm 147:5 even says, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” We are confident that our God is ABLE, more than ABLE. Sometimes we can’t help but wonder if we are challenged, will we be ABLE. The answer is yes according to the Word in 2 Peter 1:3, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a Godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.”
So let’s relax, lean into and feel ABLE to meet any challenge that comes our way. God in all His grace has provided for us. Thank you Father. We are humbled and grateful. Praise Your Holy Name. 
Psalm 34:7. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and deliverth them.

Dictionary definition of WATCHERS — a person who observes something attentively or regularly, onlooker, spectator, observer, viewer. 

WATCHERS — The Word for WATCHER is from the Aramaic word “iyr” and means “wakeful one,” “WATCHER,” or “angel.” Clearly a WATCHER is an angel sent from God. In Daniel 4:17 we are told, “This matter is by decree of the WATCHERS, and the demand by the word of the holy ones, to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the Kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” 
We learn of WATCHER angels many times in the Bible. The WATCHER is a holy messenger sent directly from our holy God. They are only dispatched by God who WATCHES over the affairs of mankind. 
2 Chronicles 16:9a, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”  Angels have many functions from protecting to providing. They roam the earth on assignment by God, and have done so through the ages. Angels don’t often carry names in the Bible, but they are called out by function, purpose, or operation. Revelation 14:18 speaks of an angel who has power of fire, as well as an angel of waters, Revelation 16:5.
Revelation 20:1 talks of an angel who binds Satan, and there is an angel of the abyss in Revelation 9:11. 
And let’s not forget Peter’s encounter with a WATCHER in Acts 12:6-7. 
“The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up,” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.”
I don’t know about you, but I find this to be an awesome scripture. Then and now, incredible things happen when WATCHERS are on assignment from our Almighty God. 
Where ever we go or what ever we do, we need always remember angels are WATCHING. They want to help us do God’s will in our lives. 
Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” 
WOW, this is exciting and gives us great hope. We are not alone in this world full of challenges. We have the best of the best, the WATCHERS, sent by the best, God Himself. And His Word is true yesterday, today, and tomorrow. As we travel life’s highway, let’s remember the WATCHERS are here to help us. 
Thank you God for these wonderful WATCHERS sent to earth personally by you our loving Father. Thank you for your faithfulness to us. AMEN
Psalm 34:10 The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord LACK no good thing.

Dictionary definition of LACK — To be deficient or missing, to be short or have need of something.

LACK — How many times and reasons in our lives have we been short or in need of something? Perhaps knowledge, help, support, encouragement, peace. Some people feel LACK when they don’t have children or grand-children. Others feel LACK if they remain single. As humans we often focus on the LACK in our lives. What would life look and feel like if we thought about our blessings instead? James 1:4 says, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, LACKING in nothing.” We learn in the book of Exodus about the story of the Israelites and their release from bondage in Egypt. The work the Egyptians forced on the Israelites was evil in motive and cruel in nature. Work in and of itself is not wrong, but the extreme harshness was turned into a misery and oppression. Moses eventually was called by God to “Let my people go.” Exodus 5:1. We can all agree that these were a people experiencing LACK. But when they were released, even though they were oppressed and abused in Egypt, while in the wilderness they focused on their LACK saying in Numbers 11:5, “In Egypt we could eat all the fish we wanted, cucumbers, melons, onions and garlic. But we are starving out here, and the only food we have is this manna.” They quickly forgot the cruelty they had endured. God blessed them with freedom, yet they focused on their LACK. How often do we find LACK in the middle of our blessings? Our thoughts can become clouded and we miss what God is doing on our behalf for our well being. Deuteronomy 2:7 says, “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows you're going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord Your God has been with you . You have LACKED nothing.” What do we LACK in our world? Do we miss God’s blessings while we focus on what is missing? Jesus said in Matthew 6:25 “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? “ We are assured that as children of God, we LACK nothing. 
In Luke 22:35 Jesus said, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you LACK anything? “ They said, “Nothing.”
Are we the young lions spoken of in Psalm 34:10 who suffer want and hunger, or are we those who seek the Lord and LACK no good thing? 
Thank you God for blessing us. Help us to stay focused on You and Your goodness and not our LACK. Help us to choose You our Heavenly Father. Amen 
Luke 24:44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are WRITTEN about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 

Dictionary definition of WRITTEN — made or done in writing, using writing and not speech.

WRITTEN — Can we even imagine life without the WRITTEN word? From scratching on stone to our current electronics, recording for learning and understanding was and still is beneficial for all mankind. The WRITTEN word enhances our ability to share and communicate. WRITING is a beautiful gift from God.
Romans 15:4 tells us, “For whatsoever things were WRITTEN aforetime were WRITTEN for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” God’s Word not only communicates His heart and mind, but gives us hope as well. So just what does God want us to know? 
Isaiah 40:8 says, “Yes, grass withers and flowers fade, but the Word of God endures forever.” He, first, wants us to know His Word is forever, no time limit and that Proverbs 30:5 tells us, “God keeps every promise He makes. He is like a shield for all who seek His protection.” Just think of this. He issues no time limits, keeps His promises, and protects us. How many times do we wonder if God hears us, loves us, is angry with us?
Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “It is WRITTEN, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” 
God’s Word is not only trust worthy, but it is active and alive. 
Hebrews 4.12 says, “The Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.” 
Hard to take in and imagine that God’s WRITTEN Word goes right to our joints and marrow giving us life itself. Matthew 7:24 says, “So then, anyone who hears these words of mine, and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.” 
So, how important is God's WRITTEN Word to us? Matthew 4:6b tells us of His blessed protection. “For it is WRITTEN, He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Do we have anything we need protection for? Perhaps illness, financial, relational etc. God’s Word is chock full of blessings from HOPE to PROTECTION. It is our very life. Thank you God as we praise and glorify you our Heavenly Father, whom is always there for us now and forever more.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal PRIESThood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Dictionary definition of PRIEST — One authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediator agent between humans and God, a man or woman of God.

PRIEST — During biblical times, PRIESTS were mediators between man and God in the temples with duties to take care of the Lord's house and to raise sheep and lambs for the daily sacrifice. Isaiah 61:6a says, “But you shall be called the PRIESTS of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God.” Jesus then became our PRIEST in heaven, standing before the Father and pleading on our behalf.
Hebrews 6:20, “Where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf having become a high PRIEST forever.” Our worldly PRIESTS in churches represent Jesus acting as mediators and ambassadors. 
In 1 Peter 2:9 we are told, “You are a chosen race, a royal PRIESThood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This scripture says that we are called to a royal PRIESThood. Hard to believe! Right? Us PRIESTS? Aren’t they found only in the churches? And as PRIESTS do we have duties like the biblical PRIESTS and Jesus? Primarily we connect people to our Heavenly Father through prayer, sacrifice and witness. We spend time praying for our spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers etc. Our prayers are important. Revelation 8:4 tells us that “Our prayers rise up to our Father's throne from the saints (you and I) in the arms of angels.” How exciting is this? As witnesses we share love and joy. God can be seen through and in us as we reach out to others. We are also called as Jesus was to self-sacrifice. When we watch parents set themselves and their wants aside for their children, we get a good picture of Jesus. We need never be concerned, stressed or worried about being called to the royal PRIESThood. Fulfilling this call is a process. We become participants not spectators. We participate when we act, serve, share, regularly pray, and study scripture. As our testimony grows we share it with others. 
Revelation 5:10 says, “And you have made them a kingdom and PRIESTS to our God and they shall reign on the earth.” We thank you God for your trust and faithfulness in us. We ask that your heavenly grace will give us all we need to fulfill your call. AMEN. 
Romans 8:28. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been CALLED according to His purpose.

Dictionary definition of CALLING — A strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence, mission, career, vocation, summons.

CALLING — How do we feel when we are CALLED? Sometimes we are thrilled to be CALLED. Then there are times we dread where to or who CALLS us. Sometimes we answer and sometimes we don’t. There is, however, The One who CALLS us that we should answer. Ephesians 1:4 says, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love.” Can you imagine? We were chosen before the foundation of the world. By anyone’s standard, that’s pretty special. In a world of judgement, criticism, and fault finding, this is awesome news. Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, Holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly CALLING, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” 
CALLED to a heavenly CALLING? You and I, how fabulous! Now that is special!! 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, who has CALLED you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” What an honor! What an invitation! Fellowship with Jesus, God’s Son! What could be better than this? Ephesians 4:4 tells us, “There is one body and one spirit, just as you were CALLED to one hope when you were CALLED.” Just think about one body, one spirit. You and I and Jesus, together. How exciting, and think of the possibilities. Pray and expect great things. Work, live and love, with abilities we can only dream of. Our successes are endless with Jesus as our partner. Our health is blessed, our work and activities reach high levels of success. We are able to love one another with love that is generous and forgiving. 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary repay evil with blessing, because to this you were CALLED so that you may inherit a blessing.” Inherit a blessing? I don’t know about you, but I can never have too many blessings. You see, God never asks us to follow Him without blessing us beyond anything we can ask or imagine. He also gives us a way to follow His lead. 
2 Thessalonians 2:14 says, “He CALLED you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
“God also choose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.” 
1 Corinthians 1:28-29.
We need always remember that even though we have been CALLED to a special place beside Jesus, we need always glorify our Heavenly Father. We must never boast in our own success and accomplishments, but give glory to our one and only true God. 
2 Timothy 1:9 sums up God’s intentions. “He has saved us and CALLED us to a Holy life — not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” 
Thank you God for CALLING us and for bringing us together with Jesus. You have blessed us and we are grateful beyond measure.
Psalm 112:6-7 Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news, their hearts are STEADFAST trusting in the Lord.

Dictionary definition of STEADFAST— resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering; loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated.

STEADFAST — How does it feel when we are with or connected to people who are committed, loyal and dedicated? Parents, teachers, friends, leaders of churches, military personnel, firefighters, police. Then there are those who STAND FIRM for principles of right or wrong. What does it look and feel like when we witness someone with unwavering faith in God? We see life throw them challenges that we think we could never handle, yet they keep believing in His goodness and love. We wonder how they do it. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who remains STEADFAST under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the Crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” Trials certainly do tempt us to worry and fear, but 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We are encouraged to be STEADFAST in our rejoicing and praying for Christ Jesus is our resource. Psalm 57:7 says, “My heart, O God, is STEADFAST; my heart is STEADFAST, I will sing and make music.” 
Okay, so along comes another trial or challenge creating that dreadful fear and worry. What should we do? 
Isaiah 26:3 tells us very simply put, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are STEADFAST, because they trust in you.” WOW!! STEADFAST!! It was written centuries ago that God will keep us in peace, perfect peace, if our minds remain STEADFAST trusting in Him. If we ever wonder about God’s faithfulness to His Word, we need only meditate on Psalm 25:10 which assures us, “All the paths of the Lord are STEADFAST love and faithfulness for those who keep His covenant and His testimony.”
STEADFAST — Unwavering, committed, devoted, dedicated — This is our God and in return we remain STEADFAST in Him just as 1 Corinthians 15:58 tells us, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be STEADFAST, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 
Praise Your Heavenly Name, our one true God. 
Psalm 36:7 How precious is your loving kindness, O God. And the children of men take refuge in the SHADOW of your wings.

Dictionary definition of SHADOW — a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. 

SHADOW — Kids love to skip along trying to get ahead of their SHADOW — clouds in the sky create SHADOWS, cooling us from the hot sun. In Mark 9:7 we learn that, “A cloud formed overSHADOWING them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!” God used the SHADOW to communicate. When a mother hen senses danger, she, too, uses the SHADOW of her wings, as she calls her chicks to her. Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the SHADOW of the Almighty.” As we face the dangers, challenges, fears and worries of this world, God provides a refuge, calling us up under the SHADOW of His wings. Isaiah 49:2 says, “He has made my mouth like a sharp sword. In the SHADOW of His hand He has concealed me; And He has also made me a select arrow; He has hidden me in His quiver.” Like the mother hen, God calls us to come under the SHADOW of His wings, protecting us from all danger, if only we answer His call. James 1:17 says, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting SHADOW. Pretty fabulous, don’t you think? So to God we say, Psalm 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the SHADOW of your wing.” And next we say, Psalm 63:7, “For You have been my help, and in the SHADOW of Your wings I sing for joy.” So the next time we see a SHADOW, any SHADOW, let’s be reminded of our ALMIGHTY GOD, who’s love for us is so deep and wide, that if we answer His call, He will provide a refuge, SHADOW, to protect us. We thank you God, as we praise Your Holy Name.
Psalm 43:5 Why are you in DESPAIR; my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, because I will praise Him once again, since His presence saves me and He is my God.

Dictionary definition of DESPAIR — complete loss or absence of hope, desperation, anguish, unhappiness, despondent. 

DESPAIR — This is a word we truly do not want to think about. The absence of Hope causes us great deep pain. Think of all the depressed people in this world. Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications are commonly consumed. Why? Perhaps people feel overwhelmed, hopeless and deeply unhappy. Why? Perhaps they are missing an essential eternal truth. What might that eternal truth be? Psalm 130:5 says, “I am counting on the Lord; yes I am counting on Him. I have put my HOPE in His Word.” Dwelling on worldly problems and not God can surely bring on DESPAIR. This gives the devil the opportunity he’s looking for to tell lies such as God is not near and He will not help. NOT TRUE. Instead, go into prayer mode. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The key to overcoming DESPAIR is to keep your mind on God and His peace. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus is pretty clear and forthcoming in this scripture, but when we are frightened, worried, overwhelmed, or just over the top beyond all reason panicking, we often forget this all time fabulous offer of His PEACE. When these feelings swamp us threatening to drown us in a pit of DESPAIR, think, meditate and memorize this scripture. 
Psalm 40:1-2 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of DESPAIR, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” This is a beautiful visual of who God really is to us. 
Colossians 3:2 says, “Keep your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life has been safely guarded by the Messiah in God.” 
Because God loves, protects and offers us peace if only we keep our focus on Him, we can speak this lovely scripture. 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are experiencing trouble on every side, but not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to DESPAIR.” Our wonderful God knows that we will face tough stuff, and that we will feel perplexed, but take heart, God protects and gives us hope. Praise His Holy Name. 
2 Chronicles 20:22
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

Dictionary definition of WARFARE  —  engagement in or the activities involved in WAR or conflict — combat, struggle.

WARFARE — Most of us reject the thought of WAR.  WARFARE is violent, deadly and costly. Thinking of WAR causes us angst, fear and dread. Jesus told all those that would hear in John 16:33 that “In this life we will have trouble.” There seems to always be someone who wants what we have and is willing to fight for it. There have been WARS since the beginning of time and they are endless. Look back at 2 Chronicles when Judah was invaded. It goes on to say “they were defeated.” How was the enemy defeated? This scripture says that while singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the enemy. How awesome is that? Singing and praising God gives us the ability to win against the enemy. WOW!! But do we remember this bit of wisdom often enough to save ourselves stress and loss.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” So just who is the enemy? The story of Job 1-2 causes us mixed emotions. At first glance it looks as if Job has been abandoned by God, to the devil, but we later learn that not to be true. Somehow, Job knew in his heart that God held him secure through all of his loss and hardship. That God would never allow the enemy to have full control. The enemy does not have the final say over our lives. Oh, we may face battles and attacks, like Job did, but we can trust in our Mighty God to be our defender through it all leading us to a sure victory. Evil will not stick around if we are praising and singing about God, who will fight our battles for us. This may seem hard to believe, and even impossible, but remember the BLOOD — oh the BLOOD — there is power in the name of Jesus. When we belong to Christ the enemy never has the final word over our lives. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the Word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Who are the saved? Those who believe in Jesus and the BLOOD, that’s who. So press on — courageous and free — The battle belongs to the Lord, and He has the final victory. Remember Psalm 22:30, “He inhabits the praises of His people.” How awesome is that? So God is in our praises and singing. Like Job we can, rest in our hearts, easy and secure through all of our losses and hardships knowing God will win ALL of our battles if only we believe in the BLOOD of Jesus. So let’s pray and believe like Job did. Our God never loses. He always wins the battle.
Isaiah 22:22 Then I will set the KEYS of the house of David on his shoulder, when He opens no one will shut, when He shuts no one will open.

Dictionary definition of KEYS — A small piece of shaped metal with incisions cut to fit the wards of a particular lock, which is inserted into a lock and turned to open or close.

KEYS — Just think of the KEYS that rule our lives — KEYS to open locks in our homes, our cars, our work place. KEYS and locks, all used to protect us and our property. But what is Jesus referring to in Matthew 16:19 when He says, “I will give you the KEYS of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” KEYS to the kingdom of heaven? In both the Old and New Testament, KEYS symbolizes power and authority. The nature of that power and authority varies depending on the context. 
Isaiah 22:22 refers to “the KEY of the house of David,” which in this context refers to the authority of the steward who manages the household of the King. Then in Luke 11:52 Jesus claims that the experts in the Jewish Law “have taken away the KEY of knowledge.” In other words, through their hypocrisy they have not only failed to enter the kingdom of God themselves, but have prevented others from entering as well. The next question might be, “Who gets the KEYS to the kingdom, as revealed by Jesus in Matthew 16:29 when He says, “I will give you the KEYS to the kingdom.” Who is the you Jesus refers to? Galatians 2:14 speaks of being justified by faith in Jesus Christ and not by observing the law. We are the you, because we believe in the gospel and Jesus Himself. Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” So our belief in Jesus allows us to have the KEYS to the kingdom. Romans 1:16 says. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” 
Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 13:52 that, ”Therefore, every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasured things new and old.” 
So, here we are, holding the KEYS to the kingdom of heaven. Like other KEYS on our KEY ring, they are no benefit to us until we put them in a lock, turn the KEY, and open the door. Jesus is specific when He says in Matthew 16:19, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” How exciting!! Power and authority in our hand. So go ahead, put that precious KEY that Jesus gives us if only we believe in Him, into the lock. Turn the KEY, and walk through the door. 
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” How awesome is that ? Praise our Heavenly Father for this great gift, our own personal KEY to the kingdom of heaven. WOW!! 
John 14:18. I will not leave you as orphan; I will come to you.

Dictionary definition of ALONE — having no one else present, solo, solitary, single, only.

ALONE! What does it feel like? A storm rages with thunder, lighting and wind and we are home ALONE, or driving on a dark, stormy road with no house in sight to take refuge, all ALONE. Perhaps we face surgery that is so risky the outcome is questionable. Again ALONE. The time we feel LONELY in a crowd. We wish we had just one person by our side. Even when we feel ALONE we need remember what Deuteronomy 31:8 says. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Jesus assured us in John 14:16-17, “That He will give us another Advocate to help us and be with us forever, the Spirit of Truth.” Who is the Advocate? Who is the Spirit of Truth? John 15:26 Jesus continues, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” How will we know and learn the truth? John 16:13 tells it like this, “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”
What is the truth? God the Father, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Truth living within us never never to leave us. So ALONE we NEVER NEVER need to be. Ephesians 1:13 tells us in such a lovely way, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” So when we find ourselves on that dark, stormy road, or in a room full of people LONELY, or facing that tough surgery, we must remember this wonderful truth. Jesus died to leave us the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit who will live in us forever. In Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.” I pray that somehow we all can grasp the beautiful truth of who and what the Holy Spirit means to each of us. We are blessed with such a wondrous gift. No more to be ALONE, while being guided into this wonderful truth. John 8:32b, “And the truth shall make us free.” Thank you our precious Lord and Savior.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the WEAK

Dictionary definition of WEAK — Lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy; frail, feeble, fragile, delicate.

WEAK! What does it feel like to be WEAK? Perhaps recovering from a long severe illness may leave us feeling frail, fragile and WEAK causing the need for us to eat good healthy food and lots of rest in order to restore us to wellness. Extreme exertion such as running long distance, or working extremely hard can make us feel WEAK sapping our physical strength requiring us to rest. WEAKNESS is usually looked upon as something one needs to remedy, recover from or avoid. What does God think of our WEAKNESS? 
1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise and God has chosen the WEAK things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” God doesn’t seem to have a problem with the WEAK, in fact, He actually chooses the WEAK.  We spend so much wasted time trying to be strong. Little did we know that in our WEAKNESS God will be glorified. Think of David, just a young boy, small and not very strong, who used a stone and a sling shot to slay the giant. What about the small boy with only 2 fish and 2 loaves of bread, who gave all he had to Jesus who then fed 5000. We can’t forget Moses, a humble man, who used a simple rod to perform miracles and to confound the might of Pharaoh. Ordinary people, WEAK, in their ability to accomplish such extraordinary tasks and yet God used their WEAKNESS for His glory. The Bible tells us that it pleases God to use what the world considers WEAK, foolish, base, and despised to bring to nothing things that are mighty. God shows His might through the WEAK. 1 Corinthians 1:25 says, For the foolishness of God is wiser than man, and the WEAKNESS of God is stronger than men.” So, if God looks for the WEAK, where then does our strength come from? Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” So now we know how David  slayed the giant, how 2 fish and 2 loaves fed 5000, and how Moses created miracles with a simple rod.  God made it all possible. 
1 Samuel 2:9 clearly states, “He will guard the feet of His saints. But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail.” So it’s not our human strength, bravery, or ability that makes us able to succeed. It’s God Almighty only! He is our everything! Don’t worry about our human WEAKNESSES, frailty, or lack of bravery. Psalm 119:50 says, “This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction; that Your Word has revived me and given me life.” How great is that? Thank you God that we can be brave, confident and strong with Your strength, and that in our WEAKNESS You may be glorified. Hebrews 12:12 says that, “God strengthens the hands that are WEAK and the knees that are feeble.” How Great is our God? Praise Your Holy Name. 
Habakkuk 2:2 Then the Lord replied, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may RUN with it.”

Dictionary definition of RUN — move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all feet on the ground at once. 

RUN — Now here’s a word we are all familiar with. In our youth we RUN often and enthusiastically. As soon as baby walks, off he goes RUNNING, RUNNING, RUNNING! Many of our school activities revolve around RUNNING. At some point many of us have our own children and we resurrect our RUNNING skills as we chase our little ones around. During our adult years we may even play sports that require RUNNING. But at some point we begin to slow down, only RUNNING if an emergency arises. In God’s world, however, He wants us to RUN toward Him and His Word no matter our age.
Psalm 119:32 says, “I RUN in the path of Your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.” We all know that RUNNING gets us from one place to another faster than walking does. 1 Corinthians 9:24 tells us something more about RUNNING. “Do you know that in a race all the RUNNERS RUN, but only one gets the prize? RUN in such a way as to get the prize?” Prize? What prize? In our world it might be a trophy, a trip or an item of value. Proverbs 18:10 tells us about a different kind of prize. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous RUNNETH into it, and is safe.” The Lord and all He is to us, is our prize, one that goes on forever! One that doesn’t just sit on a shelf collecting dust, or a trip that becomes only a memory, or an item that we soon forget. No, God is our strong tower, our safety, a prize that keeps on giving forever. Psalm 147:15 goes on to tell us, “He sends forth His Command to the earth; His Word RUNS very swiftly,” God is anxious for us to know His Word, the truth, and to be safe and blessed. Galatians 5:7 says, “You were RUNNING a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” Who, Indeed? Think about what draws us away from God and His Word, the truth. The lies of the world have a way of derailing us from our race. Doubts, failures, disappointments, betrayals, losses, all challenge us, keeping our focus from God, our prize. Keep RUNNING toward Him and His Word. Stumble if we must, but get back up, RUN, RUN, RUN, like the little ones do, determined to reach the prize.
2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the RACE, I have kept the faith.” Today, let’s decide that nothing, and no one will cut into our RACE. We know that Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With God all things are possible.” Who should we trust? Jesus or the world? Let’s have the same determination to keep RUNNING that the little ones have. Our future peace and joy depend on it. Plus, our lives can be an example to others as we share God and His Word, giving others the opportunity to RUN their own RACE, with their eyes on the prize. Thank you, God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. You are our prize, one we will never put on the shelf to collect dust.
Joel 2:25 God can restore what is BROKEN and change it into something amazing. All you need is faith.

Dictionary definition of BROKEN — having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.

BROKEN! When we think of BROKEN, we often think of a vase, lamp, dish, car, toy. Sometimes with tender attention they can be fixed. Other times nothing and no one can repair the BROKEN item. Then there are times we feel BROKEN. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” The burdens and challenges of the world can make us feel BROKEN. Guilt, shame, health issues, financial issues, relational issues, even spiritual issues. Life can be so overwhelming that we may feel BROKEN beyond repair. Isaiah 41:10 encourages us this way. “Do not fear! Even in your BROKENNESS, God will give you strength and hold you up when you can’t hold yourself up.” We tend to think of BROKEN in a negative way, but God has a way of using the BROKEN and giving it purpose. It takes BROKEN soil to produce a crop. BROKEN clouds give life-giving rain. BROKEN grain to give bread. BROKEN bread to give strength. It is the BROKEN alabaster box in Mark 14:3 that gives forth perfume. Then there is Peter. He wept bitterly, Luke 22:62, and goes on to greater power than ever. In Matthew 16:18 when Jesus says, “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter and upon this Rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Imagine how BROKEN in spirit Peter must have felt when he realized what denying Jesus three times had done and yet he was restored to wholeness and beyond. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the BROKENhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Our great God can heal all of our BROKENNESS, our relationships, our hearts, our finances, our bodies, our spirits, our lives. Psalm 147:3 tells us, “He heals the BROKENhearted and binds up their wounds.” Seem hard to believe? Take heart!! When we give all of our BROKENNESS to God, while remembering that in God’s world, even BROKENNESS has purpose. The Almighty sees us with purpose, no matter what state we are in. We must always remember the cloud, the grain, the bread, the alabaster box. Psalm 73:26 encourages us this  way. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” With God all things are possible, our BROKENNESS can be healed and used for good as God directs. Thank you good and gracious God. We are so grateful that you are our healer, fixing our BROKENNESS, while showing us our purpose. 
Psalm 3:5   I lie down and SLEEP, I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

Dictionary definition of SLEEP — A condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relativity inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed and consciences practically suspended.

SLEEP — Oh the gift of SLEEP!! The time we look forward to when we are weary — what we pray our babies and small children will do often and for a period of time. But there are times when that precious SLEEP eludes us or our children. Without SLEEP our bodies scream for the rejuvenation that SLEEP affords us. And yet no SLEEP comes!! Why not? For the children there may be many reasons starting with hunger or being wet, or from being over excited. Adults may have worries, anxiety levels too high, thoughts that do not stop, or just too much to do. Jesus calls us in Matthew 11:28 this way, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST.” We crave SLEEP, a chance to rest, a chance to feel total peace and quiet. Psalm 121:3 tells us,
“He will not let your foot slip — He who watches over you will NOT slumber.” Interesting!!! Jesus wants us to REST while God watches over us.  He, our Almighty God, never SLUMBERS!! God wants us to SLEEP in peace while He watches over us. Listen to what Proverbs 3:24 tells us, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your SLEEP will be sweet.” SWEET!! Think of it, sweet SLEEP!! Jesus sets an example for us in Matthew 8:24, “Suddenly a furious storm came upon the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was SLEEPING.”

SLEEPING? Jesus was SLEEPING!! Are you kidding? SLEEPING in the middle of a storm? How can that be? Jesus believed that the Father would take care of everything, He need not worry. We, on the other hand, think that somehow if we stay awake, wring our hands, walk the floor, worry and fret, we can stop the storm. Tell me, can we stop the storm? Can we really solve our problems? Can staying awake solve or fix or calm our storms? Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Okay!! So we are told God has everything under control, and He never SLEEPS, so we can SLEEP in peace trusting that He will protect, guide and handle everything as needed. Psalm 4:8 tells us, “In peace I will lie down and SLEEP for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Let’s try to do what Jesus did. Let our SLEEP be sweet with the knowledge that our Heavenly Father never SLEEPS. He is always watching out for us. Everything will be alright!  Jeremiah 31:26 says, “At this I awoke and looked, and my SLEEP was pleasant to me.” Thank you God for this refreshing, life giving gift of SLEEP. Your love, devotion and faithfulness to us, we are ever grateful. Our SLEEP is sweet because of You.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good unto them that WAIT for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.

Dictionary definition of WAIT — stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens, stand-by, be patient.

WAIT!!! How much time do we spend WAITING? In the check out line, frustrated? Stuck in a traffic jam, with no place to go? Medical tests that cause us stress and worry? What about that baby who just doesn’t seem to want to be born? WAIT!! WAIT!! WAIT!! and then WAIT some more!! We WAIT for the weather to change or for the storm to pass. We WAIT for that next raise or promotion at work. WAIT!! WAIT!! So we develop a distaste for WAITING. It sets our teeth on edge even at the mention of the word WAIT.  Scripture, however, tells us often and clearly in Psalm 27:14 that we should “WAIT for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and WAIT for the lord.” Listen to what Isaiah 30:18 says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who WAIT for Him.” This scripture gives us several reasons to WAIT for the Lord. He yearns to be gracious, compassionate and just as He blesses us. Cultivating the habit of WAITING is well worth the effort. Psalm 59:9 says, “Because of His strength will I WAIT upon thee; for God is my defense.” It is God’s strength that makes us able to WAIT, plus He defends us if we let Him. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” How Awesome is God? Just be still, WAIT!! And I just love this. Micah 7:7 tells us, “Therefore, I will look unto the Lord; I will WAIT for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” There are so many benefits to WAITING for God, why would we not call on Him and WAIT for His answer. Romans 8:24 says. “But if we hope for what we do not see, we WAIT for it with patience.”  PATIENT, oh no!! We not only have to WAIT but be patient as well. What a tough challenge!! But what will others think of our WAITING on God’s timing? Psalm 24:3 says, “Indeed, none who WAIT for You shall be put to shame.” Isn’t that both comforting and wonderful? God thinks of everything we humans face. Psalm 33:20 says, “Our soul WAITS for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” I don’t know about you, but it looks like God has us covered every way imaginable. God defends, fights, hears, and shields us while showering us with compassion, justice and blessings, and keeps us from shame. What a God we have. Isaiah 40:31 goes on to tell us even more about God’s heart for us. “But they that WAIT upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” So to you, Lord, we give all honor and praise, while THANKING you for all that you are to us. Psalm 130:5 says, “I WAIT for the Lord, my soul doth WAIT, and in His Word do I hope.”
Acts 6:4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the MINISTRY of the Word.

Dictionary definition of MINISTER — attend to needs of someone - administer to, care for, look after, serve.

MINISTER — Who is a MINISTER? What does this word mean to us? We are familiar with the one in our church who preaches the Word. We believe that doctors and nurses MINISTER to the sick and hurting, and missionaries MINISTER in places that do not know Jesus. We also know that Jesus, Himself, MINISTERED to many for many reasons. Luke 3:23 says, “Jesus, when He began His MINISTRY, was about thirty years old being the son of Joseph, the son of Heli.” What does the Bible say about us as MINISTERS? We tend to think that we aren’t equipped, capable or worthy to MINISTER. But listen to how Ephesians 4:12 addresses our concerns this way. “to equip the saints for the work of MINISTRY for building up the body of Christ.” Wow!! We may not think we are equipped, but God has other ideas. 
2 Corinthians 4:1 clears up our doubts. “Therefore, having this MINISTRY by the mercy of God, we do not loose heart.” Mercy of God!! Oh, that’s what makes us qualified to MINISTER. God gives us, by grace, the ability to share the Word with others wherever and however He calls us. 2 Corinthians 3:6a says, “Who has made us competent to be MINSTERS of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit.” And to further let us hear God’s call Isaiah 6:8 says it this way. “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, “Here am I , send me.” This scripture touches my soul, as I hope it does yours. Imagine listening for that Divine call, and answering it in whatever way God intends. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for man.” OK then, we might then ask, but how? I’m interested, but I’m still not sure, how? Acts 6:4 helps ease our angst. “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to MINISTRY of the Word.” DEVOTE — PRAY — WORD. These are the keys that unlock a treasure chest of MINISTRY possibilities. Don’t worry about the how or what or when. God will teach and show us what our MINISTRY will look and feel like. We need only listen for His call. 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the MINISTRY of reconciliation. And listen to Luke 6:40. This is exciting !! “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” So if we have the greatest teacher (Rabbi) of all time, Jesus the Christ, no worries!! Our MINISTRIES can and will flourish, bear fruit, and endure with the Rabbi as our teacher. Each MINISTRY may be different, tailored specifically to each of us, using our own gifts and talents given to us by God’s grace. However, the WORD remains the same. God’s Word lives and breaths for all eternity. How awesome that we get to share it. Thank you God for your faith and trust in us. We devote our MINISTRY to You.
Galatians 3:27.  For all of you who were BAPTIZED  into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Dictionary definition of BAPTISM  — admit, initiate, enroll, convert.

BAPTISM —  I think we are all familiar with this word. Most have attended several over time. They can be exciting, meaningful, and even sometimes the very thing that can bring a broken family together.  But, what does it really mean to be BAPTIZED? Babies are BAPTIZED, with no understanding of its true meaning, by adults that do. 
1 Peter 3:21 tells us, “And this water symbolizes BAPTISM that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Just as the waters of the flood of Noah’s time put an end to the evil in the Old Testament, BAPTISM represents an end to living a self-centered life of doing ones own will and beginning a new life of doing the will of God. So we BAPTIZE our babies to protect them from the evil of this world, as well as our own sin nature, with Jesus Christ as their Savior. Acts 2:38-39 says, “Repent and be BAPTIZED, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Fabulous news, don’t you think? Take a moment to think about the magnitude of this scripture. Receive the Holy Spirit!! Great gift!! Forgiveness!! Even a better gift!! US AND OUR CHILDREN!! Wow, and wow!! It gets better. EVEN THOSE FAR OFF!! All in the precious name of Jesus the Christ. 

We protected our young in the name of Jesus, but what about adults who have never been BAPTIZED? Read what Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-19 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, Therefore, and make disciples of all nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” BAPTISM is the public confession of faith in Jesus, as well as obedience to follow Him. It should be preceded by repentance, which simply means change. It is turning from our sin and selfishness to serve the Lord. With such purpose of heart God will open His Word to us. Mark 16:16a says, “Whoever believes and is BAPTIZED will be saved.” Ephesians 4:4-6 tells us some interesting information about BAPTISM. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one BAPTISM; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Notice that it tells us — “you were called to one hope when you were called.” CALLED!! We are called — so listen for that call!!!! And when it comes, answer. That call is filled with hope, protection, forgiveness, salvation, filling of the Holy Spirit, and a closer walk with Jesus, not only for us, but for our children and those far off. What a deal!!! Our God is a great loving God. We are truly blessed. Thank you for this generous, fabulous opportunity. You are our one true God. 
Matthew 24:31a. And He will send His ANGELS with a loud trumpet call.

Dictionary definition of ANGEL — A spiritual being believed to act as an agent or messenger of God, Divine being.

ANGELS? Really? Do they exist? What do you think? ANGELS are a part of our current culture. Movies and TV portray them. Songs are written about them. They are in our jewelry and decorations. But what does God say about ANGELS? 
Luke 4:10 says, “For it is written, “He will command His ANGELS concerning you to guard you carefully. They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Isn’t this exciting? This scripture tells us He will command His ANGELS to guard us. His ANGELS!! To guard us!! WOW!! Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are not all ANGELS ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” That’s us!! We inherit salvation when we believe in Jesus. In Matthew 18:10 God warns, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their ANGELS in heaven always see the face of my Father.” Oh boy! Such protection!! God is clear telling us that the ANGELS have a close relationship with Him and that they have purpose. In Matthew 4:11 they had the privilege and awesome ability to attend to Jesus in His time of need. When Satan tried to tempt Jesus this is how He responded. Matthew 4:10-11 “Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ Then the devil left Him, and the ANGELS came and attended Him.”
Then there are the times ANGELS take on human form as in Matthew 28:5, “The ANGEL said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.” And there is this one. We are cautioned in Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing some have shown hospitality to ANGELS without knowing it.” ANGELS fulfill a very important roll in God’s plan for us. Revelation 14:6 says, “Then I saw another ANGEL flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.” Awesome! Right? But we might wonder, are there enough ANGELS for all of us humans? Hebrews 12:22 says, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of ANGELS in joyful assembly.” God’s plan for His humans and ANGELS is truly amazing. The ANGELS guard, minister and help us all while they praise and worship God as He directs them in their purpose. Psalm 103:20 says, “Praise the Lord, you His ANGELS, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His Word.” So, ANGELS? YES!!! What does God say about them? He has written, instructed, and informed us of these fabulous beings He has provided for our well being. Praise you God for this beautiful amazing gift of ANGELS. Make the way clear for us to experience your heavenly gift.
Psalm 95:6 Come, let us bow down in WORSHIP, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

Dictionary definition of WORSHIP — the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity, praise, thanksgiving, exalting, homage.

WORSHIP!! Who or what do we pay homage or exalt with thanksgiving and praise? Perhaps when we are young, and we see through young eyes, a parent or teacher is someone we WORSHIP. Later in life we may exalt and praise a mate or someone who has created an unimaginable product, painting or music. Elvis Presley is an example of a person being WORSHIPED, with the public coming to realize he was just a person full of failings and faults just like the rest of us. His voice was a gift given to the world by God Himself. Sometimes a General of a grand army is payed homage in life and even into death. Then there are those such as Shirley Temple who are adored and held in high esteem. The truth is the Elvis’ and Shirley’s of our world have received their talents from the one and only God Almighty, Himself. And we, the receivers of these heavenly gifts, get to enjoy and feel close to the Almighty gift giver. Romans 11:36 says, “For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” God, after all, is the Creator of all that exists. We owe Him all honor and praise.
2 Samuel 7:22 tells us, “How great you are Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” It is a true gift for any of us, when our hearts, minds and spirits are opened to the heavenly knowledge of who our Heavenly Father truly is. It becomes, not only easy, but perfectly natural to WORSHIP Him. Isaiah 25:1 says, “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Think of it, things planned long ago. The Elvis’ and Shirley’s of our world are not accidents. They have been planned by the very one we WORSHIP, our God, our Lord. Psalm 86:9-10 exalts our Lord this way, “All the nations You have made will come and WORSHIP before You, Lord; they will bring glory to Your name. For You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God.” God, in His love and mercy, while planning marvelous gifts for all of us to enjoy, reminds us in 2 Kings 17:38-39 of His devotion to us, as well as what He expects from us.
“Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not WORSHP other Gods. Rather, WORSHIP the Lord your God; it is He who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” Deliver us from our enemies!!! Now this is someone to exalt, praise and pay homage to. Our God is devoted, faithful, merciful, our protector, and is trustworthy. His love for us endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34.  How can we not WORSHIP Him? John 4:24 tells us, “God is spirit, and His WORSHIPERS must WORSHIP in the spirit and in truth.” Let us, on bended  knee, remember to praise and WORSHIP our one true God, to all the world.
Psalm 105:1 says it all, “Give praise to the Lord. Proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” Heavenly Father, You are truly AWESOME. Our love and devotion we humbly offer to You on bended knee.
Hebrew 7:24-25 But because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to INTERCEDE for them.

Dictionary definition of INTERCEDE — intervene on behalf of another, mediate. 

INTERCEDE? While growing up we may have learned to mind our own business. Others, didn’t always appreciate our meddling, and yet here we are currently with laws expecting us to do exactly that. A child left in a car unattended — call 911. Domestic animals without food-water-shelter — report the owner. Someone drinking too much — don’t let them drive.  Witnessing domestic abuse — report it to authorities. Someone acting suspicious in public — report to those in charge. Confusing? Wait a minute! Weren’t we supposed to mind our own business? Not so in certain situations. Then there is God. He leads us to INTERCEDE through prayer for those in need. However, in our zeal to INTERCEDE on someone’s behalf, we still must respect their beliefs. So now that we know that we can, and even encouraged to pray for others, how do we accomplish what God encourages us to do without offending? 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 

Many people have been saved by the heartfelt prayers of a grandma or great-aunt sitting alone in their home without the prayed for person even knowing. Philippians 1:19 tells us, “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance.” Those grandmas and great-aunts understood the power and love of Jesus Christ. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Have you ever needed to or been asked to pray (INTERCEDE) for someone but you are stumped as to what to pray? We are told in Romans 8:26, “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself INTERCEDES for us with groaning too deep for words." God is awesome. He truly thinks of everything. Imagine help even when we pray. The Holy Spirit is our dear and close friend. Romans 8:27 says, “And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit INTERCEDES for the saints according to the will of God.” So don’t fret about when or who or how to INTERCEDE (pray) for someone. God has us covered. Romans 8:34 says, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is INTERCEDING for us.  Thank you God for covering us even in our attempts to INTERCEDE through praying for those in need of your help and comfort. You are awesome.
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “Man shall no live on Bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Dictionary definition of MANNA — food miraculously supplied to the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness, divinely supplied spiritual abundance, a usually sudden and unexpected source of gratification, pleasure or gain.

MANNA !! A word not commonly used in our culture, but tell me, have you ever felt extremely blessed with good things raining down on you like “manna from heaven?" You find that just right parking spot. While shopping you happen to run into an unadvertised sale for something you needed. Perhaps you receive a check in the mail for a return you didn’t expect. The phone rings and a friend from high school days who you haven’t spoken to in over 40 years says, “Hello, this is a voice from the past.” That distant or estranged child of yours sends you a loving and chatty email. You begin to think, “manna from heaven,” blessing after blessing with no effort on my part. 
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” 

But what is coming down from heaven? Blessings? What kind of blessings? The Israelites experienced MANNA falling from the sky each day to satisfy their worldly hunger, but the MANNA was more than food for the body. They learned to trust God for their daily need, because Exodus 16:20 says that when they tried to store it up by morning it was full of maggots and had begun to smell. Each day the Israelites had to have new trust that God would provide for their needs. If they collected more than their daily portion, it showed that they trusted themselves more than they trusted God. In Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written, man does not live on Bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” So MANNA not only feeds the body, but feeds the spirit of each person who believes. As we learn to TRUST God, we experience how faithful He is. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “But blessed is the one who TRUSTS in the Lord. They will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes. It’s leaves are always green. It had no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” God will never lead us down a path that lacks His provision. He is always willing to fill the needs of hungry takers!! Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” 

As we begin to trust God’s provision and faithfulness, we also begin to be obedient to His instructions. 
Luke 11:28 says, “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and OBEY it.” God’s grace is available to us just as a daily portion of MANNA was available to the children of Israel during their trek in the desert. Our faith, trust and obedience leads us to Christ’s table. At His table, Jesus, invites us to a consistent supply of spiritual nourishment that will enable us to forge ahead, regardless of our earthly challenges. Revelation 2:17a says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, to him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden MANNA.” 

So let’s draw near to Jesus and His table and eat of the heavenly bread He has set before us. Christ will provide the MANNA we need to strengthen and replenish our spirits so we can face and win our earthly challenges. Remember, that each new Day provides our supply of spiritual nourishment if we come to Jesus' table to receive the strengthening MANNA He offers. Praise your Holy name for our daily supply of MANNA. 
NEHEMIAH 8:10   Do not SORROW for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Dictionary definition of SORROW —- a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others, sadness, unhappiness, dejection.

SORROW — We have all experienced it at one time or another. I’m sure we can conjure up feelings of disappointment, sadness or dejection even though many years have passed. We as Christians know that God wants us to rejoice in Him at all times, but how? Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted. He bandages their wounds.” Well then !! That should be it !! Wrong!! We humans still experience deep SORROW even when we know, love and believe in God and His power and faithfulness. Psalm 119:28 says, “My soul melts away from SORROW; strengthen me according to Your Word.” It seems to be a natural response for most humans to experience disappointment, deep distress or sadness when we suffer a loss. God assures us in psalm 147:3 that He heals the brokenhearted. He bandages their wounds. And yet we still struggle with these powerful feelings that hurt us so deeply. Jesus calls us in Matthew 11:28 when He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus reaches out to comfort us in our loss and SORROW. As always we have the gift of free will. Choose SORROW or choose joy? Impossible we say !! And yet, and yet Psalm 121:7 is adamant when it says, “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.” I’m sure most of us would love the relief from deep sadness and distress, but we continue to be pulled into the pit of SORROW. During times such as this, it is extremely important to turn to scripture. Scripture will comfort and encourage us in the tough challenging times of grief. I find Psalm 56:8 very reassuring. My hope is that you will as well. It’s says, “You have recorded my troubles, you have kept a list of my tears. Aren’t they in your records?” We can question this scripture if we choose, but where’s the comfort in that? In John 14:1 Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.” 

So there we have it !! BELIEVE! BELIEVE! BELIEVE! Psalm 119:50 says, “This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your Word has revived me.” The ancients knew that the way to lift their SORROW, though perfectly reasonable in our affliction, is to read, listen, study, and meditate on God’s Word. Scripture is a balm, a medicine if you will, to our very soul. Struggle, fight, pray to be lifted from that horrible dark deep pit of SORROW. Let’s not give in and stay there. God’s Word will lift us up. Jesus said in John 16:20, “Truly, truly I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be SORROWFUL, but your SORROW will turn to joy. “He was talking to His disciples about His impending death and resurrection, but we, too, can suffer deep SORROW, but can once again rejoice with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit at our side comforting, encouraging and loving us through the “tough stuff” of this world. So let’s decide not to hang on to SORROW as impossible as that may seem, let’s expect our broken hearts to be healed because Jesus says so!!! Thank you God, for the precious gift of Jesus our brother, friend, teacher, protector. “All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13.
Psalm 12:6 And the words of the Lord are flawless like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.

Dictionary definition of DILUTE — make thinner or weaker, weaken, thinned out.

If you are a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or lemonade drinker, I bet you hate it served weak. Our minds know it should have more flavor, so we take another sip just to be sure. Yes, it’s still weak. That weak drink is only a suggestion of it’s true self. I think most of us would rather drink our beverages UNDILUTED. God’s Word, too, can be DILUTED becoming only a suggestion of its true self. Our society often banters around with abandon phrases from the Bible, taking them out of context, thus DILUTING or adding to them. 
2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation, for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. “Comforting, right? And very clear. Scriptures are passed from the Holy Spirit to the prophets who penned the words. Humans throughout the ages are lured to either DILUTE or add to the WORD. 

That satisfying drink tastes so good in its purity, and yet people tamper with it when adding sweeteners or flavorings. Like that satisfying drink, God’s WORD can also be tampered with (DILUTED) making it a reflection of its self. In Deuteronomy 4:2 God tells us clearly, “Do not add to what I command you, and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” The Bible is the inspired WORD of Almighty God and should have a lasting influence on our lives. 
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is God breathed.” God’s WORD defines for us His thoughts and intentions. In Isaiah 55:8-9 God speaks to us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” Declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts, than your thoughts.” 

Like DILUTING that once satisfying drink, DILUTING God’s WORD, steals from us the comfort and purity God meant for us to have. DILUTING or adding to leads us to unstable thoughts and ways. 
James 1:8 says, “A double-minded man is unstable in ALL he does.” That may sound harsh, but as we continue to live in a world of questions, uncertainty, and where we are never sure who or what to trust, God’s WORD is our safe harbor. Psalm 12:6 says, “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” While we enjoy these comforting words, we also need to think about the message of Revelation 22:19 that says, “If anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life.” Whoa!! Let’s pray. Help us Lord in our quest to understand your WORD to stay loyal to what you have to say. Keep us from straying from its purity by DILUTING or adding to it. We lean on and depend on your guidance. Amen. 
Luke 11:17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to ruin; and a house divided against itself will fall.

Dictionary definition of DIVISION — the act of separating something into parts or the process of being separated, conflict, discord.

DIVISION! Dividing anything weakens the whole! The whole what? It could be a relationship, a business, a partnership, a family, a church, or an organization. DIVISION is everywhere we look. Psalm 133:1 says “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” The whole is stronger when there is unity. Malachi 2:10 says “Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God?” As far as God is concerned we all are one. He knows we are stronger and happier when united. Romans 12:4-5 tells us, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” We are Christ’s Church, hence all members of one body, and God is a God of many plans. Ephesians 1:10 says, “And this is the plan; At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ — everything in heaven and on earth.” His plans includes all of those who believe in Christ, to fit together in perfect harmony. Ephesians 4:16 says, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” 

Why doesn’t this happen in our every day lives? Why is there so much DIVISION? How do we accomplish unity? Colossians 3:13-14 tells us “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” We read these scriptures and think, “You must be kidding. Forgive, love, allow for faults? Really? Do you know how hard this is? Wouldn’t we all love harmony and peace? But how? Amazingly, the answer is right in front of us.?JESUS is the answer! Ephesians 2:14 says, 
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one, and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Jesus talks to us in John 17:23 when He says, “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” This is truly a WOW scripture. When we are blessed to be in harmony with others with no DIVISION, we are experiencing Jesus within us reflecting out for others to see. Our God is faithful to fill us with the love of Jesus and that love spills out wherever we go flowing over each person and situation causing a Divine unity to exist. Glory to you God! Thank you! 

We all know that certain situations seem impossible, the Bible tells us that “all things are possible with God” Matthew 19:26. The important clue here is that without God we are limited. DIVISION is common among us, but with God’s guidance there is a chance for harmony even when all seems lost. Proverbs 16:9 says very clearly, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Further, we are told in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” DIVISION! Yes it exists, often and everywhere, but with God it is possible, not guaranteed, but possible to heal the gap created by DIVISION. Praise God for the hope He offers us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; Behold, the new has come.

Dictionary definition of TRANSFORM —- make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance or character of someone. To change in composition or structure.

TRANSFORM ! You mean change? We often hear people say, “No one or nothing ever changes.” Even bad luck begets bad luck. Once a pattern is established, change? Not hardly ! Bad decisions? It seems common to continue making bad decisions. Bad habits? Change? Not likely ! What about worriers, complainers, criticizers? Do they ever change? The world tells us NO ! You have heard, “I was born a worrier, I’ll always be a worrier.” 

There is good news though!! Change/TRANSFORMATION can happen. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” What? A new heart? How is that even possible? Is this a scam? Numbers 23:19 tells us “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it? “ God knew doubt would assail us, keeping us from the TRANSFORMATION He has planned for us, but how can we be TRANSFORMED? 
1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of God.” Isn’t this exciting? Let’s ask God for this new heart. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” There is hope ! We can change/be TRANSFORMED. Colossians 3:10 says, “And here put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.“ You might think, “I still don’t know ! I feel the same ! I look the same, but is change really possible?“ Galatians 2:20 tells us, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Did you catch the word FAITH? That is the key word to TRANSFORMATION. FAITH ! That pesky word faith ! Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” 

We can be TRANSFORMED! Look for small changes. The last time a challenge presented itself, did we worry or did we pray? How about when someone said or did something unkind or offensive, did we loose our temper, or remain calm? What about that last long line at the supper market, or the slow driver holding up traffic? Did we have patience or have an internal fit? Romans 12:20 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED, by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” So, hold on, watch for changes, have faith, God is doing a new thing. TRANSFORMATION is not only possible , but will happen. Expect to be calmer, happier, patient, less stressed, not as angry, and enjoying life more. Revelation 21:5 has good news, “ And He who was seated on the throne said.” Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Thank you God for your gift of TRANSFORMATION . You are AWESOME! 
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is IMPOSSIBLE, but with God all things are possible.”

Dictionary definition of IMPOSSIBLE — not able to occur, exist or be done, out of the question, not worth considering, unbearable, intolerable, unsustainable, unendurable.

How many times have we thought something was IMPOSSIBLE? Perhaps a relationship has gone sour. Each side is entrenched, believing they are right and the other side is wrong. No way seems possible to solve the challenge. The IMPOSSIBLE challenge could be political, personal, professional, physical or even medical, just to name a few types of challenges. We spend a great deal of our lives trying to solve problems when in reality we only have a small portion of the challenge to solve. God is our problem solver.
Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Let’s take a moment to meditate on this enlightening scripture. I love the way God gets right to the point. He knows how challenging life as a human can be. After all, He walked this earth for 33 years experiencing worldly challenges. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.” Think back to the times that Jesus called on God, speaking directly through prayer. I think we can all agree that when Jesus was faced with the challenge of the four day old dead Lazarus, although He was looking at the IMPOSSIBLE, He didn’t let that deter Him or the outcome of the situation. Instead, He told them to take away the stone, John 11:39. He proceeded to tell them in John 11:40, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. John 11:41-42 Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” Then in John 11:43 Jesus said, “Lazarus, come out.” Notice who Jesus gave the credit to for Lazarus coming back to life. He turned to The Father as a resource to solve the IMPOSSIBLE.
We are told in Mark 10:26 that Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is IMPOSSIBLE, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” And Luke 18:27 repeats what Jesus said, “What is IMPOSSIBLE with man is possible with God.” In Matthew 19:26 once again we are told what Jesus said, “With man this is IMPOSSIBLE, but with God all things are possible.” The same message is repeated three times! Wow! Do you think God wants us to know, remember and believe that what is IMPOSSIBLE with man, is possible with Him? And that He is our resource and help for all things. As we face the IMPOSSIBLE, and we will, let’s remember to turn to God quickly. Naturally, we have a part to play in each challenge, but not alone. God reminds us many times over that all things are possible with Him. Jesus wants us to know that He turns to the Father when He faces challenges. John 5:30 says, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgement is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” Jesus continually reminds us that our Heavenly Father is the source of our strength and our successes. God CAN do the IMPOSSIBLE. Ephesians 3:20 is one of my favorite messages from God. It brings me great comfort and hope. I pray it will do the same for you. “With God’s power working in us, God CAN do much much more than we can ask or imagine.” Let’s give God the glory for all He is and does for His people. Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”  Thank you God for all your blessings. You are truly awesome.
Isaiah 30:18 Yet The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, He will rise up to show you COMPASSION. For the Lord's a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!

Dictionary definition of COMPASSION 
Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings and misfortune of others.

COMPASSION! Think of a time you felt great sympathy for someone. Their heartbreak was your heartbreak. Their loss felt like it was your loss. It seemed as if you were feeling much of what they were experiencing. We have heard many times, “You never know what someone’s going through unless you have walked in their shoes.” There certainly is some truth in this comment, but COMPASSION allows us to feel much of the hurting person's pain, fear, or worry. The Latin word ‘compati’ means “suffer within”. There is something deeper, something more profoundly powerful about COMPASSION. The Bible is saturated with comments about COMPASSION. Jesus is our best example of a COMPASSIONATE person. Mark 6:34 tells us, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had COMPASSION on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things. 

So have you ever wondered how then can we be COMPASSIONATE if we have not walked in Someone else’s shoes? God thinks of everything! He is truly amazing. He never leaves us void of the things He asks of us. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of COMPASSION and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Is this awesome, or what? God’s comfort to us is the key to our ability to comfort others. And to back up this scripture Lamentations 3:22-23 from the Old Testament assures us “Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His COMPASSIONS never fail. They are new every morning, Great is your faithfulness.” We should never doubt that we are able to be COMPASSIONATE. We have all that we need to reach out and offer sympathy, empathy, comfort, and kindness to those suffering. Just a kind word, or a listening ear can sometimes be just what the suffering person needs. Sometimes our COMPASSION is accompanied by the strong desire to help the hurting. Perhaps with a warm meal or a helping hand. Jesus, our great example of COMPASSION, taught, healed, and comforted. We show COMPASSION when we pray, share the Word, and offer worldly comfort. Zechariah 7:9-10 tells us, “This is what the God Almighty said, 'Administer true justice; show mercy and COMPASSION to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.'” God certainly is clear in His message to us if only we will hear. Jesus, too, tells us in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatsoever, you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” 

Have you ever needed COMPASSION, sympathy, empathy, or comfort? I certainly have. Many times in my life, actually. I’m grateful beyond measure when someone reaches out to me offering love, listening while feeling my pain, fear or loss. Praise God for His faithfulness to always send someone to my aide. Let’s look for ways to comfort others showing COMPASSION where needed. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ.” And God once again reminds us that He fills us with what we need to reach out to others in Isaiah 55:10, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has COMPASSION on you.” How blessed we are to have such an awesome, faithful, loving God. Praise your Holy name. 
Proverbs 29:11 — Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.

Dictionary definition of ANGER — strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility, exasperation, resentment.

ANGER —- What a familiar emotion for most humans!! An emotion that can grasp us with its all consuming tongue licking out at others. Life dishes out plenty of opportunities to be ANGRY from mild annoyances to major hostilities. Someone makes a promise and breaks it. Someone accuses you of something you didn’t do. A best friend or family member betrays you. We witness injustice and are unable to make things right. Someone receives the promotion you have been working toward for years, and on and on it goes. We spend a great deal of our lives ANGRY at something or someone. There is a never ending supply of reasons, but we do have choices. ANGER or not?

ANGER raises the blood pressure, constricts the stomach muscles causing digestive issues leading to emotional distress. So then why are we so quick to fall into ANGER'S trap? It saps our energy and steals our joy. Psalm 37:8 says, “Don’t give in to worry or ANGER, it only leads to trouble.” I’m sure we can all agree with the writer of this Psalm, and yet the call to ANGER is such a powerful force that even when we commit to not getting ANGRY over every little thing, failure of self-control rolls right over us. Ephesians 4:26 attempts to help us when it encourages us “In your ANGER do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still ANGRY.” We are encouraged to let ANGER go before the sun goes down so that it doesn’t become a bitter gall eating away at our very soul. Ephesians 4.31 tell us, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and ANGER, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Actually when we look at the emotion of ANGER, we are hard pressed to find any benefit in it in most cases. Ecclesiastes 7:9 goes so far to say, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit for ANGER resides in the lap of fools.” Fool you say? That’s pretty harsh. But Proverbs 14:29 confirms when it tells us “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” ANGER displays a foolishness that I’m sure most of us would rather not have others see. James 1:19-20 has a very interesting view of ANGER worth taking a look at. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become ANGRY, because human ANGER does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” God is always looking for us to be righteous. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” God know that sometimes ANGER consumes us and we lose all thought of Him. Perfection for us is impossible to achieve. Our Lord Jesus is the only perfect one. So we aren’t talking about never becoming ANGRY. It’s what we do about the ANGER that matters.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” We can choose what we are going to think and dwell on. We can continue to fuel our ANGRY emotions with wrong thoughts — or we can take a stand and, with God’s help, refuse to allow the situation to get out of control. 
So my friends, what shall it be? Shall we seek peace through thoughts of Jesus and His ways, or sink into ANGER'S ugly grasp? Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up ANGER.” God help us in our war against ANGER'S grasp. With you all things are possible.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Dictionary definition of OMNIPRESENT — The state of being widespread or constantly encountered. The presence of God everywhere at the same time.

Have you ever needed to be in two places at once? The kids need you. Work or school needs you. Your parents or mate need you. Your heart wants to help, comfort or serve everywhere you are needed. I’m sure you have learned over the years that you are limited. Multi tasking has become a familiar phrase. Moms can cook, talk on the phone, and know what the children are doing in the next room. The technology age has made multi tasking expected. Surely you can talk on the phone while typing an e-mail. Juggling many tasks at once is not a new concept, nor is wanting or needing to be in several places at once. 

There is one who CAN be!!!!  GOD!!! He is OMNIPRESENT. How blessed we are that this is a truth we can always depend on. Jeremiah 23:24 says “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? Declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? Declares the Lord.” How awesome to know that God is OMNIPRESENT in our lives. Deuteronomy 31:6b says “the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” That means you, and you, and you, and you, and me. He is everywhere, all the time. Job 34:21 says “For His eyes are upon the ways of man and He sees all his steps.” I suppose it could be a heavy weight to know we have His Godly spotlight on us all the time, OR it can be a relief to know we are never alone. We don’t have to look for or wonder where help can come from. We just need to ask with an invitation through prayer for the OMNIPRESENT One to act on our behalf. Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And here is the best part! Our OMNIPRESENT God can be the strength and the help of everyone at once. He truly can be everywhere all the time. We don’t have to compete for His protection, comfort or love. Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Here again is good news, no worries. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” So as we think of an OMNIPRESENT God, we can relax knowing He not only sees all, but He forgives all. Micah 7:19 assures us with these words, “You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Isn’t that fabulous? Our God sees all, is everywhere, knows all and yet our sins are cast into the sea. Now that’s something to get excited about. 

And here is something else about this fabulous God of ours. He is awesome for sure! Zephaniah 3:17 says,”The Lord your God is in your midst. A victorious warrior. He will exalt over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” I don’t know about you, but with a friend like our OMNIPRESENT God, I don't mind a bit if He is everywhere and sees all. Let’s be grateful for all that He is, while we praise His Holy Name.
Psalm 118:6-7 “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper.” 
2 Peter 3:18 But Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen

Dictionary definition of GROW — undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically, progress to maturity.

Who reading this has planted a garden, tended, cultivated, and watched it GROW to maturity producing lush ripe fruit or vegetables? Or watch a baby GROW from infant to toddler walking and talking? How exciting it is to watch that child GROW into a teenager with outward and inward changes leading them to maturity? We have, also, watched marriages GROW and mature into unions where the two people almost seem to breathe as one. 

We are familiar with GROWTH in our worldly experiences, but do we think about our spiritual GROWTH? We start out as babies (this is at any age, whenever we start our walk) on our walk with God. 1 Peter 2:2-3 says “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may GROW up in your salvation. Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” When we become Christians, we enter into a relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that will cause us to GROW in our faith. It is this spiritual GROWTH that becomes a birthmark of our faith. Isaiah 61:11 says “For as the soul makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to GROW, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” This spiritual GROWTH can continue including Into old age. 
Psalm 92:12-14 gives us encouraging, comforting News saying “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will GROW like a Cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our Lord, they will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.” Isn’t it exciting to know that as we age our spiritual GROWTH will continue to mature producing good fruit? 

Who are the righteous anyway? The righteous are those centered in the new covenant, which is right thinking, feeling, speaking and behaving according to what God approves and commands. Psalm 5:12 says “For you bless the righteous, O Lord, you cover him with favor as a shield.” A life that is centered on submitting to worshiping and seeking after God and confessing Jesus as Messiah, is a life that will flourish like the palm and GROW like a Cedar of Lebanon. The righteous will still bear fruit, stay fresh and green even in their old age. How nice to know that as we age we can not only be useful but fruitful contributing to God’s kingdom as He calls us. 

GROWTH is possible for everyone through faith in Jesus Christ our precious Lord and Savior. 
1 Peter 2:24 says “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds we have been healed.” We know we have to nourish the baby, toddler, teenager or marriage for them to GROW and reach their full maturity. So it is with our spiritual maturity. Jeremiah 12:2a says “You have planted them and they have taken root; they GROW and bear fruit. You are always on their lips.” As God nurtures us on our journey of faith, He encourages us in Philippians 4:8 to “think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” I love the way God never leaves us hanging, wondering how? He’s always ready to lead us to that place of spiritual maturity so that we, too, can flourish and be fresh and green. We sing our praises and gratitude to you our O Lord forever more. 
Ephesians 1:3 BLESSED be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has BLESSED us in Christ with every spiritual BLESSING in the heavenly places. 

Dictionary definition of BLESSED endowed with divine favor and protection, privileged, select, fortunate.

Sneeze and what does someone say, “BLESS you.” Many say a BLESSING before eating. When someone is leaving on a trip we often say, God BLESS you. God
BLESS you is often used as a way to end a letter or greeting card. At Thanksgiving we count our BLESSINGS. Then there is the BLESSED event when a child enters our world. 

Let’s explore the word BLESSED together. In our world it is used frequently and in many different ways. It is a word rife with power and meaning, but do we really know what God means when it is used in the Bible? The Greek word for BLESSED 
(Makarioi) means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances. 

What is a BLESSING then? Scripture shows us that a BLESSING is anything God gives that makes us fully satisfied in Him. Luke 11:28 says “But He said, BLESSED rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” It’s anything that draws us close to Jesus. It’s anything that helps us relinquish the worldly and hold on more tightly to the eternal. And even if we don’t like the trials and struggles in life, it is often those tough experiences that enable us to draw closer to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. James 1:12 tells us, “BLESSED is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the Crown of Life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”
We would NEVER volunteer for the trials or struggles that our worldly existence provides, but through them we can experience God’s BLESSINGS. Psalm 5:12 says “For you BLESS the righteous, O Lord, you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Pain and loss can push us into a deeper life with God, that can make us rest in Him alone. Psalm 118:26 says ,”BLESSED is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We BLESS you from the house of the Lord.” We love the BLESSINGS God bestows on us, but our true BLESSING is He Himself. Jeremiah 17:7 tells us, “BLESSED is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in the Lord.” 

God wanted us to understand His BLESSINGS when Jesus gave His famous Sermon on the Mount, which contained what are known as the Beatitudes. Matthew 5:3-11 Jesus promises us happiness (BLESSED). They are a promise that points beyond earthly happiness to the eternal happiness of heaven. So at the very heart of the Word BLESSED is everything that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are. As we face the trials and struggles of life, let’s always remember God’s heart. We are BLESSED through faith in all the details of our lives. There is a common phrase currently circulating “I’m not lucky, I’m BLESSED.” This is a true statement. So let’s BLESS our Heavenly Father in return for all that He is to us. Let’s tell and show Him how grateful we are to Him. Psalm 103:1 says, “BLESS the Lord, O My Soul, and all that is within me, BLESS His Holy Name.” 
Psalm 119:76. May your unfailing love be my COMFORT according to Your promise to Your servant.

Dictionary definition of COMFORTER — a person or thing that provides consolation, friend, sympathizer, consoler, Holy Spirit, Intercessor, bed covering.

When you hear the word COMFORTER what first comes to your mind? Perhaps you first think of the one on your bed, that welcomes you each night surrounding  you with warmth, coziness, and protection, which leads to a peace that enables you to fall off to sleep. Time to get up comes all too soon and you have to leave the COMFORT of that warm, cozy protective cocoon created by your COMFORTER. Maybe you wish you could be like Linus from the famous Peanuts cartoon dragging your COMFORTER with you all day long so you can keep those lovely feelings close. But no!! You have to leave it behind and wait till you can climb back into that welcoming COMFORTER.

But wait, here’s the GOOD NEWS, the COMFORTER Jesus introduced us to in John 14:26 you, indeed, can carry around with you. “But the COMFORTER which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said.”

What exactly is a COMFORTER? We know what it is on our beds but spiritually we may have questions and doubts. We can see and touch our bed COMFORTER, but our spiritual COMFORTER the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) we can not see or touch.
2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us “We walk by faith not by sight.”

The Greek word paracletos means “one who is summoned to the side of another.” The meaning of Paraclete is advocate, consoler, COMFORTER, intercessor. Then there are synonyms of COMFORTER — friend, sympathizer, pacifier. And we thought the COMFORTER on our bed was great!! The Holy Spirit is all of the above rolled into one. What a gift Jesus gave us when He gave us the Holy Spirit. John 16:7 says “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (COMFORTER) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” WOW, and I do mean WOW!!! If we could just take into the deepest part of our being what we truly have in the Holy Spirit, we could spend more of our time feeling His COMFORT. Psalm 94:19 says. “when anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.” And 2 Corinthians 1:5 assures us “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our COMFORT abounds through Christ.”

So how does the Holy Spirit COMFORT and help us in our daily living? Romans 8:26 tells us “In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit Himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express.” How fabulous and COMFORTING to know we have the Spirit to speak for us when we do not “know how we ought to pray.”
Jude 1:20 tells us “to keep building ourselves up on our most sacred faith. To pray in the power of the Holy Spirit." 
So there we have it. Let’s not forget the Holy Spirit, our COMFORTER, our special gift from Jesus, is always there to COMFORT us with His presence, help, teachings, and reminding us of all the things Jesus has said. Now that’s a friend !!
Psalm 119:76 “May Your unfailing love be my COMFORT according to Your promise to Your servant.”
Psalm 37:4 DELIGHT yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Dictionary definition of DELIGHT — great pleasure, happiness, joy, gladness, excitement, thrill, captivate.

DELIGHT, what does it mean to us? Have you ever seen and heard a group of children at a birthday party or out on the play ground? Such excitement, happiness, joy. You can hear their squeals of laughter. You can actually feel their excitement. How about watching someone graduate? They experience such great pleasure in their accomplishment and want to share their joy with others. And what do we usually do about weddings and births? We roll out the red carpet with music and dancing and balloons all to express our DELIGHT. 

These are just a few of our worldly experiences that we celebrate with DELIGHT. Now let’s think about our spiritual lives and experiences.
Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Our DELIGHT in the Lord grows as we learn more about God’s love and faithfulness. Psalm 119:77 says, “Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my DELIGHT.” As our relationship with God evolves on this faith walk with Him, we realize that without Him we will perish. Listen to what Psalm 119:92-93 says, “If Your law had not been my DELIGHT, I would have perished in my affliction. I will NEVER forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.” WOW!! Given us life!!! What a gift.

It seems the natural thing to talk about our DELIGHT in God. We read scriptures like Job 27:10 that say, “Will he take DELIGHT in the Almighty? Will he call upon God at all times?” But, tell me, do we ever think about God’s DELIGHT in us? God DELIGHTING in us? Is that even possible? Why would God ever DELIGHT in us? Zephaniah 3:17 tells, “The Lord, Your God, is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great DELIGHT in you, He will rejoice over you with singing. ”Have you ever imagined God singing and rejoicing over you? I must admit, I never have. But it sure does present a great image in my mind, comforting and thrilling. What a loving, wonderful God we have. Hebrews 13:5 says, “God said, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Imagine our God watching over us with great pleasure, happiness and joy while protecting and teaching us His great mysteries. Psalm 18:19 says, “He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He DELIGHTED in me.” Also in Psalm 37:23 “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He DELIGHTS in every detail of their lives.” I don’t know about you, but I’m filled with excitement, great pleasure,  and joy (DELIGHT) to know that we bring God such happiness. 

I have this image in my head of God singing and dancing with DELIGHT as He shares His wisdom and love with us. Isn’t this a fabulous image? But all of this is not enough for God for those He DELIGHTS in. He has one more marvelous gift. John 4:14 says, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” God DELIGHTS so much in us that He wants to spend eternity with us. What an awesome God we have!!! What an invitation!!! Let’s each of us DELIGHT in our Lord each and every day as we walk this earth remembering this Divine blessing.
Psalm 63:3 “Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.” Glory to you our Almighty God. You are our DELIGHT. 
Psalm 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take COURAGE

Dictionary definition of COURAGE —- The ability to do something that frightens one, bravery, nerve, daring, boldness, grit, heroism.

COURAGE! We all love stories about heroes, admire them and want to hear the details about their adventures of saving people and animals from drowning or burning buildings. Then there are the heroes that donate organs for those desperate for them, or someone who sacrifices their time and energy to adopt children or animals. And how about those who devote their lives to serve their country going into battle if called? We sometimes feel that nurses, doctors, firefighters, and EMTS are also heroes.   
Heroes go the extra mile willingly, often into danger. All heroes have at least one thing in common, COURAGE. They accept the risks to reach their objective even if they are afraid. Where does that bravery, boldness, grit or nerve come from?
Joshua 1:9 God says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and COURAGEOUS. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Have you ever been called to do something that frightened you? You wondered if you could do it or not. Perhaps, you had the time to try to talk yourself out of it. But something kept urging you on. Then there are the times there is no time to think, just act. Did you find the COURAGE to go ahead? 1 Corinthians 16:13 says “Be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be COURAGEOUS; be strong.” Perhaps when you were young you missed the chance to go to college. Now, 25 years later, you have that much wanted opportunity. But —- am I smart enough to learn now? It’s been so long since I studied and took tests. What if I fail? People will laugh and mock me. Where does the COURAGE come from to give it a try? From God, of course.
Deuteronomy 31:6 comforts, encourages and urges us with these words. “Be strong and of good COURAGE, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave nor forsake you.” Of course, you don’t know in advance if you will succeed or fail. Remember the scripture when Jesus called to Peter to come to Him on the water? Matthew 14:29. Peter started out walking on the water, but became afraid and started to sink,
 Matthew 14:30 he called out “Lord, save me.” Matthew 14:31 says, immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, saying, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” Jesus had already told them in Matthew 14:27 “Take COURAGE! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Even then, they needed Jesus to help them be brave, strong and daring, and to remind them to have faith and not doubt.

So we should never think, when called to be brave and COURAGEOUS, that we have to muster the strength and might to do it alone. No, always call on the Lord. He’s just waiting to reach out His hand to help us just like He did Peter. Think of all the times we might have missed because we did not call out to Jesus like Peter did saying “Lord, save me,” and accepting the hand that reaches out to help us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us this way. “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 straight your path.”
In the Bible, COURAGE is the opposite of fear. When God commands us to fear not and to have COURAGE He is commanding against fear. Even though bravery and COURAGE do not feel natural to us, with God protecting and guiding us, we can find the COURAGE because we have confidence in Him. Hear these words from our God.
Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and let your heart take COURAGE.” Thank you God for your faithfulness to us.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Dictionary definition of FRET — constantly or visibly worried or anxious, feel uneasy, be distressed.

FRET —- comes from the Old English word FRETON which means to devour like an animal when you FRET over something, it consumes your thoughts. When we FRET we worry so much it eats away at us.

Who reading this, besides me, has ever found him/herself sinking into a pit of FRETTING? Thoughts roll around and around in your head. Before long, we may feel uneasy, our stomach may be upset, internally our nerves start to hum causing us to feel jittery, perhaps short tempered, or unable to sleep. The thoughts get bigger, louder, all consuming, looming over us like a dark cloud.
Psalm 38:9 says “O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.” God knows what’s happening to us and so Jesus said to those FRETTING in John 14:1
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me.” In Isaiah 43:2 God assures us of His faithfulness to us when He says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isn’t God awesome? He knows our struggles and comforts us. We are told straight out in Psalm 37:8 “Do not FRET — it leads only to evil.” It goes on to say, “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” How does one become one of those who “hopes in the Lord”? Colossians 3:16 explains it this way. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

All of our FRETTING and worrying is caused by planning without God and not trusting Him. Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:2 gives us a clear window into how we can express our trust in God. I will say to the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Putting God first in all things is an antidote to FRETTING — ANXIETY — WORRY? If we only could remember to turn to Him more often and more quickly. Psalm 37:4 tells us “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts.” Sounds really good doesn’t it? An actual formula to follow, and we know we should give up FRETTING, but we still find it a challenging task.
Luke 24:45 says, “Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” So there is hope.
2 Timothy 3:16 informs us that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness.

So what shall we do when life presents us with losses and challenges? And it will! Turn to FRETTING or turn to God and His Word?  Psalm 37:7a says “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him, do not FRET”
Psalm 37:5 says “Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.”
Heavenly Father forgive us for FRETTING, help us with Your loving grace to remember to turn to Your Word. Keep us from being devoured by anxious thoughts. Thank you for opening our minds to understand Your Word. Help us to lean on and trust in You our loving and faithful Father. Psalm 33:22 “May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You. AMEN
Luke 2:7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in clothes and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them.

Dictionary definition of CHRISTMAS
The annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth held on December 25 in the Western Church.

CHRISTMAS, what is it? Is it baking cookies and treats — buying and making gifts — decorating with wreaths and lighted trees —school concerts and plays —parties with family and friends — and lets not forget Santa? There’s a feeling of celebration and giving with joy and laughter in the air.

But isn’t it more than all of this? Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ. Luke 2:11 says, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” What must it have been like to be there? Some were in awe and some in doubt.
John 1:14 says “And the Word was made flesh, dwelt among us. We have seen His glory, the glory as of only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” We are even told in Luke 2:21 that, “in the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, He was named Jesus, the name the angel had given Him before He was conceived.” And so He was Jesus to all who knew Him.

Who is this Jesus, and what does He mean to us personally? Why celebrate a birth that is thousands of years old? Oh we know Emmanuel, the Greek name given to Jesus at birth means “God is with us.” The name given to Him eight days later related to the Hebrew verb root Yeshua means rescue, deliver. We know that believing Jesus is our Savior leads us to eternal life.
John 6:47 “Truly, Truly, I say to you, He who believes has eternal life.” By faith we believe Jesus is the light of the world and that we are co-heirs with Him, and on and on!! These are marvelous truths beyond our wildest imaginations! God with us! WOW! Deliver, how fabulous! He lights our way in a dark world! Heals the sick and lame. Matthew 15:31 “So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”

These are all wonderful things, but I ask again what does Jesus mean to us personally? We usually celebrate the birthdays of only those we know pretty well. Right? And we even agonize over what gift to give. So how close are we to Jesus?
Romans 12:5 says “So we, who are many are one body in Christ and Individually members one of another.” How well do we personally know Him? What is our relationship like? John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Jesus knows we need Him in order to have fruitful abundant lives filled with joy and peace.

So here we are again with the opportunity to celebrate our Lords birthday. What kind of party and gift does one give the King of Kings? How about something from our hearts? Perhaps attending worship services where we worship God in spirit and in truth. Pray often and spend time reading His Word. Serve others and tithe generously. And let’s wrap all of these gifts in an abundance of LOVE and thanksgiving for Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and each other. I’ll just bet Jesus would love receiving these birthday gifts given to  Him from our hearts through faith.
Colossians 2:6-7 says, “Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with Him. Keep your roots deep in Him, build your lives on Him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.” This year, let’s get closer to Jesus spending more time with Him as we travel this journey of faith praying, serving, tithing, reading the Word and thanking Him, worshiping and recognizing all that He is. Lets celebrate His birthday every day not just at CHRISTMAS. Happy Birthday Jesus with our deepest love.
Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

Dictionary definition of OMNISCIENT
All-Knowing, All-Wise, All-Seeing

Have you ever wished you could know in advance how a certain situation would be resolved? I bet you have! You agonized by imagining different scenarios, possibilities and solutions. Then again there are times you were glad you didn’t know in advance. You realized that kind of knowing would have been too overwhelming, and so you sent up a prayer of gratitude for protecting you from too much insight.  God is so good. As humans, we make decisions and come to conclusions many times a day, day after day. We often wish we could know how and what to do . We are told in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that “we see through the glass darkly, but then face to face, now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” So I guess it’s safe to say, “We don’t know it all,” even if there are times we wish we did.

But there is One who does know everything completely and always. We learn this in John 1:3 “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Now if you made something you would know it inside and out. Right? God makes sure we remember this great information when He reminds us in Isaiah 46:9 to “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.”
I love the way He repeats “I AM GOD,” as if to say, now don’t forget this.

If God knows all, and we are His children, Galatians 3:26 says “ For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” then why not turn to Him for guidance, wisdom and information in all of our worldly challenges? It is said that God will make away when there seems to be no way. One might wonder if this statement is true. Isaiah 43:19 calms our doubts with these beautiful words. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make away in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Let all doubt go by way of the wind because Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “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 straight your paths.” Our Lord knows us and what is best for us in all our ways. Luke 12:7 says “But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore; Ye are of more value than the many sparrows.” Isn’t this awesome? And comforting?
Psalm 139:1-4 further comforts us with these wonderful words, “O Lord, You have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is in my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord. Isaiah 43:1b “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” This OMNISCIENT, All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Wise God knows, loves, and wants the very best for us, so trusting Him to guide, lead, and advise us is a safe and comforting place to rest. “Cast all your cares on Him; for He cares for you.”
 1 Peter 5:7.

Always remember, if you need knowledge, insight, wisdom, help, answers, guidance, we have been invited in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Praise to you our all-knowing OMNISCIENT loving father. Help us to lean on and trust in you that you will lead us to your knowing ways.
John 16:23 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my NAME He will give you."

Dictionary definition of NAME, a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place or thing is known, addressed or referred to.

What’s in a NAME? Clarence, Hazel, Joe, Alice, we know who is who. A tree, bridge, sky, boat, we know what is what. Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, we know where something is. NAMES matter in our everyday lives. They conjure up information and feelings, and keep an order important to our well being. Genesis 2:19 says, “God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its NAME. NAMES are very important. Scripture tells us that the meaning of NAMES of people and places in the ancient world, were used to communicate and inform.

But there is one NAME above all other NAMES. Philippians 2:9-11 says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a NAME which is above every NAME: That at the NAME of JESUS every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Now that is quite the message!!!! What does that NAME mean to us?
Proverbs 18:10 says, “The NAME of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” So safety is there for us in the NAME of Jesus. Thank you God!!
Mark 16:17 Jesus said, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My NAME they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues.” Wow!!! Powerful words proclaimed over those who believe!!
1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the NAME of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our Lord.” Just think of it! We are sanctified and justified. How fabulous!! Matthew 28:18 says, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’  Jesus went on to say in Luke 10:19, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” Imagine, we are given authority and protection.  Jesus trusts us and reminds us who we are in 1 John:4:4 when He said, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

So let’s think about what’s in a NAME. Scripture tells us that through this NAME Jesus we have safety, sanctification, justification and authority. How great is that? God in His generosity and love, has provided so much for us through the flowing blessing of Jesus. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the NAME of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Whatever we do in the NAME of Jesus? What might that be? Scripture tells us some ways.
Matthew 28:19 instructs us, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
James 5:14 asks us, “Is any one among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the NAME of the Lord.”
Psalm 68:4 encourages us to , “Sing to God, sing praises to His NAME; lift up a song to Him who rides through the desert; His NAME is the Lord; exalt before Him.”
Then Jesus gave us specific instruction when He said, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my NAME. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Praying in the NAME of Jesus means we identify with Him, while using the authority He gave us. We are also submitting to His will, as well as representing Him and His interests here on earth. We pray expectantly, understanding what the precious NAME of Jesus means to us and others. What a blessing we have in the NAME of Jesus.
Romans 10:13 tells us, “For everyone who calls on the NAME of the Lord will be saved.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.

Dictionary definition of PLUG IN —- Able to be connected by means of a PLUG.

Have you ever turned on a lamp, but there is no light? You change the bulb and still nothing. You think the lamp is broken. Finally you check the outlet and you realize the lamp is UNPLUGGED.  You PLUG it in , and voila —- light!! The energy in the outlet is the necessary power to light the bulb. Like the light bulb, all life forms also need energy/power to perform their intended purpose for survival. They receive this energy/power from PLUGGING-IN to their intended source of energy. UNPLUGGED = no energy!!!

We know food is an energy source for us humans, but what about our spiritual energy/power? Are we PLUGGED IN or are we UNPLUGGED? The lamp relies on the outlet for its power/energy source, but where do we get the energy/power to shine our spiritual light for Christ? Paul, so long ago, in Ephesians 1:17-19 prayed for us to have wisdom and revelation so that we may know God better. He prayed that the eyes of our hearts might be enlightened so that we would know the hope to which we have been called along with our glorious Inheritance in Christ giving us great power in His name. So our power/energy source is Jesus. Thank you God. But here’s the big question. How do we stay PLUGGED IN to this power/energy source?
Ephesians 2:6-7 says “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness, to us in Christ Jesus. I mean WOW!! Power/energy available always if we stay PLUGGED IN. God wants us to understand that this freely given power/energy comes from Christ and it’s His grace that helps us stay PLUGGED IN to that source.

In Ephesians one and two God wants us to be enlightened to this power/energy that’s available through Jesus our Lord. And in Ephesians three He tells us that the power/energy is made available by faith through Jesus.
Ephesians 3:17-19 Paul assures us that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Do we realize what these words mean? There is an endless supply source of power/energy. Not like our local power company, if we do not pay our bill the power is shut off. God’s power to us is never ending. Imagine being filled with God. Let’s take a moment, breath deeply and let this knowledge sink deep into our hearts.

So when we are weary, weak, worried, sad, over whelmed, frightened, sick, lost, let’s check to see if we are PLUGGED IN to our power/energy source by faith, not like the lamp's PLUG. Our PLUG is faith. Our outlet is God. Because with God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than we can ask or imagine.

Praise God for His grace that gives us that Devine power/energy. Let’s agree to check our (outlet) every day and be sure we are PLUGGED IN. 
Hebrews 4:16 Let us approach God’s throne of GRACE with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find GRACE to help us in our time of need.

Dictionary definition of GRACE is free unmerited favor of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and bestowal of blessings.

Have you ever heard someone sing without lessons or training, yet when they open their mouth out comes heavenly sounds? You close your eyes and think, “this has to be from God.” Then there is the person you are always in awe of because people seem to be attracted to them without any effort on their part. You wonder, “how does this even happen?”
1 Peter 4:10 tells us “so each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied GRACE.” This scripture tells us everyone has been freely given our own unique special gift and how to use it. Some people say they do not have one, but that is not true. It could be your smiles, hugs, story telling, love of animals, cooking skills, fixing things. Things we do not consider gifts, but are who we are.  Simple everyday things all needed for God’s kingdom to work smoothly.
Ephesians 4:7 assures us, “But to EACH one of us GRACE has been given as Christ apportioned it." Interesting, right? Freely given in the right amount, and NO ONE is left out. God’s GRACE (unmerited favor) is for EVERYONE. Galatians 1:15 gives us another assurance, “But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His GRACE.”
We might wonder, “Why the unearned gift?” After all, haven’t we been told often enough, “You don’t get something for nothing?”
Romans 11:6 says, “And if by GRACE, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, GRACE would no longer be GRACE. We can’t earn or work for our gifts of GRACE. Why not? James 4:6 makes it very clear “But He gives us more GRACE." That is why scripture says “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” We don’t recognize our gifts, which eliminates our pride. God is the GREAT giver. GRACE is His way of showing us His love for us. And beyond all of these gifts He goes on with the ultimate of gifts. Ephesians 2:8-9 goes on to tell us, “For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith —- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —- not by works, so that no one can boast.” What a great gift! Freely given! SALVATION! Just receive! Titus 2:11 says, “For the GRACE of God has appeared that offers Salvation to all people.” How nice!! No “to do list,” just receive. So let’s receive God’s GRACE (unmerited favor) with joy, awe, and thanksgiving, never questioning our value and worth, for God sees us through the eyes of Jesus.
Romans 3:24 says, “ALL are justified freely by His GRACE through redemption that came by Christ Jesus." 

As we remember to give God the glory for all GRACE freely given to us,
sing, build, create, love, teach, laugh, hug, encourage, share, serve, and on and on. God’s gifts are endless, timeless and abundant. Acts 20:32 says, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His GRACE, which is able to build you up and give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
If you haven’t already, go ahead and open your gifts, while saying thank you God.  Revelation 22:21 says, “The GRACE of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.”
Mark 11:23 “For assuredly, I SAY to you, whoever SAYS to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea; and does not doubt in his heart but believes that those things he SAYS will be done, he will have whatever he SAYS." 

Dictionary definition of SAY —- utter words so as to convey information, an opinion, a feeling or intention, or an instruction.

SAY, think of what we and others SAY!! Words, many, many words SAID without little or not much thought. I’m sure we all can admit life offers up many challenges, failures, obstacles, disappointments, losses and so we begin to SAY things like “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all” or “Nothing good ever happens to me, just to others,” or this one, “It never rains but what it pours.” “I work hard and never seem to get ahead." I guess God just wants me to be poor.” “Just when I think things are turning around, wham another set back.”
“I’m always sick, or my kids are always sick.” “I feel like a black cloud is hanging over my head.”

Let’s explore another way to talk about life’s challenges. Have you heard the phrase, “What you SAY, is what you get.” What if, for just a moment, we consider changing our verbiage? If there is another way, would we consider changing what we SAY? Oh, but I’m a realist, we SAY. You can’t fool me!! “I can hear my sick child coughing and sneezing in the next room” or “I can see the scary balance in my check book or charge card” and “I can feel the weakness in my body.”
Proverbs 18:20 tells us “ Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a persons lips brings satisfaction. If words have that kind of power, then how do we access that power? Let’s turn our words to favor us rather than against us. PROCLAIM over that check book or charge card balance, Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want, or PROCLAIM over that sick child, Isaiah 53:5 By His stripes my child is healed. PROCLAIM over your tired, weak body, Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. PROCLAIM over your life Jeremiah 29:11 where God declares “I have no plans to harm you, but to give you hope and a future.” PROCLAIM over that black cloud 2 Kings 20:5 when God SAYS “I hear your prayers, I see your tears, I heal you.”

Why do we find what God SAYS hard to believe, but not the words of the world that rain down on us day in and day out? That’s the simple answer!! REPETITION!
Words of the world, negative though they are, with repetition take root, producing a habitual pattern of speech in us that DOES NOT favor us! The good news is, habits can be changed. Ephesians 3:20 SAYS, “With Gods power working in us, God can do much, much more than we can ask or imagine.” And
2 Corinthians 5:7 SAYS, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” In order to change those habitual speech patterns, we must remember when doubt, along with life’s challenging experiences fill us with dread, that we are co-heirs of Jesus Christ and so have all we ever need or want. Galatians 4:7 SAYS, “You are no longer a slave but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.” Jesus knew we would need encouragement against the darkness of this world when He spoke these beautiful words in Matthew 25:34, “Then the King will SAY to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since Creation of the World.

We have everything to gain, and nothing to lose when we PROCLAIM positive words over our life’s situations. Proverbs 18:4 SAYS, A persons words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”
So here we are with a decision to make as co-heirs of Jesus. What will we SAY? “Jesus is my brother, the King of Kings, and I now PROCLAIM over my life all that He died to give me.”  Come on now, what do we have to loose?  Let’s give it a try! PROCLAIM blessings and not curses over our lives. Thank you God for this precious gift of Jesus. 
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be completely equipped for every good work.

Dictionary definition of WORD is a simple distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others or sometimes alone.

The above scripture tells us that ALL scripture is God breathed. The Greek WORD for “God breathed” or as some translations say, “breathed out” is THEOPNEUTOS and means “inspired by God” or literally the very “breath of God.” This Information tells us the WORD of God is God’s breathing out His literal WORD.
2 Peter 1:21 tells us “For prophecy never had its own origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The word (prophecy) does not mean in the context of chapter 2 of 2nd Peter, predicting the future, or future events but the GREEK word PROPHETEIA means “a disclosure emanating from divine inspiration" so we can safely and surely say that ALL SCRIPTURE is God breathed WORDS emanating from a divine (GOD’S) Inspiration. 2 Peter 1:20 assures us “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.”

Let me ask you this question. When you type an email and press send, does the receiver of that email think that your computer wrote the email or that you wrote it? NO, the receiver knows that you are the author of the email, and that the computer is just the means to transmit that email. No one questions that the author inspired the words written and not the computer. So why then do some question if the Bible’s WORDS are from God Himself or from those who penned the WORDS?

Understanding scripture's legitimacy is made possible by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:11 says “For who knows a persons thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So, also, no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:12 goes on to say “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” Thank you God for this unimaginable, valuable, free gift. God’s written WORD, and we, the people, are the “transmitters/computers” sharing God’s WORD freely to others as He has freely shared them with us.
1 Corinthians 2:13 says “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in WORDS taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual WORDS.

When DOUBT struggles to convince us that God’s WORD is not accurate, authentic or historic, like it did Eve in Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman “Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Doubt began to grow in Eve’s mind.
Or when the doubter is encouraged to DENY the WORD of God as in Genesis 3:4 when the serpent said “You will not surely die.” When one begins to deny the authority, capability, or will of God, doubt becomes acceptance.
If none of these schemes work, the serpent turns up the heat as he did on Eve in Genesis 3:5 to DENIGRATE the person who believes when he said “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Once a person accepts the idea that the WORD of God is not to be trusted, and that God either will not or can not do what He says, it’s only a short leap from there to begin to think God either lies, is a hypocrite, or an ogre.
Ephesians 6:11-12 shows us the way to throw off the dark cloak of doubt saying “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, powers, of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
So as we receive and believe this fabulous spiritual God given gift, God’s WORD, let us remember this magnificent message from John 1:1
Clearly we have the WORD. Praise Your Holy Name.
Matthew 6:10 Your Kingdom come, Your WILL be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Dictionary definition of WILL—-expressing a strong intention or assertion about the future—expressing inevitable events.

Do we ever really know anyone? We may think we do!! We may know where someone lives, works, or goes to school. Perhaps we even know what someone eats, reads, likes to watch on TV or in movies. What their hobbies are or where they shop, vacation, and other things they enjoy. We learn this information by spending time with them listening and hearing what they say, but do we know how they deeply think and feel?

As for me, there is someone I really enjoy getting to know better. Romans 12:2 clearly tells us “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the WILL of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. God loves us so much that He wants to empower us to do His WILL in all areas of our lives. We are able to discern God’s WILL when our minds are renewed by Christ Jesus, then we can know, understand and do what is acceptable and perfect in God’s eyes. John 9:31b says “but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His WILL, God listens to him.” Worshiping God and doing His WILL are synonymous. Also, when we obey the Lord, He listens to our prayers. We are also reminded of how important it is to do God’s WILL at all times.

What else can we learn about God? His WILL for our lives has reason and purpose. It is through scripture where we can find meaning and principles discerning God’s WILL.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 tells us “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” What is the truth? And how do we find out? Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “ I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is a very comforting message and always encourages me. 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Great news, our God is patient and loving always wanting what is best for us. His word in Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He WILL make your paths straight. WOW!!! He will make our paths straight!! Awesome!!
Ephesians 5:15-17 says “Be very careful, then, how you will live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s WILL is.”

This next scripture gives us a clear picture into the heart and mind of our Heavenly Father, and takes my breath each time I read it. I pray it does the same for you. Our God is awesome, loving, glorious and oh so generous.
Galatians 1:3-4 says “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the WILL of our God and Father.”

Thank you, God, for the gift of your son, for rescuing us. Thank you for your promises, and your faithfulness to these promises. Thank you for sharing Your thoughts and heart to help us have joyful, abundant lives, living in Your WILL. Hebrews 10:36 encourages us with these words, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the WILL of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Reading God’s word makes me better able to know and understand His WILL for us. Hope it does the same for you. Praise His Holy Name. 


Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Dictionary definition of ABBA an intimate term for God as Father—means father in some Semitic languages. 

Dictionary definition of FATHER male parent, a person who cares for another as a FATHER might.

Can you even imagine having the honor that Jesus had to be the first one to introduce God as Father? WOW!! John 17:26 Jesus said “And I have declared to them Your Name and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Awesome, right? 

Jesus often called God FATHER while talking to Him. 

He PRAISED the FATHER in Matthew 11:25-26 saying, “I praise You FATHER, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to the children.”

Jesus THANKED the FATHER in John 11:41-42 when Jesus looked up and said, “FATHER, I thank You that You have heard me. I know that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe You sent Me. I can’t help it, another WOW!!

And in Luke 23:34 Jesus PETITIONED the FATHER from the cross saying, “FATHER, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." He certainly did set the bar high for us asking for forgiveness for those hurting Him. 

He GLORIFIED the FATHER when He said in John 12:27-28 “now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? FATHER, save me from this hour? No, it was for this reason I came to this hour. FATHER, glorify Your Name." 

He PRAYED to the FATHER in Luke 22:41 saying “My FATHER, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.” Jesus showed us how to pray, then leave it in God’s hands. 

And most importantly He TAUGHT us how to pray when He gave His disciples what we call THE LORDS PRAYER in Matthew 6:9-13 as He starts out OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN

But here is the best part that we need to know. Romans 8:17 tells us, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, is indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” 

Malachi 2:10 wants us to know. “Have we not all one FATHER? Has not one God created us? John 10:30 assures us when Jesus says “I and the FATHER are one." Another WOW!! 

I don’t know about you, but that we are co-heirs to Jesus brings me great joy, comfort and peace along with love beyond my capacity to comprehend. We are blessed beyond measure.

Romans 8:15 lovingly tells us “For you have not received a spirit of fear of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out “ABBA, FATHER.” 

Again I say WOW and thank you. What an awesome God we have.
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Lord God! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by Your great POWER and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You.”

Dictionary definition of OMNIPOTENT is having unlimited POWER, able to do anything, all-POWERFUL, Almighty, Supreme, pre-eminent.

POWER!  How does POWER impact our lives? Such as the electricity that POWERS our lights, appliances, phones etc. or fuel that POWERS our planes, trains, cars etc. Then there is our physical human strength that POWERS our bodies to run, lift, pull, push etc. think about what life would be without worldly POWER.

Now that we have thought about some worldly POWER, let’s think about spiritual POWER. Let’s look at the ultimate POWER!!!! Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the Lord, Your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb. I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.”
Now that’s POWER!!!! In the beginning Genesis 1:1 God made heaven and earth. We belong to the POWERFUL one, the Almighty. He gives us free will. We get to choose, to stay with the POWER or live life without it. Which shall we choose?
Matthew 18:26 tells us that Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I personally like my worldly POWER for lights, appliances, cars, trucks, planes and human strength that enables us to lift, push, run etc.  I feel the same way about my spiritual life. Without that POWER I experience fears, worries, anxiety, confusion, anger, loneliness just to name a few emotions.
Psalm 147:5 reminds us “Great is our Lord, and abundant in POWER, His understanding is beyond measure.”

“With Gods POWER working in us, God can do much, much more than we can ask or imagine.”
 Ephesians 3:20. God places His POWER in all those who believe, so we are made able to do things we could never do humanly. I say WOW!!
Luke 9:1 tells us “We have been given both POWER and authority over all demons and to cure disease. I know that sounds impossible, but that’s where God comes in to make the impossible, possible. Matthew 18:18 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” These are very POWERFUL scriptures. Take a moment and let them enter your hearts and minds. Believe them, and act on them. Pray POWERFUL God anointed prayers. Live a POWERFUL anointed life. Believe in and expect POWER filled anointed dreams to be possible. The POWER and authority that is given to us through Jesus Christ is there for the accepting!!! Choose!!! This POWER does not make us reckless or selfish, or cruel, just the opposite. Our Heavenly POWER fills us with the fruits of the spirit——love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, Galatians 5:22-23, assuring that we will follow Gods heavenly ways for good, not harm.

So pray, live, love, give, serve, help large with confidence and humbleness as anointed children of God, remembering that there is no POWER without God. Let’s stay plugged into that heavenly POWER so that we can live lives glorifying our Heavenly Father. Isaiah 40:28
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding no one can fathom.
Thank you God for your heavenly POWER. 
Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love SERVE one another.

Dictionary definition of SERVE is to perform duties or services for another person or an organization.

Such a humble word SERVE, and yet one we don’t think about often. Don’t you just love to call a few friends or family over for a special dinner? You pull out the good dishes and glassware, plan the menu, and of course, a special dessert in preparation. You scurry around making sure everything is just so in anticipation of welcoming everyone. You are excited to SERVE them tasty food in a warm atmosphere, that will produce lovely memories for all to cherish, which In turn brings you great happiness.

I’m sure many of us have done this over the years with no thought to the word SERVE, or how God is a part of our gathering. 1 Peter 4:10 says “As each has received a gift, use it to SERVE one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” God has given us gifts to share with others, not just for our own dinner parties, but for many other reasons.
Perhaps a local church is looking for volunteers to help cook and SERVE at their annual thanksgiving dinner for the hungry and lonely. You think, I can do that! I already do it in my home, surely I can do it there. God looks at your offer to SERVE with pleasure. Hebrews 13:16 says “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

God created us to SERVE.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” How exciting to know we have been “hard wired” by God to SERVE, so why then do we sometimes resist? Perhaps we are “too busy,” or don’t think we have anything worth offering, or we think we are too young or too old. But here’s the thing God wants us to remember. Colossians 3:23 says “What ever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. “ And
Romans 8:31 says “If God is for us, who can be against us?” So we need not worry if we are too young or too old, or if we have not much worth offering. God supports us in any and all of our offers to SERVE others. Nothing is too small in God’s eyes. Remember the woman in the Bible who gave out of her lack?
Mark 12:43-44 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything——all she had to live on.”

After all, who are we really SERVING when we SERVE others?
Matthew 25:40 says And the King will answer them, “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” So let’s not worry if we are too young, too old, with perhaps not much to offer. God doesn’t think that way. In fact in Luke 6:38 we learn “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” WOW!!! How exciting to know that anything we do is valued and appreciated by God, and we are doing it for the one who loved us enough to go to the Cross. In John 12:26 Jesus tells us, “If anyone SERVES Me, he must follow Me, and where I am, there will my SERVANT be also. If anyone SERVES Me, The Father will honor him. SERVE, what a blessing!
2 Timothy 2:21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purpose, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Dictionary definition of SANCTIFY is to have someone or something set apart for the special use it was intended for by its designer, cleanse, make legitimate.

SANCTIFY!!!! What significance does this word really have in our lives? We read the dictionary definition, but still wonder what does it mean to me? The generic meaning of SANCTIFICATION is the state of proper functioning—-to SANCTIFY someone or something——to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. A pen is SANCTIFIED when it is used to write. Eye glasses are SANCTIFIED when used to impart sight. Face Book is SANCTIFIED when it is used for sharing and connecting with others. A human is SANCTIFIED when he or she lives according to God’s design and purpose. Ephesians 1:13 says “and you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” So what exactly were humans designed for? Hebrews 10:10 tells us “and by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” You might be wondering how do we become holy? Acts 26:18 is clear when it tells us to “open our eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that we may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are SANCTIFIED by faith in Me.”

Well then, so who is SANCTIFIED and holy. Hebrews 2:11 says “both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” AMEN, how exciting!!! Hebrews 12:14 goes on to say “make every effort to live in PEACE with everyone and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Oh dear, now what if I don’t make PEACE, if I somehow mess up?
 1 Corinthians 6:11 relieves our anxiety by saying “and that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were SANCTIFIED, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Wow, such great news. What a relief!!

So what is the truth about this word we rarely use or hear? John 17:17 says “SANCTIFY them by the truth; Your WORD is truth.” And we learn in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

So who are we? We are set apart by the blood of Jesus Christ designed for holiness with the Spirit living in our hearts.
Set apart—-designed—-made holy—-SANCTIFIED!!!   Praise you God for such a marvelous, fabulous, exciting gift. We are so blessed!!
Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became FUTILE and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Dictionary definition of FUTILE is pointless, fruitless, useless.

I bet everyone reading this has at one time or another either said or heard
“that’s pointless” or perhaps “that’s useless.” FUTILE may not be a word we hear or use often, but we all know what it means. How many times have you heard the phrase “the glass is half empty or half full? " Which one are we? If I used the words pessimistic or negative, we would recognize them right away. Our lives are saturated with negative and pessimistic words and actions. It’s sometimes difficult to be optimistic while those around us want to make sure that we believe things are FUTILE. 2 Timothy 2:14 says keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value (useless) and only ruins those who listen.
How do we respond to optimistic people in our lives? Do we wish we, too, could think like that, or do we discourage them? Do we try to convince them that things really are pointless, useless or FUTILE?
1 Timothy 1:6 says some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless (fruitless) talk.

If there is one thing I have learned from my studies of the Bible, it’s that as Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  My personal conclusion is that God wants us to believe in the unbelievable. The word FUTILE has no meaning to Him. Ephesians 3:20 tells us Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us. This tells us nothing is FUTILE with God's power working in us. I suspect many of us miss some pretty great opportunities, successes and great joys because we think our “glass is half empty.“ We believe the FUTILE talk that surrounds us each and every day. Notice it it is God that makes the FUTILE possible. Man is limited by his humanness, but with God unimagined opportunities and successes happen. Jeremiah 17:15 is very clear to tell us what the Lord said, “cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”  We must always remember, it is God Almighty that infuses us with strength, wisdom and endurance. 1 Samuel 12:21 says Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. That’s pretty clear, don’t you think? God goes on to convince us in James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” My friend, God endures forever.

Why then do we humans sometimes think that depending on man is fruitful? Jesus in His mercy tells us in John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.“
So tell me, “glass half empty“ depending on earthly knowledge, or “ glass half full“ living life with God leading? We can choose!!!!
2 Corinthians 13:14  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Dictionary definition of the word TRINITY —- a group of three people or things, the state of being three, the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Three in one? Interesting concept!! Think about the humble egg. Each of its three parts can stand alone —- the shell, the white, the yellow, and yet all three are called the egg. So it is with the Divine three —- God, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Each can stand alone and yet are one in God, hence the TRINITY.
Jesus said in John 14: 15-16 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever.”
Three in one!!!!  Imagine, Jesus asked the Father to give us the Holy Spirit. What a team they are! We are so blessed by the TRINITY, but beyond that Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Go make disciples ? What is a disciple? The dictionary definition of disciple is one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another. Frankly, I think lots of us wonder, how do we accomplish such a life changing, exciting assignment. Jesus answered this question when He said in John 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
What things are we taught? 
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 comforts us with these words. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

What a comfort to know the TRINITY is always around, always available, always teaching and helping. Hebrews 13:5b tells us God said “I will never leave you, never will I forsake you.” Let’s relax and enjoy the honor bestowed on us to “go out and make disciples“ remembering that the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, will lead and guide us while we teach others about the TRINITY. Lean into and depend on God never to forsake us, while Jesus loves us as He tells us in John 15:9 “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love.”

So, friends, let’s remember what Psalm 91: 1-2 says, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Thank you to the TRINITY for all that you are to those who believe.
EXHORT/ encourage
1 Thessalonians 2:3-4  For our EXHORTATION does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.

Dictionary definition of EXHORT is an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something, encouraging.

The word EXHORT may not be very familiar in our everyday language, but the words encourage and discourage are well recognized. We all know what discouraging words sound and feel like, such as “You can never make that business work in this awful economy” or what about this, “Who do you think you are? You aren’t an inventor!” Then there’s “Oh come on now, you’ll never loose that weight. You like chocolate too much.” Or this one, “Why bother writing that book? What do you have different to say?” Let’s not forget this one, “Singing, Artist, Acting, there’s no money to be made in that. Think of all the “wanna be’s. Where are they now?” And yet we learn in Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

So we can find discouragement anywhere and everywhere, if not from friends and family, then from society. We already feel hopeless before we even start. But let’s ask ourselves, “What about the success stories we have heard about? Hershey chocolate failed 5 times before it was a success. Then there is Allstate Insurance that was started during the Great Depression. Nicholas Sparks, the author, famous now beyond all imagination with his books made into movies. And who doesn’t know who Dolly Parton is? The devastatingly poor little girl whose success no one would have thought possible. Psalm 16:8 says I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand I will not be shaken.
Did these people have someone encouraging them to keep trying, never giving up hope, believing they had a gift only they could share with mankind? It’s true there are many failures, but there are also many successes. Titus 2:15 says These things speak and EXHORT and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Then there is our daily lives, going to work or school, tackling a sport you love, or raising a family, helping those in need. We find encouragement in
1 Thessalonians 5:14 that says “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” Keep on keeping on. Doing our best knowing that failures and mistakes are a part of life. But God’s Word is our great EXHORTER. Proverbs 3:5-6 assures us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

For just a moment think about what an encouraging word directed your way feels like! Does it make you feel stronger, more capable and hopeful? Sure it does!! Psalm 55:22 says to Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken,

So the thought for the day is —— if you think you have nothing to give your fellow man, and that what you might say has no impact, remember this!! Words matter!! Choose words that encourage, such as, “ Good job”, or “You can do it”, or “You are special, because you are you.”  Words of EXHORTATION or encouragement are powerful!! They cost nothing, but you just might be the one and only person to give someone hope and courage. Lets look for ways to be that someone special to someone. We can do it!! God says we can.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. God is our great EXHORTER.
Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Dictionary definition of GRATITUDE is the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness, thanks, credit.

GRATITUDE—- How important is it? Does it really matter? What is it anyway? Let me ask you this. How does it feel to you to be told you are appreciated? Does a thank you now and then make you feel valued? How about when you tell someone thank you and you leave them with a smile? How do you feel when you go the “extra mile” and your efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated? I guess the answer is it matters a great deal and it is very important.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

From the time we were able to speak there were those repeatedly teaching us to say “please” and “thank you.” Why do you suppose it was so important to repeat this lesson over and over so many times? Our teachers were cultivating an “Attitude of Gratitude.” The dictionary defines cultivate as the trying to acquire or develop a quality or skill. Repeating over and over “please” and “thank you” is a successful way to cultivate the habit of appreciation. So we understand that GRATITUDE is, yes, important, and so is learning to appreciate. Acts 24:3 says In every way and every where we accept this with all GRATITUDE.

It’s easy to be GRATEFUL when life, or people, is pleasant and joyful, but pretty challenging during times of stress, unhappiness or conflict.
James 1:2-4 tells us to count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Now that certainly can be quite the challenge, but God wants us to be thankful and joyful no matter what is happening just as Jesus was when he prayed for Lazarus to live in John 11:41 when they took away the stone. Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” JESUS appreciated The Father and let Him know that immediately. God loves to hear us say THANK YOU. Psalm 100:4 says Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Think about the times you may have gone the “extra mile” reaching out and sacrificing your time, energy and gifts and were unappreciated. This happened to Jesus when He was asked to heal the ten lepers.
Luke 17:15 tells us only one of them came back praising God in a loud voice. Luke 17:16 goes on to say this same man threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him. Where were the other nine?
God loves it when we show appreciation to Him and each other. Those people in our early lives did us a huge favor cultivating in us an “Attitude of Gratitude.” Colossians 2:7 says rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. What we do with this knowledge as we journey through life is up to us. A simple “thank you” to God and each other has great power to create a feeling of value, worth and joy. Cultivating this habit produces an abundant crop. Psalm 118:1 says Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever. Thank you our dear God for all that you are, and to all of you reading this.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with HUMILITY comes wisdom.

Dictionary definition of HUMBLE is having or showing a modest or low estimate of ones own importance, meek, deferential, respectful, submissive, self-effacing

What does HUMBLE mean to you? Always saying yes? Letting others take advantage of you? Groveling for your needs to be met? Walking away from a disagreement even if you think you are right? Perhaps being shy, passive or quiet?

If you think this is what HUMBLE means, I have a surprise for you!! Sharing your gifts and talents without pride or arrogance confidently believing God is the supplier of those good gifts and talents. 1 Peter 4:10 says that each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of Gods grace in its various forms. It also means recognizing your need for Gods help while thanking Him and giving Him credit for your accomplishments. 1 Peter 4:11 says as anyone speaks they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. Wow that’s quite a statement, don’t you think? But there’s more. A HUMBLE heart does not need to be first or the best but builds others up so they can accomplish their full potential, nor do you need to defend yourself because God will defend you enabling you to be a peacemaker. James 4:10 tells us to HUMBLE yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up. What a relief, God is there to help us.
But what exactly is a peacemaker? If walking away from a disagreement —- taking the high road —- makes us look weak to the world, God will lead us to a wise and understanding response with HUMILITY. James 3:13 says Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the HUMILITY that comes from wisdom. And if you’re wondering how can I be a peacemaker in a world of conflict and injustice, God addresses this in Psalm  25:9 which says He leads the HUMBLE in justice, and He teaches the HUMBLE His ways. I don’t know about you, but I find this so very comforting. He has thought of everything to help us. So as you follow the wisdom given by Gods grace, sharing your gifts and talents, and making peace where and when ever you are able, remember to thank, praise and glorify God, for it is through Him your accomplishments are made possible. James 1:17 loving tells us that Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of the Heavenly Lights Who does not change like the shifting shadows.
Takes my breath away. Being HUMBLE isn’t always easy, but God has us covered. What a good God we have!!!
Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to PRAYER, being watchful and thankful.

Dictionary definition of PRAYER is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God.

Do you ever have many ideas going around in your head, your thoughts feel like bumper cars at the Fair clanging and banging into each other? All kinds of thoughts thrown about such as questions, concerns, and fears leaving you anxious, confused and wondering, how do I sort this all out and make sense of it?

The Bible tells us to “PRAY continually” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  PRAY? REALLY? You think my thoughts are worth bothering God? And what do I say to Him? Romans 8:26 tells us In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, we do not know what We ought to PRAY for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. How nice, help with our PRAYERS when we do not know what to PRAY. God thinks of everything.

Let’s think about Jesus for just a moment. He always turned to PRAYER. Luke 5:16 But JESUS often withdrew to a lonely place and PRAYED. He favored PRAYING outside near to creation. Luke 6:12 says One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to PRAY, and spent the night PRAYING to God. So we learn that Jesus PRAYED often, close to nature and lengthy PRAYERS. PRAYING was an integral part of His everyday life. But how did He PRAY? He PRAYED based on His knowledge of God and His truths. In John 4:24 Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and truth.” The Bible, God's word, is the truth Jesus refers to. Jesus also said, in John 8:32 “the truth will set you free,” highlighting how important God's truth is in our lives. Don’t we all wish to be free? Jesus also taught persistence in PRAYER Luke 18:1 when He told His disciples a parable to show them that they should PRAY and not give up.
1 Timothy 2:8 went on to say Therefore I want the men everywhere to PRAY lifting up Holy hands without anger or disputing.

We have learned that PRAYER is not only important Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to PRAYER keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving, but it’s a way to communicate and get close to God. Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. Now when His disciples asked Jesus what they should PRAY, He taught them the ULTIMATE PRAYER.
Matthew 6:9-13
“This, then, is how you should PRAY”
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

There you have it. Don’t get all bogged down with your thoughts banging and clanging around in your head like bumper cars at the Fair wondering  what to say or if to PRAY. JUST DO IT. God WILL lead the way.
Proverbs 21:23 says those who guard their mouths and their TONGUES keep themselves from calamity.

Dictionary definition of TONGUE — The fleshy muscular organ in the mouth of a mammal used for tasting, licking, swallowing and in humans articulating speech.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Now we all know this isn’t true, but we are expected to accept words that hurt and that it’s okay for us to throw around hurtful words. Words can hurt or heal the sender and the receiver. Matthew 15:11 says what goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that’s what defiles them. My mother taught and believed to watch what you say because “you can’t take it back.” Words spoken are out there never to return, even if you wish they would. And what about this familiar phrase “If you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all."  Boy, sometimes don’t you feel like you might explode if you can’t spill all you wish to say. 1 Peter 3:10 says for “whoever would love life and see good days must keep their TONGUE from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. Notice here the key words evil and deceitful speech. There are times when a discussion is necessary. Talking things through is important, but keep evil and deceit from spilling out of your mouth.

I’m sure we all have either been the recipient or sender of hurtful words. Sometimes we find it hard to swallow mean, critical or disparaging words and they explode from our TONGUE. However, we sure can be quick to bluster and complain if we are the receiver of hurtful words. The TONGUE has incredible power. It can be used to bring blessings or curses. It is very difficult to control. Psalm 141:3 says to set a guard over my mouth, Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips. We need help!! The Holy Spirit is ever ready to guard our words if only we ask. Even when we are determined to refrain from hurtful words, life tempts us.
Ephesians 4:29 reminds us Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

But what about the situation that arises that is either unfair, deceitful, aggravating, or just plain mean? Then what do we say? My father used to say, “You get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Some of the time, and I must admit, not all of the time, his words remind me to keep a watch over what I say. I must admit I’m a work in progress. How about you? Proverbs 15:1-2 says a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The TONGUE of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Even when and if words of folly come spilling out, don’t dispair, because we serve a loving, forgiving God.
1 John 1:9 tells us that If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our unrighteousness. How fabulous is that?

God knows how powerful the TONGUE is and that temptation is great. He tells us in Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt. so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Our God is awesome. Always gracing us with hope. Listen to Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Praise for your Holy name for blessings us with hope.
Genesis 1:3. Let there be LIGHT —- and the LIGHT appeared.

Dictionary definition of LIGHT the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible, illumination, shining, gleaming, radiance, luster, glow.

Have you ever been to a fireworks display? As darkness descends you are filled with anticipation and a bubbling excitement. Soon total darkness surrounds you, isolating you in a cloak of black. As you wait expectantly, suddenly a burst of LIGHT appears sprinkling into beautiful shapes then dropping to earth all around you. You are captivated by the LIGHT no longer even aware of the darkness surrounding you. It’s still there, of course, but the LIGHT, oh the beautiful LIGHT with all its brilliance lifts you up, up and up into a strong feeling of great joy, excitement and a buoyant feeling of freedom. You no longer feel tethered to the earth, but feel as if you could float away into the LIGHT . Then, what seems like all to soon, darkness closes in around you once again, bringing you tumbling back to reality. No more fantasy! The display is over leaving you trying to hang on to the feelings of joy, excitement and freedom in the LIGHT.

But wait! Don’t be discouraged! There is hope!!! James 1:27 says every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly LIGHTS, Who does not change like shifting shadows. And Psalm 119:105 goes on to tell us that Gods word is a lamp to your feet and a LIGHT to your path. So the LIGHT comes from God through His word and the word is Jesus, the full embodiment of all that is God. The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14.

As you remember the fireworks display and the LIGHT shining brightly all around you crowding out the darkness, imagine Jesus surrounding you with His LIGHT. He spoke to the people, He said, “ I am the LIGHT of the world. Who ever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the LIGHT of life. John 8:12. There you have it. Jesus lifts us up into great joy, excitement and freedom just like the beautiful fireworks display, but better. Every new day is an adventure. We find ourselves wondering what can I do for God today? Or who can I help today, or bring a smile to, or share Jesus, the LIGHT, with? And even better than all these possibilities, we can become the LIGHT because Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14-16 Let your LIGHT shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Nor does anyone LIGHT a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand and it gives LIGHT to all who are in the house. Isn’t this fabulous? We are a big part of God’s LIGHT show as we shine for His glory. We are part of His team and His LIGHT display. This truth is not only life changing for us, but can be for others as well. Imagine for just a moment that we are not just watching the LIGHT  show, but that we are a big part of the brilliant display of LIGHT and the darkness need never surround us or others again. In John 1:5 this is the message. We have heard from Him and declares to you; God is LIGHT; in Him there is no darkness at all. And in Revelation 21:23 we are assured once more that The City does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it LIGHT, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Praise God, no more darkness, only a brilliant sparkling display of LIGHT for all of those who believe the word and all it has to offer. Heavenly Fireworks! Enjoy!
Psalm 56:8 Record my lament; list my TEARS on your scroll —— are they not in your record.

Dictionary definition of TEAR is a drop of salty liquid that flows from the eye when it is hurt or as a result of strong emotion, such as unhappiness or pain.

TEARS!!!  We don’t often think about crying, but we know there are TEARS of both sadness and joy. We are, however, very familiar and accepting of babies and small children and their many TEARS, after all they either have no words or very few words so crying is their form of communication. Baby is hungry or wet and cries. Feed baby and make it comfortable and the TEARS stop. The toddler tumbles and falls often with TEARS freely falling, followed by just as many smiles when Mommy kisses the boo boo. The very young never seem to have any trouble letting the TEARS flow.

As time goes by, and life happens, we learn that TEARS make those around us uncomfortable. Teenagers keep their hurts, frustrations, and even their joys private with no TEARS for others to see. By the time we reach adulthood, crying is seldom seen and the hurts and, yes, the joys are buried deep. So we go through life thinking no one sees and no one cares. Our TEARS go unshed, even the happy ones. Here’s the good news, our Heavenly Father does see our TEARS and does care. Psalm 107:19 says They cried to the Lord in their trouble and He saved them from their distress. Not only does God care, but He invites us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. What an invitation, to know that, like when the toddler falls and cries out, Mommy kisses the boo boo leaving only smiles. God sees our even our unshed TEARS, cares deeply about our hurts, and leaves us with a smile. Jeremiah 31:9a is a fabulous message from God as it says, “TEARS of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care.” What an awesome God we have.

Think for just a moment, what a relief it can be to those who believe that God sees and hears us. Psalm 18:6 says In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He hears my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears. When TEARS threaten to fall, it’s okay  no matter what the world says. In John 11:35 which is the shortest scripture in the Bible, it simply says, “Jesus wept.” He was at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. Let’s do what Jesus did after He wept. In John 11:41b He said “Father, I thank you that you have heard me” and in John 11:42a He goes on to say, “I knew that you always hear me.” How comforting to know that God hears us. He even goes on to assure us in Psalm 30:5b that weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Our God is a God of hope. So, no matter what causes our TEARS, we know they are temporary to those who turn to God for comfort and strength. Psalm 46:1 tells us emphatically that God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. WOW!!! And remember Psalm 56:8 tells us God records on His scroll each and every TEAR. How awesome!! He does care and we never should think we need hide our TEARS from Him. 2 Kings 20:5 says “I have heard your prayers, I see your TEARS, I will heal you.” God loves us so much that He will kiss our TEARS away, leaving us with smiles and the precious feeling of hope. Psalm 37:4 has a fabulous message. Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Feel His awesome presence, praise His Holy Name, and smile through your TEARS for there will be joy in the morning. 
Isaiah 57:11 says The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong, and you shall be like a WATERED garden, like a spring of WATER, whose WATERS never fail.

The dictionary definition of WATER tells us it is colorless, transparent, odorless tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms.

I think we all can agree, WATER is essential to our well being. Have you ever been thirsty? You become focused on getting a drink. What happens when it doesn’t rain enough? There was just such an event in the 1930’s in America called the “Dust Bowl.” So much pain and suffering caused by not enough WATER. Then there can be too much WATER with hurricanes, tsunamis or other severe weather events causing flooding.  Too much or too little WATER is devastating to all forms of life. Where does that necessary balance of WATER come from?

The Bible shares some very interesting and some familiar stories with us about WATER. Job 5:10 tells us that He gives rain on the earth and sends WATER on the fields. Rain or not? Storm or not? Genesis 1:2 further tells us that now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the WATER. Isn’t this awesome, as well as, beyond our limited ability to think big enough to grasp the magnitude of who God really is? Just think about the God we love and trust! He not only created all that exists, providing for all our physical needs, but He Spiritually provides for us as well. Isaiah 44:3 says “For I will pour out WATER on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants. Since time began, WATER has played an important role in the relationship between God and man. Genesis 1:7 tells us that God made the expanse, and separated the WATERS which were below the expanse from the WATERS which were above the expanse, and it was so. God gave birth to creation by bringing shape and order to the WATERY chaos. Psalm 147:8 says Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains? Then there are the stories that we love and teach such as Noah and the Arch (Genesis 5:8), the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21) and turning bitter WATER into sweet WATER in the wilderness (Exodus 15:25).

As WATER is a life force and a source of communication in the natural, so, too, is it in the Spirit. God uses WATER as a way to communicate His heart and ways to us, always reminding us that WATER brings chaos and rebirth leading to new life. Jesus was baptized in WATER (Matthew 3:16), He walked on WATER (Matthew 14:25) and turned WATER into wine (John 2:7-8). Jesus also talked to the woman at the well John 4:10 saying “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living WATER,” God is the source of living WATER and Jesus offers it to each one who seeks Him. Psalm 63:1 says “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no WATER." 

In the midst of our very busy demanding lives, let’s take a few moments to let our minds wander and drift to a peaceful, quiet, soothing place, thinking of streams of cool, beautiful glistening WATER and really hear and feel in our Spirit this beautiful invitation from Jesus. In John 4:14 He says, “But whoever drinks of the WATER that I will give him shall never thirst; but the WATER I will give him will become in him a well of WATER springing up to eternal life.” Wow, how blessed we are. Praise you God for this spectacular invitation. WATER!!!
GENESIS 1:14 and God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for SEASONS, and for days and for nights.

Dictionary definition of SEASON: four periods of the year, spring, summer, autumn and winter, fruit or vegetables become ready for harvest, to improve the flavor of food with salt or spices.

What does the word SEASON mean to you? SEASONS have a beginning and an end. It takes 40 weeks for a human baby to be born from conception to birth. Those sweet dogs and cats we all love so much take 63 days. Reptiles and birds all vary. Have you ever watched and wondered when the eggs in a nest will show you baby birds? When a tomato seed is planted it takes its time to pop up through the moist dark earth. Eventually flowers appear followed by tiny fruit. But wait, more time is needed for growing. As the pink tinge begins you know the red signaling the time for eating is near. That’s the thing about God, everything has a SEASON. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says to everything there is a SEASON, and a time to everything under the heaven.

Spring, summer, autumn and winter. When we see leaves turning beautiful reds and yellows we know winter isn’t far behind. The trees soon become barren but are beautiful in their starkness. Before we know it tiny buds appear on the stark branches swelling each day into new life. It seems like magic each spring to see everything burst forth. First there are the many colors of greens. Soon we welcome the early colors of flowers after a SEASON of gray. God has it all worked out. Timing isn’t our timing, but His timing. Acts 1:7 tells us that He said unto them, “it is not for you to know the times or SEASONS which the Father hath put in His own power.”
Some of us wish summer with shorts, sandals, picnics and boating would last longer. Others love winter with skiing, snowmobiling and making snowmen would not end. Isaiah 55:8 says “my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways.” As we watch the SEASONS march before us year after year, we realize there really is a beginning and an end. Ecclesiastes 3:2 says there is a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to pluck up what is planted. Seems harsh to us, but remembering God is sovereign helps us accept His ways. The Psalmist wrote in 31:15 my times are in your hands.

Have you ever had to be the peace maker or the one who forgives or apologizes when others can’t or won’t? You wonder, “Will I ever get a turn at receiving an apology or forgiveness?” Galatians 6:9 assures us that if we don’t grow weary of doing good, that in due SEASON we will reap, if we do not give up.

God has SEASONS for everything that affects the inhabitants of the earth. He is a God of order. Psalm 104:19 says He appointed the moon for SEASONS; the sun knows it’s time for setting. When we feel like chaos is all around us we just need to think about 1 Corinthians 14:33 that says God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. His unconditional love even assures us in Psalm 1:3 that we shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his SEASON; his leaf shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. I hope you find comfort, as I do, in this beautiful scripture. God is awesome in all SEASONS.  
Lamentation 3:22-23 through the Lords MERCIES we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.

Dictionary definition describes MERCY as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm, leniency, clemency, pity, charity.

The subject of MERCY is seldom thought about but we are often called upon to offer it or have the need to receive it. Have you ever been in a position to offer MERCY? Has anyone ever offered you MERCY? Did you ever commit to do something? The day comes and goes without you. You are oblivious to your mistake until it is too late. The next day you suddenly realize that you have forgotten. You’re afraid , but you quickly call offering your sincere heartfelt apology. To your surprise, the person on the phone reassures you that all is well. No worries! They understand because it has happened to them and they believe it was an oversight and not intentional. How do you feel? In your misery of letting them down, do you feel relieved? Perhaps comforted by their kind words? They had the opportunity to hurt and berate you but instead made the decision to give you MERCY. Micah 6:8 stays He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love MERCY, and to walk humbly with your God.

What did you choose when offered the opportunity to give MERCY? Sometimes it’s a tough choice. God tells us in Matthew 5:7 says blessed are the MERCIFUL, for they shall obtain MERCY. In our need for compassion, forgiveness, leniency when we mess up, we pray for MERCY. Why, then, do I sometimes find it difficult to offer MERCY  to someone else? Maybe I’m deeply hurt and feel disappointed, saddened and discouraged causing me to slip into a darkness that keeps my heart hard and cold. But God is clear in proverbs 3:3-4 Let not MERCY and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. God knows that we need to keep MERCY and truth close at all times leading us to respond favorably when given the choice to be MERCIFUL and in so doing we find favor with God and man. Proverbs 11:17 goes on to say The MERCIFUL man does good for his own soul, but He who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
Praise God that in His MERCY, at the times we are so hurt or damaged, when all we wish for is compassion and understanding and can’t find it anywhere, but know that we have been given the opportunity to offer MERCY, He reaches out as in Titus 3:5 to save us. He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His MERCY. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Just remember God is so loving, forgiving and yes MERCIFUL  that He has us covered whether we are receiving or giving MERCY. By faith, we are able to offer MERCY even when we think it’s impossible. Like Lamentations 3.22-23 says, Gods MERCIES are new every morning. Praise God for His faithfulness. Here in Hebrews 4:16 God assures us of who He truly is. It says let us then approach Gods throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive MERCY and find grace to help us in our time of need. how awesome is God ?
1 Thessalonians 5:8 says But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

The dictionary definition of ARMOR is a protective covering, ARMOR plate, shield.

ARMOR, now that’s a word we don’t often think about in our everyday language. After all, who uses ARMOR these days? Once upon a time, ARMOR was worn in battle to protect the person from an enemy. In more modern times, we are familiar with an ARMORED tank being used in battle as a shield to protect those in the tank under threat.

You might be wondering,  “ I know all of this, but how does this word ARMOR apply to me?” 
Have you ever wanted or needed protection? Perhaps there has been a bully in your life. Did someone come along to be your shield? Has a severe
storm ever had you scurrying for cover? Did you find that much need protective covering? What about vaccinations? They shield us from disease, another form of protection.

We may not use the same type of ARMOR, but we all need a shield or protective covering at some time from something. We can either live in fear or turn to God. Psalm 91:14 tells us “Because He loves me” says the Lord “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name”. Isn’t this an awesome scripture? Imagine for a moment, you only need to acknowledge God’s name to receive protection. You don’t have a “to do” list to accomplish before you are rescued. You only have to call God, recognizing Him as the one true God, Creator of all that exists. Proverbs 30:5 says another amazing thing. Every word of God is tested, He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 

How does God become your ARMOR, your refuge? How does that happen you wonder. Ephesians 6:11 says Put on the full ARMOR of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Put on the full ARMOR of God? So we are back to ARMOR again. Metal, tanks? What ARMOR? Gods word the Bible along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit round out our arsenal of protection against attack, our ARMOR. Read, study and believe God’s promises. By faith, we can bask under the protective covering (ARMOR) of a God who is faithful to His word. 

The world offers many threats to our safety and protection, but go ahead relax, enjoy life, revel in the protective shield of our one true God. Romans 13:12 says The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the ARMOR of light. 
Praise God, our ARMOR, our light, our protective covering, our shield, our refuge when we are in need. He has our back. What an awesome God.
2 Peter 1:4 Because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious PROMISES. These are the PROMISES that enable you to share His Devine nature and escape the worlds corruption caused by human desires.

Dictionary definition of PROMISE is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. Pledge, guarantee, contract, commitment, covenant.

Has anyone ever PROMISED you something and didn’t keep that PROMISE? What about you? Have you ever made a PROMISE you didn’t keep? Think about the contracts you have signed through out your life? What about the very sacred commitment of the marriage contract?
In our culture we are familiar and accustomed with PROMISES of varying kinds and degrees. Every time we make an appointment at the Drs. or beauty shop, we have pledged to keep that appointment. Some people are very committed to their PROMISES, others are not. Some don’t give it a thought if they don’t show up for said appointment .

Luke 6:31 says Do to others as you would have them do to you. This scripture is often called the “Golden Rule”. Even though most of us have heard the phrase “Golden Rule”, it isn’t often recognized as a Biblical scripture. God wants us to keep our PROMISES because that is who He is.  The great PROMISE keeper! Some of His PROMISES are hard to believe to be true. After all, everyday a PROMISE or pledge or commitment or contract is broken in our world. We have become skeptical and disillusioned. No wonder when we either witness or experience broken marriages, contracts that aren’t worth the paper they are written on, or friendships that are only fluff with no substance, we find it hard to trust God’s PROMISES.

When a PROMISE keeper such as God makes a PROMISE it is our natural response to think or say “ Oh really?” “How can I be sure?” Hebrews 10:23 says Let us hold fast the confession of our hope with out wavering, for He who PROMISED is faithful. The word here to remember is faithful. FAITHFUL! Everything comes down to this one word—-Faithful! God is faithful! His PROMISES are good yesterday—today—tomorrow.

Romans 10:9 says If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Think about that! BELIEVE! It all starts with us. Free will! We get to decide to believe or not.
Romans 8:32 tells us He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? God knew that in a fallen world, we would have doubts, but He wants to reassure us of His faithfulness.
Micah 7:19 says He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot, yes You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Just think of it! Even though we sin, He will remember them no more. What an awesome God!

Listen to these PROMISES.
Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. His PROMISES are endless and TRUE. He understands the world beats us down, but He wants us to know and believe He is our HOPE.
Isaiah 43:2 says When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

I’m sure that all of us want to trust God’s PROMISES, but fear the disappointment we experience in the world when PROMISES are broken.
Psalm 37:4 says Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Please open your Bible and read the many PROMISES of our God. There are so many more. Read, think, believe! Tell me, what do you have to lose? Take a chance! Believe!
2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us For no matter how many PROMISES God has made, they are “yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
Luke 11:28 He replied “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and OBEY it.

The dictionary definition of OBEY is to comply with the command, direction or request of a person or law. Submit to authority, carry out, behave in accordance with a general principal, natural law.

Well, let’s think about this word OBEY! Many of us do something everyday that is OBEDIENT. Get to work or school on time. Don’t eat that grape in the grocery store even if you are starving. Leave the paper clips or rubber bands in your desk drawer at work. Do what the supervisor or teacher tells us to do. Be kind to others. Respect our elders. Tell the truth. What about the times humans are not so OBEDIENT? Ever go over the speed limit? Do you know anyone who has driven while intoxicated? We have heard about those who fudge on their tax returns? How about bullying, domestic abuse, adultery? There certainly is enough DISOBEDIENCE to deal with.

When we were children it was made very clear to us that we must OBEY the rules set down by those caring for us. Please and thank you. Yes ma’am, no ma’am. Teacher is right. Mother and father have last word. At some point if we become parents, the process starts all over again with us now leading, teaching, guiding, counseling.
However, as Christians, it is very challenging to now think of ourselves as children who need to OBEY our Heavenly Father. Proverbs 10:17 says whoever heeds discipline shows the way of life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Have you ever thought God was nudging you to do the right thing? You ask yourself “What is the right thing?” One way to discern Gods leading is found in James 1:22 that says Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Gods word tells us how to be OBEDIENT and to whom.
1 Kings 2:3 says to observe what the Lord your God requires: walk in OBEDIENCE to Him, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go. OBEDIENCE to Gods ways brings prosperity to us. What a blessing!! In return for our OBEDIENCE God promises us prosperity in all we do and are. Even with this Heavenly promise , we humans find it hard to be OBEDIENT when our world is falling apart, or we are commanded to forgive, not worry, be patient, etc. We think it’s easier to be the rule giver than the rule follower. Revelation 14:12 says This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus. So Jesus seems to be the key to unlock the treasure chest of prosperity, knowledge and protection. Romans 1:5 says Through Him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the OBEDIENCE that comes from faith for His names sake.
When we were children, parents, teachers, pastors, etc., were there to guide, teach and protect. No worries for us!! Follow the rules and everything will be okay. We enjoyed security and protection while in their loving care.

And so it is with our Heavenly Father. While keeping our focus and OBEDIENCE on Him, He in return protects, guides and teaches providing us with that much sought after security. Psalm 91:14 says Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore, will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. Set us on high!! That’s the safest most prosperous place to be, protected, taught and lead by the Father of us all. OBEY? Yes or no?


Romans 14:17. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit.


Dictionary definition of JOY is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness, jubilation, bliss, rapture.


What does JOY mean to you? A walk in a cool breeze, a visit with a friend. Time with grandkids. Vacation, or just watching it snow knowing you don’t have to drive in it. Retirement. Children being born, or a beautiful sunset. Good test results. These, and many more, are the JOYS of our world, but what is the JOY spoken of in the Bible?


Romans 15:13 says May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. This scripture says that JOY comes from God through the Holy Spirit. Well now that gives me pause! Most of my life I thought JOY came from happy experiences, sights and people.


How then should we respond to this scripture James 1:2-3 that tells us to count it all JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. What? Did I read that correctly? Be JOYFUL in my trials? This must be a mistake. Testing? I gave that up when I graduated from school, didn’t I? But Romans 12:12 says to be JOYFUL in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Patient in affliction? Can this be correct? How can I be patient and JOYFUL when the world is caving in around me? Someone dear to me is sick? Someone important to me betrayed me? Someone abandoned me? I’m sick? All I feel is fear, worry, sadness, but JOY? I just don’t know about that! And yet Psalm 94:18 says that when anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me JOY. Where does that blessed consolation come from.

Psalm 119:111 tells it this way. Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the JOY of my heart. Gods precepts, rules, laws and ways are our JOY? I never thought of it that way before. I think I might need to be reminded at times of stress that my JOY comes from God and not the world. I still have my bouts of worry, fear and anxiety. How about you? The good news is we don’t have to stay in that state of darkness. Isn’t it great to know in this world there is good news? Psalm 28:7 says The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for JOY, and with my song I Praise Him.


So I guess when James says to count it all JOY when we meet trials we’d better just accept that there will be trials. And that no matter what comes our way, as bad as it may seem to us, God will help us, and we can experience Devine JOY. Psalm 16:11 tells us He makes known to us the path of life; You will fill me with JOY in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. Imagine that for a moment! Help is available just for the receiving. Let’s give God the thanks He deserves. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says REJOICE always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Together let’s REJOICE and praise His Holy Name and receive the JOY He offers.


John 5:30. I can do nothing on my own, as I hear, I JUDGE, and my JUDGEMENT is just because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.


Dictionary definition of JUDGE is form an opinion or conclusion, decide, consider, believe, think.


As human beings we are expected to JUDGE something or someone just about every day. I realize that this is a provocative statement, but let’s look a little deeper and know that JUDGING is, at times, necessary. Should we accept this job offer, buy this particular new house, car, suit etc.? Where shall we go on vacation, what restaurant to eat dinner at. Then there are the times we have to JUDGE other humans or situations. Do we trust our child to be safe at a new friends house or at the mall with friends? Take the keys from someone who has too much to drink? Call for help if someone is being abused? Or perhaps decide if to serve wine at our dinner party knowing a guest has a drinking issue? These and many more decisions can only be made by JUDGING. So how then do we make qualified decisions in Gods will, fairly?

The dictionary definition of JUDGEMENT is discernment, astuteness, sense, common sense, perception, wisdom. But whose wisdom, common sense etc. and what guide lines should we use?

Matthew 7:12 tells us this— so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the prophets, but do we truly know the Law and the prophets?

Proverbs 21:2 says a person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart. So if we are to JUDGE based on common sense , wisdom, discernment where do we go for that insight?

James 3:17 says but wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,  <