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Hebrews 7:25 (NLT) 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
This chapter makes mention of the Levitical priesthood whose job was to serve in the Temple of God. The priests performed the sacrifices and made intercessions for the people. These men were not perfect, but were good men who performed ceremonial cleansings of their own sin before entering the temple. Eventually they died leaving their duties to someone else to perform. Through God�s plan of salvation Jesus Christ is the eternal living priest who continuously makes intercessions for our sin.
Max Lucado tells the story of being dropped by his insurance company because he had one too many speeding tickets and a minor fender bender that wasn't his fault. One day he received a letter in the mail, informing him to seek coverage elsewhere. As he reflected on how he wasn't good enough for his insurance company, the spiritual tie-in was too obvious. "Many people fear receiving such a letter [from God]," Lucado writes. "Some worry they already have."
Lucado then imagines this correspondence, straight from the Pearly Gates Underwriting Division:
Dear Mrs. Smith, I'm writing in response to this morning's request for forgiveness. I'm sorry to inform you that you have reached your quota of sins. Our records show that, since employing our services, you have erred seven times in the area of greed, and your prayer life is substandard when compared to others of like age and circumstance. Further review reveals that your understanding of doctrine is in the lower 20 percentile and you have excessive tendencies to gossip. Because of your sins you are a high-risk candidate for heaven. You understand that grace has its limits. Jesus sends his regrets and kindest regards and hopes that you will find some other form of coverage. [Quoted in Brady Boyd, Sons & Daughters (Zondervan, 2012), page 40]
Praise God we would never receive a letter like that! Max Lucado is right in saying there are people who fear they will receive such a letter or they already have. They have this fear because they are trusting in their own good works instead of trusting in Jesus Christ who intercedes on our behalf for each of our failures. He lives forever to intercede with God on our behalf and because of that we are made right with God.
Job 19:25 (NKJV) 25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
Though Job is in misery and pain he makes a profound statement that he knows his Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth. Job believes in the Redeemer who is Jesus Christ and of His glory and interest in him. His Redeemer is eternal and yet will stand on this earth to preach His words of salvation that all men may come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.
Today I want to share the words from Nicole C. Mullen�s song My Redeemer lives. They are beautiful words that testify of Jesus Christ who lives to redeem us from sin. Enjoy the words of the song and reflect upon how Christ lives for you.
Who taught the sun Where to stand in the morning Who taught the ocean You can only come this far And who showed the moon Where to hide till evening Whose words alone can Catch a falling star
Well I know My redeemer lives I know my Redeemer lives All of creation testifies There's life within the Christ I know my Redeemer lives Yeah The very same God That spins things in orbit Runs to the weary The worn and the weak And the same gentle hands That hold me when I'm broken They conquer death to bring me victory
Now I know My Redeemer lives I know my Redeemer lives Let all creation testify That there's life within the Christ I know my Redeemer He lives To take away my shame And He lives Forever I'll proclaim That the payment for my sins Was the precious life He gave Now He's alive and There's an empty grave And I know my Redeemer lives I know my Redeemer lives Let all creation testify That there's life within the Christ
I know my Redeemer I know my Redeemer lives I know my Redeemer lives I know my Redeemer lives He Lives.
Proverbs 17:17 (KJV) 17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
True friends have continuity and are constant in their nature to each other. True friendship is sincere and brings with it good intents and good principles. There are those who think they are good friends, but in truth they are self-seeking, only desiring to benefit themselves. There are that that Matthew Henry called �swallow friends� who fly to you in the good times and fly away in the bad times. The commentary of Matthew Henry also tells us �if the friendship be prudent, generous, and cordial, if I love my friend because he is wise, and virtuous, and good, as long as he continues so, though he fall into poverty and disgrace, still I shall love him.�
There was a time Proverbs 17:17 would confuse me. King Solomon in his proverbs would often contrast good and evil in a verse. So when I would read Proverbs 17:17 there were times I wondered was he trying to say a brother creates adversity or is a brother there to aid in times of adversity. Over time I realized the end of this proverb still refered to the friend and is more versed towards a friend being there for a friend in a time of need.
In most families a brother or sister will come to the aid of another sibling if one faces a time of distress. I have known brothers and sisters who have done really good deeds for each other. I know brothers and sisters who have watched over their younger siblings. I have even read where brothers or sisters have given another sibling a kidney so the other could survive. Family is often close and is there is a unique bond that holds them together to help one another. I will admit there are families with their issues, but under really difficult times even dysfunctional families will pull together for a common good.
Now considering the friend, a true friend who freely gives of themself when we are faced with times of adversity will be there as a brother or sister. They are willing to help just as a brother or sister would be willing to help. A true friend is as close as family - was born to be a friend and born for the time you face adversity and need help. They are there for you to provide comfort, support, kindness, compassion and love. Those are friends you want to hold onto to for they are as precious as family.
Remember we have another friend who is always there for us and that is Jesus. Jesus always loves us. Jesus always cares about us. Jesus always has compassion for us. The question we need to ask is �What kind of a friend are we to Jesus?�
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) 1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
The apostle expresses that whatever the object of our hope is it also the object of our faith. For if we are to have hope we must also have faith in that hope for it is yet to occur. As a Christian one has hope of salvation that provides an eternal life free from sin. One must also have faith in the salvation promised to us in Christ; for while it may be obtained it is not yet seen. We are told by the apostle faith is the assurance about the things we cannot see. Faith speaks to our sense of reality and in our mind�s eye we can behold what cannot be seen by the eye of the body. For if we have faith in God, we have hope in God that we can sense and know Him and act accordingly towards Him in all that we believe but have not seen.
In The Bible, John chapter 20 gives an account of Jesus appearing to the disciples after His death. One of the twelve disciples, Thomas, was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, �We have seen the Lord!� But he replied, �I won�t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.� Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. �Peace be with you,� he said. Then he said to Thomas, �Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don�t be faithless any longer. Believe!� �My Lord and my God!� Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, �You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.�
Those who have faith in Christ are blessed to know Him even though they have not seen Him. For in faith Christ walks with us and we know He is with us. In faith we believe and sense the presence of Christ with us. Our faith allows us to have a wonderful, loving and beautiful relationship with one whom we have not seen and we are blessed by that relationship. In our relationship with Christ we have a friend who loves us unconditionally, who accepts us for who we are, and offers mercy, grace and compassion when we fail. We know His love and we love Him for who He is and the sacrifice He made for us. We know Christ in our faith and we know the hope of His salvation in our faith. For we believe sight unseen the things revealed to our mind. Faith is our confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.
Genesis 50:20 (NKJV) 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
These are the words of Joseph who had been mistreated by his brothers because of sibling jealousy. They had sold him into slavery. Remaining faithful to God Joseph was falsely accused by his master�s wife of trying to assault her. Joseph went to prison, but found favor in God�s eyes and was able to lead others even in prison. Joseph was eventually set free from prison and next in command to Pharaoh. Joseph�s saw his father before his death, but in the death of his father his brothers feared him. It is with this verse that Joseph puts their minds at ease for now all of those who were with Joseph's father, Jacob, would survive the famine of the land. God took the ugly evil around Joseph and turned it into something for good.
I want to share some personal honesty in this devotion. The past seven weeks have been some very unpleasant, ugly weeks of my life. I have been working on a difficult work assignment that brings many challenges and can be stressful at times. I get the news my mother has terminal cancer. Ten days after hearing the news of my mother�s cancer I get a call she has passed away. The next weekend our daughter was hospitalized, which was difficult for her husband as they have only been married seven months. My wife and I have reassured him things will be ok. The weekend our daughter is released from the hospital one of our dear friends suddenly dies at age 58. She left behind a precious daughter and granddaughter. Then Tuesday night our daughter was put back in the hospital.
I know there has been a lot of ugly in my life lately, but I can see God�s beauty at work. Many friends have prayed with our family. I have watched people come together for our friend�s daughter and granddaughter to help them through their time of difficulty. The doctor helping our daughter is a wonderful and caring man who is available when we need him. I know my mother is in heaven with no pain and no suffering. In her death many reached out to show they cared. There are many beautiful things I can see in the midst of ugly that God put in place.
I shared this with a friend in an email and he wrote back, �Only those blessed by God are able to see the good in difficult times.� I knew my friend was speaking to me. I am blessed with good friends. I am blessed with kind co-workers who were there for me when my mother passed away. I am blessed that God watches after my family and provides the resources for their care. God is always doing something beautiful in the midst of ugly.
There are days I struggle, but then I remember God�s beauty and life seems better. It must be really difficult to find anything good in an ugly life when you can�t see God at work. Those who don�t know God most likely don�t see the beauty God puts in place. This morning I want to pray for those people.
Father there are many who do not know you and do not know the love, peace, mercy and grace you provide. Father I know they must carry heavy burdens. I know their sin must weight heavy on their hearts. Father I pray these people learn of your Son whose life you gave so that we could see the beauty in something ugly. The death of Jesus upon the cross was an ugly sight, but You Father took Your Son�s death and made something beautiful. You created a way to eternal life with You in heaven. Father I pray now those who don�t know you will find You and place their faith in the beauty of your salvation � Jesus Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.
Romans 12:9 (NLT) 9 Don�t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
The apostle gives a statement of how we are to love others followed by the actions to do so. If we are to really love others we must hate what is evil and let that flow over into our lives that we do not perform acts of evil towards other. One example would be to hate the hate others may have towards another. If we ourselves are not to hate others, but to love them, then we must hate that which may lead us to hate. We must also make a deliberate choice to hold tightly to what is good. In order to do what is good we must hold tightly to God and separate ourselves from sin. We must fully understand the goodness of God and display it in our own lives.
A spouse can create good feelings about the marriage, increasing the sense of satisfaction, intimacy, and fun, all with a simple reaction. When a partner shares good news, actively respond. Dr. Shelly Gable, who helped author a UCLA research report on the subject, said, "It isn't enough just to listen passively." Gable says a partner needs to be active, offering hugs and even "high fives." When the responder does this, the other person immediately has tender feelings toward the supporting partner. This truth should transfer to all loving relationships. [Janine Pouliot, "The Secret to Feeling Closer," Ladies Home Journal (January 2005), p. 32]
This example is one way to love others without pretense. So often we may listen to the joys and pains of others, but we never act upon their words by rejoicing with them in their moment of happiness. The same holds true for those facing painful experiences, we often listen, may acknowledge them, but then do we truly go a step further to demonstrate our love to them by helping as we can? This is what the apostle was talking about, just don�t pretend to love others by listening, but put Godly action in our love they can see.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NLT) 16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
Matthew Henry�s commentary states, �God hates sin; he hates every sin; he can never be reconciled to it; he hates nothing but sin. But there are some sins which he does in a special manner hate; and all those here mentioned are such as are injurious to our neighbor. It is an evidence of the good-will God bears to mankind that those sins are in a special manner provoking to him which are prejudicial to the comfort of human life and society.
When God created mankind, male and female, they both were created in God�s image. God contains all the qualities of male and female and those qualities are impressed upon us. For men their qualities often are the more masculine ones, but they have their female qualities as well. In the same way women have more of the feminine qualities of God, but they too possess masculine qualities.
Within God there is hatred, but His is a righteous anger that seeks to correct what is wrong. Unfortunately the sin that entered the world through man�s disobedience to God corrupted man�s perception of hatred as sin has corrupted other qualities and attributes of God. Most often hatred becomes so warped that we form hate against people instead of sin. It is then that we express hatred incorrectly and we become the abomination that sows discord among our fellow man. How could we hate something with a strong passion and then do the very thing we hate.
The apostle says it this way in Romans 7: 14-25, �We know that the Law is right and good, but I am a person who does what is wrong and bad. I am not my own boss. Sin is my boss. I do not understand myself. I want to do what is right but I do not do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. When I do the thing I do not want to do, it shows me that the Law is right and good. So I am not doing it. Sin living in me is doing it. I know there is nothing good in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do good but I do not. I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I am always doing the sinful things I do not want to do. If I am always doing the very thing I do not want to do, it means I am no longer the one who does it. It is sin that lives in me. This has become my way of life: When I want to do what is right, I always do what is wrong. My mind and heart agree with the Law of God. But there is a different law at work deep inside of me that fights with my mind. This law of sin holds me in its power because sin is still in me. There is no happiness in me! Who can set me free from my sinful old self? God�s Law has power over my mind, but sin still has power over my sinful old self. I thank God I can be free through Jesus Christ our Lord!�
Even the apostle says he does what he hates. He has a righteous hatred for sin, yet he finds himself in the midst of sin. He wants to do right and finds that sin leads him astray. The apostle�s assurance of one thing makes him thankful and that is the freedom he finds in the faith of The Lord Jesus Christ. For Christ has set us free from sin. Jesus Christ is the first to be raised from the dead. He is the head over all the kings of the earth. He is the One Who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God�s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
The apostle tells us to always be joyful in all circumstances of life. For our lives are short lived and even in the difficult times we are to look for the joys that brighten our lives. We should always have times of prayer whether it be scheduled time alone with the Lord, or time spent with others in prayer, or spontaneous prayer when needs are immediately seen. In other words our attentions should always turn to God to praise Him, thank Him, and make righteous requests from Him. We make our requests known to God through supplications and in doing so we should give thanks to the One who watches over us, loves us, grants us mercy and forgiveness, provides for our needs and stands with us in times of adversity and trouble.
The funeral for Pastor Bob Russell's father was held on a cold, blustery day in Pennsylvania. The roads were too bad for cars to go to the cemetery after the service, so the funeral director told Bob he would take the body to the grave. Bob couldn't bear the thought, so he, his brother, and their sons piled into a four-wheel-drive SUV and followed the hearse to the cemetery.
In his own words, Russell says: "We plowed through ten inches of snow into the cemetery, got about 50 yards from my dad's grave�with the wind blowing about 25 miles per hour�and the six of us lugged that casket down to the gravesite. We watched the body lowered into the grave, and we turned to leave. I felt something was undone, so I said, 'I'd like for us to have a prayer.' The six of us huddled together, and I prayed, 'Lord, this is such a cold, lonely place.' And then I got too choked up to pray any more. I kept battling to get my composure, and finally I just whispered, 'But I thank you, for we know to be absent from the body is to be safe in your warm arms.'" [Bob Russell audio tape Favorite Stories; submitted by Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois]
It is hard enough to bury a loved one and even more so on a day that does not provide any comfort. But even in their moment of adversity Pastor Bob was able to gather the courage to thank God. For he knew that while his brother was no longer with them here on earth, his brother was now in the safe warm hands of The Lord. Always be joyful - Never stop praying - Be thankful in all circumstances; for that is God�s will for you in Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:18-21 (NLT) 18 Wives, obey your husbands. This is what the Lord wants you to do. 19 Husbands, love your wives. Do not hold hard feelings against them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything. The Lord is pleased when you do. 21 Fathers, do not be so hard on your children that they will give up trying to do what is right.
There verses are about love and grace that should exist in a home. In these verses wives are told to yield to the admonition or advice of a husband according to what God would have the wife to do. The wife must first be subject to the will and desires of the Lord and then to the husband. For God first created Adam and from Adam created Eve establishing the order of the family. Husbands have even a greater duty to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ gave of himself for the church and husbands likewise must give up themselves for the betterment of the wife. Husbands must not be bitter towards their wife, nor unkind, never using harsh words towards them and never treating them severely. They are to demonstrate the love of Christ in their relationship and love at all times. Fathers are to pay particular attention to the treatment of their children in that they are not overbearing in their relationship with them. Fathers are to be a role model their children will follow just as fathers should follow The Lord and model His character. Fathers should encourage their children and never in an overbearing way that causes them to give up because they fear can�t they live up to expectations that were not meant for them. Ensure grace abounds with love in the home.
Denise Banderman wrote: In the spring of 2002, I left work early so I could have some uninterrupted study time before my final exam in the Youth Ministry class at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri. When I got to class, everybody was doing their last-minute studying. The teacher came in and said he would review with us before the test. Most of his review came right from the study guide, but there were some things he was reviewing that I had never heard. When questioned about it, he said they were in the book and we were responsible for everything in the book. We couldn't argue with that.
Finally it was time to take the test. "Leave them face down on the desk until everyone has one, and I'll tell you to start," our professor, Dr. Tom Hufty, instructed.
When we turned them over, to my astonishment every answer on the test was filled in. My name was even written on the exam in red ink. The bottom of the last page said: "This is the end of the exam. All the answers on your test are correct. You will receive an A on the final exam. The reason you passed the test is because the creator of the test took it for you. All the work you did in preparation for this test did not help you get the A. You have just experienced grace."
Dr. Hufty then went around the room and asked each student individually, "What is your grade? Do you deserve the grade you are receiving? How much did all your studying for this exam help you achieve your final grade?"
Then he said, "Some things you learn from lectures, some things you learn from research, but some things you can only learn from experience. You've just experienced grace. One hundred years from now, if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, your name will be written down in a book, and you will have had nothing to do with writing it there. That will be the ultimate grace experience.�
Does the love of Christ, His mercy and grace live in your family? If not ask Christ to be with you.
Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) 1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
It is a privilege and comfort for all those that are in Christ Jesus that there is no condemnation. The apostle does not say, "There is no accusation against them,�� for there is; but the accusation is thrown out and the indictment tossed aside. He does not say, "There is nothing in them that deserves condemnation,�� for there is and they see it, own it, and mourn over it and may even condemn themselves for it; but they are still free from the power of sin. He does not say, "There is no adversity, no affliction to them or no pain in their transgressions,�� for there may be; but no condemnation. The Lord may correct them, but they are not condemned with the world. Now this arises from their being in Christ Jesus, by their faith in Christ and their union with Christ as He dwells within.
Quoting from J. Granger, Sons: A Father's Love (Word, 1999), quoted in Men of Integrity, Vol. 3, no. 2, �My son called today. Through years of drug abuse, Scott had stolen from our family, manipulated us, and failed us. It had been a relief not to hear from him for two years.
Scott told me he'd been through a rehabilitation program a year-and-a-half ago that provided something no other had offered. "I met Jesus Christ. I've been forgiven for my past. I want to ask you and Mom to forgive me, too." He said he was now helping other addicts get straightened out.
I was torn between hope and cynicism. The well-groomed, bright-eyed young man who arrived at the airport looked like a stranger. In the days that followed, Scott told how, in the midst of drug withdrawal, he'd seen a vision of Jesus Christ on the cross and cried out to him for help. His withdrawal symptoms ended instantly. That experience had led him to a church. "I asked Jesus to be my Lord," he quietly explained, "and my life hasn't been the same since."
The change in Scott was too dramatic for my wife and me to ignore. Today, Jesus has given us the same new life he gave our prodigal son.�
The Bible tells us there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ. Scott was no long controlled by the sins of his past, but was instead set free. With Christ, Scott was able to change his life, so much so, his parents saw a different person - They were seeing Christ living inside of Scott.
Satan often comes as our accuser to bring up the sins of our past, but for those who have placed their faith in Christ those sins have been forgiven and paid for. We may be accused, but we cannot be condemned.
Matthew 18:15 (NLT) 15 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him what he did without other people hearing it. If he listens to you, you have won your brother back again.
This verse begins Jesus teaching on how to respond to another when a sin is committed. The first act is to go in love hoping the matter can be resolved privately and peacefully in order that the relationship can be maintained. We must remember that we too are subject to the same failures as another so we must temper our acts accordingly. We must also be willing to forgive so as not to harbor bitterness in our hearts that can lead to our own sin.
When Shannon Ethridge was just 16 years old, an act of forgiveness and love changed her life forever. While driving to her high school one day, Ethridge ran over Marjorie Jarstfar, a woman who was riding her bicycle along a country road. Marjorie died as a result, and Ethridge, who was found completely at fault by authorities, was consumed by intense guilt. She contemplated suicide several times, but she never took her life because of the healing response of one man: Gary, Jarstfar's husband.
Gary forgave the 16-year-old and asked the attorney to drop all charges against her, saving her from a probable guilty verdict. Instead, he simply asked that Ethridge continue on in the godly footsteps that his wife had taken. "You can't let this ruin your life," Gary told her more than 20 years ago. "God wants to strengthen you through this. In fact, I am passing Marjorie's legacy on to you."
Gary's act of forgiveness showed Ethridge the amazing love of God. Today, Ethridge is the bestselling author of Every Girl's Battle and Every Woman's Battle, and her recent book, Completely His: Loving Jesus Without Limits, helps women overcome guilt-ridden, wounded lives. [Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky; source: Kevin Jackson, "Christian Author Carries Mantle of the Woman She Killed," www.christianpost.com (6-21-07)]
Shannon felt remorse for her actions to the point she was ready to take her own life, but grace and mercy came from the husband of the woman who had been killed. There was no way to get back the life of his wife, but the husband could direct the life of another in a positive way. He could have been bitter towards her, but it would have been his own prison to ensure. Instead he chose mercy and forgiveness for Shannon. Gary's act of grace and forgiveness showed Shannon the amazing love of God and changed her life forever.
Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!
Proverbs 31:30 (NIV) 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 30 focuses on the characteristics of a noble wife. We are told there are characteristics man may see, such as charm and beauty, but those are often temporary and fleeting. For at times we all lose our charm and with age the beauty of our youth slowly fades. But one who fears the Lord, pleasing the Lord and doing well for others is always recognized by others for their righteous living. They are praised not only by their peers, but also by The Lord.
Yesterday we celebrated mother�s day, recognizing mothers for their hard work and efforts to make a house a home. When a mother has put The Lord first in her life she is able to touch so many lives in a healthy and positive way. Children learn from their mother and when they can see the pure and good ways their mother lives they imitate those actions in their own lives. Some qualities of life are short lived, but a continuous relationship with the Lord will always prosper and grow.
Men honor your wives by also living for The Lord. For when a home loves The Lord that home is filled with the love of God. Husbands praise your wife for the good she does, never neglecting her and never giving up on her. For The Lord never gives up on us. The Lord�s mercies are new every day. His love for us starts fresh every day and waiting for us when we rise, just as a mother waits for her children to wake.
AskMe, could you say a few words to help lift the spirits of some of the Moms on this site? Today is their special day - it might help them to read a few words from you.
I was a day late, but I had mothers on my mind all day yesterday and this morning. My mother passed away in March and this was my first mother's day that I could not call or see her. Mother's no matter what you are going through know that the Lord loves you for the service you give to your children. Mother's may not always be perfect, but as they grow in The Lord they grow in their wisdom and love for others. Mother's do the best they know how to do and care in the ways they have learned. Yesterday may have been a holiday, but the celebration of those who are mother's goes on each day as your children look to you for guidance. Make the most of your time with you family, loving the Lord and showing The Lord's love to your family.
James 5:16 (NKJV) 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
The apostle directs Christians to confess their sins, weaknesses, and faults to those who they trust and know have their best interest at heart. They are to do so that they may pray for one another; lifting up to God the issues before them and asking for God�s healing power to be laid upon them. The apostle then tells us the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man has power that produces wonderful results.
There is a saying I have heard many times, �Secrets kill while honesty heals.� Often people will hold secrets to themselves of things they are doing for which they are ashamed. Instead of reaching out to someone they can trust - they allow the shame of the secret to control them. Addicts often fall into this trap in that they find themselves on a road to destructive behaviors and instead of seeking advice, seeking out someone who can help, they hold their misery inside. This does nothing more than to create shame and a repeated pattern of self-destruction.
When we confess our problems to someone wise and trustworthy - those burdens are often lifted from us. We are no longer trying to hold on by ourselves and instead we now have someone helping us hold on. So many times when I�m struggling in life I ask people to pray for situations and problems in my life. There are many people who are faithful to do so and I so often see the good results of their prayers. I am always thankful for those who pray because I know they are reaching out to God for help.
In the same way when someone asks me to pray or I see a person seeking someone to pray for them - I am more than willing to pray with and for them. It is through prayer that we join in fellowship with God. Prayers are how we communicate to God our needs, our thanks, and our feelings.
There is no correct posture for prayer. The Bible tells us people bowed to pray, they kneeled to pray, they laid flat to the ground to pray and they also stood to pray. However you feel comfortable and less distracted to pray, do so. Some closed their eyes while others looked up to the heavens. Prayers do not need to be wordy or filled with elegant words. Prayers are opening our most inward being to God and saying what is on our heart. Prayers help us to grow closer and more intimately to God.
Some people may say, �I don�t know how to pray.� The Bible tells us when we don�t know the words to say, The Holy Spirit speaks on our behalf. Romans 8:26-27, �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 with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.� When you are sure how to pray begin by saying, �Father, please help me with what I need to say.�
Lord this morning I pray for those holding onto secrets that are painful and destructive. I pray Father you would lift those burdens from them and allow them to seek the help they need. Father I pray for your blessings to be pour out on those who seek you, your guidance and help. Father touch lives with your love, mercy and grace. These things I pray in the name of your precious son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) 1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
King Solomon as ruler was responsible for the peace of the people. In the verse above he gives us one means of keeping peace. Harsh words are often the beginning of an argument which leads to anger. It is always best for one to return an answer in righteous way with meekness of heart. Soft words and gentle reasoning will keep the peace, while overbearing and harsh words will stir up trouble.
Jay Kesler, president of Taylor University, from message "Families That Succeed," delivered on Focus on the Family Ministries told about a state trooper who was awarded an "Outstanding Trooper" award.
Kesler, who attended the same church as the trooper, said to him, "The governor said that in 15 years as a trooper, you haven't once roughed up a drunk or used excessive force on anyone. How can you be a state trooper for 15 years, dealing with the kind of stuff you deal with, and have that happen?"
"Well, I guess two things," the trooper responded. "First, if I am called to break up a fight at a tavern, I never say to myself, There's a drunk. I always say to myself, There's a man�someone's husband, someone's son, someone's neighbor�who got drunk. So I always try to think of him as a man, not a crime.
"Secondly, the Bible says that a soft answer turns away wrath. So whenever I walk up to the window of an automobile, I always speak a little lower than the person I'm speaking to."
So often I have heard a couple say, my spouse will say mean things to me they would never say to a friend. What happens in these relationships is that people become too comfortable and forget their spouse is their best friend. Instead of seeing a friend they would speak softly towards they see their spouse as an object they throw anger towards.
We need to view people as children of God. We need to see they have needs and feelings like everyone else. Instead of harsh responses we need to provide gentle responses with feelings that show we care.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) 17 The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
In chapter 3 Zephaniah the prophet speaks to Jerusalem what God wants to say to the people. There is reproof of their actions and a calling of attention of the possible consequences for their rebellion. But there is also the mercy and grace God has reserved for them and a promise to reform and cleanse them from their sins. Rejoicing will come for those who seek God for He will be among His people as their savior providing a life of eternal salvation.
God desires the best for us. God promises us eternal salvation that is a free gift when we accept His Son Jesus Christ as our savior. God is a mighty warrior who takes up for us. God rejoices with us and brings His love into our lives that we may rejoice with Him. God delights in us. It doesn�t matter if you think you are a failure. God delights in you. Even when you throw your own pity party, God still takes delight in you. God rejoices when He can bring joy, peace and happiness into your life and He enjoys when you rejoice with Him.
Take a moment to today and realize God wants the best for you, rejoices with you, and delights in you. Thank God for what He has done in your life and rejoice with Him.
Romans 11:33 (NLT) 33 Oh, how great are God�s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
In verse 1 of Romans 33 the apostle starts with a question to ponder and then gives a response, �I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.� The apostle wants to show God�s people that in their trials, tribulations and even in their consequences for rebellion against God - God has provided mercy and grace to His people. In Romans 33 the Apostle tells us how great are God�s riches, which in the Greek language can mean, �abundance of external possessions; fullness, abundance, plenitude; and a good i.e. that with which one is enriched.� Even through suffering there is abundant goodness waiting to take place. For God�s wisdom and knowledge is greater than our own and it is impossible to comprehend the good plans God has for the lives people.
On a January 18, 2010, league night at the Plano Super Bowl, Bill Fong had rolled 33 consecutive strikes. The crowd of fellow league members stopped to watch, as on frame 34, Bill Fong gathered his ball, walked up, and rolled another strike. And then he rolled another on frame 35, and the crowd went wild.
But something was wrong. Two frames back Bill had begun sweating profusely and feeling dizzy. But he was just one roll away from history. Bill pulled the ball to his chest, took his usual five steps, and released the ball perfectly.
People actually started applauding before the ball reached the pins. That's how perfect the roll was. It curved exactly where it was supposed to, made contact with the pins at precisely the right spot. Pins flew, the crowd cheered.
And the number 10 pin wobbled, but settled back onto its base. Standing. 899. One pin short of perfection. Heartbroken, Bill headed home.
The dizziness that began on frame 34 had not improved. Bill staggered into his bathroom and threw up. The walls continued to spin. Bill was having a stroke. Already struggling with high blood pressure, the events of that Monday evening turned a delicate situation into a deadly one.
But Bill never realized he had suffered a stroke until he had another one later. His doctor found scar tissue, and was told about the league night.
The only thing that saved Bill on the night of the 899? That number 10 pin staying up. Had that last pin fell, Bill's doctor feels certain that his body, already in the midst of a stroke, would have pushed his blood pressure even higher. That, most likely, would have killed Bill immediately on lane 28. [source: Michael J. Mooney, "The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever," D Magazine (July 2012)]
Sometimes what we feel may be the worst thing of our life may be the very thing God is using to save our life - physically or eternally. For we know even a small deviation in our life can change its very existence and with God directing those changes who knows what abundantly good things await for us.
Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT) 23 So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
Here we have the words of Jesus who tells the people if they are going to present their offerings to God, before doing so they should consider if anyone is holding something against them. If they know someone is bitter towards them they should first go make that issue right between them before making an offering to God. We need to go to God in our offering with a clean heart knowing we have tried to make things right.
One thing I have learned in life is - we can hurt the feelings of others without even trying. We may say something in jest that strikes at the heart of spouse, friend or co-worker to the point they become bitter. I have seen people say something without really thinking it through; then the other person responds with something like, �What you said really hurt my feelings because it�s not true.� Then typically the offender will say something to the effect of, �It was just a joke. I wasn�t being serious.� If you say it was a joke and you weren�t being serious then you really need to consider why you said it.
What did the offender leave out in their response? They didn�t offer an apology for hurting the other person�s feelings. It might not have been the offender�s intent to hurt the person�s feelings, yet they did. So the person is left emotionally wounded while the offender tries to explain away their fault.
There is an easy solution. In this case we heard the person say �their feelings were hurt�. Always try to listen for feelings words when someone is speaking to you for feeling words speak from their heart. It is so easy to take a second and acknowledge those feelings with an apology such as this � �I am so sorry I hurt your feelings and I apologize for doing so.� In just a few words you have given an apology that addresses their feelings and puts them at ease.
I have heard people say, but I really didn�t do anything wrong so why should I apologize. Apologies are not about whether your action was intentional to hurt or not, but instead to make yourself right with the person so bitterness does not overtake them. Apologies are not an admission of doing something wrong. Instead they are a statement of wanting to do something right by letting person know you heard how you hurt them. When you say I�m sorry I hurt your feelings and I apologize, it sets straight the intent you did not mean to hurt them. It is not an admission of guilt, but a statement of wanting to be reconciled to the person. If you suddenly remember someone has something against you do not hesitate to go and apologize to them - for in doing so you will make peace and prevent future pains.