Do Not Worry

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34

It is a pity that this passage (Matthew 6:25-34) is often read on its own in church, isolated from what has gone before. Then the significance of the introductory “Therefore I tell you” is missed. So we must begin by relating this “therefore,” this conclusion of Jesus, to the teaching which has led up to it. He calls us to thought before he calls us to action. He invites us to look clearly and coolly at the alternatives before us and to weigh them up carefully. We want to accumulate treasure? Then which of the two possibilities is the more durable? We wish to be free and purposive in our movements? Then what must our eyes be like to facilitate this? We wish to serve the best master? Then we must consider which is the more worthy of our devotion.

Only when we have grasped with our minds the comparative durability of the two treasures (corruptible and incorruptible), the comparative usefulness of the two eye conditions (light and darkness) and the comparative worth of the two masters (God and mammon), are we ready to make our choice. And only when we have made our choice–for heavenly treasure, for light, for God—”therefore I tell you” this is how you must go on to behave: “do not be anxious about your life…nor about your body…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (25, 33).

In In Other words, our basic choice of which of the two masters we intend to serve will radically affect our attitude to both. We shall not be anxious about the one (for we have rejected it), but concentrate our mind and energy on the other (for we have chosen him); we shall refuse to become engrossed in our own concerns, but instead “seek first” the concerns of God.

–John Stott, Christian Counter Culture: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 159-160

A Gentle Witness


We as followers of Christ can be tolerant of people of diverse religious beliefs without compromising our Christian convictions.

When the Apostle Paul came to Athens, he was distressed by the idolatry he saw. Yet he spoke respectfully to this pagan audience, even affirming the words of some of their poets. He didn’t denounce his hearers, nor criticize their beliefs, but began by declaring truths they would not find offensive. He spoke of God’s greatness as our Creator. He said that God is actively involved with mankind so that people might seek Him and find Him.

Paul didn’t compromise the truth. He showed the folly of worshiping idols and boldly declared that God commanded people everywhere to repent. He further stated that God had appointed a Man to judge the world and proved this by raising Him from the dead.

In global society we will come in contact with more and more people of different religious beliefs and practices. Our witness will be most effective when we avoid quarrels and arguments, and share our faith with respect, kindness, and gentleness. The Holy Spirit will bring conviction and enlightenment as people see the truth lived out in us.

Meekness

Pautes, or praotes, denotes “meekness.”
In its use in Scripture … it consists not in a person’s “outward behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an in wrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word tapeinophrosune [humility], and follows directly upon it, Eph 4:2; Col 3:12 … it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him …”
The meaning of prautes “is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity to a greater or less extent, whereas prautes does nothing of the kind … It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.
The word praus, “meekness,” means “power under control.” Praus was used by the Greeks for a war horse that was trained to obey instantly and absolutely, no matter how great the confusion of battle. The Lipizzaner stallions are a modern rendition of the ancient Greek warhorse. Some of the stunts these horses do—such as the capriole, where the horse leaps straight up in the air and kicks his hind legs back—were actually used by the Greeks in training their horses for battle.
When the Greeks could take a horse, with the phenomenal inherent power that can propel a thousand-pound animal at speeds over 35 miles an hour, and bring that magnificent animal under the total control of just a touch—maybe just leg pressure or knee pressure—and have that horse do exactly what they wanted, then they called that horse praus.
When we talk about the meekness of Jesus Christ, what do we mean? We are talking about the Creator of the universe, who measures the universe with the span of His hand, walking around among members of the human race, allowing people to abuse Him, to afflict Him, and ultimately to put Him on the cross. That is what the word praus means. It means that He could have snuffed out the universe with the snap of His fingers, but He had His power under control.
(See “meekness” or “gentleness” as applied to the Lord Jesus Christ: Mat 11:29, Mat 21:5; 2Co 10:1; as applied to believers: Mat 5:5; 1Co 4:21; 2Co 10:1; Gal 5:23, Gal 6:1; Col 3:12; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:25; Tit 3:2; Jam 1:21, Jam 3:13; 1Pe 3:4, 1Pe 3:15.)

http://www.basictraining.org/print.php?nid=216

Holy Spirit

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord
There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Songwriters: Katie Torwalt / Bryan Andrew Wilson

Scoffers

There is no reason to be surprised that people scoff at the gospel. In 2 Peter 3:1-9 Peter says that in the last days “scoffers will come.” Peter diagnoses this scoffing as a clear indication that people are following their own evil desires. They want to create God in their image. They want to believe

  • There is no absolute standard
  • They can do whatever they want (and can get away with)
  • There is no ultimate accountability.

If these people accept the fact that Jesus is Lord and someday will return in Judgment, they would have to rethink the way they live their entire lives. They are unwilling to do so.


Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.2 Peter 3:3-4

“They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways. ‘Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, And what would we gain if we entreat Him?’ Job 21:14-15

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Proverbs 26:4.


The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14


If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22


And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15

Abba Father, Our heart is grieving for those we love, which are lost! Their souls are in the hands of the enemy and they don’t know it! Father, please use us to shine the light of truth to them, even when they scoff! Lord, we wish they could see what we see, to know what we know! Give us the words to speak to them! Give us peace of mind to withstand this chaos and be Your servant to the lost. In Jesus precious name Amen

Forgive Yourself

Forgiving Yourself – A Belief System

Forgiving yourself is essential. There is a tendency in all of us to hold ourselves more accountable than we do others. Perhaps you have been one who can justify forgiving others, even for a heinous offense, yet you find no justification for forgiving yourself for an equal or lesser offense. Perhaps you believe that forgiving yourself is not even a consideration because you think you must hold yourself in a state of constant remembrance, lest you forget. Perhaps you believe there is a price, some form of life-long penance that you must pay.

Forgiving Yourself – The Divine Example
Forgiving yourself is not specifically addressed in the Bible, but there are principles regarding forgiveness that should be applied. For example, when God forgives us, it states that He remembers our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34). This does not mean that our all-knowing Father God forgets, but rather, because He forgives us, He chooses not to bring up our sin in a negative way. Peter said, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). Applying “no partiality” to the issues of forgiveness, God does not choose to forgive one person and not another. He forgives everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. Applying His “no partiality” standards to ourselves, it is just as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive others.

Forgiving yourself is not about forgetting. It is about not bringing the offense up to yourself in negative ways. Forgiving yourself is simply letting go of what you are holding against yourself so that you can move on with God. If God has moved on, shouldn’t we do the same? Philippians 4:9 states that we are to put into practice those things that we have learned from God and from His Word. To continue to rehearse in our thoughts the events of our transgression, opposes Philippians 4:8 which tells us to dwell on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

Forgiving Yourself – Personal Action
Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The energy it takes to harbor anger, hatred, and resentment towards yourself is exhaustive. Every bit of energy we give to negative activities and dwelling on regrets, robs us of the energy we need to become the person God wants us to be.

Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual. Forgiving ourselves does not let us off the hook, it does not justify what we have done, and it is not a sign of weakness. Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength, and it gives us the opportunity to become an overcomer rather than remaining a victim of our own scorn.

If you do not forgive yourself of past sins, it is a form of pride. Whenever we enact a different set of rules, a higher set of standards for ourself over others, that is pride. When we can find it within ourself to forgive others, but not ourselves, we are saying that we are less capable of making a poor decision than others. We are somehow more intuitive, wiser, more insightful, more careful than others, and therefore, we are without excuse and should not forgive ourselves. When we reject the forgiveness extended to us by God and others, when we refuse to forgive ourselves, what we are doing is setting ourselves above others and that is pride! Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Unforgiveness of oneself will bring self-destruction, a haughty spirit, and a fall. Christian forgiveness will bring peace.

Forgiving Yourself – Helping Others and Yourself
Forgiving yourself is also important for those in your sphere of influence. It is a well-known fact that hurting people hurt others. The longer you avoid forgiving yourself, the longer you allow yourself to harbor the feelings that you deserve to suffer for what you did, the more explosive you will become and, therefore, the more apt you are to hurt others.

The reality is that you cannot change what has happened. You cannot restore lives to where they were before the event. However, you can make a difference in the lives of others. You can give back some of what you have taken away by finding a different place to invest your time and compassion. Forgive yourself and let the healing begin!

Forgiving yourself will change the direction of your life. Consider the following prayer. Read quietly through the following declaration and then read it aloud. Or perhaps you would like to use your own words. Whichever you do, give voice to it. You need to hear yourself forgive yourself! There is great power in the spoken word!

Dear Heavenly Father, I understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness and there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing. I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the vows I have made to never forgive myself. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself–to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself. I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing. God, help me to NEVER again retain unforgiveness of myself or others. Thank you for loving me and for Your grace to move forward with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

https://www.allaboutgod.com/forgiving-yourself.htm

TRUST GOD FIRST

Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You
Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praisein God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Father, sometimes it does feel that you have left us in the battle. We know that you are with us, but so are our feelings of aloneness. The Enemy seems to be taking ground. We know you are at work, but help us trust you in the midst of our questions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sowing Seeds

Luke 8:4-8

The Parable of the Sower

4 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.”When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Come Alive Dry Bones

John 1:12-13 

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Come Alive

Through the eyes of men it seems there’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road where all the prodigals have walked
One by one the enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slaves
But we know that you are god yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid, yeah
As we call out to dry bones come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
God of endless mercy god of unrelenting love
Rescue every daughter bring us back the wayward son
And by your spirit breathe upon them show the world that you alone can save
You alone can save
As we call out to dry bones come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones come alive
So breathe, oh breath of god
Now breathe, oh breath of god
Breathe, oh breath of god now breathe
Breathe, oh breath of god
Now breathe, oh breath of god
Breathe, oh breath of god, now breathe
As we call out to dry bones come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
We call out to dry bones, come alive
Oh come alive

Body of Christ

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The Church may be called the Body of Christ because of these facts:

1) Members of the Body of Christ are joined to Christ in salvation (Ephesians 4:15-16).

2) Members of the Body of Christ follow Christ as their Head (Ephesians 1:22-23).

3) Members of the Body of Christ are the physical representation of Christ in this world. The Church is the organism through which Christ manifests His life to the world today.

4) Members of the Body of Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9).

5) Members of the Body of Christ possess a diversity of gifts suited to particular functions (1 Corinthians 12:4-31). “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (verse 12).

6) Members of the Body of Christ share a common bond with all other Christians, regardless of background, race, or ministry. “There should be no division in the body, but . . . its parts should have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:25).

7) Members of the Body of Christ are secure in their salvation (John 10:28-30). For a Christian to lose his salvation, God would have to perform an “amputation” on the Body of Christ!

8) Members of the Body of Christ partake of Christ’s death and resurrection (Colossians 2:12).

9) Members of the Body of Christ share Christ’s inheritance (Romans 8:17).

10) Members of the Body of Christ receive the gift of Christ’s righteousness (Romans 5:17).



Father we praise and bless You for every member of Your Church family throughout the world, and for the diverse ways that You graciously use each one to fulfill the particular role that You have purposed for them – in Your wider plans and purposes.

Thank you that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and Your own special possession. Thank You that we are stones being built up into a glorious dwelling-place – a Temple fit for our God – so that we may proclaim Your praises with our lips and in our lives. You have brought us out of darkness into Your wonderful light and we praise and bless you for your grace and mercy towards us and all people.

What a privileged people we are and how we bless and thank You for making us one with each other, and in union with Christ Jesus our Lord. Stir up in our hearts a desire to be in unity one with the other – under the banner of Christ our Head. Sanctify us with Your truth and keep us ever looking to Jesus, Who alone is the Way to God, the only Sacrifice for our sins and the only Mediator between man and God, Whom to know is life eternal and in Whose name we pray,

Amen

Love

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Heavenly Father, we only have to look to the church at Ephesus to see how easy it is for Christians, both individually and corporately, to leave our first love and to allow the love that we had for You and for others to wear thin and to grow cold. Father forgive us for the way that we have allowed this to happen throughout the whole Body of Christ, which has all too often become a place to criticize our brethren or slander others who do not think exactly as we do.

Revive us Lord and may the love that so permeated the early church, where we discover that Christians loved in thought word and deed – begin to spread once again throughout the Body of true believers. May we return to a time when love within the Church of God begins to shine forth – as we become salt and light to a needy world.

Forgive us Father that our love for You and the Lord Jesus has worn so thin and rekindle a fire of love that sweeps through the Church today so that in the essentials of our faith we may have unity, in the inessential things we may display liberty and in all areas of our Christian life may we demonstrate true godly love, in Jesus name we pray

Amen

I Pledge Allegiance…

Image result for allegiance to country

While the world is fighting over what “rightfully” belongs to them or attacking over points of view, religion, etc…even unto violence and death… I wanted to get further insight about what God’s Word says about where our true allegiance should be pledged. Although I am subject to authorities (Romans 13:1), neither my faith nor my ALLEGIANCE is placed in man nor country. I am thankful to be born in the US. I sincerely appreciate how truly blessed I am for the freedoms I am afforded. But that is as far as I am willing to take my appreciation. As it is said…. ALL pride at it’s foundation is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1). For I am not of this world (John 17:6-24), I just live in it.


A Biblical View of Patriotism

So many people have great affection—even pride—for the place they live. Often, all other peoples and places are found lacking in comparison.

Others love their country, but have anxiety and fear about the direction they see their governments heading.

Finally, some have never had a sense of belonging, a sense of home. They feel disconnected from the people and places around them.

What does Scripture say about how we should feel and react to the land where God has put us?

All nations are set up by God for the purposes of God.

He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. (Job 12:23)

While it can be a source of pride to live in a nation “by the people, for the people,” we must always remember that every country, nation, or government on earth is first and foremost by God and for God. He brings them into being, uses them for his divine plan, and then replaces them.

There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. God used Assyria to punish Israel for its disobedience; then God used Babylon to destroy Assyria for its sin. God had Babylon invade Judah as a punishment for Judah’s sin; then God raised up Persia to punish Babylon. It is God who orders these things. Nations only exist and act to further the sovereign will of God.

All nations will bow before Christ.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Regardless of the level of power or influence of any nation or people, everyone will bow before Jesus Christ. All will be humbled, and “every tongue shall swear allegiance” (Isaiah 45:23). Jesus is the King of all the earth; our allegiance should be to him.

All nations will be terminated by God.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Revelation 21:1)

At the end of days, everything we know will die, and God will make a new heaven and a new earth. When this happens “the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17).

We won’t give a thought to where we were born in this life, as the new earth will easily eclipse it in glory.

As followers of Christ, our first loyalty is always to God.

“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

Wherever God has placed us, our first love is Jesus. We are to give him our entire lives—body and soul.

However, God has put us under our nation’s authority: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:13). It is true that Christ has freed us, but our freedom is for “living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:16-17).

We are created by God, so we give ourselves to him before and above anything else. This does not mean that we sit idly by without any interaction with our government. It means that we work for God in our nation, with his will and law being our ultimate goal. John Piper summed up this principle wonderfully on his blog:

When you know that all is God’s, then anything you render to Caesar you will render for God’s sake. Any authority you ascribe to Caesar you will ascribe to him for the sake of God’s greater authority. Any obedience you render to Caesar you will render for the sake of the obedience you owe first to God. Any claim Caesar makes on you, you test by the infinitely higher claim God has on you. Rendering to Caesar is limited and defined by rendering to God.

As followers of Christ, we are not of this world.

And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:19-21)

As followers of Christ, it is normal to feel disconnected from where we live. Jesus had no true home here on earth, and we should expect the same. We may have a desire to claim some kinship with the place we were born, but we are really “sojourners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11), living in a land no longer ours. Our responsibility now is to “keep [our] conduct…honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

As followers of Christ, our home is with God.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

When Christ became our Savior, we renounced our citizenship in any nation. All the world is now a foreign land; we cannot take pride in its triumphs, but we can take hope when it falters. God works in the world for his purposes, and he has made us his own. We are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession,” (1 Peter 2:9).

We are ambassadors for Christ here but a short time, and then we will be in heaven with Jesus, our true and eternal home.

https://unlockingthebible.org/2016/06/biblical-view-of-patriotism/

My allegiance prayer:

Matthew 6:9-13

9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

Watch “Ceremony to open US embassy in Jerusalem” on YouTube

Zechariah 12:3

3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

Revelation 22:12-14

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.