BE A BLESSING WHERE YOU LIVE!

BE A BLESSING WHERE YOU LIVE

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” —Jeremiah 29:4-7

The Israelites were to settle down in the cities were they were carried off into exile. The Lord told them to “build houses.” They were going to be in Babylon for 70 years and so they were to make homes there. He told them also to plant gardens and eat what they produce.” The Israelites were to be active in agriculture while they were in Babylon to provide for themselves. They were also to raise families and to “find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so they too may have sons and daughters.” They were to “increase in number there; do not decrease” they were told. In reality, they were to live as if they were in their homeland.

Not only that but they were also to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” The Israelites were to be active in the city life where the Lord exiled them. They were to seek for its “peace and prosperity” because if that city “prospers, you too will prosper.”

Well, surely this ought to be our attitude in the place where we live as well. How are we seeking for “the peace and prosperity of the city” where the Lord has us? In what ways can we be involved to encourage this where we live? Surely we have the “gospel of peace” that we could be sharing with those around us in the place where we live. How can we help our cities prosper? How can we be part of the solutions for the problems our cities are having that they would prosper? We are to be praying for where we are living. May the Lord give us wisdom in this and may we be actively involved.

Dear Father, please show me how I can be a servant that is seeking the peace and prosperity in the place You have put me. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQan9L3yXjc

THE GREATEST GIVER!

THE GREATEST GIVER

With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. —Jeremiah 27:5

Our Lord God Almighty is all-powerful. There is none greater than He. It is He who made the earth. It is He who created all people. It is He who created all the animals. It is He who has created all things (Genesis chapter 1). Therefore, it is He who can give whatever He wants to whoever He desires to give it to.

He put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was He who did that. He gave them everything they needed and He also gave them the ability to make choices. He did not make them like robots. They made the wrong choice, disobeyed God and sin entered the human race (Romans 5:12) and impacted all of creation (Romans 8:22). He had given them all they needed and they desired something else they were deceived into thinking He was keeping from them. That ended in disaster!

Before you or I say, “Well, if I was back there in Adam and Eve’s place I would not have done that!” No, we would have done exactly the same thing. How do I know that? Let me ask you just one question. Have you ever lied? Then you disobeyed God. You sinned against God just as Adam and Eve did. It is the height of arrogance and pride for a person to think they would have made a different choice than the one Adam and Eve did.

As the Creator and Sustainer of all creation our Lord God Almighty can give anything He desires to anyone He desires. Have you thanked Him for what He has given you? Have you thanked Him for what He has given others? He gave us what we have to be stewards of. We are to invest and use wisely what He has given us for His glory.

I asked the daycare children— “If you had 5 candy bars, would you keep them all to yourself or share with others?” One little girl immediately said, “I would keep them all for myself!” And she was serious about it. How many of us though are like that little girl. God has given to us and do we keep it all for ourselves or do we share it with others? Just as the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, gives to whoever He desires whatever He desires, may we also be givers like He is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-zJHgaoVa4

Dear Father, You are the greatest Giver. It is astounding when we ponder just how great You are! Oh, that I would be like You and be a giver too according to Your desires. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it.

WHAT GOD SAYS IS WHAT MATTERS!

WHAT GOD SAYS IS WHAT MATTERS!

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. —II Timothy 3:12-16

Those who really live for Jesus will suffer persecution of various sorts. At the same time evildoers and impostors will increasingly get worse. These people are deceiving and being deceived. Deceptions won’t come from those who do not want anything to do with Jesus, but deceptions will come from those who have a veneer of Christianity. God has warned us of this— “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28). The intent of these people is to “distort the truth” and they do this to “draw away disciples after themselves” to believe in their distortions.

But, those who know Jesus do not have to be concerned about being deceived as they continue “in what you have learned and have become convinced of.” It is from knowing the “holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” that our confidence in knowing the truth comes from. There is safety in living according to what God says from His Word, getting direction from Him and checking what others say by what He says. The darkness of man that appears to be light will be exposed by the Light of God’s Word. God will expose the motives of every man’s heart (I Corinthians 4:5).

It is clear that God gave us His Word for:

*teaching- there is much to learn from what He has to say and to impart this to others.

*rebuking- what He has to say exposes error in our lives.

*correction- He shows us what is right.

*training in righteousness- He shows us how to live according to His desires.

*so the servant of God is equipped for every good work— His Word prepares us to be servants and to be about the work that He has prepared for us to do.

God has given us all we need to live for Him. He has given us His Son. He has given us His Word. He has given us His Spirit. Now out of gratitude and love for Him we are to lovingly obey Him and grow in our relationship with Him. How thankful we should be!

Dear Father, I am grateful for Who You are and what You are doing in Your creation. Please help me to run the race faithfully that You have marked out for me. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkunT7BYCqw

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, “A child is born to you—a son!” May that man be like the towns the Lord overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon. For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever. Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? —Jeremiah 20:14-18

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. —Job 3:1

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. —II Corinthians 1:8

Life can be hard at times for those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus actually told us that these things would happen, but that in Him we could have peace (John 16:33). There are those believers in this world that go through terrible persecution because of their love for Jesus. Others go through tremendous loss because of their faith in the Lord God Almighty. So many followers of Jesus go through great suffering of various sorts because of their commitment to the Lord.

There are times when believers think it may have been better that they were not born. What they are going through is so painful that they think like this. But God’s Word is clear and we need to cling to what He has to say. He is working all things out for God to those who love God and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). We don’t understand all this at the moment, but that is what He is doing and we need to trust Him for it. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (II Corinthians 4:17). Persecution, mocking, loss of loved ones, loss of jobs and businesses, loss of health— all these things and more happen so often to those who follow Jesus. They do not feel “light and momentary” when going through them. We need to keep our eyes on the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

He has promised to “be with us until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5). “Take courage,” Jesus said, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) and we overcome the world as well by our faith in Him (I John 5:5). “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow4OfW4DP9s We are not alone!

Dear Father, whatever comes my way may I be faithful to run the race You have for me. Oh, that I would keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!

HE IS OVER THE NATIONS

HE IS OVER THE NATIONS

But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord. —Jeremiah 12:17

Nations, any nation, beware! To not listen to the Lord results in a nation’s own destruction. Jeremiah was warning Judah, but this could apply to any nation of the world. As it was Judah would not listen and would go into exile for 70 years as foretold by Jeremiah in 25:11 and 29:10. No nation is immune from the Lord’s judgment and when the Lord moves to judge a nation none can stay His hand. The most powerful nation on earth is puny compared to the Lord’s power. How foolish to stand against Him.

We are to pray for the leaders of our nation and all nations (I Timothy 2:1-4). There are those, even professed believers, that criticize and complain about government leaders and others in authority, but do they pray for them? Yes, may we pray for those in authority and for all people. Is there anyone mentioned in the context of I Timothy 2:1-4 that you are not willing to pray for? If not, why not? How does the Lord view that?

Brothers and sisters let us rejoice in knowing who is King of the nations and Sovereign ruler. This world is a mess because of sin, but King Jesus is still in control and His purposes are being fulfilled. One day the end will come to this age and then for all those who love the Lord there will be rejoicing with Jesus in glory.

My daughter, Hannah, was telling me about a dream that her 5 year old daughter had. Abigail said she had a dream about me, her and Queen Esther on a boat ride in heaven. Then Abigail asked, “When can we go in that boat.” Yes, the nations of earth are a mess because of sin, but someday “we can go on that boat” and be in heaven! What a joy that will be! Meanwhile, pray for all people…

Dear Father, I am so grateful for the hope of heaven we have and to know that You are Sovereign over the nations. May I live out the purposes You have for me and do so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9TjvjBIKcw

NONE LIKE HIM!

NONE LIKE HIM!

No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. —Jeremiah 10:6-7

Surely there is none like You Lord God Almighty. You is all powerful. I look at the night sky and stand in awe at Your creativeness. I look around the beauty of the earth and rejoice in Your artistry. People flock to the mountains or the oceans to be near Your mighty works whether they acknowledge You or not. They are still filled with joy and pleasure at what they view— Your handiwork.

Oh, this One who knows no limit of power should be feared by the nations. Yes, You are the King of the nations whether the nations acknowledge You or not. Nations will fade out of existence and their kings will go to the grave, but You O Lord are from eternity past and will be forever in the future.

Rejoice brother and sister in knowing the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the Alpha and Omega, the bright and morning Star, our Savior and Friend— Jesus. There is none like Him and we get to walk with Him now and forever. How fortunate are we! May we tell others of Him that they too can have this joy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnhUh2tt97Q

Dear Father, I am grateful for knowing Jesus. It is astounding as to Who He is and what He has done, is doing and will do. Out of the gratitude of my heart may I live faithfully for Him in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. May it be so.

GOD’S DESIRES FOR US

GOD’S DESIRES FOR US

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. —I Timothy 2:1-7

As I read the above portion of God’s Word I do not sense criticism or condemnation, but an encouragement to prayer, to living peaceful and quiet lives, to be godly and holy. There is a wantingness in these words to please our Savior God and to have the same desire that He has—- that “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. He is the only redeemer who gave Himself for us. Being a witness was Paul’s purpose and this was the message he was to herald. It is to be our message to those around us as well.

“Petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.” This includes “all those in authority.” It is God’s desire for people to be saved. Is that our desire as well regardless of who they are? He wants them to come to a knowledge of the truth. Is that our desire too? May it be so! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8Sx_U0Ztr8

Dear Father, may I have the same desires that You have. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!

THE PATIENCE OF GOD

THE PATIENCE OF GOD

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. —I Timothy 1:15-16

Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That is a trustworthy statement as to why He came. A person has to acknowledge they have sinned before they can be saved. Paul acknowledged this and described himself as the “worst” of sinners. Paul said that Jesus displayed “his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Yes, Jesus was immensely patient with Paul. When still named Saul Jesus confronted him on his way to Damascus and said, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” (Act 9:4; 22:7; 26:14). Yes, Paul is an example of God’s patience with a person— whether Paul or us or those who have yet to come to know Him.

May we be patient with those around us that have yet to understand that”Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Let us remember how patient He was with us! Yes, let us remember and not forget… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_ZWEO36jok

Dear Father, thank You for Your patience with me. May I be patient with others. Yes, may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son.

PRAY FOR THE SPREAD OF THE MESSAGE OF THE LORD!

PRAY FOR THE SPREAD OF THE MESSAGE OF THE LORD!

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. —II Thessalonians 3:1-2

Wow, Paul’s desire and prayer request was for the message of the Lord to spread rapidly and be honored. Is that our desire today? If so, how are we involved in that? If not, why not? Our desire should be that as many people as possible as soon as possible could hear the message of the Lord. Paul also asked prayer “that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith.” There are those who not only don’t want to hear the message, but they want to squelch it. Some will do whatever they can to silence those who disagree with them— even kill them. Paul asked for prayer about this and there are brothers and sisters in this world that need our prayer as well that they would “be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith.”

So, how does our Lord desire you and me to spread rapidly His Word? Oh, that we would do what He desires however He calls us to do so. May our heart’s prayer be that “the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored.” May it be so…

Dear Father, please help me to spread the message of our Lord and may that message be honored. May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in authority of Your Son Jesus. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKTqwBetI1I

BE AN ENCOURAGER

BE AN ENCOURAGER

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. —II Thessalonians 2:16-17

Are you eternally encouraged? You ought to be if you know the Lord Jesus because He has given His sheep “eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). “And so we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:17). This is eternal encouragement “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). Eternal life with Jesus! It is such a joy to know Him now and then to be with Him in glory forever. All who have called on His Name should be greatly encouraged (Romans 10:13).

Now, this encouragement that the Lord has given us is not just for ourselves. “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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10). This encouragement from God should “strengthen you in every good deed and word” that God has “prepared in advance for us to do.” We are to be “a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Serving in those works He has prepared for us gives evidence of our faith in Him. The context James 2:14-26 puts it this way— “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” In this portion of James both Abraham and Rahab are given as examples of evidencing their faith by their deeds. Does my life and your life bear evidence by our deeds that we truly have faith in God and know the Lord Jesus Christ? A person can say they believe in one God— “Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). Working the work God has prepared for me and you gives evidence that we have truly called on the Lord Jesus and know Him.

It is interesting the things we are to be encouraging each other on in as the day of Jesus’ coming draws closer and closer. What are those some of those things? ”Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). So many people miss these basics as to why believers get together and we are told here to not give “up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” It is clear here that we gather to encourage each other on toward love and good deeds.

There are those who do not think they need to gather with other believers. They are in error, not knowing God’s Word or being disobedient to what He says. They only pick from God’s Word what they want. Those who do not attend a local assembling of believers also have the tendency to speak against those who do. They would be less critical if they would be about God’s business and not their own. These professing believers that do this are anything but encouragers— they are discouragers. Something God does not want us to be. Beware of the discouragers. They do not have God’s desires in mind.

Dear Father, may I encourage others on in love and good deeds for Your honor and glory. Be pleased to work in and through me to encourage others to be what You desire them to be and may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rznoe3zKxM