Archives for : #IWillShineHisLight

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

A Warning Against Hypocrisy 23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees 13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b] 15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. 23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. 25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. 29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started! 33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation. 37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]”

How to Build a Godly Relationship Before Marriage

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Most people want to truly understand love. In the Bible, God paints a very clear picture that helps us to understand if we really are in love. One of the greatest love stories that we find in the Bible is the Song of Solomon. It is also known as the “Song of Songs.” This is a story that helps us to better understand how to build Godly relationships. This article is full of great tips that will help you to build a Godly relationship before marriage.

1.) Physical Restraint– While we are attracted to our partners, God asks us to practice physical restraint until marriage. If you practice physical restraint in relationship by saving intimate moments for marriage, then you will not only have a healthy relationship with god, but with your partner as well.

2.) Maintain Your Character– Be who you are when you are with your future spouse. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. It is important that both you and your future spouse show your true colors before marriage. This way there will be no surprises once you are married.

3.) Get Opinions From Others– We may not always want to hear what others want to say, but it important that we listen to their opinion. Listen to what the one you love have to say.

4.) Allow the Man to take the Lead– God asks men to lead in a relationship; however that doesn’t mean that a woman should not have an opinion. Make sure that you are both in this together for the right reasons.

5.) Praise Each Other– Find reasons every day to give each other praise. This will help you to build love and security in your relationship. Tell your future spouse the things that you love about him or her and be there for them during happy times as well as tough times.

6.) Become One in Spirit– Make sure that both you and your partner are in the same place spiritually. You should make sure that both you and your spouse believe in Jesus Christ as your savior. A solid Christian foundation is key to building a Godly relationship.

Pre marital counseling is a great way to build a relationship with God and with your future spouse. Ask the pastor at your church for more information about premarital counseling. You could also ask the minister that will be performing your ceremony.

Using premarital counseling is a great way to get to know each other better. You may find out some things about your potential spouse that you don’t like. Now is the time to address these issues. Not after you have already gotten married.

To gain more insights and tips on dating and relationships visit http://www.singlesstreetlife.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ade_D’Almeida

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Dont run from God

Don’t run from God

Smith challenges students to obey God’s call

by Emily Grooms

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews)–“When you run away from the presence of the Lord, you always go down, and you always pay a price,” said Evangelist Bailey Smith, a Truett-McConnell trustee.

Smith recounted the story of Jonah (1.1-17), focusing on four key lessons: God is inescapable, our sins affect other people, be thankful for the storms in your life, and God’s will is life’s greatest joy.

“It’s amazing to see all that God did to show Jonah he couldn’t get away from him,” Smith said. “Jonah decided to go to Tarsus, away from Nineveh and away from the presence of the Lord.”

When Jonah was thrown off the boat, Smith said he believes Jonah still didn’t get it. “I’m sure when Jonah got on that boat, he thought, ‘Well God, you’re not such a big deal. I’m still not going where you told me to go, I’m going the opposite.”

“Some of you are probably going the opposite of where God wants you to go,” Smith said.

“Jonah thought once again that he’d gotten away from God. All of a sudden a big fish comes up and swallows him up,” Smith said. “He was shot out of the fish’s belly and onto dry land, away from Tarsus and toward Nineveh.”

“God knew if Jonah was near the sea, the waves of rebellion and disobedience could wash him back out into the sea of absolute disrespect for the Almighty God; so he shot him way up on dry land,” Smith said.

“God did all theses things to show Jonah, ‘Jonah, you can’t get away from me.’ God’s call is inescapable,” Smith said.

“He is inescapable for a nation, inescapable for someone called into Christian service and inescapable for an unsaved person,” Smith noted.

Referring to different nations and how they’ve tried to escape God, Smith said God wasn’t finished with Nineveh.

When Jonah made it to dry land, God was still speaking to him; he wasn’t going to let go of the call he had on Jonah’s life, Smith said.

“Wouldn’t you hate living life knowing you missed what God had for you to do…?” Smith asked. “The first thing — not the fourth or fifth thing — but the best thing God had for you to do.”

“If God ever calls you, he’ll not withdrawal that call,” Smith said. “You may disqualify yourself, but he’ll never withdrawal that call. He does not make mistakes.”

Smith stressed how Jonah’s sin affected others.

“Jonah was on the boat, but who was afraid? Not Jonah, he was inside asleep. The mariners were afraid; and because of one man, all the sailors were fearful.

“How about the people in Nineveh,” Smith asked. “They were supposed to have a preacher, and I wonder how many teenagers committed suicide in Nineveh because their preacher wasn’t there. I wonder how many marriages ended in divorce, and how many people started serving a pagan god because the preacher God sent wasn’t there?”

“The town he was supposed to go to and witness to was dying and going to hell,” Smith stated. “Nineveh stayed lost because of the disobedience of Jonah.”

Smith commented on the stupidity of sin and shared a story about a freshman girl who got into a car with an intoxicated young man. The young man lost control of his car and the girl died. “The girl died because of the stupidity of someone’s sin,” Smith said. “Our sins affect other people.”

“Jonah’s sin affected others and yours will too. While God can forgive your sins, he won’t forgive the consequences of your sins,” he said.

During life’s storms, it’s often difficult to find joy; but Smith reminded listeners to be thankful for the storms of life. “Sometimes, when a storm comes, it comes to waken you,” he said.

Jonah was sound asleep, but what woke him up? It was a storm, Smith said, and the rocking of the boat.

“God knows that we play in the calm but we pray in the storm. And sometimes when a storm comes, it comes to wake you up just like the storm woke Jonah.”

The storm in Jonah’s life was a turning point; God was knocking at his door, Smith said. “Sometimes, God knocks on the door of your heart to make you mad in order to later make you glad.”

The greatest joy in life is to be in God’s will, Smith said. “If God calls you to do something, don’t fret but rejoice.”

“There may be some of you God is leading now and you’re trying to be rational about it. Don’t be rational about it, be obedient,” Smith said. “Some of you need to wake up and quit sleeping in your lethargy and complacency. You’re not responsible for everyone else, you’re responsible for you.”

###

Emily Grooms is a Truett-McConnell student and freelance writer for the college

 

 

Forgiveness of Sin

 

Forgiveness of Sin

 

Introduction: Forgiveness of sin is truly a great Bible truth. Forgiveness is great because of the enormity of sin (that which is forgiven), the one who forgives (in the case of God), the cost of forgiveness, and the unworthiness of the one forgiven. There are three areas involving forgiveness: God’s forgiveness of man’s sins, man’s forgiveness of man’s sins in general, and the one sinned against forgiving the offender.

I. The enormity of sin. Sin (hamartia) is lawlessness (I Jn. 3: 4, ASV)

A. The enormity of sin is seen in the fact that sin separates man from God (Isa. 59: 1, 2).

a. James presents the sequential progression which eventuates in man’s separation from God (Jas. 1: 14, 15). Sin will cause people to suffer the unimaginable agony of hell for an eternity (Matt. 25: 46).

II. The blood of Jesus, the means and cost of forgiveness

A. Animal sacrifices were not efficacious in the permanent remitting of sin. In fact, there continued to be remembrance of sin – sin was “continued forward,” if you will (Heb. 10: 1-4).

B. Jeremiah prophesied that the days would come when God would make a new covenant that would offer “total” forgiveness (Jere. 31: 31-34).

a. The writer of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah and shows its fulfillment is in the new covenant that has Jesus as its eternal sacrifice (Heb. 8: 6-13, 1-5, chs. 7-10).

C. Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26: 28). We are sanctified by “the blood of his covenant” (Heb. 10: 29). Moreover, Jesus’ blood reconciles the estranged (Rom. 5: 10), redeems the enslaved (Eph. 1: 7), and justifies the guilty (Rom. 5: 9). Jesus’ blood is not only presently effective but his blood flowed backward “for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant” (Heb. 9: 15). Let us now turn our focus to the three areas involving forgiveness:

III. God’s forgiveness of man’s sins

A. As indicated, man is an unworthy recipient of God’s forgiveness (Rom. 5: 6-9). There was (is) no way man could earn or procure forgiveness through a system of meritorious works (Rom. 11: 6, Tit. 3: 5). We are saved (forgiven) “by grace…through faith” (Eph. 2: 8). The word “forgiveness” (aphiemi) means “to send forth, send away…to remit…” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine). Peter said, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3: 19). “Blotted out” is derived from exaleipho which means “…to wipe, signifies to wash, or to smear completely” (Vine). Remember, when God forgives he “remembers no more” (Heb. 8: 12). We must also not forget that man has sinned against God and it is man’s responsibility to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5: 18-21).

B. Some believe and teach that God’s forgiveness of man’s sin is unconditional. If this be true, all men would be saved because God is not willing that any perish (2 Pet. 3: 9). However, only a few will be saved (Matt. 7: 13, 14). The scriptures also present man in need of reconciling himself to God, as seen; hence, man is not passive in the matter of his forgiveness.

C. The simple way of arriving at how man procures God’s forgiveness is to observe teaching which mentions how to have “forgiveness” or “remission” of sin. It was prophesied “whosoever believeth in him (Christ, dm) shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10: 43). This belief, however, is not passive or dead (Jas. 2: 19-26). “Believeth” (pisteuonta) is in the accusative case, singular in number, masculine in gender, participle, and present tense (The Analytical Greek Lexicon, pg. 326). The contemplated belief, then, which leads to forgiveness is on going and active (see “John 3: 16, A Great Statement,” located in the archives). Furthermore, the scriptures enjoin acts in addition to the initial act of belief – acts which are “for the remission of sin” (Acts 2: 38, repentance and baptism). The totality of the teaching of the New Testament regarding how the non-Christian obtains the forgiveness of sin or salvation is: Belief (Jn. 8: 24, Heb. 11: 6), repentance (Acts 2: 38), confession of Jesus’ deity (Rom. 10: 9, 10), and water baptism (Acts 2: 38, 22: 16, see “Salvation,” accessed from the home page). Water baptism is the consummating act which puts one into Jesus Christ, where salvation is enjoyed (Gal. 3: 26, 27, 2 Tim. 2: 10). “I do not agree,” one objects. Remember, God is the offended and it is man’s responsibility as the offender to humbly comply with God’s terms of forgiveness – not argue and substitute his own plans and means!

IV. Man’s forgiveness of man’s sins in general

A. The Christians at Corinth were commanded to forgive the member who had been in sin (2 Cor. 2: 7, 6-9, I Cor. 5). The situation at Corinth did not involve a personal infraction against the individual members, as such (I Cor. 5, cf. Matt. 18: 15-17). It will be observed in this scenario, just as in the case regarding God’s forgiveness of man’s sins, the forgiveness was conditional – the sinner had repented (2 Cor. 2: 6).

V. Man’s forgiveness of man in cases of personal offences

A. One can personally sin against another (Matt. 18: 15-17). In such cases, there is a prescribed procedure that must be followed (ibid.). This forgiveness, however, is also conditional. “Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him,” Jesus teaches (Lk. 17: 3). If there is no repentance, there can be no forgiveness!

a. Hence, in all three possible areas of forgiveness – God’s forgiveness of man, man’s forgiveness of man’s sins in general, and man’s forgiveness of man in cases of personal offences – forgiveness is conditioned and contingent on the sinner complying with God’s terms of forgiveness.

Conclusion: The prophet said, “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1: 18). To be forgiven means to be released and free of guilt! “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1: 5).

 

 

God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles- Ephesians 3

3 So I, Paul, am a prisoner because I serve Christ Jesus for you who are not Jews. 2 Surely you know that God gave me this work through his grace to help you. 3 God let me know his secret plan by showing it to me. I have already written a little about this. 4 And if you read what I wrote, you can see that I understand the secret truth about Christ. 5 People who lived in other times were not told that secret truth. But now, through the Spirit, God has made it known to his holy apostles and prophets. 6 And this is the secret truth: that by hearing the Good News, those who are not Jews will share with the Jews in the blessings God has for his people. They are part of the same body, and they share in the promise God made through Christ Jesus.

7 By God’s special gift of grace, I became a servant to tell that Good News. He gave me that grace by using his power. 8 I am the least important of all God’s people. But he gave me this gift—to tell the non-Jewish people the Good News about the riches Christ has. These riches are too great to understand fully. 9 And God gave me the work of telling all people about the plan for his secret truth. That secret truth has been hidden in him since the beginning of time. He is the one who created everything. 10 His purpose was that all the rulers and powers in the heavenly places will now know the many different ways he shows his wisdom. They will know this because of the church. 11 This agrees with the plan God had since the beginning of time. He did what he planned, and he did it through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In Christ we come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this because of our faith in Christ. 13 So I ask you not to be discouraged because of what is happening to me. My sufferings are for your benefit—for your honor and glory.

The Love of Christ

14 So I bow in prayer before the Father. 15 Every family in heaven and on earth gets its true name from him. 16 I ask the Father with his great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you that strength through his Spirit. 17 I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. 18 And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you.

20 With God’s power working in us, he can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. 21 To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen.

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Wisdom—the Good Woman

8 Listen, Wisdom is calling.
Yes, Understanding is shouting for us.
2 Wisdom stands at the top of the hill,
by the road where the paths meet.
3 She is near the entrance to the city,
calling from the open gates.
4 “I am calling out to all of you.
I am speaking to everyone.
5 You who are ignorant, learn to be wise.
You who are foolish, get some common sense.
6 Listen, I have something important to say,
and I am telling you what is right.
7 My words are true,
and I will not say anything that is wrong.
8 Everything I say is right;
there is nothing false or crooked about it.
9 These things are clear to any intelligent person.
They are right to anyone with knowledge.
10 Choose discipline over silver
and knowledge over the finest gold.
11 Wisdom is better than pearls,
and nothing you desire compares with her.
The Value of Wisdom

12 “I am Wisdom.
I live with Good Judgment.
I am at home with Knowledge and Planning.
13 To respect the Lord means to hate evil.
I hate pride and boasting,
evil lives and hurtful words.
14 I have good advice and common sense to offer.
I have understanding and power.
15 With my help kings rule,
and governors make good laws.
16 With my help leaders govern,
and important officials make good decisions.[a]
17 I love those who love me,
and those who look for me will find me.
18 With me there are riches and honor.
I have lasting wealth to give to you.
19 What I give is better than fine gold.
What I produce is better than pure silver.
20 I lead people the right way—
along the paths of justice.
21 I give riches to those who love me,
and I fill their houses with treasures.
22 “The Lord made me in the beginning,
long before he did anything else.
23 I was formed a long time ago,
before the world was made.
24 I was born before there was an ocean,
before the springs began to flow.
25 I was born before the mountains and hills
were set into place,
26 before the earth and fields were made,
before the dust of this world was formed.
27 I was there when he set up the skies,
when he drew a circle in the ocean to make a place for the land.
28 I was there when he put the clouds in the sky
and made the deep springs flow.
29 I was there when he set the limits on the sea
to make it stop where he said.
I was there when he laid the foundations of the earth.
30 I grew up as a child by his side,[b]
laughing and playing all the time.
31 I played in the world he made
and enjoyed the people he put there.
32 “Now, children, listen to me.
If you follow my ways,
you will be happy too.
33 Listen to my teaching and be wise;
don’t ignore what I say.
34 Whoever waits at my door
and listens for me will be blessed.
35 Those who find me find life,
and the Lord will reward them.
36 But those who do not find me put their lives in danger.
Whoever hates me loves death.”

Wisdom Will Keep You From Adultery- Proverbs 7

7 My son, remember my words. Don’t forget what I have told you. 2 Consider my teaching as precious as your own eyes. Obey my commands, and you will have a good life. 3 Tie them around your finger. Write them on your heart. 4 Treat wisdom like the woman you love and knowledge like the one dearest to you. 5 Wisdom will save you from that other woman, the other man’s wife, who tempts you with such sweet words.

6 One day I was looking out my window 7 at some foolish teenagers and noticed one who had no sense at all. 8 He was walking through the marketplace and came to the corner where a certain woman lived. He then turned up the road that goes by her house. 9 The day was ending. The sun had set, and it was almost dark. 10 Suddenly, there she was in front of him, dressed like a prostitute. She had plans for him. 11 She was a wild and rebellious woman who would not stay at home. 12 She walked the streets, always looking for someone to trap. 13 She grabbed the young man and kissed him. Without shame, she looked him in the eye and said, 14 “I offered a fellowship offering today. I gave what I promised to give, 15 and I still have plenty of food left. So I came out to find you, and here you are! 16 I have clean sheets on my bed—special ones from Egypt. 17 My bed smells wonderful with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s enjoy ourselves all night. We can make love until dawn. 19 My husband has gone on a business trip. 20 He took enough money for a long trip and won’t be home for two weeks.[a]”

21 This is what the woman said to tempt the young man, and her smooth words tricked him. 22 He followed her, like a bull being led to the slaughter. He was like a deer walking into a trap, 23 where a hunter waits to shoot an arrow through its heart. The boy was like a bird flying into a net, never seeing the danger he was in.

24 Now, sons, listen to me. Pay attention to what I say. 25 Don’t let your heart lead you to an evil woman like that. Don’t go where she wants to lead you. 26 She has brought down some of the most powerful men; she has left many dead bodies in her path. 27 Her house is the place of death. The road to it leads straight to the grave.

A David Song, Which He Sang to God After Being Saved from All His Enemies and from Saul-Psalm 18

18 1-2 I love you, God—
you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
3 I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.
4-5 The hangman’s noose was tight at my throat;
devil waters rushed over me.
Hell’s ropes cinched me tight;
death traps barred every exit.
6 A hostile world! I call to God,
I cry to God to help me.
From his palace he hears my call;
my cry brings me right into his presence—
a private audience!
7-15 Earth wobbles and lurches;
huge mountains shake like leaves,
Quake like aspen leaves
because of his rage.
His nostrils flare, bellowing smoke;
his mouth spits fire.
Tongues of fire dart in and out;
he lowers the sky.
He steps down;
under his feet an abyss opens up.
He’s riding a winged creature,
swift on wind-wings.
Now he’s wrapped himself
in a trenchcoat of black-cloud darkness.
But his cloud-brightness bursts through,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.
Then God thundered out of heaven;
the High God gave a great shout,
spraying hailstones and fireballs.
God shoots his arrows—pandemonium!
He hurls his lightnings—a rout!
The secret sources of ocean are exposed,
the hidden depths of earth lie uncovered
The moment you roar in protest,
let loose your hurricane anger.
16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
20-24 God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
he gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
25-27 The good people taste your goodness,
The whole people taste your health,
The true people taste your truth,
The bad ones can’t figure you out.
You take the side of the down-and-out,
But the stuck-up you take down a peg.
28-29 Suddenly, God, you floodlight my life;
I’m blazing with glory, God’s glory!
I smash the bands of marauders,
I vault the highest fences.
30 What a God! His road
stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.
31-42 Is there any god like God?
Are we not at bedrock?
Is not this the God who armed me,
then aimed me in the right direction?
Now I run like a deer;
I’m king of the mountain.
He shows me how to fight;
I can bend a bronze bow!
You protect me with salvation-armor;
you hold me up with a firm hand,
caress me with your gentle ways.
You cleared the ground under me
so my footing was firm.
When I chased my enemies I caught them;
I didn’t let go till they were dead men.
I nailed them; they were down for good;
then I walked all over them.
You armed me well for this fight,
you smashed the upstarts.
You made my enemies turn tail,
and I wiped out the haters.
They cried “uncle”
but Uncle didn’t come;
They yelled for God
and got no for an answer.
I ground them to dust; they gusted in the wind.
I threw them out, like garbage in the gutter.
43-45 You rescued me from a squabbling people;
you made me a leader of nations.
People I’d never heard of served me;
the moment they got wind of me they listened.
The foreign devils gave up; they came
on their bellies, crawling from their hideouts.
46-48 Live, God! Blessings from my Rock,
my free and freeing God, towering!
This God set things right for me
and shut up the people who talked back.
He rescued me from enemy anger,
he pulled me from the grip of upstarts,
He saved me from the bullies.
49-50 That’s why I’m thanking you, God,
all over the world.
That’s why I’m singing songs
that rhyme your name.
God’s king takes the trophy;
God’s chosen is beloved.
I mean David and all his children—
always.

 

 

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath-Luke 6

6 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

The Twelve Apostles

12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Blessings and Woes

17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Love for Enemies

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

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Seeing Yourself as God Sees You

Seeing Yourself as God Sees You

 

Recently I was talking with a group of women about body image issues and the strain our culture places on women as desperately try to become “beautiful” in the eyes of society standards. One woman brought up the fact that there was a country that once had no television, and no real issue with anorexia. Apparently, once that country became media-ready and televisions invaded the land, they noticed an increase (up to 30%) of girls who were showing signs of anorexia. The “image plague” struck their society and began to change the girls in their midst. Body image, and the perception of beauty, changed.
The reality of “beauty” in our culture is quite deceiving. Just walk down your local toy store doll aisle, and look at the unrealistic proportions of the fashion dolls; each one modeling perfect hair, long legs, and overall body measurements that if translated to the average woman’s shape would look pretty silly in real life. Yet somehow, today’s girl looks at these dolls and craves similar curves, and sometimes even starves herself to achieve the tiny waistline, and plans for surgical procedures to augment her shape in other ways.
Also, think about the periodical displays at our local check out counter, look at the airbrushed pictures on the latest magazines. The young starlets that show up on the covers of these magazines are not exactly as they appear in print. A photo shopped nip here, a graphic tuck there, and voila! Perfection. We understand that what we see is not always what truth, but the impact of the media’s message is heard loud and clear by today’s girl. Strive for extreme perfection. Unfortunately, even in this airbrushed age, we can get caught in the trap feeling inferior to the false presentations on the newsstand.
Beyond the intangible expectations of our society, we as Christian women answer to a higher calling. We look to the Lord for our worth, and our acceptance. The only expectations and approval we should seek are that of our Father in heaven. And there is great news for us: God loves us. He adores us! He created us to be wonderful, diverse, and not anything like the media’s call to be an unattainable shape. God calls us to be His daughters. His followers. His servants. And you know what? The Almighty God loves us – loves you – just the way you are. And you are beautiful to Him!
In this women’s issue package from Jennifer Devlin, readers will understand the root of true beauty and happiness, the dangers of comparison, and receive practical helps for feeling beautiful in God’s sight.

You are Beautiful to God

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Familiar saying, but do we understand the magnitude of this thought in relation to the way God sees us? God looks upon us with love, and sees us as a beautiful creature He created. He loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to provide a way for us to enjoy eternal fellowship with Him.
Somehow, on our worst hair day, or the time of the month when our clothes fit a bit tighter and our nerves are on edge, it is hard to imagine that the God of all creation would consider us beautiful. But He does. Even on our bad hair days! Society, on the other hand, will try and tell us that beauty is only skin deep – and that the newest procedures, products, and pills will be the answer to our most pressing image issues. Which will we believe? The cosmetic industry’s marketing mantra, or the Father who created us in His image?
God is head over heels in love with you and me, and desires for us to reflect His light to the world. Can you imagine? We can stand firm on this truth, knowing that God will always look to the beauty within us; the Spirit’s presence that guides us and helps us reflect the true beauty that comes from being a child of God Most High. Don’t toss to and fro to the tide of advertising schemes and skewed image requirements – stand strong on God’s Word, and delight in the promise that it is our inner beauty that pleases God. — JD
Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge\u2014that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Comparison Trap

A friend once told me that women dress up to impress other women more than to receive approval from men. You know, I think she was right! Just look at how we, as women, plan our clothing and accessories — intentional and thoughtful. Thinking, rethinking, changing, and constantly assessing the outcome. Most men don’t even notice the details we spend hours planning. But women; they notice right away! Typical conversations may sound something like this:
New earrings?
Yes, they are! Nice shoes, where’d you get them?
Oh, at the store down the street. Thanks for noticing…
That sweater is a great color on you.
Have you lost weight? You look terrific!
Yes, I’ve been on the latest diet plan. Let me tell you all about it…

The niceties of conversation move from one topic to the next, but women somehow always incorporate image and presentation. Deep within, behind those acknowledgments and compliments, potentially lays another layer of observation – comparison. The earrings are better than someone else’s. The shoes must have been expensive. She looks so much nicer than another friend. Or, the comparisons may actually include the tragic comparison over weight issues. As women continually compare, compete, and cry over their current state of appearance, we fall into the snare set by the enemy. Today’s culture can hold us captive as we compare ourselves to others, the world, and the standards society sets for us…if we’re not careful to avoid the comparison trap. — JD

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Practical Steps to Beauty

Friend, you are beautiful to God. You matter to Him, no matter what your shape or size. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and as a believer, the Holy Spirit dwells within you and guides you into all truth.
And yet, as you and I live in the world, we constantly hear messages that can make us feel a level of discontent. As we end this package’s sessions together, and have looked into comparisons, culture, and contentment, what’s a woman to do? How can we live victoriously as a believer and a woman who is beautiful in God’s eyes?
Here are some easy steps to understanding your true beauty:
  • Turn off the television when programs air that support unhealthy self image messages and stop buying magazines that promote unhealthy body shapes — keep away from the messages and media images that perpetuate culture’s unattainable standards.
  • Stay in the Word of God – especially seeking out verses that describe our worth to God, our beauty in His sight, and our standing in victory through Jesus Christ. Understand that those verses apply to you, your life, and the shape you are today.
  • Understand what you want to change about yourself and why – are you seeking change because of society’s demands, or because of a true inner desire? Evaluate motives, and only act on your desires if they will lead to personal goals being met instead of pressure from outside forces.
  • Most importantly, remind yourself daily with the truth that you are beautiful to God! — JD
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

 

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