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Are We Praiseworthy?

July 24, 2017

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Are We Praiseworthy?

As we grow in faith,  hope,  and love,  it is vital  that we realize  what our goal  in this life is  and the value  of living  in the truth.     If we don’t constantly  keep our eyes  on the goal,  we are sure  to get off course  and possibly lost.     When a runner runs a race,  he must keep his eyes  and mind  on the goal,  in order  to win.

All  of  Matthew, chapter 10  is about Jesus  sending out His disciples  and telling them  about the hatred  and challenges  they will surely have to face  as they keep their minds  on their goal.     It wasn’t a peaceful,  loving picture  that Jesus presented.

Jesus told the disciples  ahead of time  that they could expect imprisonment,  scourgings,  trials,  death,  mockery,  and persecutions  of all sorts  —  all because  of their faith  and preaching.     In the midst  of all that,  Jesus promised  that God would never leave them  —  even in their martyrdom.

In the midst  of all sorts  of hatred,  they were instructed  to confess the Lord as God  and Savior  before all men  —  no matter what.     They were not to be afraid  of their sufferings  because they were preaching  the truth  of God.     Sticking to the eternal truths  of the LORD God Almighty  is much more worthwhile  than caving in  to the lies  and myths  of the world.

When we stick  to the truth,  we reach our goal  of eternal life  with flying colors.     If we chicken out  because we’re afraid  of being rejected  by the world,  it becomes possible  that we might lose  our salvation  or put it  in grave jeopardy.     So,  in all seriousness,  Jesus explains  our situation  in verses 33-39,

But whoever shall deny Me  before men,  I will also deny him  before My Father  who is  in heaven.

Do not think  that I came  to bring peace  on the earth;  I did not come  to bring peace,  but a sword.

For I came  to set a man  against his father,  and a daughter  against her mother,  and a daughter-in-law  against her mother-in-law;  and a man’s enemies  will be the members  of his household.      He who loves  father or mother  more than Me  is not worthy of Me;  and he who loves  son or daughter  more than Me  is not worthy of Me.

And he who does not  take his cross  and follow after Me  is not worthy  of Me.      He who has found his life  shall lose it,  and he who has lost his life  for My sake  shall find it.”

Jesus,  the Prince of Peace,  gives us the peace  of sins forgiven  and the peace  of realizing God’s tremendous love  for us.     God’s love  was not cheap.      Jesus suffered unjustly  and died  an extremely cruel death  to pay  for our sins.

Now Jesus expects us  to stand up  for the truth  of God’s love  —  just as He did.

If we think  we have a great life  —  just the way it is  —  here on this earth  and don’t need  to be concerned  about life  in eternity,  Jesus says  we will lose  our eternal life.

But,  if we stand up  for the truth  and honestly live  according to God’s truth  in this ungodly world  —  all because we appreciate  God’s love  in Jesus  —  we shall find  eternal life.

The choice  is up to us.     The choice is simply saying  and standing up  for what we love  the most.

It’s a choice between the LORD,  who has proven His eternal love  for us  and the world  that is filled  with selfishness,  pride,  hatred,  cheating,  unfaithfulness,  lies,  and all sorts  of evils.

What do we  love the most?     What will make us  a real winner  in the end?

When we choose God’s love  and forgiveness  in Christ,  we will be set free  in a way  the world cannot fathom.     Then we will have  God’s peace  in the midst  of a world full  of hatred  and ungodliness.     Then we will be strengthened  to take up our cross  and honestly  follow  our Lord.

But he is a Jew  who is one inwardly;  and circumcision  is that  which is  of the heartby the Spirit,  not by the letter;  and his praise  is not   from menbut from God.       Romans 2:29

In following,  we will sing,  “Hallelujah!     Our LORD calls us  —  even us  — praiseworthy  as He loves us  in Christ.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

**************

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

.

The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

.

Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

.

How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

.

Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

.

O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

.

Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

.

**************

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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 …………

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Worthy to Be Praised

July 23, 2017

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Worthy to Be Praised

These days,  probably more than ever,  great praise  is heaped  upon top athletes,  movie stars,  musicians,  political figures,  and even upon people  in our every day lives,  who have made  some wonderful accomplishments.

It feels good  to applaud their achievements  and cheer them on  to strive  for even greater goals.     But,  they are all human.     So,  many of these “stars”  in our lives  also become known  for their great failures  —  failures that are the result  of loving themselves  so much,  they’ll resort  to most anything  to stay on top  of it all  —  failures that are the result  of arrogance,  greediness,  and pride.

Many of their failures  bring public condemnation  and rejection.     Some failures  bring public curiosity  and a search for more fault finding  —  probably so that common people  can pat themselves  on the back,  for not having fallen  “like that”.

Whatever the case,  too much praise  is often given  to mere human beings.     People’s imaginations  create expectations  no human can achieve.     In the end,  many are hurt  and no one cares,  as they go on  to look for another “star”  in their life.

Such is  our sinful world.

But,  there is One  who truly is worthy  to be praised forever.     He is our Creator,  Redeemer,  LORD  and God.     He will never fail.     Everywhere we look around us  shows His power  and love  in all  of creation.     Looking back  through our lives,  we should see  how our LORD  has been kind,  patient,  and forgiving  with us.     Many times  God has helped us  when we were  in dire need  of His power  to rescue  and lead.

King David truly realized this  and knew how  to praise the LORD  because of His eternal worthiness  to be praised.     Many of David’s psalms  are a result  of knowing  how to praise God  for all He has done.     David listed all  that God did  for him  and proclaimed his love  and thanks  for everyone  to hear  down through the ages.

We need  to look  at David’s lists  and realize  how we,  too,  need to sing  as David did.    Psalm 18 is a good example  of David’s praise  when God rescued him  from Saul,  who was out  to kill him.     As David mentions  his enemies out  to get him,  we can compare that  to all the temptations  Satan sends our way,  with the full intention  of killing us eternally.     Only God  can save us  from such wickedness.

So,  let our hearts  rightfully give praise,  right along with David.    Psalm 18:1-6  begins David’s praise.

I love Thee,  O LORD,  my strength.      The LORD is my rock  and my fortress  and my deliverer,  my God,  my rock,  in whom  I take refuge;  my shield  and the horn  of my salvation,  my stronghold.

I call upon the LORD,  who is worthy  to be praised,  and I am saved  from my enemies.

The cords of death  encompassed me,  and the torrents  of ungodliness  terrified me.     The cords of Sheol  surrounded me;  the snares  of death  confronted me.     In my distress  I called  upon the LORD,  and cried  to my God  for help;  He heard my voice  out of His temple,  and my cry  for help  before Him  came into His ears.”

There is no other help  that can be compared  to the LORD’s help.     Absolutely everything else  is capable  of failing.     But,  the LORD  has been proven  to be worthy  of all our praise,  just because  He truly saves everyone  who turns  to Him.

That’s the point.     We do need  to turn  to the LORD  —  with praise  and thanksgiving  —  as we ask  for His help.

We can imagine David’s terror  as Saul  closed in  for the kill.     David’s prayer  for help  was filled with praise  and thanksgiving.

So also,  when we feel  the terror  of whatever “enemy” we have  to face,  we need  to praise the LORD,  as we ask  for His saving power,  and put our trust  in the LORD’s promised love  for us.

None of us  can ever  be “worthy”  of the LORD’s saving help,  but David knows  the reality  of that also.     In verses 31-32,   David makes sure  everyone knows how  even he  can remain confident  in the LORD.     He says,

For who is God,  but the LORD?     And who is a rock,  except our God,  the God  who girds me  with strength,  and makes   my way  blameless?

As we repent,  God forgives  and makes us blameless  in His eyes.     Then,  He helps us  with His almighty power.     What more  could we ask?

It is time  to say,  “Hallelujah!     The LORD  is worthy  to be praised.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

**************

.

The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

.

The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

.

Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

.

How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

.

Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

.

O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

.

Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

.

**************

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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 …………

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Waiting for the LORD

July 22, 2017

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Waiting for the LORD

King David led a lifetime full  of all sorts  of battles  besides having faced Goliath.     He not only fought enemy neighboring countries,  but he dealt  with King Saul trying  to kill him  and his own son Absalom trying  to take over  the kingdom.     There was one conflict  after another,  without end.     Sound familiar?

Facing such odds might be  a bit discouraging,  but David remained strong,  always praising  and giving thanks.     David shows his faith  in the LORD  through the many Psalms he wrote  as he worshipfully extolled  God’s faithful help.      Psalm 37:7-9  summarizes only one aspect  of David’s trust:

Rest  in the LORD  and wait patiently  for Him;  fret not yourself  because of him  who prospers  in his way,  because of the man  who carries out wicked schemes.     Cease from anger,  and forsake wrath;  fret not yourself,  it leads only to evildoing,  for evildoers  will be cut off,  but those  who wait for the LORD,  they will inherit the land.

How could David rest  and fret not?     How can we stop anger  over wickedness?     By realizing  the LORD takes care  of all those  who take delight  in His love  and salvation.     (Psalm 37:4)

The wicked never give themselves a chance  to learn  to trust God  because they are so busy  pridefully doing things  their way,  doing evil  and reaping consequences.     Then they despise  and blame God  for their troubles,  creating a never-ending circle  of sinning  and blaming God.     They refuse  to accept responsibility  for their actions,  growing in bitterness  and intentions  of “getting even”.     There is no godly repentance  in their hearts.

If we find ourselves learning  to lean more and more  on the LORD’s ways  and waiting patiently  for God  to lead our way,  it is not because  we’re getting older,  but that we are growing  in the grace of God.     There are many old people  who die,  never having acknowledged  God’s grace  and care  for us.

We rest  in the LORD  and wait patiently for Him,  simply because  we know the LORD’s faithfulness.     From reading the Bible,  we’ve learned  about the multitudinous times  God has saved His children  at just the right moment.     Thinking  about our personal past,  we acknowledge  how God has saved us  time and again  from terrifying situations  —  and even less-than-terrifying situations.     Praise God  for His saving love  in everyday situations,  as David did.

God deserves our honor,  praise  and worship  every time  He has saved us  in our daily confrontations.     That is how we delight  in our LORD  as David sings  in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself  in the LORD,  and He will give you  the desires  of your heart.”

When God’s children face challenges,  they commit their whole being  to the LORD,  trusting  that their Heavenly Father  will care for those  who love Him.     God’s children know  for sure  that whatever the LORD chooses  to do  for that situation  is right  and good  in the end.     It’s the eternal truth  of Romans 8:28,

And we know  that God causes all things  to work together  for good  to those  who love God,  to those who are called  according to His purpose.

This agrees with David  in Psalm 37:17-18,

But the LORD sustains  the righteous.      The LORD knows the days  of the blameless;  and their inheritance  will be forever.

Note in all this  that the righteous  do suffer many trials,  but in the end  our inheritance  will be  with our LORD  in heaven.

Resting in the LORD” is not  lazily sitting back  and doing nothing.     It is actively living  in love  the way God wants us  to live,  obeying all our Lord’s precepts  because they are so beautiful  and right  in every aspect.     When we are honestly living  as God’s children,  we can comfortably be assured  that God will work  all things  for our good.

It simply does not matter  what is happening now.     Knowing God’s righteousness,  we can say  with Job,  in Job 13:15,

Though He slay me;  I will hope in Him.

Are you finding yourself more willing  to wait for the Lord  and not fretting?     Continue delighting yourself  in the LORD  because it is good  and right  and will bring God’s blessings  in His time.

Isaiah 30:15,   “In repentance  and rest  you shall be saved.     In quietness  and trust  is your strength.”

When we have the peace  of resting  in our LORD,  we will say,  “Hallelujah!     The LORD truly does work good  for us.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

**************

.

The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

.

The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

.

Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

.

How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

.

Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

.

O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

.

Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

.

**************

.

Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

.

 …………

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The Way of Escape

July 21, 2017

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The Way of Escape

We all know  what it is like  to have a ton  of “good” reasons  for falling  into temptation.     We claim  that all sorts of wrong doing  is not really our fault.     Therefore,  we reason  that we are fit  for the Promised Land  —  heaven.     But,  we really need  to think  about 1 Corinthians 10:1-13  as it  show us  the truth.

For  I do not want you  to be unaware,  brethren,  that our fathers  were all  under the cloud  and all  passed through the sea;  and all  were baptized  into Moses  in the cloud  and in the sea;  and all  ate the same spiritual food;  and all  drank the same spiritual drink,   for they were drinking  from a spiritual rock  which followed them;  and the rock  was Christ.     Nevertheless,  with most of them  God was not  well-pleased;  for they were laid low  in the wilderness.

Now these things happened  as examples  for us,  so that we would not crave  evil things  as they also craved.     Do not be idolaters,  as some of them were;  as it is written,  “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN  TO EAT  AND DRINK,  AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.”     Nor let us act immorally,  as some of them did,  and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.      Nor let us  try the Lord,  as some of them did,  and were destroyed  by the serpents.      Nor grumble,  as some of them did,  and were destroyed  by the destroyer.     

Now these things happened  to them  as an example,  and they were written  for our instruction,  upon whom the ends of the ages  have come.     Therefore  let him who thinks  he stands  take heed  that he does not fall.      No temptation has overtaken you  but such  as is common  to man;  and God is faithful,  who will not allow you  to be tempted  beyond what you are able,  but with the temptation  will provide  the way  of escape also,  so that you  will be able  to endure it.

We don’t have an excuse  for our flagrant sins.     God has provided  “the way  of escape”  —  if we care to look at it  and do what is right.

For all God’s loving care  in all our temptations,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     LORD,  keep our minds  and hearts open  to the love  and wisdom  in Your word.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

**************

.

The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

.

The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

.

Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

.

How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

.

Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

.

O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

.

Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

.

**************

.

Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

.

 …………

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.

.

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Unite My Heart

July 20, 2017

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Unite My Heart

When Jesus called us sheep,  He made a very accurate description.     Sheep are afraid  of anything different  from another sheep.     They feel protected within their own flock  of sameness.     A mother ewe  is about the only one  that will accept  a black lamb born  to her.     The rest  of the flock  aggressively avoids  that black lamb.

People are also afraid  of being different  from the people around them  and they do avoid anyone  who is too “different”  from their main group.     They want  to become a part  of a group  and will do most anything  to remain a part  of that group.

Such a fear  often leads people  into sin.     For example,  if the people at work curse,  take God’s name  in vain,  and tell off-color stories,  the fear  of being different  will often lead one  to begin doing the same.     Fear  can lead a student  to cheat  to keep face  or even  to purposely do poorly  to remain a part  of their particular group.     An employee may follow  a boss’s demand  to be unethical  because he’s afraid  of losing his job.     They all console themselves  by claiming  that everyone’s doing it  and they don’t want  to suffer the consequences  of being different.

Then  there are superstitious fears.     A number  of athletes  are known  to keep  some sort of lucky charm  with them  during every game  because of their fear  of losing.     They almost seem proud  of their superstition,  never acknowledging  its silliness.

We see fears that often leads people  to become  promiscuous,   dress immodestly,   become a bully,   a drunkard,   or a drug user.     The list could go on and on.

The question is,  of what good  are all these fears?     They’re good  for nothing.

That is why  David prays  in Psalm 86:11“Teach me Thy way,  O LORD;   I will walk  in Thy truth;   unite my heart  to fear Thy name.”

“Unite my heart…….to fear Thy name.”     What an important prayer  for everyone.

Only a united heart,  a singleness of heart,  can have a decent respect  for our LORD  and His authority  in our lives.

All these earthy fears  and superstitions  give us  a divided heart.     We see that God is good  and it would be nice  to be good like God…,  but,  we’re afraid  of what people think.     Really!     We know God cares  for His children….,  but,  just in case  He doesn’t give us  what we want,  we’ll carry a rabbit’s foot  in our pocket.     (Unlucky rabbit.)     We know the wicked  will suffer eternally  in hell….,  but,  we’re afraid  of what they might do  to us  if we don’t follow along with them.

All these fears  are a divided heart.     There is only One we need  to fear,  respect,  and hold  in total awe.     That is the Lord God Almighty,  our Savior  and Redeemer.

When our hearts are solidly united  under this one fear  (respect),  we will be strengthened  to live the way  God teaches  in His holy word.      With a united heart  that fears only  our LORD,  we will be open  to His truths  to see all their beauty,  goodness,  and glory.     With a united heart  that fears only our LORD,  every kind  of sinful behavior  and superstition  will become repulsive  to us.    What a way  to go!    The light’s on.

A united heart  becomes strong  to sing God’s praise,  give thanks  in all things,  and glorify God’s name  in all situations.     A united heart is settled  in the free fullness  of our Lord’s lovingkindness.

Jesus put it this way  in Matthew 6:22-23

The eye  is the lamp  of the body;  so then  if your eye is clear,  your whole body will be full  of light.    But if your eye is bad,  your whole body  will be full  of darkness.     If then  the light that is in you  is darkness,  how great  is the darkness!

People might think  they’re pretty cool  and safe  following the crowd  and worldly ways,   but Jesus says  that is a great,   horrible darkness.     Their “coolness”   is evil.     Not cool.

The united heart  and single eye  are an honest fear  of the Lord only,  leading to eternal life  in Christ.

On earth,  Christians are black lambs  —  different,  rejected by the world,  but dearly loved  and protected  by our heavenly Father.     So,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  thank You  for uniting our hearts  with Your eternal word.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

**************

.

The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

.

The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

.

Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

.

How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

.

Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

.

O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

.

Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

.

**************

.

Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

.

 …………

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.

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Free Indeed

July 19, 2017

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Free Indeed

When Jesus was speaking  to some rather testy Pharisees,  their stubborn unbelief  made them reject Jesus’ teachings  and want  to stay  in their own self-righteousness.     So,  Jesus said  to them  in John 8:34-36,

Truly,  truly,  I say to you,  everyone who commits sin  is the slave  of sin.     The slave  does not remain  in the house forever;  the son  does remain forever.     So  if the Son  makes you free,  you will be free  indeed.  

Jesus was pointing out  that their love  of their worldly ways  made them a  “slave  of sin”.     They couldn’t understand that  because they thought  they were doing very well  in this world  and were amongst  the most upstanding people  of their community.     They didn’t realize that their self-righteousness  was a sin  —  as was their pride,  greediness,  selfishness,  judgmental attitudes  towards others,  corrupt business deals,  hypocrisy,  adulterous thoughts,  and many other such things.

We all have sinful thoughts  and desires like that.     It is of the utmost importance  that we understand  that we,  too,  are a “slave  of sin”.      Just like everyone else,  we need  “the Son”,  Christ Jesus  our Lord,  to set us  “free”.     We need  to be “free”  of our pride,  greed,  and corruptions of every sort.

Only Christ Jesus  can set us  “free” from all that.     He has done that  by graciously  paying for our every sin  with His shed blood  on the cross.     When we accept  that truth  in our hearts  by faith,  we will be made  “free”.     By believing and trusting Jesus,  our whole conscience  and being  will be freed  from the guilt  of all our sins.     Through faith  we will be “free indeed”.

That faith  will grow  as we abide  in God’s word  —  study it and live by its eternal truths.

In the relief  of being freed,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord Jesus,  thank You  for making us free indeed.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

**************

.

The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

.

The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

.

Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

.

How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

.

Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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Addictions and Delights

July 18, 2017

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Addictions and Delights

We probably all know someone trying  to lose themselves  in an addiction  of some sort.     People knowingly become addicted  to drugs,  alcohol,  porn,  etc.,  as a means  of escaping the realities  in life.

But,  there are “acceptable” addictions  that people claim  are not only harmless,  but are beneficial  and desirable.     Yet,  people knowingly use  these things  to escape the reality  of reality.     These supposedly harmless “addictions” could include work,  friendship,  food,  and “an open mind”.      Wow!     Those can be “addictions”?

After Jesus suffered,  was crucified,  and resurrected,  He appeared  to His followers  a number of times.     On one occasion,  Jesus made Peter think  about his priorities  (his “addictions”)  in life.     Peter had to humbly figure out  if he was more “addicted” to his own desires  and fears  or to the reality  of the Lord God Almighty’s love  for his life.

Three times  in John 21:15-17,  Jesus asks Peter,  “Simon,  son of John,  do you love Me  more than these?…….      Simon,  son of John,  do you love Me?…….      Simon,  son of John,  do you love Me?”

The questioning embarrassed  and exasperated Peter,  as he recollected  how just a short time before,  he had denied Jesus  three times,  when Jesus was  on trial.

Satan knew  that deep down  Peter valued his life  more than the suffering  of Jesus.     So Satan played  on Peter’s fears  and Peter’s evaluation  of the reality  of God’s love  for him.

Satan knows a lot  about us, too.     He is fully aware  of our “need”  to be more successful  than our peers.     So,  he gets us  to be workaholics,  ignoring family,  God,  and friends.

Satan knows  how we value friendships  in this impersonal world  and will do most anything just  to feel accepted  by others.     That can lead us  away from God  by leaving us  no time  to devote  to God  —  or it can impel us  to follow ungodly advice  and lifestyles  —  all just because  we want a friend.

Satan realizes  our need  for food  and also,  how we might use food  to satisfy other secret longings.     So,  a good thing can  end up harming us  as we over indulge.

And then,  Satan fully knows  our fears  about being labeled as “close minded”,  radical,  too “religious”  or stupid.     Our fears  about being politically incorrect  push us  into going against our conscience  and then dragging around  our guilt  until we finally end up  running away  from God  —  just to escape  the feelings  of guilt.

If there is anything  we love  more than God,  Satan can use that  to manipulate us  and drag us away  from our Lord.

We need  to “delight” ourselves  in the LORD  every day  of our lives.     We need  to find our greatest joy  and pleasure  in living  in the reality  of God’s love  for us.     How can anyone  do that?

First,  we need  to study God’s word enough  to realize  it is eternal truth.    Psalm 119:24 says,  “Thy testimonies also  are my delight;  they are my counselors.”     God’s testimonies  to us  are all  of the lessons  He teaches us  throughout His word.     Those words  have been proven  to be eternal  and they are a trustworthy guide  for our life.

God’s word is filled  with consolations  for every single kind  of problem  we have to face  in this world.     So,  Psalm 94:19 says,  “When my anxious thoughts  multiply within me,  Thy consolations  delight my soul.”      When we go  to God’s word  for consolation,  we will find a true comfort  that leads  and strengthens us  in righteous living.     We don’t have to worry  about being misled  when we feel  down-and-out.

As we look  at all that God has created  in all of its glory  —  the stars,  universe,  tiny atoms,  flowers,  animals,  the list could go on forever  —  we can see  how there is a perfect love  in each  of these creations  of God.     These wondrous creations  are miracles  that form our entire environment  and benefit us  in untold ways.     True scientists know  this is all God’s work  as they enjoy  studying it.    Psalm 111:2   “Great are the works  of the LORD;  they are studied  by all  who delight  in them.”

As we study God’s commandments  and guide  for right living,  we see a loving wisdom  that far surpasses anything  mere humans could come up with  on their own.     That is why  it is vital  for us  to totally “delight”  in studying  the way God wants us  to live.     It will lead  to our salvation  —  which is God’s loving desire  for us.

So,  then we can proclaim  with the psalmist  in Psalm 119:16   “I shall delight  in Thy statutes;  I shall not forget  Thy word.”

And we will acknowledge  the truth  of Psalm 119:92   “If Thy law  had not been my delight,  then  I would have perished  in my affliction.”

Our addictions  in this world  come from our fears  and sinful natures.      Our “delight”  in our LORD  is God’s gift  to us  when we turn  to Him  and love His salvation  for the reality  it is.

Then  we will say,  “Hallelujah!     Our Lord  is the most wondrous Teacher  and Friend.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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**************

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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