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Past Scripture and Encouragement Postings from 2006 & 2007

… now go and make disciples of all nations…

(scroll down to see devotions)

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Date: March 2007

Psalm 139:12-14

Psalm 139:12-14 (New International Version)

 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
       the night will shine like the day,
       for darkness is as light to you.

 13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.

 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

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Date: Feb. 2007

Eph. 4

Ephesians 4 Unity in the Body of Christ

1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it[a] says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."[b] 9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then 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. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Living as Children of Light 17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin"[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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Date: January 2007

Psalm 25

Of David.

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. 4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. 8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. 13 He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. 15 My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. 18 Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. 19 See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! 20 Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

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DATE: September 4, 2006

2 Chronicles 7: 14-15 

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

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DATE:  September 1, 2006

Daniel 2

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

1 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers [a] to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, "I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means. [b] "

4 Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, [c] "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it."

5 The king replied to the astrologers, "This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6 But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me."

7 Once more they replied, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it."

8 Then the king answered, "I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9 If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me."

10 The astrologers answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11 What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."

12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.

14 When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king's officer, "Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?" Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;

wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;

he sets up kings and deposes them.

He gives wisdom to the wise

and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with him.

23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:

You have given me wisdom and power,

you have made known to me what we asked of you,

you have made known to us the dream of the king."

Daniel Interprets the Dream

24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, "Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him."

25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, "I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means."

26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"

27 Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:

29 "As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.

31 "You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

36 "This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.

39 "After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.

"The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy."

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."

48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

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DATE:  August 1, 2006 (

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY  

www.carm.org)

HOME PAGE    


What is salvation?


     Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner
     A lot of people think that salvation means being saved from yourself or the devil.  But that is not accurate.  All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God.  This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.
      This does not mean that God is unfair.  It shows that God is holy.  God must punish the sinner.  But, He has provided a way of escape so that people will not face His righteous judgment.  This means that God is both holy and loving.  He must manifest each quality equally.  So, being saved from the wrath of God is called salvation.
      Salvation is found in Jesus, and only in Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1,14), and who died for our sins and rose from the dead.  1 Cor. 15:1-4 says...

"Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,"

     This is how salvation works:  All of us have sinned against God and deserve judgment.  But Jesus never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22).  He lived the Law of God perfectly.  In this He has a perfectly righteous standing before God.  When the corrupt Jewish leaders forced Rome's hand into crucifying Jesus, God used this crucifixion as the means to place the sins of the world upon Jesus (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2).  This is when Jesus became sin on our behalf.  2 Cor. 5:21 says,

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

     The crucifixion became the place where Jesus bore our sins in His body and suffered in our place. "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed," (Isaiah 53:5).  Remember, no sinner could please God perfectly and no sinner could offer a perfect sacrifice to God.  Only God in flesh, Jesus, could do that. 
     So, since there is nothing we can do that is righteous before God (Isaiah 64:6 says our righteous deeds are filthy rags), then we cannot please an infinitely holy and righteous God by anything we do.  But, Jesus who is perfectly righteous before God the Father, died in our place.  What we could not do, He did.
     If you want to escape the righteous judgment of God, then you need to trust in the sacrifice of God. You need to be made right before God, by God.  This righteousness of Christ is given to you if you accept him, trust in Him, and believe in what Jesus did.  This is why the Bible says that we are saved by grace through faith.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).
     When you trust in what Christ has done on the cross, and in no works of your own (since they aren't good enough anyway), then the righteousness of Christ is given to you -- even as your sins were "given" to Jesus.  Its like a trade.  He gets your sin.  You get His righteousness.
Once you have trusted in what Christ has done, then you possess eternal life and you will never face the judgment of God.

 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand," (John 10:27-28).


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July 31, 2006

Psalm 91

 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
       will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]

 2 I will say [b] of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
       my God, in whom I trust."

 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
       and from the deadly pestilence.

 4 He will cover you with his feathers,
       and under his wings you will find refuge;
       his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

 5 You will not fear the terror of night,
       nor the arrow that flies by day,

 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
       nor the plague that destroys at midday.

 7 A thousand may fall at your side,
       ten thousand at your right hand,
       but it will not come near you.

 8 You will only observe with your eyes
       and see the punishment of the wicked.

 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
       even the LORD, who is my refuge-

 10 then no harm will befall you,
       no disaster will come near your tent.

 11 For he will command his angels concerning you
       to guard you in all your ways;

 12 they will lift you up in their hands,
       so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
       you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
       I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
       I will be with him in trouble,
       I will deliver him and honor him.

 16 With long life will I satisfy him
       and show him my salvation."

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DATE:  July 10, 2006

2 Chronicles 7: 14-15

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

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DATE:  June 14, 2006

Isaiah 56:7

I will bring them to My holy mountain and let them rejoice in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for the nations.

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DATE:  June 7, 2006

Luke 9:23 "... If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

- What does that look like daily?

- Do we (westerners) really know what it is to deny ourselves and place God first?

- This is why the path is narrow and few find it... because Following Jesus is not just about adding Him to the list of things or people or other religons that we may follow... it's about making Him the only one we follow... daily.

May you be challenged, as I am, to live out this direction.

Have a Blessed Day as you know and Follow hard after Him!

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DATE:  June 3, 2006

Isaiah 49   (New International Version)

The Servant of the LORD

 7 This is what the LORD says—
       the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
       to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
       to the servant of rulers:
       "Kings will see you and rise up,
       princes will see and bow down,
       because of the LORD, who is faithful,
       the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."

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DATE:  June 1, 2006

Today I attended a prayer meeting and the person who shared, talked about who we are in Christ.  I know that I offen don't take the time to soak in that... If you are a follower of Jesus, He calls you friend, choosen, anointed, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God!  You are LOVED and desired by the GOD who created all things!  The King of Kings knows your name, knows your thoughts, knows your needs, and knows the number of hairs on your head! 

For me, it is free ing and impowering to soak in who I am according to God's word.  So may you take some time today... and soak. 

God Bless You.

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DATE:  May 28, 2006

Acts 2 and 3

Pentecost Sunday is coming... first week in June... let us pray and prepare! 

Oh, God that you would begin a new thing among your people.  Stir us up.  God please reveal your self in the way that you did to the first church.  We desire to see you move in this powerful way.  Come Holy Spirit!

AMEN!  ><>

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DATE:  May 24,  2006

Isaiah 43:1-3; 10-13

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DATE: May 15, 2006

Isaiah 40:28-31

28 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

 29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.

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DATE: May 9, 2006

Romans 8

Life Through the Spirit

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in sinful man,[d] 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man[e] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.[g] And by him we cry, "Abba,[h] Father." 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Future Glory

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[i] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

More Than Conquerors

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[j] who[k] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

"For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."[l] 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Footnotes:

a. Romans 8:1 Some later manuscripts Jesus, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit,

b. Romans 8:3 Or the flesh; also in verses 4, 5, 8, 9, 12 and 13

c. Romans 8:3 Or man, for sin

d. Romans 8:3 Or in the flesh

e. Romans 8:6 Or mind set on the flesh

f. Romans 8:7 Or the mind set on the flesh

g. Romans 8:15 Or adoption

h. Romans 8:15 Aramaic for Father

i. Romans 8:21 Or subjected it in hope. 21 For

j. Romans 8:28 Some manuscripts And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God

k. Romans 8:28 Or works together with those who love him to bring about what is good—with those who

l. Romans 8:36 Psalm 44:22

m. Romans 8:38 Or nor heavenly rulers

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DATE: May 6, 2006

Isaiah 2:1-5  

The Mountain of the Lord

1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: 2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3 Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. 5 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

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DATE: May 1, 2006 @ 1:00pm

Ephesians 6

 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

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DATE: Apr 28, 2006 @ 12:49PM

1 Corinthians 2

 1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Wisdom From the Spirit

 6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
   "No eye has seen,
      no ear has heard,
   no mind has conceived
   what God has prepared for those who love him"—

10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
      The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:
 16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord
      that he may instruct him?"
 But we have the mind of Christ.

Footnotes:  2:9 - Isaiah 64:4,      2:16 - Isaiah 40:13

~ ~ Dear Friends,  May we seek to have the mind of Christ today!  May we seek Godly wisdom today!  (From Vs 5) May we see to have a faith that is rooted in God's power and not in the wisdom of man today.  May we received the Spirit who is from God and have understanding today!  Blessings and Peace to you today and may God continually reveal Himself to us as we seek Him today!  ~ ~                     ><>           ><>            ><>           ><>            ><>

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DATE: Apr 27, 2006

II Cor. 4:18 "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Doesn't this put it all in perspective?  It's like when we get so busy with "life" we can look at this verse and see what really matters.  It's amazing!!

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DATE: Apr 25, 2006 @ 1:33am ...cause I can't sleep

I Thessalonians 5:16-18  "Rejoice Always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"

Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy or popular.  It is an exciting journey!  No matter what we are going thru....  this scripture points us back to what really matters.  Be joyful always.  Pray without stopping.  And praise be the our God, our Lord, Jesus Christ in all circumstances because no matter what, come what may.... He is GOD.  He is still on the throne.  He is the KING OF KINGS! 

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TRUTH and FREEDOM

DATE: Apr 23, 2006

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."   John 8:31-33 (New International Version)

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (New International Version)  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

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The Red Bird

DATE: Apr 19 2006, 12:08 pm

There is a little red bird outside my window today... minding his own way around a tree stump in the yard.

I am reminded that God created that being. God provides food for him (well, I just decided that it's a boy... but who knows?) every single day of his life. God gave him this beautiful color for us to enjoy. I mean the bird does not really know that it's RED and He can't really enjoy it in the way that we can. Did God paint colors just for us?! God even gave him a little singing voice to sing praises. WOW!!

How much more, does the Father care about his Children. How much more, does He desire to be our provider. He is our protector. He is longing to take care of every need... every day.

Oh, that I might trust HIM with the ease and carefree heart of this red bird.

Matthew 6:25-27     Do Not Worry                        "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?


DEVOTIONALS FROM OTHERS:

DATE: June 7, 2006

Verse of the Day

Psalm 90:2 & 4

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DATE: June 3, 2006

Verse of the day

“ A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. ”- Proverbs 15:1

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DATE:  June 1, 2006

Verse of the day

“ I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”- Revelations 21: 2-4

BibleGateway.com

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DATE:  May 24, 2006

VERSE OF THE DAY

“ Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. ” - Romans 12:10

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DATE: May 15, 2006

Verse of the day

“ As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. ”- Ecclesiastes 11:5

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A Fleeting Shadow


by Os Hillman, May 12, 2006

Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. - Psalm 144:4

Every time I fly over a large body of water, I imagine opening the window of the jet and pouring out my coffee into the immense body of water below. I imagine the time that I spend on this earth compared to eternity is no more than that cup of coffee. The incredible size of the ocean compared to one small cup of coffee is what our life is like compared to eternity. Why then do we invest so much in temporal pursuits when we know that our investment here can have so much impact on our eternity? It is the great paradox of human behavior, especially for Christians.

Does your business life have an overall ministry objective to it? This does not mean we must be constantly involved in "Christian activity." It only means that we should be about what God has called us to do with the motive of being obedient to this mission. Do not let the worries and cares of this life keep you from having an eternal impact on the lives of those you meet each day. Satan has a way of keeping our focus on the problems of today rather than the spiritual opportunities before us. He is master of the urgent, not the important.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

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Being Choked by Wealth


by Os Hillman, May 8, 2006

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.... - Ecclessiastes 5:10

Workplace believers are especially susceptible to a trap in their spiritual lives - one to which others may not be so susceptible. That trap is wealth. Scripture tells us that if we are having our basic needs met for food and clothing, we are considered to have riches. Jesus cautioned us against living a lifestyle that required more than our basic necessities. However, it is clear that Jesus was not against wealth, but against a dependence on wealth. Jesus continually taught that a dependence on anything other than God was evil. Whenever Jesus determined that money was an issue for an individual, He addressed it and found that the individual could not let go. This was true for the rich young ruler. When talking about what he must do to inherit the Kingdom, Jesus told him to do the one thing that would be the most difficult - to give away his wealth and follow Him. Jesus was not saying this was what every person must do, only the rich young ruler, because Jesus knew this was his greatest stumbling block. For others of us, it could be something else Jesus would ask us to give up (see Mt. 19:16-30).

In the parable of the sower in which He describes four types of people, Jesus also gave us another example of the problem money creates for any follower of Jesus.

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:3b-8).

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful (Matthew 13:22).

Much like the frog in the boiling pot, if we are not careful we gradually begin to acquire and walk the treadmill of material gain. Those around us begin to expect more and more. Soon we begin expanding our lifestyle. Before we know it, we are worrying about how to take care of what we acquire. Our emphasis becomes what we own versus our relationship with Jesus and His Kingdom. One day I woke up and realized I had a cold heart toward God. Apathy toward the things of God became apparent. I was still going through the motions of service toward God, but with no power. We wake up to realize Christ is no longer Lord of our lives, much less of our money. The greater independence money gives us, the less dependence on God we need. Christ talked much about money in the Kingdom because He knew how much of a problem it was. This is why we have so few who are bearing 100, 60, or 30 times what is sown.

Do you have the same hunger for God that you once had? Has financial blessing had an adverse effect on your passion for Jesus Christ? Ask Him today if your heart has grown cold as a result of financial blessing. Ask Him to keep you hungering for more of His presence in your life.

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Os Hillman Radio Interview
Last Wednesday, Os Hillman was interviewed about Faith and Work on Prime Time America, a national radio broadcast by the Moody Broadcast Network.  To hear the recording of Os at 33 minutes into the Track, click here

Entitlements


by Os Hillman, May 10, 2006

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! - Philippians 2:8

Society today has duped many of us into believing that the world owes us. It owes us a good living, a loving spouse, good health throughout our whole life, sexual pleasure when we want it, and paid vacations the rest of our lives. The world has told us if we work hard and do right, we are entitled to these things. This is the Esau perspective on life. For a mere meal, he sold his own birthright for a simple pleasure to which he felt entitled.

Society, and even the Church, is more pleasure-focused than ever before. George Barna, the Christian researcher, cites,

We are not a society that simply enjoys its time off. Our leisure appetites drive us. It is increasingly common to hear people turning down job offers because the hours or other responsibilities would interfere with their hobbies, fitness regimens and other free time activities. Even our spending habits show that playing has become a major priority. The average household spends more money on entertainment than it does clothing, health care, furniture or gasoline. Recreational activities have jumped more than 10 percent in the amount of time given to them. [George Barna, Frog In The Kettle (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1990), 82.]

What are the motives for our work life? Is it only to gain increased pleasure and leisure time? Jesus said He came only to do the work of the Father. I am sure that Jesus had times of refreshment in His life that allowed Him to get recharged for the mission God called Him to. However, He understood the balance of maintaining mission and play. When we view life with an attitude of entitlements, we are susceptible to becoming disappointed, resentful, and even bitter when our expectations go unmet. Ask the Lord if you need to relinquish any rights that may be hindering your freedom to experience His love and grace.

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DATE: 5/06/06

Verse of the day

“ Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. ”- James 5:16

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DATE: 5/04/06

Verse of the day

“ if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ”- 2 Chronicles 7:14

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Our Labor in the Lord


by Os Hillman, May 3, 2006

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:58

There is a paradigm shift going on among a remnant of workplace believers today. That paradigm shift is a focus on using our business and work life as a platform for ministry versus a platform solely for material success. There is a remnant of workplace believers throughout the world today who understand their birthright in the workplace is to reflect Christ fully in and through their work. It is reflected by a commitment to use their resources and skills to provide a product of excellence with the overall motive to affect people for Jesus Christ. The difference is that these individuals have an overriding ministry objective to their work.

When the apostle Paul tells us to fully work unto the Lord, he does not mean we must be working as missionaries in "full-time Christian effort." He understands that all of life is holy and sacred to God. If our motive is to serve God where we are, then our labor "in the Lord is not in vain."

As you begin your work today, ask God if you are working with the primary motive of reflecting His life and character through your work on this day. Let nothing move you from this motive being central to your activity. The Lord will reflect His power and leading in and through your life when this becomes your primary motive.

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DATE: 5/02/06

Verse of the day

“ This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ”- 1 John 5:14-15

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Being Given Over to Death

by Os Hillman, May 1, 2006

For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake.... So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. - 2 Corinthians 4:11-12

It is the great mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Death gives life. Jesus' death on the cross gave life. The death of a vision brings new vision. The death of a seed gives new life. It is the central focus of God's requirement for experiencing Him - death. When Jesus extended us an invitation to experience salvation and a relationship with Him, it came with a great cost, our very lives. Yet what we don't realize is that until we relinquish our total lives, we really aren't living at all. Without this death we will continue to strive, manipulate, and fret over every detail of life. It is when we finally say, "Yes, Lord, I am Yours completely," that we experience real freedom for the first time. This is the only time when Christ is fully seen in and through our lives. Christ describes our lives as vessels-vessels for Him to be revealed in and seen by others.

How is your vessel today? When people look inside, will they see a life that is dead to all things, save the life of Christ revealed? In the workplace, we are faced with challenges each day that seek to instill fear and control at every turn, but Christ says He wants to live through your life in the workplace. He wants to reveal Himself to your fellow workers today. However, He can only do this if our vessel is free of ourselves. Ask Jesus what things must die today in order for Him to live completely in and through you.

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DATE: 5/1/06

Verse of the day

“ And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ”- Hebrews 11:6

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Avoiding Self-Based Faith

by Os Hillman, April 30, 2006

We live by faith, not by sight. - 2 Corinthians 5:7

Over the years I have run into many businessmen who make the statement, "Whenever I get things in order in my business, I want to get more involved in ministry." What are these men really saying? They are saying that as soon as they can get the amount of money that creates security, they will trust God. They are saying that what they have been doing to date has not been ministry. This separation of "work and faith" is common among our culture. We fail to understand that life is sacred to God and there is nothing "holy" and nothing "sacred" in itself.

I would love to hear one workplace believer say, "I have spent my life in this business. The Lord has blessed me with great resources. However, now I want to see His faithfulness in this stage of my life. That is why I am giving away my wealth and trusting Him to provide for me through new ways." Wouldn't that be a novel concept? That is exactly what C.T. Studd, the great cricket player in the 1800s, did. He was reared in a wealthy home, but his deep conversion experience led him to take actions that forced him to trust God in ways he never had to before. He became one of the great missionaries of all time.

Whenever we seek to plan ways of ministry that depend on our ability to manipulate and plan outcome, this is not faith. The ministry that comes from this will be minuscule. Faith that bears fruit is faith that is born from experience with a living God. It is faith that says, "I don't know where the next check is coming from. All I know is that God told me to do this and trust Him for the next step." That is faith that moves mountains and moves God's heart. God rarely allows His servant to see beyond the next faith step. However, those who are willing to take the first step and leave the outcome to Him see His works.

Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord... (Psalm 107:23-24).

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DATE: 4/28/06

Verse of the day

“ Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! ”- Philippians 2:5-8

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DATE: 4/27/2006

Verse of the day

“ For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”- Luke 19:10

http://www.biblegateway.com/

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DATE:  4/25/06

Verse of the day

“ To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. ”- Colossians 1:27-28

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DATE: 4/23/06

Verse of the day

“ It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.”- Romans 14:11

Today's passage is from the New International Version.

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DATE: 4/22/06

Verse of the day

“ For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. ”- Romans 1:20

Today's passage is from the New International Version.

www.biblegateway.com

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Death and Birth of a Vision
DATE: Apr 19 2006, 12:23 pm

Death and Birth of a Vision


by Os Hillman, March 16, 2006
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. - John 12:24

Almost every significant thing God births He allows to die before the vision is fulfilled in His own way.

. Abraham had a vision of being the father of a great nation (birth).
Sarah was barren and became too old to have children (death). God gave Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age. He became the father of a great nation (fulfillment).

. Joseph had a vision that he would be a great leader and that many would bow down to him (birth). Joseph's brothers sold him to some merchants and he became a slave. Later he was falsely condemned to spend his years in prison (death). God allowed Joseph to interpret the dreams of the butler and baker and later the king, whereupon, he was made a ruler in the land (fulfillment).

. Moses had a vision of leading his people out of the bondage of Egypt (birth). Pharaoh as well as his own people drove Moses out of Egypt after Moses' first attempt to relieve their bondage (death). God gave Moses signs and wonders to convince Pharaoh to free the people and bring them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land (fulfillment).

. The disciples had a vision of establishing the Kingdom of God with Jesus (birth). The very ones He came to save killed Jesus, and the disciples saw Him buried in a tomb (death). God raised Jesus from the dead, and the disciples performed great miracles until the gospel had spread through all the world (fulfillment).

. A grain of wheat has a "vision" of reproducing itself and many more grains of wheat (birth). The grain dies in the ground (death). A harvest springs up out of the very process of "death" in the ground (fulfillment).

Has God given you a vision that is yet unfulfilled? If that vision is born of God, He will raise it up in His own way. Do not try to raise the vision in your own strength. Like Moses, who tried to fulfill the vision of freeing the Hebrews by killing the Egyptian, it will only fail. But wait on your heavenly Father to fulfill the vision. Then you will know that it was His vision when He fulfills it in the way only He can do.

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Time to Hear
DATE: Apr 18 2006, 11:05 am

Time to Hear
by Os Hillman, February 13, 2006
He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him. - John 14:21b

We live in a day of 12-step programs for this, four points to success for that, and all forms of programmed means of becoming successful.
Have you ever wondered how you can guarantee a greater revelation of Jesus in your life? Jesus tells us how this can be done. It is all tied to obedience. In John, He tells us the following: "Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him" (Jn. 14:21). The key here is in the last three words. He will show Himself to us because of our loving Him through our obedience.
The more obedient we become, the more revelation of His presence we will feel in our life. Jeremiah tells us, "Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know"
(Jer. 33:3).

Many Christians wonder why they cannot hear or sense God's presence in their life. It is because they do not seek Him with a whole heart, and they are not obedient to the things He has asked. God does not show us the next move until we are obedient to the first thing He has spoken to us. It is a progressive process. He entrusts the small things to us first, then moves us to the larger. I was like many today who are so focused on seeking the activity of God rather than seeking God Himself. Hebrews tells us that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. In the Old Testament we are told, "But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 4:29).

I realized if I was going to hear God's voice, I had to make time to seek Him and hear Him. I had to spend focused time alone reading, studying, and seeking His face only. Jesus set the model for this when He often left the crowds to be alone and seek His heavenly Father. I also had to tune my "radio" to His frequency. Static comes into that frequency when I am disobedient. My level of seeking determines the power of my "radio" to reach Him. The more I seek Him, the more I hear Him. Seek the Lord today so that you may be empowered by His presence.

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The Training Ground of God
DATE: Apr 17 2006, 11:03 pm

by Os Hillman, March 21, 2006
Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. - Psalm 144:1

David was a man skilled in war. From his days as a shepherd boy to the days of serving in Saul's army to leading his own army, David learned to be a skillful warrior. How does one become a skillful warrior?

The only way one can become a skillful warrior is to be trained and placed in the middle of the battle. It is only when we are placed in the furnace of battle that we truly learn to fight the real battles.
Practice doesn't make you battle ready. War games won't prepare you for facing your real enemy in the battlefield. The stark reality of being in the midst of the battle makes us effective warriors.

Simply reading your Bible will not make you a warrior for the Kingdom.
Knowledge without experience is mere folly. Only when you are placed in situations where there is nothing or no one who can save you but God will you learn the lessons of warrior faith. This is the training ground of God, which will make you into a soldier for Christ in the workplace. Consider it to be suicidal faith - faith that says I want to be dead to anything that keeps me from fulfilling God's purposes for my life. It is when your efforts can do nothing to change your circumstance and you are at the mercy of God. These are the real training grounds of God. Do not shrink back from the battle that God may be leading you to today. It may be a training ground that is necessary for the calling He has on your life.

If you can trust Him in these times, you'll know that you have gained a faith that will move mountains and will sustain you in the most difficult of circumstances. "Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle."

See Ann's 2007-2008 Blog:  www.AtlantaMama.blogspot.com

II Cor. 4:18
I Peter 4:11