3 Ways Worry Is Useless


Keep the Fire Burning

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and Yahweh’s glory filled the house. 2 Chronicles 7:1 WEB

When the Israelites built the tabernacle and the altar under the guidance of Moses, God lit the fire (Leviticus 9:23). Then the priests were ordered to never let the flame go out. They were to put new wood on it each morning (Leviticus 6:12). Later, when they built the temple of Solomon, God lit that fire too, and then the priests were ordered to keep the fire burning continuously.

God starts the fire inside of each of us when we first come to Him, but we are to keep the fire burning. You can take an ember out of a roaring fire and set it on the mantle by itself, and when it is alone, it will soon grow cold. If you place it back into the fireplace with the other embers, then it will glow hot again.

Daily prayer, worship, study, hearing the word of God, and being around others that have the fire, will all help keep your inner fire burning. God started it, but we have to keep the fire burning. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. No one said that it would be easy. Adam and Eve lived in the garden, but everyone since then has struggled just like us. If you have never been through anything, then you don’t have much to share with others. You can do this and with God’s help you will make it through.

Prayer: Heavenly Father please light the fire inside of me and give me the grace to keep it burning. I welcome You into my life Lord Jesus. Shine Your love through me. Teach me all about You, I want to know every detail. Please guide my steps, open the doors that I should go through and close the doors that I should stay out of, in Your name I pray.

Learning The Language Of Lament (Part Two)

At the local music store you notice an interesting book entitled Praises. As you open the book you realize it’s over a hundred songs of praise to God. So, what type of songs would you expect in a book with the title Praises? What do you expect of the music? The lyrics? What does it feel like?

When I hear the word “praise” I tend to think of upbeat, celebratory, and exulting type of music. I expect lyrics about how wonderful things are in our life with Jesus, meditations on everything he has accomplished for us, with upbeat music accompanying the mostly positive lyrics.

This is why I’m a bit shocked to discover that the book of Psalms (a translation of the Hebrew word for praises) is filled with over sixty songs of lament. At least 40% of the songs are about bad situations and praying that God will deliver you from them. Some of them (like Psalm 88) do not strike on positive chord.

That is only the Psalms. The book of Job, Habakkuk, and several others are filled with examples of lament. Some of the most quoted Psalms in the New Testament are those of lament. And an entire book of the Bible is called Lamentations. The songbook, the language, that God has given us to speak is one filled with lament.

What is a biblical lament?

I define it as an expression which serves as a Godward plea for help in a distressful situation.

More: http://www.mikeleake.net/2017/11/learning-the-language-of-lament-part-two.html

Remarkable Bible Memorization


God’s will in seven words

In his mercy and kindness, the God of the universe revealed his will to us. It’s not discovered through an arduous quest of pagan practices bordering on divination, as described in Bruce Waltke’s excellent book. Instead we open the Bible, and there it is. These simple principles apply to everyone, in them we find our joy and purpose.

The next time you or someone you care about is wrestling with the will of God, try helping them out with these seven words. Knowledge: Romans 2:18 …and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law…

Context is important because the Jews are being rebuked for hypocrisy, claiming to know the will of God, but rejecting it (see 2:24). However, the problem is not with the Word, but with the hypocrite who enforces it on others, while rejecting it himself. To know his will means being instructed in what is excellent in the sight of God.

Discernment: Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.



Continue reading: http://thecripplegate.com/gods-will-in-seven-words/


Here’s where the story ends

Everyone reads a book differently. Some people like to read the final page and know where the story is heading, others like to be kept in suspense until the very end. I happen to be married to the former, my wife cannot watch a movie without knowing exactly how the story ends. I, on the other hand, like the only man in the town who hasn’t heard the final score on cup final day, am desperate to keep the end a mystery!

There’s something of that in the biblical story of redemption. We’ve read ahead, and we know exactly how the story finishes: the lamb that was slain will be the lamb that reigns! He has defeated death, yet we await the turning of the final page; we know Christ’s victory in part, but there is much to happen before the story is finally complete.

Wholly redeemed

The Bible looks to a final chapter in the story of redemption called glorification. It is the moment when Christ returns, the dead are raised, and all the redeemed are instantaneously transformed into the glorious likeness of Christ. Paul describes the scene, ‘the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed’ (1 Corinthians 15:52).

If you’re a Christian, your death won’t be the end of your story. You will pass into the presence of God, and you will know complete peace and joy, but that still will not be the end. The story only truly ends when Christ’s Easter resurrection victory is fully experienced by all of creation, both spiritually and materially. Christ died to pay the penalty for sin, he was raised that we might live as justified children of God. However, his redemptive work not only frees us from sin’s penalty but from all of its effects and consequences, including death. When Christ returns and the dead are raised, death itself will be undone, creation will be freed from its destructive grip. We may be born again and alive in the Spirit today, but it is only then that ‘the mortal will put on immortality’ (1 Corinthians 15:54).

God’s image restored

Continue: https://www.evangelicalmagazine.com/article/glorification/

Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~ Casting Crowns



A prayer about loving

The end of all things is at hand and sober minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s very grace. 1 Peter 4. 7 – 10

Dear Jesus, may Peter’s words sink and settle deep into my heart. If I really believe the end of all things is at hand, if I really believe that your return could happen within my lifetime, it seems he would make a significant difference in how I live and love.

Whenever I attend a funeral, I always go away with a sense of my mortality and the fragility of life. At least for a few days, I hug loved ones a little tighter and linger little longer any conversations. But then it’s back to normal, and the same old harried pace takes over in the same old broken patterns and relationships resume.

Normal sinners go on loving as normal sinners do: rather than covering sins, we get irritated with one another’s sins; rather than welcoming one another without grumbling, we guard our own space with complaining; rather than using our gifts to serve each other, we hoard your grace to satisfy ourselves; rather than administering your multifaceted grace to one another, we withhold it from one another. Yet the end of all things is at hand. God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Jesus, please bring the gospel to bear in fresh and powerful ways in my way of relating to others. I don’t want to love by guilt but by grace. I don’t want to love my fear but by faith. I don’t want to love with the hearts of manipulation but with the heart of ministry. I don’t want to love with a view to another funeral but with the view of your second coming. I don’t want to love to get anything but because I’ve received everything in you.

Jesus, you are the one who loves us deeply. You’re the one who has covered not just the multitude but all our sins. You’re the one who always offers us hospitality without grumbling. You’re the one who’s always serving us and giving us more grace in all its forms. Live in us and love through us, whether you return in 15 minutes or 1500 years. We pray you and your faithful name. Amen

What Are the Signs of an Emotionally Mature Christian?

Are you a mature Christian? Why are so many Christians judgmental, unaware and defensive? Part of the answer lies in a failure to biblically integrate emotional health and spiritual maturity.

A vast industry exists around emotional intelligence that ignores spirituality. A vast amount of information also exists that defines a “mature” Christian. Rarely are the two integrated.

The following are 11 signs of an emotionally mature Christian:

  1. You anchor your life in the love of Jesus. You don’t divide your life into “secular” and “sacred” compartments. Instead, you rather enjoy communion with Him in all areas of your life—work, recreation, church and parenting. Toward that end, you regularly practice spiritual disciplines (e.g., meditation on Scripture, silence, solitude, community, confession, worship) to position yourself to practice His presence all throughout the day.
  2. You break the power of the past. You can identify how issues from your family of origin (e.g., character flaws, ways of coping with pain) impact your current relationships and decisions. As a result, you are reflective and open to feedback from trustworthy sources in order to minimize the negative impact of your past and live freely in the new family of Jesus.
  3. You listen to your anger, sadness and fear. You take the necessary time to experience and process these “difficult” emotions. Thus, you are able to express anger, hurt and sadness in ways that lead to growth in others and yourself.
  4. The rest are at: https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/298849-what-are-the-signs-of-an-emotionally-mature-christian-pete-scazzero.html

The Passion Narrative

~ Merritt

Matthew 26:1-28:20

This final section of Matthew’s account of Jesus is quite interesting for several reasons and is deserving of a little extra background information. To begin, it is comprised of three parts, the first of which runs from 26:1-56 in which Jesus actively predicts and accepts the course of events that culminate in His death. In these scenes there is a cohesiveness that is comprised of Jesus’ own words that detail coming events, and even set them in motion; they are punctuation by prophetic announcements concerning upcoming scenes (See 26:3, 12, 18, 21, 24, 31, 32, 34, 45, 50, 54, 56). With this continuing contrast between Jesus’ foreknowledge and His constant determination to do the Father’s will (cf. 26:34, 39, 42, 54, 56) Matthew shows us that the Passion of Jesus was not a strange twist at the end of the story, but a conscious and voluntary self-sacrifice made to accomplish God’s will.

The second part extends from 26:57-27:50, in which Jesus moves away from being an active participant and into a passive role, seldom speaking and silently enduring pain and humiliation as God’s suffering servant. Following Jesus’ death in 27:50, God once again takes an active role in the story, confirming His pleasure with His Son’s actions through miraculous signs of approval. As a result, the mocking of the Jewish leaders in 27:38-41 is replaced by Gentile onlookers’ claim that Jesus was “the Son of God” (27:54). The Jewish leaders take every precaution to ensure that no one can claim Jesus had risen from the tomb by posting guards; yet He bursts forth from that very same tomb. You no doubt know the story and the series of events; God is quite active in the remainder of the narrative.

Continue: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/bonus-post-the-passion-narrative-2/