To everyone who shares with us in the privilege of
believing that our God and Savior Jesus Christ will do what is just and fair.
I pray that God will be kind to you and will let you
live in perfect peace! May you keep learning more and more about God and our
as the Lord’s Followers
We have everything we need to live a life that
pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power, when we learned that he
had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. God made great and marvelous promises, so
that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires
and the corrupt influences of this world.
Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this
by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern
for others, and love. If you keep
growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus
Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful.
2 Peter 1:1-8 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
If ever we begin to doubt that we can "improve our faith," God inspired Peter to write these words for us to read more than 2,000 years later. Peter was a man who walked with Jesus for three years and denied Him three times just before He was crucified. Many believe that is why Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, and told him three times to "feed My sheep." Then Christ filled Peter with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8) and sent this fisherman out to "fish for people" (Mark 1:17).
God gives us what we need to live a life that is pleasing to Him. He asks only that we do our best. As He examines our hearts, He knows our weaknesses but He also knows His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses when we put our trust in His help. It is God's nature, which we receive through His Spirit when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, that empowers us to do good and to love others. We have an enemy in this world who seeks to destroy us and without God's help, we are already defeated. Our freedom in Christ comes from knowing our Lord Jesus Christ. It took a lot for Peter to truly know and believe the Man He followed for all that time. Even after all the miracles Peter witnessed Jesus perform, it still took the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus for him to truly understand what was really going on. It took the Holy Spirit indwelling Him. Peter bids us to keep learning. He encourages us to keep growing. We are to keep adding to our faith "goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love."
If it sounds like a lot of work, we must remember that we don't work alone. Anything we do that is pleasing to God, that will give our lives meaning and fulfill His purpose for our existence, He will empower us to do. That's His nature.
How long, O Lord, must I
call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!”
I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these
evil deeds? Why must I watch all this
misery? Wherever I look, I see
destruction and violence. I am
surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no
justice in the courts. The wicked far
outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.
The Lord’s Reply
“Look around at the nations; look and be
amazed! For I am doing
something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told
you about it.”
Habakkuk’s Second Complaint
O Lord my God, my Holy
One, you who are eternal— surely you do not plan to wipe us out? O Lord, our
Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us, to punish us for our many
sins. But you are pure and cannot stand
the sight of evil. Will you wink at
their treachery? Should you be silent
while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they?
The Lord’s Second Reply
“Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a
runner can carry the correct message to others.
This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for
it will surely take place. It will not
This prayer was sung by
the prophet Habakkuk:
I have heard all about
you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your
amazing works. In this time of our deep
need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy.
Excerpts from New Living Translation (NLT)
THANK YOU, JESUS!!
Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom!
And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with
worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander.
He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t
quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!
Hebrews 12:28-29 The Message (MSG)
An unshakable Kingdom is one that does not move and does not change. God will change and cleanse us because He loves us too much to leave us as we were when we let Him come to live in our hearts. He sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him because God doesn't do sin. Jesus gave His sinless life in exchange for our sinful lives. As we believe in His sacrifice, we are now safely back in the hands of the Potter. To we who stand in the righteousness of God's only begotten Son through faith, God will complete His perfecting work on our lives. We must be thankful because there was no way we could do this for ourselves.
God is our Creator and the good work He performs while perfecting our lives will continue until Christ returns (Philippians 1:6). He knows us by name and had a purpose for our existence in this world. When we fall short of God's glory, He does not stop loving us but He works through Christ and the Holy Spirit to clean us up. One method of this cleansing is to burn off the residual remnant of the sins that once covered us and kept us bound. The enemy still throws temptations our way in an attempt to dirty up our new lives in Christ, but we are now covered by Jesus' blood.
Believers, this is what we've got: an unshakable Kingdom promised to us forever. Our God is an all consuming Fire! We've got lots of reasons to be thankful and brim with worship. He's working things out for our good and His glory. Let's give Him praise.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid
down his life for us. And we ought to
lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a
brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be
in that person? Dear children, let us
not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and
how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:
If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts,
and he knows everything. Dear friends, if
our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from
him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the
name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in
him, and he in them. And this is how we
know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 3:16-24 New International Version (NIV)
The Bible is similar to a manual that comes with something we acquire that requires instructions for its use. Sometimes, we don't feel we need the manual until something doesn't work right with the item. It is then we scramble to find that little book that came in the package and try to figure out what may have gone wrong with it's assembly or how we're using it. I love this particular translation of Scripture because it is very clear that we are being instructed on the way to live by the inspired Word of God. "This is how we know . . ." is stated several times in these nine verses.
Jesus came to show us how to live by dying on a cross for our sins. This was love the world had never known. Because of this love and our faith and belief in who He is and all He did to demonstrate His love, we are given the chance to live forever in His Kingdom. It is a reasonable sacrifice to show our appreciation for what we have been freely given by actively loving others. We are instructed to do so in truth by our actions. We can't talk our way to proving our love for someone else to Someone who died to show His love for us. Although some try.
Hearts that condemn are hearts with guilty consciences. We, who believe in Christ as our Savior, enjoy the comfort and help of the Holy Spirit but the Spirit also convicts us. Since God already knows our thoughts and everything we do, the message we receive when our hearts condemn us is the Spirit giving us a head's up about what we may need to correct in our own behavior. The instructions are in the Manual.
We ask for a lot of things in prayer to our gracious and giving God. He asks that we believe in His Son, follow His commands and love one another in truth. We can do this with the help of the Holy Spirit as we follow God's Word. When we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God came to live in our hearts and we now live in Him. "And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us."
In all the work you are doing, work the best you
can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward
from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord
Christ. But remember that anyone who
does wrong will be punished for that wrong, and the Lord treats everyone the
Colossians 3:23-25 New Century Version (NCV)
Most of us work at something. Many of us work at jobs in an effort to sustain our lives by providing financial security for ourselves and our families. Some of us work in the home by caring for loved ones or maintaining our possessions. Work is often looked upon as an obligation requiring us to be available to serve someone else on certain days and at certain times. We sometimes grow weary from the routine as we toil every day. We look forward to time off from work and find ourselves wishing away our days, even at the beginning of our work week. Vacations and ultimately retirement beckon us to look forward to an extended time of rest and relaxation. But then what? What happens when we do stop working?
We also work on relationships. We work on friendship and marriage. We work at parenting and fellowship. Sometimes we even need to do some work on ourselves. Those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ experience a relationship with Him. Working out our salvation through a relationship with Christ should surpass any work that we do. When we focus on Him as the Source of our strength, He helps us get any job done. The indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to keep going, even when we grow tired and weary. As we labor daily, it is comforting to know that if we work as if we are working for the Lord, He lifts the load and lightens the burden (Matthew 11:29-30).
Today and every day, let our perspective toward our daily grind be one that reminds us that in any work we must do, we are serving the Lord Christ. From Him we will receive the strength we need to get through it and He will give us a true and lasting reward of rest when our work is done, even as we live on earth. God worked pretty hard to make this world, but He also rested. He knows the needs of the people He created in His image. And remember, whoever may think they are the "boss of you" reports to Jesus too.
“I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until
your hair is white with age. I made you,
and I will care for you. I will carry
you along and save you.
“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal? Some people pour out their silver and gold and
hire a craftsman to make a god from it. Then
they bow down and worship it! They carry
it around on their shoulders, and when they set it down, it stays there. It can’t even move! And when someone prays to it, there is no
answer. It can’t rescue anyone from
“Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones. Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even
happens. Everything I plan will come to
pass, for I do whatever I wish.”
Isaiah 46:4-10 New Living Translation (NLT)
Sometimes in life, we forget where we come from. Even some who know and claim Jesus Christ as Savior of the world try to take ownership of their existence and attempt to live as if they are in control of their futures. Intolerance for those less fortunate becomes the attitude and arrogance is evident in the behavior. Presenting blessings received to appear superior to others is demonstrated through prideful actions. This may not seem like a form of idolatry, but it is exactly that. When we act as if we think we are more or better than anyone, we are trying to be gods. And the true and only God does not like that. He has no equal. He alone is God. The only wise God. There is none like Him.
From before the cradle to the grave, we have a Creator who is in total control of all He has made. From Alpha to Omega, beginning to end, His omnipotence is great. He demonstrates His power to us in Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He does not require our help to do anything but allows us to rely upon His help to live. He is pleased with our worship and praise when He sees it coming from sincere hearts. He desires our love and devotion, but does not need it. However, He does take notice when we are devoted to anyone or anything else. God can do whatever He wants to do. He chooses to love us in our imperfection, as ungrateful and unloving as we sometimes can be and even then He still provides for our needs. When we put Him first, we can confidently put our trust in Him.
God will not compete with any of the gods we make up, whether they be other things we put before Him or the gods we try to make of ourselves. Since He holds the future and has orchestrated the past, it is for our good to give Him glory for who He is. He is much better at being God than anyone or anything on this planet and everything He plans will come to pass. And in His Words: "Do not forget this! Keep it in mind!"
Jesus Prays on the Mount
Then, accompanied by the
disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of
Olives. There he told them, “Pray that
you will not give in to temptation.”
He walked away, about a
stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
“Father, if you are
willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will
to be done, not mine.”
Then an angel from heaven
appeared and strengthened him. He prayed
more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the
ground like great drops of blood.
At last he stood up again
and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get
up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
Luke 22:39-46 New Living
Hallowed is Your name. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Thank You for Your Son and for His sacrifice for my sin. He took the cup of suffering for me. Help me live in remembrance of Your grace. Be exalted, Father God. All honor, glory and praise I offer You. Yours is the Kingdom, power and glory forever.
In the matchless name of Jesus, my Risen Lord and Savior, I pray,
I will give you one heart and a new spirit; I will
take from you your hearts of stone and give you tender hearts of love for God, so
that you can obey my laws and be my people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 Living Bible (TLB)
Ezekiel, whose name means "God strengthens," was a priest and prophet through whom God spoke to Israel. The amazing grace of Scripture is that God speaks to us through Ezekiel today. When we begin to think that God's Word spoken in the past does not apply to us today, we need to remember that the world we live in now is the same world God created in the beginning. We are the newbies. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word is eternally true. Ezekiel is an example in the Old Testament of the Bible of just how long God has been strengthening His people. And He is still providing that same strength. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this promise of God through His prophet.
When we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. We are commanded in God's Word to not grieve the Holy Spirit by behavior and attitudes displeasing to Him (Ephesians 4:30). Our Creator sacrificed His only Son to clean up our hearts as He knew that our efforts to do so were futile. God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us keep our hearts clean and tender, enabling us to be obedient with hearts of love for Him. He fulfilled His promise.
As we follow Jesus with one heart filled with love for God, the new Spirit we have been given will help us to obey God's laws. Through Christ, we are now God's people and He is forever our God and no one can ever snatch us from His hands. Hallelujah!
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 New International Version (NIV)
Heads held high and chests puffed out, we sometimes strut with a determined gait in an attempt to display ourselves to others as being all that and a bag of chips. The air of self confidence we sometimes try to portray can be dangerous because obstacles in the path ahead can go unseen, blocking our progression. If we encounter a stumbling block, we trip and fall and down we go! We may as well get our heads out of the clouds because the only thing we have to brag about and be prideful of is the fact that Jesus Christ died to make us right with God. “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:31). Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
As Believers in Christ, we are called to be humble, kind and loving. Just like He was. Our confidence should come from knowing we are loved and cared for by our Creator, who provides for all our needs. Our blessing is in WHOSE we are not who we are. As we hold our heads up high, we are to look to the hills, which is where our help comes from. And we usually bow our heads in prayer.
With God on our side, we don't need the swagger. We can humbly watch our steps as we walk through this world because God is ordering them and He won't let us fall. Let's take pride in that.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the
bitterness and the gall. I well remember
them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not
consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore
I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to
the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:19-26 New International Version (NIV)
Memories are like a door in our minds that seems to open up at times we least expect them to. Sometimes all it takes is a color, a fragrance or a song to stir our thoughts and bring things back to remembrance. We remember times of joy and times of sadness. Sometimes recalling the sad times we have endured has a way of making us relive and actually feel the pain of what we went through back then. But God calls us to remember His constant presence and His faithfulness as we reflect on the past. We come to realize that we indeed survived those painful times. Whatever we may have experienced did not consume us. That gives us hope for our future. "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him . . ."
When we put our trust in God, we find we have new mercy every morning. Our never-sleeping, ever-watching, always-loving God has compassion upon us that never fails, even when we sometimes fail to remember this ourselves. In any circumstance, we can call to mind good thoughts ((Philippians 4:8) and restore our joy and hope as we wait on God. We can use our memories to remember His goodness.
With the Lord as our portion, we may stumble through the day and struggle through the night, but we must always remember that His mercy is new each day when He wakes us up. He gives us a new day full of hope as we wait on Him.