Encouraged in the Lord

1Sam 27-30 JJot Saul y David Crsn Clp Art     Once when Saul and his army pursued David, David and his men lived for over a year in the Philistine town of Ziklag. At one point, the Philistines prepared to go to battle with Israel. The Philistine king Achish asked David and his men to go with them, which they were going to do. However, the Philistine commanders rejected David, so King Achish sent him and his men back to Ziklag. But when David and his army got home three days later, they found that the Amalekites had attacked Ziklag and had taken as prisoners all the people remaining there, including women and children. (From 1 Samuel 27-30)
“Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. …6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:4, 6)
One teacher connected verse 6 above to Ephesians 5:18-20 (“…Instead [of being drunk with wine], be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”). We can encourage not only ourselves, but also others, in the Lord our God.
Dear Father, when distressing things happen, let me encourage and strengthen myself in YOU. Oh may I quickly turn to You and seek and wait on You so my strength can be renewed (Isaiah 40:31)! Yes, as I trust in You, I find that inner peace that enables me to face what life throws at me. You, Lord, are my joy, source of strength, victory, and song. Amen.
(Scriptures are New King James Version).

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Holy and Beloved

Colossians 3:12-14 “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” [New Living Translation (NLT)]
Because I’m chosen, set apart, and loved by God, I can show mercy to others, act kindly, have a meek attitude, exercise patience, and think, behave, and speak humbly. In fact these attributes reflect Christ’s character, which I’m called to do, and which I want to do. I can and want to “cut some slack” for others and quickly forgive from my heart when others offend me, because I, myself, am forgiven because of Christ.
And most of all, I need to allow God’s unconditional love to flow through me to those with whom I interact.

sailboat-300x225-by Berton Brown        Romans 13:12-14 also talks about the way I need to live as one of God’s people: “…Remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in darkness…. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” (NLT)
How do I do this? Maybe I could set the sail of my will to quit responding to situations in my usual way—suspicion, anger, or self-focus. Instead I would decide to respond with trust in God, remembering His goodness, love and care. Maybe it would help to practice His presence all the time by remembering that He is here and then focusing on Him rather than things of earth. [Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (New King James Version)
(Sailboat picture found by “GoodSearch.” Artist Berton Brown.)

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Good and Evil grow together in the Real world

triciajots4jesus:

Pastor Tom makes some excellent points from the parable of the wheat and weeds and the parable of the fishing net in Matthew 13.

Originally posted on Clear Bible:

wheatandweeds

We should be comforted by these words, knowing that it is okay to be honestly ignorant, and to ask Jesus for help understanding. We should be blessed in knowing that our real life experience of seeing good and evil jumbled together is normal. We should rejoice in the word promises that through Jesus we are made righteous and shall shine like the sun in our Father’s kingdom.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 43

Matthew #43 . Matthew 13;24-58

24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants…

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Unfailing Love, Vast As the Heavens

Bible icon Chrstn Clickart p216    Psalms 36:5, 7-8 “Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds…. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights” (New Living Translation)
Thank You, Lord, for letting us drink from Your river of delights (or as the New King James puts it, the river of Your pleasures). Thank You for Your written Word, O Lord and for the hymns I grew up with. They seem to me to be gifts of love from Your river of delights. You are so good to us, Lord!
“From our mother’s arms [You have] blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love” (from “Now Thank We All Our God”). Countless gifts of love—like the hymns, the Scriptures, my learning to sing harmony, the help to believe Your love for me as an individual, a song on the radio that calmed one of my fears at just the right time, a letter that calmed me in panic, an ability to read music, the hymn books I have, and on and on. Also Lord, Your nearness, compassion, and tender mercies are gifts of Your love.
Part of the first verse of the hymn “I Am Thine, O Lord,” says, “I have heard Thy voice, and it told Thy love to me.” Yes, every time You speak and help me to hear is a gift that tells Your love to me.
The first 2 verses of “This Is My Father’s World” remind me that You speak to me through nature and that You speak to me everywhere. Thank You!MUSIC1
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy [or “faithful love”] endures forever.” (Psalms 136:1 New King James Version)
Every good and perfect (appropriate, timely) gift is from You. As Ps. 36:7 says, “How precious is Your unfailing love (lovingkindness), O God!”

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Whosoever Will

I loved the January 31, 2015, devotion in the “Our Daily Bread” booklet titled “A Closing Door,” written by Poh Fang Chia. I wish everyone who doesn’t know Jesus Christ as Savior would read it and heed the invitation there. It can be found at http://odb.org/2015/01/31/a-closing-door/ .

It reminded me of the old hymn “Come to the Feast.” A web page with that hymn is https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/1330 . Lyrics include “Come for the door is open wide,” and “Hear the invitation, Come, whosoever will;” and “Delay not while this day is thine, Tomorrow may never be,” among others.

Later in the day, I read an e-mail from one of my uncles that echoed the invitation in the “A Closing Door” devotion, and I have his permission to pass it on to you:

“This time in reading through this wonderful collection of books we call the Bible, I am not on the alert for sermon material, but I’m finding the reading even more rewarding. Strange isn’t it?

“I’m reading about the great care that was to be given to the lamb that was to be killed so that Israel’s descendants might live. The firstborn son of every household would die without the blood of that lamb, that perfect lamb, that pet of the family, loved, kept close, then slain, its blood applied on the door posts and lintel of every home, for the death angel is no respecter of persons. Each firstborn male not covered by the blood died. They did not have to. Safety was provided, the message was proclaimed, time was given and action was urged. But the choice was individual. The choice is still individual. The Lamb has been slain, His blood spilled, the blood applied to the door. If you will, come in, stay in. Choice is yours. This is not a church thing; it is a faith thing. It is a Jesus Christ dying on the cross thing, only begotten Son of God thing; it is a being saved or forever lost thing.

“And it is the passion thing of every man, woman or youth called out to ‘go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,’ thing. You pray, prepare and you go. It may be next door or the remote places of the world, but you go.

“So says an old evangelist, pastor and missionary. My name is just Dale, thank you.”light-on-door-at-the-end-of-tunnel_w725_h544-pub dom img

The last line of Poh Fang Chia’s devotion says, “Today Jesus invites, ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved’ (John 10:9).

Have you answered Him?

(Photo courtesy http://www.public-domain-image.com )

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He Satisfies Our Deepest Thirst

Bible-text- pub dom pic -Petr Kratochvil    Nehemiah 8:12 “And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them [the Book of the Law of Moses].”
Yes, what reason for rejoicing—to hear and understand God’s Word! (The people in this verse understood because the leaders and Levites “gave the sense and helped them to understand the reading….” –Nehemiah 8:8)
Thank You, Father, for the insight You give me into Your Word by Your Holy Spirit and by good teachers who “give the sense and help me understand.” Amen.
I’m reminded of a hymn we sang at church when I was a youth. The first verse says, “… Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.”* The song in turn reminds me of Psalm 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God….”
The “sacred page,” God’s written Word leads us to Jesus, the Living Word, and He satisfies our deepest thirst. break bread- pub dom pics- Gustavo Di Nucci

 

*“Break Thou the Bread of Life” by Mary Ann Lathbury and William F. Sherwin. Music and lyrics at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp8oi0qjanU. More information about the hymn at http://www.lectionary.org/HymnStories/Break%20Thou%20the%20Bread%20of%20Life.htm
(Pictures public domain courtesy of http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/hledej.php?hleda=Bible&x=24&y=16     Bread picture by Gustavo Di Nucci; Bible picture by Petr Kratochvil.)
(Scripture quotes are New King James Version.)

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A DAY OF RULES, OR A DAY OF REST?

triciajots4jesus:

Excellent sermon on keeping the Sabbath.

Originally posted on Clear Bible:

sabbath rest

What the Pharisees did was to change the Sabbath from a picture of God’s holiness into a series of steps you could follow. It was no longer a challenge that made you turn to God in desperation. It wasn’t even any more an invitation to rest in God’s grace and trust Him to take care of you. Instead, it was a series of boxes that you checked off in order to feel good about yourself

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 38

Matthew #38 . Matthew 12:1-13

I think that one of the most frequently misunderstood things in the gospels is Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees. Many people think that Jesus had a particular problem with them because they were religious and traditional…

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