Hope for today: not a myth

Hope16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory:

This is My beloved Son.
I take delight in Him!

18 And we heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:16-19

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

Encouragement in the Lord

2 Corinthians 1.3and4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  2 Corinthians 1:3-7

The Apostle Paul founded the church at Corinth and ministered there for 1 1/2 years. The church experienced some trouble after Paul was no longer there and he sent Timothy to the church to deal with the issues. The issues persisted and Paul had to visit the church himself to deal with those involved but issue was not resolved. He later sent Titus with a stern letter and Titus was able to report that problem was resolved.

Paul then wrote a second letter – 2 Corinthians with encouragement as one of the aims. As we look at the verses above from the letter, two things are very clear:

  1. believers can expect trouble and suffering
  2. comfort (encouragement) is available in God

Life comes with the “stuff” whether it is with the church, at home, at work, within the family, outside the family, in the world and on and on. There are times that we are hurting, disappointed, troubled, anxious and even depressed. I would dare to say that we all at one point or the other in life have had our moments of being the bear in the image below.

2 Corin 1.3-4

Look at his little eyes and mouth, his hand position and we know that he is sad and despondent. There is pain, suffering, anxiety that came about due to the circumstances and situations of life. Sometimes, the press can be so bad that even getting out the bed is a little too much.

I know that I have had those days in my life and have learned that one of the best ways around discouragement and depression is to move my focus from myself and my circumstance to the God who loves me so much that He gave His Son so we could have intimate relationship. This movement always begins with praise of the One, True and Living God and thanking Him that He is indeed my Father and I am His child.

It is my way of doing as the Psalmist declared in Psalm 24, Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle (vs 7-8).” It is then that I am able to begin to defeat the enemy of soul and preach the Word over myself.

No matter what your battle may be today, please know that the King of Glory is strong and mighty in battle. This alone is worthy of our praise and should bring comfort and encouragement to our souls but look at verse 3 as well and find the listing of reasons to praise our God.

  • He is God
  • He is Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • He is the Father of compassion
  • He is the God of all comfort
  • He comforts us in all our troubles

He is the God who will make His presence known right in the room with us and strengthen us to respond to His command to “…Get up! Pick up your mat and walk (John 5:8).”

Yes, comfort is available in God. He will use His Word, His Spirit, and sometimes He sends someone like Paul who can encourage to walk by faith and not sight, to endure suffering to His glory and blessing of others. We will talk about that on tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m lifting up my head and letting the King of Glory come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle!

Psalm 24.8

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Sing to the Lord a new song!

Psalm 149.4

Psalm 149 (ESV)

Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise in the assembly of the godly!
Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
    let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Let them praise his name with dancing,
    making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
    he adorns the humble with salvation.
Let the godly exult in glory;
    let them sing for joy on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats
    and two-edged swords in their hands,
to execute vengeance on the nations
    and punishments on the peoples,
to bind their kings with chains
    and their nobles with fetters of iron,
to execute on them the judgment written!
    This is honor for all his godly ones.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 149.1

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Eyes lifted to the Lord…

Psalm 123

To You I lift up my eyes,
    O You who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants
    look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
    to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    till He has mercy upon us. Psalm 123:1-2

These verses so put me in mind of John, chapter 6, when many of the people decided that Jesus’ teaching about feeding on His flesh and drinking His blood was a hard teaching and turned back (John 6). Afterward Jesus had a question for the twelve:

67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  John 6:67-69

Peter got it right…

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” 1 Timothy 2:5

Psalm 121.1-2.png

John 6.68-69

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The Word!

Psalm 119.160

Blessings today! We continue in a focus on “The Word of God” with Scripture and quotes from Tozer and others. Be blessed this day!

Word 21
The Word 1
Word 20
The Word 2

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55: 11

word-22.png
The Word 3
word-19.png
The Word 4

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

Word 3
The Word 5
Word 18
The Word 6

 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

Word 5
The Word 7
Word 16
The Word 8

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4

word-16.jpg
The Word 9
Word 9
The Word 11

He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction. Psalm 107:20

Word 7
The Word 12
Word 8
The Word 13

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Numbers 23:19

Psalm.133

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Bless the Name of the Lord!

Psalm 34.1a“…God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.”
1 Timothy 6:15b-16

We have so many reasons to give the One True and Living God praise, honor, and glory – to bow before Him in worship! He has so lovingly and graciously reveals Himself in His Word! We don’t have to read too long and there He is! As I read the verse above in my devotions, I was blessed to behold His beauty, His power, His majesty, His greatness! How Great is our God!

I am Jesus

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-18
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Jesus

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Conquered by the blood of Jesus

Revelation 12.11

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Revelation 12:7-11

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,

    but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  Hebrews 10:5-10

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Mind renewal…

Romans 12.2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Romans 12:2a ESV

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Romans 12:2a NIV

“And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes].” (Romans 12:2a)

Our Sunday School lessons this quarter are focused around “God’s Urgent Call.” So far, we have looked at specific individuals and the life lessons we can learn from their responses to the assignments God gave them. Eventually, we will study God’s call to specific action on our part. The call to witness, the call to obedience, the call to shine like the stars, etc. AND the call to transformation…”transformation by the renewing of your mind.”

No matter what your Bible translation preference may be, for the most part there is no change in the words used, “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let’s face it, each person God created has a mind and the One who created us knows that our minds have been impacted by sin and need to renewed by His Spirit and Word.

I am reminded of the principle that states “salvation is the miracle of the moment, sanctification is the work of a lifetime.” This is what Paul was saying in Philippians 2:12b, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” When we accept Jesus and our Lord and Savior, the setting apart to and for God begins and setting apart from sin, evil and the enemy begins as well with our participating in this work.

The Lord is so gracious to call us to transformation from that old man mind (thinking) to the renewed mind (thinking) in Christ. He gave us our minds and now compels to use them for His glory. Is this not what the Lord speaks through Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:20, Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. Let your thinking align with the Word of God. It is light and it is truth; it will not change.

Mind renewal doesn’t just happen with one quick zap but is much like tenderizing a piece of meat…poke it, soak it, cook it, chew it, digest it. In other words, as God said in Isaiah 1:18, “come let us reason together.” Let there be many Selah, pause and ponder, moments of talking to God, asking questions, praying for understanding and wisdom. In fact, not moments but meditating upon the Word both day and night. Joshua 1:8 says it like this, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Romans says it in a nutshell, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

The transformation takes place in the moving of the Word from the head to the heart. God promised in Ezekiel 36:26, And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so 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, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-16

What an awesome grace of God, to be instructed by His Spirit and Word…the living Wordfrom the One, True and Living God! We cannot instruct the Lord and our finite minds pale in comparison to His infinite knowledge and wisdom but the verses above encourage us to be transformed in our minds and therefore align our hearts and minds- thoughts, beliefs, actions so we no longer conform to this world but to His mind, will, ways, purposes and plans.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.  Psalm 19:7-11

Oh my, what a great privilege – all for His glory!

Psalm 1.2-3

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Psalm 71…so full of praise and encouragement

Psalm 71.14

Psalm 71 is just so sweet, like honey from the honeycomb…so much praise and exaltation to the Almighty, Sovereign, Creator God! Surely, the Holy Word brings light, life, hope and expectation.

In You, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In Your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn Your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for You are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

For You have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on You;
    You brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
    You are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with Your praise,
    declaring Your splendor all day long.

Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
    those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue him and seize him,
    for no one will rescue him.”
12 Do not be far from me, my God;
    come quickly, God, to help me.
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
    may those who want to harm me
    be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 As for me, I will always have hope;
    I will praise You more and more.

15 My mouth will tell of Your righteous deeds,
    of Your saving acts all day long—
    though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
    I will proclaim Your righteous deeds, Yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, You have taught me,
    and to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare Your power to the next generation,
    Your mighty acts to all who are to come.

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
    You who have done great things.
    Who is like You, God?
20 Though You have made me see troubles,
    many and bitter,
    You will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
    You will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
    and comfort me once more.

22 I will praise You with the harp
    for Your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to You with the lyre,
    Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
    when I sing praise to You—
    I whom You have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of Your righteous acts
    all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
    have been put to shame and confusion. Psalm 71

Psalm 71.23

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Hope for today: a new heaven and a new earth

HopeThen I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 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, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell 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.” Revelation 21:1-4

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior