Free from Worry

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel

Worry not, pray always

For so often, many of the battles we are worrying about are things God never intended for our lives. We must begin to hold onto a mindset to seek Him first prior to making any decisions on our own. You have to begin to ask yourself, “Is this God approved?” Refer to James 1:12, it tells us when a man has been approved; he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to anyone who loves Him.

Let God lead you

Before you begin your day, turn on the news, or get the kids ready for school, take time to ask God for His guidance. Ask Him to guide your decisions, thoughts, words and mindset, so you can live the life God has purposed for you!

It will not grieve you

Then and only then, you may go through trials and tribulations, but it will not grieve you. Read 1 Chronicles 4:10. You will find yourself with a sense of peace (refer to John 14:27), neglecting to worry, blessed day in and day out, and living a fulfilled life because each decision has already been pre-approved by God!

Prayer. God, help me find peace from the world and my worries by turning to you on a daily basis. I wish to come to you in prayer or by searching your word for ideas and actions pre-approved by you. I’m Jesus Name. Amen.

Mindfulness. Reflect on a time when you sought God’s guidance and how the situation worked out for your good. Remember, He promises to be your shepherd so you will want for nothing, refer to Psalm 23:1.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 NIV

https://james.bible/james-1-12

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”

1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV

https://1chronicles.bible/1-chronicles-4-10

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 NIV

https://john.bible/john-14-27

This page is comprised of excerpts from the devotional found on the youversion Bible App 21 Days of Powerful Breakthroughs by Kemberley Washington. Copyright © 2013 by Kemberley Washington. Published by 21daysof.com. All rights reserved.

Bless a Mom andThe Lost Sparrow Children’s Home

Hi Friends and Readers, my good friend Lauren is raising money for a mom in India who rescues children on the street and takes care of them as her own, as well as teaches the kids the Bible as part of their education. Her detailed story is below. As you read, will you ask God if you should be blessing them with a donation? Christine Tyler – Helping Hands Ministry

Hi friends! This Mother’s Day,our family wants to invite you to partner with us in serving the poor through our non-profit organization, The Potter’s Hands. We want to help a fellow momma and sister in Christ that is caring for nine children, two her own and seven rescued. She is used to living far below the poverty level with a humble and primitive lifestyle. Cooking meals over a fire. Using candlelight when electricity is out. Washing clothes by hand. Preparing food daily because there is no fridge or storage. This primitive way of caring for the home and family can become difficult when taking in seven orphans. There is no foster care or welfare system in Bihar, India, so many children get sold into slavery or die in the streets of starvation and sickness. As would have been the case for each one of these children. The majority of them were in line to be sold, a couple of them abandoned to the slums since they were toddlers. Archana and Pastor Ruplal, with the help of Lost Sparrow Ministries, now have a fully and legallyestablished children’s home for their growing family called Lost Sparrow Children’s Home . By God’s grace and the faithfulness of His people, we have been able to provide the building, school supplies, clothes, food and other basic necessities for the children, including a loving family and safe place to live. Today, as a Mother’s Daygift to Lost Sparrow Children’s Home, we would like to contribute funds to help them run more efficiently by providing the following: One helper for Archana (Monthly donation) One refrigerator One stove One armoire for kid’s clothes One washer machineIf you would like to take part, The Potter’s Hands and other local artisans are distributing handmade artwork for sale with 100% of contributions going to Lost Sparrow Ministries. These would make great gifts to moms, children, friends, or new babies. You can either contact Lauren for more info on the artwork or if you just want to give a donation: Please go to http://www.lostsparrowindia.com and click donate which will route you to our Potter’s Hands payment system, or you can scan this QR Code with your phone: Please pray for the Indian people and our Indian Sister Church, that the gospel be preached throughout all the many people groups in this part of the world. May His kingdom come and His will be done. Blessings and thanks, Lauren and Matthew Tilbrook The Potter’s Hands pottershandsglobal@gmail.com Bless a mom in need for Mother’s Day!

Finding Eternal Purpose in Your Daily Work

photo of woman using her laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

If you enjoy work, like me, the Bible does show that God honors our work.  Yes, working is Good! The attitude of work ethic is good, just remember to take a Sabbath to rest and worship with your family or spiritual community. Below are selected days from the devotional “21

Days to Finding

Eternal Purpose” in Your Daily Work.  The free  full devotional is found at Life.Church.   with Love, Christine Tyler

Day 1

In the Church today, we talk a lot about how God is loving, holy, omnipresent, all-powerful, faithful, just, and true. But we rarely, if ever, talk about the fact we worship a God who works. And yet, that is the very first thing God reveals about Himself in Scripture.

In the beginning, God created. In the beginning, God was productive. In the beginning, God worked. Throughout the first pages of Genesis, we see God engaged in “the work of creating” (Genesis 2:3). The Hebrew mlkh, which we translate “work” in this verse, is the exact same word used to describe ordinary human work throughout the Old Testament.

This claim that the God of the Bible works is unique amongst the world’s religions. Every other religion says the gods created human beings to work and serve the gods. Only the Bible says God Himself worked to serve us.

This radical truth is foundational to how we—God’s image-bearers—should think about our work today. The fact the God of the universe worked means that work is not a “necessary evil” or a meaningless “means to an end.” Work is dignified, meaningful, and good in and of itself. More than that, work is God-like and a way we reflect His character to those around us.

Read 

Genesis 1 – God’s Creation

Genesis 2 – God Rested

blue peacock
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Day 2

What God created in the first six days is remarkable. But what’s equally remarkable is what he did not create.

He created animals, but he didn’t give them names. He created land, but he didn’t build roads. He created stars, but he didn’t invent the telescope.

After working for six days, God left the earth largely undeveloped and uncultivated. He created a blank canvas and then invited us to join him in filling it.

Before God rested on the seventh day, he put a succession plan in place, calling us to create in his image—to “fill the earth and subdue it.” Pastor Timothy Keller points out that this is a call for “civilization, not just procreation.” It is a call to cultural creation.

We often treat the sixth day as the end of the creation account. But day six is just the beginning! It’s when God passed the baton to us and, in essence, said, “Go work and create like me. Show me what you can do with this blank canvas I’ve created for you. Fill this world with good things just as I did in the beginning!”

Only once this mandate was delivered for us to work did God say that his creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The implication of this truth is clear: Work was designed to be a very good, God-like, worshipful thing. But as we’ll see tomorrow, sin ensured work wouldn’t stay perfect forever.

  • Genesis 1: 27-28

    Genesis 1:31

    Genesis 2 4-15
group of people watching on laptop
Photo by Fox

Day 3 

After a particularly frustrating day at the office, it can be tempting to believe work itself is a curse—a “necessary evil” and consequence of living in a fallen world. But that’s not at all what Scripture teaches.

As we’ve seen over the past two days, God himself worked, thus giving great dignity to our work today. Then, he passed the baton of creation to us to work and “fill the earth” in his image. Genesis 1 and 2 show us that work is inherently dignified and good. Work was designed to be worship.

But—and this is a big but—sin messed everything up. As today’s passage from Genesis 3 makes clear, sin doesn’t just impact our souls and standing before God; it also impacts the material world and the world of work. Because of sin, our work has become “painful toil” as the “thorns and thistles” of fallen creation make our work frustrating and arduous.

Work is not hard because it is inherently bad. Work is hard because we still live in a fallen world.

But the gospel promises that one day, Christ will “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), including our work. That’s right—I am suggesting we were made to work forever, including in God’s eternal kingdom. It is that truth we will explore more closely tomorrow.

faceless woman working with soil in garden
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Day 11

We’ve saw “the kingdom of God” was at the forefront of Jesus’s preaching. On the first Easter Sunday, Jesus proved he is the prophesied king of that kingdom, thus inaugurating his redeemed creation.

Jesus didn’t bring the fullness of his kingdom in one fell swoop. He certainly could have, but he didn’t.

This shouldn’t have surprised his disciples. Before his crucifixion, Jesus made clear his kingdom would come gradually—slowly—like a mustard seed growing into a tree or yeast folding into the dough (see Matthew 13:31-33).

How will Jesus’s kingdom come? At least partially through him working through us. In response to his disciples’ question about when the kingdom would come, Jesus issued them a directive to be his “witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”

You see, while Easter declared Jesus is the rightful king of this world, somebody has to witness that truth. This is the mission of the Church! King Jesus has given us a mission to be his ambassadors throughout the world, bearing witness to his lordship over every square inch of creation, including our places of work.

To be clear, Jesus is king—present tense (see 1 Corinthians 15:25-26), but his kingship won’t be fully visible until he returns to finish the work of establishing his kingdom (see Revelation 21:5). In the meantime, we are to act as his agents of redemption, working in a way that makes his kingship a little more visible and tangible in our present world.

Scriptures

“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.””

Acts 1:1-11 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/act.1.1-11.NIV

“He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.””

Matthew 13:31-33 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.13.31-33.NIV

“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

1 Corinthians 15:25-26 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/1co.15.25-26.NIV

“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.””

Revelation 21:5 NIV

https://revelation.bible/revelation-21-5

Today, we see one final way we should do our work in light of what we have learned thus far: To work productively towards God’s agenda in this world, we must stay rooted to “the vine” by regularly communing with our Lord. 

Jesus said apart from him, “you can do nothing” of value to him and his kingdom-building purposes. In the words of author Matt Perman, “To live your life without God is the most unproductive thing you can do.” 

It’s not enough to learn the truths of this Foundations series one time. We must constantly be renewing our minds (Romans 12:2)—steeping ourselves in God’s Word in general and what the Word says about our work specifically.

““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://john.bible/john-15-5

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://romans.bible/romans-12-2

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭9:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://bible.com/bible/111/pro.9.10-11.NIV

The 7 Sayings of Jesus on the Cross

What is Easter?

Reference: from LifeChurch and Written by R.Kosh.

Day 1

Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” 

As He suffered on The cruel Cross, Jesus called out to God The Father, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. 

Jesus interceded to The Father on their behalf, asking that He forgive them because they were ignorant of what they were doing and Who they were crucifying. 

He also thought about you and I because it was our sin that put Him there.  We were also once guilty of not knowing what we were doing as we formerly lived in sin and separation from God. 

Jesus came to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:2-4) He is the payment for our sins and in these words He expressed love, grace, compassion, and sacrifice beyond measure. 

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve had times of suffering and agony. I’ve not always been the most grace filled and loving person that I should be… but, Jesus is and was and He knew exactly what He came to do.

In His great love, He gave His life so that we might have forgiveness and we’d no longer be separated from God upon receiving His free gift of salvation. 

Jesus, The One Who has unlimited strength and power could have called down legions of angels from heaven to remove Himself from His own suffering, yet He showed restraint and chose instead to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for us. He also showed unlimited love and compassion through His humble, loving, and compassionate prayer.  

I pray that you never reject His free gift of salvation and I pray that you’ve received His gift. 

If you’ve already received His gift of salvation, may you never take the love, forgiveness, and compassion He has for you for granted. May you never forget that when He died for your sins, it was for all your sins and even when you sin today, He still forgives you because of His complete sacrifice for you.

May you be moved all the more by the compassion, grace, and love He has for you as you reflect on the prayer He prayed, as the prayer was for you as well in part as it was our sins that put Him there.

a bearded man in white long sleeves praying
Jesus. Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Scripture Luke 23:33-34 KJV

33And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

AMP Version

33When they came to the place called Latin: Calvarius; or Calvary;Aram: Golgotha; Greek: Kranion.The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. 34Some early mss do not contain the words “And Jesus was saying…doing.”And Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing His clothes among themselves. 

Scripture

John 3:1-21 Amp Version

1Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (member of the Sanhedrin) among the Jews, 2who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), we know [without any doubt] that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs [these wonders, these attesting miracles] that You do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.”

4Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” 5Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot[ever] enter the kingdom of God.  6That which is born of the flesh is flesh [the physical is merely physical], and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7Do not be surprised that I have told you, ‘You must be born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].’ 8The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be possible?” 10Jesus replied, “You are the [great and well-known] teacher of Israel, and yet you do not know nor understand these things [from Scripture]? 11I assure you and most solemnly say to you, we speak only of what we [absolutely] know and testify about what we have [actually] seen [as eyewitnesses]; and [still] you [reject our evidence and] do not accept our testimony.  12If I told you earthly things [that is, things that happen right here on earth] and you do not believe, how will you believe and trust Me if I tell you heavenly things?  13No one has gone up into heaven, but there is One who came down from heaven, the Son of Man[Himself—whose home is in heaven]. 14Just as Moses lifted up the [bronze] serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life [after physical death, and will actually live forever].

16  “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His[One and] Jesus, God’s only Son, the One who is truly unique, the only one of His kind.only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.  17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.  18Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because The Greek refers to an unsaved person who has made the decision not to believe in the Son, Jesus Christ, that is, not to accept the salvation offered by the Son and commit to follow Him. Such a person stands condemned by God unless he changes his mind.he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him]. 19This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the See note 1:5.darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.20For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned.  21But whoever practices truth [and does what is right—morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].”

1 John 2:2-4 Amp. 2And He [that same Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins [the atoning sacrifice that holds back the wrath of God that would otherwise be directed at us because of our sinful nature—our worldliness, our lifestyle]; and not for ours alone, but also for [the sins of all believers throughout] the whole world.

3And this is how we know [daily, by experience] that we have come to know Him [to understand Him and be more deeply acquainted with Him]: if we habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings). 4Whoever says, “I have come to know Him,” but does not habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings), is a liar, and the truth [of the divine word] is not in him.

Romans 5:8. 8But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

pathway between tomato fruits
Paradise. Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Day 2

Luke 23:43 “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”

Two criminals flanked Jesus on either side of Him as He was nailed to and hung suffering on The Cross. 

These two common criminals both deserved punishment for their crimes but Jesus was guilty of nothing. He committed no crimes and yet He still faced death on The cruel Cross. Jesus endured this as it was according to God’s great love and His plan of salvation for us. 

One criminal mocked Him while the other recognized Jesus for Who He was and expressed faith in Him.

Both would die along with Jesus that day and even in their inevitable death, they had a choice to make: Receive Jesus’ free gift of salvation and have life or reject Him and receive eternal death and separation from God.  This was literally their last opportunity. 

The criminal who recognized Jesus for Who His is said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”., (Luke 23:42)

In His humanity, Jesus could have simply ignored this man but here again, Jesus came for this reason, in order to save sinners like this thief, or like you and I. 

In great compassion and through great physical suffering, Jesus reassured him that he’d be in heaven with him that very day. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise”. (Luke 23:43)

Note that Jesus didn’t ask him first to try and get down off The Cross and clean himself up, or do anything but believe in Him and receive Him as he expressed remorse and repentance for his sins. Jesus forgave him right then and there and received him into His kingdom.

What amazing grace, compassion, sacrifice, and love Jesus showed this man. This is the same grace, compassion, sacrifice and love He shows us. 

Jesus and the two criminals died, and one criminal entered heaven rejoicing, joining together with all of heaven worshiping Jesus, while the other entered eternal hell where he faced eternal punishment and separation from God. 

We are like the two criminals. We deserved death and eternal punishment for our sins but God in Great love for you and I sent Jesus to die on our behalf. 

The question remains for each of us, do we want to be in paradise with Him too when we die like the thief who received His free gift of salvation? Or, do we want to be like the other criminal who mocked and rejected Jesus and went not only to his physical death, but his eternal death and punishment separated from God forever?

While you still have life in you, may you choose to receive His free gift of salvation and if you already have, don’t ever take it for granted and may you seek, love, and serve Him will all that is within you all the days of your life. 

Luke 23:39-43

39One of the criminals who had been hanged [on a cross beside Him] kept hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us [from death]!” 40But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41We are suffering justly, because we are getting what we deserve for what we have done; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he was saying, “Jesus, [please] remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43Jesus said to him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, today you will be with Me in I.e. possibly the third heaven, the special place or “garden” (Gen 2:8-10) between death and resurrection.Paradise.”

Romans 10:8-10

8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word [the message, the basis] of faith which we preach— 9because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation.

Romans 10:13

13For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”

1 John 2:1-2

1My little children (believers, dear ones), I am writing you these things so that you will not sin and violate God’s law. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate [who will intercede for us] with the Father: Jesus Christ the righteous [the upright, the just One, who conforms to the Father’s will in every way—purpose, thought, and action]. 2And He [that same Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins [the atoning sacrifice that holds back the wrath of God that would otherwise be directed at us because of our sinful nature—our worldliness, our lifestyle]; and not for ours alone, but also for [the sins of all believers throughout] the whole world.

1 John 4:9-10

9By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath]. 

Day 3

red neon light signage
We are sinners . Photo by Maruxa Lomoljo Koren on Pexels.com

John 19:26-27 “Dear Woman, here is your son!” and “Here is your mother!”

Pause for a moment and consider that there has never been a moment that God has not supplied for the needs of His people. The needs and not the wants. 

It’s also incredible to realize that from eternity past He knew every need we’d have, and in turn He supplies for every need we and all of His creation have each day. 

He provides for us through many everyday things that we often take for granted. Things like the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, and even though at times we don’t deserve it, yet His grace is greater, and He provides anyway.  

He also knew every problem, hardship, trial, and heartache we’d face and He ministers to us making a way through these seasons. 

When Adam and Eve fell and sin entered the world, He already knew what His plan would be to meet the problem we were all born with which is sin and separation from Him. The solution was to send His One and only Son, Jesus, as the payment for our sin that separated us from Him. 

God thinks about you, provides for you, and He spares no expense. This is evident in the ultimate provision of Jesus sacrificing it all on The Cross, so we’d have The Way of salvation if we received His free gift. 

Now, in what was part of Jesus’ final moments on The Cross, we see another example of His provision. 

He sees His mother standing near The Cross with John the Apostle. (John 19:26-27) He then says to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

It’s no doubt that because of His great love, care, and compassion for His mom that even amidst His suffering on The Cross, Jesus made sure His mother was cared for once He died. What amazing grace and love! 

Just as Jesus cared for His mother, in similar fashion He took care of us through His sacrifice. He also took care of us through the provision of His Holy Spirit to those who receive His gift Who takes up residency within us, helps us, guides us, gives us wisdom, intercedes for us, and more.

May you pause and give God praise for His great love, sacrifice, and care for you as you reflect on all He did for you through His sacrifice on The Cross. 

John 19:26-27

26So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the

John, the Apostle and author of this Gospel was Jesus’ cousin.

disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother, “[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!” 27Then He said to the disciple (John), “Look! [here is] your mother [protect and provide for her]!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Genesis 3:1-19

1Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And

The relationship between Satan and the serpent is not made clear, but Satan is identified with the serpent later in Rev 12:9, 14, 15, and 20:2. It seems difficult to believe that Eve would not have been suspicious of a talking creature, but at this point in time Eve probably knew next to nothing about animals; and in any case, the serpent, as it existed before the curse (v 14), was a very different creature from the reptile that is familiar to us today.

the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from

Or every.

any tree of the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’ ” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! 5For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.” 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise and insightful, she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband

This may have been sometime later. Jewish tradition said that Adam was absent at the time of Eve’s conversation with the serpent (according to the Talmud).

with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of the two of them were opened [that is, their awareness increased], and they knew that they were naked; and they fastened fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

8And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the

Lit face.

presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10He said, “I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten [fruit] from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12And the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me [fruit] from the tree, and I ate it.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent beguiled and deceived me, and I ate [from the forbidden tree].” 14The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,

You are cursed more than all the cattle,

And more than any animal of the field;

On your belly you shall go,

And dust you shall eat

All the days of your life.

15And I will put enmity (open hostility)

Between you and the woman,

And between your seed (offspring) and her

Many consider this verse the protevangelium, the first announcement of the gospel. This is the first prophecy about the Messiah (Christ), who through His death on the cross and resurrection would ultimately defeat Satan, the power behind the serpent, with a death blow. See Is 9:6; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:31; Rom 16:20; Gal 4:4; Rev 12:17.

Seed;

He shall [fatally] bruise your head,

And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”

16To the woman He said,

“I will greatly multiply

Your pain in childbirth;

In pain you will give birth to children;

Yet your desire and longing will be for your husband,

And he will rule [with authority] over you and be responsible for you.”

17Then to Adam the Lord God said, “Because you have listened [attentively] to the voice of your wife, and have eaten [fruit] from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’;

The ground is [now] under a curse because of you;

In sorrow and toil you shall eat [the fruit] of it

All the days of your life.

18Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;

And you shall eat the plants of the field.

19By the sweat of your face

You will eat bread

Until you return to the ground,

For from it you were taken;

For you are dust,

And to dust you shall return.”

Romans 5:12-21

12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one being able to stop it or escape its power], because they all sinned. 13Sin was [committed] in the world before the Law [was given], but sin is not charged [against anyone] when there is no law [against it]. 14Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned

Lit in the likeness of Adam’s transgression.

as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse—Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation].

15But the free gift [of God] is not like the trespass [because the gift of grace overwhelms the fall of man]. For if many died by one man’s trespass [Adam’s sin], much more [abundantly] did God’s grace and the gift [that comes] by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to [benefit] the many. 16Nor is the gift [of grace] like that which

Matthew 6:26

26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?

Ephesians 4:32

32Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave

Two early mss read us.

you.

2 Corinthians 6:18

18And I will be a Father to you,

And you will be My sons and daughters,”

Says the Lord Almighty.

Ephesians 1:5

5He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will—

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.

spray bottle beside indoor plant
Photo by Rosana Solis on Pexels.com

Day 4 = To Be Continued

Day 5 = To Be Continued

Day 6 = To Be Continued

A Prayer that the Holy Spirt Leads Your Conversation.

mountains with crepuscular ray
Photo by Min An

A PRAYER FOR YOU : I pray for you today, may both your speech and silence be led by the Holy Spirit. When you are led by the Holy Spirit, you will enjoy life and peace.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, and wherever you go, may it be the Holy Spirit controlling whether you will speak or remain quiet. Then both your speech and your silence will be acceptable to God, and it will work for you and not against you.

May you not speak when it is time for silence. May you not remain silent when it is time to speak. When you need to speak, in God’s exact timing, may you receive words directly from God.

May you not say anything God is not saying. May no pressure or provocation trigger you to speak words that are not coming from God. Be led of the Holy Spirit. Receive grace in the Name of Jesus Christ!

Because of your faith in Jesus Christ, and your communing with Him intimately, people will be increasingly drawn to listen to you.

And the more they listen to you, the more it will dawn on them that you’re actually not the one speaking, but God Himself speaking through you to them.

The taste of your words will now change into sweetness and more sweetness. God is placing pleasant words in your mouth, words that are sweeter than the honey.

When you speak them forth to others, they will become cheerful, their souls will be healed and their bones will be made strong. All this will come from your union with the Lord, because you are in Him and He is in you.

May God remove every trace of bitterness, harshness and roughness from your mouth and replace it with His own pleasant words that are sweeter than honey. Whenever you speak, may people’s hearts become cheerful, may their souls be healed and may their physical bodies be made strong. Let your mouth become a life-giving portal for God to use wherever you go in the Name of Jesus Christ. Let your words be salted with grace, edifying and building up whoever hears them. Thank You Father, Amen.

Author- Unknown

Real Hope. United in Hope.

Real Hope. United In Hope.  

Reference Devotional from You Version App. 

Unity Doesn’t Mean What You Think

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, all its many parts form one body- so it is with Christ.

How do you view the concept of ‘unity’? It’s a very powerful word, but one that can feel very diluted when it’s ‘sloganised’ and used as a cover-all for messages about peace and tolerance.

I enjoy digging into meanings when I read scripture. A quick web search will amplify a word’s intention and deepen my understanding of the Bible’s message.

The word unity means ‘The state of being united, or joined as a whole.’

It doesn’t speak to the bland uniformity of mind, belief, or character – but to the connection as one: a picture of things that were once isolated, removed, or broken linked up with what’s nearby. Like scattered magnets drawing toward a central point and clicking into place.

What is the goal of that togetherness and unity? What should we take away from the example of this scripture?  It’s for each part of the body to function in its unique purpose in support of the health of the whole.

A hand can be a hand, but united with the body it can enable touch, intimacy, friendship, and effort. An eye can see independently, but united with the body it can illuminate the direction of the entire collective.

Unity isn’t so much about ‘sameness’, it’s about using your unique contribution to serve everybody’s collective wellbeing. How can you do that today?

Written by LAURA BENNETT

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 NIV

blue and white abstract painting
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel

Day 2 

Unity In Truth Devotional

So Christ himself chose the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and the teachers to equip his people for works of service. This was done so that the body of Christ would be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. We are to become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants: tossed back and forth by the waves, blown here and there by every wind of teaching, and led astray by the cunning craftiness and deceitful scheming of sinful people.

Life was simpler when we all knew right from wrong, hey? Now it seems everyone is right – and the truth is whatever they want it to be.

Standing in the checkout line, I found myself inwardly nodding in fervent support of the lamenting bargain hunters ahead of me. My mind drifted away to those simpler days when there was unanimous agreement on the right and wrong of things.

Halcyon days indeed. Right? Alas, no. From that very first moment when mankind fell for ‘another truth’ in the Garden of Eden, humanity has invested lifetimes into finding ‘truth’ on our own.

Today’s reading reminds us that generations have been tossed about by the waves and winds of the deceitful schemers.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, God is not merely asking for unity. He is equipping His people to come together. The truth Paul speaks of is a transformative one, drawing communities together, single-minded in developing their relationship with Christ.

While at times, it may feel like Truth is losing the battle, do not lose hope.

Unity isn’t so much about ‘sameness’, but rather, it’s about using your unique contribution to serve everybody’s collective well-being. How can you do that today?

Written by DWAYNE JEFFRIES

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, And gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”

Ephesians 4:7-10 KJV

“And he has appointed some with grace to be apostles, and some with grace to be prophets, and some with grace to be evangelists, and some with grace to be pastors, and some with grace to be teachers. And their calling is to nurture and prepare all the holy believers to do their own works of ministry, and as they do this they will enlarge and build up the body of Christ. These grace ministries will function until we all attain oneness into the faith, until we all experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God, and finally we become one into a perfect man with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity and fully developed into the abundance of Christ. And then our immaturity will end! And we will not be easily shaken by trouble, nor led astray by novel teachings or by the false doctrines of deceivers who teach clever lies.”

Ephesians 4:11-14 TPT

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan

Day 3

Unity In Diversity

Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body, by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

In 2015, I visited America for a Church women’s conference. It was so different from what I was used to. It wasn’t the fact that there were so many different denominations represented, it was how the different denominations were free to express themselves in the manner they were used to. Some sat quietly, others waved flags or danced in the aisles, some lifted hands high in praise, while others stood with their eyes closed.  It was awe-inspiring because they did all this separately,  yet together, with hearts united with Him and with each other.

For me, I just wept:  here I was, witnessing the personality of God displayed through His children!  It was here, that I received a word in my spirit; ‘Unity in Diversity’- and that is a concept that I’ve carried ever since. Unity begins in our hearts. It comes from His Spirit, and it cannot be enforced by laws or religion that just produce conformity. The Apostle Paul used the metaphor of the body as he tried to share with the Corinthians the fundamental importance of unity in diversity in Christ. The various members of the body, controlled by a single will, work together for the same ends. This unity includes a common head – ‘Christ is the Head of the Church’.

To unite in hope in this hour is to understand that, though we may be so different, we have this in common – we love Jesus! We love Him, we desire to love His people and we all have the same Holy Spirit to lean on. The fruit that He bears in our lives helps us to be unified: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law’ (Galatians 5:22–23).

Written by HEIDI WYSMAN

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NIV

four men sitting on ground
Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Pexels.com

Day 4 

“Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.” (Romans 15:5)

If you consider your church family, how would you rate their level of ‘harmony’ with one another?

Unity is a tricky thing to achieve, especially in the church. We are a mix of people from many different backgrounds and experiences, ages, and stages. It can be hard to relate to one another. Some days we feel tired and just can’t be bothered striking up conversations. So often we let each other down or feel disappointed by others. We are human, stained by sin, and we live with many fractured relationships.

So often, we fail to live in harmony, yet we are called to show “family affection to one another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:10).

We need to ask ourselves: do we treat those in our church as if they were family? Do we see them as actual brothers and sisters, or just as people we see on a Sunday? Now then, I’m aware many siblings fight, but we are called to love. This takes time and effort. It involves investing in each other and making time for each other. We really do have the ultimate help in this: God has given us His Holy Spirit, which means that we are united together as His people (no matter how we might feel about each other). God is growing each and every one of us, daily, to be more like His Son. He walks with us and allows us to work toward harmony together, to have a united mind and voice.

What a wonderful opportunity to be a united people in such a divided world.

Written by SAM ROBINSON

“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:14-16 NIV

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Romans 12:9-16 NIV

Day 5

Invited To Be Included

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

Over a decade ago, I walked into a conference and found myself in a well-organized swirl of people from many different nations. The scene was breathtakingly beautiful, a taste of heaven. We had gathered with a unified hope-fueled dream of a world where everyone has the opportunity to hear about Jesus.

Our unity was that we were all followers of Jesus.

During this conference, we sat in table groups where each person at the table was from a different country. We discussed global and national issues on the challenges of sharing our  Christian faith. We had different perspectives and experiences, and that, at times, created dissonance.

Each day, we read scripture together and talked about our personal journeys. I noticed that these times of honest vulnerable sharing started to build friendships that turned our view of our cultural differences and diverse expressions of faith into something more interesting. There was less defensiveness in our discussions, and a sense of shared collaborative wisdom started to come forward.

One of the most moving sessions for me was during a collective prayer for the persecuted Christians in the world. As I began quietly praying, my new friend, who had told me about the gift of lament, started wailing and rocking, covering his head with a cloth. I felt startled as around the many tables others began to openly weep and wail. Tears rolled down my face too, but I couldn’t wail. I turned to my nearest equally startled friend and said ‘they are gifting us with the groaning we are too reserved to offer to God’. This was a wonderful gift and it reminded me that Christ loves His beautiful and diverse bride. There is nothing for me to overcome – I am simply invited to be included.

Written by KATH HENRY

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.””

John 12:26-32 NIV

Prayer for Peace During War

Prayer for Peace During War and Crisis

As we write this post, we are praying for everyone caught in the violence in Ukraine. So many of us are praying for God to give His wisdom to our world leaders. Beyond Ukraine, there are so many places where people made in the image of God—all of us—are living through daily violence due to war, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and human rights abuses. Places like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Yemen, and many others throughout the world need peace.

We don’t have to just long for peace. It’s actually something God has given us power to create.

Here’s a prayer for mercy.

God, You are a God of mercy. Before I ever decided to live for You, You sent Jesus, full of mercy and grace for me. We are asking You to show mercy and to preserve life in every region of this crisis. We are asking for You to soften the hearts of leaders and bring them to compassionate justice. Please give world leaders Your wisdom. Have mercy on all of us. Amen.

Here’s a prayer for compassionate action.

God, You are the Maker of justice and peace. Please intervene in this crisis. Please send people with hearts full of compassion to provide relief and restoration to this community. Please bless the organizations providing food, water, shelter, and medical attention. Please guide me to specific ways I can live out the love of Christ to people who are hurting. Amen.

As you pray for war, crisis, and injustice to end, find hope and strength in this beautiful prayer from Jesus. Here it is from Matthew 6:9-13, in The Message version.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

reference Life Church

vehicles on road beside sea
Ukraine Photo by Alexandr Podvalny
green and white show planes on sky

Prodigals

I’m Counting Them All : Prodigals Returning
Chris Bennett

This morning, quite early for me, I awoke with these words ringing in my ears – “I counted them all out, and I counted them all back!” I well remember this comment, made from the deck of an aircraft carrier during the Falklands War in 1983. The reporter counted the planes as they left and he counted them again as they returned safely!

I was wondering about this when the Lord interrupted my thoughts. “My prodigals and back-sliders – I counted them all as, one by one, they left. Now is the season for Me to count them again as they come back to Me! I am calling the prodigals and back-sliders! I am wooing them back into the Kingdom fold. Some have strayed so far, but very few have gone too far. There’s always grace and mercy for those who truly repent; those who truly want to come back to Me!”

“Many wrongly believe that I have abandoned them; given them up as lost! And although some have been given over to a reprobate mind, it is even now, not too late for them to repent! The time will come when it will be too late, but that is not yet. I am seeking out those who are willing; those who still remember; those who will turn back again from the road to destruction and death – back to the road of eternal life in Christ Jesus.”

“Even as revival sparks into life in one part of the church, so I am wooing My prodigal children back to another part. I am building My end-time army upon the remnant. As these prodigals return to the church, they will bring their tattoos, their piercings, their broken-ness with them. Do not despise them! For on this Army of broken people will rest a mantle of praise, joy, and healing, and they shall see the miraculous, the resurrections, the move and workings of My Spirit!”, says the Lord.

grayscale photography of people walking near buildings
Photo by Ingo Joseph

“YES”, says the Lord Almighty, “I counted them all as they left, and I will be counting them all as they come back! And My joy shall know no bounds!”

Testimony from Buddist to Christian

Bible Scripture says satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to give life abundantly. Only those who know Jesus will have everlasting life and be protected from the unseen spiritual world. See Tony Tran’s Testimony. Accept Jesus into your life and share Jesus and help others!

Jesus frees demon-possessed men

28When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake in the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed came from among the tombs to meet him. They were so violent that nobody could travel on that road. 29They cried out, “What are you going to do with us, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time of judgment?” 30Far off in the distance a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons pleaded with him, “If you throw us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

32Then he said to the demons, “Go away,” and they came out and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. 33Those who tended the pigs ran into the city and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the whole city came out and met Jesus. When they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. Mathew 8

magpie standing on pig back on snowy grass near bushes
Photo by David Selbert

Healing of a boy who was demon-possessed

14When they came to the crowd, a man met Jesus. He knelt before him, 15saying, “Lord, show mercy to my son. He is epileptic and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire or the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

17Jesus answered, “You faithless and crooked generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18Then Jesus spoke harshly to the demon. And it came out of the child, who was healed from that time on.

19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and said, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?” Mathew 17

I am the gate

7So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep.  8All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.  9I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.  10The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.

closed black metal gate
Photo by Oleg Magni

I am the good shepherd

11  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  12When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them.  13He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.

14  “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me,  15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep.  16I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and Jesus said to them, 24“Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to.25Once the owner of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.’  26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’  27He will respond, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.Go away from me, all you evildoers!’13.27 Ps 6:9 LXX  28There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom, but you yourselves will be thrown out.  29People will come from east and west, north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s kingdom.  30Look! Those who are last will be first and those who are first will be last.” will be one flock, with one shepherd.

17“This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again.  18No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.” John 10

Bible Scripture says satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to give life abundantly. Only those who know Jesus will have everlasting life and be protected from the unseen spiritual world. See Tony Tran’s Testimony. Accept Jesus into your life and share Jesus and help others!

Jesus frees demon-possessed men

28When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake in the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed came from among the tombs to meet him. They were so violent that nobody could travel on that road. 29They cried out, “What are you going to do with us, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time of judgment?” 30Far off in the distance a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons pleaded with him, “If you throw us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

32Then he said to the demons, “Go away,” and they came out and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. 33Those who tended the pigs ran into the city and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the whole city came out and met Jesus. When they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. Mathew 8

magpie standing on pig back on snowy grass near bushes
Photo by David Selbert

Healing of a boy who was demon-possessed

14When they came to the crowd, a man met Jesus. He knelt before him, 15saying, “Lord, show mercy to my son. He is epileptic and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire or the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

17Jesus answered, “You faithless and crooked generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18Then Jesus spoke harshly to the demon. And it came out of the child, who was healed from that time on.

19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and said, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?” Mathew 17

I am the gate

7So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep.  8All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.  9I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.  10The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.

closed black metal gate
Photo by Oleg Magni

I am the good shepherd

11  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  12When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them.  13He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.

14  “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me,  15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep.  16I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and Jesus said to them, 24“Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to.25Once the owner of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.’  26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’  27He will respond, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.Go away from me, all you evildoers!’13.27 Ps 6:9 LXX  28There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom, but you yourselves will be thrown out.  29People will come from east and west, north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s kingdom.  30Look! Those who are last will be first and those who are first will be last.” will be one flock, with one shepherd.

17“This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again.  18No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.” John 10

What is the Power of Praising God?

THE POWER OF PRAISE ~ ANN SHIKUH

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I was in my first year of college when I went through one of the most lethal spiritual attacks in my life.

Every night, my hostel room would have this very foul smell of rotten eggs and I would become aware of the presence of witchcraft in the atmosphere. I would lie in bed, mortified, terrified and tormented by nightmares all night.

During the day, whenever I would go for lectures, I would hear buzzing noises coming from the front of the class and would not hear a word of what the lecturer was saying.

So I would go to the library and try to catch up by reading notes. But I would ‘pass out’ on my desk in the library.

An observer would obviously think I was asleep, but I wasn’t. I was just sitting there, feeling really cold, bundled up in a really heavy trench coat even on warm days, then I would ‘pass out’ for hours.

I had been born again for some years. I knew by discernment where the attacks were coming from. I knew who was involved. And I had been taught about the basics of fighting against witchcraft attacks in the church that I used to attend back then.

So I tried everything I had been taught. Nothing worked. My then pastor gave me some anointing oil. I anointed the hostel room…but the attacks didn’t stop. Meanwhile, I was failing in class. It was a terrible season for me.

In the midst of that warfare, God provided a way out. He brought me a new friend. One day, as we were studying together, she noticed that my hand would ‘paralyse’ at some point and then the pen would fall from my hand.

So I finally opened up to her. I told her about the warfare I had been going through, and I started running away from my hostel room at night to hers, because the attacks were coming from my room. And whenever I would sleep in her hostel room, my night would be peaceful.

But one day, we agreed that I had to face the giant in my room. I couldn’t keep running forever. So she would stay with me, pray with me, and then leave me to sleep. But the attacks didn’t stop.

Eventually, she began to tell me to just thank God. Honestly, that didn’t make any sense. Why would I want to thank and praise God for demonic attacks?

She gave me a book by Merlin Carothers, “Prison to Praise.” In that book, Merlin shared the revelation God gave him on praising God even in the worst situations and testimonies of people who did it and saw a turnaround.

Sincerely speaking, I decided to apply what I read simply because I had tried everything else and failed. I figured I wouldn’t lose anything if I tried praise.

So every night, I would curl up in my bed, scared and trembling, and I would start talking to God. I spoke of how He is above all thrones, all powers, all principalities, all kingdoms, all kings, all wisdom and above all things.

I repeated those same words every night because I didn’t know what else to say. Those are the only words that were coming to me. But this is what happened every night as well: I would fall asleep praising God. And I would wake up having had no nightmares and no attacks every night.

That was how my spiritual battle ended in that school. Of course, I had to retake 6 exams, but by the grace and the mercies of God, I was able to graduate with my class.

man lifting his arms
The Power of Praising God…Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I have shared this story here before, but I feel someone needs to hear it today. If you’re facing a battle and you don’t know what else to do… you’ve prayed and fasted, you’ve bound and loosed, you’ve decreed and declared and nothing is changing, try praising God.

Just take your eyes off the battle and start focussing all your energy on praising God. If you can find the book, “Prison to Praise” by Merlin Carothers, please do. Read and apply it. It worked for me, and I trust God that it will work for you too!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Free from Worry

Worry not, pray always For so often, many of the battles we are worrying about are things God never intended for our lives. We must begin to hold onto a mindset to seek Him first prior to making any decisions on our own. You have to begin to ask yourself, “Is this God approved?” Refer …

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