"You’re happy when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for." ~Jesus

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Am I caring enough? Am I full of care?

That is what it is all about. Jesus had this focus. He cared all the time. His Father focused on caring for him. That is what love is all about.

God’s goal for me is to be full of care. Jesus challenges me to love everyone.

You’re happy when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” ~Jesus (Matthew 5:7 The Message)

Is there more going on than meets the eye with what Jesus is doing right now?

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New Life

New Life

Looks can be very deceiving. Sometimes, on the outside, it can look like things are falling apart. But God is working on the inside.

Jesus is making, in me, a new life. Every day His grace is working. It is a gift, His doing, but He IS doing it. Not always seen, but real nonetheless.

The same is not only true for me but others as well. A good reason not to judge for sure. So any turmoil I am going through right now is small potatoes compared to the good times that He has in store for me right around the corner.

Todays mundane, ho hum stuff will turn into an amazing celebration when Jesus completes what He is doing in me.

There is far more going on than meets the eye. I know that things are here today and gone tomorrow. The unseen things that God is doing are going to last forever.

And that is a VERY long time.

 

There is a thief in our midst. He is stealing our peace and happiness. He is ingratitude. Be grateful now.

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There is a thief in our midst. He is stealing our peace and happiness. He is ingratitude. Be grateful now.

Gratitude is the attitude that God loves. God is in a good mood. Jesus challenges us to be grateful and in a good mood ourselves. Jesus knows that every thing that God does is what we should do.

We must realize that there is a thief who wants to steal our peace. We must be grateful for what Jesus has done for us. That puts the enemy on the run.

“A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring has nothing to harvest in the fall.” ~~King Solomon

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Harvest

God created a world where one thing leads to another. It is not always immediate but eventually planting will produce a crop.

The reverse is also important wisdom. If I don’t do something, nothing is going to happen. Zip, Zilch, Nada, nothing.

There is wisdom in being industrious and not lazy.

God is God. His ways are firm and I can’t change them.

May I plant the right seeds to produce a great harvest.

May I be patient to wait on the results

A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring has nothing to harvest in the fall. ” ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 20:4)

From start to finish, Jesus is absolutely amazing

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Jesus came to us where we are. He moved into the neighborhood. Not in a distant way but near. The everlasting Son of our Father became like us.

Jesus became flesh and blood. He had feelings like us. He was tempted like us. He succeeded and establish a whole new government on this earth of ours. His new plan is so superior.

Jesus became a one of a kind glory. Absolutely perfect. No defect or missing the mark at all.

Jesus was just like the Father. Everything He did was what He saw His Father doing. He is generous in and out. From start to finish He is absolutely amazing.

“You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.” ~James

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My dad had a saying that summed this up pretty good. “Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”.

That is what God wants and there is a lot out of my control. This is a hard to get some days. It takes faith and supernatural courage. It is all about what God wants and not what I plan.

Now I love to plan and I love to be spontaneous. But either way, I don’t know what our Master has in mind for tomorrow.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. I can know what he wants me to do right now. Tomorrow is a whole different story.

So what James has to say is radical. Jesus was radical and James knew it first hand from him.

Do I know what to do? Do I do it? If not, why not?

May I be thankful for today’s bread!

May I press in to know Him better.

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, ‘Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.’ You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, ‘If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.’ As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil. James 4

Have a mind unafraid to travel with Jesus even though the trail be not blazed

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Get on your knees and pray

A  Prayer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anonymous

Dear Lord, please give me…

A few friends who understand me and remain my friends;

A work to do which has real value,
without which the world would be the poorer;

A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed;
An understanding heart;

A sense of humor;

Time for quiet, silent meditation;

A feeling of the presence of God;

The patience to wait for the coming of these things,
With the wisdom to recognize them when they come.

Amen.

“The lasting characteristic of a spiritual man is the ability to understand correctly the meaning of the Lord Jesus the Messiah in his life.” ~Oswald Chambers

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I have a passion for the Good News of God!! I want to be a man after God’s own heart. I want others to know what Jesus, the Messiah can do.

That is all there is to it.

The lasting characteristic of a spiritual man is the ability to understand correctly the meaning of the Lord Jesus the Messiah in his life, and the ability to explain the purposes of God to others. The overruling passion of his life is Jesus the Messiah. Whenever you see this quality in a person, you get the feeling that he is truly a man after God’s own heart.” ~~Oswald Chambers

“We have short memories in magnifying God’s grace.” ~John Calvin

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John Calvin correctly observes that most of the time we are very quick to forget the great things God does for us.

What if all day I actively focused on thanking God for all the great things going on? What kind of day would that look like? Different I am thinking.

What should I do more of? Pretty simple and straightforward.

More thanks to God for the grace he has shown me through the Messiah Jesus!!

We have short memories in magnifying God’s grace. Every blessing that God confers upon us perishes through our carelessness, if we are not prompt and active in giving thanks.

—–John Calvin

“Don’t stop him. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally.” ~Jesus

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Jesus the Messiah

Many people do things in the name of Jesus. They may not be a part of “our group” or our Church.

I need to be careful. Someone who performs the work of God in the name of Jesus is not an enemy. God’s country is not divided against itself.

God is God. God will judge. Good work in the name of Jesus is not my concern.

I have an enemy. His work is clear.

They started arguing over which of them would be most famous. When Jesus realized how much this mattered to them, he brought a child to his side. “Whoever accepts this child as if the child were me, accepts me,” he said. “And whoever accepts me, accepts the One who sent me. You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference.”

John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t of our group.”

Jesus said, “Don’t stop him. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally.

Source: Luke 9:46 – 50

"I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises." ~~John F. Kennedy

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God’s Promise

Jesus challenges us to make sure our yes is yes and our no is no.

When we say yes we need to follow through. That is the core of character and the goal that God has in mind for us.

God is faithful to his word. Jesus wants us to be the same way.

God doesn’t enter into a contract with us, written by a crafty lawyer. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.

This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them.

I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises. ~John F. Kennedy

 

“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion?” ~God

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Victory in Jesus

Our leaders don’t always get it. They plot, the connive, they think they are in control. They defy God and think they are free from Jesus.

God has shut them up. Jesus came and established His rule and authority. God’s world and government has triumphed the present world order.

Nothing is impossible for Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus is in control. Jesus has been inaugurated already. Jesus has already won the victory.

Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”

Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up:
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread for him on the holy summit.”

Psalm 2:1-6

"If an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him.." ~~Jesus

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Jesus is Life

I have enemies. Jesus knows that and is clear on it. I have done things to offend others. They don’t forget.

They may not know we are different now because of Jesus. They may know and not care. They are out for blood.

Jesus lets me know it doesn’t matter. It is up to me to make things right. I must make the first move.

That is my job. That is God’s goal for me. The focus is on “making things right”. That is the criteria.

In God’s world, I can’t sit passively by waiting for the other person to make the move.

If an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him..” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:25-26 The Message)

“John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of missing God’s goal for us.” ~Apostle Mark

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John paved the way for Jesus. He set the stage. It is all about life-change. I need to change my mind (repent) about the kind of life I can live.

I know I have missed the goal that God is mind for me. I need to make it clear that I understand that.

Being baptized with Jesus into death and resurrection gives me a changed life. It is His new plan for me. I can reach God’s goal for myself.

I don’t have to live a life that misses that. He is in an amazing mood and gives me this gift simply because He loves me.

Now how great is that?

John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of missing God’s goal for us. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their knowledge of missing God’s goal, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey. Mark 1:4-6

A tribute to my mother (Dorothy Wilson — 1922 – 1967)

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Mother’s are so special to us. Of course, my mother is no different.

Dorothy and Everett Wilson wedding photo

Dorothy and Everett Wilson wedding photo

My mother, Dorothy Mae Frey was born on December 30, 1922, in Atlanta, Georgia, the only child of Glenn Thomas Frey and Gracie M. Frey (maiden name Bingham). She married my dad, Everett Wiley Wilson,  on January 21, 1943, in her hometown of Atlanta. They had three children during their marriage. She died on March 5, 1967, in DeKalb, Georgia, at the age of 44. Way to young for all of us kids. I was 12 at the time.

My mother’s mother was Gracie M. Bingham who was born on September 21, 1901, in Atlanta, Georgia, her father, Thomas, was 24 and her mother, Addie, was 20. She died in January 1967 in Atlanta, at the age of 65. In 1910, Grace  was 8 years old and lived in Marietta, Georgia with her father, mother, brother, and 2 sisters. In 1920, Gracie was 18 years old and lived in Atlanta, Georgia with her father, mother, brother, and 2 sisters. In 1930, Gracie was 25 years old and lived in Atlanta, Georgia with her mother, brother, and sister. On the April 1, 1940 census, Gracie Frey was 38 years old and lived in Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter and mother. There is no mention of her husband Glenn. 

My mother’s grandmother was Addie Viola Entrican who was born on September 8, 1881, in Austell, Georgia. She married her first husband in 1897 in Georgia. In 1897 she married her second husband in Georgia. She died on December 28, 1969, in her hometown, at the age of 88. According the 1900 Census, Addie married Thomas in 1897. They had one child during their marriage. In 1900, she was 19 years old and lived in Powder Springs, Georgia with her husband, Thomas, and a son. By the 1910 census, In 1910, Addie was 27 years old and lived in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, Thomas, son, and 3 daughters. By 1920, Addie was 39 years old and lived in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Thomas, son, and 3 daughters.

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ~~Abraham Lincoln

It is true I am a product of my mother’s love. She cared so much for us all. I always felt her love. I owe her so very much. I wish I could thank her in person. Some day I will. I know she believed that.

Wedding announce for Dorothy and Everett Wilson

Wedding announce for Dorothy and Everett Wilson

Her mother was Grace Frey. I don’t remember much about her. She passed away about a month before my mother.

Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” —Robert Browning

When my parents wed, my dad was defending our freedom during World War II. My mom knew the importance of what he did for us.

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ―Washington Irving

My mother always defended me no matter what. She could calm me down. She would sooth the hurts like no other.

If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother.” —Booker T. Washington

So who do I owe who I  am to? It is my mother. She showed me how to love. She showed me how to be strong. She showed me how to work. She showed me how to care.

Mom's love of country

Mom’s love of country

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

My mother was a woman of hope. We would talk and she would share them with me. Mainly they were hopes for me. She wanted a “better world” and she wanted it for her children. Born in the middle of the great depression. Everyone, including her husband, off at war. Surely there was a better way. She worked hard to make sure we could have it.

My mother is my root, my foundation. She planted the seed that I base my life on, and that is the belief that the ability to achieve starts in your mind.” —Michael Jordan

A tribute a most amazing mother — Dawn Wilson

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Angel, I have so much respect for you. You are an amazing mother and I stand in awe. Your love, sacrifice and service to your children deserves a shout out on the highest roof top.

You sacrifice so much for them every day. You constantly drop what you are doing to make sure they are taken care of. Your ever abiding thought is how to serve them and make them happy.

And … happy and successful they are. From Sarah Jo to Nate.

You think of them all the time and always want the best for them. No little or big thing is too much in your eyes.

You create so many special and fun experiences for our family. We all have so many fond memories today and will down the road.

Your patience is stunning.

Your encouragement is overwhelming.

Your generosity is superb.

Your words of wisdom are a special treasure.

Your strength is an inspiration.

I love you!

Mothers Day

"Just as the Father has life in himself, he has conferred on the Son life in himself. " ~~Jesus

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Jesus knows that God is all about life. He is our source and it will last forever. Jesus also knows that His Father has given Him the same gift. Jesus gives it to us. All life is ours in our relationship with Jesus.

There is an urgency in understanding that when we know and believe that Jesus is the source of life that he can confer life on us.

Jesus can resurrect us, right now, with the same power that brought Him back to life at the resurrection. Jesus is life!!!

Just as the Father has life in himself, he has conferred on the Son life in himself. ” ~~Jesus  (John 5:25-27 The Message)

Subtle Influences

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There is truth. We can know it. Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.” A good place to start.

4th Quarter Musings

C.S. Lewis wrote in the Screwtape Letters, “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Letter XII

Most of us have heard the term “slippery slope.” We hear it and, in today’s world, we Image result for discerningallow ourselves to become distracted because we know whatever follows is someone’s projection of imminent disaster at some future point in time. There are voices from all aspects of the political and sociological spectrum forecasting the demise of society as we know it resulting from an initial tiny step being approved today by some arm of our government. The fact that God is in control gives us great comfort, but we must also deal with the reality that He gives us great latitude in determining our own, and society’s, pace of ethical and moral decline. Refusal to acknowledge the broader and long term…

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Jesus freed us all from death and destruction.

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We are made of flesh and blood. Jesus, the Messiah, came in flesh and blood, just like us, to rescue us from the curse we have on us.

Jesus came to rescue us from death. He actually embrace death for us. He took it on Himself. He made it His own.

Because Jesus defeated death, He destroyed our enemy Satan’s hold on death. He freed us all who have been scared to death of death.

Jesus went to all of this trouble for us humans. He had to enter into every detail of human life for us. He experienced it all. Birth, life, death and resurrection. No detail missed at all.

Jesus lived by not missing God’s plan so that we can be freed from missing the mark and live a life with God. He went through all the pain and test for us.

Jesus is qualified to help when help is needed.

“If you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.” ~Jesus

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Jesus has a way of being clear. He leaves no doubt. In God’s world, God comes first. That is all there is to it. I can’t negotiate with Him. God is God. I need to get clear on that.

So, I can kiss everything else goodbye if I want to follow Jesus. Is something near and dear to me? Am I ready to give it up? Will I kiss it goodbye? That is what Jesus is challenging me to do. Will I do it?

Yes, I heard it right. Jesus said it and Jesus meant it.

Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.”  Luke 14

 

May I have the courage to kiss all my plans goodbye.

May He come first always.

"Live generously." ~~Jesus

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God is so very generous to me. Although I don’t deserve it, He lavishes me with every gift imaginable. I can’t even think of every thing He is going to do for me.

Jesus demands that I live generously. Love God; love others! That is His command in His mission for my life.

Jesus wants me to move beyond just living and to live generously. When I think about my “to do” list for the day, is “be generous” at the top of the list?

 Live generously.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:48 The Message)

"Let your gentleness be evident to all." ~~Apostle Paul

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Our Father is near. His way of running things is taking hold. It can’t be missed. His presence is right here. It is undeniable. I can feel him next to me.

I hear his whisper in my ear. His gently pat on my head to comfort me is evidence of his love. God is good and in a good mood. I need to know this in my soul.

We know this. And so, our gentle way should really be evident to everyone we know. Is it?

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5

 

Jesus has the place of honor, sitting next to God and in control of everything!

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Jesus, as Son, has the most special relationship with the Father. As Son, the Father says to Jesus, you are God. You are in control of my government for good. No one will ever take your place. Now Satan, an angel, thought he could be in control. God has put an end to that nonsense.

Jesus’ victory has made that clear. God just loves it when things are put right. And He hates it when things are out of whack. And so God is VERY happy.

Jesus started it all. He laid the earth’s very foundations. And He will finish it all.

How special is Jesus? God has never said to anyone, any created being, sit here next to me. He has given Jesus the place of honor. He is charge (King) of God’s country and government (Kingdom). That is the new plan. God has replaced the crown of thorns with one of gold.

So this is something we can count on. Jesus is the Son. Everything has been put in His control in God’s country. We are citizens AND children of His country. All is well.

"Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts." ~~Winston Churchhill

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Jesus challenges me to have courage and to not be afraid. That is God’s goal for me, every day. I must wake up thankful and anticipating what Jesus will do. Jesus has plans for me that I don’t even understand. Boldness is his way. Jesus sees what God is doing and does only that. That is what Jesus wants for me as well.

May I be bolder today.

May I see only what Jesus wants and have the courage to do what he commands me to do.

“You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” ~Apostle Paul

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In our family, like most families, being a “member of the household” means something special!

It means you walk right into the house without knocking. It means family members wait up for you when you are out late. It means that you are cared for enough that somebody wants to know where you’re going, when you will be back and reminds you to “be safe.” It means you get a kiss when you go out the door in the morning. That’s what being a member of the household means.

The Good News is that we are members of God’s household. And it’s the very same way at His House only better. So go on right in!

And don’t forget to yell “I’m HOME!!!” Jesus is so very glad to see you!

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”  -Ephesians 2:19

“Something has always come up and prevented it.” ~Apostle Paul

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Paul knew how to plan. Fortunately, he listened to God and so sometimes was unwilling to follow what he planned so he could do what God wanted.

It would have given him personal pleasure to do what he wanted. It didn’t mean that God didn’t want him to see his plans through at some point. It just had to be in God’s good timing and not Paul’s.

The thing to pursue is what God wants on any given day. Jesus has ultimate goals for us and tasks to accomplish every day. That is all that really counts at any given point in time.

Please don’t misinterpret my failure to visit you, friends. You have no idea how many times I’ve made plans for Rome. I’ve been determined to get some personal enjoyment out of God’s work among you, as I have in so many other non-Jewish towns and communities. But something has always come up and prevented it.  Romans 1:13-15

“Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!” ~King Solomon

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I think I am pretty clever some days. I think I can figure it all out.

AND then I run into the wall with something and I realize I am not as clever as I like to think I am. My understanding is not what our LORD wants.

If the victory is to be His, I have to trust Him with all my heart. I have to emotionally connect with what He wants not what I understand.

May I trust him from the bottom of my heart.

May I do it now.

What is He saying?

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! (Proverbs 3:5 The Message Bible)



“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” ~Jesus

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Courage

99 out of 100 things I worry about never happen.

And yet, I continue to be afraid.

Jesus is ever present letting me know that I need to take courage.

He says “It is I”. He is here. Do I hear Jesus? He says “Don’t be afraid”. Do I hear Him?

He gives me courage in His world. His world is here and now.

On earth, as it is in heaven right now.

 Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” ~Jesus (Mark 6:50)

May I take courage.

May I have courage.

May I hear Jesus.

"What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax." ~~Jesus

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I worry a lot. It isn’t good. I know that. I worry anyway.

Jesus challenges me to trust God completely and not worry. Life is not about how much I have to eat and beautiful cloths to wear. It is not about getting. It is all about giving.

People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over lots of things. I know both God and how he works.

Jesus challenges me to steep my life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.

Jesus demands that I don’t worry about missing out. In God’s world, I find all my everyday human concerns will be met.

That is just God’s way. God is in a very good mood. God wants the very best for me. My job is to trust him.

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 6:33 The Message)

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." ~~Ferdinand Foch

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Holy Spirit

Jesus challenges us to be on fire for him and God’s government. Nothing else should matter. Not family or friends. Nothing but what does God want me to do.

Jesus is a consuming fire in our soul. That is God’s goal for me.

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. ~Ferdinand Foch

“God charts the road you take. The road the wicked take is Skid Row.” ~King David

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There is a distinction between those that God has redeemed and those he hasn’t. Those in right standing with Him are like the tree of life replanted in Eden.

Eternal life is mine. I will never loose my fruit. I will never drop a leaf. I will always blossom.

Another way of seeing it is the road we are on with Jesus. The redeemed have our way laid out by God. The wicked are on Skid Row.

May I stay on the road with Jesus and bear fruit for His world.

You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom. You’re not at all like the wicked, who are mere windblown dust— Without defense in court, unfit company for innocent people. God charts the road you take. The road they take is Skid Row. Psalm 1:3-6



"Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money." ~~Apostle Paul

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I want to go after God. He is the rich one, not me. He can pile it on.

Jesus, the Messiah, doesn’t hold back. Like Jesus, I want to be extravagantly generous. What I have is really nothing compared to Him. He is the one. What a great new plan He is executing.

I need to be intentional about investing my heart and life in what truly matters.

I need to obsess about God’s desires and not my desires for money.

I need to go after God.

I need to pursue treasures that last.

Here is the plan:

  • Go after God
  • Do good every day
  • Be rich in helping others
  • Be extravagantly generous

Now that is a good plan.

Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 MSG

“It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors.” ~Apostle Paul

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I don’t want to be condemned. No way, no how.

I want to live in freedom. I don’t want that guilt in my life.

And so, God says over and over in His message of good news to me. I am free from all the things I have done that miss His goal for me.

I need to reflect Jesus love and freedom to others and eliminate criticism and judgement from my ways. I am not to judge, period. Jesus is clear on that.

God is God. God is in charge. God will judge me. I must take advantage of his mercy every day. No way around that.

Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done. Romans 2:1-2

May I live free from judgmental criticism.

"That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship." ~~Jesus

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What kind of people is God looking for?

Now that is an interesting question. While the woman at the well didn’t really ask it, Jesus answered it.

Sometimes we don’t know the question to ask. Or if we do, we don’t ask it.

God doesn’t want us to fake it. He wants us to be honest in our worship. He wants us to be our selves.

That is the kind of people He loves the most. God’s goal for me is to come to Him just like I am. He knows me at my core. I can’t deceive Him. When I’m myself, I see Him for who He is.

“That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.” ~~Jesus (John 4:24 The Message)

“All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” ~Apostle John

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We are children of God but we are becoming like Jesus. Being children isn’t the end game. Sometimes I think it is. But the end game is not to be children but to become fully mature in God. Jesus challenges us to grow up and be mature.

Jesus life is my model. And my hope is that when I see Him, I will become like Him. And for that I have hope and look forward to His coming.

The focus now is staying ready. I should run the race knowing that I will gain the prize. The purity of His life becomes my standard.

Am I there yet? No.

Do I run to gain the prize? Yes!!!

But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own. 1 John 3:2-3

"Did you have any idea that God’s government was right on your doorstep?" ~~Jesus

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Jesus has brought in a new World (Kingdom) and a new agreement for how we are to live. We are His Ambassadors.

We deliver His message to this world. We represent Him. When we aren’t received, people miss God’s World.

An awesome responsibility for us and a challenge to those who don’t listen. Jesus is serious. He means what he says. I have learned that it is a smart thing to listen to him.

May I represent Jesus well. May those in need hear His message of Good News!!

 When you enter a town and are not received, go out in the street and say, ‘The only thing we got from you is the dirt on our feet, and we’re giving it back. Did you have any idea that God’s government was right on your doorstep?’ Sodom will have it better on Judgment Day than the town that rejects you. (Luke 10:10-12 The Message)

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” ~~Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela

God put Jesus in control. My status is up to Jesus.

My status is, however, not based on how much I try. It is entirely up to God.

Of course I miss God’s goal for my life (i.e. sin) but is that how Jesus sees me. Surely not based on the gift he has given me.

I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” ~~Nelson Mandela

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” ~Apostle Paul

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I must watch the way I talk. There should be nothing foul or dirty coming out of my mouth.

Each word should be a precious gift saying only what will help. The real test is will what I say benefit whoever is listening?

God’s goal for me is that I am a blessing to others. Am I building up my brothers and sisters in Jesus?

May I be a blessing by what I say.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

What does the new plan of Jesus look like?

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In the old agreement (plan), no matter how many sacrifices were offered, they never added up to a complete solution.

And, in church after church today, they still don’t. Way too many sermons on tithing and not enough on how God wants all of our money, not just a tenth.

So, if sacrifices are a solution, I could go merrily on my way and not hunger for something more.

But I don’t. There is more and it is His new plan. I want it. I hunger for it. It is my only desire.

All these rules only make me more aware of how inadequate I am. And that is the point of the message of condemnation. Keeping rules can’t get rid of my missing the goal of trusting Jesus.

Just can’t do it. No way. Jesus said that God didn’t want us to try to keep the old rules. He has a new plan. It isn’t tithing. It isn’t praying in church. It isn’t going to Sunday School. That is the old plan way.

It is a heart set on doing everything God’s way. His government isn’t a democracy. The new plan is based on “Your will be done.”“In my life right now as it is in heaven.”

When Jesus said “I am here to do it Your way.”, He set aside the old plan in order to set in motion a new goal. So His sacrifice has made me fit for the new government He has ushered in.

“Love is patient.” ~Apostle Paul

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Wait patiently for the Lord

God is love. He is not frustrated with me. He is patient.

Jesus puts up with a lot but keeps on loving. He doesn’t give up. He will never, never, ever abandon me. Nothing I do can change that. He is love.

May I learn to love like God. May I be patient and not get frustrated.

Love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13

“I want you to be street smart, using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival.” ~Jesus

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There are all kinds of ways to be smart. Jesus tells the story of a rascal and how he outsmarts his boss by being creative before he was about to be fired. He commended him in being resourceful.

Jesus wants us to be practical. He knows trouble is coming our way. He promised it.

Adversity helps us focus. Let’s keep it simple and really live.

Focusing on being good isn’t God’s way. Jesus wants our passion. Jesus wants our heart.

I want you to be street smart, using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.” ~~Jesus (Luke 16)

"I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated." ~~ Paul Anderson

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Jesus is Life

Jesus is the way to wisdom. Without him I wander around trying to find the right answer.

Jesus challenges me to trust him. Jesus is the way.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. ~~ Paul Anderson

Take me home: A Poem

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Take me home.
Take me into your presence.
It is so sweet.
You are so good.
I am so blessed.

Yes, take me home dear Father.

Sweep me into your love.
It is so good.
You are so good.
I am SO very blessed.

I don’t want to be away from you dear Father.
I want to do what I see you doing.
I want to say what you are saying.
Give me your gift.
Give me your power.
Let me see how to get it done.

So … take me home.
Let me be with you.
Let it be now!!

“You’re more than happy when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him.” ~King David

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How can I be happy? How can I be more than happy? It is pretty simple and straight forward.

King David knows the answer is in following God’s directions.

I need to do my best to find Him in everything. I can go my own way and I can go His way. That is the choice that I have every moment of every day.

Happiness, true happiness, comes from keeping one foot in front of another on the road that Jesus wants me to be on.

Jesus speaks to my heart in a frank and direct way. For that I am very thankful. I hear him. Will I listen and do what He has in mind for me?

You’re more than happy when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it.

Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me. Psalm 119:1-8

"I thank you, Father, that you hid these things from the know-it-alls and showed them to these innocent newcomers." ~Jesus

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When I think I know everything it is hard to believe Jesus. God shows me His world through Jesus.

Jesus challenges me to give up what I know to know Him. Jesus is thankful that I have come to Him.

May I become innocent and know Him everyday.

I thank you, Father, Master of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the know-it-alls and showed them to these innocent newcomers.” ~Jesus (Luke 10 The Message)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." ~~ApostlePaul

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Power of Prayer

This is His path to peace for me. I don’t understand it for sure but it is true. He is guarding me. Letting Him be in charge guards my mind from my own plans which clearly leads to worry and fear.

I should be thankful and talk with God about everything. He is in charge.

Jesus loves me and has wonderful plans for me. Wow, that takes the pressure off and allows me to not be anxious.

He ROCKS!!!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! …. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 the Messiah Jesus. Philippians 4:4-9

“God raised Jesus from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe.” ~Apostle Paul

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Jesus is in charge

Jesus is in charge

Who is Jesus? The very Son of God who, as man, died for us and is now resurrected. But in His resurrection, God has put Him in charge of everything. Nothing is exempt at all. Not a single thing.

So, how long will he be in charge? Imagine billions and billions of years. Imagine it never ending.

That is hard to get my mind around some days because this is a world where things come to an end. In Jesus, who is in charge of everything forever, I live and have the same life.

This is His gift to me.

God is God. He is in charge. He has given all authority to His Son Jesus, our Master. He is the Messiah.

All this energy issues from the Messiah: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, the Messiah rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is the Messiah’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence. ~~Ephesians 1:20

“Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings.” ~Apostle Paul

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Paul anchors himself in being connected with Jesus who is in charge of his life. Because of that, no matter what, and a lot of tough things happened to him, he is always thanking God.

That is just the way he rolled. Whenever he was praying for others he got thankful.

Are my prayers for people always spilling over into thanksgivings? This is a great standard.

May I always be thankful in my conversation with God.

Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings.” ~Apostle Paul (Colossians 1:3 The Message)

“And be thankful.” ~Apostle Paul

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What is important in being thankful? After a long list on how I ought to live, Paul adds “and be thankful”.

Being thankful comes from being compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. Being thankful comes from being clothed in love.

May I be compassionate and kind.

May I love like Jesus.

May I be thankful.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of the Messiah rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of the Messiah dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 TNIV Bible

"Be cheerful no matter what." ~~Apostle Paul

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Be Thankful

Pretty good advise from Paul.

Being appreciative and cheerful of what God is doing in my live is so important.

Paul got it.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to the Messiah Jesus to live.

Apostle Paul – Source: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

May I get it as well.

“I’m not really religious but very spiritual.” ~Christina Aguilera

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How many times have I heard someone say “I’m spiritual but not religious”?

Way too many probably.

It is nice to have some insight from the Barna Group about what is behind this saying.

I’m spiritual but not religious.” You’ve heard it—maybe even said it—before. But what does it actually mean? Can you be one without the other? Once synonymous, “religious” and “spiritual” have now come to describe seemingly distinct (but sometimes overlapping) domains of human activity. The twin cultural trends of deinstitutionalization and individualism have, for many, moved spiritual practice away from the public rituals of institutional Christianity to the private experience of God within. In this conclusion of a two-part series on faith outside the church (read the first part, on those who “love Jesus but not the church”), Barna takes a close look at the segment of the American population who are “spiritual but not religious.” Who are they? What do they believe? How do they live out their spirituality daily?

Source: Meet the “Spiritual but Not Religious” – Barna Group – Barna Group

 

“Know that the LORD is God.” ~King David

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God is so good. He is in a good mood all the time.

Jesus, God’s son, loves and never stops loving. He is loyal and faithful to us all.

God is God. There are none others. Not money or credit cards or 401k’s can save us from missing God’s goal for our lives.

Jesus, the Messiah, alone is worthy of our faith and love.

So, let’s shout it out!!

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:1-5

“I thank God through Jesus for every one of you.” ~Apostle Peter

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My attitude about others should be one of thanks. He has blessed me with such rich relationships with my brothers and sisters in Jesus. This should be something I do all the time.

When I think of someone, I should thank God for them. This brings me closer to God in understanding how to pray for others.

I thank God through Jesus for every one of you. That’s first. People everywhere keep telling me about your lives of faith, and every time I hear them, I thank him. And God, whom I so love to worship and serve by spreading the good news of his Son—the Message!—knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask him to clear the way for me to come and see you. The longer this waiting goes on, the deeper the ache. I so want to be there to deliver God’s gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes! But don’t think I’m not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you. Romans 8:8-12

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way." ~~Henry David Thoreau

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Goal

Jesus calls on me to look forward. I must keep my eye on the goal of eternal life that is mine through Jesus the Messiah.

I can’t get distracted. I can’t look back on the life I used to have before Jesus.

I must remember what happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back to Sodom. If I grasp and cling to life on my terms, I’ll lose it, but if I let that life go, I’ll get life on God’s terms.

Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. ~~Henry David Thoreau

“They loved praise from men more than praise from God.” ~Apostle John

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Fill in the blank.

But because of __________ I would not confess my faith for fear I will be kicked out of _______ . Because of my colleagues at work? Because of my friends? Because of my family? Because of my boss?

Whose acceptance am I striving for? Whose rejection do I fear? Where does my identity come from?

May I care more what God thinks of me than my colleagues, boss, friends or family. May I seek to please Him in all I do.

Yet at the same time, many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. John 12:42-43

We know God and He delights in impossibilities. He always asks "Is anything too hard for me?"

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I am so very thankful for our God. He is amazing. There is no end to the great things He has in store for us.

What does our God delight in? He delights in impossibilities. What does God say? Nothing is too difficult for me.

Nothing is too hard for God. Nothing is impossible to Him.

I know God and He delights in impossibilities. He always asks “Is anything too hard for me?”

And of course nothing is impossible for him.

 

“Love rejoices with the truth.” ~Apostle Paul — The love of Jesus will turn you INSIDE OUT!

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Love of Jesus

The love of Jesus will turn you INSIDE OUT! 

Jesus was pretty clear that it’s mandatory. “A New Command,” He said. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

The best thing about love is not just what it does to others. They will react as they can within their own limits. I think that Love’s most powerful aspect is what it does to the Lover. Loving others as God loves me will turn me inside out from the toes up! 

It leads to personal transformation. It changes me.

It leads to Freedom. It leads to Joy. This is really powerful stuff! It is the real deal!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13 4-7

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” ~God

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How do I  get things done in God’s world? What makes the difference? Does it happen if I am just strong and force my way through life?

Not in God’s world. It happens by His spirit. The victory belongs to Him no matter how much I plan and get ready.

That is the lesson of Jesus. He just did what He saw His Father doing. Sometimes I get confused thinking I should be able to do it all by myself and then get the credit.

My victory is in Jesus. That is the only way to get it done and please God, our Father.

May I know in the depths of my heart that it is God who is the source of accomplishments.

He said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

“The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.” ~Apostle Paul

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Everyone is welcome in God’s world. We don’t naturally understand it or how it works but it is true. It is a great mystery. No matter if you have gone to church your whole life or never set foot in the door. We all stand on the same ground.

We all have the same offer of good news to enter God’s world. We all get the same help from a God for whom nothing is impossible.

All of the promises that Jesus made are ours. No favoritism to the religious. Those sitting at the bar are just as welcome. There is nothing we have “to do”.

Now that is some good news from a God that is in a good mood.

As you read over what I have written to you, you’ll be able to see for yourselves into the mystery of the Messiah. None of our ancestors understood this. Only in our time has it been made clear by God’s Spirit through his holy apostles and prophets of this new order. The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I’ve been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in the  Messiah Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board. Ephesians 3:4-6

“You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” ~~Jesus

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The Religious leaders of Jesus day were always trying to trip him up with trivial religious questions. You would have thought they would have known better or at least learned not to try because it always backfired on them.

Jesus answers are important for us though. We live in a religious culture and easily fall into the same traps. The trap is thinking I know God because I am religious, go to church, pray before meals, etc.

Two things are essential to not falling into error. The first is really knowing the scripture. Having God’s word in my heart. The second is having the power of God in my life.

So …. after answering a number of their questions, “no one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” ~~Jesus (Matthew 22:29)

 

“God is a safe place to be.” ~King David

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How can I help?

I can trust lots of people or things. I can trust my wife and family. I can trust my credit card. There are lots of places I can turn for help

King David knows that God is whom we should trust. I should lay my life on the line for him. God is here to help me. That is the truth. God is a safe harbor.

Jesus challenges me to love God. There is safety in know that God loves me and is in a good mood. God can do anything and more than I could ever imagine.

My help and glory are in God
    —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—
So trust him absolutely, people;
    lay your lives on the line for him.
    God is a safe place to be.

Source: Psalm 62:7 MSG – My help and glory are in God – Bible Gateway

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jesus challenges me to love. That is it. Love God and love everyone else I know or meet.

The alternative is to hate. That is a choice many of us take. It doesn’t work.

There is no other way in God’s world. God is love and we must love.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

"When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast." ~~Jesus to religious leaders

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The religious leaders of the day were constantly trying to trap Jesus. It didn’t work but it didn’t keep them from trying. They wanted to know why Jesus didn’t have His followers fast.

His point. You don’t fast when it is time to celebrate. You celebrate. Later on you can fast.

Jesus is not about rituals for rituals sake. His new world is one where we listen to God, our Father, and do what He wants us to do when He wants us to do it.

It is not about rituals. It is about obedience.

The disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees made a practice of fasting. Some people confronted Jesus: “Why do the followers of John and the Pharisees take on the discipline of fasting, but your followers don’t?”

“When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!”~~Jesus to religious leaders (Mark 2:19-20 The Message)

“Every story has a villain because yours does. You were born into a world at war.” ~John Eldredge

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I have an enemy. Is that clear to me?

It is a critical question. I don’t want to be “enemy focused” but I need to know I have one. He couldn’t prevail against the archangel Michael. He couldn’t prevail against Jesus. He can’t prevail against me.

It would be dangerous, however, to pretend he doesn’t exist and that I don’t need to be prepared.

I need to be prepared. I am at war.

Every story has a villain because yours does. You were born into a world at war.

When Satan lost the battle against Michael and his angels, “he was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Rev. 12:9). That means that right now, on this earth, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of fallen angels, foul spirits, bent on our destruction. And what is Satan’s mood?

“He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (v. 12). So what does he spend every day and every night of his sleepless, untiring existence doing?

“Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against . . . those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (v. 17). He has you in his crosshairs, and he isn’t smiling.

Why Does Every Story Have a Villain? | Ransomed Heart Ministries

“And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses to the ends of the world.” ~Jesus

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Jesus has given me a mission. He has also given me power.

The first charge was to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon me. That is His power that enables me to be obedient. It is the Holy Spirit that enables me to be a witness.

The second charge is to be a witness to Him. I must tell the whole world that He came to earth, died because we are missing God’s goal (sin) for our life, was resurrected showing the true power of God and then ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God ruling the universe.

Now that is some good news. God has a plan for me and for us. I am to be a witness.

And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” ~~Jesus (Acts 1:8 The Message)

"Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself." ~~William Faulkner

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William Faulkner

Comparisons aren’t helpful at all. Jesus challenges to see into our own heart. We need Jesus and we need redemption. That is what we see.

Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we are born again and become children of God.

That is what it is all about.

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ~~William Faulkner

Contemplation on a prayer: A Poem

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Should I pray for an easier life OR
to continue becoming a stronger man?
I will pray for power equal to my tasks.

I am amazed that power does come to me that exceed the challenges of my life.
I could have sought tasks equal to my powers but . . .
that is not the path of strength.

that is not the path of courage.
that is not the path of hope.

Much better to pray for powers equal to my tasks.
I am amazed at the beauty of my world . . .
at the richness of my life
at the love I know daily.

I am overwhelmed with the friends who care for me . . .
who appreciate me
who challenge me
who accept me.

I am thankful for my family . . .
who knows me and loves me.
cares for and appreciates me.

Everyday I do wonder at myself and
the richness of my life that has come to me
by the grace of Jesus!

“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.” ~Apostle Peter

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My job is to be a blessing. Being agreeable is a key to blessing others.

The ability to agree with our Father and others can move mountains. That positive force of the Holy Spirit moves us all in agreement.

Here is a list of characteristics I should cultivate:

  • Agreeable
  • Sympathetic
  • Loving
  • Compassionate
  • Humility

May I know what our Father wants and agree with Him. May I bless others with my Father enabled agreeableness!!!

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-12

“Are you being willfully stupid?” ~Jesus

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Some days I just don’t get it. Am I being willfully stupid?

Jesus knows the truth. It is not what I eat that causes contamination inside me. It is what is in my heart that is the issue. That is what counts.

What is in my heart will be demonstrated then in what I think, next in what I say and finally in what I do.

It all works from the inside out.

May I have a heart after God. May nothing else matter.

Jesus said, ‘Are you being willfully stupid?’ …. Mark 7:14-23

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~James

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Challenges in life are a gift of God. Challenges come from many directions. But it is the very pressure of the test that forces my faith into the open. No hiding from the challenges for sure.

So I shouldn’t try to get out of anything prematurely. I  should wait and make sure God’s work has been completed in me. That helps me be well developed with no deficiencies at all.

Perseverance is the key. I must stay the course. Perseverance is God’s goal for me.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

"But the witness that really confirms me far exceeds John’s witness. It’s the work the Father gave me to complete." ~~Jesus

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How do we know about Jesus and who He is?

Just look at the totality of what He did and does. He is entirely focused on what His Father, God, wants Him to do. And Jesus does it. And it is amazing.

That is the only witness that Jesus needs. Jesus completed everything God gave him to do. And Jesus is still doing it today.

May we turn to Jesus, obey him and be complete.

But the witness that really confirms me far exceeds John’s witness. It’s the work the Father gave me to complete.” ~~Jesus (John 5:34-38 The Message)

“I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” ~Joseph

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Joseph had been in jail a long time. Pharaoh put him there. But now, all of the sudden, Pharaoh needed Joseph.

Joseph had a stunning response. Rather than saying, “You have come to the right man.”, he acknowledged reality. Joseph couldn’t do it. God could.

There was clear risk to this approach. Joseph had faith in God. Joseph took the risk.

God provided the reward. That’s just how God rolls. God has put Jesus in charge. Jesus can do anything. I must trust him.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:15-16

“If You’re a Christian and Everyone Likes You… Something’s Wrong” ~Sarah Domon

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Jesus challenges us. He has let us know that we will be persecuted for following him and his way. It will happen.

If it doesn’t happen, then something is wrong. I can count on it.

Author and counselor Sara Dormon believes it’s time for Christians to collectively take Jesus more seriously, arguing in an interview with “The Church Boys” podcast that she believes many faithful have simply become too complacent.

Dormon, who recently released a book titled, “If You’re a Christian and Everyone Likes You…Something’s Wrong,” also said she believes Christians are too willing to compromise their beliefs, and that they often allow themselves to be known more for what they oppose than for what they’re for.

“I would rather honor God and be loved by God than be loved by man, and I think that’s the mess we’ve fallen into as Christians,” Dormon said. “We’ve learned to compromise our faith, we’ve learned to not rock the boat…don’t step on toes.”

So, the author essentially advocates a balanced approach: embracing one’s truth and faith while simultaneously showing love for others. This is the very topic she covers in the book — a six-year project that started as mere journal entries after a personal crisis of faith.

Source: ‘If You’re a Christian and Everyone Likes You… Something’s Wrong’ – Faithwire

 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” ~Apostle Paul

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I am not thinking big enough. My imagination is limited in ways I can’t grasp. I ask for catfish and He gives me Tilapia.

The power of Jesus is in me. I need to ask for more. If I think God wants to comfort a dear friend who is sick, why don’t I ask Him to completely heal them? If I think a family member needs salvation, why don’t I ask for complete deliverance?

My limitations are my limitations. Nothing is impossible with God. He wants to do stunning things.

May I expand my view to the possibilities that my all powerful God can do and not what I am willing to settle for.

God is God and God is great.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 

 

 

 

“I decided not to make another visit that could only be painful to both of us.” ~Apostle Paul

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Paul decided not to show up, even though he was wanted. How often, just because someone asks me to come, do I show up not even thinking, is this something God wants me to do?

Sometimes there is a pain that our Spirit filled life brings to others. Sometimes the timing is off.

Better to show up when God wants me to and not just because someone asked me to.

I must seek God. He will lead the way for me.

That’s why I decided not to make another visit that could only be painful to both of us. If by merely showing up I would put you in an embarrassingly painful position, how would you then be free to cheer and refresh me? 2 Corinthians 2:1-2

“God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser.” ~Jesus

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Am I ecstatic about what I have found in God’s new plan? Am I prepared / willing to sell everything I own to follow Jesus? What is so precious in my life that I won’t give it up for Jesus?

Questions that Jesus asks that demand an answer.

God’s world is a treasure. I will give up everything for it. I must remember that the treasure isn’t mine. I just found it when I was trespassing one day.

God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 13:44)

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” ~Apostle Paul

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Peace with God

There is a striving for “things” that is not natural in God’s world. Being content is a huge thing.

It takes a supernatural courage from God to believe He is in control and that I have all I need. Godliness with contentment. Hmmm!! That is what I want.

In His world, I have all His riches. I don’t need the riches of this world. His new plan gives me all that I need in Him.

There is a way that leads to destruction. I will choose His way that leads to contentment and peace.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 TNIV Bible

“When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation.” ~Apostle Paul

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There is a suffering that is for a great reason. It is a suffering for Jesus and it leads to healing and salvation. Now that doesn’t make sense to the world I live in but it is true.

Our culture believes that success is the “lack of hard times”. Jesus led the way. His suffering led to my salvation and healing and so it is true for me too.

We all share in the good and tough times in Jesus. None of us are immune and why should we be?

Jesus did it for me and I must share in it together with Jesus.

That is a sign of my maturity that I know that nothing can separate me from God’s love.

No matter what happens. When I exhibit this attitude, it shows that I am going to make it. Without the willingness to endure the tough times, I would never know.

May I be unflinching in growing in Jesus.

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it. 2 Corinthians 1:6-7



"Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working." ~~Jesus

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Stars

What is permanent in life? Not the things I think most days. Jesus is clear however.

The 2 most important things, as Jesus highlights, are to love God and love everyone else (my neighbors). That will never go away.

God says it and it is the way things work in his new world. That is His goal for us. I have been given a clear mission. No need to think of “what is my mission” kind of stuff.

God’s law is about relationships and it is alive and working in us.

Jesus is clear.

Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:17-18 The Message)

What is the message of the new plan of Jesus?

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God’s new plan

We have ministers that are very faithful. Everyday they do their thing. Same message; same station.

If you do something you will be “saved”. Same message, year in, year out.

But that same old plan never makes a dent in the problem of missing the mark with God. Jesus had a new plan in mind. With one act, we never would have “to do” anything again.

And so, in one act, it was over. Jesus then went back and sat down next to God just waiting for me to “get it”. He is just waiting for His and our enemy to cave in. Jesus has done everything for me.

I don’t need “to do” anything other than believe and love. I can take part in being complete in Him with nothing else to do. The Holy Spirit confirms that there is a new plan in effect. And it is not one put on paper and notarized. The Spirit is writing it on my heart. It is there on the lining to my emotional core.

The slate is clean. I don’t need “to do” anything to take part in the new plan. I just continue to believe, change my mind about God’s purpose in my life and don’t throw it all away. It is mine forever in Him!!

“On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” ~Jesus

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Jesus knew the value of saying the right things. Jesus only said what He heard His Father saying.

That led Him to do what He saw His Father doing. Many things I say are pretty careless. I don’t think. I say things that hurt others. Sometimes I actually do it on purpose.

There is an accounting for what I say. There will come a time when I have to give an account of what I have said. I should spend more time talking about the way of God. That is what I want to be accountable for.

May I say what I hear God saying. May I speak the truth.

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37

“Jesus is going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives.” ~John the Baptizer

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Clean Sweep

John the Baptizer was doing some amazing things. People were coming out to see him in droves.

John was clear and he was careful.

It wasn’t about him. It was about Jesus. He saw himself as the stagehand.

His message about Jesus was amazing:

  • He would ignite the Kingdom life in us.
  • He would bring a fire within us, the Holy Spirit.
  • We would be changed from the inside out by Him.
  • He would make a clean sweep in our lives.
  • He puts everything in proper perspective.
  • Everything in our life that is trash is burned in the fire of His Spirit.

But John intervened: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.” Luke 3:16-17

 

May I see who this drama is about. May I know I am the stagehand.

“You’re more than happy when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.” ~Jesus

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All that striving is useless!!

Can I be content with who I am? Is that it?

That is all there is to it!! That is the attitude my Father wants me to have.

There are things that just can’t be bought. Happiness is one of them. I just can’t whip out my credit card and buy it.

May I be content!!

You’re more than happy when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. Matthew 5:1-12

“I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other.” ~Apostle Paul

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What type of thing would seriously and urgently concern the Apostle Paul about Christians?

Paul challenges me to get along. That is it.

Paul would be “shocked” at the condition of the the faithful today. I am sure his admonition would doubly stand.

My goal is to get along. That is your goal as well.

May I get along with my fellow believers. May I promote consideration of my brothers and sisters.

I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. I bring this up because some from Chloe’s family brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.” 1 Corinthians 1:10-12

“Your beauty …. should be that of your inner self.” ~Apostle Peter

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Peter heard Jesus talk many times about what defiles someone and what doesn’t. He absorbed all the lessons the Master taught about a character that is eternal. God’s focus is on the heart. His world and government is ruled by love.

What is of value in God’s world? What has great worth?

May I learn from the Master and have a gently and quiet spirit. May I know that beauty is on the inside and not the physical appearance.

Jesus challenges me. I must accept his ways.

Your beauty …. should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4

“The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.” ~King Solomon

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Integrity

Integrity

God’s way is the way of integrity. God sent Jesus to show me what integrity looks like. Now I know.

It is core to who Jesus is and it is core to who Jesus wants me to be.

The question I ask myself is “What does God want me to do?”

The answer is the answer of integrity. Anything else leads to my ruin.

The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin..” ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 11:3)

“Jesus love was not cautious but extravagant.” ~Apostle Paul

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Jesus love is extravagant!! It is absolutely over the top and He never holds back at all. Mostly what my heavenly Father does is love me.

He is not cautiously waiting to see if I love him back. When I don’t spend time with Him He still loves me. Extravagantly!!

When I keep company with Jesus, I learn to love like he does. His love is the kind that is giving not looking for anything in return.

May I spend more time with Jesus. May I watch what He does and then do it myself.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how the Messiah loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5

“I am going . . . to prepare a place for you.” ~Jesus

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Jesus is saving me a seat. It has my name on it. At the great wedding dinner, I have a place all ready for me.

Remember the feeling when someone saves a seat for you at a crowded event. The place is packed but you look over and there they are. They wave and motion you to come over.

Imagine how we we will feel when Jesus does the same thing!!

The music is playing. The room is packed with energy and excitement. I look over and there He is.

Jesus waves to me. He motions me over. He escorts me to my seat. He hugs me and tells me how happy He is to see me.

Oh my. That will be a BIG Whoo Hoo for sure!!!

I am going . . . to prepare a place for you.” ~Jesus (John 14:2)



"Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you." ~~Jesus

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Jesus wants us to tell the story of what He has done for us, the mercy and the love.

Jesus has done something. It involves mercy.

For our family and friends, it is our story that can’t be denied.

My encounter with Him has changed everything. The new world I  live in is so vastly different than this world.

His demand to me, “Go ..” “Tell …”

Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” ~~Jesus (Mark 5:18-20 The Message)

God is great, God and good!

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God is great – Nothing is impossible for Him. He can and does anything.

Jesus redeems me. Jesus saves me. Jesus heals me. Jesus restores me. I will speak of His great and mighty work.

God is God – He is in control. He has always been and always will be.

This is not a democracy. Democracies are a good form of government but God’s government is not a democracy. God has given all authority to his son Jesus and His way of doing things is what is important. The way He does it in heaven is the way we want it done here on earth.

God is good – He is always good. He is perpetually in a good mood.

Jesus is not upset with me. I am God’s child and He is doing so many good things for me. We are His friends and He will do anything it takes to help us out. We are His bride and His love for us is passionate beyond imagination.

“Take delight in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ~King David

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The first thing I need to do everyday is find out what pleases God. What is going to delight Jesus? What will cause Him to be “tickled pink”?

That is the central question minute by minute. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He taught us to pray, “Your will be done”.

And so, I set out to delight in God.

When I am lined up with God and delighting Him, He will give me the what I long for in the depth of my heart and soul. It is that simple.

Take delight in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~~King David (Psalm 37:4)