Bring your praise to God, not your problems!

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Praise

Our Mighty Glorious Savior!

Our Jesus, He is so wonderful and powerful!  Can we even begin to understand the great love that He has for us?  Because of Him, our high priest, we can approach God’s throne with confidence!  It says in Hebrews 4:14-16,

Christ Is Our High Priest

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Many believe that the tearing of the curtain in the sanctuary was the sign of this.  We can find this in Matthew 27:51.  Another  sign of this was when Jesus was taken before the high priest Caiaphas.  This account is in Matthew:

Matthew 26:57-67New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus before the Council

57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. 58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council[a] were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand[b] and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[c]

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him,

According to Leviticus 21:10 the high priest was never to tear his robes.  I found an interesting blog post on this topic if you would like to study more on this.

http://mathaytes.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-robes-of-caiaphas-matthew-2665.html

Our High Priest, Jesus, endured suffering, shame, our sins, He bore it all so that we can live today without condemnation!  When you receive this High Priest, you are forgiven once and for all (Hebrews 10).  We are not saved by what we do, but by what He did.  Do not rehash the old sins that you committed, rather believe that through Christ your sins are all forgiven.  When the Father looks at you He sees Christ in His perfection.  Christ bore it all for this reason.  Furthermore all the promises of God for us are yes and amen [2 Corinthians 1:20New Living Translation (NLT)].  Because of Jesus we live free of condemnation and in peace.  Important is that we believe this and have faith in the perfect sacrifice!  If your faith is weak and it is difficult to believe, renew your mind in God’s word, and ask for faith through Christ Jesus.

Do not doubt the power of Jesus in your life and know that you are deeply loved by the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)!  Believe in the efficacy of this wonderful act over your life and never loose heart!

Why Worry?

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Thought and Meditation:I declare that we will experience God’s faithfulness over our life.  We will not worry or doubt, only trust.  God will not fail us.”

  • Worry is a negative/satanic force in our lives.
    • Other words for worry are: anxious, troubled, fear.
    • Fear is the root. Jesus said that to worry is a waste of time (Matthew 6:25-31).
    • Anxiety, and fear will cause us to loose our focus on Jesus, in times like this our decisions and thinking can become clouded and we can make the wrong choices. The Israelite People made the wrong choice when Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving instructions from God and the Ten Commandments. In the 32 Chapter of Exodus we can read how they built the Golden Calf and made plans to return to Egypt.  Rather than wait and trust they devised their own plan.
  • The cause of worry and fear is a failure on our part to trust in God.
    • We fail to understand and focus on how much God and Jesus loves us (1 John 4:18)!
    • A reliance on our works (works of the flesh) and not Gods work.
    • Trusting God allows us to enter a place of perfect rest and peace. This is a place where we can enjoy our life in all circumstances, guided by him and waiting upon him (Hebrews 4:9-11).
      • This does not mean we are passive in our life.
  • How do we learn to trust in God?
    • We focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Focus on His love for us! Focus on the power and might and greatness of his sacrifice and how it makes us whole in all areas of our life!
    • Jesus invites us to follow Him and to leave a life of worry!  Matthew 11:28-30 (Message Version) says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
    • Meditate on his word/focus on His promises.  Meditate on the 23rd Psalm or other scripture.  Declare the promises of God over your life.
    • Be comfortable not knowing the answer or outcome.  What we know is that we are in God’s hands and that God knows the answer and is guiding our course.
    • Focus on the good in our life.
      • We can come to a place of disappointment when all we focus on is the problem or situation. It becomes even bigger than it is in this way. We no longer see the grace and blessing in our life which often far outweighs the difficulty.
    • Prayer- we need to ask God. James 4:2 (NLT).
      • We also shouldn’t underestimate the power of prayer (James 5:4).
    • Will we worry?
      • Are we going to worry or praise and worship God? Worship and praise leads us into God’s presence. Worry allows the enemy to torment us.
      • Are we going to worry or have faith and trust in God?
      • Are we going to worry of obey God’s word and trust in his promises?
      • Are we going to worry or be a blessing in someone’s life? When we help others we sow a seed into the kingdom, which brings us joy, peace and refreshment.

 

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As we cross into the new year to 2014, “…God—so rich is He in His mercy!”

Ephesians 2:4-7

Amplified Bible (AMP)

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).  And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

Points:
  • God has a “great and wonderful and intense love” for us.  Let us dwell on His love for us, let’s keep His love in front of us as we continue on our walk!  This love will cast out every concern and fear (1 John 4:18)!
  • We are alive through and with Christ!  In fact it says “[He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him…”  So the same life that is in Christ, that allowed him to overcome the world is in us.  Let us focus on Christ our King!  Let us cast every care to Him, not worry or hold onto it, but simply give it to Him with trust and hope (have an anticipation of good) (1 Peter 5:7)!  Let us also know that we receive what we need each and every day (Matthew 6:25-34).
  • “…And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere…”  It does not say we will sit with Him, it says we are sitting with Him “…in the heavenly sphere…”
    • If there is a hope we have for the new year, a trouble trouble or difficulty remember we are sitting with Him “…in the heavenly sphere…”!  Also remember “all things are under His feet!  So let us simply cast it to Jesus and trust! (Ephesians 2:19-22) “And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places],Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.22 And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]”

We are secure in God’s mighty hand!

Isaiah 41:8-20  New International Version (NIV)

“But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 “All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
    little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
    new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and reduce the hills to chaff.
16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
    and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the Lord
    and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
    and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
    the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
    may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

How beautiful when we accept Christ into our lives, that our Father’s word from Isaiah is over us.  Often circumstances of life can overwhelm and discourage.  Sometimes even our own actions can cause this.  Remember what the Apostle Paul said, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:14-15).  Paul had the same battles that we have every day.  He even struggled with his own thoughts and actions.  But how does Paul finish this chapter.  It is the same thought that we need to focus on when we get discouraged, when we fear the future or are troubled.  “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).  Focus today on the finished work of Jesus over your life, believe that your sins and shortcomings are remembered no more!  Do not be paralyzed with fear and condemnation, but focus on Christ and His beautiful future for you.  Remember that the promises of God cover you today and everyday and that God has you in the palm of His hand.

(Psalm 34) Let Us Exalt His Name Together Forever

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The caption to Psalm 34 says “A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away”. This part of David’s life is documented in 1 Samuel 21:10-15; 1 Samuel 22:1-2.

1 Samuel 21:10-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing,

“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”

David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman? We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”

Samuel 22:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

David at the Cave of Adullam
So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.

This definitely should have been a low point of David’s life. Imagine how David felt/could have felt? He was anointed to be the King, had accomplished great deeds yet was running for his life from Saul, even to the point where he went to the King of Gath. We can learn much on how to maintain our confidence when facing great challenges from David. We too face things that can test our trust and where we could loose our confidence and hope. It is interesting that David fled to Gath. Gath was one of the five city-states of the Philistines. This is where Goliath was from. So David was fleeing to his enemy. And yet even in this we see God’s blessing over his life because he escaped. However, he escapes to a cave. So this is the context in which Psalm 34 was written. In this Psalm David expresses praise, trust and confidence in the Lord.

Psalm 34 (New Living Translation)
A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.
1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!
21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

How I pray that whatever we come up against in life we may never loose confidence, but continue to trust in him the hope of our salvation (Micah 7:7).

Hebrews 4:8-11 (Message)

“And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.”

It is clear when reading Hebrews 4:1-11 that there are two types of rest. The eternal rest to come and the rest for today.  How do we achieve the rest for today?  We surrender to our Lord Jesus.  We enter through the door of grace which is Jesus.  There is no situation whether spiritual, health, financial, family, etc. that is too great for our Bridegroom.

The key is that we rely on Christ and not our own efforts or works.  In connection with this we read Matthew 5:3 (Message).

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Our future, our identity, our security, our everything is in Christ.  That is why we give everything to Him and simply trust and wait for the most perfect solution and result.  When we live our life in the manner we will have peace and rest for today and we will enter into the eternal rest with the Father and Son at the appointed time.

May you increase a thousand times! (Deuteronomy 1:11)

11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!

Precious the Promise, I will guide thee with Mine eye

Verse 1
Precious the promise that God has given cheering the pilgrims while they pass by on the journey traveling homeward I will guide thee with mine eye.
Chorus
I will guide thee, I will guide thee, I will guide thee with Mine eye.  On the journey traveling homeward, I will guide thee with Mine eye.
Verse 2
Fear not the surging waters of babel, neither the tempter should he draw nigh, but remember , God gave the promise, I will guide thee with mine eye.
Chorus
I will guide thee, I will guide thee, I will guide thee with Mine eye.  On the journey traveling homeward, I will guide thee with Mine eye.