raise God In Spite Of……
It is easy for us to be grateful when everything is going our way, but it becomes difficult to maintain that attitude when the road gets rough. When a loved one dies, when we become ill, or when financial problem occur, we need to be able to praise God. We need to have a thankful spirit in times of trial, confident that God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.
In Acts 16:25-26 Paul and Silas were in prison singing praises to God. An earthquake suddenly came and shook the foundation of the prison, when that occurred all the doors opened and every ones chains were loosed.
Prison in bible times were miserable places, void of even the most basic comforts. Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison, we know they didn’t want to be in that situation, but instead of them letting it get them down they praised God. They praised their way through. Acts 16:25 says that they prayed and sang praises unto God and as they were praising, things started to happen. A great earthquake came and shook the foundation of the prison and the doors opened, and chains fell from the prisoners. They praised God in spite of their circumstances.
That same thing can happen for us. If we want to shake things up, see doors open and chain break, begin to praise God in spite of your circumstances.
When the doctor gives us bad news, praise God, when all the bills are due and we don’t know how we will get them paid, praise God, when our family is acting up, praise God, when it looks like everything in our life has crumbled, praise God.
Praise always brings us closer to God. If we start praising, even when we don’t feel like it, something will happen.
Praise is not a matter of emotion, it is an expression of faith. Praise is not something you engage in simply when we feel like it. The psalmist said, “I bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Therefore we must understand that praise is not reserved for church. We have to make it a lifestyle. Praise Him at work, school, and home. We have to praise Him in spite of…
When things aren’t going right for us, when we are down and depressed, there is no incentive for our natural minds to praise God. Our minds will actually encourage us to wallow in our misery and to feel sorry for ourselves. That is the complete opposite of what we should do, we should praise God in spite of… Whether you are in the wilderness or the promise land, when we rejoice and sing praises, things start to happen. As your praises go up, God’s blessings come down. Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is your strength. Praise will help to heal our emotions and lift the weight of negativity we may be living under. Praise God in spite of…
When we praise God it not only helps us to think of the good, but it reminds us of all that is possible through Him. It reminds us that we’re not limited by the physical realm, but we have access to the spiritual realm.
Before David was a soldier or a king, he killed Goliath with a slingshot and a stone. We don’t need an army to defeat our giants, just a well-aimed scripture backed up with a shout of praise. We have to praise God in spite of…
Anybody can praise God when everything is going good, but we have to learn to praise Him when we’re in the trenches and He’ll defeat whatever’s waging war against us. Praise God in spite of…
A praise filled environment will stops Satan dead in his tracks, because he knows God lives in that kind of atmosphere.
Look at the word magnify, it is another word for praise. If we were to look at the words in your bible through a magnifying glass, it would not change their size, shape, or meaning in any way, all that would change would be our perception, and the words would appear larger and clearer. It is the same when we praise or magnify God, He has not changed, but our perception of Him has, so praise God in spite of.
raise God In Spite Of……
DOUBT AND FEAR
But as for me, I keep watch for the Lord, I wait in hope for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his justice. Micah 7:7-9
Chinese Pastor Wang Ming-dao was under tremendous pressure after his first arrest in the mid-1950’s. He was promised release from prison and return to his pulpit if he would just “preach for the government.” In his mind this would be lying and he was certain he could not live a hypocritical life.
Pastor Wang was firm in his resolve, until he heard that his beloved wife, Debra, had also been arrested and was in grave danger. He heard that she was not eating properly and was growing critically weak because of the poor food she was receiving in prison. She would not survive if something were not done. This news so disturbed him that he broke and agreed with his persecutors that he would preach “a lie” and join the government-controlled church.
His plan was to get his wife to safety with her mother and then he would commit suicide. He reportedly wandered the streets murmuring “I am Peter…I am Peter…” and his heart sickness began to affect his body.
When the authorities realized that he would not compromise himself by preaching in the government-controlled church, Pastor Wang and wife, Debra, were re-arrested. She received a fifteen-year sentence and he life imprisonment.
Early in this second imprisonment, God brought these verses from Micah 7:7-9 to his mind, which he had memorized at the age of twenty-one.
Wang Ming-dao was no longer afraid—for himself or his wife. He was finally released in 1980 at eighty years of age—very frail, nearly blind and all-but-deaf. He had served over twenty-three years in prison. His wife Debra had been released three years earlier for health reasons. For the remaining eleven years of his life he was a great encouragement to the church in China as well as the many foreign visitors he and Debra entertained.
RESPONSE: Today I will not give in to Satan’s tactics of doubt and fear. I will concentrate on the greater cost to Jesus of my redemption.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the reminder that persecuted Christians are not super-heroes but they show us how our failure must turn into repentance and renewal with deeper dependence on You and not into self-condemnation.
|February 2, 2014|
The LORD says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.
“O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.”
Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall. (Hosea 14:4-9)
Hosea closes with an appeal to listen, learn, and benefit from God’s Word. Verses 1-3 are Hosea’s call to repent. Verses 4-8 are God’s promise of restoration. God had to punish Israel for its gross and repeated violations of his law, but he would do so with a heavy heart. What God really wanted to do was restore the nation and make it prosper.
To those receiving the Lord’s message through Hosea, this meant the difference between life and death. For you, the reader of the book of Hosea, the choice is similar: Either listen to the book’s message and follow God’s ways, or refuse to walk along the Lord’s path. But people who insist on following their own direction without God’s guidance “have no idea what they are stumbling over” (Proverbs 4:19). Their way lies in darkness.
We can err by forgetting God’s love and feeling that our sins are hopeless, but we can also err by forgetting his wrath against our sins and thinking he will continue to accept us no matter how we act. Forgiveness is a key word: When God forgives us, he judges the sin but shows mercy to the sinner. We should never be afraid to come to God for a clean slate and a renewed life. In need of a clean slate? Go boldly to God.
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8
China’s house church leaders representing more than ten million members met some years ago for a conference to discuss the main problems facing their churches. They ranked their top three problems, and came up with strategies to solve them. At the top of the list was gossip. Leader after leader told stories of how their ministries had been compromised by this subtle sin. One house church leader from Henan Province shared the following experience:
“I went into an area to lead Bible studies for coworkers and they wouldn’t let me into the house where we were to hold the seminar. I asked them through the closed door what the problem was, but they wouldn’t tell me. They just told me to go away. It was winter and I went a little ways outside the town, knowing I must start a fire to sleep beside or I would freeze to death. I wondered what on earth could have made those brothers and sisters turn me away on such a cold night without a word of explanation.
“But a brother took pity on me and brought me secretly to his home. I eventually pried the truth out of him. The leaders in the area had received an anonymous letter denouncing me as a ‘lover of many women.’ Try as hard as I might, I could not get them to listen to me or let me see the letter. Later in another part of the country, I learned the letter had been sent by a brother I had disciplined for moral laxity, and he had sent it out of spite.
“I went to him and he repented. He sent another letter, but because the first one was unsigned, they didn’t believe him. Both of us offered to go there, but we weren’t welcomed. The testimony of the church was ruined. I still have to explain myself wherever I go. It’s a victory for the devil.
“I went with the offending brother out to the countryside and told him to pluck a chicken. We walked along while he did; the wind blew the feathers far over the fields. When he was finished, he asked, ‘What now?’ I told him, ‘Pick up every feather, and put it back on the chicken.’ He said, ‘That’s impossible.’ I replied, ‘You are right. It is impossible, just as the damage your words have done cannot be repaired.’ ”
The house church leaders pledged to be more loving, and to hold more face-to-face meetings with each other to minimize the sin of gossip in the future.
RESPONSE: Today I will thwart Satan’s temptations to offend others by committing the sin of gossip.
PRAYER: Lord, enable me to stand strong today in the face of all that Satan tries to throw at me.
A Sinners’ Prayer
Lord forgive me for my sins
They were trapped deep within
I wanted to go away, but God wanted me to stay
I have to fight for the good and right in my life
Obstacles may stand in your way
They can make you go astray
but all you have to do is pray
Love thy neighbor as you love thyself
I need God, yes I need God’s help
Have faith in him and you will see
All of the good God has to offer thee.
By Shirley McNair
|1 Samuel 25:24, NLT|
|Abigail shows up in the Bible as a woman already in a difficult and dangerous situation. We know little of her past, but somewhere along the way, she married a poor excuse for a husband named Nabal. Marrying Abigail may have been the exception of wisdom that proved the rule of foolishness in Nabal’s life. Abigail is an intimate part of the history of David of Bethlehem, who became the famous King of Israel. She proved herself a resourceful woman, a wise negotiator, and a noble wife.
By the time we meet her, Abigail had become the acting manager of Nabal’s household. We know this because when her husband made a very foolish decision, a servant immediately notified her of the danger. That servant trusted her to listen and respond wisely. Nabal’s rude refusal to help David had placed the entire household in extreme danger.
As you read Abigail’s story, notice the integrity of her words and actions. She spoke truthfully and boldly. She backed up her wise words with practical gestures. Her immediate challenge was to diffuse an explosive situation. She gathered supplies that equaled or exceeded what David might have expected when he first approached Nabal. These she sent ahead of her as she approached David to negotiate.
When Abigail met David, she accepted responsibility for her husband’s thoughtless words and appealed to David’s integrity. She drew attention to David’s responsibility to God beyond his desire to seek personal retribution. She helped David see he would lose more by pursuing vengeance than by letting Nabal live. Besides, Nabal’s previous offense had been erased by Abigail’s generosity. All the while Abigail operated within the boundaries of her role as Nabal’s wife.
David was amazed over Abigail’s practical wisdom. She had managed to create a win-win situation out of a dangerous confrontation. When she got back home, Abigail waited until her husband could comprehend the implications of his actions before she explained what she had done. The impact was so devastating that Nabal had a stroke and died.
David didn’t hesitate to take Abigail as his wife. She had demonstrated integrity and had been instrumental in allowing God to work in a complicated situation. She serves as an effective role model to all who desire to serve God with honor even under difficult circumstances.
We look for benefits in almost all we do. When looking for a job, we focus on not only the pay, but for the benefits. You may hear people say of their job: The pay is ok, but the benefits are great.
Psalms 103:2 tells us to bless the Lord and to forget not all His benefits. Psalms 68:19 says blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits. When we become believers, we have benefits that unbelievers don’t have. We have a connection with God and with that connection comes the benefits of hope, peace, joy, comfort, our sins are forgiven, our diseases are healed, and we are protected. The benefits are great.
We get the benefit of having hope. When we talk about hope, we are talking about the expectations that something good will happen. Romans 15:4 tells us whatsoever things were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. THE BENEFITS ARE GREAT!
As believers we have the benefit of having joy. When we talk about joy, we are talking about gladness of heart. In John 15:11 Jesus tells us that these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. THE BENEFITS ARE GREAT!
As believers, we have the benefit of having comfort. When we talk about comfort, we are talking about being relieved of distress. John 11:19 tells us that the Jews comforted Martha and Mary concerning their brother. THE BENEFITS ARE GREAT!
As Christians, we have these benefits and that should give us the incentive to keep our connection with God.
God is willing to forgive our sins. With the forgiveness of sin comes salvation and with salvation we have the benefit of spending eternity with our Lord and Savior.
One benefit we all need is health insurance. With our connection with God this benefit is free. God is willing to heal our diseases. THE BENEFITS ARE GREAT!
As believers, we have the benefit of having some peace. When we talk about peace, we are talking about simply being okay with something that may have been tragic.
Let’s remember that when Jesus died, it benefited us greatly. His dying has given us the opportunity to escape hell.
With the connection we have with God, we have mercy and we know that God Loves us. Matthew 7:11 says that if we being evil can give good gifts, how much more shall our Father in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
When we sin and ask God to forgive us, He does not stay angry with us. When God forgives, He forgets as well, it’s the devil who continually tries to remind us of our past sins. God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. This is grace at its best. When we deserve judgment and punishment we have the benefits of our slate being wiped clean.
My goal is to spread the word of God as much as possible so I decided to make my first book free on sites that will allow it to be free. You can download a full version for free at /www.smashwords.com/books/view/394038. I believe you can download on to computers as well as readers and other devices.
They step off the page like something out of a science fiction novel or a fantasy–wild individuals wearing strange clothes, seeing mind-boggling visions, hearing God’s voice, and preaching a bone-chilling message: Repent or you will pay. Who were they? They were the prophets–the men and women God sent to the nation of Israel (and occasionally to other nations) as his spokespeople.
Elijah was chosen as a prophet during a rough time in Israel’s history–during Ahab’s term as king. Others, like Isaiah and Daniel, were powerful men in the life of the nation. They held important government positions or served as the king’s advisers. Amos, on the other hand, was a shepherd and gardener.
The prophets were all unique and preached to the nation of Israel under a variety of circumstances. So, what did they have in common
First, they were God’s appointed speakers. While the priests spoke to God for the people, the prophets spoke to the people for God. Often they called on the people to stop doing wrong and return to God. Time after time their messages were ignored, and Israel suffered as a result.
Second, the prophets preached two kinds of messages: (1) a warning of the need to repent or (2) a message about future events.
Many people claimed to be prophets, and sometimes there was confusion over who to believe when the ‘prophets’ disagreed. There were, however, tests used to determine who was or wasnt a true prophet.
- True prophets spoke whenever and whatever God told them to. They didn’t dream up prophecies and oracles and then say they came from God. In other religions, pagan prophets constantly tried to manipulate their gods into doing what they wanted. That’s what the prophets of Baal tried to do (1 Kings 18:26-29).
- Any prediction given about the future had to come true or the prophet was considered false. The Old Testament is filled with amazing predictions of events, sometimes many centuries into the future. An incredible number of them, especially those concerning Israel and the coming Messiah, have come true.
There are so many people that just don’t believe Jesus is coming. Some don’t even believe He is real. These doubts and unbelief’s are going to cause those people to not be ready when He comes.
Matthew 25:1-13 talks about ten virgins, five were wise and five were foolish. In this parable the ten virgins represent two different life styles, the five wise represents Christians and the five foolish are not. Scripture say all ten took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. The lamps represent lives and the oil is salvation. The foolish took their lamps, but did not take oil with them. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
We will be surprised how many people don’t care about winter time until it comes. If we don’t care about something, we won’t prepare for it.
Scripture says they all slept while waiting to meet the bridegroom. At this moment, we are living our lives according to what we believe. We are preparing ourselves for eternity.
Now at midnight when the cry was made, the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. At this point they all knew it was about that time, so they all tried to get themselves together. Because the foolish was not prepared they actually wanted the wise to give them their oil, but the wise told them to get their own.
We have to make sure we are the wise and be ready. No matter how long it takes, we must let the world know we will not give up our salvation for nothing or no one.
2nd Peter 3:10 tells us He will come as A thief in the night, the virgins had no idea when the bridegroom was coming for them.
Look at it like this, If we are taking a flight somewhere, we may have all sorts of delays, but if they call for our flight and we are not ready, we will get Left Behind. Trying to wait until we have time or until we are finish satisfying our desires will get us in trouble.
Luke 13:25 tells us that once He comes, we may knock to get in but He is going to let us know that He know us not, so we have to prepare ourselves before the time comes, otherwise it is going to be too late. We may not know when our time is coming and if we haven’t prepared ourselves the right way, the door is going to close on us. It will be a sad day when Jesus comes and we are not ready. It will be a sad day to hear the Lord tell us that He doesn’t know us after we cry LORD LORD!
Only they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage, and the door was shut, so we have to check our lamps and ask ourselves, do we have our oil?