God is in Control. He Will Fix It #IGBOK ~

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Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts (Hag 2:2-9)~~ Many of us look at the state of the world today (pick your concern) and we feel SO discouraged because we remember how life used to be – what we saw as better times. It’s so apparent that the “world” is truly the enemy of God because in every instance we see, the “world’s” way of doing things is in total disregard to Him! It’s like there is nothing that can get the attention of today’s culture in its rampant persuasion of its population!

We must stay encouraged to continue in the goodness that God gives us, no matter how hard or discouraging it may seem. After all that we saw in the previous days, the sun still rose this morning, this day still happened! GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL and every day is a new mercy from Him and a new encouragement to continue on because His faithfulness is great and His compassion for us is unfailing. We must not grow weary in well doing for “His” due season is coming…a time when “He” will set the state of things once and for all. In progressing to that time though we must endure convulsions and changes; great revolutions and commotions. Jesus shall again come; as the desire of all; and desirable to all. The promise is that in Him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; and this is long expected and desired by all believers. We may have some good places even in this terrible time, but He went and prepared a place for us; a new ‘house’ in which we will spend eternity.

So let us be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what will be beyond all the glories of the first house, far beyond any that we could imagine; in the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in absolute perfect nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in His own form and nature, can fulfill this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other – not this preacher nor that bishop; not this president nor that king – but He who is the King of kings, Speaker to all nations and Savior of all souls! This alone is enough to silence the “ways of the world”, and condemn the obstinate rejection of Him. Finally as God is with us, peace is with us. The promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by His blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all. And the “world” shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have until then rejected! It is fixed and it is finished!

Hate has caused a lot of problems in this world; and has yet to solve one! #NoH8 ~

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you — Luke 6:27-28

Who are your enemies? Do you have any? Who hates you? Anyone? Most of us would probably answer, no. We might even conclude that these words, spoken so long ago, have become a little irrelevant in our present, everyday lives. And we might try to just move on to the next set of instructions. But, should we? Can we? The answer is, absolutely not. These particular instructions are as relevant to us, right now, as they are challenging—and as they are important. Our King, Jesus Christ, is simply calling on us to love even those who are hardest to love. And we all know people like that.

Who’s mistreated you? Who’s let you down? Who’s taken advantage of you? Maybe someone at work? A family member? A friend? A neighbor? Someone you barely know? “Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst” (Luke 6:27-30 MSG).

We must treat well those who’ve treated us badly (Luke 6:27-29). We must help those who will never help us back (Luke 6:31-34). We must be generous to those who are anything but (Luke 6:29-30). And we must be graceful and merciful to them all (Matthew 6:14-15). But, not only that, we must be merciful again and again and again (Matthew 18:21-22). You see, what Jesus is teaching us—what we must grasp and embrace—is that we don’t fight evil with yet more evil; we fight evil with good (Romans 12:20). Hate has caused a lot of problems in this world; and has yet to solve one!

#Forgiveness is Costly, But it’s Worth the Payment Plan! ~

Forgiveness. It’s a basic concept for every Christian. This is the message of the “Good News”: through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, God offers us forgiveness. Christ took on our sins so we could be reconciled with God, now and eternally. Our sins will no longer be held against us, and we are free from condemnation! Although forgiveness is offered to us as a free gift, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost us something. How could something free cost us something? Although God’s forgiveness is free, we may choose to not accept it because of the costs. The debt of our sin is paid, but accepting the Lord’s forgiveness costs us some things we may not be willing to abandon.

It costs us our ego to admit our sin — that we are helpless before God without Christ’s redemption. We would do anything to save face rather than stand before God and confess our sins and accept His forgiveness. We like to believe we can pay our own way to redemption. It is humbling to come before God, desperate for His grace.

Forgiveness also costs us our unbelief. Jesus often told men and women who came to Him, “Your faith has made you well.” There are so many of us who believe in the concept of forgiveness but can’t accept it for ourselves. There is something—an abortion, sexual sin, a mistake with a child, divorce — (insert your sin here), where we allow ourselves to believe it’s beyond God’s desire and ability to forgive. God’s forgiveness just doesn’t make sense to our logical minds. Intuitively, we know that when we have sinned, we deserve consequences. Without realizing it, we often “sentence ourselves” to periods of depression and guilt to compensate for what we have done. We may sabotage relationships and gifts that could bring us pleasure because we know we don’t deserve such good things. This is why it requires faith to walk in this truth: “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).

Forgiveness costs us our sense of justice. If God promises to forgive me, then His redemption is also available to people who have done horrible things. That means forgiveness is possible for murderers, child abusers, and others who we believe deserve the hottest places in hell. On a more personal level, it means extending forgiveness to people who have hurt us deeply. Forgiveness fights against every desire we have for justice. Embracing forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring our cry for justice. Instead, we put our faith in a righteousness that is beyond our understanding.

God asks us, not as a condition for our own forgiveness, but in turn, to forgive others just as we have been forgiven. While walking in forgiveness is costly, refusing to accept or extend it has a much higher price tag. It is really hard to forgive, whether it is forgiving yourself or others. We all could use some help learning to do it better. Learning to forgive is good for both our mental and physical health. When we are better at forgiveness, we experience lower stress, tension, levels of depression, anxiety, and, perhaps most important, anger. When we have trouble being able to forgive, we hold in anger, resentment, and bitterness that can harm us in multiple ways and at multiple levels. Although it may seem to cost too much to embrace it, true forgiveness is the only gateway to freedom — freedom to love deeply and to live authentically. Forgiveness is Costly! But we all need to be on a payment plan! It’s worth it!!!

Don’t Let the (perceived) Success of Evil Lull You! #StayWoke –

Do you notice, it seems like people are doing so much wrong, creating and supporting evil in the earth, yet they seem successful while following God either not much or not at all? Do you ever find yourself wondering how these people, who embrace the ‘world’ wholeheartedly, enjoy its mindset? Do you ever get discouraged? Do you ever wonder, what’s the point? I mean, do you ever just get tired of trying to follow God in the midst of people who aren’t? Are you ever tempted to relent and embrace the world a bit more, too?

A man named Asaph, psalmist in the time of David and Solomon, was tempted to relent. He was surrounded by faithless men who seemed “always at ease” and to continually “increase in riches” (Psalm 73:12). Asaph envied them and his “heart was embittered” (Psalm 73:21). “All in vain,” he cried, “have I kept my heart clean . . .” (Psalm 73:13). We may not admit it as boldly as Asaph, but many of us harbor similar thoughts.

When we face that choice, though, to embrace God or embrace the world, we must remember—we’re part of something much larger, much more important than worldly ways. It’s much more than just what’s going on in front of us. We’ve been invited into an ancient and remarkable battle. For “we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). We’re agents of the resistance, behind enemy lines. We cannot allow ourselves, therefore, to be beguiled by our enemy or the world under his power.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret— it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, THEY shall inherit the earth (Ps 37:7-9)

Honor Your #Forgiveness – Stop Fishing in the Sea of Forgetfulness! –

…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before (Phil 3:13); He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19)~~ Life is full of change – every fraction of every moment is a change from the last. Like the goals and hopes and dreams we all look forward to, everything about everything…has some form of change. Sometimes we embrace it, many times we fight it. All in all, we must look at change as moving forward. This change is not always a transformation, but it is a moving on from what has been to what is and what is to come. The greatest part of it all is that God also was, is and is to come…so we never have to go through “change” alone or in a hopeless state. There is something about change that we must learn to accept if we are to be better about the commandments of Christ to love God and love our neighbors (Matt 22:37,39). We must realize and accept the fact that people change – people move on. In fact, people change more than we think. Unfortunately most of the time we don’t see the change in people because we’re too busy looking at what they used to be and how they used to do. Here we are in a new day with new mercies but we continue to hold on to those things of yesterday! The light has changed, but we are sitting there looking in the rear view mirror.

We can learn a good lesson from the Lord in that once we say we have forgiven and we say we have moved on that those things that offended us in the past should be left in the past and not allowed to be brought back up into our lives as an excuse for holding onto anger. Not that what was done is suddenly okay but that if we have truly forgiven a person it should mean that thing is thrown into the sea of forgetfulness and we should honor the no fishing sign posted at the shore. You can probably think of a place in your life where you’ve claimed and even truly intended to have moved on, but there is that someone that seems to always know and remember who and what you were and what you did back then! Oh how you would love to have them move on as you have rather than always remind you of the past! Just as you’d rather they move on, you must do the same! Put that grudge down! Indeed one of the biggest adversaries of our mind is our memory of the past. Forgiveness indeed places a responsibility on us. Just as we would expect a person who repents to honor their repentance, we are expected to honor our forgiveness of them. If we stop judging a person by looking at the past just long enough, we might just see the change that we so eagerly looked for in them. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old…Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it (Isa 43:18-19). You will not see the new things God has for you if you keep focusing on the old things! Yesterday’s blessings and mercies were for yesterday – God’s mercies are NEW every morning (Lam 3:23). Yesterday’s angers, faults and troubles need to be left in yesterday – be ye angry and sin not; let the sun not set on your anger (Eph 4:26) – Forgive and move on – REALLY!!! …Harbored Hatred Hinders Healing!

We’ve Got So Many Reasons To Just Give Up; #Resist Them All! ~

Be Not Weary in Well Doing; For In Due Season, You Shall Reap if You Faint Not (Gal 6:9)

And So After He Patiently Endured; He Obtained the Promise (Heb 6:15)

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.— (Heb 10:36)

We must never give up; never buckle under. Despite mounting criticism, intense opposition, and overwhelming obstacles, we must persevere with determined resolve. We must refuse to throw in the towel.

Often, the easiest thing would be to quit; just give up. Forget about one’s dream and return to the comfort and convenience of mediocrity. Give in to the words of the critics, give up to the opposition, and give way to the obstacles. Simply tuck tail and run away.

Great power is embodied in patience, perseverance and persistence. The race is not always won by the fastest, nor the game by the strongest, but rather by the one who keeps on keeping on, who refuses to give up. Consider the postage stamp. Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. Race car driver Rick Mears said, “To finish first you must first finish.”

It is always too soon to quit. One of the most powerful and destructive tools that Satan has in his arsenal is discouragement, the subtle but dangerous compulsion to give up, to quit, saying, “What’s the use?”

When you are tempted to quit: resist. We must endure in the battle until the evil day is over. We must press on in the face of the temptation to quit. Until the war is over, we must fight to the end. Until the race is finished, we must keep running. Until the wall is built, we must keep stacking bricks. Never give up. Never. The promises of God are always at the end!

We’ve All Got A #Father To Celebrate! ~

“I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:18)

What is the most important verse in the Bible? Many people would answer, “John 3:16: God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.” However, this verse from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth can make a very big claim as well. In a way, the entire plan and purpose of God can be summed up in the words, “I’ll be a Father to you.” This has been God’s plan ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. When that happened, human beings became separated from the Father’s love. In effect, we became spiritual orphans—no longer able to relate to God as our Father. But thanks to Jesus, all that has changed! Jesus is the answer to our orphan state. He came into this world to die for our sins and adopt us into the Father’s family on earth. Now we can call God “Father” and rest in His arms of love. In this book of devotions, Jesus is inviting us to respond to these timeless words: “I’ll be a Father to you.”