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Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Brave Beauty - Book Review

Brave Beauty will take you on a journey for girls. It would be a good teaching book for girls and a book to give to girls. It has 100 mini chapters in the book about God.


Lynn Cowell discovered that writing helped her figure out herself. That's why she wrote this book; she wanted to take her readers on a journey to becoming a brave and fearless you!

This book has 100 mini chapters and it would be a good teaching book for girls.

We will see:
who God says you are
Look at people in the Bible and see how they handled hard things
Get to know more about God and how He can help us
Learn how God words can help us become fearless and brave

There are quizzes and questions throughout the book.

When Lynn was in the third grade, someone gave her a little gold book that read "Five Year Diary" on the outside. If she could remember who gave her, her first diary she would thank them.

At the end of each mini Chapter is a courageous call, is a prayer, "In Jesus' name, Amen."

Have you already asked God to make you a part of his family? If you haven't yet, you can simply ask God to make you His child and you, too, will belong.

There was a man in the Bible named Nicodemus, who felt a little confused. He heard about Jesus and saw miracles Jesus was doing, but he didn't really understand who Jesus was. He decided to go directly to Jesus and ask Him to explain.

Nicodemus was a leader in the church, but that didn't mean he had all the answers. Nicodemus approached Jesus at night, with questions and that was a brave approach.

The first thing Nicodemus wanted to know was who Jesus was.

Now Nicodemus was even more confused than when he came. He asked Jesus, "How can a man be born again when he is already old? He cannot get inside his mother's body again!"

Jesus explained to Nicodemus he could choose to become a part of God's family.

Jesus shared that when God's son, Jesus, came to earth, He made it possible for all of Nicodemus's sins to be forgiven. Then he could become a part of God's family and join God in heaven one day.

The price of our sins has already been paid (John 3:16). Jesus did that for you and me! It's a gift He gave us because He loves us so much.

When a family decides to adopt a child, they make that choice because they have a lot of love in their hearts and they want to share that love.

The Bible explains it this way: "God decided in advance, before we were born, to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

One of the promises that God made to us is that He will never leave us or forsake us.

As our father, God promises to take care of our needs. (Matthew 6:32) God already knows the things we need and He will take care of those needs.

God gives every person, including you, the ability to make a choice. You can decide whether or not you obey Him and experience His blessings. This decision is completely yours whether you are going to be a part of God's family or not.

I'm a part of God's family and I want you to be a part of it too.

Lynn shared when she would read her diary, it was fun reading about when she was younger.

Maybe when she talked about her struggles you would think, "Me too!" Your personality, body, even your family isn't the same as others so sometimes you have a hard time liking yourself just the way you are.

When God created you, He made you great from the very beginning.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV), says "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."

If you read through the Bible, you'll find lots of people who at one point or another felt unloved or rejected. Even Jesus was "looked down on and passed over." Isaiah 53:3 (MSG)

Remembering who we are in God's eyes help to heal the hurt that comes from meanness.

When Lynn was younger, she would often forget to do the chores her mom asked her to do. (Or was that really Lynn putting it off until she forgot on purpose?)

Lynn shares their has been times, that she felt like God has forgotten her.

You, too, know what it is like to feel like you haven't been remembered; left behind and left out.

God will never forget you!

When Lynn was younger she didn't mind being sick. When she was sick it meant she was able to stay at home from school with her Mom. All day long, her mom would bring her food and drinks to help her feel better.

In Matthew 14, we can read a story about Jesus meeting a lot of sick people. Jesus cousin, John the Baptist had just died. He wanted to be alone, but His boat landed, where there were many people, thousands of people, waiting for Him. They had heard He could heal their illnesses. Instead of wishing they would go away, verse 14 tells us, "... he had compassion on them and healed their sick."

After Jesus healed them, they didn't go away. His disciples told Jesus, "Send these people away so they can go and buy food for themselves." Jesus didn't want them to be sent away. Instead, He told the disciples to figure out a way to feed them; all 5,000 of them. All they found were five loaves and two fish. Jesus took what they had and miraculously fed everyone.

Jesus wants to protect you as you keep your eyes on Him each and every day.

When Lynn was a young woman her daddy passed away.

One day when her dad was getting ready to die, she was staying with him at the hospital. It was her birthday and her heart was sad to know that she was saying goo-bye to her dad. When she was going home from the hospital, she heard a song on the radio that talked about being completely healed and the way that healing came was by going to heaven and getting a new body.

Her daddy was dying, but her heart felt peaceful.

Just because you are young, doesn't mean you don't experience hard things in life. Parents divorce, love ones die, moves take us from our friends, and people do hurtful things. God is your refuge, strength, and help in trouble.

One day during fourth grade, Lynn's friend Liz asked her to come over after school. Lynn's mom had a rule that she couldn't go to anyone's house if there wasn't a parent there. Both of Liz's parents worked away from the home during the day. Lynn's mom had told her to never mess around with cigarettes.

Why didn't she listen to her mom's wise advice?

She didn't listen because she wanted Liz to like her.

At some point, you could find yourself in a situation similar to Liz. It might involve a TV show, a computer, a movie, a video, a friend, or a boy. There will be pressure, just like King Neb put pressure on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to bow down to his statue in Daniel 3.

The girl who is brave finds God's best; His plans for good for her life. The girl who runs with the "in" crowd all too often will miss it.

In fact, some friends might completely turn off the road of choosing what is right. You may have fewer friends or for a time, you may feel alone.

The tests of our character - the tests that we are taking and passing to become a brave beauty - can be the same way.

Passing tests isn't a school thing, it's a life thing.

At eight years old, Justine wasn't exactly sure what cancer was. But she did know her parents told her that her brother, who was only eighteen months old, had this thing called cancer.

Justine may not have understood how serious this illness was, but she did understand one thing: her family needed God to heal her brother.

God answered their prayers; God did heal her brother. Yes, God performed miracles in the Bible and He still performs miracles today!

In fact, Jesus says that if we only have faith the size of a tiny seed, nothing will be impossible for us.

Small people can see God do big things. Justine did!

There was a woman in the Bible who had an illness that was worst than Lynn's little cold. Her story is told in Mark 5:25-34 (NIV). This woman had been bleeding for twelve years. "She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse." (verse 26)

"When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If she touch his clothes, she would be healed." (verses 27-28) Immediately, Jesus' power went out of Him and into her. Her bleeding quit and her suffering stopped.

The woman had shown great bravery when she made her way through the crowd and touched Jesus' clothing. She had shown confidence in God, believing she would be healed.

The woman extended her faith when she reached out her arm. God met her; her prayers were answered.

As Lynn read her journals, she saw how God answered her prayers.

Ephesians 3:20 (MSG) Whatever big thing you can dream, God can do bigger.

Too often social media is all about making us feel good and important. We were made for one reason: to point others to the way, the truth, and the life: Jesus.

You need to be brave: brave enough to believe God has a big purpose for you.

Ella had broken one of her family's technology rules, watching a video she knew was wrong. Being ten was hard sometimes.

Ella couldn't sleep at night and her stomach had been hurting for days.

She went to her mom, sobbing, and confessed what she had done wrong.

Ella's mom hugged her and thanked her for being honest. She told Ella how brave she was to come and tell the truth. That didn't mean that honesty was a guarantee there would be no consequences or punishment for her actions.

The most important truth we need to know is that Jesus died to forgive us for our sins.

Lynn found a story in the Bible that doesn't get told much, probably because the names are so hard to pronounce.

Take a few minutes and read Exodus 1:15-17.

The women in this passage, Shiphrah and Puah, unlike Lynn, had every reason to be terrified. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt was ruthless. These two women were trained midwives - they were trained to help women through childbirth. Pharaoh was trying to get rid of the Israelite people. Pharaoh's plan was to command the women to destroy the little boys when they were born.

These women didn't care who was making the command. They feared God and did not do what the King of Egypt told them to do. They let every baby live; girl or boy.

Exodus 1:17 says the women "feared God." What the women felt toward God was respect and awe because of His power and holiness.

Shiphrah and Puah chose to obey God over fearing Pharaoh.

The author, Lynn Cowell is a part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries, speaking and writing to women of all ages. Lynn and her husband Greg have been married over 30 years and are parents of Zach, Mariah, and Madi.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

People and Creatures Enter the Ark - Genesis 7:1-10

God said to Noah, "Now board the ship, you and all your family out of everyone in this generation you're the righteous one.

"Take on board with you seven pairs of every clean animal, a male and a female; one pair of every unclean animal, a male and a female; and seven pairs of every kind of bird, a male and a female to insure their survival on earth. In just seven days God will dump rain on earth for forty days and forty nights. God will make a clean sweep of everything what he has made. Noah did everything that God had commanded him to do. Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters covered the earth. Noah and his wife and sons and their wives boarded the ship to escape the flood. Clean and unclean animals, birds, and all the crawling creatures came in pairs to Noah and to the ship, male and female, just as God had commanded Noah. In seven days the floodwaters came.

It was the six-hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month that it happened: all the underground springs erupted and all the windows of Heaven were thrown open. Rain poured for forty days and forty nights.

That's the day Noah and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, accompanied by his wife and his sons wives, boarded the ship. And with them every kind of wild and domestic animal, right down to all the kinds of creatures that crawl and all kinds of birds and anything that flies. They came to Noah and to the ship in pairs - everything and anything that had the breath of life in it, male and female of every creature came just as God had commanded Noah. Then God shut the door behind Noah.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible

People and Creatures Return to the Earth - Genesis 8:13-19

In the six hundred first year of Noah's life, on the first day of the first month, the flood had dried up. Noah opened the hatch of the ship and saw dry ground. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the earth was completely dry.

God spoke to Noah: "Leave the ship, you and your wife and your sons and your sons wives. And take all the animals with you, the whole menagerie birds and mammals and crawling creatures, all that brimming prodigality of life, so they can reproduce and flourish on the earth."

Noah disembarked with his sons and wife and his sons wives. Then all the animals, crawling creatures, birds - every creature on the face off the earth - left the ship family by family. Noah built an altar to God. He selected clean animals and birds from every species and offered them as burnt offering on the altar. God smelled the sweet fragrance and thought to himself, I'll never again curse the ground because of people. I know they have this bent toward evil from an early age, but I'll never again kill off everything living as I've just done.

Extolling the majesty of the Lord - Psalm 89:1-15

Congregation of the saints or holy generally refers to angels. In the courts of heaven, a myriad of angels praise the Lord. This scene is one of majesty and grandeur to show that God is beyond compare. His power and purity place him high above nature and angels.

Justice and judgment (righteousness) mercy and truth surround God on his throne, they are fundamental aspects of the way God rules. As God's ambassadors, we should deal with people similarly. Make sure your actions flow out of justice, righteousness, and truth because any unfair, unloving, or dishonest action cannot come from God.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

God's Promise Realized Through Faith - Romans 4:13-25

That famous promise God gave Abraham - that he and his children would posses the earth was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God's decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed.

If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an iron clad contract! That's not a holy promise; that's a business deal.

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 if that - you can't break it. This is why the fulfillment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and his ways and then simply embracing him and what he does.

God's promise arrives as a 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.

For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father - that's reading the story backward. He is our faith father. We call Abraham "Father" not because he got God's attention by living a faithful life, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody.

Isn't that what we're always reading in Scripture "I set you up as Father of many peoples?" Abraham was first named "father" and then became a father because he he trusted God to do only what God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.


When everything was hopeless Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples.

God himself said to him you're going to have a big family, Abraham!

Ceremonies and rituals serve as reminders of our faith. They instruct new and younger believers, but we should not think that they give us any special merit before God. They are outward signs and seal that demonstrate belief and trust. The focus of our faith should be on Christ and his saving actions, not on our own actions.

Paul explains that Abraham pleased God through his faith alone, before he ever heard about the rituals that would become so important to the Jewish people. We too are saved by faith. It is not by loving God and doing good that we are saved; neither is it by faith plus love or faith plus good works.

We are saved only through faith in Christ, trusting him to forgive all our sins. For more on Abraham, see his profile in Genesis 18.

The promise (or covenant) God gave Abraham said that Abraham would be the father of many nations and that the entire world would be blessed through him. This promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus was from Abraham's line, and truly the world was blessed through him.

Paul points out that the promise to Abraham to be the father of many nations extended beyond Israel to all the nations of the world. Abraham never doubted that God would fulfill his promise. His life was marked by mistakes, sins, and failures as well as by wisdom and goodness, but he consistently trusted God. His faith was strengthened by the obstacles he faced.

His life is an example of faith in action. If he had looked only at his own resources for subduing Canaan and founding of a nation, he would have given up in despair. But he looked to God, obeyed him and waited for God to fulfill his word to him.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Jesus, Mediator of a better Covenant - Hebrews 8:1-8

In essence, we have just such a high priest right along side of God, conducting worship in the one true sanctuary built by God. The assigned task of a high priest is to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and it's no different with the priesthood of Jesus.

If we were limited to earth, he wouldn't even be a Priest. We wouldn't need him since there are plenty of priests who offer the gifts designated in the law.

These priests provide only a hint of what goes on in the true sanctuary of heaven, which Moses caught a glimpse of as he was about to set up the tent-shrine. It was then that God said "be careful to do it exactly as you saw it on the mountain."

But Jesus priestly work far surpasses what these other priest do, since his working from a far better plan. If the first-plan the Old Covenant had worked out, a second wouldn't have been needed. But we know the first was found wanting, because God said.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Circumcision Event Remembered - Acts 7:1-8

Then the Chief Priest said, what do you have to say for yourself?

Stephen replied, friends, fathers, and brothers, the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before the move to Haran, and told him, leave your country and family and go to the land I'll show you.

So he left the country of the Chaldees and moved to Haran. After the death of his father, he immigrated to his country where you now live, but God gave him nothing, not so much as a foothold. He did promise to give the country to him and his son later on, even though Abraham had no son at the time. God let him know that his offspring would move to an alien country where they would be enslaved and brutalized for four hundred years. 'But,' God said, I will step in and take care of those slaveholders and bring my people out so they can worship me in this place.

Then he made a covenant with him and signed it in Abraham's flesh by circumcision. When Abraham had his son Issac, within eight days he reproduced the sign of circumcision in him. Issac became father of Jacob, and Jacob father of twelve 'Father,' each faithfully passing on the covenant sign.

This High Priest was Caiphas, the same High Priest who had earlier questioned and condemned Jesus.

Stephen launched into along speech about Israel's relationship with God. From Old Testament history he showed that the Jews had constantly rejected God's message and his Prophets, and that this council had rejected the Messiah, God's Son. He made three main points (1) Israel's history is the history of God's acts in the world; (2) People worshiped God long before there was a temple; (3) Jesus death was just one more example of Israel's rebellion and rejection of God.

Stephen wasn't really defending himself. Instead, he took the offensive, seizing the opportunity to summarize his teaching about Jesus. Stephen was accusing these religious leaders failing to obey God's laws - the laws they prided themselves in following so meticulously. This was the same accusation Jesus had leveled against them. When we witness for Christ, we don't need to be on the defensive. Instead we can simply share our faith.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Sabbath Commandment ... Exodus 20:8-11

The Sabbath was a day set aside for rest and worship. God commanded a Sabbath because we need to spend unhurried time in worship and rest each week. A God who is concerned enough to provide a day each week for us to rest is indeed wonderful. To observe a regular time of rest and worship in our hurried world demonstrates the importance of God in our lives while having the extra benefit of refreshing our spirits.

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work - not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and Sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath Day; he set apart as a holy day.

Reference used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

You Are God's Choice ... Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Often we ask why, "what does God expect of me?" Here Moses gives a summary that is simple in form and easy to remember. Here are the essentials: (1) fear God (have reverence for him). (2) walk in his ways. (3) Love him with all your heart. How often we complicate faith with man-made rules, regulations, and requirement. Are you frustrated and burned out from trying hard to please God? Concentrate on his real requirements and find peace, respect, and love.

God required all male Israelites to be circumcised, but he wanted them to go beyond performing the surgery to understanding its meaning. They needed to summit to God inside, in their hearts as well as outside, in their bodies. If our hearts are right with God, then our relationship with other people can be made right too. When your heart has been cleansed and you have been reconciled to God, you will begin to see a difference in the way you treat others.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible, and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Abram Called and Blessed ... Genesis 12:1-3

God promised to bless Abram and make him great, but there was one condition. Abram had to do what God wanted him to do. This meant leaving his home and friends and traveling to a new land where God promised to build a great nation from Abram's family. Abram obeyed, walking away from his home for God's promise of even greater things. God may be trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness for him. Don't let the comfort and security of your present position make make you miss God's plan for you.

Abram moved out in faith from Ur to Haran and finally to Canaan. God then established a covenant with him. Not only would this nation be blessed, God said; but the other nations of the earth would be blessed through Abram's descendants. Israel, the nation that would come from Abram, was to follow God and influence those with whom it came in contact. Through Abram's family tree, Jesus Christ was born to save humanity. Through Christ, all people can have a personal relationship with God and be blessed beyond measure.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

The Lord's Words Become Actions ... Psalm 33:1-9

Because David was an accomplished harpist, he frequently spoke about musical instruments throughout his Psalms. He undoubtedly composed music for many of the Psalms, and he commissioned music for Temple Worship.

A Person's words are measured by the quality of his or her character. If you trust what God says, it is because you trust him to be the God he claims to be. If you doubt his words, you doubt the integrity of God himself. If you believe God is truly God, then believe what he says!

All God's words are true and trustworthy. The Bible is reliable because, unlike people, God does not lie, forget, change his words, or leave promises unfulfilled. We can trust the Bible because, it contains the words of a holy, trustworthy and unchangeable God.

This is a poetic summary of the first chapter of Genesis. He is the Lord of creation, the almighty God. Because he is all powerful, we should reverence him in all we do.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A New Covenant of the Heart - Jeremiah 31:31-34

God would inscribe his law upon their hearts rather than upon tablets of stone as were the Ten Commandments. This change seems to describe one experience very much like the new birth and God is making the initiative. When we turn our lives over to God he, by his Holy Spirit, builds into us the desire to obey him.

The Old Covenant, broken by the people, would be replaced by an new covenant. The foundation of this new covenant is Christ. It is revolutionary, involving not only Israel and Judah, but even the Gentiles. It offers a unique personal relationship with God himself, with his laws inscribed on hearts instead of on stone. Jeremiah looked forward to the day when Jesus would come to establish this covenant. But for us today, this covenant is here. We have the wonderful opportunity to make a fresh start and establish a permanent, personal relationship with God.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nations Will Know The Lord - Spirit Filled Heart: Ezekiel 36:32-38

God said his people should be ashamed of their sins. The people had become so callous that they had lost all sensitivity to sin. First they had to remember their sins, then despise them, and finally repent of them. As we examine our lives, we may find that we too have lost our sensitivity to certain sins. But if we measure ourselves against God's standard of right living, we will be ashamed. To regain sensitivity we must recognize our sin for what it is, feel sorry for displeasing God, and ask his forgiveness. The Holy Spirit will guide us, making us responsive and receptive to God's truth.

God said that if the people asked, he would come to their aid. We cannot expect his mercy, however, until we have sought new hearts from him. We can be thankful that his invitation is open to all.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Friday, September 22, 2017

Noah Found Favor With the Lord - Genesis 6:1-8

AND it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them.

Genesis 1:28 ... And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth (creepeth) upon the earth.


That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Deuteronomy 7:3,4 .... Neither shall thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD, be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.


And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man,

1 Peter 3:19,20 ... By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.

Which sometime were disobedience, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

Psalm 78:39 ... For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.


There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.


And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination (whole imagination) of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (everyday).


And it repented the LORD that he had made men on earth,

Numbers 23:19 ... God is not a man, that he should not lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hate he said, and shall he do not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

and it grieved him at his heart.

Isaiah 63:10 ... But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, he fought against them.

Reference summary used from The SouthWestern Co., Publishers & Booksellers, Nashville, TN

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Master's Mind - Book Review

The Master's Mind: The Art of Reshaping Your Thoughts

In fact, the Master has a whole different list of attributes in mind for us: hope, strength, beauty, joy, love, creativity, freedom, power, peace, patience, goodness, laughter, organization, effectiveness, and purpose.

Between the flesh, the world, and the Devil, we don't know what to think, and, therefore, our lives are filled with hurt, pain, and regret.

Jesus died to save us from our sins and set us free. He made a way for our souls to be rescued from our enemies.

It's time to return to the Master's Mind.

In approximately AD 31, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was asked the seemingly impossible question: "What is the greatest commandment of God?" Jesus simply replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength."

If we can master our minds and bring our thoughts into alignment with the Lord's will and perspective, the rest of our lives will follow suit.

Praise the Lord that He has told us who He is, who we are in the light of Him, and what we have been placed on this earth to do.

God does the rescuing and the saving. Our job is to steward what He has given us.

What we think determines our action. Martin Luther King Jr. determined that he would not rest until all people were viewed as God intended - equal. Mother Teresa determined that the poor would not be forgotten. Our Lord Jesus Christ walked His entire life on earth with a focus on completely obeying His heavenly Father, including the determination to end up on the cross to save us from our sins, as we see in this passage from Luke: "When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).

The Bible tells us of an ancient high-ranking official who made a personal choice that would dictate the rest of his life and effectiveness. His name was Naaman, and he was a Syrian army commander who had leprosy, a terrible skin disease. Knowing that he was desperate for healing, his little servant girl told him of a prophet in Israel who could heal him by God's power. Figuring that it was worth a shot, Naaman went to see the prophet Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to tell Naaman that he would be healed if he washed seven times in the Jordan River.

Naaman was furious. He believed that the prophet was simply going to "call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure" him (2 Kings 5:11). When things didn't go the way he thought they should, he stormed off in a rage.

His attendant hurried after him and convinced him to reconsider. Sure, washing seven times was unorthodox, but what if it could heal him?

He relented - and came out healed from leprosy.

Naaman's false assumptions, ignorant thoughts, and prideful heart almost cost him his healing. What are we believing today that is keeping us from God's best?

It's true of God: Isaiah 14:24 tells us, "The LORD of hosts has sworn: As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand."

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. (Acts 17:26)

Before the New York firefighters and police officers ran into the collapsing Twin Towers on the fateful day of 9/11, they thought about it. Their heroic choice to risk their lives to protect others from a burning building was the result of truly stunning thoughts: Their job is to rescue others and put them before themselves. They would not let fear dictate their response.

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was explaining that our characters and beliefs determine the lives we live. Doing one thing on the outside doesn't make up for thinking another on the inside.

And when it comes to matters of faith, we spend the majority of our energy on sin management, completely avoiding the core issues. We'll never experience transformation until we address the thoughts at the root of our problems.

Bad thinking is dangerous. Wrong thinking can keeps us ineffective, wasting time on things that aren't important instead of living the lives God has for us.

Paul wrote in Romans about the distorted thinking common to humans and the consequences it brings. Since our sin nature is rooted in how we think our thoughts continue to be the primary block between us and God.

Jesus spoke about lust being equated with adultery.

Adam and Eve were the best of us: unadulterated humanity, good, pure, and perfect. But the day they ate the fruit that God told them not to eat, all of that changed. With their rebellion, sin entered the world and chaos was unleashed.

If you do not know the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love He demonstrated on the cross by dying for your sins, now is the time to engage with that truth.

God knows our plight. He knows we are hopelessly lost. When Adam and Eve threw away our birth right, He launched a redemption plan. The plan came to fruition approximately two thousand years ago, when God entered humanity and joined us where we were, in all our messiness. Doing all that we could not do, the God-man, Jesus Christ, offered up His perfect life - not only to satisfy our debt sin, but also to trade with us, the lost, so that we might be found and set free. We acknowledge that He is the King and His way is right. We offer open rights in which He can dwell by the power of His Holy Spirit so that we are never alone - not now, not ever.

"The most important thing about us is not what we do, but who and whose we are in Christ."

All He asks is that we stop fighting and let Him do what He does best - be our Savior and King. Paul the apostle wrote, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" ((Romans 5:1-2).

By definition, grace is "undeserved favor." Grace isn't earned; rather, it's given out of the goodness of someone else's heart.

Grace even cuts at the heart of the oldest and greatest of sin: pride. The same sin that caused the fall of Lucifer stirs in our souls. Once grace takes hold again, we experience peace.

God is working in us, and we can have faith in that process. But we also need to be aware of the biggest enemy of them all: the Devil.

The Devil is real, and he's a bad guy. He introduced the sin that brought down our world, he's a bully who picks on us every day, and he doesn't fight fair.

Listen to the apostle Peter: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Sin takes us from where we should be to where we should not be. Sin ruins our thoughts and poisons our hearts.

Sin is godlessness.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Therefore, God will never lead someone to sin; doing so goes against His very nature. He will test believers by putting them through difficult training that will strengthen them and reveal their current conditions (like a refiner's fire).

Satan seeks to harm.

God's intention is always for believers to emerge from a trial better than when they started, either in strength or in knowledge. He promises that every situation will have a way out - an escape hatch that can be utilized through obedience.

As we've seen, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted, yet was without sin. It also says, "In your anger do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26 NIV).

Acting on sin is temptation.

Praise the Lord that He is with us and that the Holy Spirit is helping us navigate all of this!

Nebuchadnezzar made a name for himself as a warrior king. He won the famous battle of Carchemish against the Egyptians the year he was called to throne. He fused his alliance with the Medes by marriage and expanded his territory by military force until he controlled much of the Middle East and all the trade routes across Mesopotamia.

He was so impressive that Saddam Hussein sought to claim his reincarnated personality. Hussein named one of his guard divisions after the ancient king and began rebuilding ancient Babylon in his honor, inscribing on the bricks, "To king Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Hussein."

This great and powerful king lost his mind.

God leveled Nebuchadnezzar for pride and arrogance, and once that was done, he lifted his hand immediately and miraculously. Nevertheless, his story reminds us that even the might fall sometimes, and no mind is invulnerable.

Everybody remembers Mister Rogers' Neighbor right? But did you know that it aired from 1968 to 2001, produced 895 episodes, and earned four Emmy awards?

There's a reason that a Presbyterian reverend from Pennsylvania received the coveted Peabody Award, the Ralph Lowell Award, more than forty honorary degrees, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He wanted to use children's imaginations as God intended them - to think through new perspectives.

You and I are precious - and so is every human on earth.

On the day Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they sold their souls to the Enemy.

Jesus Christ needed to come to set us free. We are free to become what He created us to be and not be forced into the mold of our enemies.

Our Master paid for us.

Even if we are free, we still need a Savior. We are still designed for relationship with God as our Father. We are still built for His glory. We are not our own.

We long to worship.

Christianity needs to be a thriving relationship with God filled with the Holy Spirit and all the incredible blessings He has given us. We need to be so filled up that the Holy Spirit forces out evil.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit gives us "living water."

Paul says that we have been raised with Christ, which means we are a new creation, born again with all the sin of our lives dead and gone.

Transformation always begins in our thoughts.

When Jesus told His listeners to "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2), He did not simply mean "feel terrible for your wickedness now that I'm here." Repent doesn't only mean to turn away but to change one's mind and start agreeing with God.

Jesus Christ is the One who can set us free, not just when we get to heaven, but increasingly so right here on earth.

God will hold us accountable for how we manage our minds and handle our hearts.

One of the precious tools God has provided is supernatural protection for His children. The apostle Paul called it the armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-18.

Lance Hahn is the senior pastor of Bridgeway Christian Church in Rocklin, California. His first book, How to live in fear mastering the Art of Freaking Out, Chronicles his personal struggles with panic disorders and offers tools for thriving through fear. A popular speaker who enjoys writing, Lance is a husband to Suzi and father to two daughters.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Sunday - The Peaceful Kingdom - Isaiah 11:1-9 - 9/3/17

Assyria would be like a tree cut down at the height of its power never to rise again. Judah (the royal line of David) would be like a tree chopped down to a stump. But from that stump a new branch would grow - the Messiah. He would be greater than the original tree and would bear much fruit. The Messiah is the fulfillment of God's promise that a descendant of David would rule forever.

The Messiah is Jesus Christ.

How we long for fair treatment from others, but do we give it? Only Christ can be the perfectly fair judge. Only as he governs our hearts can we learn to be as fair in our treatment of others as we expect others to be toward us.

Judah had become corrupt, and now it was surrounded by hostile foreign powers. The nation desperately needed a revival of righteousness, equity, and faithfulness. They needed to turn from selfishness and show justice to the poor and the oppressed. The righteousness that God values is more than reframing from sin, it is actively turning toward others and offering them the help they need.

It is incredible to think of hostile animals living at peace. It is even more incredible for hostile people to live at peace with one another. And one day the whole world will acknowledge that Christ is Lord.

A golden age is yet to come. Not all of this was fulfilled at Christ's first coming. For example, nature has not returned to its intended balance and harmony.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible; Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Wheaton, IL

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday - Called to Be Inclusive - Acts 10:19-33 - 8/27/17

Inclusive - list is inclusive of all the items.

God prepares Cornelius and Peter.

Leviticus 11 - three times the vision came instructing Peter to break the Jewish food-laws.

Peter goeth to Cornelius.

Acts 10:19 ... While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

Acts 11:12 ... And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:


Acts 10:20 ... Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

Acts 15:7 ... That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.


Acts 10:21 ... Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?


Acts 10:22 ... And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and

Acts 10:1,2 ... (The vision of Cornelius) THERE was a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band.

A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

Acts 10:22 ... of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

Acts 22:12 ... And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,


Acts 10:23 ... Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Acts 10:45 ... And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.


Acts 10:24 ... And the morrow after they entered into Cesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.


Acts 10:25 ... And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.


Acts 10:26 ... But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

Acts 14:14,15 ... Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:


Acts 10:27 ... And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.


Acts 10:28 ... And he said unto them, ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;

Acts 11:3 (Peter accused of consorting with the Gentiles) Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Acts 10:28 ... but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Acts 15:8,9 ... And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.


Acts 10:29 ... Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?


Acts 10:30 ... And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me

Acts 1:10 ... And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Acts 10:30 ... in bright clothing

Luke 24:4 ... And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed there about, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:


Acts 10:31 ...And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard

Acts 10:4 ... And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Acts 10:31 ... and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Hebrews 6:10 ... For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.


Acts 10:32 ... Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh shall speak unto thee.


Acts 10:33 ... Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Reference summary used from The SouthWestern Co., Publishers & Booksellers; Nashville, TN

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunday - Called To Break Down Barriers - Acts 8:26-39 - 8/13/17

Cross-cultural(ethnic) evangelism(teaching)

The Ethiopian eunuch and Philip the evangelist.

Ethiopian eunuch ... He was an unnamed person who was returning to his homeland after having been to Jerusalem to worship. He was an official in the court of the queen of Ethiopia (today Ethiopia is Northern Sudan). As he traveled, he met Philip the evangelist. Philip had come to the desert area in response t God's call. Philip declared the gospel to the eunuch, and the eunuch received Christian baptism at Philip's hands. His conversion illustrates the Christian faith transcending national boundaries and embracing one whose physical mutilation would have excluded him from full participation in Judaism.

Candance - In Acts 8:27 the queen of Ethiopia whose servant became a believer in Christ and was baptized by Philip. The title was used by several queens of Ethiopia.

Philip was sent by God to Azotus, an ancient Philistine capital, to another ethnic group that needed to hear the gospel (Acts 8:40).

Azotus (Ashdod) is one of the principal cities of the Philistines, where the Philistines defeated Israel and captured the ark of the covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant is the original container, for the 10 Commandments and the central symbol of God's presence with the people of Israel.

Ethiopian at this time meant "Nubian." The Ethiopian eunuch was reading out loud to himself. In the book of Isaiah the early Christians found many prophecies of Christ; Isaiah 53:7-8 deals with the servant of the Lord.

Philip had a successful preaching ministry to great crowds in Samaria, but he obediently left that ministry to go to a dessert road. Because Philip went where God sent him. Ethiopia was open to the Gospel. You may not understand God's plan at first, but the results will prove that God's way is always right.

Ethiopia was located in Africa, south of Egypt. The eunuch was obviously very dedicated to God because he had traveled such a long distance to worship in Jerusalem. The Jews had contact with Ethiopia in ancient days. Because he was the treasurer of Ethiopia, his conversion brought Christianity into the power structures of another government. This is the beginning of the witness "to the uttermost part of the earth."

Philip found the Ethiopian man reading the Scriptures, Philip (1) followed the Spirit's leading, (2) began the discussion from where the man was (immersed in the prophecies of Isaiah), and (3) explained how Jesus Christ fulfilled Isaiah's prophecies.

The eunuch begged Philip to explain a passage of Scripture which he did not understand. When we do not understand the Bible, we should ask others to help us. We must never let our insecurity or pride get in the way of understanding God's Word.

Some think that the Old Testament is not relevant today, but Philip led this man to faith in Jesus Christ by using the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is found in the pages of both the Old and New Testament. Don't avoid or neglect to use the Old Testament, it too is God's Word.

Philip was suddenly transported to another city miraculous because of the urgency of bringing the Gentiles to belief in Christ.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Bible Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL; The New Annotated Bible with The Apocrypha Expanded Edition, RSV and Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday - Amos Call - Amos 7:10-17 -7/30/17

Amos was an herdman/shepherd and farmer before the Lord called him to be a prophet.

Amaziah was a chief priest that led the children of Israel into idolatry.

Amos was called by the Lord to do something that he was not trained to do. Once God calls you he qualifies you. Training is helpful, but the calling on your life from God is what keeps you going when others and everything is against you.

God protects his servants who will obey and work faithfully. The servant of God, must trust and obey, expecting God's next direction.

Amos' response to Amaziah was full of doom.

Amaziah thought Amos was a prophet for the money. Amaziah told Amos that he could earn a comfortable income in Judah. Amaziah told Amos to flee to Judah for his own safety.

Amaziah was not concerned about hearing God's message; he was only worried about his own position. Don't let anything come between you and obeying God.

Are you obeying God's word? Without any special preparation, education, or upbringing, Amos obeyed God's call to "go prophesy unto his people Israel."

Amaziah was the official priest of the royal sanctuary at Bethel.

Not only would the Israelities be taken into exile, but Amaziah's own wife would be a harlot and his sons and daughters would be destroyed.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha Expanded Edition RSV and The Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale Publishers INC., Wheaton, IL

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday - Ezekiel's Call - Ezekiel 3:1-11 - 7/23/17

Ezekiel was a priest by training, a prophet by God's call.

Ezekiel received vivid visions and delivered powerful messages.

Ezekiel served as God's messenger during Israel's captivity in Babylon.

God shaped Ezekiel character to fit his mission - a tough and stalwart man to reach a hard and stubborn people (Ezekiel 3:8).

In Ezekiel's vision, he ate God's message and found the spiritual food not only good for him, but also sweet as honey. If you "digest" God's Word, you will find that not only does it make you stronger in your faith, but its wisdom sweetens your life. You need to feed yourself spiritually just as you do physically. You must make digesting God's Word a regular part of your life.

God makes his followers strong enough to stand against anything or anyone, including those who hate what is right. Just as God gave Ezekiel tough love (a strong face) and tough faith (a hard forehead), he wants to give you stability, perseverance and insight you need to live up to the great task he has given you. Give yourself over to God's conditioning, and let him get your life in shape.

Ezekiel was to receive God's words in his heart before preaching them to others. God's message must sink deep into your heart and show in your actions before you can effectively help others understand and apply it.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible, KJV; Tyndale Publishers Inc.; Wheaton, IL