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Psalm 41:10 But You, O LORD, be gracious to me and raise me up, That I may repay them.

God lifts us up. Not only does He lift us up, but He has the ability to keep us up. Through all the political drama, with the rise and fall of the economy, and even the severe temperatures in the weather, God lifts us up.

Staying lifted above all the negativity that’s occurring in the world depends on us. If we’re worried or fearful about how we’re going to make it, our faith is not in God. If our faith is not in God, there’s no guarantee of God keeping us lifted. A negative mouth and attitude doesn’t guarantee God keeping us up. If we’re speaking negatively towards this person or that person, or that business, we’re sinking to the world’s level.

Whatever negativity we see around us doesn’t have to be our fate. God can and will keep us lifted above it all.

Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

We hear this verse a lot in church, but this is not the easiest thing to do.

  • When we receive a promotion, bless the Lord. When we get laid-off, bless the Lord.
  • When we have a baby, bless the Lord. When our child has a difficult time following instructions, bless the Lord.
  • When we have the finances to take a 4-day vacation, bless the Lord. When we don’t know how we’re going to pay the bills, bless the Lord.
  • When we’re full of energy, bless the Lord. When we’re too tired to talk, bless the Lord.

It’s easy and quite natural to bless the Lord during the good times, but it takes disciplined effort to bless the Lord during difficult times. In the midst of negative situations, we don’t bless the Lord because of the situation. We bless the Lord because He is the One Who can instantly change the situation.

So whatever state you’re in, remember to bless the Lord.

Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

When we face afflictions, it doesn’t mean we don’t have faith, we did something wrong, or God is punishing us. Afflictions are a part of life (John 16:33).

There’s a devil, who’s constantly on attack. His job is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Regardless of the affliction, we have hope. Our hope is God’s deliverance. Everything from a minor cold to stage four cancer, God guarantees deliverance.

That’s where our faith comes in. We can either believe and receive God’s deliverance from whatever affliction we’re facing or, allow the affliction to unsettle our peace, take our joy, and destroy our bodies. Being a born-again believer doesn’t mean we’re exempt from problems, but it does mean we’re victorious over every problem.

When we face afflictions, just realize the faith fight is on. Put your hope in God and receive the deliverance that He guarantees.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Honor, reverence, and respect is also known as the fear of the Lord. It has nothing to do with being afraid of God. When we honor God, we position ourselves for wisdom. We position ourselves to receive wisdom in our finances, wisdom at our jobs, and wisdom in raising our children. Whatever area we need wisdom, it begins with our reverence towards God.

The world may look at God as a joke or think those who put their trust in Him are foolish, but when we’re wealthy, promoted, with a happy family, they’re the ones who will look foolish.

Let’s not participate in the minimizing of God or diminish the spiritual forces we have through God. Let’s continue to hold Him in high regard.

When a situation arises, there are three types of people. There are people with unbelief. They panic, stress, and worry about how to resolve a situation.

Secondly, there’s the partial believer. They may listen to a sermon or two and say they’re healed or all their needs are met but two hours later, when someone asks them how that situation is going, they speak a negative report. They let them know how hard it is and they don’t know what they’re going to do. They let them know how much pain they’re in and they let them know how stressed they are.

Finally, there’s the believer. The believer is all in. They’re all in with their belief and speech. They believe what God’s Word says. They believe that God’s Word will come to pass. Temptation or doubt may enter their minds, but they immediately rebuke those thoughts with the Word of God. They may be feeling pain every time they walk, but they periodically confess they are healed. They may see a shortage in their bank accounts, but they call themselves wealthy.

As believers, we want to be all in. Not partial or unbelieving. No matter how long it takes or how big the situation may seem, be all in with God’s Word, God’s ability, and the finished works of Jesus Christ.

Mark 4:14 The farmer sows the word…
20 Still others are like the seeds sown on good soil. They hear the word, receive it, and produce a crop—thirtyfold, sixtyfold, or a hundredfold.”

In the United States, for the past 34 days, people working for the federal government have not been paid. It’s a seemingly stressful situation. People don’t know when they’re going to get their next paycheck and bills are due.

A lot of people are complaining about the president or congress when in actuality, they never had any control over what they did anyway.

For the believer in this situation or any situation like this, it’s an opportunity for our trust to be put on display. Either we’re going to trust God to provide all our needs or complain like the rest of the world.

Our attitude should be an attitude of trust. When people see us doing our jobs (for free in this case) without complaining, they’ll wonder how we can remain so calm and positive. That allows us to share with them Who we put our trust in. Every day, there will be a temptation to complain, but we must resist.

In whatever situation we’re in, we can either trust God or complain about the situation. For positive results, trust in God.

Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

John 1:16 (GNT) Out of the fullness of His grace He has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.

When we get a new house, we’ll gladly give God the praise. When we get married to our best friend, that’s another reason to give God the glory. When we receive a financial increase, we’ll rejoice all week long. The same enthusiasm we give God on major breakthroughs in our life is the same enthusiasm we should have on the “little things.”

What’s little to us may be big to someone else. Some of us overlook thanking God for that close parking spot because it’s not that big of a deal but for someone else, it’s truly a blessing because they have arthritis in their knees.  Some may see that $100 raise as insignificant but for someone else, that’s a Godsend because that’s the exact amount they need to pay their rent. Even appreciating our house/apartment has dwindled but, someone else must brave the cold because they have no roof over their head.

Even if it’s not that exciting to us or it’s normal routine, acknowledging God’s hand in the situation is vital. Throughout the day, begin thanking God for the most basic of needs and luxuries.

When we have a heart to please God, we’ll want to make sure we’re doing everything He tells us to do. Depending on the task, we may want confirmation that it’s really God. During those times, we can ask God for a sign.

For instance, if we believe we heard God tell us to move to another city, but we’re not quite sure, we can ask God to show us a specific sign. We can ask God to have that city randomly mentioned 3 times to us within the week and God will do it. While watching the news, He may have that city mentioned. That city may be mentioned by our friend in conversation. That city may be mentioned at a presentation at work. Coincidence? I think not. That’s God showing us a sign.

For confirmation in any area of your life, ask God for a sign. He did it for Gideon and He’ll do it for you too.

Judges 6:36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

There are a lot of things that command our attention. We have work, our families, household responsibilities, and more. In the midst of all of that, there’s God. Now, if we say or have a mindset to put God first, our priorities should reflect that.

That means, if we’re not able to do a load of laundry so that we can spend time with God, so be it. If that means we won’t be able to hang out with our friends to go to a church event we want to attend, oh well. If that means, we’ll miss out on watching our favorite TV show that everyone will be talking about at work the next day, we’ll just have to miss it.

God understands all the things we have to do on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean He should get pushed to the side. If we want God to prioritize us in our time of need, we should prioritize Him.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  

God wants every believer’s light to shine. What does that mean? That means, being a blessing by generously giving to others, helping those in need, and walking in the love of God in spite of how others treat us.

Some people use this as an opportunity to boast. They want to let people know that their donation came from them. They want to let us know how much of a sacrifice it was to help someone else. They want to publicize the charity work they do for the poor. They’re being a blessing, but they have the wrong attitude.

Our attitude should be an attitude of love. We should genuinely want to see our fellow man do and have better. We should want to see them get back up on their feet. It’s not an opportunity to boast, but to show the love of God to all.

Be sure to shine and not show off.

Acts 9:20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”

After receiving his sight, Saul immediately went to the same place and preached Christ to the same people he led before his Damascus experience. Think about that. Just a few days ago, Saul told these people to kill everyone preaching Christ and now, he’s passionately preaching Christ to them. How “hypocritical” was that?

In our own lives, we may be led to go into our old neighborhood, to our old friends, who knew how we used to be and preach Christ. We shouldn’t allow thoughts of being a hypocrite stop us from doing what we’ve been called to do. Since God’s been good to us and we’ve experienced blessing after blessing, shouldn’t we want everyone to know about our Lord? They may not accept the teachings of Jesus from an outsider, but they may receive Christ and repent, because they know us.

Don’t be ashamed to preach to your past. It’s not hypocritical. It’s vocalizing the manifestation of change.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

A lot of times, when we get overwhelmed with the issues of life, we get emotional. We begin to cry and plead with God to change our situation. We tell God all about our problems, hoping He’ll take pity on us, and change our situation soon. After 6 months of an unchanged situation, some of us get frustrated with God and lose hope.

As we can see from scripture, God doesn’t respond to tears. He responds to faith. Not just any type of faith, but bold faith. God tells us to come boldly to the throne of grace to receive help in our time of need.

Why boldness? Because as children of God, we should know what belongs to us. Everything from healing, finances to meet a need, to deliverance of addictions all belong to us. So, don’t cry about the situation because crying won’t cut it. Boldly approach God, according to His will, and declare what you need changed in your life.

Proverbs 7:21 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him…23 Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life….25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths;

Let’s face it, people are attractive. That attraction can be the first step in the devil’s plan to ruin a loving marriage. If we’re not mindful, we’ll allow Satan to invade our thoughts with lustful and unholy things. Satan attempts to deceive us into thinking life would be better with the other person or no one would know. But as we can see from scripture, this deceptive thinking can ruin our lives.

We could get a divorce and inherit all of the terrible things divorce can do to ourselves, our families, and our finances. We could create a lifetime of trust issues in our marriage. We could create a deeper insecurity within our spouses. We could send the wrong message to our children. All of this can occur if we choose not to resist temptation.

If thoughts of adultery have entered your mind, remove those thoughts by literally saying, “I only desire my spouse” every day. If adultery has already been committed, receive God’s forgiveness, ask for your spouse’s forgiveness, and turn from that lifestyle and commit yourself to God and your spouse. Let’s not ruin the blessing God has given us.

Acts 9:6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

If we had our way, we’d want to know every detail of God’s plan for our lives. We’d want to know when, where, and how. Who wouldn’t? But often times, God gives us partial information. He’ll give us initial steps to determine if we’ll handle those instructions appropriately. Did we do what was instructed? Did we do it when He told us to do it? Did we have the correct attitude when we did it? All these things play a factor on when we get our next instructions.

Once partial instructions are appropriately completed, then we qualify ourselves to receive additional instructions that will lead us to God’s best for our lives. Matthew 25:23 says it this way, if we’re faithful over a few things, we can be in charge of many things.

What has God told you? Whatever it is, do it appropriately to eliminate any delay on God’s promise.

Hebrews 2:16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.

All throughout the Bible and even today, people are in awe of angels. They see them as these big, powerful, beautiful beings. With all that we know about angels, it’s interesting to see how God doesn’t give aid to angels, but to the seed of Abraham.

If we belong to Christ, we are Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:29). God prioritizes us, flawed and all, more than He does angels who worship Him day and night. That’s encouraging. That means, no matter what we’ve done wrong and no matter how far we’ve strayed, His hand remains available for us to grab. God is and will always be willing to help us in our time of need. He hasn’t left and He will not leave us to fend for ourselves. He is and He will always be there for us.

Receive God’s aid because He prioritizes you.

All throughout the world there are millions of people who join the military. They are told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Their only reply to the command is “Yes, sir” or “Yes, ma’am.” They may have an opinion or question the task in their minds, but that doesn’t stop them from performing the task. They understand that’s their duty.

If individuals in the military can adopt that mindset, we can too except, we can obey the commands of God. When God tells us to go here on this day and do a certain task, instead of debating or disobeying a direct command, simply say, “Yes, Sir.” We may wonder how it’s going to work in our favor, but obey anyway. Unlike man’s military, who may get it wrong at times, God has a 100% success rate.

Take a note from the military by saying, “Yes, Sir” to whatever God instructs you to do.

Acts 13:4 Then Barnabas and Saul, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. And John was with them as their helper.

John 16:23 In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

We all want answered prayers, but some of us are still using the same old method we heard of calling Jesus with all our problems.

***Before we go too far after looking at the title, when salvation is needed, by all means call on the name of Jesus, however, when it comes to our requests, don’t call Jesus.

As we can see, calling on Jesus is not the method we should be using. All our requests need to go to God in the name of Jesus. So, all those songs with lyrics like “Jesus is on the main line” and “Jesus will fix it” are inaccurate. God will hear and answer the prayer because it has been fixed by Jesus over 2000 years ago. Our healing, deliverance, new house, and outfit have been made available by Jesus, but our requests should go to God.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

When we sin, some of us feel like it’s necessary to beat ourselves up about it. We feel like we can’t have any fun, we need to punish ourselves, and we need to do a bunch of religious activities for the next three days.

Just so you know, that’s not necessary. Jesus is THE Sacrifice. Every past, present, and future sin we’ll ever commit has been paid for through Jesus’ sacrifice. There’s no need to sulk or go into depression for missing the mark. We simply should acknowledge His sacrifice, thank God that our sins have been forgiven, and move on and enjoy the rest of our day.

Understand that Jesus is THE Sacrifice and there’s nothing we can do to take the place of His sacrifice.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Let’s face it. Most of us can see people. Whether we’re married or not, we can be attracted to certain people. A woman can see a tall muscular man and be attracted and a man can see a beautiful woman and be attracted. God made us that way.

The key is to briefly admire their appearance without lusting. It’s okay to be attracted to a person just as long as we’re not lusting after them. We can see the person, admire their appearance, and move on. The problem comes when we’re staring at them, allowing perverted thoughts to dwell in our minds, and thinking about them later.

If we find ourselves lusting, we can seek the Holy Spirit to give us a plan to remove lust from within us. He may give us a confession during tempting moments, He’ll give us the strength we need to turn away, or provide a distraction.

Let’s keep our minds free from lust so that our focus can be on God and our current or future spouse.

2 Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

During the holidays, we see pictures of a seemingly perfect family having a great time opening gifts. We see marriage proposals, weddings, vacations, and children being born. After seeing all of this, we’re prone to compare our lives with what we’ve seen on social media. Satan uses these moments to attempt to make us feel bad about our lives. He loves to show us what we don’t have and how our lives are not as joyous as what we’ve seen.

It’s unwise to compare ourselves with others. What we’ve seen could be a lie. Things may appear joyous but in actuality, it’s tumultuous. But even if it’s legitimate joy in someone else’s lives, there’s no reason to minimize our own lives.

It’s a choice to be happy about our lives. It’s a choice to be joyous about the simple things like shelter, employment, and safety. Even if there’s something we desire within our lives, it’s a choice not to dwell on what we don’t have and to be grateful about what we do have.

Let’s maintain our joy by not comparing our lives with others and be content.

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Scriptures of the Day

January 2019
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