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Psalm 149:3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. 4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. 5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. 6 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, 7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, 8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, 9 to carry out the sentence written against them— this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the LORD.

A lot of times before battle, God would instruct His people to praise Him. This praise would remind them of where their help, strength, and protection comes from. In one instance, praise was all they had to do. When they praised God, their enemy turned against themselves and started killing one another (2 Chron. 20:21-23). As we can see, praise is a weapon.

We may not face physical battles but, we all will face spiritual battles. Mental exhaustion, low self-esteem, doubt, fear, etc. are all forms of spiritual battles. These battles are designed to separate us from God. It’s during these attacks we should use our weapon of praise. Like physical battles, we praise God to remind ourselves where our help, strength, and protection comes from. Under this New Covenant, we also praise God because we have a guarantee of victory over every situation (2 Cor. 2:14).

Whatever we’re going through and no matter how we feel, don’t forget to praise our great God.

Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

Our confidence is attached to the promises of God.

The troubles of life are meant to separate us from our confidence in God. If we lose our job, get a divorce, or go through sickness, how will we respond? Will we maintain our confidence in God’s Word or throw our confidence away and make up some excuse as to why God’s Word won’t come to pass in our lives?

If we’re not confident is God’s ability to do what He said, we leave the door open for doubt. A person who doubts can’t expect to receive anything from God (James 1:6-7). However, if we maintain our confidence in God, we’ll have the faith for God’s promises that will eventually manifest in our lives (Romans 4:16).

If you have confidence in God’s Word, keep it. If you threw your confidence away for whatever reason, go get it and go get what God has for you.

Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

When we make Jesus our Lord, we become the just or the righteous. One promise for the righteous is a bright future.

Like any promise of God, this promise must be received by faith. Our belief in this promise will unlock wisdom in areas of ignorance, doors of opportunities will open, and people of influence will be placed in our lives.

Our future may not look so bright currently but, keep believing and standing on God’s promise. Eventually, every area of our lives will begin to brighten up.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In a world where everyone seems to be looking out for themselves, we forget to think of others. People may seem like they have it altogether but people are hurting. They put on a brave face but inside, they’re going through depression, financial struggles, or marital issues.

This is where the believer steps in and sincerely uplifts the person. This uplifting may take longer than a day and it may not be as convenient as we would like but, we’re putting others before ourselves. We should reach out to people and genuinely ask how they’re doing. We should see if they need things like a babysitter so they can work on their marriage. We should see if they need prayer for anything. And if we’re the ones going through it, we need to be honest with ourselves and others about our difficulties and receive that helping hand.

Let’s shift our thinking from focusing only on our affairs and establish a mindset that uplifts people too.

Psalm 74:20 Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.

Background: David is experiencing oppression, destruction, and despair from his enemies. Due to his problems, he tells God to respect the covenant He made with him. Essentially, he’s saying, fulfill Your end of the deal God.

Wow! This is bold talk from an ordinary man to an all supreme God.

David can speak like this to God because of his personal and intimate relationship with God. David spent years in the field developing a close relationship with God. Now that trouble has come, he’s requesting God to fulfill His end of the promise.

If someone were this bold today, some religious people may say “How dare you talk to God like that!” Honestly, this type of boldness is what God desires of us. He doesn’t want us to be afraid to talk to Him on a personal level. When we’re angry or sad, He wants us to come to Him with our anger or sadness. Whatever the issue we’re facing, He told us to come boldly to Him (Heb. 4:16). Not only that, He wants us to remind Him of the covenant promise He made with us (Isaiah 43:26).

Note: We can’t remind Him of his covenant with us if we don’t know our covenant (Read His Word).

Regardless of the situation, be honest and bold with God. Remind Him of what He promised towards us. If the situation doesn’t look like our covenant promise, declare it be changed according to God’s Word.

Ezra 3:3 Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings.

Although fear had come upon them, they pushed past their fears and worshipped the Lord.

What fears do you have in your life that you need to push past? Is it openly worshipping God without worrying about what someone else may say? Is it opening yourself up to a potential spouse? Is it freely giving your tithes and offering to God without fearing what the church is doing with the money?

Fear is designed to keep us stagnant. Whatever fear that’s in our way, we have two options. We can allow fear to keep us in a place of bondage or we can push past and experience the joys of life.

It takes courage to go beyond our fears. On the other side of fear is a sense of freedom, accomplishment, and the potential for prosperity. Don’t allow fear to hold you hostage. Push past it and enjoy your life even more.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Some say, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy fear. People will begin to exercise because they fear getting decrepit or children may work harder in school because they fear getting left behind. The concept of exercising and working harder is good, but the motivation behind this concept (fear) is not.

As we can see, God didn’t give us any version of fear. If God didn’t give us fear, we can conclude fear is from Satan himself. If we’re allowing fear to dictate what we do or don’t do, we’re being influenced by Satan.

Any type of fear is designed to separate us from God. It may start “healthy” but, fear will end up ruling our lives. If fear is our motivator, where does God come in? Shouldn’t He be our guide and motivator? Being led by the Spirit should be our guide. Every decision we make should go through Him.

Don’t entertain one drop of fear (healthy or unhealthy). God didn’t design us to live that way. Fear will present itself, but we don’t have to live our lives by it.

Church hurt is tough to face. It’s difficult to experience because the church (body of believers) is supposed to consist of love, peace, forgiveness, and relief. Unfortunately, some churches consist of condemnation, judgement, and guilt.

A lot of times, the church is the last place people go before giving up on life. People come in feeling bad about the choices they’ve made. As they sit there, they have to experience disapproval stares based on their dress attire, they have to hear condemning sermons from ministers, and they have to hear the possibility of going to hell coming from a pulpit. That’s hurtful. No wonder so many people are leaving the church and finding other ways to be “spiritual.”

The church is meant to uplift and empower people. It’s there to inform people God still loves them and all their sins are forgiven. It’s there to be a blessing to their community. It’s there to teach people the Word of God in context.

For those who left the church because of church hurt, I encourage you to rediscover church because there’s great benefit in a church. Even if it’s 5 people meeting a Starbucks once a week, that’s still a church. If the church is not doing what’s listed above, that’s not the church for you.

No church is perfect but if we allow the Spirit to guide us, He’ll show us the best church for us.

1 John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

A brownie point is an imaginary award given to someone who does good deeds or tries to please. Some of us think we can earn brownie points with God. We think if we pray long enough, read so many chapters in our bibles, or attend so many church services, we’ll earn so many points with God to receive our desires.

God doesn’t operate on a brownie point system. He operates on one system: faith. Faith is the only currency in heaven. Faith is the only way to receive our heart’s desire. We make our request to God, believe that we receive that request, and wait in expectation for that request to manifest. There will be thoughts from delay and circumstances that will tempt us to doubt but if we maintain our belief, we’ll have what we desire.

Prayer, reading the bible, and attending church services are good for developing our relationship with God but to receive God’s promises in our lives, we must operate by faith.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Some people view God’s love from an “if” or “when” perspective. They tell themselves, if I do this or when I do that then God’s love will manifest itself in my life. The problem with this perspective is it’s conditional. They’re hoping their works or behavior will further qualify them for God’s love.

What people fail to grasp is God’s love is unconditional. He’s not going to love us any more than He already does now. It doesn’t matter how often we read our bibles or how many times we went to church. He loves us with 100% of His love. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter how many times we mess up and miss the mark, God’s not going to love us any less.

When we understand God’s unchanging love for us, we can navigate through life from a “because” perspective. We learn more about God by reading our bibles because God loves us. Because God loves us, we attend church. We’re not doing anything to increase God’s love for us, we’re living a dedicated life because of God’s love for us.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

There are unseen forces that influence people to do things contrary to the Word and will of God. A lot of us want to get mad at the person, but it’s actually demonic forces behind the scenes.

In Luke 10:19, Jesus gave every believer authority over these demonic influences. We have power over all the works of the enemy.

So, when we see our children consistently misbehaving, don’t get mad at them. They’re unknowingly being influenced to be disobedient. We can use our authority to rebuke every demonic force influencing our children’s minds. When our spouse seems to have an unpleasant disposition, don’t start an argument or tell them to fix their attitude. They may not know. They’re under demonic influence. We break every stronghold from their minds by declaring every demonic influence be removed from our spouse’s minds in the name of Jesus. For every unsaved person, there’s a demonic hold that convinces them they don’t need Jesus. We have an opportunity to use our authority to remove that stronghold from their minds in order for them to be open to receive Jesus as Lord.

Don’t just look at the surface. There’s a deeper force behind the scenes pulling the strings. Let’s cut those ties by using our God-given authority over the enemy.

There are some who believe Jesus came into this world with all the knowledge of God. They think because He was the Son of God, He didn’t have to spiritually mature. That’s not true according to scripture.

According to John 8:28, Jesus was taught by God. He was taught by God by separating Himself from everything else and communing with God (Matt. 14:23). Jesus wasn’t immune to temptation. He was tempted to do sinful things too according to Hebrews 4:15, but He resisted temptation and learned to obey (Heb. 5:8). Finally, according to Luke 4:16, Jesus customarily read scripture.

Separating Himself to be taught by God, resisting temptation and obeying God, and studying the scriptures of God. These are the tools Jesus used to fulfill His purpose in the earth.

If Jesus utilized these tools to fulfill His purpose, we too need to utilize these tools to fulfill our purpose.

Let’s utilize these tools accompanied with our faith to do everything God has called us to do.

John 4:34 Jesus explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.

Inspired by Kenneth Copeland

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

There’s a big trap that a lot of people are falling for today.

Some traps include the following:
-People reading the words of or hear scientists who appeal to their logic which ultimately convinces them God doesn’t exist.
-People believing in self instead of this “imaginary” God.
-Historians “disproving” Christianity with so-called ancient texts.
-African Americans/Black people being led astray after being convinced Christianity is the “white man’s religion.”

These are just a few traps. These traps will ultimately separate us from God. People are being deceived. A deception is believing something is correct when in actuality, it’s incorrect. People think they’re going the right way or doing the right thing, but they’re headed in the wrong direction.

There’s nothing wrong with having questions, but we have to keep an open mind. A lot of the traps appeal to our logic. The foundation of Christianity goes against every logical bone in our bodies. If we keep an open mind and read, in context, the Bible along with accurate historical texts will define/defend itself.

Don’t be deceived and led astray by these traps. Be and stay free.

Matthew 14:23 After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone,

It’s very important to have alone time with God. He is our Source, our Strength, our Help, and our Provider. He’s our Everything. Alone time gives us access to His presence where we can obtain wisdom, grace, mercy, guidance, and ideas from day-to-day.

Jesus, the Son of God, needed alone time with God to fulfill His purpose and calling on the earth. If Jesus needed alone time, it’s definitely a necessity for us.

We can use the excuse of not having alone time with God because we’re busy managing a family, work, and a personal life. But, when we feel lost and powerless and our faith doesn’t seem as strong as it once was, we’ll know the reason why.

Spend some time with our Creator. After all He’s done for us, that’s the least He deserves.

Joshua 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

If someone were to read this, they would think God is a tough harsh God Who doesn’t forgive sins. They would think God is so holy until our mess-ups, won’t receive forgiveness. Someone else may say if it’s in the Bible, it has to be true.

That’s why it’s important to read the Word in proper context. Yes, this scripture is truly stated in the Bible but, it’s not a statement of truth. This is Joshua telling the Israelites about his beliefs of God. We know these beliefs aren’t true because all throughout the Bible, before and after Jesus, we see God forgiving people of their sins. He is still holy and wants us all to Himself, but He’s also forgiving.

2 Timothy 2:15 says, we should rightly divide the Word. If we can rightly divide the word, we can wrongly divide the word.

Take this into consideration before believing certain things in the Bible and before spreading it to someone else. Read it in context and compare what is stated with the overall nature of God.

It’s Satan’s responsibility to make us think we need this or that to be happy. When we realize we have everything we need in Jesus to be happy, we’ll overcome that sense of thinking we need something else to be happy.

Remaining in a constant state of joy is a daily battle. If we listen to the devil and let him show us all the things we don’t have that will make our lives “happier,” we’ll constantly be depressed and/or pursuing exterior things in the hopes of being happy. The problem with this pursuit is there will always be more things.

With Jesus, we have all we need. Through Him, we have every promise from God and we have every desire within our hearts. We may have to wait on certain things but, we have a guarantee that those desires will manifest. If we think long enough, we can maintain a sense of joy based on all the things He’s done in our lives up to this point.

Don’t lose your joy by listening to the devil. Meditate on the goodness of God for all the things He’s done and praise God that through the blood of Jesus we’ll eventually attain every promise of God.

Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The misconception between God and death can make someone hate God because they believe God “took” their loved one. Some become atheists because of death. But just like every other subject we mentioned this week, God is not responsible for death.

Yes, in the book of Job it says, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” but, Job was speaking under duress. God, not Job, said we have 120 years on the earth (Gen. 6:3) and we will be satisfied with long life (Psalm 91:16).”

People read the Old Testament/Covenant and see where God is “killing” people. Under the Old Covenant, death is part of the human experience because we brought it into the world ourselves (Rom 5:12). Also in the Old Covenant, the payment for sin was death (Rom 6:23). It wasn’t God killing people, it was a byproduct of sin.

Finally, people tend to forget that there’s another player in the game of life (Satan). In John 10:10 it says, Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Today, Satan can’t just take us out however, he can influence us to do foolish things that will ultimately destroy ourselves or put us in harm’s way.

In the New Covenant today, Jesus paid the price for all sin which means, sin can’t cause death (Gal 3:13-15). We have a blood-bought right to live a long satisfying life. Sickness, disease, and unfortunate events may try to take us out early, but when we place our faith in God’s promise of long life, we will have it.

Believe and receive long life.

James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

Punishment Misconceptions:
-God’s going to get you for drinking alcohol.
-The reason why you’re sick is because you fornicated last week.
-God’s going to strike you down for lying in church.

Punishment is a misconception that mainly derived from the church. If an unfortunate event occurs, a religious person may say God is punishing us for a certain sin. This misconception makes us sin conscious and at the same time, it dismisses the sacrifice of Jesus. Why would someone want to have a relationship with a person who can punish them anytime they miss the mark?

God doesn’t use unfortunate events to punish us. If He’s going to punish us for sins, what’s the point of Jesus’ sacrifice? There are consequences for sin, but it’s not a punishment from God. If a person has challenges with gluttony, it’s not God punishing them with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The consequences for their eating habits brought them to this point.

In the Old Testament, God did punish the Israelites for their sin because there had to be just retribution and the Savior had not yet come. However, with the death and resurrection of Jesus, punishment became unnecessary. Jesus died on the Cross and paid the penalty for all of our sin – past, present, and future (Hebrews 10:14, 18).

Psalm 103:10 He does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs.

There’s a misconception about God sending people to hell. God doesn’t send people to hell. Our unbelief sends us to hell.

God told Adam not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam disobeyed God and brought sin into the earth. Since we’re all byproducts of Adam, when he disobeyed God and became sinful, we all were born sinful. This sin separated us from God. God loved us enough to implement a plan to redeem us back to Himself. That implementation came through Jesus. Jesus sacrificed Himself to pay the price for all past, present, and future sins. We couldn’t do it on our own, but Jesus did it for us. Our belief in what Jesus accomplished for us awards us access to eternal life with God.

For those who choose not to believe and accept Jesus’ payment for sin, there are consequences. The price for sin still has to be paid. The payment for sin is death (Rom 6:23). Since they’re not willing to accept the payment of Jesus’ blood, they will ultimately have to pay for sin with their own blood. It’s not God sending them to hell, they sent themselves to hell because of unbelief.

It has nothing to do with our behavior or performance. It has everything to do with our belief. Believe in Jesus and receive His payment for all sin.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.    

James 4:1 From where come wars and fightings among you? come they not from here, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.

People watch the news and see killing and wars in the world and wonder why God is allowing this to happen. They make God responsible for wars. A religious person may have some ridiculous answer saying God is cleaning up the “wicked” in the earth. Looking at the verse above, it’s not God starting wars or allowing killing. Wars are birthed from our own lusts. If a person wants something and they can’t have it, they can be influenced to kill for that thing.

We can find the answer as to why God doesn’t stop the wars in Genesis 1:26 which says, “let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Also, God has given us free will (Deut. 30:15-19). This is our earth and God has given us free will. We’re responsible for what’s going on in the earth. Not God. Just because mankind is not doing a good job at managing what God has given to us, doesn’t mean He’s going to violate His Word and take it back (Rom 11:29).

If mankind as a whole would submit themselves to God and seek Him in all our affairs the killing and wars would stop. Let’s stop blaming God about wars and submit ourselves to Him.

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