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Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

When tragedy strikes, and we get devastating news and our heart is hurting, the Lord is near. We can call on Him, with all our emotions (anger, sadness, confusion, etc.), and tell Him how we feel. God is mature enough to take it. He’s not going to strike us down or curse our lives because we’re expressing our negative emotions to Him.

Depending on the circumstance, some may have thought God left them, but His Word confirms, He’s near. He’s available to talk, possibly give us an explanation, and to bring us comfort.

So, whether you’re praising your way through the tough times or upset with God, He’s near. And if we stick with Him long enough, He’ll ease our pain and get us through every difficult situation.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Our flesh wants to eat a lot of sweets, lust after men or women, curse the next person out who talks to us wrong, get drunk or high, stay up late, watch foolishness on TV, and do whatever feels good at the moment.

However, as a born-again believer, we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice. That means we discipline our flesh to do the will of God. This discipline is a form of appreciation for everything Jesus did for us. We say no to this or that, even though our flesh wants to indulge, just because we appreciate the ultimate sacrifice that was made for us.

We may not have conquered everything in our flesh, but daily, let’s make the effort to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.

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

This verse is easy to read and do when everything is going good in our lives. But, there will be a time in our lives where difficult circumstances will attempt to stop our praise. Difficult circumstances may tempt us to curse, complain, or say nothing.

Whether we’re facing divorce, death, financial uncertainty, or delay, it’s important to bless the Lord. Praising God during difficulty keeps us in the right mindset. It lets us know Who will help us through these times. It reminds us of everything God has done in our past. Our praise tells the devil, despite His attacks, glory will always belong to God. It will be difficult, but praise in necessary.

So, whether we’ve just experienced breakthrough or it seems like we can’t get out of the hole of difficulty, bless our great and loving God.

Matthew 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Our son, our mother, a friend, our co-worker, or our student. If we partner with someone and agree on something, that aligns with God’s Word, it shall come to pass. This is an automatic guarantee stated by the Son of God.

Yes, we can get things done using our own faith, but there’s power in agreement. There are several benefits we have when partnering with someone. Agreeing with someone about a particular thing keeps us accountable. If we start to lose hope, our partner should hold us up. We can tag team the problems of life by opening ourselves up to that person and requesting prayer for an issue. We can learn from each other and teach each other at the same time.

Let’s take advantage of the benefits of grace and partner with someone to manifest all the promises of God.

The concept of holiness has been terribly manipulated in the body of Christ. People have used holiness to mostly condemn people. The phrase “holiness or hell” is the front runner for that condemnation. People have also taken things in the bible out of context and created a man-made version of holiness.

It’s extremely important to be holy. 1 Peter 1:16 says, just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do. This means obeying God’s voice, doing the things in God’s Word (in context), and not yielding to sin. This is all important but missing the mark in one or more of these areas is not the reason for our eternal damnation.

What a lot of those holiness condemners don’t factor in is the grace of God. It’s our responsibility to strive for holiness, however if we miss the mark, we receive and praise God for His grace. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it and we shouldn’t make others feel guilty either.

Let’s live a holy, guilt-free life, relying on the grace of God to fill in the gaps of our shortcomings.

1 Peter 1:15 But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Thoughts contrary to the will and way of God will enter our minds. When those thoughts come, it’s our responsibility to intentionally remove them from our minds.

Thoughts of disobedience, lust, deceit, gossip, and even fear will enter our minds. Whatever thought that comes, we must counter that thought with things agreeable to God’s will. We won’t be able to counter those thoughts with things agreeable to God’s will if we don’t know God’s will.

God’s will is in His Word. Since God’s will says we are healed (Isaiah 53:5), we can counter thoughts of worry regarding our health. Since God’s Word says we can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13), we have the ability to overcome any addiction. Since God’s Word says we’re delivered from the bondage of sin (Rom. 6:6), we can resist the temptations of sin.

Don’t let thoughts linger in your mind. Take authority over those thoughts and replace them with the Word of God.

Hebrews 11:1 (AMP) Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

If you’re watching the news in the morning and the meteorologist says there’s going to be a serious storm in the afternoon, most of us would get an umbrella and possibly a coat so we won’t get wet. We haven’t seen or felt a drop of rain yet, but because the meteorologist told us it’s going to rain, we prepare ourselves.

If we can believe a meteorologist, we have the ability to understand and utilize faith. Faith is simply believing something’s there (based on the Word of God) that we cannot see.
We couldn’t see rain in the morning, but we expected and prepared for it in the afternoon. We can’t see healing, financial provision, or how we’re going to be protected now, but because God said it’s there, we can expect and prepare for it in our future.

Let’s not overcomplicate faith. It’s believing God’s Word and expecting it to come to pass.

2 Corinthians 10:7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.

There are some who look at a person’s tattoos, gold teeth, or see them smoking and judge the validity of their Christianity. They’re judging people based on their appearances.

Some people think if a person is not wearing a suit only listening to Christian music, then they’re not saved or holy.

What judgers don’t realize is people who have tattoos or look a certain way can reach people that the suit wearer can’t reach. They’ll listen to a person smoking a cigarette talk about Christ quicker than they would a person wearing a suit and tie.

Just because a person doesn’t look or act the same as we do doesn’t mean they’re not a follower of Christ. Let’s be less judgmental and more loving towards all.

2 Corinthians 10:7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.

There are some believers who judge people based on appearances. They feel like because a person is not dressed “modestly” or behaving in a certain way, they’re not saved or as holy as they should be. These judgments typically come from people who’ve been saved for a long time.

Paul informs not to judge on appearances. If someone says they’re a Christian, we should sincerely praise God. It’s not our job to confirm their Christianity by making statements such as, “If you’re a Christian, you wouldn’t dress like this or behave like that.”  If it’s something major they need to change, God (I repeat GOD) will reveal that to them.

No matter if they have tattoos, piercings, short skirts, gold teeth, tight clothes, or if they’re listening to secular music, let’s celebrate the fact that they are a follower of Christ and not judge them based on their appearance.

Some of us use the bible like a relic. We have it, but we don’t use it. It looks nice to have it on our coffee table or on our nightstand, but it’s never opened. Some feel like it’s an abomination to highlight or take notes in it. It seems spiritual to have it as one of our apps on our phones, but it’s only used to go to a few scriptures at church.

The bible is more than a prop or a relic. It’s our instruction manual for success in life. It tells us how to win, what to look for, and what to be mindful of. It tells us how to live. It shows us the heart and mind of God. It constantly gives us revelation.

Stop using the bible like a relic. Open it up and obtain the keys for victory in every area of life.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

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January 2020
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