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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,

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

John 10:10 says, the devil’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. A major weapon the devil uses for our destruction is a lack of knowledge of the Word of God. If we don’t know our covenant rights, we can’t believe for those things to manifest. If we don’t know the authority we have over Satan, we’ll always be afraid of what he may do. If we don’t know Satan’s schemes, he’ll always keep God’s promises from us.

The devil attempts to keep us ignorant of God’s Word through numerous distractions. He’ll distract us with watching TV or scrolling through social media because it’s more appealing to our flesh. He’ll also distract us by keeping us busy with everyday life and making it more difficult to spend time with God.

The only way to combat the devil’s attack is through knowledge. If we make the Word of God a priority in our lives, we won’t ever be a victim of his destruction again.

Matthew 18:33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’

God pitied us. He saw us messed up in our sin and decided to send and sacrifice His only Son (Jesus) so that we can receive unlimited forgiveness. Shouldn’t we do the same to our fellow man?

Shouldn’t we forgive our dad who abandoned us? Shouldn’t we forgive our ex-spouse who cheated on us? Shouldn’t we forgive our friend who mistreated us? Shouldn’t we forgive our uncle who abused us?

As much as God forgave us, we should forgive others. There’s nothing someone else did that we haven’t collectively done to God. Let go of the grudge and forgive.

Possessions and problems tend to pull us away from God.

A person can have so many possessions until they spend most of their time managing their possessions. They don’t have enough time to spend in the Word, in prayer, or attend church. Everything from a new spouse, a new car, or video games can minimize our time with God.

Problems do the same thing. If problems seem too big, it’s difficult for some people to spend time with God because they’re trying to find a solution without Him. People will attempt to fix their marriage, their finances, or attempt to hold on to their dying business and forget about God.

We all will have possessions and problems. Don’t let them separate you from God. It’s God Who gave us these possessions and it’s God Who will deliver us from these problems.

Inspired by Pastor Jeremy Foster

1 Corinthians 7:35 (NLT) I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

1 Samuel 17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.

As we see in verse 50, it only took one stone to kill Goliath, but David didn’t know that going into the battle. He came prepared to go the distance which is why he picked up 4 additional stones prior to the battle.

We may not face physical battles like David, but we all face spiritual battles. The battle is in our minds. From the time we pray for something to the time we receive that thing, we’re in a battle. We have the Word of God promising us it will manifest on one side and Satan telling us all the reasons why it won’t on the other side.

Although we read about David’s battle and desire a short fight, we need to be prepared to go the distance. The answer to our prayers may take weeks, months, or even years, but that’s okay. David didn’t know how long it would take for him to win, but he knew he was going to win. We may not know how long it will take for our prayers to manifest, but we must have an assurance that they will if we don’t quit. So, settle in, hold on to your faith, and be prepared to go the distance.

BOOM!!!!! You just lost your job…

How will you respond? Would you panic or cry uncontrollably? Would you call your friends and family and tell them the bad news? Would you blame God?
Or, would you maintain the same attitude, mood, and confidence as you did when you had the job?

If we see God as our source, we’ll maintain the same disposition. However, if we subconsciously see the job as our source, we’ll freak out. It’s easy to confidently say God is my Provider when things are going well, but what we truly believe will come out when the pressure is on.

I’m not saying we won’t feel uncomfortable or uneasy, but we’re not moved by our feelings. We ought to be moved by the Word of God. God said He’ll supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19). God said He’ll take care of us (1 Peter 5:7). God said we can ask Him for whatever we desire, and He’ll give it to us (Mark 11:24).

By knowing and believing God’s Word, we shouldn’t go into a frenzy. Let’s shift our mindset and truly make God our source.

Psalm 23:1 (MSG) God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
Psalm 23:1 (CSB) The LORD is my shepherd; I have what I need.
Psalm 23:1 (CEV) You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

The political drama, financial uncertainty, our health, the possibility of war, the safety of our children, and the unknown in our future all have the potential to get and keep our attention. We’ll research it, think about it constantly, and discuss it with our friends and family.

Colossians 3 tells us to set our minds on things that are above and not on the earth.
What are things above?
Every promise from God through Christ.

On purpose, we must keep our minds set on God’s promises. By keeping our minds set on God’s promises, we don’t have to worry about our finances and what they’re doing in the government because we know He promised to supply our needs (Phil. 4:19). We don’t have to worry about our children because He promised to protect us (2 Thess. 3:3). Even with our identity, we don’t have to worry if we’re good enough because we can read where we’re wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37).

Let’s keep our minds focused on God and His promises and not the chaos and uncertainty of the world.

Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

Satan’s whispers along with trials, tribulations, and the issues of life will attempt to move us away from God.

After being in a situation for a while, we may doubt and wonder if God heard our prayers. That doubt can turn into anxiousness and anxiousness can turn into unbelief. The next thing you know, we’re not waiting on God, we’re trying to make it happen ourselves.

When trials and tribulations come, let’s put and keep all our hope in God. Continue to believe, continue to confess His Word daily, and live in expectation of God manifesting His promise. If we’re willing to wait forever, we won’t be waiting for long. Let’s be unmoved.

Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

Think about this… the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egypt healthy and wealthy (Psalm 105:37). When they went into the wilderness, they began to complain about food. Naturally, if we did something great for someone else and they still complained, most of us would be done with them. But that’s not God’s way. Despite their complaints, God still provided everything they needed.

We too may have some complaints against God. We may have wanted Him to do this or that and it didn’t happen the way we thought it was going to happen. We may have wanted Him to give us the job, but it didn’t manifest or heal our dying grandmother, but she passed anyway.

Despite our complaints, God still hears us and is willing to provide everything we need and more. That’s His unwavering promise to us based on His unmerited love for us. It’s awesome to know that we have a God Who is willing to look beyond our complaints against Him and still be our Provider.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

There are a lot of us who like to blame people. We’ll blame ex-boyfriends and girlfriends for why we have insecurities. We’ll blame our parents for what they did or did not do in our childhood. We’ll complain about how we’re treated by our supervisors. We just blame people.

Meanwhile, the one we really ought to blame is getting away with terrorism. That’s Satan. Satan influences the minds of people and uses them as vessels. He’ll influence them to be mean, cruel, unfair, or insensitive towards us. In Luke 10:19, Jesus gave us authority to command these demonic influences to leave a person.

If someone has done something to you in the past, forgive them and let it go. Realize they were demonically influenced to wreak havoc in your life. If you’re experiencing drama with someone currently, use your authority to rebuke the demonic influence within that person and expect to see a change within that person or a change within the setting.

Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Saying, good morning, good job, I’m happy to hear that, or that’s wonderful are ways we can exhort or encourage one another. Other ways include, telling someone to stay strong or praying for them after hearing their tragic story. More spiritual ways include, telling people to keep their faith in God and not being rattled by the circumstances in front of them.

It’s simple things like this that keep people encouraged and motivated and further away from depression. Someone may say, “No one encourages me.” Well, if we sow a seed of encouragement, we can expect to reap a harvest of encouragement. And honestly, we should encourage just to be a nice person and to be that light in a dark world.

Start this year off right. Encourage your family, friends, coworkers, and strangers. Do your part to make this world a better place.

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Scriptures of the Day

January 2020
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