Tools Available to Withstand Evil!

Tools Available to Withstand Evil!

Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 

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. 

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Tools Available to Withstand Evil (NOTES)

1 Peter 5:8 King James Version

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

2 Corinthians 11:14 New International Version

14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

1 John 2:16-17 King James Version

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 John 2:16-17 New International Version

16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Truth Still Sings While Memories Sting

It happens every October. The first cold front comes through, college football kicks off, and I remember fall was the time of year my life fell apart.

For years, it embarrassed me that the sadness would quietly bubble up when I wasn’t expecting it. It happened in moments that should have been innocuous, fun. Who feels triggered walking into a college football game? It was as if my body remembered old grief before my brain realized what was happening.

But it would happen any time I walked on the college campus where I’d imagined so many of my childhood dreams. At birth, my mom had swaddled me in the school colors and taught the fight song alongside my ABCs. It was a given that I’d graduate from there, keeping the family tradition alive—until a chronic illness kept me from even filling out the application. Years later, I still felt it:

  • Loss of community I was never a part of.
  • Frustration over physical symptoms we couldn’t control.
  • Disappointment that life had taken such a radical detour.

People like to say that time heals all wounds, but what if old aches can always be reactivated? Is it possible to think back on unfulfilled dreams without feeling the sting of disappointment?

The Pain of Past Hurt

If you walked into a stadium with fifty thousand people, you wouldn’t be able to go more than a few steps without bumping into someone with a bruised heart. 

Some struggle to sit in the stands because cheering on the home team was a tradition with a family member who’s no longer able to attend. Some can still picture the seats where they sat on their first date, the beginning of a relationship that didn’t end with an engagement. Others hear a ringtone in the crowd that reminds them of the night they got the news that they had been betrayed by someone they trusted, an act they’re pretty sure they’ve forgiven but don’t think they’ll ever be able to forget. 

As long as we live in a world impacted by sin, our stories will have sore spots. You may share my embarrassment and not have mentioned how you still feel about it to anyone except God. He not only sees, but He cares, and He’s able to ease the ache. 

One of the great comforts of studying Scripture is getting to see how God has healed those who have come before us. We see that in the familiar story of Joseph in Genesis 37–50. Joseph suffered deeper and wider pain than many of us can even comprehend. It would have made sense for him to have been held captive to the losses he experienced his entire life, but what Joseph reveals in Genesis 41 shows that God is able to set us free from the painful memories of past hurt.

A Painful Past

You may already be familiar with the main plot points of Joseph’s life: betrayal by his brothers, slavery in a new land, false accusations, imprisonment, disappointment after disappointment. He had been away from home for thirteen years when his life finally started to trend in a positive direction. Joseph got a job promotion, essentially becoming prime minister under Pharaoh (41:40) and married Asenath, an Egyptian woman who would give him to two sons (41:50).

It’s hard to imagine what went through Joseph’s head when he found out his wife was pregnant for the first time. If ever there was a time for the memories of his own family to come flooding back, wouldn’t it be then? No matter how many times he had tried to forget what had happened, wouldn’t he feel the loss of all the normalcy he’d missed over those thirteen years? All the family dinners, the weddings, the nieces and nephews. All the conversations, the arguments, and the advice from his father about how to (and how not to) grow little boys into godly men.

All of those simple moments had been replaced with years of suffering. After everything he’d experienced, we might expect Joseph to be bitter and resentful—or even hostile to God. But the insight we’re given into his heart reveals something different.

Forgotten and Fruitful

Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh and said,
“God has made me forget all my hardship and my whole family.”
And the second son he named Ephraim and said,
“God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” —Genesis 41:5–52

In Israelite practice, it was common for the mothers to name their newborns, but Asenath didn’t name their boys. According to Genesis 41:51, Joseph named them.

It wouldn’t have been that surprising if the names he had chosen sounded similar to the one Naomi later called herself in Ruth 1. “Call me Mara,” she had said, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. . . the Lord has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me” (vv. 20–21). 

Instead, the names Joseph chose focus on two ways Joseph had seen God work in his own suffering: how God had made him forget his hardship and his family (Manasseh), and how God had made him fruitful in his affliction (Ephraim). 

Could Joseph have really forgotten his family? It’s clear they haven’t been fully erased from Joseph’s mind. Despite spending his entire adulthood in Egypt, despite marrying an Egyptian woman, Joseph didn’t give his sons Egyptian names. His Hebrew heritage would be on his lips from the first time he spoke to them.

Both names are a description of God at work in Joseph’s life. The Lord was the one responsible for changing his fortune and helping him to prosper in affliction. The years spent in a land filled with suffering and uncertainty were the backdrop against which God had been with him and God had blessed him. Or super-blessed him, as his second son’s name implied. 

Joseph didn’t forget the evil that had been done to him. It wasn’t that he no longer remembered his family—we see that a few chapters later when they unexpectedly arrive, and he identifies them first. But in the birth of these sons, we see that the memories of the past do not have a hold on him. As Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll explains: “God made him forget the pain, the anguish of what had happened . . . God removed ‘the stings’ in Joseph’s memory and replaced them with waves of gratitude.”

From Grief to Gratitude

Thousands of years have passed, but God is still able to remove the stings from our stories. You may not even be aware of the ways He already has.

I realized it earlier this month: God has taken away some of the stings I thought would follow me forever. About thirteen years ago, I spent October in the guest bedroom at my grandparents’ house—too sick to attend school, too sick to dream about the future. I thought I’d always live there, in that hard and hopeless season, where every memory of October would bring the heartache of what was lost back then. 

But November always comes—and I’m reminded of all the ways God has brought blessings into the places where I was afflicted, even in areas that haven’t seen full resolution. Year after year, the painful memories have been filled with comfort from the Lord and replaced with perspective: God has been faithful. 

Those tender points in your life? God is able to heal their sting. One day, you may wake up and realize your heart doesn’t hurt the way it used to. When that happens, give thanks for God’s grace in your story. Give thanks that November always comes. 

By Katie Laitkep – Revive Our Hearts

Mathematical Miracle

A2J Addicted to Jesus
Mathematical Miracle (Awesome – must read)

Moses and the people were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them? They had to be fed, and fed, that is what he did, according to the Quartermaster General in the Army.It is reported that Moses would have to have had 1500 tons of food each day.Do you know that to bring that much food each day, two freight trains, each a mile long, would be required!

Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, so they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one day. And just think, they were forty years in transit.

And oh yes! They would have to have water. If they only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day, and a freight train with tank cars, 1800 miles long, just to bring water! And then another thing!They had to get across the Red Sea at night.

Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through. So, there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5000 abreast to get over in one night.

But then, there is another problem. Each time they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long…think of it!

This space just for nightly camping. Do you think Moses figured all this out before he left Egypt?I think not! You see, Moses believed in God. God took care of these things for him. Now do you think God has any problem taking care of all your needs? I believe anything is possible for my Lovely God. He is doing great miracles in our Life.

Made for a Purpose – We are God’s Artwork

Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV

Made Alive in Christ

1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Made for a Purpose (NOTES)

Genesis 3:15 New International Version

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and hers; he will crush[b] your head,    and you will strike his heel.”

Romans 3:23 New International Version

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23 New International Version

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 19:30 New International Version

30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Psalm 34:2 King James Version

2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.

1 Corinthians 1:31 New International Version

31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Philippians 2:13 New International Version

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13 New International Version

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Jesus’ sermon on the Mount – The Beatitudes!

Matthew 5:1-16 The Message
You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.LikeCommentShare

God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong!

1. Weaknesses create a dependence on God.

2. Weaknesses prevent pride and act as a governor in your life.

3. Weaknesses cause a greater dependence upon other people.

4. Weaknesses expand our capacity to minister.

Admitting our weaknesses brings us closer to others, giving us the ability to minister more compassionately. In fact, admitting your weaknesses probably needs to be written on your resume if you’re going to minister effectively to others.

“If you’re going to have a Christlike ministry, it means that sometimes other people are going to find healing in the wounds that are in your life”.

Who can better help an alcoholic than someone who is a former alcoholic? Who can better help a childless couple than a childless couple? Who can better help than the person who’s been there?

I believe that our greatest life messages come out of our deepest hurts.”God wants us to live dependent on him. God wants us to be people in touch with our limitations, aware that we can’t do everything on our own, conscious that without Him and others we are weaker”.

”What about you? What weaknesses are you trying to hide today? Look for opportunities to reveal those weaknesses in order that others might see your dependence on God and be encouraged to do the same”.

Wisdom as Enlightenment of Heart!

Ephesians 1:15-23 NIV

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 

19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 

21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Wisdom As Enlightenment of the Heart (NOTES)

Luke 22:32 New International Version

32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 23:34 New International Version

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

John 17 New International Version

Jesus Prays to Be Glorified

17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.

3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.

8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.

12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Romans 8:34 New International Version

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Ephesians 1:3-14 New International Version

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

In love 5 he[a] predestined us for adoption to sonship[b] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

9 he[c] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[d] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

John 10:28 New International Version

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Matthew 6:33 New International Version

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

She Needs Truth – How Hard Words Serve Women

As an adult, the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon remembered hearing his mother pray for him and his siblings like this:

Now, Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.

He recounted how deeply her prayers and warnings had shaped him, writing, “How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come?”

I too grew up with a mother who warned me of my sins and their consequences. Once, after observing a pattern of sin in me as a teenager, she called into question my sincerity toward Christ, reminding me of the deadly hypocrisy of acting one way at home and another way at church. Her words stung deeply, revealing my cavalier attitude toward God. I didn’t fear him as I ought, nor did I honor him.

Those hard words, although painful, were like a meat tenderizer to my heart, softening and sensitizing it. The frank and pointed way she spoke to me throughout my childhood left me no room to hide in vague half-truths or nice-sounding platitudes or Christless good-girl behavior. She was God’s ambassador to me, and as such, she regularly created a fork in my road: follow Christ or go your own selfish way.

Rare Gift of Warning

The longer I live, the more I realize how rare it is to have a mother, or anyone at all, who earnestly warns those around them of the deadliness of sin.

Many women are simply terrified by the prospect of speaking hard words to someone they love, like their child or a close friend. They are terrified of the possibility that a relationship could be damaged or undone if the person won’t receive a biblical warning. It is easier to offer vague encouragements to grease the wheels of relational ease than to say something truthful that you know could offend.

“Good job, Mama” or “You did the best you could with what you knew” are just a couple among thousands of common encouragement-memes that get shared and reshared among women. They’re tailored to quell an anxious conscience, never mind whether they’re true or not. Yet we rarely hear similar speech when it comes to the warnings of Scripture, particularly warnings shared from women to women.

Off-Limits Sins

It seems many today — not just fellow women, but even pastors — have taken a hands-off approach when it comes to applying hard truths to the lives of women. Some of this may simply be because well-meaning teachers feel ill-equipped to understand precisely how they might faithfully apply some passages to women. Some of it may be because we know so many women who are in a self-professed hard time, so we worry that they might hear a hard biblical word and wince, taking it in a way it wasn’t intended.

Yet the Scriptures are full of fork-in-the-road sayings, some of them aimed directly at women. Sometimes I like to picture what might happen if we regularly heard these sorts of biblical imperatives without all the hemming and hawing and caveating and ducking:

Deny yourself and follow Christ (Mark 8:34).

Be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to your own husband so that God’s word isn’t reviled (Titus 2:5).

If you’re a younger widow, don’t be an idler or busybody, but seek to get married and serve the Lord (1 Timothy 5:11–14).

Stop worrying about how you look or being vain; instead, be gentle and quiet in your spirit (1 Peter 3:3–4).

Just as the church submits to Christ, you should submit to your husband in everything (Ephesians 5:24).

If you do not obey the Son, the wrath of God remains on you (John 3:36).

Do you know what I picture in churches where verses like these are stated clearly and unashamedly? Not a mass female exodus or a bunch of mad-crying women (although that’s a possibility) — I picture women receiving a precious gift and becoming strong in Christ.

Hard Words That Heal

Why speak hard words to women about their sin? Because if you believe women can be co-heirs, then you also believe they are fallen in Adam and in need of the salvation found in Christ. Their sin must be dealt with — repentance, faith, and conformity to Christ are the only way.

If the Scriptures rebuke parents for not disciplining their children, calling it hatred, then what must our Lord think of those who refuse to address the damning sins of women with the hope of the gospel? How much do you have to hate women to ignore their culpability for their sins?

“Sometimes, in our good desire to minister to women, we can begin to treat them like hypersensitive car alarms.”

Sometimes, in our good desire to minister to women — to meet their needs, to build them up — we can begin to treat them like hypersensitive car alarms, tiptoeing around their sin, rather than loving them enough to help them obey, and to make them unflappable in him. The truth is, when you read an online “encouragement” that declares you’re doing a great job as a mom, it’s possible that it is true. But it also could be completely false. You may be doing a poor job, and that’s why you’re on the Internet looking for someone to tell you you’re doing great. Yet when we read the hard words of Scripture, they are always true — and they are always truly good for us. There is always an application. We always need to repent and believe. We always need to deny ourselves. We always need to obey God.

We love women with the truth. We speak truthful words that upset, that cause pain, that produce guilt, that pierce, but only because we know his healing and forgiveness and comfort is found no other way. I often think about the hard words my mother spoke to me — they were God’s appointed means to preserve me and keep me from making a shipwreck of my faith. How many daughters have wandered from the faith for want of such a mother?

Make Hard Words Normal

Another statement my mom was not afraid to say to me was, “You’re being too sensitive.” This is true for scores of women today — they are sensitive to their own feelings and reactions and therefore quick to take offense. And we need to hear, in truth and love, from other women when the gift of our sensitivity is becoming sin.

“Flat-out refuse to let yourself be offended by anything God says to you.”

Most of all, the way to desensitize an easily offended or disquieted spirit is by regular exposure to the unfiltered word of God. We can’t survive on a Bible diet of uplifting bits only. We must not let ourselves get skittish and squeamish around direct and discomforting truth. Try saying out loud the parts of the Bible you find most difficult. Put God’s own words in your mouth and start to get used to them. Say them in love to a friend. Make them normal.

Lastly, flat-out refuse to let yourself be offended by anything God says to you — whether his words are on the page of your Bible or rightly handled in the mouth of your husband or friend or pastor (2 Timothy 2:15). You may be wounded by God’s word, but his words are the faithful words of the truest friend you’ll ever have. And they are the only words whose wounds can make you whole.

In the hands of a good God, Suffering is a Gift!

𝑰𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒂 𝒈𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝑮𝒐𝒅, 𝒔𝒖𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒈𝒊𝒇𝒕.

Colleen Chao is living under the shadow of terminal stage four cancer, and she’s learning how to suffer with hope. It’s stunningly beautiful.

“Here’s the thing about suffering (at least in my own limited experience): none of us are good at it. None of us have the capacity to suffer well with hope and joy.”

But the secret to slowly growing into a hope-filled, joyful sufferer has been shockingly simple: Go to God. Again and again and again.

I go to Him when I’m angry at His will for me. I go to Him in the middle of the night when grief threatens to undo me. I go to Him when I’m weary to the bone, or when I’m throwing myself an epic pity party.

By ‘going to Him’ I mean I turn my thoughts to Him and tell Him exactly what I’m feeling, all the nitty-gritty, gory details. I ‘pour out my heart like water in the Lord’s presence’ (Lam. 2:19)—and with the smallest mustard seed of faith, I believe that He’s listening to me and that He will be able to do something about my suffering (Isa. 64:4).

That rhythmic act of going to Him softens my heart to listen to Him, to hear His voice, to end my self-absorbed monologue and begin a beautiful dialogue with Him.

And here’s what I’ve become increasingly convinced of through this process over decades now: I cannot hear from Him or dialogue with Him (and thus cannot suffer well) apart from His Word.

Through the pages of Scripture He speaks exactly what my heart needs to hear. He reveals himself (sometimes in ways I don’t immediately recognize), and those revelations change everything—my thoughts and desires and perspective and all.

And herein lies one of the most sacred gifts of suffering: the sufferer has a unique capacity to experience God through His Word in ways that cannot be experienced through days of comfort and ease.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ll sing this song to my last day: in the hands of a good God, suffering is a gift.”

Read more of Colleen’s blog post:

Chosen – We are God’s Artwork!

Ephesians 1:1-14 NIV

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 

he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 

he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Chosen (NOTES)

Esther 4:5-17 NIV

5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.

9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Ephesians 3:1 NIV

God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles

3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Ephesians 4:1 NIV

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 6:20 NIV

20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Acts 18:19-21 NIV

19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.

Hebrews 9:22 NIV

22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Romans 8:17 NIV

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Who was Jezebel in the Bible?

“Jezebel” is a name synonymous with evil; she is the epitome of the wicked woman. So infamous is her name that, to this day, no one names their baby daughter “Jezebel.” To call a woman a “Jezebel” is the greatest insult imaginable.

Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, a priest of the cruel, sensuous, false god Baal. Ethbaal, the priest-king of Tyre who murdered his own brother to take over the throne, was hardly a good father figure. But Jezebel followed in her father’s footsteps and was herself a power-hungry murderess who stopped at nothing to get what she wanted.

The king of Israel at the time was Ahab, a weak, self-pitying man who abdicated his authority to his bride, the princess Jezebel. In spite of God’s laws forbidding idolatry and the worship of any god but the Lord, Ahab married this princess who brought to Israel with her hundreds of priests of lewd Baal worship, a cult that tended to destroy manhood and drag womanhood into shame.

Jezebel was such a domineering person that she soon became master over her weak husband. One of her first acts was to order the extermination of the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:413) and set up altars to Baal. So pervasive was her idolatrous influence in Israel that Jesus later used her name to refer to a woman who led the church at Thyatira into immorality and the worship of false gods (Revelation 2:20).

Jezebel’s strongest enemy was the great prophet Elijah, who defied her and opposed her evil rule. First, he pronounced the punishment of God upon Israel in the form of a drought which lasted three years (James 5:17). This culminated in a contest on Mount Carmel between the powers of Israel’s true God and the Baals.

After the 450 priests of Baal and 400 priests of Asherah spent the day beseeching their gods with wailing and self-mutilation to end the drought, all to no avail, Elijah prayed to his omnipotent God who responded by accepting the sacrifice, having the false prophets slaughtered, and providing an abundance of rain (1 Kings 18:16-46).

Instead of acknowledging the awesome power of the one true God, Jezebel was enraged and vowed to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-2). Elijah fled from her wrath to the wilderness (1 Kings 19:3-8).

In the meantime, Jezebel was proving herself to be the greedy, murderous, evil woman she truly was. A righteous man named Naboth owned a vineyard next to Ahab’s palace. Ahab offered to buy the vineyard, but Naboth, honoring God’s command to keep inheritances within the family, rightly refused to sell.

Ahab became “sullen and angry” and went home to sulk on his bed. Jezebel ridiculed him for his weakness and told him to cheer up for she would get the vineyard for him. She plotted with two lying scoundrels to have Naboth falsely accused and denounced, then put to death.

Then she calmly declared to Ahab that the vineyard was his (1 Kings 21:1-16). Here we see the formula for a disastrous marriage: a weak, childish man who allows his evil, domineering wife to rule the home. This is the exact opposite of God’s plan for marriage: a loving husband who leads his family, and whose care for his wife mirrors that of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:25-2628-29), and a godly woman who submits to her husband “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22), each submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21Colossians 3:18-191 Peter 3:7).

As with all who defy the Lord, Jezebel’s end was not a pretty one, although it was more gruesome than most, perhaps as an object lesson to all who set themselves up against the one true God. Her doom was sure, having been prophesied by Elijah in 1 Kings 21:23.

Even as she saw her death approaching, she remained defiant to the end, painting her face and adorning herself in queenly garments. She looked out the window and shouted her defiance to Jehu, the next king of Israel who came to take his throne (2 Kings 9:30-37).

Jehu commanded her to be thrown out the window to her death, where she was trampled by the horses’ hooves and almost entirely consumed by dogs. Her thirty years of tyranny over Israel had ended. The terror visited upon Jezebel was a testimony to the Israelites, and to us, that God’s power is supreme and those who defy Him will meet a terrible end.

Jeremiah Chapter 5 – King James Version

Jeremiah 5 King James Version

5 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.2 And though they say, The Lord liveth; surely they swear falsely.

3 O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.4 Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God.

5 I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.6 Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.

7 How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.8 They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife.

9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?10 Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the Lord’s.

11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the Lord.12 They have belied the Lord, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:

13 And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.14 Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

15 Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the Lord: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.16 Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men.

17 And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.18 Nevertheless in those days, saith the Lord, I will not make a full end with you.

19 And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the Lord our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not your’s.20 Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,

21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:22 Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.

27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;

31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?LikeCommentShare

The Heart Of A Leader – Out Of Slavery To Nationhood

1 Samuel 16:1-13 NIV

Samuel Anoints David

16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 

10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

The Heart Of A Leader (NOTES)

Matthew 15:19-20 New International Version

19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Romans 2:15 New International Version

15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.

Acts 15:9 New International Version

9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

1 Peter 3:4 New International Version

4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Acts 14:17 New International Version

17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

James 5:5 New International Version

5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a]

John 14:1 New International Version

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me.

Romans 9:2 New International Version

2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

2 Corinthians 2:4 New International Version

4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

John 16:22 New International Version

22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Ephesians 5:19 New International Version

19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

Acts 2:37 New International Version

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

1 John 3:20 New International Version

20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Hebrews 4:12 New International Version

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Acts 11:23 New International Version

23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.

2 Corinthians 9:7 New International Version

7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Romans 6:17 New International Version

17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.

Colossians 3:15 New International Version

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Torn Between Two Masters

Torn Between Two Masters

Because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to have a lot of Native American friends, and brothers and sisters, and be on many reservations with our On Eagles’ Wings team, I’ve gotten to hear some of the very colorful ways that Native Americans express themselves.

One of them I heard when we were with tribes in the Northeast. And it’s really stuck with me, because it sounds like something Jesus said. They were talking about the choice historically that their people had to make between the world of the white people and the world of the Native people.

And the elders would say, “No man can stand in two canoes.” That’s a pretty funny picture if you think about it. The guy trying to stand in two canoes as they drift apart. You know what? You had to choose your canoe.

I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Torn Between Two Masters.”

Jesus had a lot in common with the Native people of North America, because He was a tribal man; He grew up in a village; His country had been taken over by others; He loved nature; He told stories; He was poor; He died a violent death.

Now, while He didn’t talk about those two canoes, He said something about following Him that sounded very much like it. It’s recorded in Matthew 6:24, which is our word for today from the Word of God.

Jesus simply said, “No man can serve two masters.” Or have his feet in two different canoes. You can’t claim Jesus as your Lord, the decider of what you do, and have someone or something else that is your deciding factor. Like a man trying to straddle two canoes, you’ll be pulled apart.

In spite of the impossibility of living for two masters, so many who say they belong to Jesus are trying to do it – maybe you. You say Jesus is your Lord, but you’ve got a boyfriend or girlfriend you really revolve your life around.

When it comes to a choice between what Jesus wants and what you need to do for money, money wins. Or a choice between what certain friends want and what Jesus wants. The friends win.

You say Jesus is “number one,” but what you watch, the websites you go to, what you see on TV? Is it something He died to deliver you from? No matter how much your music is about things that Jesus hates, you just keep hanging onto it.

God’s book commands you to not be “unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14), but you’re in a partnership or a romance that continually forces you to choose between their values and Jesus’ values. And all too often, they win.

What you do with your body, what you do when you’re lonely, what you do when you’re tempted, what you do when your temper or your hormones are in control, “Goodbye, Jesus.”

But nobody loves you like He does. Nobody else was butchered on a cross to take your hell. He died so you don’t have to serve that other master. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.”

When you live the opposite of what He wants, you basically say, “I don’t care why You died, Jesus. I want this.” You might as well just say, “I want this more than You.”

Aren’t you tired of being torn apart inside, trying to choose between your two masters; trying to live with your feet in two canoes? They continue to drift in opposite directions, and so do you.

God has some straight talk to you, right from His Word in Joshua 24:15, “Choose…this day whom you will serve.” And choose is what you’re going to have to do. Choose the One who loves you most. Choose the One you’ll be with forever. Choose Jesus.

God’s Faithful Love For You Will Remain!

💫 ❤ God Fights For Us 💖

🌞 A Colorado mother proved she would stop at nothing to protect her child. Her five-year-old son was playing outside when she heard him screaming. She rushed outside and, to her horror, saw that her son had an unexpected “playmate”— a mountain lion.

The large cat was on top of her son, with his head in its mouth. The mother summoned her inner mamma grizzly to fight off the lion and pry open its jaws to rescue her son. This mother’s heroic actions remind us of how motherhood is used in Scripture to illustrate God’s tenacious love and protection for His children.

🙇‍♀🙇‍♀ Yes, in scriptures we often read – God tenderly cared for and comforted His people as a mother eagle cares for her young. Also, like a mother who could never forget a nursing child with whom she had built an inseparable bond, God would never forget His people nor forever withhold compassion from them.

Finally, like a mother bird offering protective cover under her wings for baby birds, God would “cover His people with his feathers” and “his faithfulness would be their shield and rampart.”

🙇‍♂ Sometimes we feel alone, forgotten, and trapped in the grip of all kinds of spiritual predators. May God help us remember that He compassionately cares, comforts, and fights for us. — Marvin Williams

🙏 Heavenly Father, as baby birds find protection under their mother’s wings, may I find refuge under the shield of Your faithfulness.

To know the faithfulness of god is to know the peace of god.

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend   😊 🌹

1 Corinthians 13 – MSG Bible

1 Corinthians 13 KJV

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

We Want A Human King!

1 Samuel 8:4-7 NIV

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[a] us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

1 Samuel 10:17-24 NIV

17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”

20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?”

And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”

23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”

Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

We Want A Human King (NOTES)

Genesis 12:7 New International Version

7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[a] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

1 Samuel 8:1-3 New International Version

Israel Asks for a King

1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.

3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

Exodus 23:6, 8 New International Version

6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

Deuteronomy 16:19 New International Version

19 Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent.

Deuteronomy 17:14-15 New International Version

The King

14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.

1 Samuel 9:10-16 New International Version

10 “Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was. 11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”

12 “He is,” they answered. “He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice at the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.”

14 They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me.”

No Pain No Gain

💫 ❤ No Pain, No Gain 💖

🌞 Educator and author Howard Hendricks cautions parents not to bribe or threaten their children to get them to obey. What they need is firm, loving, and at times painful discipline.

Hendricks recalls being in a home where a bright-eyed grade-schooler sat across the table from him.
“Sally, eat your potatoes,” said her mother in a proper parental tone.
“Sally, if you don’t eat your potatoes, you won’t get any dessert!”
Sally winked at Hendricks. Sure enough, mother removed the potatoes and brought Sally some ice cream. He saw this as a case of parents obeying their children rather than “Children, obey your parents”.

🙇‍♀ Many parents are afraid to do what they know is best for their youngsters. They’re afraid their children will turn against them and think they don’t love them. Hendricks says, “Your primary concern is not what they think of you now, but what they will think 20 years from now.”

🙇‍♂ 🙇‍♂ Even our loving heavenly Father’s correction is painful, yet afterward (perhaps years later) “it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness in those who have been trained by it”. As loving parents, dare we have less long-term vision than our heavenly Father has ?
—Joanie Yoder

We shrink from the purging & pruning,
Forgetting the Gardener who knows:
The deeper the cutting and paring
The richer the cluster that grows-Anon.

The surest way to make life hard for your children is to make it soft for them.

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend   😊 🌹

If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink!

❤ The Only Way To Be Happy 💖

🌞 One of the major problems with which we are all confronted is that we have at the core of our being a deep thirst for God, which makes us entirely dependent on Him for satisfaction. Our weak human nature resents this, because it dislikes the feeling of helplessness that such dependence brings; it prefers to have a hand in bringing about its own satisfaction. This tendency of the human heart to try to satisfy its own thirst independently of God however, has terrible consequences.

🙇‍♀ There is no lasting earthly satisfaction. Marriage, family, money, fame, enlightenment, travel, athletics, academic achievement — nothing completes our joy. Any satisfaction we gain in our quest fades quickly and becomes a vague memory, if it can be remembered at all. Oh, to be sure, there are happy events along the way, unexpected moments when we experience pure delight. But those moments are fleeting, and we can never go back in time to relive them and recapture the sensation.

🙇‍♂ 🙇‍♂ Why then do we keep seeking for something to satisfy us ? Simply put, it’s because we have to. Whether we realize it or not, our souls are thirsting for God. Every desire, every aspiration, every longing of our nature is nothing less than a yearning for God. We were born for His love and we cannot live without it. He is the happiness for which we have been searching all our lives. Everything that we desire is found in Him — and infinitely more. And so, when you find yourself restless and thirsting for something more in life, respond to His invitation, “Come to Me and drink.” Go to Him, drink freely of His grace and experience true joy. — David H. Roper

Jesus wants us to come to Him
To quench our thirsty soul,
For from Him flow life-giving streams
To heal and make us whole. — Sper

Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on God !

🎊 Stay Blessed My Friend   😊 🌹

Confidence Provides Necessary Courage

Judges 6:1-2 NIV


The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.

Judges 6:7-16 NIV

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 

I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Confidence Provides Necessary Courage (Notes)

Genesis 25:1-2 New International Version

The Death of Abraham

25 Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.

Judges 2:1-5 New International Version

The Angel of the Lord at Bokim

2 The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?

3 And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”

4 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim.[a] There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.

2 Kings 7:18 New International Version

18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

1 Corinthians 15:9 New International Version

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Ephesians 3:8 New International Version

8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,

2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Version 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may