Keep the Faith

2 Chronicles 6:28-39 NLT

“If there is a famine in the land or a plague or crop disease or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever disaster or disease there is— and if your people Israel pray about their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.

“In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands when they hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name.

“If your people go out where you send them to fight their enemies, and if they pray to you by turning toward this city you have chosen and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause.

“If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you might become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to a foreign land far away or near. But in that land of exile, they might turn to you in repentance and pray, ‘We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly.’ If they turn to you with their whole heart and soul in the land of their captivity and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors—toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name— then hear their prayers and their petitions from heaven where you live, and uphold their cause. Forgive your people who have sinned against you.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY
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Keep the faith.

Share the message.

Return whole heartedly when we stumble.

Who am I?

Psalm 144:3-4 ESV
O Lord , what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY
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I ask myself many times, “Who am I, that when I was even still His enemy, He cares enough about me to be lifted up on a cross for my salvation?”

And I realize that if He sees value in me, if He cares enough to look over my life and protect me and guide me and teach me, that He knows a lot better than me how He plans to use my life.

So I’m sitting back, enjoying this amazing time of being awake, of being taught, of being active in this walk of faith. I don’t know where we’re going Lord, but I’m sure not going to let go of your hand!

Where could I go without you? The lawless unbelievers hate me for shedding light and truth, and the religious practicers hate me for sharing love and grace. But they hated you too, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

You are my friend, closer than a brother. These enemies surround me and use these men around me to twist my words, to spread lies about me – to still judge me by that the works of that dead body that was defeated when I was raised in life with Christ. I have no interest in the words of men, nor in earning their respect, nor in accepting their titles or trophies.

Fill my life with Christ, with Love, with these fruits of the Holy Spirit, these treasures that nourish my soul for eternity. And keep me walking this repented life of grace, of renewal, of redemption, of service, of faith, of truth, of hope, and of love.

These fleeting moments will pass quickly enough and I will be a foreigner and a traveler no more – when I return home. This life is but a passing shadow of the life ahead.

NOTE: I journal and share what I learn. I encourage anyone and everyone to discuss and share together. The point of me sharing isn’t because I think that I can teach anyone – the point of sharing is so that we might share and fellowship and learn together. So if you find anything that I share compelling, convicting, or spoken carelessly – I encourage you to respond so we can discuss. I am seeking and learning daily, and I always find value in sharing and learning together. Sometimes discussions are iron sharpening iron, sometimes they are correction, sometimes they are refinement, and sometimes they are reassurance through agreement. Any input is valued and respected and my goal is to put my own content through the same testing that I would be examining another’s. It is hard to truly be unbiased, but my goal is to seek truth, not just defend my own position/tradition. Love you, friend.

Good is good, Bad is bad

Evil does not change based on public or personal opinion. Good is good, bad is bad. One may decide to apply “relative morality” to a circumstance to try to justify actions comparatively, but that doesn’t change evil into good – it simply makes an attempt to compare one set of evils to another.

But it does matter how we use this knowledge of good and evil. Because the law can be executed unwisely by men in judgement and accusation who are blind to love – which represents a situation where truth and justice are not served.

For example, if a sheep is lost – isn’t it clear that helping that sheep is more critical than the letter of the law? Isn’t it clear that mercy, forgiveness, and love are the more perfect demonstration of God’s grace and the nature of His Spirit towards His beloved children? Isn’t this the lesson that Christ taught us about understanding the spirit of the law instead of focusing on the letter of the law:

Matthew 12:1-14 NLT
At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.” Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.) And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.

Yes, He wants a relationship, He wants us to show mercy just like He shows mercy, not cold hearted practicers of religion:

Hosea 6:6 NLT
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.

I can stand my ground on what is right and what is wrong – while offering mercy, and forgiveness, and love, and hope for the lost – and while sharing this Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because it isn’t my job to judge the lost, it is my job to offer them this same grace that I received.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NLT
When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

If we are to follow Christ’s example, are we going out and sitting down with those that need this message of grace – and not in judgement, but in love:

Luke 5:27-32 NLT
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum? ” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

Are we going out? Or are we comfortable hanging in the pew with our friends?

Mark 16:15-20 NLT
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

Give me the courage and strength and faith and reliance on Christ in me to go out – in Love, and to share this good news, not in judgement to strike fear and win converts, but to let others know this wonderful grace that I have, this amazing friend that I know – so they might know Him as well.

And yeah – He told us to do it. That’s probably a really good reason to do it too.

Am I Loving?

I walk through this life.

I see broken and hurting people around me.

And I say,  “I’ll pray for you,  friend.”

But how many times do I wrap my arms around them with an encouraging hug?

How many times do I show up at their door with actual help, mourning with those who mourn, crying with those who are in pain, rejoicing with those who rejoice – versus throwing my words over the proverbial wall sprinkling my good intentions towards their lives?

How often do I care enough to act instead of just speaking?

Way too few,  I fear.

I tell myself that words have power and that this message is important – and it is.

But if I am only studying it, if I am only sharing it, if I am only teaching it – can I strongly make the argument that I am a theologian,  but weakly defend that I am a follower of Christ?

Am I finding myself satisfied just being a mouthpiece,  a noisy gong – because it isn’t as messy as getting involved in the dirty job of actually loving and helping others that are in pain?

Am I closing off my life from loving and serving others because I’m tucked away on my own with my Bible, and my concordance, and my prayers,  and my praise,  and my worship,  and my seeking to understand God’s will and direction for my life – blindly looking for the forest, and complaining about all of these trees that are getting in the way along my way to find the forest?

The greatest religious scholars may be great theologians,  but are they walking like Christ, trusting in Him?

Or are we “studiers of the Word” relying on our intellectual pursuit to put God inside a box small enough to be contained neatly packaged within the “safe” confines of our own understanding?

Or am I a friend to those in pain? Like He is a friend to me when I am hurting?

Please, don’t let me just be a student, I want to be a friend of Christ. And if I am a friend of Christ,  won’t I be like Christ – and be a friend to others? Even a friend to those who might think to themselves that they are my enemy.

Because isn’t this the amazing story of Christ,  that He was our friend – even when we were His enemy?

Isn’t this the part that is so hard for us to grasp with our hardened hearts and our intellectual struggles to understand what is so simple that a child understands it better than we do?

He loves, so we should love.

Love extended without an expectation that it be repaid.

Love extended in hope that it might be accepted.

Love extended to friend and to enemy.

Love extended.

Love.

1 Corinthians 13:2-7 NLT
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

If I have one thing, let it be love.

If I can have two things let them be Love and Wisdom.

But please,  don’t let me mistake knowledge for understanding, nor understanding for wisdom, nor wisdom for love.

We are called to love.

And if we have this love of Christ in our jar, it need to be poured out into others as well.

I love you,  friend. Have a blessed Saturday.

Please pray for me to be a friend,  not just a student.

My Attitude Matters

Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY
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Our decisions, our actions, our words – all these things have an impact on the world around us. And they are all driven by our attitude.

If our attitude is focused on me, me, me – aren’t we still like a spoiled little child crying for a toy they want at the store but that their parents won’t buy for them? When we are focused on self, we have not yielded to the Lord’s will, we are still seeking our own will.

So if we are His, if we have been called and chosen, if we have been drawn near to Him to accept this amazing free gift of grace, don’t we yield to His will in grattitude and in a new understanding that this Word of God is the instruction and guidance for this amazing, renewed life we have with Christ?

But some deny Christ – by knowing what they should do and choosing in open rebellion against God’s will to chase after their own idols and temptations. This is different than stumbling. Stumbling is a mistake made while trying to keep faithful that we repent and ask forgiveness. Denying Christ is rebelling consciously, knowing that it is wrong, but continuing to do it, with no concern and no repentance.

We are meant to live our lives as a praise to God, not just praise Him on Sunday and then deny Him the rest of the week.

But even in this, I know what my life looked like when I was lost. I am humbled when I see others in open rebellion, because I remember being there once myself. I realize they are in need of this Grace that has laid it’s hands on me. So even those that I know and love, who are in open rebellion in their lives – I see the example that my old life was to them, and I beg forgiveness for their sins, because I see they are my own sins repeated in them.

I am concerned. I love them. So I lift them in prayer, just as many did for me when I was lost in my own rebellion. And I have faith that my prayers will be answered in His time. But for their sake, I hope that my prayer is answered soon – because anyone that is missing out on this opportunity to live a life of praise, doesn’t realize yet that they aren’t really living at all – they are just snared in another trap of the trickster, piling on more burdens on themselves, adding to their troubles. But I understand, I too lived that life of blindness.

So I love them. I offer my renewed life up as praise to God. I share truth with them, humbly, gently, with patience, bearing their burdens as my own knowing the example my old life served, and keeping peace with them even if we are not in agreement. I share this Word of God. And I hope and pray that ears will be opened to hear His voice and to know Jesus Christ as the Truth, the Life, and the Way.

I pray and have faith that God will break our rebellious and selfish will, that we will know His grace, mercy and peace – and not remain in darkness.

Let my renewed life be a praise to God today.

Let my renewed life today prove to be an undeniable proof that life in Christ far surpasses that old life of death and darkness – as both a warning and an encouragement to any that might see my life and want to use it in their arguments for or against.

Help me walk with Christ today.

Help me see opportunities.

Help me hear His voice.

Help me choose wisely.

Help me hold fast to truth.

Motivate me to action.

Help me speak in love.

Do battle

2 Samuel 22:31-43 NLT
“God’s way is perfect. All the lord ’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the lord ? Who but our God is a solid rock?
God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.
“I chased my enemies and destroyed them;
I did not stop until they were conquered.
I consumed them;
I struck them down so they did not get up;
they fell beneath my feet.
You have armed me with strength for the battle;
you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
You placed my foot on their necks.
I have destroyed all who hated me.
They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue.
They even cried to the lord , but he refused to answer.
I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth;
I trampled them in the gutter like dirt.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY
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Reading this, it is important for me to keep in mind our instructions for preparing for battle in Ephesians 6, with the key verse being:

Ephesians 6:12 NLT
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

And the Lord is the solid rock, the foundation on which we can stand and we can see the evil in our lives being crushed and swept out of our thoughts, out of our words, and our of our actions.

When we have this Holy Spirit of Christ in us, alive and active and teaching and guiding us – change is happening in us, because He is overcoming those enemies, those evil strongholds in our lives. We learn His will throughthe Word of God, we seek out those things that we need to change in our lives, we lift them to him in prayer, and we put on this armor to do spiritual battle – not battle against other people, but battle against those evil things that are contrary to the Holy Spirit of God.

So if we are going to do spiritual battle, first we need this Holy Spirit of Christ in us. So we should pray and believe and have hope and faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Once we have Him, we can wear His armor.

Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

And we will face enemies, we will face trials – but if we are equipped, and if we hold fast and cling close to our risen Savior and King, Jesus Christ – the battle is already won.

Let’s see the enemy fall defeated at our feet today, friends. Let’s cast off those chains of sin and temptation and evil that are a part of our lives that are keeping us from experiencing the full life that we know is waiting for us.

And let’s praise Him all day long, knowing the wonderful blessing that He is in our life. Thankful for His guidance, His healing, His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, His power, and His faithfulness.

Have a blessed day, friend!

To whom am I yoked?

I enjoy reading 2 Corinthians 6 in the light of 1 Corinthians 5:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

We aren’t to be UNEQUALLY YOKED. This doesn’t mean that we abandon or judge the unbelievers around us in our lives:

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ESV
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Because we are to be the light of the world. We are supposed to love and help unbelievers have an opportunity to find their way to this love and salvation. We are to “go out” to the lost with this Good News. We aren’t to separate ourselves physically from the lost, nor are we supposed to love them less or treat them badly because they are unbelievers. We are to hold fellow believers accountable, not kick a lost man while he is down. Our enemies are not flesh and blood. So even if our true enemies are using a person against us, aren’t we instructed to behave in this manner towards even those being used against us –

Luke 6:27-36 ESV
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

But that does not mean that we become yoked, tied together, with unbelievers and their worldly ways. That does not mean that we should be actively participating in those things we know that we should not be doing. We are supposed to share light, but resist any temptation to sin. If we love Christ, if He is our Lord and Savior, we seek His Kingdom –

Matthew 5:13-16 ESV
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

So if someone is lost and does not yet have Christ, it benefits them greatly to remove themselves from the worldly ways and people around them that are influencing them. It benefits them greatly to surround themselves with others that are believers that love God, and love others, and who are actively seeking and serving God in their lives.

And if someone is saved and has Christ alive in their life, it benefits them greatly to yoke themselves with other believers – the more faithful the better, because even they will stumble at times. Because we work together to build each other up – so that we are filled with His strength, and His Truth, and His Way – so that when unbelievers come to join us, we can help bear their burdens – and the Christ inside us (this Holy Spirit) will be strong in lifting and bearing this cross through both ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

We should each through Christ bear the share of these burdens – and when we are working together in the unity of Christ, we find that the burden is light, because we are yoked to Christ, and they are yoked to Christ, and He is the foundation that bins us together.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Philippians 2:1-3 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Amos 3:3 ESV
“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?

Ephesians 4:3 ESV
Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If we yoke ourselves to Christ (trust in Him), then through Him we will be yoked to our true brothers and sisters. We place our trust the Lord, not in men of flesh and blood.

Psalm 146:1-10 ESV
Praise the Lord ! Praise the Lord , O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord !

Psalm 118:6-9 ESV
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

“Let everything that have breath praise the Lord.”

“Let everything that have breath praise the Lord.”

One preacher said this; one morning I was awakened by the sound of birds singing. And as I begin to listen to their songs in the spirit of my mind, it sounded as if the birds were singing praises unto the Lord. And in my spiritual mind and imagination I heard the birds giving God praises.

As I listen to the birds sing, it sounded as if the Mockingbird was singing “Thank You Jesus, Thank You Jesus.”

Then the Crow join in the songs of praise and it sounded like it said, “Give Him Praise, And Give Him Praise.”

Then the Woodpecker followed suit and said, “Lord, Lord, Lord, He’s so good.”

Then a Jaybird got happy and started to shout, “Yes He Is, Yes He is.”

The Robin stuck out its red breast and began to flap its wings and shouted “Jesus is All Right with Me.”

As the Cardinal looked on it began to sing, “He Sweet I know.”

The Hawk was moved by such wonderful singing that it got excited and began to sing, “What a Fellowship, Why Don’t You Try Him.”

And a Buzzard that was flying over looked down and began to sing, “He Can Raise the Dead.”

Then the Nightingale said, “Wait One Minute, He Can Give Sight to the Blind.”

And the wise Owl said, “Who, Who, Who.”
Anybody here, “Know who?”

And then the Road Runner jump up and began to shout “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

The Sparrow began to shout “If You Fall He Will Pick you up.”

The Peacock began to flutter its wings and dance and began to shout, “I Feel a Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

Then the Dove began to sing “God Is Love, He So Loved the World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son.”

And the Parrot shouted out “Jesus Saves.”
And the Raven shouted “To the Upmost.”

Then the Bluebird began to sang, “I know that’s Right, because He’s so good.”

The Eagle flew over with it wings widely spread as if to be directing all of the songs of praise and said, “Lord Use Me.”

Oh yeah in my spiritual mind and imagination I heard the birds singing songs of praises like an angelic choir, giving God the praise.

I don’t want the birds to out praise me. I don’t want the ants to out work me.

“Let everything that have breath praise the Lord.”

Author Unknown

I came across this in my reading (I try to read everyday).

Turn my mourning into dancing

Ecclesiastes 3:4 ESV
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

Psalm 103:1-4 ESV
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy

Psalm 30:11 ESV
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Psalm 146:1-2 ESV
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

John 4:23 ESV
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Hebrews 13:15 ESV
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Psalm 96:1-9 ESV
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.

Know Him

1 Samuel 12:24 NLT
But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things He has done for you.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY
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If we don’t know the Lord, we have much to fear. If we only run to prayer when we need something, if we turn back to our old lives and only run to God when there is a challenge to be faced – can we say with confidence that we know the Lord? Or can we only say that we know ABOUT the Lord?

As we faithfully serve and get to know God, that fear is still awe and amazement – but we learn that God isn’t a great genie in the sky that waits to grant our wishes, He desires a relationship with us. Yes, this Creator God, this Almighty God, this Eternal God – He actually is interested in our little lives. And as we go through trials and learn and grow, we learn to praise Him and ask for His guidance in the good times and the challenging times, for the small things and the big things – we don’t just let the wind of our circumstances dictate whether or not we are remembering God, seeking God, praising God, and worshipping God. This is how we learn to be rooted in our foundation upon the rock of our faith, Jesus Christ.

And as we are faithful, as we seek Him, we will be drawn close to Him. We will know His voice. He will speak to us through our prayers, through our time in the Word of God, through the words and actions of other faithful believers. It is then that we begin to know Him as friend. And once we’ve tasted that presence of God, or fear becomes a conviction to not lose this closeness, to not become separated from God by our sins.

So yes, fear may look different depending on our walk, but if we have no fear of God at all, can we say that we are a hopeful new believer, a faithful servant, or a friend of Jesus Christ?

So let’s receive Christ as our Lord and Savior if we do not yet have Him in our lives.

Let’s grow in this walk of faith, not being satisfied to just be a hopeful child, but let’s seek spiritual maturity.

Let’s remember to be thankful for all those blessings in our lives, and when we keep the blessings close in our memory, we will find that any challenges don’t seem so great and challenging – because we are ever aware that Christ is walking with us, and is working through us, and what stumbling block can’t be crushed under His feet or used as a stepping stone to lift up His name?

I love you, friends. Have a blessed day.