The joy of His presence

Oh Ebenezer! 

Hallelujah!
I tried to win,

And Ichabod was born.
But I received the rod of your discipline, 

I saw my wretched state,

I saw the error of what “seemeth right unto man”,

And I saw that even the rod was a good and holy comfort.
 It was not my hand or my might that returned the ark into the camp,

But the LORD himself struck the wicked a mighty blow,

Both the spirit and the wind move where they will,

And I returned to the LORD with my whole heart, 

I consecrated myself to serve Him only, 

I gathered and He intervened on my behalf,

I cried out,  “I have sinned against you and you alone. I have done what is evil in your sight. You are right in what you say and your judgement against me is just.”

And the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY Himself has delivered me into victory. 
I raise mine Ebenezer,

Come thou fount of every blessing, 

Come make your home and may you never depart,

Take this life and make it yours!
I have not forgotten my first love,

I have found rest upon the solid rock. 

Yes, He is mine and I am His,

Forever bound to freedom, 

Forever loosed from bondage. 
Hallelujah, to God on high!

Hallelujah, sing His praises!

Forevermore, sing Holy! Holy! Holy!

He is Lord God Almighty!

Worthy of ALL honor and praise.
Hear the Word of God

And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.” – 1 Samuel 3:10‭-‬14 NLT

Ichabod

The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men. After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.” So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake! “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!” So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed. A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief. Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town. “What is all the noise about?” Eli asked. The messenger rushed over to Eli, He said to Eli, “I have just come from the battlefield—I was there this very day.” “What happened, my son?” Eli demanded. “Israel has been defeated by the Philistines,” the messenger replied. “The people have been slaughtered, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. And the Ark of God has been captured.” When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight. He had been Israel’s judge for forty years. Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth. She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them. She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.” – 1 Samuel 4:2‭-‬14‭, ‬16‭-‬22 NLT

Who is able to stand in the presence of the Lord?

Then the Lord ’s heavy hand struck the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors.  When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.” So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The rulers discussed it and replied, “Move it to the town of Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the Lord ’s heavy hand fell on its men, young and old; he struck them with a plague of tumors, and there was a great panic. So they sent the Ark of God to the town of Ekron, but when the people of Ekron saw it coming they cried out, “They are bringing the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us, too!” The people summoned the Philistine rulers again and begged them, “Please send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own country, or it will kill us all.” For the deadly plague from God had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the town. Those who didn’t die were afflicted with tumors; and the cry from the town rose to heaven. – 1 Samuel 5:6‭-‬12 NLT

The Ark of the Lord remained in Philistine territory seven months in all. Then the Philistines called in their priests and diviners and asked them, “What should we do about the Ark of the Lord ? Tell us how to return it to its own country.” “Send the Ark of the God of Israel back with a gift,” they were told. “Send a guilt offering so the plague will stop. Then, if you are healed, you will know it was his hand that caused the plague.” 

The people of Beth-shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley, and when they saw the Ark, they were overjoyed! The cart came into the field of a man named Joshua and stopped beside a large rock. So the people broke up the wood of the cart for a fire and killed the cows and sacrificed them to the Lord as a burnt offering. But the Lord killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the Lord . And the people mourned greatly because of what the Lord had done. “Who is able to stand in the presence of the Lord , this holy God?” they cried out. “Where can we send the Ark from here?” So they sent messengers to the people at Kiriath-jearim and told them, “The Philistines have returned the Ark of the Lord . Come here and get it!” – 1 Samuel 6:1‭-‬3‭, ‬13‭-‬14‭, ‬19‭-‬21 NLT

Ebenezer

Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord . Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord . They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord . (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.) When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him. Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way. Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord ’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. – 1 Samuel 7:3‭-‬13 NLT


Death could not keep Him in its grip

‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below— blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. King David said this about him: ‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ – Acts of the Apostles 2:17‭-‬28 NLT

“They didn’t go with us, so they can’t have any”

Be like Christ. 
Deny ourselves and serve others. 
Commit ourselves to do justice and show mercy. 
Care and love for the elderly,  the infirm, the needy, the poor,  and those who cannot or will not return our kindness. 
Yes, this is a Christian life – to show the world a reflection of God’s very nature that lives in us. 

Then David returned to the brook Besor and met up with the 200 men who had been left behind because they were too exhausted to go with him. They went out to meet David and his men, and David greeted them joyfully. But some evil troublemakers among David’s men said, “They didn’t go with us, so they can’t have any of the plunder we recovered. Give them their wives and children, and tell them to be gone.” But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us. Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” From then on David made this a decree and regulation for Israel, and it is still followed today. – 1 Samuel 30:21‭-‬25 NLT

Why do we worry ourselves about what someone else “deserves”? Why are we so quick to point fingers at the imperfections of one another? 
Friends, have we forgotten love? Have we forgotten mercy?  Have we forgotten that we do not “deserve” His grace ourselves?
Let’s not fall into self righteous hypocrisy by thinking that we deserve anything better than those around us. Let’s not begin to think that our service to the Lord is a burden we bear or a coat we have payoffs for our freedom – or we might find ourselves falling short of the grace of God by submitting ourselves again to the law so we might measure and compare one another in our shameful pride.
No. Encourage one another in good works,  and love one another, and serve together in lifting high the name of Jesus Christ,  whose blood was shed on Calvary for you and I so that our works may be filthy rags,  but His work done through His Holy Ones might be glorious testimonies of His very nature and spirit. 

And from the throne came a voice that said, “Praise our God, all his servants, all who fear him, from the least to the greatest.” Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the Lord ! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” – Revelation 19:5‭-‬9 NLT

Rare and Precious

NOW THE boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; there was no frequent or widely spread vision. – 1 Samuel 3:1 AMP
http://bible.com/8/1sa.3.1.AMP

Just like in the days of Samuel,  the Word of the Lord today is “rare” and “precious” – and there is no frequent or widely spread vision. Someone might read this and say,  “but I see religious things posted all over Facebook, and there is a church on every street corner these days, how can you say it is rare?”

That question just goes to prove my point, because there is a valuable difference between the veiled or dead relationship most of the world has when it comes to the Bible – versus the life that it generates in a follower of Christ as the revealed Word of the Lord, as the vision, message, and purpose for our lives that we’ve accepted to lead and guide us. And this unveiling off His Word is for every person that accepts Christ, not just for educated or religious people.

What I’m telling you is that the revealed Word of God is bigger than our preconceived notions about a book written with ink on paper by the hands of mere mortal men. The Word of God is breathed out and inspired and it will breathe abundant life and understanding into the lives of His children, because they will recognize and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, because it has been His same voice since the beginning.

Let’s get back to Hannah’s boy Samuel and be ministered to by his example –

Samuel wasn’t one of the sons of Eli that inherited a position as a priest, as a religious teacher. In fact, it’s the contrast of the darkness and rebellion of these hypocritical “teachers of the law” – that revealed this boy Samuel’s ministering as rare and precious. And it was because he had the vision to share the Word of the Lord, while the others just spoke of religious things. While the sons of Eli, the hereditary protests, were plunging the nation into debauchery, and making men turn away from the Tabernacle services – Hannah’s son, Samuel, was ministering unto the Lord, and even though he was no priest of Israel,  he was clearly a priest in the order of Melchezidek.

And isn’t this true of the overwhelming number of false teachers today that lead people into debauchery and lasciviousness while they print fake heaven tickets, sold for a practiced prayer and a payment plan? Aren’t these the same that are eager to speak of kingdoms and favor and honor while denying the righteousness that comes from a holy spirit of power,  love and self-control?

How rare it is today to find a Samuel. How precious it is to find someone with the vision and complete surrender to the Word of God in their life, not just in their hypocritical words.

One commentator explained Samuel as a white flower growing on top of a dunghill. I think this is a fairly accurate description of those faithful servants today who stand firmly upon the foundation and hold the Word of God as precious, rare, and more valuable than the corrupted, rebellious, and twisted opinions of men.

So we can see the contrast and identify both the value of a teacher like Samuel and the danger of teachers like the sons of Eli. But we can also see a comparison between the types of Christian “walks”. We can see a contrast between the Samuel type of faithful follower since birth growing and serving the Lord through – and the Paul type of apostle that was redeemed from being a persecutor of the church. In fact,  Timothy of the New Testament is more of the Samuel type even as he was a student of Paul.

And if we know that we are the Paul type of follower of Christ,  don’t we want our children to be the type of Samuel and Timothy who remain close and faithful to the Lord throughout their whole lives? We are grateful for the sheer quantity of sin forgiven from our lives, and the drastic change in our lives is a great assurance to ourselves and is great testimony to the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. But even through we know this life experience of a wasted youth saved by the arresting mercy of Goods grace is what makes us more earnest, humble, and whole-heartedly surrendered – we also recognize the serenity and continuity of a life grown up in the fear of God that has its own charm and blessing.

So it is my hope as a Paul type that my daughter will be a Samuel or Timothy type. McLaren comments on this passage –

“It is well to have ‘much transgression’ forgiven, but it may be better to have always been ‘innocent’ and ignorant of it. Pardon cleanses sin, and even turns the memory of it into an ally of holiness; but traces are left on character, and, at the best, years have been squandered which do not return. Samuel is the pattern of child religion and service, to which teachers should aim that their children may be conformed.”

You see,  I’ve walked that dusty road of an enemy of God changed by the blinding light at the Damascus road – and that life is not what I hope might be modeled and copied. In fact, it is the danger of that old life and the waste and ruin that it produced for a time that should cry out from the mountaintops that His way is better. I do not envy the Samuel way,  because I have died to that old life and now I walk as a new creation so that others might see my life’s testimony and choose a smarter path.

You see,  there is great value in the rare life surrendered and faithful to the Word of God. And it is so precious, that when we grasp hold off it,  when we become unveiled to its truth, we might even realize that the blessing can be given to our children as the double portion of a life like a Samuel, Timothy,  or Elisha. And I’m not just talking about our children by birth,  but doesn’t Christ bid us to go out and feed His sheep? Aren’t we each royal priests and ambassadors taking this Good News out to His children? How many might see the rate and precious life of a Samuel instead of a Paul if we were just faithful and spiritually mature and teaching them off His ways?

So are you a Paul or a Samuel?

Will the children of God you influence be satisfied being a Paul or will they know the rare and precious life of a Samuel by following the example of your life today?

Or there is one other option,  that you are neither a Paul or a Samuel – still a slave to your sin,  still lost in the darkness,  not yet a Paul or Samuel at all, not even unveiled or aware of the destruction that you have chosen for yourself.

Regardless of where you were up to this moment, choose to fill your life with more of this rare and precious Word of the Lord today. Let it breathe more abundant life into your heart. Decide to drink of this living water that Jesus Christ offers you freely and openly. Have your eyes opened to the living Word of God. Stand and walk upright,  friend.

NOW THE boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; there was no frequent or widely spread vision. – 1 Samuel 3:1 AMP
http://bible.com/8/1sa.3.1.AMP

Just like in the days of Samuel,  the Word of the Lord today is “rare” and “precious” – and there is no frequent or widely spread vision. Someone might read this and say,  “but I see religious things posted all over Facebook, and there is a church on every street corner these days, how can you say it is rare?”

That question just goes to prove my point, because there is a valuable difference between the veiled or dead relationship most of the world has when it comes to the Bible – versus the life that it generates in a follower of Christ as the revealed Word of the Lord, as the vision, message, and purpose for our lives that we’ve accepted to lead and guide us. And this unveiling off His Word is for every person that accepts Christ, not just for educated or religious people.

What I’m telling you is that the revealed Word of God is bigger than our preconceived notions about a book written with ink on paper by the hands of mere mortal men. The Word of God is breathed out and inspired and it will breathe abundant life and understanding into the lives of His children, because they will recognize and hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, because it has been His same voice since the beginning.

Let’s get back to Hannah’s boy Samuel and be ministered to by his example –

Samuel wasn’t one of the sons of Eli that inherited a position as a priest, as a religious teacher. In fact, it’s the contrast of the darkness and rebellion of these hypocritical “teachers of the law” – that revealed this boy Samuel’s ministering as rare and precious. And it was because he had the vision to share the Word of the Lord, while the others just spoke of religious things. While the sons of Eli, the hereditary protests, were plunging the nation into debauchery, and making men turn away from the Tabernacle services – Hannah’s son, Samuel, was ministering unto the Lord, and even though he was no priest of Israel,  he was clearly a priest in the order of Melchezidek.

And isn’t this true of the overwhelming number of false teachers today that lead people into debauchery and lasciviousness while they print fake heaven tickets, sold for a practiced prayer and a payment plan? Aren’t these the same that are eager to speak of kingdoms and favor and honor while denying the righteousness that comes from a holy spirit of power,  love and self-control?

How rare it is today to find a Samuel. How precious it is to find someone with the vision and complete surrender to the Word of God in their life, not just in their hypocritical words.

One commentator explained Samuel as a white flower growing on top of a dunghill. I think this is a fairly accurate description of those faithful servants today who stand firmly upon the foundation and hold the Word of God as precious, rare, and more valuable than the corrupted, rebellious, and twisted opinions of men.

So we can see the contrast and identify both the value of a teacher like Samuel and the danger of teachers like the sons of Eli. But we can also see a comparison between the types of Christian “walks”. We can see a contrast between the Samuel type of faithful follower since birth growing and serving the Lord through – and the Paul type of apostle that was redeemed from being a persecutor of the church. In fact,  Timothy of the New Testament is more of the Samuel type even as he was a student of Paul.

And if we know that we are the Paul type of follower of Christ,  don’t we want our children to be the type of Samuel and Timothy who remain close and faithful to the Lord throughout their whole lives? We are grateful for the sheer quantity of sin forgiven from our lives, and the drastic change in our lives is a great assurance to ourselves and is great testimony to the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. But even through we know this life experience of a wasted youth saved by the arresting mercy of Goods grace is what makes us more earnest, humble, and whole-heartedly surrendered – we also recognize the serenity and continuity of a life grown up in the fear of God that has its own charm and blessing.

So it is my hope as a Paul type that my daughter will be a Samuel or Timothy type. McLaren comments on this passage –

“It is well to have ‘much transgression’ forgiven, but it may be better to have always been ‘innocent’ and ignorant of it. Pardon cleanses sin, and even turns the memory of it into an ally of holiness; but traces are left on character, and, at the best, years have been squandered which do not return. Samuel is the pattern of child religion and service, to which teachers should aim that their children may be conformed.”

You see,  I’ve walked that dusty road of an enemy of God changed by the blinding light at the Damascus road – and that life is not what I hope might be modeled and copied. In fact, it is the danger of that old life and the waste and ruin that it produced for a time that should cry out from the mountaintops that His way is better. I do not envy the Samuel way,  because I have died to that old life and now I walk as a new creation so that others might see my life’s testimony and choose a smarter path.

You see,  there is great value in the rare life surrendered and faithful to the Word of God. And it is so precious, that when we grasp hold off it,  when we become unveiled to its truth, we might even realize that the blessing can be given to our children as the double portion of a life like a Samuel, Timothy,  or Elisha. And I’m not just talking about our children by birth,  but doesn’t Christ bid us to go out and feed His sheep? Aren’t we each royal priests and ambassadors taking this Good News out to His children? How many might see the rate and precious life of a Samuel instead of a Paul if we were just faithful and spiritually mature and teaching them off His ways?

So are you a Paul or a Samuel?

Will the children of God you influence be satisfied being a Paul or will they know the rare and precious life of a Samuel by following the example of your life today?

Or there is one other option,  that you are neither a Paul or a Samuel – still a slave to your sin,  still lost in the darkness,  not yet a Paul or Samuel at all, not even unveiled or aware of the destruction that you have chosen for yourself.

Regardless of where you were up to this moment, choose to fill your life with more of this rare and precious Word of the Lord today. Let it breathe more abundant life into your heart. Decide to drink of this living water that Jesus Christ offers you freely and openly. Have your eyes opened to the living Word of God. Stand and walk upright,  friend.

Disobedience? Compliance? Obedience? Grace?

Disobedience? Compliance? Obedience? Grace?

Disobedience
Do we know what disobedience is these days? Isn’t it choosing to do our own will instead of the will of God? What does scripture tell us about disobedience?

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
John 8:34-36 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.8.34-36.NLT

John 14:15 ESV
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Luke 6:46 ESV
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Continue reading “Disobedience? Compliance? Obedience? Grace?”

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
———————————————

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.