Keep On Keeping On

GALATIANS 6:9 NLT 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
The best advice for being a growing and successful Christian believer is just to stick with it. Just keep on doing what you know to do.
More than anything, keep feeding on God’s Word. The Word is what has the power to change things in your life. It is the power that drives the whole Kingdom of God.
MARK 4:26-28 NLT 26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.
Jesus explained in Mark 4:14 that God’s Word is the seed. So God’s Word will bring forth God’s will in your life if you will just plant it in your heart and protect it until it produces a harvest.
Don’t worry if it seems like your progress is slow. Just keep on the right road and you will reach your proper destination. You can’t feel a tree growing by putting your arms around it either, but day by day it surely grows stronger and stronger.
And don’t quit just because you messed up and made some mistakes. Receive your forgiveness and go forward. Just because the devil tripped you up does not mean you should stay down.
So, keep reading the Bible. Keep on talking to God about everything. Keep on being thankful. Keep on praising God. Keep on walking in love. Keep on trusting God even when you don’t understand what is going on.
God understands — even when you don’t. And you can be certain of His never-failing love for you. So, trust God and keep on walking in faith and love. Keep on doing what you know is right.

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You Are Qualified

COLOSSIANS 1:12 NIV 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
You are qualified to receive any and every blessing from God, not because of what you have done — but based on what Jesus did for you.
You don’t become qualified with God based on your performance, but you were MADE qualified by God when you received Jesus.
Being righteous — or in right standing with God — is all the qualification you need. And righteousness is a free gift that you receive when you receive Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus is your righteousness.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:30 NIV 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:21 NIV 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Righteousness is not something you have earned or done, but a gift given by God (Romans 5:17).
Because of God’s grace, you can partake of the inheritance of the saints of God. You have a right — given to you by God — to share in all that God has.
You were qualified to receive every blessing of God by being made right with God. You don’t have to do anything else so you can qualify. It’s a gift! You just have to believe it!
You are qualified to be completely forgiven.
You are qualified to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
You are qualified to receive healing.
You are qualified to get prayers answered.
You are qualified to prosper.
You are qualified to live with God in Heaven.
“But preacher, you don’t know me. You don’t know what I have done.”
Good news! It doesn’t matter!
Jesus paid the price to qualify you. Right now — because of Jesus’ blood — you qualify for all of God’s blessings.
So don’t believe the lie that you are not good enough. The blood of Jesus is what makes you good enough. Nothing else ever can!
“But preacher, I just don’t believe that. It doesn’t seem to work for me.”
Well, you are right that if you don’t believe it, it won’t happen for you. All the blessings of God are only appropriated by faith. That means you must believe what God says before you will see the promised blessings happen in your life.
ROMANS 5:2 NIV 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
God has provided everything for us by His grace — purely undeserved by us — as a free gift. However, we only have access to it by faith.

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Christians Love Their Enemies

MATTHEW 5:44 NKJ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
No other belief system teaches such an idea! Only followers of Jesus preach this.
This idea will change the world! In fact, it is the only one that will change it as it needs to be changed.
But only those who are connected to God, the source of Love, are fully capable of loving their enemies.
What does it mean to love our enemies?
To understand this we need to have a definition. To love someone means to desire the best for them and to work toward that end.
Does it mean to let our enemies do whatever they will to us? No, not necessarily.
Remember our definition of loving someone is desiring and working toward what will be best for them.
Allowing someone to do something not in their best interest is not love, but apathy. It means you don’t really care. Stopping someone, even with force, from doing something they will later regret can be an act of love.
Allowing an enemy to destroy your family, instead of protecting and defending them, certainly cannot be considered an act of love.
But you can protect your loved ones, then later pray for the salvation and healing of the attacker, instead of hating the attacker and hoping they go to hell.
ROMANS 12:19 NIV 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Revenge is the way of the world. Forgiveness and mercy is God’s way. God asks us to love people as He loves us (John 15:12).
God’s way will turn enemies into friends.
ROMANS 5:5b NKJ 5 the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
As true believers in Jesus, we have the love of God in our hearts. But we must allow that love to control our actions. The choice is ours. It is not automatic.
God’s children have the ability to choose to love. It’s actually our inner nature as Christians to show love.
1 JOHN 4:8 NKJ 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
If you don’t realize that God loves everyone, that He is interested in, and working toward, the best for everyone — then you don’t know God.
ROMANS 12:14,20-21 NKJ 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This may not be easy, but with God’s love inside you and with God helping you — you can do it.

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You Can Have Children

As a believer in Jesus Christ there are Bible promises about having children you can claim. If you desire to have children, you can, according to the promises of God.
2 CORINTHIANS 1:20 NKJ 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
All the promises and blessings of God are yours because of your faith in Christ Jesus.
DEUTERONOMY 7:14 NKJ 14 “You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.
EXODUS 23:25-26 NKJ 25 . . . I will take sickness away from . . . you. 26 “No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
PSALM 113:9 NRSV 9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!
The Bible mentions many women who were unable to have children before they received a miracle from God.
Sarah became the mother of Isaac. Rebekah became the mother of Esau and Jacob. Rachel became the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Hannah became the mother of two daughters and three sons, including Samuel. Elizabeth became the mother of John the Baptist.
Multitudes of women living today have also experienced the miracle of having a child after having been barren. God is still working in the lives of people. And He will work in your life too!
ACTS 10:34 NKJ 34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
God does not play favorites. What He did for them, He will do for you, if you will believe it. If you seek God as they sought God, He will answer your prayer also.
But when you read the Bible stories of barren women having children, you notice that often their children were born after many years of waiting. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you have not received a quick answer to your prayer that God is saying no.
The will of God does not always come to pass quickly. Sometimes we have to stand in faith for an extended period — much longer than we would choose.
These verses should give you hope. They should help you realize that having children, if you want them, is God’s will. It is possible. It may not be easy, but it is possible.
The Bible says all things are possible!
LUKE 1:37 NKJ 37 “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
MARK 9:23 NKJ 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
MATTHEW 17:20 NKJ 20 . . . if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
MARK 11:24 NKJ 24 “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Even if medical experts tell you it is impossible, remember that Jesus said all things are possible with God.
Miracles still happen. I have heard of a man who sees perfectly without an eyeball, and another man who talks and sings without vocal cords.
Some dear women have already had operations at a young age that medically render them unable to ever have children. But some women who have undergone these complete hysterectomies have later produced natural children. Yes, miracles still happen!
Not everyone will believe this is possible. But all things are possible with God — if we will believe.
All of us can have “spiritual children” — those we help to know the Lord and learn His ways. Producing and raising “spiritual children” can be just as important and fulfilling as having natural children.
ISAIAH 54:1 NKJ 1 “Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.
Adoption can also be wonderful, both for the children and the parents who adopt them. If it is your desire, God will help you to adopt children if you will look to Him. He can make difficult things seem easy if you trust Him.

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Is All The Bible True?

2 TIMOTHY 3:16 NKJ 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
We can have complete confidence that the Bible tells us the truth. All of it is a message of truth. But some things in the Bible are truly reported but are not the truth.
For example:
GENESIS 3:4 NKJ 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
It is true that the serpent made that statement. But the statement he made is not truth.
There are other places in Scripture where what someone says is truly recorded, but that does not make it all true. For example, God said all the things spoken by Job’s friends throughout the book of Job were not right. Toward the end of the book, we read:
JOB 42:7 NKJ 7 And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.
So, according to God, some things spoken by these people which are recorded in the book of Job, are not truth.
JOHN 17:17 NKJ 17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
If God said it, it is truth. I believe in the inspiration of the Bible, that every single word was given by God and can be depended upon that it happened just as it was recorded.
2 TIMOTHY 2:15 NKJ 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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You Are Special, But Please Don’t Act Like You Are

MATTHEW 23:11 ESV 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.
Jesus was our perfect example (as well as being our Savior and Lord). No one could ever be more special than Jesus Christ, but He did not consider Himself too good to work hard and even to do menial tasks like washing feet (which would be equivalent to cleaning toilets today).
You are special because God created you. You are very valuable — valuable enough for Jesus Christ to die so you could be in God’s family.
But as a child of God, you are to be “clothed with humility.” Acting like you are better than other people does not please God. And it won’t make you many friends, either!
1 PETER 5:5 ESV 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
You are valuable and precious, but so is every other human being. God loves us all. So don’t treat anyone else as if you are better than they are.
1 CORINTHIANS 4:7 NLT 7 For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?
When we look at others and are tempted to think we are somehow superior to them, we need to realize, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” The only reason you are not in their shoes is because of God’s grace. Without God’s help, you could be in worse shape than they are.

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Respect The Elderly

LEVITICUS 19:32 NLT 32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.
When I was young a popular idea was that you should not trust anyone over the age of 30.
Now that I have lived many years I see how that idea was from the devil — who would like to steal good things from people by cutting them off from the wisdom of those with much experience.
1 TIMOTHY 5:1a NLT 1 Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father.
Why should we respect the elderly? First, because they are people made in the image of God and we should respect everyone — regardless of age.
Second, because by living you learn. If you pay attention, the longer you live, the more you can learn.
JOB 32:7 NLT 7 I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’
It’s not always true that an older person has learned what they should. But to ignore their experience and wisdom gained from many years is not wise.
1 PETER 5:5 NKJ 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Young people are not the only ones devastated by pride, but they are particularly susceptible to it. Aging has a way of curing pride in most of us as we experience the struggles of life.
We need both the energy and exuberance of youth and the wisdom and experience of the aged. Too often the elderly develop an attitude of giving up on overcoming certain problems because of past unsuccessful attempts, while the young tend to think anything is possible. Youth often have zeal without knowledge, while older people often have knowledge but lack zeal. So we need input from both young and old.
It should be stated clearly: young people, you need the wisdom and experience of old people. And older people, you also need the strength, energy, and enthusiasm of young people. To be at our best, we need each other.
Whatever you face, someone older than you has already faced it. You can learn from both their mistakes and their successes.

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Ask Jesus In

REVELATION 3:20 NKJ 20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Although this verse has been used to encourage sinners to receive Jesus, it is actually addressed to those who are already believers.
Jesus is not a gate-crasher. He only enters the areas of your life into which He is invited.
It is a common mistake to reserve areas of our lives which we do not invite Jesus to enter. But we need His help in everything. He is our Savior, the One who can deliver us.
Remember, Jesus did not come to condemn us but to deliver us from bondage. He proved how much He loves us by dying to save us.
JOHN 3:17 NKJ 17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
We cannot hide anything from God. He knows our every thought already. Yet He loves us and desires to help us. But He allows us to choose to open up to Him, or not.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NKJ 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus is not a dictator. He is a ruler, and He deserves to be, because of His capability. But He allows us to choose. If we refuse Him and His way, Jesus won’t knock the door down and force His will on us. Instead He invites us by love to fellowship with Him. This word fellowship means sharing everything.
Every area of your life that you do not welcome Jesus into, will be an area less blessed than it could be. Jesus, the Creator, knows everything. He understands how everything works. There is no wisdom or knowledge greater than Jesus has.
If you will only invite Jesus in, and allow Him access to every part of your life, you can be the recipient of all that Jesus is and all that He has.

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Fasting

Fasting means going without something, usually food.
MATTHEW 9:14-15 NKJ 14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
The New Testament does not command us to fast. But it indicates that fasting will be done and can be useful.
Fasting can help you, if approached correctly. But if you approach fasting as a way to gain points with God, you are wasting your time (see Luke 18:9-14 where Jesus tells of the religious Pharisee who fasted twice a week).
Fasting will not force God to do anything. There is no need to do that anyway. God is perfect and perfectly willing to help people. God is not the problem.
Fasting is not a magic wand. Nor is it a substitute for studying God’s Word or praying.
But we don’t want to be among those whose god is their belly. That is, we don’t want to allow our bodies to control us.
PHILIPPIANS 3:19 NKJ 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things.
Food and bodily comfort should not be our entire focus in life.
LUKE 21:34 KJV 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (overindulgence), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
This verse indicates it is possible for a person to be so focused on eating, drinking, and the normal activities of life, that it affects their spiritual life.
Fasting can be beneficial for spiritual growth when it causes you to get your focus off your physical body and physical senses and to realize that the real you lives inside your body.
When you are relieved of the burden of gathering and preparing food to eat, you have more time you can devote to God’s Word and prayer.
You can also give some of the resources you saved to help others.
Fasting helps you have a better grasp of reality. You learn that you don’t die just because your body does not immediately get everything it wants. You learn that you can control your body instead of allowing your body to control you. It helps you realize that your body is a tool to use here on earth, instead of your master, telling you what to do and what not to do.
So fasting can help you have a better perspective on controlling your appetite. Once you know you can go an entire day without food, it’s easier to not overeat or to skip dessert.
And for those of us blessed with sufficient to eat, it can be good for us to remember what it is like to feel hunger — which multitudes of people do every day.
Also, it can be good to give your body a break, allowing it to rest from the job of digesting food. Then instead of using energy to digest food, other jobs can be done. This is why many people have found improved health by at least moderate fasting.
For most people fasting can be a healthy practice, although there are differences of opinion. Some say fasting used to be healthy for the body, but now that there are so many toxins in our system an extended total fast is not as safe. Each one of us should look to the Lord for His direction and follow it.
In the Bible we read of people fasting food for up to 40 days. Most people can fast that long before they begin to actually starve, because the body can live for awhile from what it has stored. It depends on our stores of fat, but most of us could go a lot longer without food than is commonly thought.
However, unless the Lord leads you otherwise, most people should only attempt shorter fasts of 1-3 days. Anyone fasting longer than that needs to be very careful in how they resume eating.
On any extended fast it is vital to drink plenty of water.
(Interestingly, after about 3 days completely without food, physical hunger will stop. Its return (after maybe 40 days), is the signal that starvation has begun. So in an extreme food shortage, it can be easier, and you will be stronger and feel better, if you do not eat at all instead of eating very little.)
Some people fast to impress people with their devotion or spirituality. Jesus told us not to do that. So if you are telling the world about how much you are fasting, that may be the only benefit you will receive.
MATTHEW 6:16-18 NKJ 16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 “so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
What could this mean? How will God reward you? If you are fasting to draw closer to God by being more focused on Him, then being rewarded would be getting what you were seeking, a more intimate relationship with God.
Fasting helps us focus more on the things of God by removing our focus from the normal feeding of our body.
The only instruction on fasting in the Letters to the Church is found in 1 Corinthians 7 which is directed towards a husband and wife. So while fasting can have a place in our spiritual life, it should not be given more of a place than Scripture gives it.
1 CORINTHIANS 7:5 NKJ 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
A person who fasts a lot is not necessarily more spiritual or Godly than one who does not. Fasting, by itself, does nothing to build you up spiritually. It mainly allows you time and opportunity to focus more on spiritual things.
We should not feel guilty about eating, but enjoy our food and thank God for it. For God gave us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
Feasting is not evil and God is not against it. In the Old Testament we find three great yearly pilgrimage feasts, but only one day a year (the day of atonement) that was a fast. In Heaven we will feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And Isaiah 25:6 says the Lord will prepare for all people a feast.
So, while fasting has its place, we should seek the Lord for a proper perspective and balance.
Whether we are feasting or fasting, we should stay focused on the Lord and let His joy flow through us every day.

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Count Your Blessings

EPHESIANS 1:3 NLT 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.
A “well seasoned” song says: “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
It’s easy to lose perspective. We all face challenges and difficulties in life. And if we are not on guard, they can divert our attention from all the Lord has done for us.
Yes, you may face obstacles, but you need to remember the man who complained that he had no shoes till he saw a man who had no feet.
We may not have everything we would like, but we all have something to be thankful for.
Your children may be a challenge, but at least you have children.
Your spouse may tempt you to pull your hair out, but there are millions who would gladly trade places with you.
Your boss may be ruthless, but there are many in the world who would literally give anything to have any job so they could feed their family.
Your attitude is determined by your focus. When you focus on the negative — you turn negative, making your life, and those around you, miserable.
It is amazing how different you feel after taking just a few minutes to truly thank God for what you have.
I can read! I can see! I can smell! I can hear! I can talk! I can think! God loves me! Jesus died for me! I have a home in Heaven!

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