Sleep Is A Gift From God

PSALM 127:2 NKJ 2 . . . He gives His beloved sleep.

PROVERBS 3:24 NKJ 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.

PSALM 3:5 NKJ 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.

PSALM 4:8 NKJ 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

We can trust in God and sleep even when we face the storms of life, just as Jesus and Peter did in the following verses.

MARK 4:38 NKJ 38 But He was . . . asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

ACTS 12:6 NKJ 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers . . .

Jesus Approves Rest

MARK 6:31 NKJ 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

MATTHEW 11:28-29 NKJ 28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “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.

While rest is clearly part of God’s will for us, we are also cautioned in Proverbs against sleeping too much. Balance is important. Different people may require different amounts of sleep to function at their best. You should seek God for wisdom in this area.

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Faith Is What You Believe

Nothing more, nothing less.

A common mistake is thinking Hebrews 11:1 is a definition of faith. It sounds like a definition, but it is not.

HEBREWS 11:1 KJV 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This does not define faith but tells us something that faith in God’s Word does. Faith gives substance to our hopes. Faith provides evidence of things we can’t perceive with our physical senses.

To help understand this, think of someone who has never seen a dog and has no idea what a dog is. You can tell them, “A dog is man’s best friend.” “A dog is a wonderful companion.” “A dog can help protect your property.”

These all may be true statements, but they really don’t define a dog. Nor would they enable that person to identify a dog when they first saw one. Those statements are more like descriptions of functions that dogs provide.

It is the same with Hebrews 11:1, which does not give us a definition so we can identify faith, but tells us something about faith and what it does.

God did not put a definition of faith in the Bible any more than He put a definition of a dog in the Bible. I suppose He thought we should know what they both were.

Some preachers complicate it. But the New Testament words for faith and believe are the same, one is the noun and one is the verb form of the same word.

Faith is what you believe. It is not something beyond human knowledge that is difficult to understand. It is super simple. If you believe something, that is your faith. Faith and belief are synonymous.

Faith in God and His Word operates on the same principles as faith in anything else. There are no special rules. It is all a matter of what you believe.

And where did you get your beliefs? You were not born with them. Every belief you now have was acquired as a decision you made at some point in your life. You decided to believe what you now believe.

Since every belief you have came as a result of a decision you made, every belief can also be changed by another decision. But to make such a new decision you need evidence. You cannot just choose to believe something without any evidence that it is true.

Concerning faith in God, the only evidence we should need is His written Word, for God cannot lie.

When you have evidence that a previous belief was wrong, you can choose to accept that evidence as sufficient to believe. This is how faith works –in every area of life.

What you believe is a decision you make. No one else can make it for you.

Faith is very simple. Faith is what you believe. And what you believe can be changed by a decision you make to accept the evidence available to you.

So you can go to the Bible and decide to believe it. Then you will have faith in God, for the Bible is God’s written Word. It’s that simple.

You never have to wonder whether you have faith. You know what you believe.

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God Gave Us Dominion

GENESIS 1:26,28 NKJ 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God made a decision when He created human beings. He chose to give us dominion on earth.

God had dominion, and He chose to give it to mankind. Notice that God did not say, “Let him (Adam) have dominion.” God said, “Let them (both Adam and Eve — and their descendants) have dominion.”

This is something important for us to understand.

PSALM 115:16 NKJ 16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men.

Dominion is the right to make decisions and to rule. Dominion does not necessarily mean ownership but rulership.

That means what happens on earth is determined by mankind, not by God. Otherwise, God lied in saying that man has dominion.

God honors the choices made by people. By that I mean He allows us to have a free will and to make choices. We are not puppets or robots. Each one of us makes choices and then we must live with the result of our choices.

A question often asked by many is “Why does God allow bad things to happen on earth?” What they need to realize is that humanity allows it. God gave us dominion and with that came responsibility.

God does not change His mind.

ROMANS 11:29 GWN 29 God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone.

PSALM 8:4-6 NKJ 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,

Some teach that God makes all the decisions concerning life and death for humans, but God clearly says we are the ones who must make the choices.

DEUTERONOMY 30:19 NKJ 19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

If you don’t understand what Adam and Eve had, then you cannot clearly understand what you have. God never goes back on His Word. We still have the dominion God gave them because we are their descendants.

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Train Your Children

PROVERBS 22:6 ESV 6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

God’s plan is that children be a great blessing in a family. Sadly, in many homes, the children are holy terrors, exasperating and exhausting their parents. In every case, it is the fault of the parent(s).

All young children act exactly as they have been trained by their parents (or other care givers). As they get older children have additional influences that may affect their behavior, such as peers, television, teachers, etc.

Children are smart and train easily. They are much smarter than a cow or a horse or a dog, who all can be successfully trained to behave.

Every parent, without exception, trains their children. A few train them properly — in the way they should go. But all parents train.

If you have young children now in your home, they are acting exactly as you have trained them to act by your past actions.

If you allow your children to disrespect or disobey you, that is your choice. Don’t blame your children. They are just doing what they have been trained to do.

Most parents tell their children to do right, but few seem to consistently train their children to actually do right. Training is much more than teaching, for it requires that the desired action be done over and over, until acting right becomes a habit.

Don’t be deceived into thinking that letting children have their own way will promote peace — yours or theirs. No peace will be found in a home where the instruction of the Lord is not followed.

ISAIAH 54:13 NLT 13 I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.

Children do not know what is best for them. That is why God gave them parents who are responsible for training them correctly.

But if you did not achieve perfection in this area, God will still help you and your children. This is not meant to condemn, but to encourage. If your children are grown, just keep on loving them and praying for them.

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Expect God’s Protection

We should expect God’s protection, and thank Him for it.

But we must remember that we receive from God by faith. So if we don’t believe God will protect us, we are, in effect, hindering God’s protection.

So we need to feed our faith on the promises of the Bible concerning God’s protection for His people. There are many, but here are two.

ISAIAH 54:17 GWN 17 No weapon that has been made to be used against you will succeed. You will have an answer for anyone who accuses you. This is the inheritance of the LORD’s servants. Their victory comes from me,” declares the LORD.

LUKE 10:19 NKJ 19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Then we also need to express our faith in thanks to God every day for His protection. The ninety-first Psalm can help us do this. I suggest you make it personal and speak it often.

CONFESSION BASED ON PSALM 91 NLT 1 I live in the shelter of the Most High so I will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue me from every trap and protect me from deadly disease. 4 He will cover me with his feathers. He will shelter me with his wings. His faithful promises are my armor and protection. 5 I will not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 I will not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, these evils will not touch me. 8 I can just open my eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. 9 I make the LORD my refuge, I make the Most High my shelter, 10 so no evil will conquer me; no plague will come near my home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect me wherever I go. 12 They will hold me up with their hands so I won’t even hurt my foot on a stone. 13 I will trample upon lions and cobras; I will crush fierce lions and serpents under my feet! 14 The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

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What Is Worship?

MATTHEW 4:10 NLT 10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'”

Today we have what we call “worship services” that usually consist mainly of singing songs and listening to a sermon. Many also have “worship leaders” whose job is to lead the singing at their church meetings.

There is nothing wrong with that. When we focus our attention on the Lord, singing to Him from the depths of our heart, giving time and attention to Him and His Word, instead of other things, it indeed can be true worship.

But worship, as taught in the Bible, is certainly not limited to these things.

In the New Testament, the main word used for worship can be summarized as submission, or an attitude of submission because of profound reverence.

In the Bible, worship is always demonstrated by doing something. It may be bowing down prostrate on the ground before someone. And it is often connected with giving — a sacrifice. But worship is always an action that demonstrates how much something is valued.

Worship is a way of showing “worth-ship.”

We show how much we value something by what we are willing to give up to get it.

The only way of measuring how much we value someone is by what we give to them, including such things as time, attention, respect, loyalty, love, devotion, and also material things.

JOHN 4:23 NIV 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

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Focus On Helping Others

PHILIPPIANS 2:4 NLT 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

It’s not unusual for someone to feel like life is not worth living. Many, if not most, feel this way some time.

My recommendation for those who feel this way is to begin focusing on helping others. Lift the burdens of others and make their life better. That will produce a life with meaning and joy.

Only those who live to help others will ever find true satisfaction in life.

It may seem like other plans people use to make themselves happy are working in the short term, but in the long run they always fail to bring lasting joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

If you desire to be like God — who is happy and joyful — then be a helper.

God helps everyone. He produces and gives an abundance of good things for everyone. Air, water, food — the list is endless.

At the end of your life here on earth, only what you have done to help others will be valuable to you. All that you did for only selfish reasons will be a disappointment.

The best tonic for depression is to get involved in helping others.

When you begin to help others, it is amazing how your own problems seem to shrink.

Do you want your life to be better? Then focus on what you can do to make life better for others.

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God Is A Person

2 CORINTHIANS 13:14 LB 14 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. May God’s love and the Holy Spirit’s friendship be yours. Paul

God has feelings, emotions, and desires.

God does not enjoy being neglected any more than you do.

God has none of the weaknesses we associate with people, but nevertheless, God is a person.

God knows, thinks, and communicates.

God is not just a force. God has personality. We are made in His image. We are like God, even though the image has been marred by sin.

God is a Father. His intention is no less than a close, personal relationship with you.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 ICB 9 God is faithful. He is the One who has called you to share life with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

God desires a relationship with you. But a good relationship cannot be one-sided.

Love, respect, and communication are essential in any healthy relationship.

When we ignore God and go about our lives like He doesn’t even exist, we can’t expect our relationship to flourish.

And if the only time we talk to Him about anything is when we run into a problem we can’t handle, what kind of relationship is that?

Fortunately for us, God is not touchy and doesn’t treat us the way we treat Him. But for us to continue treating God in such a way is wrong.

It’s time for us to grow up, quit acting like self-centered babies, and treat God as He deserves.

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God Gives Seed

LUKE 8:11 NLT 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word.

God usually gives us things in seed form. When we look at an acorn, we don’t see an oak tree, or a forest of oak trees, but God can.

Ideas are seeds. When God desires to send a blessing into your life, usually He gives you an idea. When you act on the idea, blessings manifest in your life. (Of course, not all ideas are from God, so we should judge them before acting.)

2 CORINTHIANS 9:10 NLT 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Most of what God gives us comes in seed form. This is why so many think God has failed to provide for them or that He doesn’t care. It’s because they did not recognize God’s provision, because it came in seed form.

ISAIAH 55:10-11 NLT 10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

God gives us seed, but we must value it and protect it. If we are moved by the storms of circumstances that try to convince us God’s Word will not work, we allow the devil to steal it from us.

MATTHEW 13:19,23 NKJ 19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 23 “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

When we understand God’s message and steadfastly act on it, regardless of circumstances or feelings, it always results in a harvest of blessing. God’s Word always works!

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Healing Is Part Of The Gospel

ACTS 14:7-10 KJV 7 And there they preached the gospel. 8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Whatever message Paul preached at Lystra, it produced enough faith in a man who was born a cripple, and had never walked his whole life, to receive instant healing.

Notice that it was the crippled man who Scripture says had faith to be healed. Surely it was not because he was born with faith, or else he would have received his healing sooner. No, faith only came into him when he heard what Paul preached. Think of that! The Gospel preached by Paul caused this hearer to believe he could be healed right then, and he was!

Scripture does not say the man was healed because of Paul, or Paul’s faith. It clearly says this crippled man heard what Paul spoke. After he heard Paul preach the Gospel, not before, he had faith to be healed, and he was!

It does not say Paul healed the man. Paul did only three things: he preached the Gospel, perceived the man had faith to be healed, and then told the man to act on his faith and stand up.

The Gospel Paul preached in Lystra caused this man who was crippled since birth to have faith to be healed.

The question we must ask ourselves is if crippled people are not getting faith to be healed when they hear the “Gospel” today, why not? Is it because we are not preaching the same Gospel Paul preached, but only part of it?

Yes!

We have been misled by centuries of unbelief in the church, resulting in weak translations of the Bible and weak preaching.

For example, when we read Romans 1:16 in our English translations, we immediately think of forgiveness of sins — what we consider salvation. But when Paul wrote this in Greek, the readers understood it meant deliverance and safety from all harm. So for them it included their entire being, spirit, soul, and body.

ROMANS 1:16 NKJ 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he told them that the Gospel is the power of God to produce deliverance (which is what salvation means). Paul was saying that the Gospel he preached was powerful enough to deliver people. If the Gospel you are preaching is not delivering people from sin, sickness, and satan, then it is not being proclaimed fully and accurately.

The true Gospel is the dynamic power of God for total deliverance for everyone who believes. But the Gospel power only works to bring deliverance for those who believe. Doubters and skeptics are not included. Therein lies our big problem today: we have been taught not to believe.

(For more Scriptures on healing, see www.healing-book.com).

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