Psalm 66:1-20 Have you ever been through God's divine meat grinder? Some people today do not believe that God tests us, but the Bible says clearly that we are tested by the Lord. The request by God for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was clearly a test from God. God, however, is not the tempter. James tells us that we are led astray by our own lusts and then tempted. He says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil" (James 1:13).
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"Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons." (Matthew 10:7-8, NLT)
Psalm 65:1-13 It was a cold wintry day, and someone was knocking violently at my door. I looked through the peephole to discover two frightened young ladies who seemed desperate. Then I heard dogs barking in the background. I opened the door, and they said, "Please let us in!! Some dogs are chasing us!!" They were going door to door selling magazines, and some neighborhood dogs were following them. I let them in quickly, and they ended up staying with me for two hours. They were so relieved to find a refuge in my home. After some conversation and some hot tea, one of the ladies asked, "Don't you get lonely in this big house?" My husband was at work, and my children were at school. I answered, "No, I never get lonely because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always with me, and we have a tea party every day." Suddenly one of the ladies said with urgency in her voice, "We've got to go now." I guess they thought I was crazy, but at least my statement finally made them leave.
Proverbs 11:22 Today's proverb is one of my favorites. Whenever I meet a woman who lacks discretion, immediately I have this mental picture of a pig with a beautiful gold-jeweled ring in her snout. Sometimes I have to battle this image in my mind, because it does cause me to be closed to anything this woman might have to say.
Luke 4:1-32 So many in this day are seeking the anointing, but few realize that we already have the anointing. We have the same anointing for ministry that Jesus had. Isaiah lists seven aspects of this anointing of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:1-2:
Psalm 62:1-12 David gives excellent advice in the psalm. He exhorts us to trust in the Lord at all times and to pour out our concerns and cares before Him. I learned how much God does love for us to cast our cares upon Him several years ago.
Numbers 26:52-28:14 One morning I was waking from a night's sleep, and I heard the name "Jochebed" in my spirit. I knew it was the Lord calling me Jochebed. I got up and looked up the name in the Strong's Concordance and found that Jochebed was the mother of two sons and a daughter. Both of her sons were priests. She was the mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. The name Jochebed in Hebrew means "the Lord glorified."
Luke 2:36-52 From the time my boys were very young I prayed they would all have the same excellent spirit that Daniel had. Daniel had favor with man, and he had much wisdom. He also lived to be an old man. In this passage we see Jesus as a young boy honoring both His heavenly Father and His earthly father. Even though He knew He had to be about His Father's business, He was willing to subject Himself to Mary and Joseph and return with them to their home when they found Him in the temple. Our pastor recently preached a good sermon about how Mary should have first looked in the temple for Jesus because it was considered the house of God. She knew Jesus was the Son of God. After looking for three days, Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus among the doctors in the temple. He was intently listening, but He also shared with them some of His thoughts. They were astonished at His wisdom. The Bible tells us that Jesus returned to Nazareth and increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.
Psalm 59:1-17 When we were in St. Petersburg, Russia, for an evangelical music festival designed to reach Jewish people, one of the musicians sang a song that I'll never forget. The phrase "He is my defense" was repeated over and over again in the song. That phrase still resounds in my spiritual ears. God truly is our defense, and David knew this even though his enemies surrounded him and used their tongues as swords against him. He knew that God was his strong defense. David said, "God shall let me see my desire upon my enemies."
Jesus' mission of revealing the kingdom could be identified with one word: righteousness. We are told, "For the kingdom of God is…righteousness" (Romans 14:17, NKJV). Jesus tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33, NKJV). To put it simply, righteousness means "right in the eyes of God."
Numbers 22:21-23:30 This passage relates the story of Balaam, a prophet who was certainly not perfect, but a prophet who knew God was true to His Word. Balaam said, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num. 23:19, KJV).
Luke 1:26-56 We like to quote so often the phrase in this passage, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." If God did not have to work through men, His power on earth would be unlimited. However, even though nothing is impossible with God and He does all things well, the stark reality is that we as Christians do not allow Him to do the impossible in our lives because of our lack of faith. The story comes to mind when the disciples came to Jesus for help in casting a deaf and dumb spirit out of a little boy. Jesus told them they were unable to do this because of their lack of faith. Then He said, "O faithless generation." Nothing is impossible with God when we put our complete faith and trust in Him.
Psalm 56:1-13 The Bible exhorts us in many verses to trust in the Lord at all times. There is, however, a special time when we need to say aloud, "I trust in the Lord." That special time is when fear comes upon us. David writes in this psalm,"What time I am afraid, I will trust in You." If you are familiar with David's history, you will know he was provided with many opportunities to be afraid. He constantly was surrounded by enemies, and in the psalms David reveals some of the secrets to overcoming fear. He certainly became an expert at this. David was quite sure that fear would always present its cold, clammy handshake throughout his life. David, however, learned not to shake hands with the devil and receive fear.
Mark 16:1-20 God is a God of infinite detail. He made sure that Jesus fulfilled every requirement for a sin sacrifice according to His laws. The account in Mark of Mary Magdalene bringing sweet spices on the Sabbath to anoint Jesus' body reveals a very important fact about Jesus' burial.
Mark 15:1-47 This passage in Mark gives the details of what led to the crucifixion of our Lord. Pilate was warned by his wife in a dream not to harm Jesus, but Pilate was a man pleaser. We hear these chilling words: "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified" (Mark 15:15, KJV).
Numbers 14:1-15:16 God told Moses, "As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." Moses was pleading with God not to destroy the Israelites for their disobedience. He made his appeal on the basis that all of Israel's enemies would see their destruction and would believe that God was not able to save them. God's response was that His ultimate plan for the earth would be fulfilled no matter how disobedient man was. He told Moses that the day will come when His glory will fill the whole earth.
Psalm 52:1-9 I remember my mother teaching me how to obey the traffic signals when I was a child. "Green means go," she would say, "and red means stop." In this passage we see the comparison between red and green. The tongue is red, and it is, as shared earlier, a red carpet we roll out to Satan whenever we allow him to use our tongues. David speaks about the tongue of an evil man and how it devises mischief and even has the power to devour. The end of the evil man who cannot control his tongue is destruction. There is a proverb that says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." When we see a red light, we immediately put on the brakes of our car or stop at the curb if we are walking. If we would stop to think before we speak and wait for the green light of the Holy Spirit to lead our conversation, we would be extremely wise.
Jesus made a remarkable statement to His disciples: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Luke 11:2, NKJV). This was a futuristic prayer for the disciples, but not for Jesus. And it's not futuristic for us either because it applies right now. Allow me to explain.
Psalm 51:1-19 David is described as a man after God's own heart. He was not perfect by any means, but there was something in him that attracted God. It was his heart. David had a contrite and humble heart. The Bible tells us that God will not despise a contrite heart. David had just committed adultery when he wrote this psalm, and this psalm instructs us how to confess our sins. First John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (KJV). We have another scripture in James 5:16: "Confess your faults [shortcomings and sins] one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (KJV).
Psalm 50:1-23 There is one promise of God that will be fulfilled in every life. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Because we live in a fallen world, there will always be trouble. This psalm reveals two important responses we should have when trouble comes our way. Verse 15 exhorts us to call upon the Lord in our day of trouble. Verse 23 exhorts us to praise the Lord and to order our conversation aright.
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