Miserable People

Learn to develop a thankful heart and let the fruit of your lips be praise to the Lord Most High. He is worthy of all praise, and we are told in the Word of God to give thanks at all times. Find something to thank God for because God is faithful and He is worthy of all glory.

“Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18BSB

Linda A. Knowles

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

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Always Remember Jesus’ Sacrifice At Calvary

“Thank You For The Cross” Sung By Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

…Always.

Remembering the death of Christ is not just for one day.

As children of the Most High God, we remember daily the death AND the resurrection of Christ. His death, burial, and resurrection are essential to the Christian faith. Through the shedding of Christ’s blood, we have have forgiveness of sin. He was wounded for our transgressions and He was bruised for our iniquities. Because of His death, we are healed, saved, and delivered. “Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:4-5BSB).

Praise the Lord that we have been redeemed. He is our Risen Lord and Savior, and we have been made victorious.

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus, for the cross. Thank You for dying on the cross and shedding Your blood for me. Thank You for delivering me from death, hell, and the grave. Through Your blood, I have been saved and redeemed. Lord, there is none like You for You are my Kinsman Redeemer. Through Your blood I am made more than a conqueror. Because You have overcome death and are my Risen Lord and King, I am made victorious. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and making me clean that I can come into Your presence to worship You. You alone, O God, are worthy of all praise. To You be all the glory and the power and the honor forever. Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

More Than Enough

“even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  -2 Corinthians 12:7-10NLT

When I Can’t Find My Way

If you are expecting a trouble-free life, I have news for you: That is not going to happen. Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33NLT).

We can take comfort in knowing Jesus is with us until the end, and He has not left us alone. However, we need to trust Him in all things, and that means we will have to push self aside, look to Him, and fully depend and rely on Him. Take heart…Be strong and courageous because our Savior has overcome the World. So put your faith and hope in Him. In all you do and say, trust in Him. Submit and commit yourself to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

PRAYER: When I can’t find my way, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of the Heavens and Earth.”

Heavenly Father, You are my Helper and have not left me comfortless. Thank You for always being here for me and for Your Holy Spirit who guides me into all truth. I know that I can look to you and know You have already gone before me and made a way for me. Lord, be with me as I am putting my hope and trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

Your Word

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your Word which is like honey on my lips, and Your Word is true and stands forever.  Your Word goes forth to accomplish the purpose for which You have sent it.

Thank You, Lord, for giving me Your Word so I can hide Your Word in my heart so I might not sin against You.  May my words be pleasing to Your ear as I resolve to solely live for You, the Only Faithful and True Living God, because nothing and no one compares to You.

Your promises are lasting.  Your Word is Truth, and You, O God, are faithful to me.  Let me stand steadfast on Your Word always, and may the foundation of my life always be Jesus Christ for He is the Sure Foundation and Chief Cornerstone.

Help me to always remember the Word of the Living God is still alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, able to cut through joint and marrow and exposes my innermost thoughts.  Help me to always remember that I am to study to show myself as an approved workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing Your Word.  

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Writer’s Block

Yup! Crumpled paper everywhere! I love writing but the flow is somewhat blocked… And I’m sure that, somewhere in this brain of mine, there are several poems that could be pushed out, but right now I can’t seem to put one metaphor together that makes sense. 

The Locust

Let Nothing Come Between You and God

Heavenly Father, You are God and You are Lord of All.  There is no one and there is nothing that compares to You for You alone are the Almighty Everlasting Father.  Above You, there is no other.  The new year, O Lord, is just around the corner.  Help me to end this year strong and to remain steadfast in the new year 2019.  Thank You for guiding me and leading me in Your way.  Father, I ask You to continue to guide me in all my ways and to direct my steps as I put my trust in You and acknowledge You in all my ways.  Apart from You, O Lord, I can do nothing.  In You, I can do all things because You are the One who gives me strength.  You are my Hope and You are my Refuge.  I cling to You, O God, for You are my Deliverer and Your words sustain me.  Father, I delight in You, and because I delight in You, I know You will grant me my heart’s desire.  Father, draw close to me as I draw close to You.  Help me to remember there is freedom in submitting to You and walking in obedience to Your will and to Your ways.  Be the Light which illumines the path I am to walk.  Show me the Ancient Path, the good way, that I may walk along the Ancient Path and find rest for my soul.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Remember the Message of the Cross…

Remember in your celebration and contemplation of the New Year to come to keep Christ first in all things.  The cross cannot be separated from Christ, and Christ cannot be separated from the cross.  On that cross, Christ paid the price.  He has saved us, healed us, delivered us, and has set us free.  Daily we are being made holy as we die to self.

“For even The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life a ransom in the place of the many.” -Mark 10:45 (Aramaic Bible In Plain English)

As we look forward to celebrating the New Year just around the corner, let us remember to continue living in wholehearted devotion to Him, never looking back, and pressing on into the future.  Let us carry out the tasks He has placed before us and continue to grow in the love of Christ.

Linda A. Knowles

Your Healer Hears You

As children of God who are walking in obedience to  His will and His ways, God does heal.  We can be assured our God heals.  God doesn’t go against His Word, and God is faithful to His promises.

The confidence that we have is this: If we ask anything according to the will of God, He hears us, and since we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know we have the petitions we have asked of Him.

What are you believing God for today?  Are you in need of healing?  Are you in need of being saved from an impossible situation?  God is able to deliver you.  Do NOT give up because God has NOT given you the spirit of fear but of love and of power and of a sound mind.  

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God who heals and delivers.  You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Thank You for always being there for me.  You, O God, have never let me down, and You have never left me alone.  You have been my Guide, and You have been my Light.  Father, be my Deliverer, as You always have been, in my circumstances.  Show Yourself faithful as You always have for You are my Deliverance and my Song.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

Remember GOD is with you…

You are not alone.
The Lord Your God has not left you,
and He has not forsaken you.
Your God knows you by name,
And He hears you when you call.

PRAYER
Heavenly Father, You are the God who never leaves me, 
and You are the God who never fails.
I know You are with me
and that You know my every tear, You know my every weakness;
But, Father, I put my hope and my trust in You
because You are faithful,
and Your promises are true.
Help me to remain steadfast,
and constantly remind me of Your promises.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

“He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.

My Darkness Turned To Light

Those who leave God and His ways have abandoned the very God who created them.  King David spoke of meditating on the law of the Lord, that the commands of God were his delight.  He pondered on the law of God all day long.  We are to be careful to keep from making a practice of any sin, whatever sin it may be which would easily entangle us.  When we keep ourselves pure and holy before God and walking uprightly before God,  and obeying His commands, that is evidence of our love for God.  If we love God, we’ll obey Him.

He turns our darkness into light.

When we are putting our faith in God, we are trusting in Him, and we can stand on the promises of God.  God is faithful, and He proves Himself to be true.  God is who He says He is, and God does what He says He will do.  His words are certain, and when His Word goes out, His Word does not come back void.  His Word goes out and accomplishes the purposes it was sent forth to do.  We can depend on His Word, and we can delight in His Word.  Anyone in direct opposition to God will find that God is contrary to them.

“If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins.  I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted. And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins.  I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies,” (Leviticus 26:21-25NLT).

God opposes those who are proud and haughty, but He gives grace to the humble and those who truly delight in Him and His ways.

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are my Light and my Salvation.  You have turned my darkness to light.  Just as You are a light for me, be the Light for those who are discouraged and fill them with the strength and boldness they need that only comes from You.  I ask that You be my Guide and instruct me in in the way I should go that I might not fall into any trap set by the enemy of my soul.  Grant me the opportunity to be a light for You in this dark world and give me opportunities to serve You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” -Psalm 37:4NLT

  

Just Stand Firm

stand firm


“Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.” -Deuteronomy 3:22(NLT)



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You do not need to be afraid of those who are against you for you have been made more than a conqueror. God is the One who is taking care of all your enemies in accordance with His promises.  He is the One who has made you victorious, has made you and overcomer, and He protects His own.
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Those who are your enemies are the enemies of God because they do not love God, are of this world, and do not know God.  Your enemies are not worth your time or effort.  Remember your time and effort is best spent doing what God wants you to do and focusing on the tasks He has placed before you.
You need only to stand steadfast, be firm, and as you are keeping your hope and trust in God, placing your confidence in Him, He is the One fighting for you.  You will see your enemies begin to fight one another.  Remember your God has promised to fight with and for you.
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Heavenly Father, You are the God of victory, and You have made me victorious.  Thank You for being my Shield and my Defense.  My confidence is securely placed in You, and I know You help me stand against my enemies and that You are the One who fights for me.  With You, O God, I can crush an army and scale a wall for You are the One who has strengthened me.  Continue to help me to stand firm in Your ways as I continue to obey You and keep my eyes fixed on You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Linda A. Knowles

From the Quiet Place…

God wants to live among His people.  He wants to protect them.  That has always been His desire since the beginning of time.  He desires to commune and have that fellowship with His children.  However, His people have rejected Him as their Lord and their God.  Those who have claimed God as their own have defiled their own bodies and have exchanged the Most High God for other gods, the creation created by God Himself and the things created by man.

GNBThe Church has exchanged what is holy for what is evil and exchanged the truth of God for lies.  Rather than seeking the God Who Provides her with all her needs, she seeks after that which is temporal such as power, prestige, wealth, popularity, and the like.

God is not welcomed in most places of worship, and His Word has been dissected and chopped up to the point it is unrecognizable.  The Word has been made to suit the lifestyles of the people instead of the people seeing themselves in light of the Word of God, repenting, turning from their evil ways, and humbling themselves before God.

God desires a relationship with His people, but they have kicked Him out of their lives and their hearts.  They have kicked God out of their homes and places of worship.

ROMANSThe consequences of their sin are falling on their own heads, and they are blaming God for their suffering.  Their choices have them on the broad road to destruction.  They are headed to Hell.  Their consciences are seared and their hearts calloused.

The anger of God is set against all sinful and wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them.  The creation clearly shows the invisible qualities of God and so they have no excuse for not knowing God.

HEBREWSEverything is exposed before the eyes of God.  He sees all and yet His children don’t believe He sees all they do and hears all they say.  They are clever at doing wrong, but they are stupid when it comes to doing what is right.  They have chosen death instead of life.  They have chosen to be cursed rather than blessed.

To all those who have believed Him and accepted Him, to them, He gave the right to become children of God.  Those who do His will and walk uprightly before Him, they belong to Him.

“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor has sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who see Your face.”

 

Peace With God

1 peter 5


“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7(NLT)



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Peace with God is so important that the ceremonial law for peace offerings is detailed in Leviticus 3.  The peace offering was an expression of gratitude, and it was a way for the people to maintain fellowship with God.  Part of the offering could be eaten by the one who was presenting the offering because it was symbolic of peace with God.
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Peace is a fruit produced in us through the work of the Holy Spirit.  Peace with God comes by having faith in God and His promises.  Peace with God is not cheap, but it comes through a sacrifice of praise and joying in the God of your salvation.  Because of the peace of God, you are able to drink deeply from the well of salvation.  Peace comes from knowing that your enemies cannot prevail against you and that God upholds you with His victorious right hand.  Peace of God comes from waiting upon the Lord, fully trusting in Him.  As you wait on Him, He will renew your strength, and you will mount up with wings like eagles.  This is the kind of peace you can experience and should be experiencing as a child of God.  Remember no matter what circumstances you find yourself in, no matter how many enemies you have surrounding you, you must know fully that God has established His relationship with you.  Because God has fully established His relationship with you, you have peace with God.
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PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God of All Peace and You are the Peace That Surpasses All Understanding.  Father, thank You for establishing my relationship with You.  You are the Peace-Giver.  Let me always remember to cast all my cares on You because You care for me, and help me to always remember You, O God, are my Protector.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles

Are You Weak or Strong In Obedience?

king


“Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. ‘Look,’ they told him, ‘you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have,'” (1 Samuel 8:4-5NLT).


Israel was never meant to be like the other nations.  Israel had a set of laws from the hands of God and God had chosen them as His very own, specifically set aside to do the work had for them to do, set apart as a holy nation.  Israel was not to be like the other nations, and we can see this throughout the entirety of the Old Testament.
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In this passage, Samuel is getting counsel from the Lord.  The Lord God was to be their King, but they pushed God aside and wanted a mortal man as their king so they could be like all the other nations.  So God had this to say (1 Samuel 8:7-9NLT), “‘Do everything they say to you,’ the Lord replied, ‘for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.'” 
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Israel’s sin can be put into one word:  DISOBEDIENCE.
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Understand Saul had already been chosen by God to be their king.  God knew what they were going to do, that they were going to insist on getting their way, and Samuel did tell them what having a human king would be like.  Saul ended up being their king.  However, their problems still continued just under a human king.  What was Israel’s sin that the problems still continued only under another administration?  DISOBEDIENCE.  They were defiant towards God.  They continually disobeyed, and they had no regard for God or His laws.  Because of their disobedience, their problem worsened, and they ended up getting paid the wages of the sins they had committed.
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Who is your king?  Are you serving God or yourself?
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If you are not obeying God and you are defiant towards God continually, you are weak because you are relying on self and dependent on your own will.  God will not force Himself on you.  If you love God, you will obey Him.


REFLECTION: “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him,” (John 14:23KJV).  
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As a child of God, you are made holy, set apart, and to live by the standards God has set.  As a child of God, you do not live as the world does, and you are not to live as the world dictates.  Remember there is hope for those who choose to repent and turn from their wicked ways.  When you are obeying God and truly loving Him, blessings will follow as you enjoy a right relationship with the Father.  If you want God to rule and reign in your life and you want God to guide your family and your personal life but are living by the world’s standards, then you are not truly obeying God nor are you honoring Him.  Honoring and obeying God must be a part of every area of your life, not just in the areas you want.  Are you truly obeying God, honoring Him in all you do? If you are not truly obeying God and honoring Him in all you do, what is holding you back?  


PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God of faithfulness, and You expect no less from those who are Your children.  Father, help me not to be like Israel.  I am sorry for disobeying You.  Please forgive me, and renew a right spirit within me.  I surrender myself into Your hands. I ask that You teach me how to honor You and ask You to instruct me in Your ways.  Discipline me, O Lord, when I sin.  Lead me on Your paths of righteousness that I may become more like You. Show me Your ways, and reveal Yourself to me that I might know You more and more.  In Jesus’s Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles



“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4(ESV)

Don’t Forfeit Your Blessing By Grudgingly Obeying God.

LOVE


Having God’s favor upon your life is priceless.  You cannot put a price on His favor because it is so costly, and yet God lavishes His favor upon His true children because He is the God of Goodness.  He gives good things to His children, but did you know that if you grudgingly obey you can forfeit the blessings/rewards He has for you?  Let me explain this way:  The Word of God states, in Deuteronomy 6:7, “Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.”  Note the words ALL of your heart and ALL of your soul, and ALL of your strength.  ALL of your being must desire to do the task you are doing for God.  ALL of your being must be upright and pure before God while you are obeying Him.


IT REALLY IS A MATTER OF THE HEART.


“Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”

2 Chronicles 25:2(NLT)


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Amaziah did what was pleasing to God, but he did so reluctantly.  He had paid for troops to come from Israel to help him go up against Edom when a man of God came to Amaziah and told him God would not give him victory if Amaziah used the troops from Israel no matter how well he did at fighting.  Amaziah’s heart attitude was not blameless.  He complained about the money he had paid, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?”  God had sent him a warning through the man of God in order to let Amaziah know God was not with the troops of Israel, and instead of giving thanks to God for the warning or thanking the man of God for giving him the message God had for him, Amaziah complained and said, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?”  The man of God told him, “The LORD is able to give you much more than this.”  He reluctantly obeyed God, taking the warning the man of God had just given him, and he discharged the Israeli troops

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Amaziah may have done what was right and obeyed, but in his heart, he was grudgingly compliant.  By the way, Amaziah did go into battle and win. After having the victory in the battle, he had taken the idols of the people of Seir and he set the idols up as his own gods and bowed down before them, offering sacrifices to them.  By worshiping these idols, Amaziah angered God.  When you are obeying God halfheartedly, you are opening the door to other sins.  Amaziah may have done what was right, but in obeying God halfheartedly, it was a slippery slope and his heart led him right into idolatry.  
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Are you obeying God with ALL your heart?  Have you ever done something God told you to do and you did it reluctantly simply because God told you to?  When we do not put our whole heart into obeying God and doing His Will, then we will find ourselves exhibiting ungodly behavior such as complaining about having to do His Will or complaining about His perfect timing.  We can find ourselves exhibiting anger because when we do God’s will halfheartedly, we resent having to obey Him.
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Obeying God is not just about doing what is right.  It’s about loving God.  How you obey God and how you do what He tells you to do matters.  Do you truly love Him with your WHOLE heart?  Will you love Him with your WHOLE heart as you obey Him and do His will?
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Don’t Forfeit Your Blessing By Grudgingly Obeying God.



PRAYER Sovereign LORD and KING, You are worthy of my best, not my leftovers.  You, O God, have been very good to me.  Thank You for all You have done in my life, for providing for me, and for being my protection.  I’m sorry for obeying You halfheartedly and for being reluctant in carrying out the tasks You have set before me.  Forgive me for these sinful attitudes of the heart.  Forgive me, Father, for offending You, and I ask that You cleanse me of these sins as only You can do.  I bow my heart in surrender to You and ask that You take control, giving me new desires and attitudes pleasing to You.  I ask that You, O God, rule and reign in me.  Show me what I need to change in my life and what I need to get rid of.  Take me along Your paths of righteous because what You approve of and have to say is the only thing that matters.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” -Deuteronomy 6:7(NLT)

It Will Cost You Everything

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“‘I have not troubled Israel,’ Elijah replied, ‘but you and your father’s house have, for you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.'” 1 Kings 18:18(BSB)



Will serving and loving God cost you anything?  Yes, it will cost you everything (Luke 14:25-34), but the results are so worth it.  It is not enough to call yourself a believer.  It is not enough to be exposed to the Word of God.  You must be loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  You must be applying His Word to your life and obeying God and His Word out of that love for Him.  It really does come down to choosing whom you will serve.

When leaders choose to worship other gods, it causes problems for the nation or church or organization or households.  Why?  Because whatever the leader’s spirit is will be what the leader will be ministering with.  Don’t get me wrong.  God used a donkey to get His point across to Balaam the prophet in Numbers 22:28.  After all, nothing is too difficult for God. 

Either a leader will lead with the guidance of the Holy Spirit or a leader will be leading by the flesh.  When one leads with his/her flesh, there will always be major issues and problems.

With that being said…

There is one God, but Ahab and Jezebel worshiped Baal (most popular of the Canaanite gods).  However, Elijah was in the midst of the people, and eventually, Elijah challenged the people to take a stand. Either they would choose God or remain Baal worshipers.

When people have to give up their sinful pleasures in order to serve God, you can see their reluctance and walking away because they are not willing to surrender to God.  Their actions will make it quite clear whether they served God or not.  If you take a stand for God, you cannot live the way you want to.

You may be thinking, “I’m not a leader.”  Yes, you are.  All of us lead someone at some point.  Even if you think you are not a leader, you are being watched by someone (children, spouse, professors, teachers, supervisors, co-workers, list goes on).  How you act, what you say, and whether or not you stand for truth matters to whoever watches how you are living your life.  There are those who will watch to see if your walk and your talk line up with each other.  Make sure you keep yourself in right relationship with God, keeping Him first in all things.



 

Just like Elijah had challenged the people so did Joshua.  The Word of God gives this account in Joshua 24:24-27(BSB):  

“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; cast aside the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!”

The people replied, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!  For the LORD our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all throughout our journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because He is our God!’

But Joshua said to the people, ‘You are not able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your rebellion or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on you and consume you, even after He has been good to you.’

‘No!’ replied the people. ‘We will serve the LORD!’

Then Joshua told them, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.’

‘We are witnesses!’ they said.

‘Now, therefore,’ he said, ‘get rid of the foreign gods among you and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.’

So the people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the LORD our God and obey His voice.’

On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem, he established for them a statute and ordinance. Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was near the sanctuary of the LORD.  And Joshua said to all the people, ‘You see this stone. It will be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words the LORD has spoken to us, and it will be a witness against you if you ever deny your God.'”

 



Taking a stand is never easy.  However, either you will choose to serve God and live for Him, or you will reject Him.  When it comes to living for God, there is NO neutral ground.  This is not the time to be backing down.  It is time to rise up and move forward doing whatever task God has called you to do.  You may be in this world, but you are not of this world.  Be a godly influence in this world, but do NOT let the world influence you. 



Linda A. Knowles



“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.  Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will.  And I know that I will not be put to shame.” –Isaiah 50:7(NLT)

 

 

 

Truth Will Protect You

LYING


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“May integrity and honesty protect me,
for I put my hope in you.”
Psalm 25:21(NLT)
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Since God is the God of Truth, He expects His children to be truthful.  If you lie and you get caught in that lie, you lose your integrity.  Integrity once lost is very difficult to get back and that’s if you get it back at all.  How would anyone trust you again if you choose to lie instead of telling the truth?  Since God says in His Word, “Do not lie,” why would you deliberately disobey what God says in His Word?  The truth will always protect you because the truth will stand the test of time.  The problem is when one chooses to lie.  Lies are always exposed.  When you do your part in telling the truth, God sees your faithful obedience to Him and His Word, and God will protect you.
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REFLECTION:  “No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others,” (Psalm 25:3NLT).  Disgrace will always come to those who choose to practice sin.  Maintain your integrity by preserving truth, by speaking truth.  Don’t set out to lie or deceive others.  Prove yourself to be a trustworthy person.  Lies and deceit will always destroy unity and cause division amongst the children of God.
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Integrity and honesty are your friends.  When you are honest, you will say that the Lord is right and that you shall walk in His ways.  When you have integrity, you shall consistently walk in His ways and set your face like stone determined to do His will and obey Him.  Those who lie and deceive are disgraced because their sins of lying and deceit have brought them disgrace.  Those who trust in the Lord and put their hope in Him will not be disgraced.  God will preserve those who are faithful and live in truth.
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PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God who expects faithful obedience to You and to Your Word.  You expect Your children to speak the truth.  Lord, help me to walk upright before You with a spirit of humility and to always walk in truth.  Teach me how to maintain my integrity, and show me how to walk in holiness as You are holy.  May Your truth be my shield and my guard.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Linda A. Knowles
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“Don’t lie to each other,

for you have stripped off
your old sinful nature
and all its wicked deeds.”
-Colossians 3:9(NLT)

BEFORE You Turn Your Life Into A Mess



King



“Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar.  Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, ‘Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!'” -1 Kings 1:49-51

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King David was very old, unable to keep warm, and Abishag was taking care of him.  It was also around this time, Adonijah had taken it upon himself to begin boasting, “I will make myself king!”  Making a claim to the throne was an act of treason and was never taken lightly.  Adonijah got greedy, craving the power and wealth, and Kingship, and he made himself king when it was not his place to do so nor did he have the authority to do so.  Adonijah gathered together chariots, charioteers, and recruited 50 men to run in front of him (1 Kings 1:5). Adonijah then went further by having the best animals sacrificed, inviting his brothers, the other sons of King David, and all of the royal officials throughout Judah.  Adonijah had two people helping him become king as shown in 1 Kings 1:7-8(NLT), “Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah.”
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Adonijah did things HIS way, not God’s way.
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Can you understand the magnitude of the disaster Adonijah’s life was about to become? He commits an act of treason by claiming the throne which did not belong to him, betraying his own father.  He then proclaims and declares himself as king, going against King David who was still on the throne, appointing himself.  Then he finalizes it with a celebration.  However, Adonijah’s evil schemes were exposed, and it would cost him his life unless the King decided to have mercy on him.
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Nathan the Prophet went before King David when Bathsheba told him what was going on.  Adonijah’s act of treason had been found out and reported to King David who then immediately made his decree (1 Kings 1:33-35), “the king said to them, ‘Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Blow the ram’s horn and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then escort him back here, and he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.”
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Treason was punishable by death.  Simply put, by Adonijah’s foolishness in having to do things his way because his heart was not pure before God, he could now be put to death for treason.  He may have been King David’s son, but being King David’s son did not exempt him from the death penalty for the act of treason. 
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Had Adonijah sought God’s counsel before acting out and speaking prematurely, he could have avoided the disaster he made out of his life.
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REFLECTION:  We, at times, do things that we think we will not be caught doing, but that’s not the case. God sees everything we do and hears everything we say. There is no escaping His presence. Eventually, what is done in the dark comes into the light. He is the God who sees all, and everything is exposed before Him.

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“Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, ‘Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!’ Solomon replied, ‘If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die.’ So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, ‘Go on home,'” (1 Kings 1:49-53NLT).
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Solomon had granted mercy by allowing Adonijah, giving him a reprieve by saying, “If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched.  But if he makes trouble, he will die.” Adonijah was given a chance to make things right.  Unfortunately, Adonijah fashioned another evil plot.  He committed another act of treason by requesting to have Abishag as his wife.  To ask for the King’s concubine was the equivalent to making claims to the throne (1 Kings 2:19-22).
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Adonijah had not learned his lesson the first time, and his sin made him pay far more than he ever expected to pay, “Then King Solomon made a vow before the Lord: ‘May God strike me and even kill me if Adonijah has not sealed his fate with this request. The Lord has confirmed me and placed me on the throne of my father, David; he has established my dynasty as he promised. So as surely as the Lord lives, Adonijah will die this very day!’ So King Solomon ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada to execute him, and Adonijah was put to death,” (1 Kings 2:23-25).
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Grab on to the horns of the altar before going forward with your plans before you turn your life into a mess.  Seek God and consult God first.  Get His counsel.  Take a lesson from Adonijah’s evil scheme.  He didn’t grab on to the horns of the altar UNTIL he knew he had been caught.  Sometimes, a person has to get caught in the act before he/she gives up his/her sin.  Sometimes, a person has to get caught before he/she comes clean.  Just go before God and seek His face where you can find mercy.  Seek out God’s perfect will, His ways, and His counsel.  Consider what God wants rather than what you want.  When you do things your way, you will not succeed.  When you do things God’s way, you will be blessed, successful in your ways, and you will have peace of mind.  Before you go off on your own and do things your way, ask God what He wants you to do and how to do it.  Do not wait until after you’ve done things your way and created a disaster.
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PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are the God of All Wisdom and the God of All Truth.  I ask that You always help me to think before I act and speak.  Give me the understanding and insight to always look at the long-term consequences of my actions.  Empower me with the Spirit of the Living God to walk uprightly before You with a pure heart that I might bring honor to Your name.  Let me seek You out for Your counsel and give me your words to devour, guiding me in Your righteousness.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Linda A. Knowles



“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” –Proverbs 4:23

You Rescue Me

psalm 113



YOU RESCUE ME

Written By Linda A. Knowles



I will praise You in the morning,

And I will praise You in the night,

even when it seems there is no hope in sight;

For You, O God, are my Deliverer,

And You are my Strength;

And You, O Lord, are the One Who Rescues Me

from the hands of my enemies.



I will praise the Lord at all times.  I will constantly speak his praises.  I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart.  Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.  I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  In my desperation, I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.  For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” –(Psalm 34:1-7NLT)


 

Our Cornerstone



ephesians



“‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ ‘Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.'” -Luke 20:17-18 (NLT)



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These words are comforting for those who are in Christ.  Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone, Our Sure Foundation as we can see in Ephesians 2:20 (NLT), “And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”  Those in Christ will inherit eternal life while those who reject Christ are already judged and the wrath of God remains on them as told to us in John 3:36(NKJV), which states, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Those who reject Christ will not be able to stand when judgment falls on them, and they will be crushed under the weight of it.
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When you have Jesus, you have all that you need.  The world could fall in around you and as long as you have Jesus, you have all you need. He is your All-In-All.  Let me say this again:  WHEN YOU HAVE JESUS, YOU HAVE ALL YOU NEED.

“In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.”
-Isaiah 33:6 (NLT)

As you walk along the Narrow Road, you may find yourself struggling, but keep your eyes on Jesus.  Continue to let Jesus be your Guide.  Let the Lord instruct you.  He is your Sure Foundation, and when you allow your life to be built upon Him, you will NOT be disappointed.  Whatever is holding you back, give it over to Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), Jesus tells you, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”



PRAYER Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing me the privilege to be able to come before You.  You are the Good Shepherd, and I thank You for being my Guide and my Instructor.  You are my Rock, the Chief Cornerstone, my Sure Foundation.  Lord, these days are evil and are becoming worse and worse.  Give me discernment to know right from wrong.  Fill me with the wisdom that comes from You alone.  Teach me the Fear of the Lord and how to revere You.  Lord God, this world has nothing for me.  Nothing compares to You for You are glorious and majestic, worthy of all praise and honor.  You are the One I long for. Help me to always see Your Word is Truth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.'” -Isaiah 28:16

Let The Holy Spirit Guide Your Lives

Galatians 5.20


“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” -Galatians 5:16



Yes, you are a new creation in Christ, but just because you are a child of God does not mean you will not have issues, problems, or struggles.  Your sinful nature is in direct opposition to the new nature given to you by Christ.
As a child of God, you have the Holy Spirit living within you, and the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you.  However, the sinful nature will war against the desires the Holy Spirit has given you because the sinful nature wants to do evil.


REFLECTION “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NLT). You are under no obligation to do what your sinful natures urges you to do because the Holy Spirit empowers you to live a pure and holy life before God.  Every day is a choice to submit yourself to God to live in accordance with His Word.  Therefore, since you are in Christ, you no longer live by the dictates of your sinful nature.  Now you are letting your mind be controlled by the Holy Spirit, and because you are letting the Holy Spirit have His way in your life, you are being led by Him.  When the Holy Spirit convicts you letting you know something is wrong, stop what you are doing and listen to Him.  It is important to be aware that if you compromise on one sin, it will be easy to fall into one sin after another.  You will not be able to show a life of victory in Christ if you continually compromise and give into temptation.  Keep your eyes open to what the Spirit has to show you and keep your ears open to hear His voice.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth.  Help me to learn from You what You want me to learn.  Let me sit at Your feet to hear You speak.  I ask that You continually fill me with Your Spirit to overflow so that I might be able to do Your will and carry out whatever it is You ask me to carry out.  Thank You for guiding me this far, and I pray that You continue to guide me as I follow Your ways.  Help me to remain steadfast in You so that I will not compromise.  May I always seek Your truth and walk uprightly before You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Keep watch and pray,

so that you will not give in to temptation.
For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
Matthew 26:41 (NLT)

Being Tempted Is Not A Sin



“The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him..” -Mark 1:12-13 (NLT)



Psalms_119-11



Temptation always comes, and while being tempted is not a sin, giving in to the temptation is a sin.  The Word of God goes so far as to say that if we are tempting someone that is sin as well and states, “…Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting,” (Matthew 18:7 NLT).  We are never to use someone’s weaknesses against him/her to tempt him/her to commit sin against God.  In other words, look out for the best interests of others and encourage them to progress in their walk with God.
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We are not to rejoice when someone trips up and falls into temptation.  We are, however, to spur each other on, not play on the weaknesses that the other has.
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With all that being said, Jesus gave us an example of how to handle temptation and what we should do when faced with temptation.  We are to respond with “It is written,” which is why it is so important to daily be in the Word of God studying, thinking about the Scriptures, applying the Word to our lives, and hiding God’s Word in our hearts in order to combat temptation and to live a life pleasing to God. 
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Let’s look at how Jesus handled temptation:
“Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.  And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’  Jesus responded, ‘The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” -Luke 4:9-12
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Jesus made it very clear for us to know that the devil is the father of lies and no truth can be found in him, and that is recorded in John 8:44 (NLT), which states, “He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
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The devil twisted the Scripture to tempt Jesus when he said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!  For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.'”  Jesus knew the Scriptures well and knew Satan was twisting the Scriptures.  God does protect, and that is truth.  God will command His angels to watch over and guard us;  However, we are not to take the promises of God lightly nor should we ever be so careless in thinking that if we jump off a building that God will keep us from going splat on the ground.  Jesus, rightly dividing the Word of God, gave us this clear demonstration of how to wield the Sword of the Spirit when we’re faced with temptation.  Jesus responded by saying, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.'”  


REFLECTION:  “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You,” (Psalm 119:11 BSB).  Do you have daily time reading and studying the Bible?  Do you truly know the Bible?  Do you walk in obedience to the Word of God?  The bible is not a buffet where you can choose what you like and what you don’t like.  You need the entire counsel of God, not just some of His counsel.   The Word tells you how live a holy life, tells you everything you need to know to inherit eternal life, and the Word of God teaches you how to handle temptation, and instructs you as to what God has given you to overcome whatever may come your way.  “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15 NLT).  As a child of God, hiding God’s Word in your heart and clinging to His truth will help you in your life. However, it is absolutely vital for you apply the Word of God to your life, to live the Word of God out loud in your life, not just when temptation strikes. It is not enough to be exposed to the Word of God. It is not enough to read the Word of God. You must be applying the Word, and you must be living out the Word in every aspect of your life. You must be obeying God’s commands especially if you claim to love God and claim to be His child.  When you truly know the Word of God, you will know when half-truths come your way and know if someone is twisting the Scriptures.  Hide His Word in your heart so you might not sin against Him.


PRAYERHeavenly Father, You are the God of all Truth.  I ask You to help me remain steadfast in You, to keep my feet from slipping.  Lord, teach me Your ways and Your truth.  Help me to always rightly divide Your Word.  May I always hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” -Isaiah 50:7 (NLT)

Satisfaction In GOD Alone

though none go with me


“The LORD will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.” -Proverbs 10:3 (NLT)



When you trust GOD, you do not need to worry.  You have no reason to because the LORD your GOD takes care of you and He is the One who meets every need you have and sees the deepest desires of your heart.  The Word of GOD says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need,” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).  When you are delighting yourself in the LORD by loving Him with all your heart and following Him wholeheartedly, you are blessed of the LORD.

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Satisfaction cannot be found in anything or anyone else.  Satisfaction can only be found in GOD.  Those who depend on GOD and rely upon GOD alone will always find themselves satisfied.  Because of GOD, through CHRIST, you have been made complete, made whole, which means you have all you need in GOD.  He is your All In All.
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The other side of that:  GOD does not satisfy the wicked.  The ungodly are self-reliant, do not have reverence for GOD, and live for themselves.  Living in disobedience to GOD and His ways and showing disdain toward GOD and His Word brings destruction.  Surely none who wait for You will be put to shame; but those who are faithless without cause will be disgraced.” (Psalm 25:3 BSB).
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For all who are led by the Spirit of GOD are children of GOD.  The Spirit of the Living GOD (Holy Spirit) has been given to you to guide and lead you into all truth.  He is your Comforter, residing in you, a child of the Most High GOD, “The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him,” (Ephesians 1:14 NLT).
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REFLECTION Are you finding satisfaction in GOD or do you look to other things to satisfy you?  Do you truly understand that satisfaction is found in GOD alone and He is the only One who can satisfy your every need and longing?  “Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing,” (Psalm 34:9-10 NLT).  Having reverence for GOD and the things of GOD begins first with the fear of the LORD.  To fear GOD is to have deep respect for Him. The deepest need every person has is his/her spiritual need for GOD. The Word of GOD says, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” To be poor in spirit is to recognize your need for GOD and your need for the Savior.  When you fear the LORD, you have wisdom because the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.  


PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are the Only One Who Can Satisfy the deepest longing of my heart and soul.  You are the Only One able to breathe life into me.  Draw near to me as I draw near to You, and let me learn true reverence and holiness in Your presence.  With joy, let me drink deeply from the Well of Salvation as I cling to You and Your truth.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I might be able to discern what is pleasing to You and what is not pleasing to You.  Guide me into all truth, and open my eyes to see what You want to show me and open my ears to hear You speak clearly.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles



You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” –Psalm 63:1-5

He Knows The Hopes of the Helpless

nahum_1.7_nlt_border_wallpaper


“LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.” -Psalm 10:17 (NLT)



The LORD is with you, and He sees you when it feels like everything is surrounding you or even when it feels like everything is caving in on you.  The LORD your GOD knows those who are your enemies are arrogant and proud, and even though it seems all is well with them, they are not well.  The wicked will perish.  Though trouble surrounds you, the LORD is delivering you out of your troubles.  The LORD is the GOD of all comfort, preparing a feast before you in the presence of your enemies.
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We can take comfort in the presence of GOD.  Our GOD is the One we can run into because He is our Strong Tower, and when we run into Him, we are safe.  He is the Cleft of the Rock who shelters us in the time of storm.
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REFLECTION: “The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him,” (Nahum1:7 NLT). In this passage of Scripture Nineveh had slipped back to their old ways and was now worse than ever before.  Nineveh had reason to be terrified because Nineveh was contending with GOD.  The words in this context of this passage may be disconcerting to the unbeliever, but to those of us who believe, it is great comfort.  Because we trust in GOD, living for Him, though we may find ourselves in a situation where we feel helpless, remember GOD is sovereign.  He is still on His throne, and He upholds you with His righteous right hand.  We are not left without hope no matter what the situation, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.  The LORD is our Helper, our Strong Refuge, and our GOD is so very good.

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Keep trusting in GOD.  Keep pressing into GOD through prayer.  Keep on in steadfastness and walking in obedience. Through your GOD, you shall do valiantly. You are victorious.  You are the Child of the Most High GOD, and you are a conqueror. Your GOD does NOT fail.
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PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are the GOD who never fails.  You are the GOD of Victory.  Thank You for teaching me about Your protection and Your faithfulness.  Thank You for making me victorious.  Thank You for being My Father.  You, O GOD, are my Helper, and LORD, remind me You are my Refuge and my Strong Tower and that I need not fear because You have empowered me to persevere through my trials and to triumph over my enemies.  Continue Your work in me, and make me a light for You in this dark world; and may I be a living testimony to proclaim Your faithfulness and Your goodness to those around me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles



“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)

Time To Check In Our Baggage



WORRY-ANXIETY



Is being anxious a sin?  Yes, it is.  Anxiety is as much of a sin as lying, stealing, cursing, bitterness, resentment, and anything that satisfies the lusts of the flesh.
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Anxiety and Worry are synonymous.  If you are anxious, you are worried, and if you are worried, you are anxious.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary characterizes anxious as “extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency:  WORRIED, resulting from or causing anxiety: worrying.”
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The Scriptures speak about being anxious.  Anxiety involves lack of trusting in God and lack of putting our faith in Him.  Anxiety will make us focus on our problems, trials, and circumstances; Anxiety doesn’t allow for us to look to God first and foremost.  Anxiety, like any other sin, will wear us out and drag us down into the muck and mire, wallowing in ourselves.
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Jesus has a most awesome prescription to handle anxiety.  This is what His prescription is and is shown to us in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
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Did you see that?  Jesus is not asking or suggesting.  He’s not making a recommendation.  Jesus has just given a direct command.  In a nutshell, He has just told us to come to Him (HELLO HE IS WELCOMING US TO THROW ALL OUR ISSUES ON TOP OF HIM), all of us who are weary and carry heavy burdens. Let’s take Note Jesus’ commands to us:  (1) Come to me, (2) Take My yoke upon you, (3) Let me teach you.  And if we follow those commands, look at the promises:  (1) Jesus will give us rest, (2) He’s humble and gentle and will show us what to do, and (3) He will give us rest for our souls, (4) Jesus doesn’t topple us over with manmade rules and manmade traditions.  His commands are not burdensome and what He tells us to do and gives us won’t weigh us down.
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Jesus also said to us as shown in Matthew 6:34 (NLT), “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Even the Apostle Peter urges and tells us to, “Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you.”  Anxiety comes with a whole host of emotions.  If we’re anxious, we will end up being scared, and if we end up getting scared because we’re anxious, then we’re going to end up being sad.  If we end up sad because we are scared because we’re anxious, we’re going to end up confused.  If we end up confused because we’re sad because we were scared because we’re anxious to begin with…  Well, we can see where this is going…
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bag-man7
We end up looking like this gentleman in the photo to the right -weighed down by multiple suitcases, unable to barely take a step, and when trying to take a step land on our faces because the load is too much to bear.
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Christ is our Yokebearer, and He can handle whatever baggage we have to give Him.  He is the Lord who is Savior and the One Who Has Redeemed Us.  Our God is the One Who Delivers Us from all our troubles (Psalm 34:19), and there is nothing like giving it all over to Him.  Part of surrendering our lives to Christ is trusting Him in all things, to trust His love and His heart for us.  He is looking out for us.  He is the One who tells us, “Come to me.”
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When we shift our focus back on to God and begin to praise Him, we will find our cares lifting as we surrender our anxiety to Him.   As we continue to praise the Lord and lift our voices in song to Him, we will find all the things of this world become so insignificant in His presence.  The Lord Your God never slumbers and never sleeps, and He is the Shepherd of our Heart!


“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)


TIME TO CHECK IN OUR BAGGAGE
Heavenly Father, You have been the Shepherd of my Heart.  You always take care of me. You have not forgotten me because You, O LORD, have engraved my name in the palms of Your hand.  I confess my sin of anxiety before You, O LORD, and ask that You forgive me as I am giving all of my cares and concerns to You right now in Jesus’ name.  I thank You that I am able to look to You, knowing You are my Redeemer and Deliverer, trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross who shed His blood that I would be healed and set free.  Thank You for being my Yokebreaker.  Help me to always put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that my soul need not be downcast because my hope is in the Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles


“To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness,
they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted
for his own glory.”
(Isaiah 61:3 NLT)