New Creation In Christ

One of the blessings God has given to those who are in Christ Jesus is that they are no longer what they were before Christ. In Christ, we are new creations. The old is gone, and the new has come. So fix your eyes on Christ and on the road God has marked out before you, and press forward. Step into the plans and the future God has for you.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the God from whom all blessings flow. I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank You for being the Author and the Finisher of my faith. Father, I am fixing my eyes on You because I know You have great plans for me. I will put my trust in You as I step into the plans You have for me and the future You designed. I ask that You continue to show me the way I am to go as I am relying and depending on You to lead me. My desire is to stay in Your will and to do what You would have me to do. I know You have already gone before me, and I ask for Your help in remaining steadfast before You. Continue Your work in me, O Lord, and light my way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

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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

RANDOM FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The Flapping Gossiping Gums Will Get All Up In Your Business.

It never ceases to amaze me the levels of stupidity people will resort to.  People will interfere in someone else’s argument without having all the facts.  Without having all the facts, unwise judgments are made, which results, most of the time, with people flapping their gums and spreading gossip and slander to anyone who will lend them a listening ear. 

If some people are gossiping about you, it should be understood that if they are not gossiping about you, they are gossiping about someone else.  Those who are flapping their gums are getting all up in your business because they don’t have a life of their own.  They will badmouth, backbite, slander, and lie because they have nothing better to do.  However, when they do so, they are involving themselves in something they have no business getting involved in.  They are too wrapped up in flapping their gums because they are filled with hatred, anger, and jealousy.  What they do not realize is that they have no self-control as they are salivating looking for the next dainty morsel to share with others who are all too eager to listen.  

It is shameful and embarrassing when gossipers do not have all the facts but will pontificate as if they have all the facts.  Has anyone considered that gossiping and interfering in someone else’s argument is like yanking the ear of a wild dog and expecting it not to take a bite out of him or her?  If they should attempt to yank on the ears of a “wild dog,” why should anyone feel bad for them?  They are simply reaping what they have sown, and they deserve whatever consequences they get. 

Linda A. Knowles

“Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” -Proverbs 18:13NLT

Just Stand Firm

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“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

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“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)

For His Glory, Not Your Own.

ELDERLY WOMAN


“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 6:1(NLT)



This Bible verse is very clear:  We are to do good for His glory, not our own.

What we do in the way of good deeds, we do out of our love for God and out of our lives lived out in faith to God.  “Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others” simply means we are not to do good deeds to receive the applause and approval of men. If we do good deeds to be seen, to receive the applause and approval of men, that is the only reward we will receive, and then, we lose the reward from God.  Knowing this, let us resolve to do everything for the glory of God to be seen of Him, to seek His approval.  In pleasing God and bringing glory to Him, you will receive the blessing He has for you.

The Word of God, in Galatians 6:14(NLT), states, “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.”  If our boast is to be in anything, then our boast should be in the cross, not in what we do.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are my God, and I will put my hope and my trust in You.  My faith is in You alone.  You are the only One whose approval I need to seek and the only One I need to please.  Father, help me to always remember that my boast is to be in the cross of Jesus Christ, not in anything I do, and when I do good deeds, I am to do those good works for Your glory.  I ask that You let me be a blessing to others and to continue using me for Your glory.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exalting Him…

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“…I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the oppressed hear and rejoice. Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together” -Psalm 34:1-3BSB



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You, O GOD, are the Lord of all Creation.

You are worthy of all glory, of all honor, and of all praise.

You are my Redeemer, my Deliverer, and Friend.

You are my God, and there is no one else like You.

You alone are the Rock Upon Which I Can Stand.

You are the Sure Foundation,

and You are my Savior.

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May Your name, O GOD, be magnified in all the Earth.

May Your children proclaim Your goodness

and testify of Your enduring faithfulness.

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LORD, I can look to no other,

for You are the One Who Set Me free

through Your redemptive blood

that You shed at Calvary.

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Thank You for giving me life

that I might live for You,

to commune with You,

to worship You.

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May I bring glory to You for You are great

and greatly to be praised.

I exalt You, O LORD, for You are

the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Above You, there is no other.

You are the Alpha and the Omega,

the Beginning and the End

the First and the Last.

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You are my Strong Refuge,

my Strength,

my Hope,

my Joy.

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My spirit rejoices in You,

GOD MY SAVIOR,

and my soul delights in You Who Calls Me By Name,

The One who is my Portion forever,

The Faithful and True GOD.

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I praise You, O LORD,

for You are the Shield around me,

and You are my glory;

You are the Lifter of my Head.

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Let me always sing of Your lovingkindness,

of Your compassion, mercy, and truth.

To God be all the glory!

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In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Hope Always

PROVERBS 28


There is hope for the believer and for the sinner who has just repented and turned from their wicked ways.  Does the Lord reject the wicked?  Yes, He does as show to us in Psalm 1:4-5, “But not the wicked!  They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.  They will be condemned at the time of judgment.  Sinners will have no place among the godly.” For the sinner who responds to the call of God, who is truly remorseful for their transgressions, that comes humbly before God and calls on the name of the Lord, he/she is saved, and that one is now a believer and can have full assurance he/she belongs to God and will have eternal life. “For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved,'” (Romans 10:13NLT).

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If you want to be more fruitful, then delight yourself in the Lord.  The more you take delight in God, the more you will produce the fruit of the Spirit.  To delight yourself in the Lord is to take joy in the presence of God and taking pleasure in obeying God and walking in His ways.  
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The purpose of studying and knowing the Word of God is to be able to follow God closely.  When you read His Word and study His Word, you will learn the nature and character of God as well as being able to know the attributes of God.  One cannot know the commands and expectations of God unless they are steadfast in their studying of the Word of God.
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REFLECTION “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires,” (2 Peter 3:3ESV).  To follow the counsel of the wicked is foolish.  Never join in with scoffers and mockers because, in the end, God will have the last say.  God will not be mocked.  True friends will help you grow closer to God, and they will not hold you back.  Mockers and scoffers do NOT love God, and do NOT care about the things of God and will have their place in Hell.  However, You, Children of the Most High God, have been given eternal life and will be with Your Heavenly Father in Heaven for all eternity.

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PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are the Giver of Eternal Life, and You, O God, are the God of Salvation.  There is no one who compares to You for You are the Everlasting God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.  Thank You for choosing me, for saving me.  Lord, teach me and show me what I need to do to gain eternal life.  Teach me Your commands and how to continually delight myself in You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Linda A. Knowles


“Do not fret over doers of evil; do not envy those who do wrong.  For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender plants. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it.  He will bring forth your righteousness like the dawn, your justice like the noonday sun.  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; fret not when men prosper in their ways, when they carry out wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret—it can only bring harm. For the evildoers will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land,” (Psalm 37:1-9BSB)

 

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)

 

 

 

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

Living Sacrifice Before The LORD

1 John 1vs9


“Do not present an animal with defects because the LORD will not accept it on your behalf.” -Leviticus 22:20(NLT)

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The Levitical Laws, more specifically in this case the ceremonial laws, were a foreshadow of what was acceptable worship and what was unacceptable worship.  In order for an animal sacrifice to be made, the animal had to have NO blemishes, NO defects, NO sickness.  The animal had to be perfect.  If there was the slightest flaw or imperfection in the animal being presented, the animal sacrifice would be rejected by God as shown in this verse, “…the LORD will not accept it on your behalf.”

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As I found myself reflecting on this passage of Scripture this morning, I was reminded of another passage in Romans 12:1(NLT), which states, And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
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We’re told in the Word of God to be perfect as He is perfect, to be holy as He is holy.  When we keep that in mind, we will be careful how we live our lives because ALL that we do is worship to God.  Our sacrifices must flow out of hearts consecrated, wholly devoted to God.
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REFLECTION The LORD will not accept less than the best. We cannot present the sacrifices of our talent, time, praise, effort and the like to the LORD if we are living lives defiled by pretense and hypocrisy. We cannot present ourselves in worship to the LORD if we are half-hearted in our obedience to Him. When our sacrifice to the LORD is blemished and defective, like the animal sacrifice spoken of in Leviticus 22:20, then we will be the kind of sacrifice He rejects.

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Our LORD is the King of kings. For all of Who God is and for all that He has done, how can we present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices if we are defiled with sin? Sin cuts us off from God, and therefore, when we recognize our sin, we must come before God with humility to repent and turn from our wicked ways, aligning our thoughts with His, so that we will be the kind of living and holy sacrifice He will find acceptable.
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Our God will forgive us and restore us when we come before Him with the spirit of humility, bowing before Him.  His Word tells us in 1 John 1:9(KJV), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
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PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  You are worthy of my very best, and I’m sorry for giving you leftovers rather than giving You my very best.  I humbly ask for You to forgive me, and remind me always that I am to be holy as You are holy.  Father, before You, I have no excuses, and I am asking that You cast me not away from Your Presence but renew a right spirit within me.  I give myself into Your hands, committing myself to You and to Your ways.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles


“No, O people,

the LORD has told you
what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly
with your God.”
Micah 6:8(NLT)

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 Standing Before God Matters



HOLY FIRE 1



Our standing before God matters. Either we are hot or we are cold.  If we’re lukewarm, God will spit us out of His mouth. The Word of God states, in Revelation 3:15-16(BSB), “I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of My mouth!”

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Have you ever had a lukewarm drink? It’s not pleasant. It tastes horrible, and like a lukewarm drink was the Church of Laodicea in the mouth of God. The Church of Laodicea was made up of nominal believers. They were self-satisfied and self-reliant, hardened in heart, and didn’t stand up for anything. They were so content with their possessions, having all they wanted, they did not realize they were spiritually bankrupt as we are shown in Revelation 3:17(NLT), where Jesus said to the Church, “And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,” (Revelation 3:17NLT).
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This is not a position any of us want to be in before God.
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REFLECTION: “So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference,” (Revelation 3:18-19NLT). This is the counsel of Jesus Christ to the Church of Laodicea, but it is very much for you today. The purpose of the Lord’s discipline is to turn you back to Him, the only one in whom salvation can be found. If you are finding yourself lukewarm in your devotion to God, then draw close to Him through repentance and confession. Don’t wait. Be washed and cleansed through the reading and study of His Word. Consecrate yourself to Him in both service and worship, and answer His call to you. Let Him restore you. “‘Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches,'” (Revelation 3:20-22NLT).

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PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, salvation is found in no other. Only You are able to restore and make a person whole. Father, I’m sorry for compromising Your Word and for being indifferent to the things of God. I’m sorry for relying on my own self-sufficiency. Father, I ask You to forgive me, and wash me clean.  Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, O God, and restore me as only You can do.  Father, I give myself fully to You, to live for You and to honor You.  May I seek out Your ways, and may I always stand for the Truth of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.'” -John 14:23(BSB)

Simply At The Sound Of His Voice

SOUND


“The enemy runs at the sound of your voice.

When you stand up, the nations flee!”  –Isaiah 33:3 (NLT)



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No words have given me greater comfort in recent months than this verse because it reminds me of the greatness of our God and His goodness, that all He has to do is speak, and His voice will send the enemy running. It doesn’t matter how many enemies surround you, all God has to do is speak.  That is how awesome our God is.  He speaks, and His voice, just the sound of His voice, sends the enemy running.
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In Revelation 14:2(NLT), the Word of God tells us, “And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together.”
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That is the God we serve.  He is Omnipotent and He is everywhere.  He knows all your comings and goings.  You never need to fear what comes your way because the God you serve never slumbers or sleeps.  He is never weary or tired.  He does not faint, and He does not stumble or fall.
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REFLECTION:  When you find yourself surrounded by enemies, remember the Captain of the Heavenly Hosts has commanded His angels to encamp about you (Psalm 34:7, 91:11).  He will not let your enemies triumph over You. Second Kings 6:17(NLT) tells us, “Then Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!’ The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”  Your God prepares a feast for you in the presence of your enemies (Psalm 23:5).  Do not fear because greater is He that is in you than He who is in the world.


PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, Your perfect love expels all fear, and You have not given me the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Thank You for being my Protector and the One Who Gives His Angels Charge Over Me.  Lord, open my eyes to see You have surrounded me with Heaven’s Armies.  Fill me with courage and with strength.  Remind me always my hope is found in You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Linda A. Knowles



“And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.” -Ezekiel 43:2(KJV)

Grieving The Holy Spirit

HOLY SPIRIT

 

I found myself in Acts 5:1-11, a passage I couldn’t get away from.  Lately, I’ve thought a lot about what it truly means to grieve the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is so holy that He shrinks back at the slightest sin.  If we viewed sin as the Holy Spirit does, we would be more cautious in behavior and in words.  For me, when I look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira, I can see how serious sin is in the eyes of God and His Holy Spirit.

 

Amongst the believers, no one lacked anything because the believers were helping those within the body of Christ also called “The Church,” taking care of each other when they saw those in need.  In Acts 4:34-35, we can see it states, “There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need,” using Barnabas as an example (Acts 4:36-37) who had owned and brought the money to the apostles.  In Acts 4:32, it states, “All the believers were united in heart and mind.  And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.”  In this passage, we see the believers helping those in need in any way they were able.  As God had blessed them, they were blessing others.  It was up to each believer as to what they could do with the money from the land they had sold.  They could have done what they wanted with their property as well as their money, and it was up to each believer to decide how much each would give or what each would do with their property.

 

Now that brings us to Ananias and Sapphira…  Just like everyone else, they had a choice as to what to do with their cash and possessions.  But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property.  He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount.  With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest,” (Acts 5:1-2 NLT).

 

Sapphira and Ananias, instead of being upfront and truthful, conspired together to deceive the Church.  The sin was not in them wanting to sell their property.  The sin was not in them keeping back part of the money.  The sin was the deceptive masquerade they put on before the Apostles and the Church.  Acts 5:3-4 states, “Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart?  You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.  The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished.  And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away.  How could you do a thing like this?  You weren’t lying to us but to God!’”

 

The Holy Spirit exposed Ananias’ deception.  We can see this by the words given to Peter to speak, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart?  You lied to the Holy Spirit…  How could you do a thing like this?  You weren’t lying to us but to God!’”  If we don’t have God’s approval, then we have absolutely nothing.  The Spirit of the Living God does not approve of deception in any way, shape, fashion, or form.  We need to always remember that “Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.”

 

The consequence of Ananias lying to the Holy Spirit can be found in Acts 5:5-6, and it states this, “As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died.  Everyone who heard about it was terrified.  Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.”  That’s how serious a matter it is when one deliberately chooses to set out to deceive his/her brethren, when one deliberately chooses to conspire with another or others to do evil, when one chooses to sin rather than doing what is right before the eyes of God.

 

Sin is transgression of God’s law.  ALL sin is transgression of God’s law, and He is not impressed with posturing or masquerades or pretense.  In the presence of the Living God, everything is laid bare, fully exposed.  He commands truth and holiness.  God doesn’t have suggestions, but He does have commands.  We are to follow those commands as outlined in His Written Word.  Love for God is keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.

 

What happened to Sapphira?  I wonder if her response to Peter would have been different had she known what happened to her husband, but Scripture states Sapphira didn’t know what happened.  Acts 5:7-11 says, “About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  Peter asked her, ‘Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?’  ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘that was the price.’  And Peter said, ‘How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.’  Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.”

 

I know these are rather sobering thoughts, but as I have been thinking about this for the last several days, I find myself humbled and in awe of God who has given us His Word so that we might know all we need to live a life pleasing to Him.  Our God is very merciful and compassionate, but our God is the God of Justice, the God who demands honesty in the innermost parts.  It’s not enough for those attending places of worship to have ambitions of being a disciple of Christ.  Either you are a disciple of Christ or you’re not.  You cannot have it both ways.  God is not impressed with pretense, hypocrisy, or showmanship.  If you are putting on a show simply to keep up appearances or just to gain the approval of man, God will eventually strip off your mask.  You cannot expect to be blessed when you are living a life of disobedience to God.



REFLECTION:  “Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness,” (Matthew 23:28).  Who are you when no one is watching?  Are you living two lives –one life in your place of worship and another life outside of your place of worship?  Being Christ-like is a lifestyle, not an act of showmanship.  When you go before God, do a deep self-examination, letting God show you if there is anything within you that offends Him.  Let Him show you if there is anything you need to repent of.  This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it,” (Isaiah 30:15).  Repent of your wicked ways, turning to God, and have Him cleanse you from your sins.  It is only in surrendering to God that you will find rest.  God is your Savior, and when you submit to obeying Him and walking in His ways, that is where you will find liberty.  When you confess and repent of your sins, you have this assurance found in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God of Truth, and You are the God of Justice.  Lord, I’m sorry for being pretentious, for caring more about gaining approval of men instead of seeking Your approval alone.  I’m sorry for grieving Your Holy Spirit.  Father, I have sinned against You and You alone.  Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.  Have Your way in my life, and come reign in me.  I’m truly sorry for sinning against You.  Please don’t cast me away from Your Presence because I am nothing without You.  Wash me clean with the Hyssop of Heaven and I shall be made clean.  Please forgive me, and have Your way in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles



“But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.” -Isaiah 63:10

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)

God Does What Is Best

Ps 32 10



“Accept the way God does things for who can straighten what he made crooked?”

Ecclesiastes 7:13


Accept the way God does things?   “Linda, you can’t be serious.”  Yes, I am serious.  I cannot overlook what the verse says.  “Accept the way God does things.”  The fact is God loves us, and He wants the best for us.  God’s way of doing things is vastly different than ours.  If I could have some things done instantly, they would be done, but I am so glad God did not give me some of the things I wanted immediately;  Some things I’m glad He didn’t give me at all.  We could complain and talk until we’re blue in the face, but that will not make God answer us faster or even get Him to move out of His perfect timing.  God has good things in store for each of His children, and the good things He has for us ARE WORTH waiting for.  Doing things our way can only mess things up.  However, when God works, His work is done in His perfect timing, and everything works out for the good of those who love Him and according to His purpose.



REFLECTION“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom the work God has done from beginning to end,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  Are you willing to accept God’s ways?  Will you submit to God’s timing and wait for Him to work out everything?  Remember, God is your Heavenly Father and only wants the best for you, and no one is able to stop Divine Providence.  Accept how God does things because His ways are not our ways.  You do not know the future, but God sees what is up ahead of you.  He is the only One Who truly knows your future and what lies ahead.  Consider the work of God and His sovereignty.  God has not forgotten about you, and He is still in control.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, nothing stops Your divine providence.  Your Word goes forth and Your Word will accomplish the purposes for which it was sent.  Your ways, how You work, is something I cannot fathom, but I know everything is working together for my good because I love You and am called according to Your purpose.  Father, I am humbled by Your goodness and Your faithfulness, and though I may not understand how You work everything out, I am trusting and hoping in You for You, O God, are still in control.  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


Sometimes I Wonder…

JOB



“Why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful?”

-Job 21:7 NLT


“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; Do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

-Psalm 37:7-9 NLT


“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”

-Isaiah 48:10 NLT



Sometimes I wonder why it always looks like the wicked succeed, then I’m reminded that the wicked are not succeeding because they are perishing. One can be wealthy and successful by every worldly standard and yet be spiritually bankrupt. Success in the eyes of God is vastly different from how the world sees it. God takes you to heights unknown when you are following Him and He blesses those who are walking in obedience to Him.

There may be trials along the way to get to the destination God has for you, but those trials teach you endurance and perseverance. You are not refined in the times of good, but you are refined in the furnace of suffering. God is the one who will make you come out as gold. Just remember to keep your eyes and your mind fixed on the Author and Finisher of your faith, and He will be the One who gives you perfect peace as you keep trusting in Him.



REFLECTIVE PRAYER Heavenly Father, You, O God, are the Author and the Finisher of my faith.  I will continue to keep my eyes and my mind fixed on You because in You alone there is hope and peace.  You are the True Joy Giver.  You are the One who upholds me with Your victorious right hand, and You have made me more than a conqueror.  Lord, help me to always remember that no matter what comes my way, no matter what circumstances I find myself in, You will be the One who shapes and refines me and brings me forth like gold.  Guide me as I walk along this narrow way for Your grace is the wall of protection around me, the netting that catches me when I’m falling, and Your grace is my covering.  Lead me to the destination You have for me.  Help me to carry out the tasks You have assigned me, and may my spirit always yield to You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Much love to you all,

Linda A. Knowles

Give Rightful Place To GOD

Psalm 139vs23-24



Idols cannot give us life.  GOD, however, is the Creator;  He is the Giver of Life.  “…yet my people have exchanged their glorious GOD for worthless idols,”  (Jeremiah 2:11).   An idol is anything or anyone that takes away GOD’s rightful place in our lives.  To exchange GOD for temporal things is foolishness.  Why would we exchange GOD who is the glory and the lifter of our heads (Psalm 3:3) for something else that is incapable of giving us life, for something which fades or withers away, something which eventually breaks (1 John 2:17).  Why exchange GOD who is eternal for other things which are not lasting?



“You must not have any other god but me.  You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.  I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”  -Exodus 20:3-6

Since we are commanded not to have any other gods but the Almighty GOD then we must take hold of GOD, and cling tightly to His truth for He is our Sustainer (Psalm 54:4) and He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).  When we love GOD, with our whole heart and soul and mind, we won’t want to hurt or displease GOD.  We demonstrate our love for GOD by giving GOD His rightful place in our lives and obeying all He has commanded us to do.  First place in our lives is not for anyone or anything else.

GOD alone is sovereign, worthy of all glory, honor, and praise for Who He Is.  He is worthy because He is GOD and has demonstrated His love and mercy to us by bestowing His love and His blessings lavishly upon His children.  GOD is to be our First Love.  Nothing can give us lasting joy except for GOD, and there is nothing that can replace GOD in our lives.  We can try to replace GOD in our lives, but that would be breaking GOD’s commands which would displease GOD and cause us nothing but heartache.



“So that I may take hold of the hearts of the people of Israel.  For because of their idols, they are all estranged from ME.” -Ezekiel 14:5


“So humble yourselves before God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come close to God, and God will come close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinner;  purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between GOD and the world.  Let there be tears for what you have done.  let there be sorrow and deep grief.  Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” -James 4:7-10



Let’s not pull away from GOD, but let’s be faithful to our GOD and not dessert Him for things which are fleeting.  Instead, let’s worship Him in spirit and in truth, giving Him our very best because He gave us His very best, loving Him because He first loved us.  GOD is worthy of us following Him wholeheartedly.  We should never give Him our leftovers, but give Him all the honor due Him because He is GOD. 



PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are Sovereign.  There is no other who compares with You for You are glorious and majestic in all Your ways.  Forgive me for the times I have put other things before You.  I never want to displease You.  Help me to always remember that You alone are GOD and You want the best for me.  Thank You for allowing me the privilege to be able to draw close to You.  Thank You for being mindful of me and for lavishly loving me.   Thank You for forgiving me.  Because I love You, I will do as You command and walk in Your ways.  Guide me into all truth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles

 

 

Follow Him Wherever He Leads

2 KINGS 6.

Hope, trust, faith, and belief in GOD are never misplaced, and with GOD, all things are possible.  Our GOD is able to do far above and beyond what we could ever ask or think.

He is the LORD who delivered His people out of slavery, the LORD who made the blind to see, made the lame to walk, and the One who calmed the sea.

The GOD who did all that is able to take you through whatever you’re going through.  He is able to get you through to the other side.  Whatever mountain you are facing, He is able to help you climb.  He is the GOD who specializes in the impossible.  Is there anything impossible for Him?  Nothing is impossible for Him, but without Him, you can do nothing.  He is the One who will strengthen you and supply you with the strength you need.  He is the One who will lead you through the storm.  He is the Cleft of the Rock where you can take shelter from the storm.  Rely and depend on Him for He is GOD.  He will never disappoint you.

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“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” -Romans 8:15

When you are a child of the Most High GOD, you’re surrounded by the Heavenly Hosts, protected, and safe in the arms of GOD. Just follow Him wherever He leads, and know everything is going to be all right.  Remember GOD knows what you need before you even ask Him.  He has supplied all you need to get through whatever place you find yourself in at the moment.  He cares about you and does far beyond what you could ever ask or think.

Keep your mind fixed on GOD.  Trust in Him, and He will keep you in perfect peace.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are so good.  Thank You for being my Shelter.  There is no other GOD like You.  You are the Sure Foundation, and as long as I stand upon You, I know I cannot sink.  You have me engraved in the palm of Your hand, and I know You have not forgotten me.  Be with me, LORD, for with You, I have no reason to fear for You have not given me the spirit of fear but of love and of power and of a sound mind.  Thank You for taking me this far.  LORD, my help comes from You alone for You, O GOD, are my Portion forever.  You are my Shield and my Fortress.  Thank You for the work You are doing in me and the work You will continue to do in me.  Have Your way in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



May GOD bless you abundantly,

Linda A. Knowles

Let God Handle Your Enemies

EXODUS



“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us!” -Isaiah 8:9-10


Your enemies can devise all the schemes and plans they want to try to take you down. They have one major problem; they have to get through the blood of Christ in order to get to you. They can come up with clever word games and other manipulative tactics, but they can never thwart the plans of God for your life. The Word of God is not chained, and when the Word of God goes out, the Word of God will accomplish the purposes for which it was sent. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies cannot be stopped by any mortal. Immanuel (God With Us) is a declarative name, and because God is with you, you are made victorious. The Lord Your God is your Immanuel, and God being with you rescues you from the clutches of the enemy.  “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?  If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  Keep standing on the promises of God and obeying His commandments as He is fighting your battles and as He is taking care of your enemies.  Always remember the battle belongs to the Lord.



REFLECTION:  “If you love me, obey my commandments,” (John 14:15) Christ said, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”  In dealing with your enemies, you do not deal with them as the world does.  You don’t pray for their demise or for something bad to happen to them.  Vengeance belongs to God alone.  As a child of the Most High God, you are to continue walking in obedience to the teaching of Christ and to know, as well as to keep at the front of your mind, that your responsibility is to love your enemies and do good to those that hate you.  If you love the Lord, you will obey Him and His teachings and keep trusting in Him to take care of those who are against you.  Let God be God, and you remain blessed by loving your enemies, praying for them, and doing good to those who hate you.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, to You be all the glory.  You alone are God, and You said vengeance belongs to You.  Bless my enemies by meeting their deepest need to know You and who You are.  Lord, teach me how to do good to my enemies and show me ways to bless them.  Forgive me for the times, I have desired revenge, and help me to remember Your ways are not my ways.  Help me to remember you work all things out for good.  Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and strengthen me as I continue to do Your will and obey Your teachings.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



“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

Linda A. Knowles

Times of Desperation Are The Best



GRACE 2



You might be thinking, “Seriously, Linda? Times of desperation are the best? Are you crazy?”  Probably, but I have had a lot of time to think about desperation since I have been through desperate situations myself as well as knowing some others who have found themselves in situations and circumstances beyond their control. I have thought a lot about people in the bible who have found themselves in the most dangerous or crazy situations.  *Let’s face it. We’ve all had those moments where we have come face to face with trials and not knowing what to do in those situations… those situations that have had us laid out before the LORD, those situations that have had us completely at the end of ourselves, that have us carefully tuning in to hear GOD’s voice speak, paying more attention to what the Word of GOD has to say, and clinging to GOD more than we usually do.


“In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” -Psalm 34:6 (NLT)

Are these times pleasant when we are going through them?  NO.  However, those are the rawest of moments where GOD can work WITHOUT US trying to help HIM because there is nothing of self to get in the way because we have given up the situation to GOD, completely surrendering whatever it is to HIM.  That’s where GOD wants us: FULLY SURRENDERED TO HIM, relying on HIM, not just in the bad times but in the good times as well…  in the time of blessings and in the time of tribulations.  *In the pages of Scriptures, we see Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah who all lived for GOD, served GOD, and did great things for GOD.  However, they all went through trying times.  Through it all, they clung to GOD with steadfast devotion and unwavering loyalty.  Their success did not come by walking an easy road but by walking a narrow road paved with humility, suffering, persecution, and all while walking in obedience to GOD who upheld them no matter what the circumstances or situations they were in.  GOD worked everything out for their good and for HIS purposes, and GOD can work things out for you just as HE did for them.  Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah were blessed for enduring their times of trial, those desperate situations.   Remember it was desperate times which took Joseph from the cistern to the palace (Genesis 37-41), Daniel from the Lion’s Den into prosperity (Daniel 6:28), and Nehemiah from cupbearer to heading up the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-9).  

REFLECTION “For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses,” (2 Kings 18:6).  You can be like Hezekiah who did not depart from following GOD but kept the commandments of GOD.  Cling tightly to GOD at ALL times.  Be faithful to the GOD who has been faithful to you and who has kept you.  Be loyal to the GOD who has not let your enemies triumph over you.  Walk with HIM and follow the LORD’s commandments, obeying Him with wholehearted devotion.  Without GOD, you can do nothing.  With GOD, you are an overcomer and made victorious. *PRAYER Heavenly Father, Your power is made perfect in weakness. You are the Horn of My Salvation, and You are the Wellspring of Life.  No matter what the circumstance, good or bad, I will put my hope and trust in You for with You all things are possible.  Thank You for times of desperation because, in those moments, You teach me and show me more of Your goodness, Your faithfulness, and Your grace.  Thank you for making my feet like a deer able to climb the mountain heights You have set me on, and when I come to You to have my strength renewed as I wait upon you, let me rise up with wings like an eagle.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”  -Isaiah 50:10

That Is The God We Serve


“For in him we live, and move, and have our being…”

Acts 17:28


AWESOME GOD

 

In Christ, we are never alone because GOD is with us.  Our LORD and our GOD tells us we can come to Him anytime, that eloquent words are not needed to come to Him.  He welcomes us to come to Him and talk with Him anytime, that we are not bothering Him, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden,” and to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” because in Him, we have all that we need.  He tells us to trust Him.  We cannot do this life on our own.  For certain, we cannot keep ourselves alive because He is the One who gives us every breath we take, and “In Him we live and move and have our being.”

 

This life and everything in it is fleeting.  There is only ONE thing that is certain and sure.  ONE that is eternal as everything else is frail and temporal.  That ONE is Jesus Christ, the only Sure Foundation.  While there are mere mortals who try to rise up and take claim to be messiah, there is ONLY one Messiah.  His name is Jesus Christ.

He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Sure Foundation, the True and Faithful Witness.  He is the Lamb Slain Before the Foundation of the World.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Bright Morning Star; He is the Source of Life, the Root of Jesse, the Offspring of David, and the One Who Sits at the Right Hand of the Father.  He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  He is the Eternal One, the Fourth Man in the Furnace, The Son of the Living GOD, The Firstborn of All Creation, and He is the Living GOD.  Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the Anointed One, The Messiah, The Ancient of Days, The Savior, and The Soon Coming Lion of Judah.

He is truly the All In All who defines His own children.  His children are not defined by any man.  His children are accepted into the beloved, bought with His precious shed blood, and they belong to Him.  And if He be for them, who can be against them?  Absolutely no one.  Our LORD and SAVIOR is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  He is the Everlasting GOD, Emmanuel, and He is The Wonderful Counselor.  He is altogether lovely, the Sweet Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, and His love is better than the finest wine.  THAT’S THE GOD WE SERVE. 

He is the Prince of Peace that breaks down walls of hostility, The Cornerstone, The Lamb of GOD, and He is the Light of the World.  He is indescribable, and He is The Discerner of the Hearts of Man.  He is Wisdom, Insight, and Understanding.  There is none like Him, and there never will be.  He is Hope, and He is Healing.  He is the Good Shepherd, the Image of the Invisible GOD, and He is awesome, worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.  He is glorious and majestic, perfect in all His ways.  Our GOD: The Manna From Heaven and the Living Waters.  THAT’S THE GOD WE SERVE.

 

PRAYER:  LORD of Glory, You are awesome in might and in power.  You, O GOD, deserve all honor and praise because of who You are.  You are merciful, and You are the Giver of Life.  You hold the waters of the earth in Your hands and Your voice is as of the voice of many waters.  Thank You for Your unfailing love and Your compassion that fails not.  Sovereign GOD and King, to You may I always lift my voice and sing and glory in Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Linda A. Knowles