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.”

 

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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)

 

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)

So HE Became Their Enemy

DON'T GRIEVE HOLY SPIRIT
The children of GOD had rebelled against Him.  But then again, what else was new with the children of GOD?  Time and time again, GOD gave them an open invitation holding out His arms to embrace them, and what did they do? They chose over and over again to deliberately do what they knew offended GOD.  They grieved His Holy Spirit which resulted in GOD becoming their enemy and fighting against them as Isaiah 63:10 shows us.
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The LORD gave His people chance after chance to repent and turn from their wicked ways, to be restored, to have a change of mind.  Yet, they disregarded GOD, defying Him, and continued in their sins.  GOD was more than gracious, “All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people…” and how did they respond to the GOD who kept His arms open to them, the verse continues saying this, “But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes.”
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Today, most, who call themselves children of GOD, are no different.  A large number go to a place of worship, go through the motions, putting on a great show of “holiness” and pretense, lying and making themselves out to be what they are not.  The masquerade they put on looks great when in reality they are nothing but whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones.  Satan doesn’t have to slip into the churches when he just has to walk through the front doors of the church because GOD is being kicked out of the churches by the “Shepherds” who no longer care for their flock and are clueless about the state of their flock.  “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity,” (Matthew 23:27).
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Political correctness has flooded the church buildings.  Holiness and GOD’s ways are not popular, and not many will preach against sin.  The problem with that is when sin is not addressed and dealt with, the issues of holiness and righteousness cannot be addressed.  GOD is not, has not, and will NEVER be politically correct.
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Unless the children of GOD humble themselves in the presence of the ALMIGHTY GOD and repent of their evil behavior and attitudes, make no mistake, Folks, “For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News,” (1 Peter 4:17).
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“Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.  Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” -Galatians 6:7-8
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“You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ That is correct: They were broken off because of unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.”  -Romans 11:19-21
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Are you truly GOD’s child, or are you His child only when it is convenient for you?  Is GOD truly your King, or do you treat Him like an emergency number to call only when an emergency strikes?  Do you follow GOD’s will and His laws shown in the pages of the Bible, or are you walking in rebellion doing things your way instead of doing things GOD’s way?
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Repent, because while you have breath, there is time to repent. Don’t wait until it is too late.  You only have a chance now while you are still breathing.
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“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.  Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.  ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”
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PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You, O GOD, are in Heaven, and here I am on Earth, and I am made by Your hands.  I have sinned greatly against You and You alone.  Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within in.  Wash me clean as only You can.  Let me draw close to You once again.  Forgive me for my pretense and hypocrisy and for not living as I should before You.  Forgive me for defying Your holy and written laws.  Forgive me for being prideful before You, disobeying  You, and for violating Your commandments.  This day, I am making a choice before You that I will choose life, to follow You and Your ways.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and cast me not away from Your presence.  Thank You for Your grace and Your mercy, and thank You for forgiving me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles


Huldah & King Josiah

HULDAHShe inspired King Josiah and a nation to repent.  Her name?  Huldah, a prophetess who lived in the 2nd District of Jerusalem during the time of King Josiah’s reign.  Not a lot is said about her.  However, her role in the nation of Judah was one of great significance.

Here is their story:  King Josiah, eight years old, had become king and reigned for 31 years.  He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s eyes, followed the example of his ancestor King David, and continued doing what was right.  (Reference 2 Kings 22:1-7)

Fast forward to the 18th year of his reign,

“Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!’  Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.  Shaphan went to the king and reported, ‘Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.’  Shaphan also told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’  So Shaphan read it to the king.   When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.   Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah.  Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found.  For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll.  We have not been doing everything it says we must do.’” -2 Kings 22:8-11

Josiah’s response was a fitting response given the fact He had heard the Words of the Lord.  He listened to the Book of the Law which was now found, filled with despair, he tears in clothes in act of remorse.  The king was not dignified in that moment of despair.  Even Josiah himself took note, “We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”  King Josiah wanted to know what they should do.  As a result, he sent Hilkiah, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah to go to the temple, speak to the Lord for him (King Josiah), the people, and Judah.  King Josiah had recognized God was angry at them because of their ancestors’ disobedience to the Words written on the scroll.

The men made their way over to consult Huldah about what they had found.  For them to go to her, it was obvious she was respected, and she had a message from the Lord for them,

“She said to them, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people.  All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done.  My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.  But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate.  You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance.  And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord.  So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace.  You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.  So they took her message back to the king.’” -2 Kings 22:15-20

Huldah spoke boldly and confidently.  She gave the men the message the Lord had her to give without hesitation.  The message the Lord gave her was clear, and she had the courage to tell them exactly what God wanted.  Huldah was willing to be used.

King Josiah’s response to the message God gave Huldah to give him is remarkable:

“Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. 3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.”  -2 Kings 23:1-3 

He took the warning Huldah gave and he acted on the Word of the Lord.  King Josiah took the lead, called everyone together in one place for the reading of the Word of God, and they pledged themselves to the Covenant.  The King vowed to keep the commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul in the presence of God.  King Josiah gave himself over to the ways of God.  He removed the idolatrous priests who offered sacrifices to pagan gods, removed pagan worship and shrines of prostitution from the Temple of the Lord, idolatrous priests were not allowed to eat of the unleavened bread with the other priests, destroyed altars on the palace roof and the upper room of the palace and any other altar for worship to other gods, and the list goes on of the actions King Josiah made.  He took drastic action.  (Reference 2 Kings 23)

Like Huldah, are you willing to be used by the Lord to carry out the task He has given you?

Are you willing to be shaped and molded by the Lord like King Josiah was?

Will you, like Josiah, set your face like stone determined to do the will of God?

Will you push aside God’s Word, or will you draw close to Him and take immediate action on what needs to change in your life?

Is there anything you have to do so your life falls in line with God’s Word?

Remember our God never fails.  He is the One who strengthens you and delivers you. You need only to go to Him and call out to Him.  But if you go to the Lord for counsel and He tells you what to do, then be prepared to jump into action and follow every instruction He gives you.

“And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22

 

L.A. Knowles

ZACCHAEUS DID WHAT HE HAD TO

“He entered Jericho and was passing through.  And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’  And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'” (Luke 19:1-10)

REPENTANCE 8

Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, and he did whatever he had to in order to see Jesus.  In his case, he ran ahead and climbed a tree because Jesus was soon to pass by that way.  Jesus took notice of Zacchaeus and his heart because Jesus knew the heart of man. 

WHY DID JESUS WANT TO GO TO ZACCHAEUS’ HOME?

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:23-25)

No one had to tell Jesus what the heart of men was like.  He knew their thoughts and their ways.  While no one else sees the heart of another, Jesus did and still does.  Our Savior didn’t need to be told, and even in Jeremiah, the prophet noted what the heart of man is like: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  BUT Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ heart, and Jesus called out to Zacchaeus who was in the tree.  Zacchaeus HEARD JESUS CALL HIS NAMEPROMPTLY OBEYED JESUS, QUICKLY CAME DOWN FROM THE TREE and RECEIVED JESUS JOYFULLY because Jesus was coming to his house.  Zacchaeus wanted to hear what Jesus had to say and responded to Jesus’ message.  Note these words of the passage, So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.”  Zacchaeus RECEIVED Jesus joyfully.  Because the message of Jesus made a difference in Zacchaeus’ life, we can see the result of Zacchaeus’ changed life and his repentance.  It took an act of genuine repentance on Zacchaeus’ part.  Zacchaeus not only received Jesus, he also turned from his wicked ways, made restitution giving back more than he took in cheating people, and had a change of thinking.  In that act of repentance and in the act of Zacchaeus changing his wicked ways, Jesus brought salvation to Zacchaeus and his household.  The evidence of Zacchaeus being saved was demonstrated.  How you live before God matters.

REPENTANCE 7Claiming to have a relationship with Christ is more than words.  Having a relationship with Christ means daily communing with Him, and loving Christ means obeying His commands, being faithful and loyal to Him no matter what the cost.  Having a relationship with Christ means having a heart of contrition and repentance, receiving Jesus and His message, turning from your wicked ways, and changing the way you think so that your thoughts are aligned with God’s thoughts.  Having a relationship with Christ is about laying down your will and your ways and walking in the ways of God, following the example Christ has set for you.  Having a relationship with Christ means laying down your life for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, concerning yourself with mercy and justice and faithfulness, and walking humbly before Him.  Saying you follow Christ without your life matching your words means nothing.

While you have breath there is a chance for repentance, changing your ways, and changing the way you think.  Take an example from Zacchaeus and his attitude before Jesus.  Zacchaeus didn’t just speak words of contrition.  His words of contrition were backed up by his actions, changing his ways and turning from his wickedness, gladly receiving the message of Christ.

“Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, ‘If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it.  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.’” (Mark 8:34-38)

REPENTANCE 2One day each individual will have to stand before the God the Creator of all things, and each will be called into account for every idle word spoken and every action taken.   So what will you do with what you know about Jesus?  Who do you say Jesus is?  Will you accept or reject Him?  What you do with Christ is a matter of spiritual life and death, and what you do with Christ will determine where you will spend life after death.  Don’t miss out on eternity with God by rejecting the only means of salvation God provided through His Son Jesus Christ.  Choose life with Christ.  Living a life truly sold out in devotion to Christ is worth it.

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

 

 

 

The Secret Heart

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” -Psalm 51:6 (ESV)

HEART 3I have fallen in love with this verse because it showed me something I genuinely believe in.  GOD IS TRUTH, AND HE DELIGHTS IN HONESTY BEFORE HIM.  To pour ourselves out before GOD is to come before Him humbly, to come before Him with a heart open ready to hear His voice and really listen to Him, to come before Him with our minds set on Him, to really think about what GOD desires and what He would have us to do, to worship and adore Him “in spirit and in truth.”

Being able to come to God in prayer is a wonderful privilege given to us by Our Creator, and even knowing what we are capable of, He still desires to commune with us.

There is no better place to be than in the presence and in the arms of the Most High God, to be there fully, with our entire being before Him.  One of my favorite examples of this is the woman with the alabaster jar.  She fell at the feet Jesus worshiping Him, and it didn’t matter who or what was surrounding her.  She poured herself out before Christ, and she gave all she had in worship to Him.

Personally, when I ask GOD to restore or renew me, I am reminded of this verse found in Isaiah 30:15, “For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength…'”  Those words of that verse have become part of me because I know I find rest and salvation in repentance, and in “quiet confidence” is where I find strength…

And in that place where I meet with Him, I can break open my alabaster box to let Him see all that is there, a place I know that is safe and where I can find healing and restoration and where mercy is granted, grace poured out, joy beyond measure, and more hope found.

And in the “secret heart” that is where God will teach us wisdom and understanding, that place from where emotions, actions, words flow out.  GOD gives wisdom to all who ask, and GOD does so generously.

Let Him teach you wisdom in the secret heart.  Let Him breathe life into you, and restore what is broken, heal what needs mending, and let Him give you times of refreshing through your genuine repentance and quiet confidence.

It is truly worth it all.

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30

The Horrible Crabapple Tree, Plastic Sandwich Bag, & Disgruntled Me

APPLE TREE 1On the property of the house I grew up in, there was a Crabapple Tree, and I despised the tree.  As a kid, I blamed the tree for the miserable apples it produced, giving me the displeasure of having to pick up all the apples falling from it onto the ground. I hated picking up those apples, and I most often could be heard shouting, “I hate this!” and “Stupid apples!”
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I braced myself before I started that chore, put a plastic sandwich bag on my hand because of how rotten they were, and then I would begin.  It was the worst chore, but I had only two options to go outside and complete my chore OR be grounded.  I chose to complete my chore.  All I wanted was for the Crabapple Tree to work with me.  I wasn’t asking for a lot when I shouted at the tree, “Work with me!  Not against me.”
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It was an absolutely beautiful tree, but the fruit was rotten.


WHAT KIND OF TREE ARE YOU?

APPLE TREE 3
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Are you a good tree producing good fruit, or are you a bad tree, like the Crabapple Tree in this story, producing rotten fruit?
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Jesus had this to say in Luke 6:43-45, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit.  For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”


“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” -John 15:16



As a child of God, you are chosen by Jesus to go forth and bear much fruit.  How you conduct yourself is very important because unbelievers are watching you especially if you are witnessing to them about the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Some will try to push you to the edge to see how you will react, and so there must be a noticeable difference between you and those who are unbelievers.  Your conduct and your speech must line up together.  If the unbeliever cannot tell the difference between you and them, then there is a problem.  All of us are to be lights in this dark world.  If you live like the world while claiming to be a child of God, you are fooling yourself and still living in darkness (1 John 1:1-8).
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In 1 Samuel 9:2, King Saul is described as handsome.  God, however, saw King Saul’s heart.  King Saul did not do the will of God, bearing the fruits of disobedience and being more concerned about the approval of man.
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God tells Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 
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And God is still telling us the same thing today.  God wants us to do His will, and when we do His will out of obedience and devotion to Him, we are producing good fruit.  When we spend time in prayer, the Holy Spirit is working in us, convicting us, changing us.  When we conform our will to the Lord’s will, we will produce good fruit.  The only reason we are able to bear the fruit God wants us to bear is because of His grace and His mercy, and as His Holy Spirit guides and leads us into His Truth, we bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control.
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What fruit are you bearing?  Are your actions and your words lining up together?  Are you walking the walk and not just talking the talk?  Is there a noticeable difference between you and the unbeliever?


“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”  (2 Peter 3:9)



 Much Love To You All,
L.A.  Knowles

Digging Cracked Cisterns

CISTERN 3For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me-the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”  –Jeremiah 2:13

If we look at the first four chapters of Jeremiah, you will notice that Spiritual Adultery and Idolatry are used interchangeably.  In the eyes of God, these two issues are the same issue.  To commit spiritual adultery is to be unfaithful to God and to commit idolatry is to worship another god.  Both require no loyalty, commitment, faithfulness, or courage to stand for what’s right.

Looking at the above verse from Jeremiah, the people of Israel were digging cracked cisterns for themselves.  Cisterns hold water, but in this particular passage, the cracked cisterns were the false religious systems and their continual idolatry of false gods the pagan nations served.  Whenever the Israelites turned away from God to serve the gods of pagan nations, they were building cracked cisterns that could not hold the amount of spiritual adultery, the pagan rituals they adopted along with the adoration of foreign gods.  The cracked cisterns represented everything temporal which would eventually fade away or erode.

However, the Fountain of the Living Water holds Truth and Life, and the Fountain of Living Water is eternal, unbreakable, the Source of Our Hope, and the Source of Life.  The people of God traded in their God, The Creator of Heavens and Earth, for gods made out of the hands of man.  Note:  Not even the pagan nations traded in their national gods as we can see in verses 11-12 which states, “Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones even though they are not gods at all?  Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols!  The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay, says the Lord.”

Nowadays, we’re no different from the Israelites.  We could call them foolish people, but today, we’re just as foolish as they were.  We trade in the Fountain of the Living Water for cracked cisterns of our own making called money, power, wealth, prestige, religious systems, or whatever it is taking first place in our lives.  First place in our lives belongs to God and Him alone.  Why would we trade our glorious God for what is going to fade away?  Why would we trade our glorious God for what is broken and cracked when He offers what is whole and eternal?  Why should we cling to cracked cisterns when God is faithful to His promises of restoration and renewal, promises of hope?

God has shown us He does not change.  He is our Constant and Assurance.  He knows the motivations and intentions of the heart.  God does not look at the appearance of any man or woman.  He sees us digging cracked cisterns or if we are drinking from the Fountain of the Living Water.

If we have dug cracked cisterns for ourselves, then we must know we are being called back to a place of repentance.  God promises restoration for those who truly have a broken spirit and contrite heart before Him and does not turn away those who are humble and broken, truly repentant before Him.

What cracked cisterns do you have?  Are you truly willing to lay them down at the feet of God?  No one can answer those questions for you.  You must answer for yourself.

God must be First place in our life, our First Resource, not our last resort.  Let us come before God to be renewed, to be restored and purified.  Let us come bow our hearts before Him, seeing ourselves in light of who He is.

“You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.  You do not want a burnt offering.  The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” -Psalm 51:16-17

 

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

 

 

 

“Make Me Like Wax”

MAKE ME LIKE WAX

Written By Linda A. Knowles

October 2003

CANDLE 1

Make me like wax before the fire,

Softened and easy to shape.

Though my flesh roars out

for acts and crusades of rebellion,

May my spirit always yield

and submit to your ways.

Though purification

from selfishness and pride,

wrongful ways and sinful attitudes

may inflict temporal pain,

cleansed me as You did Isaiah

when the coal touched his lips

so I may be with You

from everlasting to everlasting.

May I continually strive

along your paths of righteousness

and seek out Your ways

that I might not become calloused

and lose First Love.