Futile rage ∙

Futile rage

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? – Psalms 2:1

Psalms 2:1-6

 1 Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans?

 2 The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one.

 3 “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

 4 But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.

 5 Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury.

 6 For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”

Rage is a form of violent, uncontrollable anger. It influences our reasoning and judgment. Rage is angry resentment or prejudice against a person or group. Frequently, our rage is unfair and unjustified.

Road rage is angry, aggressive conduct while driving. The term originated in 1987. The expression was coined to describe a rash of shootings on freeways and interstates in Los Angeles.

Rage behaviors include rude and offensive gestures, verbal insults, threatening driving, or physical threats. The underlying goal is at best, to simply relieve the driver’s frustration. At worst, road ragers seek to intimidate or harm others. Frequently, it involves leaving a vehicle to assault or even shoot another driver. Road rage is increasing. More than 1500 road rage incidents are reported each year. Over 12,000 preventable injuries have occurred. Appallingly, more than 37% of road rage incidents involve at least one firearm. During a 7-year study period, over 200 murders were attributed to road rage.

Too often, the Father is the object of rage and rebellion. Rage is often thoughtless and blind. Sadly, it lurks in the heart of every fallen person. If you search, you will probably find it silently lurking within.

Who is ultimately in charge of planet Earth and the created universe? Where does the buck stop? The Scriptures unequivocally answer this question. The Father is the architect and creator of all. He has control and sovereignty over His creation.

Psalm 2 recounts the senseless rejection of the Father’s rule and authority. His chosen and anointed King, the Lord Jesus Christ, is also targeted. The Psalm reveals an astonishing, yet consistent pattern found throughout the Scripture. The Father sits serenely and confidently upon His throne. He rules peacefully and quietly. He is sovereign over all things. He has made choices, and His choices stand firm. On the other hand, people tend to be obtuse, stubborn, self-absorbed, willful, rebellious, and defiant.

The first word of the Psalm sets the tone, “Why.” The psalmist is not seeking information or clarification by asking “Why.” Rather, it is more of an exclamation of puzzlement, even astonishment. In modern English, we might say, “How can people be so stupid?” Why do they tumultuously rage, give themselves over to senseless anger, and “waste their time with futile plans”?

People dupe themselves into thinking they can successfully rebel against the sovereign, omnipotent Lord of lords and King of Kings. They delude themselves thinking that their vain struggle and defiance can somehow alter or even overthrow His absolute authority.

They foolishly imagine themselves as combatants in a struggle for dominance. On one side, are the kings and the officials of the earth. Their opponents are the Father Himself and His Anointed One, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. What an impossible contest. Somehow, I picture angry mice screaming and plotting against an alpha, male elephant. Yet such a meager word picture is not an adequate representation of the absurd incongruity of it all.

If the outcome could be determined by numbers alone, the kings would win. Down through the ages, their combined armies number in the billions. The kings and their soldiers square off against only two opponents, the Father and the Son. But it is no contest. The Father is greater than all.

It is worth noting that their entire rebellion is in words only. They only raise their voices against the Father, never their weapons.

The absurdity of it all is reminiscent of the fairy tale about the big bad Wolf and the three little pigs. Similar to the Wolf, they are full of hot air. They huff and puff, but absolutely nothing changes. The Father’s plans and choices are set in granite. They stand firm and no created force can budge them.

REFLECT & PRAY

It is almost inconceivable that anyone would be so foolish as to launch a war with the Father that they cannot win. Yet, indeed they do.

Father it is so easy to judge and condemn others. I must confess that rage lives within my wicked heart as well. Thank You for forgiving my rebellion. Enable me to understand and forgive others as well.

INSIGHT

Psalms 2:1-3

 1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,

 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

The Hebrew word translated rage, angry, in an uproar is ragash. It signifies being in a state of great anger, to behave violently, to behave irrationally. “The verb ragash designates any noisy or riotous assembly that practically seethes in its antagonism” (Leupold). The nations gather in tumultuous anger and it escalates from there.

They “devise futility” (Leupold). They make plans, they plot, they scheme, they ruminate, they strategize. The Hebrew word translated vain is riq. It has the sense of empty, useless, pointless, or worthless.

The bottom line is that neither rage nor pathetic, ineffectual scheming can change anything.

The French common language version (FRCL) translates the Hebrew with a question and a statement: “The nations are in an uproar – but why? The people plot, but it is useless!” (UBS).

It is easy to imagine the psalmist writing these words and shaking his head in disbelief (Johnston). They cannot possibly win, so why try? Rage and murmured, shouted schemes and plots are rooted in the hearts of each fallen person. Our hearts are naturally bent against the Father, the living God.

How does the Father react to such feeble rebellion and raging anger? He laughs.

Psalm 2:4 But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.

Just imagine in your mind’s eye for a moment, the Father, regally sitting in heaven. He is shaking His head, laughing. I can hear Him saying, “Really! You cannot be serious!” There is more, He scoffs at them, He ridicules them, He mocks them.

Each of us, although children of the King, possess the same fallen nature. We also are given to pity parties and angry rancor. But the Father is not angry with us, because He knows we are but dust (Psalms 103:13-14). How does the Father respond to His children? Perhaps the Father would ask the same question, “Why?” And then somewhat incredulously ponder, “How can My children be so stupid?” He exclaims, “They just do not get it, but someday they will.”

In the twinkling of an eye the Father moves from astonishment to a longing sadness, then overflowing forgiveness, and longing for our restoration.

¯\_()_/¯ 12-02-9

Heart failure

Congestive heart failure

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. – Ezekiel 36:26

Ezekiel 36:25-27

 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.

 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

Heart failure is a very common condition. In fact, it is the number one cause of death in the United States. It occurs both in young and old. Congestive heart failure sounds really scary. Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart does not pump blood as well as it should. CHF undermines the heart’s job of pumping blood around the body. It results in shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, and swelling of the legs. Many people can live long full lives through appropriate intervention and lifestyle changes.  

Spiritually speaking the entire human race is suffering from spiritual congestive heart failure. Human sin results in spiritual congestive heart failure. We struggle to connect with the Father. Our spiritual life force is diminished, almost nonexistent. We need radical transformation.

Why is this so? Our hearts become hard, fossilized, and stony. When the Scriptures speak of the heart, it is not a reference to the physical heart, but rather an individual’s internal control center, our immaterial heart. It includes our emotions, thoughts, and will. The people Ezekiel was confronting had hardened their hearts. How hard were they? As hard as they could possibly be. Ezekiel uses the metaphor of stone. The Hebrew word translated stone is ‘eben. Stones are very common and among the hardest substances known in the Middle East. Both rocks and precious gems were referred to as stones, even as it is today.

A stony, stubborn heart develops when people set their hearts like stone. They become stubborn and recalcitrant. Their hearts become petrified, calcified, even fossilized. When this condition arises, there is no therapy to reverse it. There is no curing of a stony, stubborn heart. What is required is a spiritual heart transplant. The petrified heart must be removed and replaced with a warm, sensitive, responsive heart of flesh (Block).

That is exactly what the Father promised. He offers each of us a heart transplant. He has a perfect spiritual surgical technique. Each of His spiritual heart transplants has perfect results. In the Father’s kingdom, there is no concern for complications or rejection. He promises to remove our old stony, hard heart and replace it with a vibrant, completely healthy one. He promises to remove our impurities and put His Spirit in us. As a result of a spiritual heart transplant, the Father gives each child of the King a fresh start.

This is the miracle of regeneration. It is a simple yet profound exchange. He takes from us our hearts of stone and replaces them with soft, tender hearts of flesh. He takes away our cold, stubborn, recalcitrance. In exchange, He provides a warm, soft, supple, compliant, responsive heart. It is quite similar to the changeover that Paul teaches regarding the exchange of our sin for the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ referred to this as being born again. We are given a second chance at life. We begin afresh with the new, regenerated heart and the presence of the Holy Spirit within. At the moment this occurs, the spiritual lifeblood of the Father flows within us.

REFLECT & PRAY

Even though we are children of the King, we are still plagued by the symptoms of our human condition, spiritual congestive heart disease. We often feel blocked when we attempt to draw near to our Father. Sadly, both our desire and ability to do what is right are frequently impeded.

Father thank You that You have given each child of the King a new heart. Increase the flow of Your spiritual life force within and through us.

INSIGHT

In the physical world when corrective heart surgery will not resolve heart failure, a heart transplant is often the option of choice. Similarly, the Father is well aware that attempting to correct spiritual congestive heart failure will be ineffective. Trying to reform our old lives is simply not enough. Instead, the Father opts for a spiritual heart transplant. There is the miracle of transformation. He takes the old stubborn, stony heart and transforms it into something entirely new. When our hearts are transformed, we are given the amazing ability to become just like His Son without ever losing our identity or personality.

Through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and our acceptance of Him as our Savior, we are forgiven, cleansed, and given the Holy Spirit. This occurs once and for all.

Why does this often seem ineffective? We have lived our whole lives walking in the flesh. That was our norm and habit and we have become addicted to it. Now we must learn to walk in the Spirit and not carry out the desires of the flesh. We must dedicate ourselves to it and renew our commitment daily. Our spiritual rehabilitation is analogous to physical therapy required to restore health and well-being after physical surgery.

A new heart does not guarantee perfection. But it does guarantee opportunity.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let Your goodness, like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.

Prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for your courts above. – Robert Robinson

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s all free ∙

It’s all free

Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink – even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk – it’s all free! – Isaiah 55:1

 Isaiah 55:1-3

 1 Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live

John 7:37-36

 37 Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!

 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

In 1915, the Church of the Open Door opened its 4000-seat auditorium on Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.

It was conceived by R. A. Torrey who had come to Los Angeles to start a Bible institute (now Biola University) similar to Moody Bible Institute. Its purpose was to reach the lost people of Los Angeles

On top of the 15 plus story building were three-story-tall signs that read “JESUS SAVES.” They were visible from the surrounding freeways. Right below “JESUS SAVES” the words, “Free Food” in much smaller print.

The hungry, and often homeless, came from miles around, for the free food. Many are often left with not only full stomachs but also full and satisfied souls.

The Father makes a fantastic offer! He offers to sell what people truly need and want. How much does it cost? It is all free. The Father’s offer allows people “to buy” what is “free.” Pure grace, such a deal! And everyone is invited.

This offer is far much more than something that merely quenches physical thirst. The Father’s offer is for something that satisfies our deepest longings. Most people actually have no idea what quenches their thirst. Rest assured, the Father knows.

What is the greatest desire of our hearts? We know we have a pang, a longing, a hollowness, a vacuum inside. We search for words but can find none that describe it. How can you effectively seek something, when you do not really know what it is that you are looking for?

The Father is the architect, designer, and creator of humankind. He knows exactly what is missing. Solomon hinted at it when he wrote, “I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11).

Pascal, the great mathematician, and philosopher put it like this,

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?”

“This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there, the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

Most of us are more familiar with the inexact paraphrase, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

REFLECT & PRAY

Because God made us for an intimate relationship with Himself, our deepest needs cannot be met anywhere else but in Him. Jesus offers the only satisfaction for spiritual thirst (Stanley).

Father, I was so hungry for so many years. The ache within was intense and the thirst enormous. Thank You for revealing the Truth. Your presence not only fills the void but overflows.

INSIGHT

Isaiah 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Why would anyone spend their hard-earned money on stuff that does not satisfy? Isn’t that absurd and ridiculous? Yet down through the ages, untold multitudes, having only short-term goals and values have done and continue to do just that. How often has buyer’s regret been experienced?

What incongruous futility, expending effort and treasure for things that do not satisfy yet rejecting a free gift which satisfies forever. There is just no way to have your cake and eat it too.

The Lord Jesus Christ declares for all time, that He Himself is the source, the one and only source that provides ultimate satisfaction of our deepest, spiritual and emotional thirst. Everyone is invited.

John 7:37-36

 37 Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!

 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

Jennifer Garner asks the question “What’s in your wallet?” The Father asks the question, “Who alone satisfies your soul?”

¯\_()_/¯ 11-25-9

I promise, I guess

I promise, I guess

Matthew 5:37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything more than this comes from evil.

James 5:12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

In our world today, all manner of contracts and agreements are extant. Most contracts must contain at least two elements to be legally valid. All the parties involved in the contract must agree. Something of value is exchanged: a car, a house, services, or goods. Such contracts are intended to protect both parties.

In better more optimistic times, contracts could be established by a handshake or even a simple nod of the head. All was based on trust.

When the Constitution of the United States was written, very high standards of ethics were the foundation upon which it stood. Honor and duty are considered more important than an individual’s personal survival or selfish interest. The document concludes with these noble words: “We pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

But our somewhat dystopian 21st century, in many situations, trust is not enough. Frequently, trustworthiness is offset by forgetfulness, selfishness, greediness, or outright dishonesty. Loopholes are sought and often exploited.

But what of children of the King? How are they to make commitments? The standard is simple, but quite high and lofty. We do what we say! Keeping our promises is not always pleasant, but it is always right. We are to be consistent and follow through even if pay a price to do so.

Because of human frailty and forgetfulness, putting them into writing makes common sense.

It should not be of any surprise to discover that, the Father entered into many contracts.

REFLECT & PRAY

When we search our own hearts, the sad fact is we often find selfish ambition impacting our trustworthiness and follow-through.

Father, I know You always keep Your promises. Encourage me to be just like You.

INSIGHT

In the Old Testament, there were many ways for people to make agreements or covenants. Three prominent ways involve sandals, salt, and death. When two men made a pact, they would exchange sandals. This is quite similar to simply shaking hands in modern times. If they wanted to avoid the agreement, all they had to do was take back their own sandals.

The salt covenant was substantially more binding. In Old Testament times, people would often carry little bags of salt to season their food. When two people entered into an agreement and made a salt covenant, each individual will take a pinch of salt out of their bag and put it into the other’s bag. In the same way that it would be very hard to extract your salt from the other person’s salt, so the contract was far more unbreakable.

But the most permanent and lasting of all covenants involved blood and death. It may seem grotesque to us today but not then. When two individuals entered into a covenant that was never intended to be broken, they would kill an animal and cut the carcass in half. They would then separate the two halves. And the two individuals would walk between them. This was a vivid picture of the fact that the covenant could never be broken because animals would never live again.

The Father pledged His sacred honor to the nation of Israel (Gen 15:8-18).

Genesis 15:8-18

 8 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?”

 9 The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”

 10 So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half.

17 After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.

 18 So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River.”

The Father made a covenant with Abraham and the Nation of Israel. It is briefly summarized in Genesis 12

Genesis 12:2-3

 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you well-known, and you will be a blessing to others.

 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.

The Father has unconditionally pledged His fidelity to the nation of Israel. No one is more trustworthy than Him. He has irrevocably and unconditionally committed Himself to the fulfillment of His promise. Indeed, His yes is yes! Israel’s future is dependent upon the Father’s character and trustworthiness.

Romans 11:28-29

 28 They are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.

The same is true for each child of the King. What the Father has promised and committed to each of us, will certainly come to pass. Our eternal security is based upon His character and commitment.

Are the children of the King dependable? Do people trust them to do what they say? Are we dependable like their Father? Is our “yes” invariably yes and our “no” dependably no?

¯\_()_/¯

Famine in the land ∙

Famine in the land

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment. – 1 Peter 2:2

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.

 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.

 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

What is malnutrition? Malnutrition is a condition that develops when a person’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissue and organ function. Malnutrition results from an unbalanced diet or a lack of food.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition is the gravest single threat to global public health. Globally, it contributes to 45 percent of the deaths of children under 5 years of age.

What about spiritual malnutrition? George Gallup and Jim Castelli have concluded, “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”

Americans suffer from spiritual malnutrition.

A majority of U.S. adults (81 percent) by self-report, consider themselves highly, moderately, or somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible. Yet less than half (43 percent) were able to name the first five books of the Bible.

The Barna Group has discovered many disturbing trends regarding the grasp of Bible knowledge in America.

60% of Americans cannot name even five of the Ten Commandments.

82% of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.

12% of adults believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

More than 50% of graduating high school seniors thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.

A large number of respondents thought that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.

At no time in human history have so many copies of the Scriptures been available in so many languages and so many different formats. Yet despite this extraordinary abundance, people are experiencing tremendous deprivation. There is a famine in the land. It is a famine for hearing, comprehending, and internalizing the word of God.

Amos 8:11”The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD.

“Christians used to be known as ‘people of one book.’ They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it, and taught it to others. We don’t do that anymore, and in a very real sense, we’re starving ourselves to death” (Berding).

REFLECT & PRAY

The children of the King should desire the nourishment which comes from the Father’s word with their whole heart.

Father, I recognize that there are times when I have intensely craved Your word and could not get along without it, but at other times, not so much. Stir up and maintain within me a strong hunger for spiritual food that can only be satisfied by the living word of God.

INSIGHT

1 Peter 2:2-3

 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,

 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

The Scriptures are quite clear. All children of the King need spiritual food to maintain spiritual health and growth. Human babies are born hungry. They need and crave mother’s milk. They cry for it, in their own way, they demand it. For new parents, a newborn baby becomes like a demanding boss who spends much of their waking hours complaining.

As children of the King, we are to be like newborn babies that require spiritual milk for the nourishment of our hearts and souls. Unlike physical babies, we never outgrow our need for the pure milk that the Father has made available to us. Each of us should have a strong, intense personal desire that never wanes. It may sound a bit odd, but we are to seek to be hungry. Because when we are hungry, we are fed.

But not just any spiritual milk will do. The milk must be pure and untainted. It must be fresh and vibrant, spiritually nourishing and life-giving.

The Greek word translated pure is adolos. It comes from awithout and dolosguile, deceit. Dolosis the word used for fish bait. Adolos connotes being honest, truthful, pure, and sincere.

The FDA is charged with the responsibility of guaranteeing the purity of foods sold to babies. Sadly, only you and you alone can guarantee the purity of your spiritual food.

Tragedy of tragedies, in a land of plenty, pure milk is hard to find. We live in a time of famine on the land – not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD (Amos 8:11).

“God’s Word has life, gives life, and nourishes life. We should have appetites for the Word just like hungry newborn babes! We should want the pure Word, unadulterated, because this alone can help us grow. When I was a child, I did not like to drink milk (and my father worked for the Borden Dairy!), so my mother used to add various syrups and powders to make my milk tastier. None of them really ever worked. It is sad when Christians have no appetite for God’s Word, but must be “fed” religious entertainment instead” (Wiersbe).

As infants have a taste and a craving for their mothers’ nutritious milk, so we are to develop a taste and a craving for the life-giving Word of God. Growing in Christ requires that we spend time in His Word (Stanley).

¯\_()_/¯ 12-26-9

A finisher mindset ∙

A finisher mindset ∙

I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6

Luke 14:28-30

 28 But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?

 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

How often do we set goals and then not accomplish them? It is typical to start strong with lofty aspirations but not finish. Developing a finisher mindset does not come naturally for many people. But a finisher mindset enables you to follow through and finish what you start.

There are many tips and tricks and step-by-step that can help. For example, begin with a clearly defined end goal. But then break the project down into small manageable pieces. Each piece should be easy to accomplish. Trying to achieve too much at once can be overwhelming. It often leads to procrastination and failure.

Finishers start small. It may sound paradoxical, but it works.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Lao Tzu).

That is exactly what the Father is doing in the lives of children of the King. The Father has an end-goal for each of us. He begins taking small steps in the life of each of His children towards that goal. He has promised to continue His work until it is finally finished. The Father finishes what He starts.

Knowing the Father, His character and faithfulness engender confidence. When the Father promises and commits to a plan of action for the children of the King, we can be assured that He will do what He intends to do. The Father has the ultimate finisher mindset. You can take that to the bank. Settled confidence opens the door to optimism for the future. Optimism blossoms into joy.

When confidence, optimism, and joy are absent, what is left? Humdrum tedium, life as usual which is often accompanied by anguish and despondency. “The opposite of joy is not gloom but despair, the incapacity to trust in any new and good future. Paul rejoices because he is ‘confident’ of what God’s future holds” (Garland).

REFLECT & PRAY

We all long for someone we can trust and who has our very best interest at heart.

Father thank You for the work of redemption You have begun in my heart and that You promised to finish what you started.

INSIGHT

The gospel heard, understood, and received has the potential to change everything. In the beginning, His spiritual newborns know very little of the Father and His ways. His gentle touch and the caress of His loving hands begin to let us know how special we are to Him. Incredible warmth and tenderness are now ours. The bonding begins. We have entered into a long-term relationship with Him.

The Father did not merely call us His children, we became His children. He adopted us into His forever family.

What began in time, continues into eternity. The Philippians accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. This inaugurated a “fellowship of the gospel” (Hughes). What the Father has begun in them will reach a glorious consummation when the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

Paul wrote the book of Philippians not while he was vacationing on a lovely Mediterranean island, but while he was in prison in Rome. Certain death was just around the corner. But remarkably Paul’s words overflow with joy. How did he do it? It’s all about perspective and focus.

Despite the negative circumstances, Paul knows that the Father is in control and working out His eternal plan. He was totally certain that what He had begun, He would complete. He would accomplish His work. Paul’s confidence had nothing to do with the circumstances. The Father did not make a mistake leading Paul to share the gospel message. Paul’s message launched the Philippians on a journey that would take them exactly where the Father wanted them to go. The same is true of all children of the King through the millennia.

From our limited earthly perspective, without divine revelation, we would be left ignorant of how things really are. Paul enlightens us. He sets the record straight and provides the Father’s perspective. When we see things as the Father sees them, we come face-to-face with very difficult challenges.

He asks us to recognize the inadequacies of our limited perspective. Much of the old must be discarded and replaced with the new. The Father seeks that all children of the King discard wrong thinking. Inadequate reasoning and partial truth are to be discarded. He offers a whole new way of thinking. Our minds and spirits are transformed (Romans 12:2).

Ephesians 4:21-23 

 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,

 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.

 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

There is always more to walking with God Than what we’ve known, seen, learned, or experienced (Stanley).

Philippians 1:6 I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

The Father’s intentions for us were settled before the foundation of the world. But He burst into the space-time continuum of our lives at the moment of our salvation. He who is eternal and transcendent irrupted into history and began a new work within each child of the King.

He will continue His good work in us until we become like His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). The Greek word translated certain or persuaded is peitho. Peitho means to be persuaded, to be certain, to be confident, to be assured, or to trust. In Greek, it is a perfect participle. A Greek perfect participle signifies an action that begins in the past with results that continue into the present.

Paul worked through these difficult issues years before. He had privy to the amazing personal contact with the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:15-18). Undoubtedly, Paul, the intellectually gifted and highly trained theologian, asked lots of deep and probing questions. He got answers. The answers satisfied his intellect and his heart. He was totally and absolutely convinced. But then he had to calculate the cost of such a radical perspective transformation. He was “all in” (Philippians 3:4-14)!

Despite possible discouragement from setbacks and a keen awareness of how far we have to go, we never have to surrender to total defeat. Rather, the Father persuades and encourages us that He will keep right on working until the day we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is (1 John 3:2).

“On the day when Christ comes, it will be like the coming of a King. On such a day, the King’s subjects are required to present him with gifts to mark their loyalty and to show their love. The only gift Jesus Christ desires from us is ourselves” (Barclay).

That is a gift we are to give Him today and every day.

¯\_()_/¯ 11-04-9

Who cares?

Who cares? ∙

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Hebrews 2:16-18

 16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham.

 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.

 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing; he is able to help us when we are being tested.

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for” (Mother Teresa).

Who has not felt at one time or another, unloved and alone? The pain of feeling unwanted and alone can be overwhelming. Some nights can be unbearable.

These are seasons of introspection where we wonder what went wrong. So often, the solitary circumstances we find ourselves in are the result of our own unwise, even foolish decisions.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing . . . not healing, not curing . . . that is a friend who cares (Henri Nouwen).

It is common for people to feel all alone during difficult and tragic times. It seems as though the Father is far away. We are left asking, does anyone really care and understand?

While our sense of loneliness and isolation is real and vivid to us, for every child of the King, it is in fact only an illusion. The Father never moves away from us, He is ever-present.

Hebrews 13:5-6

 5 For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

 6 So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

If this is so, why do we feel otherwise? It has a lot to do with our personal histories and the discouragement and separation, even betrayal that we have experienced. Because people have distanced themselves from us, we somehow think that the Father will do likewise. Disappointment comes as a thief to steal away our joy, tranquility, and confidence.

It is easy and quite natural to doubt our faith. It takes effort, practice, and determination to doubt our doubts and believe our beliefs.

Psalms 62:8-12

 8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

 9 Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air.

 10 If your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.

 11 God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you;

 12 unfailing love, O Lord, is yours.

When we read the word of God, understand it, absorb it, meditate on it, and hide it in our hearts, we create a whole new mindset and way of reacting to difficult circumstances.

Psalms 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

The truth of the word of God is the Father’s ultimate tool which He has provided for children of the King to cope with the vicissitudes of life. In difficult times, memorized, internalized truth provides the content for sure and confident self-talk. David provides a perfect illustration of this. The rich truths which he internalized as a result of his relationship with the Father provided the basis for the magnificent self-talk that is been handed down to us in the form of Psalm 23.

The Scriptures contain wonderful precious promises that sustain us through all life events (2 Peter 1:4).

Psalms 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Psalms 55:22 Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.

REFLECT & PRAY

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. – Deuteronomy 33:27

Father, thank You that You care for me and desire that I come to You with all of my cares and concerns. Thank You that in the middle of life’s dark shadows, Biblical truth shines as perfect light to guide my thoughts, prayers, and actions.

INSIGHT

How do we know that the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ care for us? It was the eternal plan that the Lord Jesus Christ would suffer greater than we have! He experienced trials very much like our own. He is acquainted with grief. He was a man of sorrow. The Lord Jesus Christ has successfully undergone the same kind of physical, emotional, and mental difficulties, disappointments, and trials that are part of everyday life. His suffering and testing were far worse than anything we ever face.

Hebrews 2:18 He himself has gone through suffering and testing; he is able to help us when we are being tested.

Hebrews 4:15-16

 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.

 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

“Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Savior died. The distress of everyone touches His heart. The cry for aid reaches His ear. He came to draw all men unto Himself. He bids them, ‘Follow Me,’ and His Spirit moves upon their hearts to draw them to come to Him. Many refuse to be drawn. Jesus knows who they are. He also knows those who gladly hear His call and are ready to come under His pastoral care. He says, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’ He cares for each one as if there were not another on the face of the earth” (The Desire of Ages).

Television commercials for Farmers insurance end with the memorable phrase, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” The Lord Jesus Christ chose to become truly human so that He would know experientially everything there is to know about the struggles that people have. This makes Him a perfect, sympathetic, understanding, and caring high priest that ordinary people need. He knows a thing or two because He’s seen a thing or two.

Therefore, the apostle Peter encourages us not only to share but also to release our worries and cares to Him. He longs to carry our burdens. He encourages us to take His yoke upon us and let Him teach us (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:29).

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 12-13-9

I want out

I want out

As for me, I will call on God, and the LORD will rescue me. – Psalm 55:16

Psalms 55:4-18

 4 My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me.

 5 Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.

 6 Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!

 7 I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.

 8 How quickly I would escape – far from this wild storm of hatred.

 11 Everything is falling apart; threats are rampant in the streets.

 12 It is not an enemy who taunts me – I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me – I could have hidden from them.

 16 But I will call on God, and the LORD will rescue me.

 17 Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the LORD hears my voice.

 18 He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me.

At least 60 percent of adults admit to having at least one unreasonable fear. Secular research is not clear on why these fears manifest. One theory is that humans have a genetic predisposition to fear things. Another theory is that it is the result of previous traumatic experiences (Psychology Today).

Could it be that fear is one of the consequences, collateral damage, from the Fall? When Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, they felt shame and were afraid (Genesis 3:7-10).

Sometimes this world can be a very scary place. Fears bubble up and we find ourselves driven by heartache, dread, and worry. This is particularly true of the fear of the future. Fear can be both rational (resulting from objective fact) and irrational (coming from hurtful past experiences or our worst imaginations). Fear is emotional foreboding or dread of impending distress or misfortune. Fear can seriously affect our activity or even immobilize us.

But fear reveals more about us than our circumstances. While it is natural to experience fear when danger is present or bad things happen, it is also possible to overcome fear. It all depends upon what we do with it.

In Psalm 55, David seems to be headed towards what today we would call a nervous breakdown. The uncertainties he faced were beginning to overwhelm him. David wanted to run away. Rather, he wanted to fly away like a dove and escape (Psalms 55:6-8).

David had developed a lifestyle of faith in the face of overwhelming odds. Rather than giving in to fear, David chose to pursue hope and confidence. Rather than running away from his pain, he chose to face it and ran to the Father. David called upon on the Father to rescue him in his circumstances, not from the circumstances (Psalms 55:16).

“When the walls close in and the floor gives way, we often wish we could be anywhere but where God has put us. Trusting God, however, means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees” (Stanley).

REFLECT & PRAY

When future-oriented worry and fear bubble up, we can capture and disarm it. Remember bubbles eventually burst.

Father it is so easy for me to be fearful. So many difficult and dreadful things have happened. They have left me with a hollow ache that often turns to dread and anxiety. But Dear Father You are my unique and wonderful liberator from fear. Rescue me.

INSIGHT

The Lord Jesus Christ through His atoning death, resurrection, and present intercession for us at the right hand of God, has broken the power of fear.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Because we are members of the Father’s forever family, we have a dynamic and remarkable power residing within us to overcome our anxieties.

None of us learned to be fearful overnight. Courage and confidence will not happen suddenly either. Learning  to trust the Father boldly and confidently, rather than giving in to our natural fears is a process. Peter shows us the way. It begins with humility.

1 Peter 5:6-7

 6 Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Faith or fear, the choice is ours. The Father promises perfect peace to those who trust in Him.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Psalms 97:11 Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.

The psalmist does not say, “if something ever scares me,” he says, “whenever I am afraid.” Fear is a natural human reaction to danger. The Father does not tell us to ignore our fears but to bring them to Him (Stanley).

“If people are afraid, it is because of something in the past that haunts them, or something in the present that upsets them, or something in the future that they feel threatens them. Or it may be a combination of all three. A believer in Jesus Christ does not have to fear the past, present, or future, for he has experienced the love of God and this love is being perfected in him day by day” (Wiersbe).

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,

over all victorious in its bright increase:

perfect, yet still flowing fuller every day;

perfect, yet still growing deeper all the way.

Trusting in the Father, hearts are fully blest,

finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest. (Frances Ridley Havergal)

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

¯\_()_/¯

A word from the Lord was rare ∙

A word from the Lord was rare ∙

A word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. – 1 Samuel 3:1

1 Samuel 3:1-11

 1 Now in those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

 4 Suddenly the LORD called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 

 5 He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.

 6 Then the LORD called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

 7 Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before.

 8 So the LORD called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the LORD who was calling the boy.

 9 So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’”  So Samuel went back to bed.

 10 And the LORD came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

 11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel.”

Listening is far more persuasive than speaking.

George was a master persuader. He had an uncanny ability to move a roomful of people to his perspective. How did he do it?

George would ask questions and then lapse into silence. He lets other people speak into the silence and listen quietly for the truth behind their words. He then acknowledges what he had heard (which is, most likely, more than has been said). There is almost always more substance below the surface of what people say than there is in their words. George can summarize each person’s position and articulate their thoughts.

George was always willing to learn something from others’ perspectives and to let them know when he was shifting his view as a result of theirs.

Because it was clear that George had heard them, people did not argue with him. And, because he had heard them, his perspective became the wisest in the room.

If you want people to listen, Stop Talking (Peter Bregman, HBR).

The Father is always listening. Some people talk more with their deeds than they do with their words. At the right time, He speaks.

1 Samuel 3:7 Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before.

When the Father first spoke to Samuel, the boy did not yet know or recognize His voice. He never had heard the Father speak before. Samuel was working at the tabernacle, assisting Eli. He was serving the Lord, but he had not yet met Him.

Eli realized that the voice that Samuel was hearing was the Father speaking to him. The Father was calling out to the boy. Eli was wise enough to tell Samuel how to respond the next time he heard the Father’s voice.  

1 Samuel 3:9 “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.”

You needn’t wonder any longer about what to do when you hear the Father’s voice. Eli tells us the way to respond when the Father speaks. We relinquish control and with one simple sentence, acknowledge that the Father is Lord. He is the Master; we are His servants.

Samuel is seen in stark contrast to Eli and his sons. Eli was a passive and absent father. He was also a failure as a priestly leader. His sons are corrupt and wicked. They were worthless men who did not know or respect the LORD (1 Samuel 2:12).

At the same time, the people of Israel were defiant and distant from the Father. Any wonder why messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon?

REFLECT & PRAY

It is all too possible to serve the Lord, without ever knowing Him (Matthew 7:23).

Father, how I long to be like Samuel. When You speak, let me be quick to say: “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.”

INSIGHT

Now that Samuel was ready to hear and respond properly, he did not have long to wait. But this time there was more than just a voice.

1 Samuel 3:10 Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

This was no mysterious voice nor mystical experience. The Lord was there, physically present.

Was all that preceded this moment preparing Samuel to hear and take in what the Father said? Samuel was still just a boy, but he was a prophet, a man of God in the making.

The Father’s words were dreadful and terrifying. No doubt Samuel was already intently listening and focused. But now, undoubtedly his eyes widened, and he took a deep breath. I can imagine that under his breath, Samuel whispered, “Oh God no!” Perhaps he wept.

1 Samuel 3:11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel.”

The Hebrew could be literally translated, “when anyone hears about it, both of his ears will tingle.”

Habakkuk had a similar reaction to comparable unnerving news.

Habakkuk 3:16 I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror.

What was the Father about to do? The world as the Nation of Israel knew it was about to collapse. “The catastrophe was the impending defeat of Israel by the Philistines, the death of Eli’s sons and Eli himself, the capture of the ark of God, and the desolation of the national sanctuary at Shiloh” (Smith).

But there was a new world coming. The time of the Judges was ending. The Nation of Israel would no longer be twelve loosely confederated tribes. It was about to become a kingdom. And Samuel was being prepared to anoint the first king, the people’s choice, Saul. But Saul was a poor choice.

Samuel would also anoint the Father’s choice, David.

When the Father is silent, it’s not always a bad thing. Perhaps He is preparing you for the day that He speaks. Get ready. His perspective is always the wisest in the room.

¯\_()_/¯ 12-27-9

Joyful jail time

Joyful jail time

Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29

Acts 16:22-32

 22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods.

 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape.

 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

 25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!

 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself.

 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

 29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”

 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.

On June 9, 1963, Fannie Lou Hamer and six other black passengers stopped to eat in a diner at a Greyhound bus terminal in Winona, Mississippi. They sat at the “white only” lunch counter. Winona Police Chief, Thomas Herrod ordered the group to go to the “colored” side of the depot. They refused and were arrested and jailed. Each of them was severely beaten, but Fannie’s received the worst. Ms. Hamer never recovered fully.

What happened in Hamer’s heart afterward is perhaps even more remarkable than what happened in the jail. Although the whipping left her body severely damaged, her spirit emerged hardened for righteousness.

Hamer spent the night in silence, but a day later, while still in jail she started to sing. Known for her resonant and inspiring voice, the same mouth that had been screaming in pain just the night before began sounding the strains of freedom.

          “Paul and Silas was bound in jail, let my people go.

          Had no money for to go their bail, let my people go.

          Paul and Silas began to shout, let my people go.

          Jail doors open and they walked out, let my people go.”

Doing the right thing often results in harmful downsides. When adverse consequences emerge, we always have a choice: complain and gripe or be grateful and rejoice.

REFLECT & PRAY

Courage and cowardice lurk in each of our hearts. We imagine both fleeing from danger and standing firm.

Father, I long to have the courage to stand firm for You. It should not take the risk of a severe beating, jail time, or immolation to force me to decide. Encourage me to stand for You right now and keep right on standing!

INSIGHT

Standing for the Father sharing truth and bringing joy to others and suffering the consequences, is not a matter of conscience or ambivalence. We have an imperative. The only question is will we follow it.

Imagine the scene in Acts 4 and 5, more and more people are accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior. They are drawn by the gospel and the miraculous power wielded by the apostles. The religious leaders are alarmed and confront them.

The apostles were unintimidated and went returned to the streets preaching the Word. The religious authorities are astonished and have them brought before them to threaten them again. The apostles were busted for publicly proclaiming the truth.

“It is a tense moment. They have been duly warned, and now they can be convicted and severely punished. Peter, as always, speaks up for the group. Putting in positive form . . . this bold apostle now declares for all time: We must obey God rather than any human authority!” (Acts 5:29) (Chalmer Ernest Faw).

And so it was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Daniel 3:14-29

 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up?

 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?

 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.

 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.

 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.

 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.

 24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.

 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”

 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire.

 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”

Acts 16:34 And he [the Philippian jailer] brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

The Greek word translated rejoice is agalliao. Agalliao means to exult, rejoice greatly, experience ecstatic joy and delight. This word is not used by secular Greek writers. In the New Testament, it always signifies a deep spiritual joy. “Their hearts were singing” (UBS).

Jude 1:24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault

¯\_()_/¯

%d bloggers like this: