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Beauteous Consistency!

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The remaining portion of chapter one of the Book of Proverbs is often entitled “Warnings”.  What is the purpose of a warning?  A warning is a notice of impending danger or unpleasantness, possible harm or problem(s) that could otherwise be avoidable.  The person who is issuing a warning is well aware of the impending danger or possible problem.  His or her purpose is to bring the recipient(s) of that warning to the same awareness.

That said, day two is Proverbs 1:8-33…

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(8) Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  (9) They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.  (10) My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.  (11) If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; (12) let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; (13) we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; (14) cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— (15) my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; (16) for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood.  (17) How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it!  (18) These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves!  (19) Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.  (20) Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; (21) on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: (22) “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?  How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?  (23) Repent at my rebuke!  Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.  (24) But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, (25) since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, (26) I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— (27) when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.  (28) “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, (29) since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.  (30) Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, (31) they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.  (32) For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; (33) but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

PROVERBS 1:8-33 NIV84

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A garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.  The graceful garland and adorning chain signify a distinguishment.  They are items which would certainly make it obvious that the wearer is set apart, different from the norm.  That’s the effect of listening to wise instruction and not forsaking wise teaching– standing apart from the masses as a peculiar person.

If sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.  Is it just by happenstance that the sinners spoken of are plural?  “Them,” “us,” “we,” “our,” “their,” “they,” “these,” “themselves.”  I think not.  Sinful enticement is widespread and bound to be encountered everywhere by everyone.  More than that, this plurality further reinforces that wisely living according to the well-established perfect truth depicted in Proverbs sets one apart from the world– it’s a holy life in opposition to the widespread sinfulness.

Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.  Going after ill-gotten gain (greed, covetousness, murder, etc.) is calamitous and miserable.  The sinner’s end AND the means to that end is destruction and death.  “[T]hey will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes…” (Proverbs 1:31, NIV84).

I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.  How listening and responding to wisdom would have prevented: disaster, calamity, distress, and trouble!  Who in their right mind would want to sign up for those things?  But then again, this continues to reaffirm the point (as made in Proverbs 1:1-7) that both accepting and rejecting wisdom are intentional and deliberate decisions.  Repenting at rebuke, refusing to listen, not paying attention, disregarding advice, not accepting rebuke, hating knowledge, not choosing to fear the Lord, not accepting advice, and spurning rebuke are ALL intentional and deliberate actions.

Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.  There is a time when it is too late.  We all have that friend (or might be that friend ourselves) who will remark, “watch your step,” AFTER you have already tripped.  Our response to that might be a sarcastic, “well, thanks” or “you should have told me that BEFORE I tripped, captain obvious”!  Heeding a warning after the fact isn’t too useful.  This is a forewarning.  Isaiah 55:6 (NASB) tells us to “SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND; CALL UPON HIM WHILE HE IS NEAR.”  That word “near” used in Isaiah also appears in Psalm 34:18 (NASB), “THE LORD IS NEAR TO THE BROKENHEARTED AND SAVES THOSE WHO ARE CRUSHED IN SPIRIT.”  Again, we are reminded of the points made earlier in Proverbs 1:1-7!  (Missed that post?  No fear!  Click here to read.)

I hope that you are coming to see along with me the beauty of the unity and consistency within Proverbs.  Proverbs shouldn’t be likened to a 365 day flip calendar of mutually exclusive yet somehow inspirational and or humorous quotes.  Each statement of well-established perfect truth confirms and is confirmed by the other statements…and in greater context all of Scripture.

 

Victoria

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Well-Established Truth.

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The Book of Proverbs contains statements of well-established perfect truth.  What does this mean?  It means that far beyond any of the so claimed merits of asking a Dear Abby or searching Google, Proverbs provides the most universal yet most personal purposes, insights, and answers for living life as God intends by the author of life Himself– God.  But didn’t Solomon write it?  Yes, Solomon penned a large portion of the lessons in the Book of Proverbs.[1]  Here’s a question to consider: who was his Teacher?  It is made evident from the beginning chapter and becomes even more so throughout the book that the Teacher of this well-established perfect truth is God.

Would you like to join me as I delve into the Book of Proverbs this summer?  I know that there is so much depth to the truths of Proverbs and my understanding barely scratches the surface, but my prayer is that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give [us] the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [we] may know Him better” (Ephesians 1:17, NIV84).  That’s the entire purpose of life, isn’t it?  To know the Lord Jesus Christ better?  And in more than a I-know-OF-or-ABOUT-Him kind of way but in an intimate and heartfelt I-know-Him-and-He-knows-me kind of way?

That said, day one is Proverbs 1:1-7…[2]

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(1) THE PROVERBS OF SOLOMON SON OF DAVID, KING OF ISRAEL: (2) FOR ATTAINING WISDOM AND DISCIPLINE; FOR UNDERSTANDING WORDS OF INSIGHT; (3) FOR ACQUIRING A DISCIPLINED AND PRUDENT LIFE, DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND JUST AND FAIR; (4) FOR GIVING PRUDENCE TO THE SIMPLE, KNOWLEDGE AND DISCRETION TO THE YOUNG– (5) LET THE WISE LISTEN AND ADD TO THEIR LEARNING, AND LET THE DISCERNING GET GUIDANCE– (6) FOR UNDERSTANDING PROVERBS AND PARABLES, THE SAYINGS AND RIDDLES OF THE WISE.  (7) THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE, BUT FOOLS DESPISE WISDOM AND DISCIPLINE.

PROVERBS 1:1-7. NIV84

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Attaining discipline and acquiring a disciplined life.  Discipline is a moral quality of self-control.  Self-control necessitates an intentionalness.  Having self-control isn’t a “whoops, I just passed up that box of Krispy Kremes on accident, I wasn’t meaning to not take one for any reason, it just happened.”  Nope, exercising self-control is an ongoing chain of intentional decisions.

Acquiring a prudent life and giving prudence to the simple.  Prudence is more than the capacity for understanding.  It is the discernment in managing affairs and doing so deliberately.  Starting to sound like discipline and prudence naturally go hand in hand?  Exercising prudence necessitates discretion with deliberateness.

What is this showing us?  Wisdom and understanding  are thoughtfully and purposively attained and acquired.  Even so, this is nothing to be prideful about.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning.  “Listen” and “add” imply that there is a humility that comes along with true wisdom.  Learn and never stop learning: i.e. always have a teachable attitude.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Fear is the respect toward a superior; again, emphasizing a humbleness. “The fear of the Lord” equally implies a submission, a state of worship in recognizing the source of wisdom– God alone.

Though wisdom and understanding  are thoughtfully and purposively attained and acquired, all is naught without the acknowledgement that the attainment and acquisition of true wisdom cannot be conjured or counterfeited because it it comes from God.  It is He who gives liberally to those who lack wisdom (James 1:4).

Just like salvation, it’s all about the attitude of the heart.  It’s a broken and contrite heart that God will not despise (Psalm 51:17).  What do you mean “broken” and “contrite”?  An attitude of selflessness, being penitent and devoid of pride– recognizing our insufficiency and His sufficiency.  Wisdom starts with God, it doesn’t exist apart from Him.

God, we come to You in the name of Jesus Christ.  We ask that you would help each of us to have a repentant and undivided heart so that we might walk in Your truth and grow in Your wisdom to know You better.  We acknowledge our insufficiency and know full well that You are sufficient– we lack wisdom, so we are coming to You, the source of wisdom, to ask You for wisdom.  In Your grace and Your mercy, please help us to be intentional, deliberate, and humble about seeking Your kingdom and righteousness. 

Victoria

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  1. Agur and Lemuel also contributed to the later portions of Proverbs.
  2. If you’ve been following this blog long enough (And I apologize for the lengthy intermission, SORRY!), you’ll know that I reference various translations of the Bible. I just find that referencing various translations (along with lexicons and such) adds to my understanding of the scriptures within context and is good practice in general.

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True Hope Ministries Verse of the Day: Daily Encouragement Straight From Scripture

As we at True Hope Ministries welcome 2015, we are also welcoming the Verse of the Day to WordPress.com!  Each day Stephen and Mary of True Hope Ministries post a scripture, with occasional commentary and accompanying media to encourage you in your walk with the Lord.  True Hope Ministries is dedicated to bringing the True Hope of JESUS CHRIST to the entire world!  Check out and subscribe to the Verse of the Day here: TrueHopeMinVOD.WordPress.com!

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Find us here too…

Twitter: @TrueHopeMin

Website: TrueHopeMinistries.com

Email: TrueHopeMinistry@aol.com

Return.

Mercy

God of mercy.  That is who He is.

The topical title for Jeremiah 3:6-4:4 is Unfaithful Israel.  “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done?” (Jeremiah 3:6. NIV84)  “But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to Me, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 3:20. NIV84).  Even so, the call “return” appears numerous times throughout these chapters.  Why would God want to call a people…a person who has been unfaithful to Him to return to His side?  God of mercy.  That is who He is.

Nehemiah 9 describes another instance of God’s mercifulness.

“You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; You heard their cry at the Red Sea.  You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all of his officials and all the people of his land, for You knew how arrogant the Egyptians treated them.  You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day.  You divided the sea before them so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths like a stone into mighty waters.  By day You led them with a pillar of clouds and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.  You came down on Mount Sinai; You spoke to them from heaven.  You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good.  You made known to them Your Sabbath and gave them commandments, decrees, and laws through Your servant Moses.  In their hunger You gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst You brought them water from the rock; You told them to go in and take possession of the land You had sworn with uplifted hand to give them…” (Nehemiah 9″9-15, NIV84).

All these great, miraculous signs and wonders God had done and still the people turned from Him.  “But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey Your commands.  They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles You performed among them, they became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery” (Nehemiah 9:17b, NIV84).

How quick are we…am I to judge the Israelites?  Condemning, “They experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God, they saw His wondrous hand, they escaped slavery and peril because He miraculously led them out and they in full will turned away from Him.  What stupidity!”  Are we…am I so innocent of such?  Are not there are times when alike the Israelites we…I refuse to listen and fail to remember and obey in spite of what God has done to reveal Himself to us…to me?

Why would God want to forgive them…forgive us…forgive me?  God of mercy.  That is who He is.

“‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, FOR I AM MERCIFUL,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever.  Only acknowledge your guilt– you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'” declares the Lord.  “‘Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 3:12-14, NIV84).

May we…may I not take the mercy of God for granted.  May we listen to His beckoning, His merciful call to return to His side.  May we come.  May we see the Christ child in the manger as Mercy come down to us and revealed for us, the Forgiveness of God given…given.  May we acknowledge our guilt, accepting who He is– God of Mercy–, and return to walk at His side as individuals, as families, as churches, as communities, as countries.  That is my prayer this Christmas.

Victoria

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Urge and Encourage

Titus 2:1-8 says, “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.  Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (NASB).

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Older women…encourage the young women.  Older men…urge the young men.

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Who are the “older women” and “older men”?

The “older women” and “older men” Paul talks about are those longERstanding disciples of Christ.  In other words, they are older or mature in the faith.  They have been in a relationship with Christ, having experienced His Salvation and Lordship in their lives for some time.  The “older” women and men are advanced in the things of the Lord Jesus Christ– understanding His Word, discerning His Sprit, and applying His truth to their lives.  Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words explains, “[older] is a longer form of presbus, the comparative degree of which is presbuteros, “a senior, elder,” both of which, as also the verb presbeuo, “to be elder, to be an ambassador,” are derived from proeisbaino, “to be far advanced.”[1]  It may very well be that the person who is older in age is also older in the faith, just not exclusively.  It is possible for a 75 year old to be “older” or more advanced in the faith and a longERstanding disciple of Christ than a 35 year old, and vice versa.

Who are the “young women” and “young men”?

The “young women” and “young men” are the newer disciples of Christ.  In this passage, “young” comes from the Greek word neos, meaning “recently born”. [2]  It is NOT a coincidence that coming to a relationship with Christ, experiencing His Salvation and Lordship, is described as BEING BORN AGAIN.

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Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.  “What do You mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus.  “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”  Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.  Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.  So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:3-7, NLT).

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Therefore, it is possible for NEW disciples of Christ of any age to be considered “recently born” or “young”.  The younger in the faith are to be encouraged and urged by the older in the faith.

What does “encourage” and “urge” mean? 

“Encourage” comes from the Greek word sophronizo.  Sophronizo connotes “to train”.  “Urge” comes from the Greek word parakaleo.  Parakaleo connotes “to speak to”.

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Paraphrased: Women who are advanced in the faith, train the women who are newer to the faith.  Men who are advanced in the faith, speak to the men who are newer to the faith.

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These are responsibilities not to be taken lightly.  Both women and men (see vv. 3 and 6: “likewise”) are to teach and be taught the expressed qualities (being temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance…being reverent in behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good…loving, being sensible, pure, honoring the will of God….being an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach) for the purpose of spurring  one another to holiness– becoming more like Christ, exemplifying the Goodness of God.        

Who must you urge and encourage today?

In Christ,

  Victoria

 

 

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1. Available from https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=VT0000070.

2. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.  Available from https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G3501&t=KJV.

 

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Hands To The Heavens

Brand new worship album from Kari Jobe!  Check out her song “Hands To The Heavens”…  Powerful lyrics!  Makes us think: Are we truly expectant for the Spirit of God to move in us– His church?  Come back to the With True Hope blog soon for more on EXPECTANCY.      

“We are Your church
We are Your sons and daughters
We’ve gathered here to meet with You

We lift our eyes
We lay our hearts before You
Expectant here for You to move

With our hands to the Heavens
Alive in Your presence
Oh God, when You come
So pour out Your Spirit
We love to be near You
Oh God, when You come

You are the way
The truth and life we live for
Oh how we long to know You more

Come like a rushing wind
Come light the fire again
Come like a burning flame
Have Your way
Have Your way.” (Hands To The Heavens//Majestic//Kari Jobe)

His Servant,

Victoria

 

 

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH

NehemiahWall

“Then he said to them, “Go eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD.  Do not be grieved, for the Joy of the LORD is your strength.”” (Nehemiah 8:10, NASB)

The book of Nehemiah talks to a spectacular time in the history of the nation of Israel.  The Israelites had been in captivity and GOD was fulfilling HIS promise and bringing them back to the land.    Nehemiah was allowed to return to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall around the city.   Scripture tells us in Nehemiah 6:15, that the wall was completely rebuilt in 52 days!  Even though the wall was now completed…God’s work within HIS people was not.

The verse from Nehemiah 8 is taken from the reading from the Word of GOD that was led by Ezra the scribe.  He read the words of the law of Moses aloud to the crowd from the morning until midday!

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Can you imagine a church service like that?

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The Word of GOD must have brought such conviction on the crowd that day that they began to mourn and weep.

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When we realize how far we have strayed from GOD’s will mourning and weeping is a normal response, right?   Have you ever been convicted by the Word of GOD?

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However on this day, Nehemiah reminded the crowd that it was not a day for mourning, but a day of celebration.   He told the crowd that the JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH!  Basically, in ourselves we can do nothing, but the LORD is our strength!!!!

Aren’t you glad that the JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH!  When we are convicted by the Word of GOD and realize how far we have strayed from HIS will, we are to repent with tears, but we are not to stay in that mournful condition.   We are to realize that in ourselves we will never be perfect, but through the sacrifice that JESUS made – taking on our sins – we are made clean through the blood of the LAMB!   TODAY IS A DAY TO REJOICE BECAUSE THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH!

In Christ,

Stephen and Mary

On Behalf of True Hope Ministries

 

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Few and Far

Dear Readers,

You have not been forgotten!  I know that posts these days have been few and far between.  I apologize.  Keeping up with the responsibilities of being both a teacher and a student has removed the term “spare time” from my vocabulary.  But as it is Spring Break this week, I have gained some much needed time to sit and share with you once again!

The Scripture I would like to share with you comes from Psalm 26.  Psalm 26:1-3 in the Message says, “(1) Clear my name, God; I’ve kept an honest shop.  I’ve thrown in my lot with You, God, and I’m not budging.  (2)  Examine me, God, from head to foot, order Your battery of tests.  Make sure I’m fit inside and out  (3)  so I never lose sight of Your love, but keep in step with You, never missing a beat.

The thought I would like to center on is what is said in the third verse about never losing sight and never missing a beat.  I don’t know about you but I find it all too easy TO lose sight and TO miss a beat, especially when there is a lot going on in my surroundings to distract me.

Imagine for a moment that you are driving on the road and on the side of the road fire hydrants are exploding water out into the air and there are gigantic flashing neon signs on the other side of the road, your cell phone is ringing, your coffee spills all over the place, other drivers on the road are speeding and swerving in every which direction, up ahead a family of ducks is crossing the road, alpacas are being lifted by helicopter out of the middle of the road, and meanwhile you are being chased by an ANGRY politician and his party of ex-convicts who have a bounty on your head.  Who would remain calm, remember to use signals when changing lanes, stay within the speed limit, and follow the GPS’s directions in the midst of all that? 

Sounds absurd, I know!  But how many of us can feel like that driver– tying to never lose sight, trying to keep in step, and trying to never miss a beat– in the midst of a barrage of relentless and ridiculous distractions?

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What threatens to distract you?

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The rest of Psalm 26 talks about a barrage of threatening distractions…

– deceitful men (Ps. 26:4)

– pretenders (Ps. 26:4)

– evildoers (Ps. 26:5)

– wicked (Ps. 26:5)

– sinners (Ps. 26:9)

– murderers (Ps. 26:9)

– schemers (Ps. 26:10)

– bribers (Ps. 26:10)

…but it also talks about how the barrage of threatening distractions CAN BE WITHSTOOD!  That’s found in the third verse.  Never lose sight of God’s love, keep in step with Him, never missing a beat! 

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What does never losing sight, keeping in step, and never missing a beat mean?

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It means…

Trusting God.  “And I have trusted in the LORD without wavering” (Ps. 26:1, NASB95).

Fearing God.  “Examine me, O LORD, and try me; test my mind and my heart” (Ps. 26:2, NASB95).

Remembering God.  “For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth” (Ps. 26:3, NASB95).

Avoiding Compromising Situations.  “I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders.  I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked” (Ps. 26:4-5, NASB95).

Keeping Turned Toward God.  “I shall wash my hands in innocence, and I will go about Your altar, O LORD” (Ps. 26:6, NASB95).

Being Thankful God Works.  “That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders” (Ps. 26:7, NASB95).

Spending Time in God’s Presence and With His People.  “O LORD, I love the habitation of Your house
and the place where Your glory dwells” (Ps. 26:8, NASB95).

Knowing that God Redeems.  “But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me” (Ps. 26:11, NASB95).

Being An Example.  “In the congregations I shall bless the Lord” (Ps. 26:12, NASB95).

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“If we set God’s loving-kindness before us as our pattern, to which we endeavor to conform ourselves, being followers of Him that is good, in His goodness…if we set it before us as our great engagement and encouragement to our duty, and are afraid of doing anything to forfeit God’s favor and in care by all means to keep ourselves in His love…this will not only be a good evidence of our integrity, but will have a great influence upon our perseverance in it” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary On The Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, New Modern Edition Database, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., p. 778, Psalm 26).

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Never Lose Sight.  Keep In Step.  Never Miss A Beat.

Victoria

 

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Warm Greetings!

Warm greetings!  I sincerely hope this finds that each of you are well.  This is just a short post today to share some of the scriptural truths which impressed me as I was going through my devotional reading earlier this morning.  The passage I was reading comes from 2 Chronicles 17…

2Chronicles17(NLT)

Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, reigned from circa 874 to 850 BC.  He was the great-great-grandson of Solomon (after whose reign the northern and southern tribes split into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, circa 931 BC).  When Jehoshaphat’s great-grandfather (and Solomon’s son), Rehoboam “was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin” (2 Chronicles 12:1, NLT04).  When Jehoshaphat’s grandfather (and Rehoboam’s son), Abijah reigned,  the icons of idolatry and adultery (foreign altars, pagan shrines, sacred pillars, incense altars, and Asherah poles) remained in the land.  When Jehoshaphat’s father (and Abijah’s son), Asa reigned, he “did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God…remov[ing] the foreign altars and pagan shrines…smash[ing] the sacred pillars and cut[ting] down the Asherah poles” (2 Chronicles 14:2-3, NLT04).

Here is what the above passage tells us about Jehoshaphat:

a. He worshiped God, not the images of Baal.

b. He sought God, not the permeating falsehoods.

c. He obeyed God’s commands, not the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel.

d. He was deeply committed to the ways of God, not the idolatry and adultery that had become commonplace.

Jehoshaphat’s worship of, seeking of, obeying, commitment to, and revived heart toward God was contrary to what had become acceptable in the society for those past near 60 years.  And do you know what Jehoshaphat became?  …A missionary to his own people!

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In the third year of his reign Jehoshaphat sent his officials to teach in all the towns of Judah.  These officials included Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah.  He sent Levites along with them, including Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah.  He also sent out the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They took copies of the Book of the Law of the LORD and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people” (2 Corinthians 17:7-9, NLT07).

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Did you know that no less is expected of us?  “Jesus came and told His disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20, NLT07).  You don’t necessarily have to leave your country, your region, your county, your city, and sometimes even your own household to be a missionary!  Mind blowing, I know.  The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us…He has commanded YOU, His obedient disciple to teach others whether near or far to be obedient disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ likewise!

Godspeed!

Victoria

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