Where Can I Find… Encouragement, Inspiration, Comfort, Conviction???

Below is a small sampling of Bible verses my friend, Paula, emails to me daily.  She sends verses to me because she knows that God’s Word has the power to encourage, inspire, comfort, and convict me.

If you enjoy these verses, if they encourage, inspire, comfort, and/or convict you, there are plenty more for you to read on my page, The Bricks.., see the menu above.

 

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  • A great resource for Bible verses, Bible Topics, Commentaries, etc. – http://www.BibleGateway.com
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Jesus Christ Has Risen Today, Hallelujah!!!

EASTER SUNDAY – Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

   mary-magdalene-discovering-the-empty-tomb-herschel-pollard

She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 

    peter_and_john_painting_blog1

He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside.

            the-empty-tomb-gauthier-2006

He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.  – John 20:1-10

      hehasrisen

   HALLELUJAH_by_Lillyanna

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Beatings, Pain, Death… – Why is Today Called “Good” Friday??

jesus-crown-of-thorns-nails

 

GOOD FRIDAY The Crucifixion of Jesus.

My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
    like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
    nothing to attract us to him.
 He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.
 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
    a punishment for his own sins!
 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.                                                                                                  Isaiah 53:2-5
—————————————————-

Why is today known as “Good” Friday?

Although Jesus died a terrible, excruciating death, on Good Friday, this day is remembered as “Good” because it was through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that ALL PEOPLE, (not some, not just “special” people, not just rich people, not just poor people, not just law-abiding people, etc.), ALL PEOPLE, have the opportunity to restore their relationship with God.

And when the time comes for our earthly lives to be over, we will not simply be reduced to nothing, nor will we be alone.  No, we will live forever with God in heaven.  When God promises He will, wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things will be gone forever. – Revelation 21:4

See my tab, The Cornerstone…,http://wp.me/P5nZpi-bJ, if you’d like to know how you can have a personal relationship with God, the creator of everything.

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Heal My Illnesses Lord…

Lately, there seems to be more and more people who have been diagnosed with cancer.  More and more people who are battling various strains of the flu, cold viruses, and a variety of other diseases.  More and more people generally feeling “not quite right”.

The breakdown of the physical body was never God’s intention.  When Adam and Eve lived in Eden, all was perfect.  They were physically strong and healthy.  It was not until they gave into the serpent’s, Satan’s, temptation – choosing to eat the fruit God commanded them not to, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”  – that life, as they knew it, began to crumble.

  •  their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. – Genesis 3:7
  • they hid from the Lord God – Genesis 3:8
  •  women would feel the pain of their pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. –  Genesis 3:16
  •  men would now be working in pain all their lives, to get food and survive – sweating from dawn to dusk – Genesis 3:17
  • Then, the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden… – Genesis 3:23

Thankfully God, because of His love for us, put into motion a means by which we can be saved.  And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. – Genesis 3:21  This verse foreshadows Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all humanity, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life –  John 3:16

< If you would like to know how you can have a personal/intimate relationship with God, our creator, the creator of everything, take a look at my tab in the menu – The Cornerstone… http://wp.me/P5nZpi-bJ >

THERE IS HOPE –  for there will be a time when God will be among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people.  And He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. – Revelation 21:3-4

Until that time comes, God has given us many verses in the Bible.  When we pray back the Word of God, we are praying according to His Will.  And God promises, …that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. –  1 John 5:14

< For more on praying and seeking God’s will, see my post, I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does God Answer Me?? – (Part 1 of 3) – http://wp.me/p5nZpi-hK >

Below are some verses to get you started.  Pray one, or all of these, throughout your day and experience for yourself hope, healing, encouragement, and comfort.

 May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.  –  Numbers 6:24-26

 

Slide1    **For more encouraging boards see my tab – The Mortar… – http://wp.me/P5nZpi-7R**

 

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I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me?? – (Part 3 of 3)

In my last two posts, I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me?? – (Part 1), http://wp.me/p5nZpi-hK, and I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me?? – (Part 2), http://wp.me/p5nZpi-i5, we’ve been talking about seeking God’s guidance through prayer.

Part 1 touched on our human tendency to put God into “our box”, how to know what God’s will is for us, and whether or not God answers our prayers. To illustrate this, I used an example of choosing between two colleges. Part 2 touched on whether or not God is answering our prayers because we still have so many unanswered questions.  In Part 3 we’ll be answering the question we left off with from Part 2 –

HOW SHOULD I PROCEED THEN?

When you feel a prompting to further investigate, or clarify a question, go for it!  When you’re just doing “your thing”, and suddenly a thought comes to mind, this could be God prompting you.  Investigate 🙂

God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.  –  Job 33:14

              group-thought-bubbles-colorful-square

Keep this in mind, questioning doesn’t mean your ideas, or desires are bad choices.  Instead, seeking and receiving answers to your questions will give you clarity and a sense of peace, enabling you to take steps forward.

So proceed in the direction you feel most led towards.  And trust that God will “shut the door” if it’s the wrong choice, and “open the door” to the right choice …the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me.  –  2 Corinthians 2:12

WARNING:  Do Not attempt to force open a closed-door. Trust that God will “open the ‘right’ door” for you.  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full – John 10:10

     when-one-door-of-happiness-closes-another-opens-but-often-we-look-so-long-at-the-closed-door-that-we-don-not-see-the-one

The more you actively seek God’s guidance, and follow His promptings, the more confidence you’ll have in God.  Know in your mind and your heart that He will show up to guide and direct you in all your decisions.  No decision or circumstance is too big, or too small for God.

EXPECT AND LOOK FOR GOD’S ANSWER TO YOUR PRAYERS:                                                               

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.  –  Psalm 17:6

FOR PARTS 1 & 2 SEE:                                                                                                                                    I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me??  –  (Part 1) – http://wp.me/p5nZpi-h, and                I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me??  –  (Part 2) – http://wp.me/p5nZpi-i5

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I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me?? – (Part 2 of 3)

The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.  –  Psalm 34:17

 

In my last post, I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me??  –  (Part 1), http://wp.me/p5nZpi-hK, we were left with this unanswered question:                                                                   HAS GOD ANSWERED THIS STUDENT’S PRAYER?

ANSWER:                                                                                                                                                   This is an interesting question, and my answer would be YES!  No, God did not come out and say, “College “B” is the school I’ve chosen for you, if you go there everything will be perfect.”  However, God is guiding this student towards clarity.

IS GOD ANSWERING MY PRAYER EVEN THOUGH I STILL HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, AND FEEL SO UNCERTAIN?

Sometimes in life there is not a definitive answer, but more than one good option.  For example, I have the choice to pick chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla ice cream.  If I choose vanilla, is that wrong? Or if I choose strawberry, am I right?  No, all three flavors are great choices, it’s just a matter of which I’d prefer.

ice-cream-cones

There are times, however, when there is a clear right and wrong choice.  For example, the drinking age is 21 years old, and I am 18 years old.  I choose to drink even though it’s against the law.  Clearly a wrong choice.

God has given people free will.  And exercising our free will enables us to make decisions based on our preferences.  When we are actively seeking God’s will, He will help us think through our options to determine the best fit for us. By allowing us to do some of the “leg-work”, guided by His promptings, we will feel more confident that the decisions we make are inline with God’s will for us.

Important to Remember:  What is good for one person, may or may not be good for you, or me.  Every person’s journey through life is unique to them.  As unique as their fingerprint.

vector-fingerprint                                                                                                                                                                    This is why it is so important to seek God’s will.  He created us, and He has an awesome plan for our lives. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  –  Jeremiah 29:11

HOW SHOULD I PROCEED THEN?

For the answer to the above question, take a look at:                                                                               I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me??  –  (Part 3),  – http://wp.me/p5nZpi-ij                       and,  I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me??  –  (Part 1) – http://wp.me/p5nZpi-h

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I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me?? – (Part 1 of 3)

You’ll notice that I highlighted in line with His willThis is a key point because often times we like to put God in “our” box.

           godinabox

We like to tell God what we want, when we want it, and how we want it.  After all, if God is listening to us, we can be sure that He will give us what we ask for.

Maybe you have this type of thinking when it comes to God?  Check out this video…

EXCEPT, when what we want is not in line with His will.

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS?

When praying, tell God that you desire to know His will.  That you want what He wants. That you know He loves you and has your best interest in mind.  …we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.  –  Romans 8:28

The promise of answered prayers can be claimed by anyone who loves God. Meaning they’ve put their trust in Him, and obey what He teaches them in the Bible.  They’ve allowed God to transform the way they look at situations, people, the culture, the world  …let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  –  Romans 12:2

IF ALL THIS IS TRUE, THEN WHY DOES IT SEEM THAT GOD IS NOT ANSWERING MY PRAYERS?

One thing I’m certain of is that God doesn’t always answer our prayers in clear-cut/black-and-white way.  Sometimes He might be saying wait, sometimes yes, sometimes no, and other times He may be urging us to question or refine our requests.

LET’S USE AN EXAMPLE –  A Student Choosing Between Two Colleges

       a or b

Student

  • “I don’t know which college to attend.  I’ve been accepted to two.  I like both.  Both offer great/unique programs.  I will pray to God and ask Him which college I should go to.”
  • “I feel uneasy.  Should I choose College “A” or College “B”?  I’ve been praying, yet all I have is more anxiety and more unanswered questions.”
  • “I feel like I’d like to attend an Open House at each of the schools to get a feel for the campus and students.”
  • “I feel like I should call the schools to clarify options for extra curricular activities that would compliment my chosen major.”
  • “I’ve discovered today, that taking courses towards a minor in ______ vs. ______ would be a better fit with my major.”
  • “I’ve submitted applications for scholarships, and received one from College “A”.  Still waiting on the results from College “B”.
  • “There are students that I’d like to room with, and took the necessary steps for that to occur.”

HAS GOD ANSWERED THIS STUDENT’S PRAYER?

FOR THE ANSWER TO THE ABOVE QUESTION, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT:                                            I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me??  –  (Part 2) – http://wp.me/p5nZpi-i5for the answer to this question, and                                                                                                                         I Pray, Does God Hear Me, Does He Answer Me??  –  (Part 3) – http://wp.me/p5nZpi-ij

HINT: For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.  –  Job 33:14

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No One is Good?? Not Even One Person??

ALL people are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “NO ONE is good — not even one.  NO ONE has real understanding; NO ONE is seeking God.  All have turned away from God; ALL have gone wrong.

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For NO ONE can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying itBut now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sightNOT by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. 

We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we ALL can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For ALL have sinned; ALL fall short of God’s glorious standard. 

Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us NOT guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for OUR sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.

God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times.  And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal

IS NOT based on our good deeds. IT IS BASED ON OUR FAITH.                                                          

So we are made right with God through faith AND NOT by obeying the law. 

There is only one God, and there is only one way of being accepted by him. He makes people right with himself ONLY BY FAITH, whether they are Jews or Gentiles (any one other than a Jew) 

Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.  –   Romans 3:9-31

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My Life is Sooooo Busy…..

Don’t worry, or be anxious, about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. –  Philippians 4:6

 

Today, I would like to share a poem, written on a beautiful wooden plague, that I bought years ago at a church auction. It sits on the dresser, next to my bed, as a reminder of what happens when I/we try to “do life” on my/our own, apart from God.

Our lives can get so busy, that before we know it, we’re caught up in the rat race.  So much of our day is taken up with “stuff”.  Some necessary, and some, not so much. We forget that God loves us, and has a plan for our day.  He wants to give us a rich and satisfying life –  John 10:10.  rat_race Have you ever felt like you were carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?  Or  wondered if it were possible to lighten the burden you were experiencing?                                                   atlas

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  –  Matthew 11:28-30

I hope this poem is a blessing to you  –  🙂

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“Coffee Anyone?”, asks God

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous…              Psalm 139:13-14

As I read my Bible this morning, I came across a verse in the Book of Luke that caused me to pause. When this happens, it reminds me of a record player when the needle gets stuck in a groove and keep repeating the same words or melody over and over and over.

record player 2

It’s at this point that I have a choice to make.  Ignore the prompting to reread, and move on, or stop to reread and ponder.

question

When it comes to Bible reading “they” say, “you have to cover “X” amount of chapters, verses, etc., and stick to your Bible reading plan.  If you don’t, you’ll never finish reading the Gospels, or the Psalms, or the Old Testament, etc.  And you’ll certainly never finish reading the entire Bible.”           It’s at this point that I ask myself, who’s “they” anyway??

I approach reading the Bible a bit differently.  To me reading the Bible is similar to talking with someone on the phone, texting, or meeting for coffee.  It’s all about the relationship.  It’s not a one-way conversation, it’s the sharing back and forth of feelings, facts, experiences, hopes, etc., between two people.  How silly it would be if I met someone for coffee and whipped out my “thoughts” list, and started rattling it off?  And then, when I was finished reading my list, I’d get up and walk out the door?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          list           friends coffee            walking-clipart-e1380249111426

When you see the above scenario in writing, it seems ludicrous.  Who would ever ask to meet a friend for coffee and read off a list?  Not to mention walking out without saying goodbye, or thanks for listening.  Yet, how often have we, myself included, interacted this way with God?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat with a friend, started on one topic, and ended up touching of several others before the first cup of coffee was finished.  Or when a comment said in passing, turned out to be discussed in-depth.  When I meet up with friends I don’t have a checklist.  I’m getting together with them to catch up, and share what’s been going on in our lives.  If we just talk about what happened today, and never get to last week or next week, who cares.  This is what we needed, or wanted, to talk about now.

For me, this is the kind of relationship I have with God.  So when I’m reading the Bible and get the feeling I should pause and reread.  I pause and reread because I know that God has something to share with me.  I ask Him, “what are you trying to show me?  What do you want me to learn, to take with me today, to share with others, to change?”   I also thank God for encouraging me in a particular area, where I am on the “wise path”, and  thanking Him for all the blessings and provisions He gives me day in and day out.  I read with anticipation, eagerness, and appreciation that the Creator of everything wants to talk with me.  That He cares about me, and He loves our time together.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  Sometimes God gives us a warning, sometimes encouragement, and other times redirection to get us back on track.

As Hebrews 4:12 says, The word of God is living and active…  God wants to talk to us.  He wants to help us with our daily struggles.  He wants to bring us back to the safety of the “wise path”.

I once heard a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa say, “it’s not how often or how much of the Bible you read, but that you live out what you’ve read.  Don’t just read the Bible to finish it, read the Bible to change.”                                                                                                                             

                             Matthew 5:13-16      light_salt

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