Consecrated to the Lord (2nd part)
“You as well as these articles are consecrated to the Lord. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the Lord, the God of your ancestors.” (Ezra 8:28)
The idea of consecration treatment makes some people think twice. Every worship before God is a treatment of sanctification as we are a freewill offering to the Lord. Consecration is a gift from God through His very invitation to be worshiped and dedicated to Him. Every day of rest dedicated to God is a holy day for two reasons: 1. God requires His people to have a day in which He will be honored and dedicated to Him; 2) the people who obeyed God's call will sanctify that day in honoring the Lord.
Likewise happens when we set time apart for prayer, fasting, fellowship, and worshiping God with other believers who choose to set aside time to seek God’s face. The very word holiness comes from the Hebrew kadosh which means holy / set aside. And indeed, the day dedicated to the Lord, the personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus, tithing, the fellowship with Christ' Body, and everything else that is set aside for God is a time and a thing that is consecrated / holy to God. But all this should be the outcomes and evidence of a holy life consecrated to God. Considering these, Ezra the priest and the scholar addressed to God's people reminding them that both they and everything they "sacrificed" willingly to the Lord are consecrated and holy to the Lord. This holiness is a worship that becomes a seal which establishes a freewill' covenant between us and God.
By keeping this freewill offering to God our connection with Him is bound and the eternal covenant made by God with us through Jesus is strengthened: we are for Him, and He is for us.
Therefore, in times like these, when everything is shaken (including "the heavens and the earth") and nothing is certain, our worship can cement the covenant between God and us and set things in our lives "as they are in heaven to be on Earth."
Probably that is why Daniel, the prophet, warns us that in the last days, a cessation of worship will be attempted and will conclude in the breaking of the Covenant and denying the everlasting living God, the Faithful, the True, and the only One worthy of all praises.
He still seeks and calls His people to consecration through worship. Rebuild the altar of worship in your life, in your family, in your Church and upon that altar bring yourself, your household, others and whatever you have as a living, pleasant and holy sacrifice. “Because he is your Lord, worship Him.” (Ps.45:11)
Do this willingly and His eternal Covenant will last for you even after the heavens and the earth will pass away.
Be healthy and may His peace be with you this week!
Consecrated to the Lord (1st part)
“You as well as these articles are consecrated to the Lord. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the Lord, the God of your ancestors.” (Ezra 8:28)
What a grace and what a privilege to be consecrated! It denotes an affiliation and a special treatment. Because you have been dedicated to the Lord, you have been pledged and wished to exist and live for His benefit. That is why it is said: “Israel was consecrated to the Lord; she was the first fruits of his produce. All who devoured her became guilty and disaster came on them," declares the Lord.'" (Jeremiah 2:3)
“For whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)
Once being called and dedicated to the priesthood (by belonging and being used by God) it is a grace, a privilege, and a blessing to be enlighten by the face of the Most High, to be guided and continually to be protected by the shadow of the Almighty.
God commanded Moses that the children of His people should be brought before Him, and there they should be consecrated to the Lord and the priestly blessing should be spoken upon them. “The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27)
Beginning with the New Testament (from Jesus onwards) God bestowed His grace upon every child and every parent in order to come before Him to worship the Lord. And this has to be done in order to fulfill what He meant: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, (people consecrated to God) that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1Peter 2:9)
So, I urge you to meditate this week on the grace, call, and consecration given to you (not by a man) by God Himself to be a vessel dedicated to the Lord. Then don't forget what Ezra, the priest, mentioned: “You as well as these articles are consecrated to the Lord”; therefore, live accordingly to God’s grace and His privilege which are bestowed upon you.
Wish you a blessed week!
THAT’S FINE, TOO
2 Chronicles 20:31-37
God has given us laws, commandments, and instructions on how to reach Him and how we can set our hearts on Him.
Nowadays we hear more and more words like: "It's not like in my time." Of course, cars aren't like Grandpa Mater's time either.
However, "there is nothing new under the sun, and what has been will be again." What does not change are God's Laws, Commandments, and Instructions; and they do not change because they came out of God Himself Who stays the same.
Therefore, our guidance and what we practice must be 100% in accordance with God's instructions. Otherwise, as though we are doing what is right before the Lord, one day we will realise that our hearts are not tightly attached to the Lord because we have slowly moved away (for various reasons / situations) from Jerusalem (the only height chosen and valued by the Lord) and we have worshiped God on heights chosen by others or by ourselves, according to our own reasons and circumstances.
Unfortunately, all this time we have been reminded or meditated less and less about the words of Psalm 48: 2. “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King.”
If you are looking for life-giving teachings, and if you want to know, hear, and understand more about the height of the Lord and about those heights which do not allow hearts to set entirely on God, I invite you to attend the Sunday service either in-person or Zoom at 10am.
Let us know in advance and we will make the necessary preparations so that you can have the teachings that lead to life.
The Heart's Treasure
“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” (Luke 12:34)
Track the money, follow the path of someone’s investment and you will find out what that person loves and dreams for. What we love is what drives our money, time, energy, and life. Money doesn’t grow on trees but having money will help us to plant some trees.
Jesus advised His disciples to “sell your possessions and give to those in need; make to yourselves purses not growing old, an unfailing treasure in the heavens, where thief does not draw near, nor does moth destroy.” (Luke 12:33)
Prayer in the light of God’s word can be the best adviser when we seek God’s face and His will for our best investment in life. Looking at the example of the Early Church, we can see the unity and the love of Christians as it is mentioned in the book of Acts 4:32-34. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales.”
The Early Church’ believers were praying for Revival and were ready to show their love investing in God’s Kingdom. They were one heart and mind, they shared everything they had, they continued to testify about Jesus while helping those in need among them using their own possessions; and God’s grace was at work with power.
We don’t know all the names of those who did that, but one day they will be introduced to us. Meanwhile we enjoy their investments in God’s Kingdom which is present today in the world through the Gospel and Christ’ Church. I encourage you to consider 50 years from now if Jesus will not return. If people (our children and our grandchildren) will track our money or follow the path of our investment they can find out that our love and dreams were the same as the early Church? If yes, then we can continue to pray for revival and to have expectations (not hope only) that next generations will know and follow the Lord Jesus and His teachings.
The Threefold Cord Braided and Used by God
“Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” (Ruth 2:8,12)
Among other things, there are less and less situations nowadays (end time) when someone gives you a good advice and for free (a true friend) and a blessing to be fulfilled (a man/women of God).
Equally rare are the situations when you find a man who considers a good and healthy advice and trusts in God with his/her whole heart. Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz were such people. Three different persons if we take into consideration their social and cultural status. Yet what these three have in common were: their roots in God, their obedience, their trust, and a pure heart. When these three have met, nothing stood in God's way to braid the threefold cord" which is very resilient. Their joy, success, and reward from the Lord were complete when the three of them met and worked together according to their divine principles. (Rut 4:13-22)
If you partner such people do not forsake them, and if you are still looking for them, do not be bitter-hearted, but keep yourself rooted in God holding the obedience in a pure heart.
Even today God seeks to braid and to use a threefold rope: Naomi (the afflicted ones), Ruth (those who seek shelter under the wings of the Almighty) and Boaz (the blessed ones who want to be a blessing).
May this week the Spirit of the Lord will comfort your life, will accompany you with Christ' victorious presence, and will guide your steps into Heavenly Father’ blessings.
Be part of the braid of God's rope!
Live with God’s Mind
“He has also planted eternity in the human heart.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
This thought (of eternity) in human heart is not an invention, nor a story, but the seed of God in us. Abraham, the father of all believers, was driven by this thought when he obeyed the voice of the Almighty which led him beyond human limits and the experiences of his time.
The resurrection of Jesus cements the faith of resurrection in our hearts and makes us put our hope in eternal things and not in those of a moment.
Attending or not a certain Church isn't all we need, but the thought of eternity placed by God in our hearts; is our confession that Jesus rose from the death, and that we live daily with the thought of resurrection.
Encouraged by God's thought in our hearts and by this truth of Christ resurrection, let us live this week too, knowing that the resurrection of the chosen ones is the inheritance of those who believe and trust God. No one can take away this inheritance from you. On the Day of the righteous, the Great Judge will certify this inheritance by resurrecting those who have kept God's seed in their hearts. Live with this thought day and night and make it known to those who need it. Allow the power of this thought to strengthen your steps in total obedience to the One Who placed this truth in us and raised His Son from the dead, proving that those who trust Him will not be slaves of death and despair but their part is resurrection and eternal life.
Have a blessed week along with the One who is alive forever and ever!
“Is not Ephraim a precious son to Me, a delightful child? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore, My heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:20)
Sometimes we’re walking in Ephraim’s shoes of expecting to be fruitful. Unfortunately, we experience the words of the Lord against Ephraim and the subdue of being limited although Revelation 2:2-3 fits with you. “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.”
Check yourself and see if the “Ephraim’s shoe” in your feet holds Revelation 2:4: “But I have against you that you have abandoned your first love.” If it does, then “repent, do the works you did at first.” This will remind God, you and others the declaration of the Lord: ”surely I still remember him. Therefore, My heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him.”
Don’t loose your heart but keep God’s instructions and never forget that you are His Ephraim ("fruitful"): ”a precious son to Me, a delightful child.”
Read and Pray!
“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray at all times and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)
“This Book of the Law (the Bible) must not depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8)
Reading the Bible
Deepening in the Word of God is like kneading the cake: the more we knead it, the better the cake grows and comes out fluffier. It's the same with faith: it grows exponentially and it's easy to enjoy it.
Prayer is as a spring water of a well: the more you use it, the more abundant it gets. When Bible reading and prayer are “greater than ourselves,” then God's faith and power are greater in our lives than any obstacle that would arise in the way of life!
Found by the Almighty
“I have found My servant David; with My sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely My arm will strengthen him.” (Psalm 89:20-21)
“I have found My servant David; with My sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely My arm will strengthen him.” (Psalm 89:20-21)
Most believers recognize that they were found by God first.
In our text for today we recognize that we’re walking from the same shoes as David: to be found by Him.
For David and us, this is just the beginning of the journey.
Like David, we are in a daily walk where we need God’s anointing (presence), His hand to shadow us and His arm to support us.
His presence, hand and arm are mighty, and that’s why we’re strengthened, we are able to fight the good fight and to pass the finish line of our running.
I pray that wherever you are, to be found by the Almighty and from there His Holy Spirit, His good hand and His mighty arm be with you to guide and partner with you until you will finish your walk. Then everything that stays against you will come to a total recognition that you were found by God Almighty. (v.22-29)
THE PRAYER OF A SOUL THAT FADES AWAY
"For His anger is fleeting, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)
God’s Compassion broke the scale of our sins, failures and mistakes at Golgotha’s cross.
Go on your knees and enter into God’s presence; there you will not find a scale but the cross where God’s forgiveness, His love and Christ’ compassion are present.
There isn’t any other scale, nor even one to weight God’s forgiveness, love and compassion because they can not be scaled
Shelter yourself in the shadow of the Almighty; not even heaven seems to be a safer place.
Let Him fill your heart with longing for Himself, and make Him your greatest wish; it may be so great that even the storm wouldn’t be able to slow down the pace of your walk with Him.
Even now I am not sure if I found Him or if HE found me, but I can certainty say that He sought me.
THE PRAYER OF A SOUL THAT FADES AWAY
“As my life was fading away, I remembered the Lord. My prayer went up to You, to Your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)
There are many ways to lift up prayers to the Most High, and all are done with the same longing: to reach Him in His holy Temple.
The spirit of life in the human body is God's gift, and when this fades away, two things remain for man: to reconcile with God or to lose the state of the living soul forever.
Due to his disobedience, the prophet Jonah, had reached a situation and places that led him to the state in which the life of his soul was beginning to die out. With a cry of despair and of repentance towards the One Whom he disobeyed, while Jonah was facing death, his mind was awakened and he remembered about the Giver of life. He is the One who has mercy for all those who turned away from Him for various reasons (most of them because they don't understand the ways of the Lord). These, as Jonah and king Zedekiah, can lift up towards heaven the Prayer of a soul that fades away and which is heard by God wherever they are. Wherever you are, remember that Jonah was on the bottom of the sea in the belly of a fish, and King Zedekiah turned his face in tears to the wall and prayed to the Lord. “Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spit Jonah out onto the shore.” (Jonah 2:10)
Regarding king Zedekiah, the Bible is revealing: “I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?” I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself in the land of the living; no longer will I look on my fellow man, or be with those who now dwell in this world. Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me. I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me. I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!” But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.” (Isaiah 38:10-28)
Therefore, remember Him wherever you are and lift up to Him the prayer which can reach His Temple.
RETURN YOUR SWORD INTO ITS PLACE
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
It is said that during Jesus lifetime on Earth, there were no wars. Also, there is a place in Scripture called the Field of Swords. (2 Samuel 2:16) In that place the swords could not returned into their place those who used them fell dead by them.
When the swords are out of their place it is almost impossible to avoid the damage. Once the swords are "released", their outcome is pain, terror, bitterness and disaster. There are different types of swords, and the tongue can be found on the primary list. When the sword is touched with anger, for revenge, with violence, and even in the name of justice, then peace and the tranquility are driven away and their "nests" are compromised. Stop the war before it starts. Defend yourself without bringing pain, terror, bitterness and disaster; therefore “live at peace with everyone.”
Take head about the advice of a man who experienced the sword’s outcomes in his own household: “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.” (Psalm 37:8) I pray that the "nest" of peace and the tranquility of your household be protected. War does not have the power to begin as long as the sword is held into its place, and always the houses are built in time of peace.
The words of Matthew 26:52 was meant for Peter. Later on, Peter conclude his first letter saying: “Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.” (1 Peter 5:14) The apostle Peter was able to say these words because he heeded Jesus instruction to leave the sword in its place.” Do as Peter did and you will be enabled to become a living epistle.
BE CAPTIVED BY THE GREATNESS OF GOD
“Take delight in the Lord.” (Psalm 37:4)
We live in a world and a time when almost anyone and everything tries to captivate our attention. The scientific, IT and technological revolutions are reaching unprecedented heights, and humanity is increasingly fascinated by them all. A huge price was paid for these human "fascinations," but comparing with the vastness of God, all of these are like a drop of water in an ocean. Unfortunately, the effects of these fascinations are captivating more and more souls by "discontinuing" them from their closeness’ journey towards the Creator. Of course, it is more convenient to be seized by the fever of what you see than searching the face of a mysterious God.
Now it is up to you what you consider most valuable and varied: a drop of water or an ocean. From a scientific point of view, in a molecule of water you can find two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. In an ocean we discover an entire scientific universe, and as you approach the Great Creator you realize that an ocean of universes belongs to Him. One of them is exactly the one which includes a request and a promise: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Once you begin to delight in the Lord by experiencing God's "drop / universe" for your life, I urge you to continue to explore the other drops which form the ocean of God's wonders. When we get to say as David said in Psalm 40: 5 (“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”), then we will be people captivated by His greatness.
CHOOSE THE COURSE OF A GOOD LIFE (2)
"Plow up your unplowed fields; do not plant your seeds among thorns.” (Jeremiah 3:4)
Once evil has entered the world, we must do absolutely nothing to allow it to spread. It is like the untouched land of a farmer which will soon be filled with ruin on its own. Not rejecting the evil from within yourself or the wickedness around you, it will very soon lead to weeding the ground of your life or that around you.
Edmund Burke stated: “The only thing necessary for evil to win is for good men to do nothing.” Here is another clue that we are in the right direction for a better life: BREAK UP YOUR FALLOW GROUND and KEEP IT CLEAN
To keep the land clean and fertile, farmers have to fight weeds.
The Savior came to destroy the works of the devil and one way to do that was by cleansing off the land of mankind’s land of it weeds. Also, the Savior said that no matter how good and healthy is the seed you put in the ground if the land where you sow is not cleared of weeds latter on it will stifle what you sow and will compromise the harvest.
While calling the people to choose a safe path, the prophet Jeremiah urged them saying: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. “(Jer.4:3)
The one who wants to experience the result of a better life, is the one who clears his land, keeps it clean, sows it, then enjoys a harvest that encourages him to continue on the path of a good life. The same "fate" is experienced by those who watch over their soul, freeing it from any defilement and keeping it clean. They are the ones who will have the right to enter the holy city through the gates of pearls and eat from the tree of life, because they have chosen the course of a good life.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.” (Revelation 22:14)
CHOOSE THE COURSE OF A GOOD LIFE (1)
"He sets himself on a path that is not good.” (Psalm 36:4)
Indeed, it is not up to us to choose our parents or the other members of the Church; God chooses them. But we can choose the direction we want to take and the path we are on. These two will lead us to a destination where rest, peace and happiness are the "local tradition" and "the flowers that grow on the windows of your house."
Here is the first clue indicating that we are on the right direction: FEAR of THE LORD
Drivers who do not have to pay fines for exceeding the speed limit are often those who do not press on the gas pedal too hard for they fear getting caught by the traffic police. Although they have cars that can exceed the speed limit in a few seconds, they decided to follow the traffic’ rules. If they don't keep their decision, they risk not only fines but also the increase of insurance and even the confiscation of the car. In such cases, rest, peace, and happiness begin to lose their "flavor."
Likewise, those who want to walk in the way of righteousness are those who follow the exhortations of the Most High. By keeping His commandments “retains” us within the limits which ensure us that any "obstacle" (temptation, falling, and hardship) would get in our way we will have the ability to avoid them. In life, all things are allowed to us, but because not all are useful to us, I urge you to choose to walk in the path of a good life. In this way, God’s fear helps you to stay within the limits that protect you from harm and helps you to reach your destination safely. The course of this path is good and in the end peace, rest, and happiness await us. Choose the course of a good life where the blessings of Deuteronomy 28: 2-12 are found.
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and refreshment for your bones.” (Eccl. 12:13; Prb. 3:7-8)
““His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” ~ Matthew 25:23
A complete joy can be found on the successful “highway”.
Before building a wall or laying a foundation consider your friends, enemies and the materials you are using. You might not know which one will fail your work.
The wall will protect you, the foundation will allow you to build up, and by mastering the money wisely you can be successful.
So, make Jesus your friend Who never abandons. Choose God’s promises to be your qualitative materials which makes unshakable everything is built upon. Be a good and faithful steward who allows God to make even the enemies to work for your well being.
All of these can lead people to experience the Master’s joy: a complete joy.
I pray and I wish you successful weeks and joyful weekends.
SEEK HIM, COME CLOSER to HIM and CONFESS HIM
“When the centurion standing there in front of Jesus saw how He had breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)
More than 2,000 years ago, in the midst of chaos, conspiracy, injustice, corruption, insecurity, confusion, and voices that were either for or against the crucifixion of the Savior, the captain of the Roman army in Jerusalem publicly uttered words that came to be the confession of Christian faith: “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
This truth changed the history of mankind and the lives of all those who came to the same confession as the Roman officer. The centurion had not given up seeking the truth, but was getting closer to the Lord. During the 3 hours when Jesus hanged on the cross, the Roman officer stood in front of his Savior and of the whole world. Today I urge you not to give up seeking the truth for your soul and life. Come closer to the Lord Jesus so that you might hear His whispers and see the pain in His cries for those in need.
Although he was an influential and authoritative public figure, the centurion confessed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. This Confession of Faith helped him to get his name written in the Book of Life and to be mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. Thus, it seems that this centurion was the first Roman officer who become Christian of what we know in our present-day: Italy (the former Roman Empire). Even if you are the first in your home, in your school, in your workplace, in your entourage or in your community, SEEK THE TRUTH, COME CLOSER to JESUS and CONFESS HIM as the SON of GOD.
The Book of Life is still open for others to have their names written in it, while the Spirit of God can use you to hear, to see, and to understand that Jesus is truly the Son of God.
WHO IS THE CENTER OF YOUR LIFE
“Israel's King, (Jesus Christ) is among you; no longer will you fear and harm.” (Zephaniah 3:15)
Among many other things, two of them which are harm and fear, prefer to “visit” those places where people have settled. These two walks together and try to resident in many houses in order to take control of them. These unwanted "guests" are very aggressive and more harmful than the Colorado potato beetles or locusts when they attack potato crops or a wheat field. It is very difficult to deal with such an aggressive enemy; once it has entered human life it is almost impossible to overcome it.
The good news is that these two harmful things are becoming powerless in the places and lives where the King of Israel, the Lord Jesus, reigns. He was given by God to rule over all and He is the One who guards all those who have been entrusted to Him.
Therefore, I urge you to choose the Way – Jesus Christ - where fear and harm cannot survive. This chosen and beloved Way is not only the victory you need but also the peace and the blessing you are looking for. Choose this Way every day and let Him make His own path through the middle of your house. Then the unwanted "guests" will leave your place because the center of your house became the location where the Almighty Emperor settled.
I pray that you will experience both the victory over fear and the state of well-being which can be found in the places where the Way of victory and the blessings of the Almighty dwell.
WE ALL NEED JESUS!
“Put Yourself as a pledge for me. Who else will be my guarantor?” (Job 17:3)
“Woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Eccl. 4:10)
There are times in life when you are as you don’t want to be: vulnerable, alone, guilty or misunderstood. If you look around, it might seem that for now you don't have anyone to support you, not even yourself.
Job made a prayer and Solomon gave an advice; both of them asked for someone to be a guarantor and for a faithful friend in time of need.
Jesus is still looking for someone to be used by Him to answer another one’s prayer and to lift up those who stumbled. So, make yourself available to be God’s chosen ones; the week just begun.
Either you are the one who lifted up a prayer for guarantor, either you agreed with Ecclesiastes’ advice, or if you are the one who wanted to be used by God, please remember that for all of these we all need Jesus.
OPEN THE HEAVENS THROUGH SONGs of PRAISE
“I will sing of loving kindness and justice. To you, God, I will sing praises.” (Ps.101:1)
“Loving kindness and truth are met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Ps.85:10)
Singing can be the expression of a well-being’ state. In addition to the message, singing conveys a lot of emotion and can reveal a truth that defines someone's mood.
There are many ways in which people express their confession of faith and hope, and one of them is through songs. Like river, singing brings with it a message (water) that gives and sustains life, refreshes and creates a state of well-being and develops a conducive and beautiful environment that makes people to build cottages and to enjoy days of rest on its shores.
Often people found through music the means by which they were lifted up and were strengthened, while heaven opened to see the goodness, the justice, and the faithfulness of God before they experienced them. Then the heaven opens, and the man is flooded with the peace that comes from above. That is why those to whom the heavens were opened during their songs they began to love heaven and its dew that gives life and does good to them.
Observe the goodness, the faithfulness, and the justice of God during the day, and in the evening, you will be able to sing about it to the One who seated His throne in heavens. May the heaven remain open for you during the night and its dew falls over you so that every morning your heart will be filled with love that will impulse you to say like David: “I will sing of loving kindness and justice. To you, God, I will sing praises.”
I DIDN’T RECOGNIZE HIM BY THE HUMP
“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak...”(Ezekiel 34:16)
On the rainy night when the night darkness and the black clouds covered the starry sky, I met the Gentle Shepherd through the ravines of the mountains and the backs of the dark places. Due to the capricious places and weather, I had not seen him until he was very close. When he approached, I recognized him by His voice, and when I met His gaze all doubt disappeared; I knew it was Him.
It was not his stature that defined Him because He looked humpbacked, but His voice, His gaze, and the way He walked. He carried on His shoulders a lost and wounded sheep covered by His cloak. The sheep was too weak to walk on her feet, and His shoulders were accustomed to carry.
I didn't get to ask Him what he was doing in the middle of the night or what He was looking for in the middle of the storm, His "hump" was his answer: He is the One who seeks what is lost, brings back what is far away, cares for what is wounded, guards what has been entrusted to Him, and feeds His flock faithfully. Then I followed Him.
Since then I have always been part of His presence except those nights when He puts on His cloak with a "hump" while the stable and the rest of us are entrusted to the care of His faithful servants.
The MOUNT of OLIVES
“But David continued up the Mount of Olives.” (2 Samuel 15:30)
The Mount of Olives is known for its history: the flight of David, the place of Solomon’s idolatry, the place of Gethsemane (the agony and betrayal of Christ), the place of the lamentation of Christ over Jerusalem and the place from which resurrected Jesus ascended.
The Mount of Olives still exists, can be seen, but what is more important is that this mountain “can be experienced.” Although “David was weeping, his head was covered and he was barefoot”, he (David) “continued up the Mount of Olives.” While he and “all the people with him” climbed the hill, David was told that one of his advisors (Ahithophel) was among the conspirators. Immediately David comprehended the size of the danger that could strike him, his family, his companions and his kingdom.
David, the beloved one, didn’t stop, but barefooted he continued up the Mount of Olives and lifted up a prayer weeping and with his head covered.
Even though we’re beloved, every one of us has his/her own Mount of Olives to deal with. If this is where you are now, weeping, with your head covered, barefoot and having an Ahithophel making your life harder, I pray for you and I encourage you to do what king David did: pray, continue to climb up and worship God with those around you, when you are on top. “So, David pleaded, “O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!” When David came to the top [of the Mount of Olives] he and his people worshiped God.” (v.31,32)
“I have called you friends” (John 15:15)
Negative experiences of life determined many people to use the term friend less and less carefully. Gold is a precious and rare metal; in addition to that its qualities and values keep it in a superior position.
It seems that true friendship is like gold: increasingly rare, more precious and cannot be faked. Subjected to any process of testing and transformation, friendship - like gold - does not fall below a certain level because it does not lose its quality.
In ancient times, many mirrors were made of gold (of the highest quality), because at that time the maximum accuracy of reflection was by using gold. The golden mirror transmitted / reflected everything without distortions or restraints; the mirror was sincere and reflected both the qualities and what needed to be "adjusted".
The mirror was the owner's best friend. Unfortunately, nowadays gold mirrors like friendships are becoming rarer and the reasons are innumerable. The Savior Jesus calls His disciples FRIENDS (John 15:15), and Job's friends advised Job to make GOD HIS FRIEND (Job 22:21). You may not have any gold mirror and I don't know how many friends do you have around you, but JESUS 'FRIENDSHIP IS THE LONGEST, IT IS MOST QUALITATIVE ONES, and IT IS MORE VALUABLE THAN THE PUREST GOLD.
Allow the Savior to make you His friend and you will receive a place in the hall of mirrors. This hall can also be called the Friends' Hall.
By receiving this honor, you will experience daily the presence of God and you will enjoy the face of the best friend of all times.
REVIVE ME (part three)
“Consider how I love thy precepts: revive me, O Lord, according to thy loving-kindness.”
In the first and second part we saw how the teachings and the Law of God revive the soul through salvation.
Also, we saw that His mercy and ordinances revive life by His statutes.
Today we can see that beside these two (the teachings and ordinances), the goodness of God is the one which revives the heart.
The 119 Psalm’s author recognizes that he is not lacking neither the faithless nor the persecutors. We all know that these kinds of people can not only easily weaken our hands and slow our work, but also sadden and pressure someone’s heart. Be aware that this is the target of all resistances and persecutions, to weaken the heart and to make us give up.
Keeping the Word along with a deep love of the heart for God’s commandments, made the psalmist (and also us) pray by saying: “revive me, O Lord, according to thy loving-kindness!” He, the psalmist, experienced the grace that through the Word and by God’s statutes he was able to comprehend unlimited loving kindness of the Most High. That is why in less than seven verses (154-159) the psalmist prays three time to God: “REVIVE ME”
Let the teachings, ordinances and goodness of God to revive your soul, life and heart. Amen!
REVIVE ME (2nd part)
“Salvation is far from the wicked, for they don't seek your statutes. Great are your mercies Lord. Revive me according to your ordinances.” (Ps.119:155-156)
Apostle Paul was the man who saw and who was used by God’s Spirit like no other for both Jews and Christians; he said that salvation is very close to man. However, the psalmist makes it clear that deliverance, help, and victory from God's hands have a long way to go and take a long time to reach those who infrequently seek, ask, follow and worship God. In other words, by not doing these (for this is the ordinance of every man) man commits a great evil by keeping God’s Law out of the equation of life.
When God's ordinances become a priority for one's life then redemption is at hand, the mercies of the Most High are as great and numerous as the stars of heaven. Those who walk in God’s ordinances have the opportunity to observe Lord's infinite mercy and His salvation in any situation of life. By seeing these truths, we can experience REVIVAL as one of the fruits of our soul's work.
REVIVE ME (part one)
“Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever. Revive me according to Your word.” (Ps.119:152,154)
Just as there are different things and ways in which the body becomes tired or recovered, so there are different situations and means by which the human soul can be brought down or revived.
The author of Psalm 119 shows us some things that can lead to the breakdown of the soul but also the things that bring refreshment to our souls. Today we will identify some aspects related to the downfall or revival of the soul.
The path to the punishment of personal wickedness. On this way is found "the melting of the bones and continual groaning" (Ps.32: 3) and” the strengthen dried up as by the heat of summer.” (Ps.32:4) The more someone advances in this way, the more the human soul is saddened and overwhelmed. Unfortunately, those who continue to walk in this path without considering the ways out of it, they will walk this path with their minds hardened (accepting the "fate" of pain and anxiety). Always the path that man walks will lead to a certain destination. We arrive at a certain place because of the path we have chosen to go on.
The abolition of punishment by returning to living in obedience of the holy teachings.
Just as there are exits from a highway (to enter different localities), so God has promises (exit signs) for those who want to get out of the way of those things that condemn and keep people doomed. It is not enough to want to get out of the wrong way, stop continuing to walk on the highway of condemnation. Use these highway’ exits (until your mind is not hardened) which lead people away from the path of personal condemnation. These exists are God’s promises to take you to the place of forgiveness, peace and blessings for your soul.
Don’t postpone the release from the band of oppressions and pains of the soul. Use the ways (God's exhortations and promises) that lead to the place where your soul will be revived. “Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever. Revive me according to Your word.”
Pray with faith and boldness
“my prayer is pure” (Job 16:17b)
We consider that at least once every individual has lifted up a prayer to the sky throughout his/her life. The prayer has the goal of touching the sky and for receiving an answer. In its need of receiving an answer, Job the righteous had an affirmation which as big as it was, as normal it was as well. After he kept on defending himself in front of his friend’s accusations who were not finding any guilt on him (Job 32:2) while watching the blindness, Job’s behavior and heart thoughts, he calls for something that should make everyone around him remain silent: “my prayer is pure”.
In other words, Job says it was impossible that his thoughts, words and actions to be unclean when his prayer was always clean. Job knew that you can not be one way before God and in another way before the people. That is why he continued and said: “My friends scorn me; My eyes pour out tears to God, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor!” (Job 16:20-21).
It is outrageous that on the day of distress even the friends to stay against, but if your prayer is clean then you can wait for God to save you from the bad day and your enemies. He will do justice for you before heaven and in your friend’s sight “they will be rescued because your hands are pure” (Job 22:30b).
When you know that your prayer is clean you can pray with faith and boldness; then even your false friends will need you clean prayers.
Be A Shadow Used by God
“I delight to sit in his shade.” (Songs of Solomon 2:3)
Your life can be like a farmer’s life who is working the field in during the hottest moment of the day or like the life of a traveler with a long trip during summer days. Later or sooner, both of them need the shadow to cool down, rest and strengthen themselves. Afterwards they can continue their work and journey.
The shadow is the place we are looking for during the very warm moments. It is the place that revives and creates a feeling of comfort and good. When we sit under the shadow, we can even have a better perspective about the things in our life’s.
No matter if the shadow is made a by a fruitful tree or by a tree that only has leafs which swish when the wind blows, the shadows from these trees they are always wanted. The shadow will always be there for you when you need a rest, a word to boost you up, open arms to make you feel better.
Shelter yourself under the shadows that God offers you / bring them in your way, and the move forward through “the hottest moment” of the day. First make God your shadow and then He will use also use other shadows to do you good even more. After you experienced how much good the “shadows” of God did to you, let Him to make you a shadow for the ones who toil. You have to become a shadow for the tired one or for the one who wants to enjoy the divine and life blessings under the cool shadow offered by the Most High.
If besides the offered shadow you will also have a fruit, the you must know that many “farmers” and many “travelers” will pull over under you shadow. You will become more then just a shadow, you will be a good place where many memories and stories of life will be shared. For sure one of them will be about you, the “shadow” of God through which God did good to many. A shadow which with pleasure people will sit under and story-tell the mighty miracles of the Most High.
When the Day of Distress Comes
“Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my distress, I will call on you, because you answer me.” (Psalm 86:6-7)
The day of distress is undesirable and unknown but roams the earth long and wide entering in people’ homes and lives unexpectedly. It is probably the only day in people' lives that is not loved but totally rejected.
Many people consider this day to be the favorite day of the evil one to manifest his character: to destroy as much as possible, to steal man's peace, joy and tranquility, and to kill what is good.
The Bible foretells that on the day of great tribulation people will seek to hide even in the cracks of the rocks. In such days (of trouble) those who were your friends will be the first to find the best hiding places (for them, but not for you) so that you cannot find them no matter how insistently you look for them and no matter how hard you would shout for them.
Psalm 86 is a prayer and a cry of David towards the One who promised that in the day of trouble He will not hide (even if He is not visible), nor will He be silent (even if we cannot not hear Him) . David had made a good habit to call on God in his days of trouble, which is why when days of distress came, King David called upon the Lord to hear him.
I cannot guarantee you that a day of trouble will not visit your street, nor can I assure you that in a day of distress all your friends will support you, but I encourage you, when a day of trouble will come then you will CALL UPON THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR POWER (which you have left) and WITH ALL YOUR HEART (no matter how broken it will be).
Cry in prayer to the One Who is able to save because to Him belong all the power, wisdom, options, and people He can use to save and to exalt. Then come back to Him to praise His faithfulness and to share with His people about His mercy and mighty works for you in the day of your distress. And then “we will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.”
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
Ways that seem good and Ways that are good
Proverbs 16: 25-33
Just as there are two categories of angels: the FALLEN ONES, who have defiled themselves, and the HOLY ANGELS, who kept themselves flawless, so there are two ways: one, that gives the impression of being good but leads to death, and the other one which is worthy to be considered.
The devil is not so dark but he is odious as a fallen angel. The Bible speaks about deceitful ways which “introduce” themselves as good but by testing them you will find out (sometimes too late) that they lead to destruction and death. Here we can identify some “ways” that I do not recommend anyone to use if they love their souls and desire to enjoy long life.
“There are ways* that seem to be right, but their ends are the ways of death.” V.25 :
• * worthless / scoundrel person (v,27)
• * perverse / whisper person (v.28)
• * unjust gainer / violent person (v.29)
• * those who pretends not to see / those who bent on evil (v.30)
In all these, people have their own share of toil, but neither the soul nor the purity of the heart push them into these*, but carnal impulses and defiled minds.
Now let’s look upon the Worthy# “ways” that are good which lead to success and life. The “worthy” ways are those ways that lead to a life where achievements are present such as the milestones on the side of national roads.
The Bible states that, “Noble man makes honorable plans and he stands up for worthy causes.” :
• #gray hair gained by living a godly life (v.31)
• #slow to anger and a tempered spirit (v.32)
• #entrust and recognize God’s fate for your life (v.33)
The sweat of those who work in purity is found on the hall of fame which leads to the gates of Life’ City.
Be the Thought of the Lord
“For I know the thoughts I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans of peace and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
There are at least three ways in which God's thoughts can be discovered, understood, and known.
The first, can be through the inspiration and direct revelation given by the Holy Spirit. The thoughts of the Most High can be discovered at once. This is known among God’s people as PERSONAL GUIDANCE.
A second way might be through the reading and hearing God's Word. You begin to discover and understand God's thoughts as you read, hear, and deepen His Word. This way is also known as PERSONAL UNDERSTANDING.
The third way is by walking in PERSONAL GUIDANCE (received) and by fulfilling the Word of God through PERSONAL UNDERSTANDING. It takes time and devotion here. Your life (as Job, Joseph and David) lived by faith in God’s revelations and in obedience of His Word makes you an X-ray image of the Most High’s thoughts.
You will become God's thoughts easy-to-be-understand. God’s Spirit will help people through you to “read” and understand what God meant when He said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you (men), thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you a future and a hope.” He will set you as an example and as a message from Him to those around you wherever you are.
You first and then more and more people around you, will come to see and will comprehend God’s thoughts for mankind: thoughts of good and peace, "to give a future and a hope."
I encourage you to enjoy the grace received (to know and understand Lord’s mind), and to grow more and more in His grace. Continue to walk with Him and to be uses by His Spirit thus THROUGH YOU GOD WILL MAKE KNOWN HIS THOUGHTS OF HOPE AND PEACE.
May God’s hope and His peace be with you, always!
Take the Poison Out
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness , so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him." (John 3:14-15)
It seems that what defiles and kills people the most are the things from within. These things always are coming from outside (we weren’t born with them) and are settling inside until kill everything that is good and beauty.
Unfortunately, they do not stop here but continue their cycle of multiplication "going out" visiting other ears poisoning lives around them. The heavy and harshly words oppress, lies and deceptive words lead man astray, the disapproval and rejection isolate human being, and all these are drops of poison that "bite like rot in the bones."
They are as venomous snake's bites which poison the inside, gnawing human body, tearing down human relationships and obliterate a beautiful future. As long as we focus on them, we will keep this poison inside of us that will kill continuously. From the moment you look at Christ, you will not only begin to feel better, but you will be completely healed and save your life.
Faith in (turning your gaze to) the Lord Jesus will annihilate the bite of the serpent and the effect of the poison. Begin today to "take the poison" out of you by living and experiencing daily the abundant life that sprouts out through the Word of Life.
The Lord Be with You!
The story of Joseph is a story of life established in love and joy until God’s plan began to be someone’s dream.
Then misunderstandings, jealously, rejection, loneliness, treason, slavery, racism, pain, injustice, revenge, lies and false accusations, frustrations and confusion were the afflictions Joseph went through since was young enough.
“BUT GOD WAS WITH HIM”
Believing and following God’s dream/plan, long suffering, faithfulness, forgiveness, respect, faith, righteousness, repentance, being honest and trustworthy, wisdom, wealth, being saved and victorious, being used by God in “prisons” and in liberty, being exalted and overjoyed by God were Joseph’s blessings and inheritance of having God in his side.
That was Joseph’s life and when you experience something similar please remember that to us it was given the grace not only to go through difficulties because of our beliefs, nor even the target to inherit God’s blessings
BUT TO HAVE GOD WITH YOU IN ALL THIS.
Made Worthy and Empowered Together with Christ before God
The angel of the Lord who showed apostle John the things of the Revelation’s book made known to him through the Spirit that after Jesus was found worthy, into Him was given the right to approach the One Who sat on the throne and to be handed over to him a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.
Jesus’ sacrifice of total obedience (until death) to the Father and the life He lived without sin "qualified" Him of being worthy to step before God’s throne and to be entrusted with the full right of what was to happen on Earth. Until then, the scroll sealed with 7 seals was in the right hand of God the Father.
After He was found worthy before heaven and earth, the Almighty entrusted Jesus the sealed scroll / verdicts to carry out the judgments of the Most High.
The recognition of Jesus as the eternal partaker of the throne of God was the first thing that is mentioned after the handing over of the sealed scroll.
Through His sacrifice, Jesus did not only receive the right to partner the eternal throne, but at the same time, He was acknowledged that He redeemed for God people whom He made them worthy to become priests of the Most Holy One and made the citizens of the Kingdom of the Most High.
When Jesus was made worthy, He made us worthy, too. When He was exalted, He exalted us, as well; and these are strong evidences of our Saviour’ love and altruism.
As it is written in verse 3, so let us say every day that no one else - "neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth" - is worthy to receive what we offer to Jesus: all that we are and have, our worship, honor, glory, power and praise.
“At the hour of the supper, he sent his servant to say to those having been invited, 'Come’” (Luke 14:17)
When heaven seems hard to reach, check your feet to have not sunk in the mud on the street; there the souls of many believers who have lost their power were trampled. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, how will it regain its power to jump again? Then it's good for nothing but being thrown out and trampled on by people. " Think for a moment of His sorrow at seeing those created and redeemed by Him being rejected and trampled on; then you will discern more clearly the voice that says "COME!"
That is why you should come every night to the upper room where the Savior is waiting for you with the basin and a towel to cleanse you from the dust of walking in this world. Do not look about how much or how little dust or mud is on your feet, because all who enter into His presence they come to be cleansed, not to be checked out. We get the "token of welcome" when we accept His call: COME!
Don't say like Peter, "You will never wash my feet!" For if He does not cleanse you, the filth of the world and your palsy will continue to stick with you. Allow Him to cleanse you because "unless I wash you, you have no part with Me." COME, there you will meet His disciples who cannot rest overnight until they experience the humble and the graceful touch of their Lord. COME, there, in His presence you will enjoy the best supper and the words of life full of grace and truth: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering.” Having communion with Him will be a time of joy, not only because He took your punishment and suffering, not only because He cleansed you and now you can sit at table with His chosen ones, but because you have left the world with its dust and mud of the streets and you came to partner with Him. That is why He came into the world and that is why He calls you to COME to Him, so that you may partner with Him. And when depart from His presence to your daily business, do not forget what He has done to you and how in His mercy and love He has received you and wants you His presence to be your daily portion / heaven’s dew. COME, you are expected by Him and those who are His. Meet Him every day and one day heaven will be so close to you that you will be able to touch Him with your hand. It will happen to you as well (as His chosen ones experienced); “Enoch walked in close fellowship with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (to heaven).”
And there, in heaven, we will always be with Him…. And this is because one day we chose not to be full of dust and mud but we chose to listen to the call that came from heaven which said: "COME".
Until then, He is willing to cleanse us and invites us to sit with Him (and with His people); so, COME!
PRAYERS for THE FULL MEASURE of THE BLESSING
Studying human nature, we see that people want to be blessed, but by furthering God's character we can observe that He plans for us to be fully blessed. The Spirit Himself makes us know that “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has blessed us with (πάσῃ) all spiritual blessing.” (Ephessians.1:3)
There are people who cannot use their hands, feet, eyes, or their kidneys. So, those who have an eye, a hand, a foot or a kidney functioning they can enjoy a great help. Fortunately, there are many people who are able to enjoy the full measure of the blessing every day, as God has intended for man since the creation (by having both eyes, both hands, both feet, and both kidneys fully supportive).
Likewise, the apostle Paul rejoiced when he saw that the brethren of the faith could experience the full measure of the blessing. He asked everyone to pray (4 things) so that when, by the will of God, he could reach their midst, they could be fully blessed by the work and by the help of God through him. “I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. (Therefore), I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray (1) that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and (2) that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord's people there, so (3) that I may come to you with joy, by God's will, and (4) that we will be an encouragement to each other.” (Romans 15:29-32)
This is my prayer to God for all of you that you may be saved from all, that your service may be well received, that we may reach one another with joy, and by the will of God that we may be refreshed together through the full measure of God’s blessing.
In addition, I add the exhortation and desire for each one of you to fight with me in your prayers to God so that we may experience all these as soon as possible.
And the God of peace be with all of you! Amen.
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A Day with Jesus
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January 23, 2018
Raining, Freezing & Snowing
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55: 10, 11)
Rain, freeze and snow belong to winter time. Skaters are praying for freeze but not the drivers. Children are praying for snow, but shovelers are pleased with less snow.
From the beginning (the first 2000 years of human kind on Earth) till the Noah's flood, nobody prayed or complained rain, freeze or snow. Could that be one of the reasons why the people back then used to lived 800 - 956 years??? Of course not!
January 8, 2018
Past, Present and Future
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)
Weather changes, things around us are changing, even people does it, but
Christ remains the same as He was yesterday, as He is today and the same He'll be forever.
God of Yesterday ...
God of Today ...
God of Tomorrow ...
January 3, 2018
How Great Is Our God/How Great Thou Art (Live)- Chris Tomlin