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The Father’s Voice

Laying flat on cool marble
arms by my sides
the voice of the Father
calms me

from nowhere
an attack
I flinch
it requires everything
to be still

sword flashes
another strikes back
clang of metal on metal
a battle above my head

a final blow
my attacker is slain
dead
threat eliminated

Listen to my voice
my child
I am with you
I will not leave you
fear not

my palms are sweaty
my pulse is racing
breathing shallow and fast
heart pounding so hard it could split

Abba, Abba
He gently rubs my temple
Be still and know
from experience
I AM God

a voice calls to me
My beloved, come to Me
longing for His touch
I am drawn

Copyright MaryBeth Mullin

 

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Matthew 23:27.

In making the above statement, Jesus was accusing the scribes and Pharisees of appearing to be clean on the outside, but inside they were like a grave, full of the bones and carcases of dead men. Touching dead things, e.g. bones and carcases, would render a person ritually unclean–unable to enter the Temple and unable to worship G-d. It was something quite offensive to a religious Jew–the type of men Jesus was confronting.

What was Jesus on about? In the above verse and those which preceded it, He was dealing with the issue of holiness. Jesus was pointing out that holiness was not something to be measured by what could be seen on the outside, but rather it had to be found on the inside. In other words, holiness is not outward compliance with rules and regulations. Holiness is a heart transformed, desiring to go G-d’s way. For the truly holy man or woman, no outward rules are required. The genuine desire to please, obey, and maintain fellowship with G-d will keep one from evil. The Christian, in contrast to theJew, has few outward restraints on his or her conduct. The restraint evidenced in the life of a Christian is borne out of personal relationship with G-d.

May your heart be transformed so that you require no outward rules to make or keep you holy, but only a desire to please the heart of the Father, a love for the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

by William H. Bathurst, 1796-1877

O for a faith that will not shrink
Though pressed by ev’ry foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe.

That will not murmur nor complain
Beneath the chast’ning rod,
But in the hour of grief or pain
Will lean upon its God.

A faith that shines more bright and clean
When tempests rage without,
That, when in danger, knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt.

Lord, give me such a faith as this,
And then, whate’er may come,
I’ll take e’en now the hallowed bliss
Of an eternal home.

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Have you ever had persistent negative thoughts about a person or group of people? Perhaps someone wronged you. You may have forgiven them, but negative thoughts persist. Maybe you find certain behaviors or language of someone annoying or offensive, but the Bible calls you to love them. How should a believer deal with persistent negative thoughts?

Spiritual Battle

It is important to recognize that persistent negative thoughts are a form of spiritual warfare. As with any type of battle, it is important to employ the correct weapons.

Choosing the right weapons

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

2 Corinthians reminds us that the battle we are fighting is not of this realm–it is in the spiritual realm. The battle will continue to rage unless we are properly equipped to face it.

What are the weapons that I can use?

The Whole Armor of God:

  • The Belt of Truth
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness
  • The Gospel of Truth
  • The Shield of Faith
  • The Helmet of Salvation
  • The Sword of the Spirit
  • Prayer                                   –Ephesians 6:13-18

According to Ephesians 6, the weapons listed above are ours to use to in the spiritual battle. The goal, according to Ephesians 6:13-18 is to stand and and do all to remain standing. These weapons will help us to bring those persistent negative thoughts, into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Read Habakkuk Chapter 3
1. What is a shigionoth? What does the opening line tell you about this chapter of the book of Habakkuk?

2. To whom is Habakkuk speaking in Habakkuk 3:2? What is he asking for?

3. What is the prophet’s meaning when he says, “God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran?”

4. What does the prophet say about God in Habakkuk 3:3-6?

5. What does the prophet say he saw in Habakkuk 3:7?

6. Where is Cushan? Midian?

7. What does the prophet ask God in Habakkuk 3:8-9? Why

8. What does the prophet describe in Habakkuk 3:10-11?

9. Copy Joshua 10:13 here. Meditate on this. What was going on in that chapter of Joshua? Why did the sun and moon stand still?

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In His Grip

Strong is the hand that plucked me from the raging waters and set me on the Rock.

Gentle are the hands that comfort me and wipe away my tears.

Firm is the grip that keeps me from harm and evil.

Merciful are the arms which hug me close as I kick and scream in rebellion.

Everlasting are the arms that hold me close to the Father’s heart.

Worthy are the nail-pierced hands that present me holy and without blame before the throne of God.

. . . and no one can deliver me out of His hand.

 

Copyright M.E.Mullin

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But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. Jeremiah 10:10

I see three truths in this scripture that I want to understand better:

1. Adonai is the true God
2. Adonai is the living God
3. Adonai is the everlasting King

What does it mean to be the true God?
No other God exists. Adonai (Y-H-W-H) is the only God. It is the meaning of the Shema, “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]. (Deuteronomy 6:4) The meaning of one is that God is the only of His kind–the only God. That is to say that Adonai is genuine and all other gods are counterfeit – some are elaborate counterfeits, but they are counterfeits all the same.

To say that He is the true God can be understood by thinking of direction–i.e. true north. To say God is true speaks of being unchanging, immutable, the same now and forever. That is to say God is trustworthy, can be counted on to be where He is supposed to be and do what He is supposed to do. He will do what He says He will do; He keeps His promises.

What does it mean to be the living God?
It means He is active now. He is not far off. He is not the God of past works–although He was working in the past. Living means that He can respond and is responsive to us–His children–now in the moment and in the next.

What does it mean to be the everlasting King?
First of all this description has two important parts: Everlasting + King.

As a King, He is a Sovereign–He takes care of and has responsibility for His subjects. Because His reign is everlasting it has no end. He has no successor to worry about. He can and does rule like He will be King forever.

Adonai is true, living and everlasting! Let the praise of this verse be on our lips!

 

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O Praise the Lord

by Amy Charmichael 1867-1951

O praise the Lord, for it is good
And pleasant and a joyful thing
To lift the heart, as all men should,
who have so dear a Lord to sing.

The number of the stars He tells,
And calls each star by his own name;
No two of all His flow’ry bells
Or leaves or grasses are the same.

So individual is His thought
For all of us, did one let go
The hand of Joy, and, sore distraught,
Forget to sing, His heart would know.

From rainbow did a color float,
Or did a shining sun burn dim,
That were far less for Him to note
Than dumbness of a child to Him.

O save from that! Let grateful song
And jubilance of melody,
And love merry-makings throng
The road that leads us home to Thee.

If you wonder how to know God better or to just get an understanding of Him, the answer is in Proverbs 2:1-5:

1 My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

It is not as hard as it sounds. First, we must understand who is speaking in this verse. Wisdom is speaking. Chapter 2 is a continuation of chapter 1 beginning in Proverbs 1:20 and continuing through to chapter 2.

With that in mind, the commands are as follows:

Receive words of wisdom
Treasure commands of wisdom
Incline your ear to wisdom
Apply your heart to wisdom
Seek wisdom like you would search for silver and hidden treasure

Receive speaks of openness. We must have an openness to wisdom. Receive also speaks of an action on our part, e.g. allowing entry. In other words, we must allow wisdom to enter our thinking, we must not block it or reject it. We must accept it. It doesn’t sound like much, but many in our day and throughout human history have rejected wisdom because of the little it required of them–acceptance. The heart of mankind is wicked. It seeks its own–it seeks to be first, but it doesn’t always seek to earn that position.

To accept the wisdom of God, I must let go of my own wisdom, my own thinking, my own self-reliance. To receive, I must have, in the modern vernacular, available storage space for the new information.

Once I receive the wisdom of God, I must learn to treasure it. I must not put it aside like so much well-intentioned fruitcake received at Christmas from a beloved relative only to be tossed out several months later uneaten. To treasure means to value, to consider of great worth. It is the answer to the question, “What do you take with you when your home is burning and you only have a few minutes to get out? To treasure is to carry near to your heart, like a newborn child. In treasuring the wisdom of God, I must value what God says. I must consider of great worth that which God says is of great worth. I must not accept cheap substitutes for the treasures of God’s kingdom.

Incline your ear suggests being attentive. I must choose to put aside distractions, things or people that beckon me to listen–instead I must listen for the voice of God, for what He is saying to me, the wisdom He is imparting to me.

Apply your heart suggests diligence. I must be intentional in my desire to learn the wisdom of God. It’s not a passive activity. I will not absorb the wisdom of God by osmosis or pew sitting or outreach attendance or even by Bible reading alone. I must choose and pursue. I must study to show myself approved. I must be a Berean, receiving the wisdom of God with readiness and searching the scriptures to see if things are true. I must lay aside every weight and snare that may slow me down.

Seeking wisdom like one would seek for silver or hidden treasure paints a vivid picture. If I knew silver or hidden treasure lay ahead on the path, would I amble by casually looking around? No! I would be searching, pushing back bushes, looking under rocks, digging in loose ground, evaluating clues and signs. I would be motivated. That is how I should seek after the wisdom of God.

This discussion is not intended to add any burden, but to remind you. After all, God has promised that those who seek Him diligently, will find Him.