No Fear

David wrote most of the Psalms before he was king. Anointed king as a teenager, he was promptly sent back to the wilderness to guard his father’s sheep, (see 1 Samuel 16:1-13).

The Spirit of the Lord was with David. A bear stalked him and he killed it. A lion stalked him and he killed it. Those victories gave him courage when he faced Goliath and killed him, (see 1 Samuel 7:1-51)!

He became the commander of Saul’s army and God protected him wherever he went, (see 1 Samuel 18:5). Then Saul became jealous of his growing popularity and decided to kill him, (see 1 Samuel 17:6-16). He tried twice and failed, (see 1 Samuel 19:9, 10). Even after David left the country, Saul did not give up, (see 1 Samuel 21:1-22:4). When he returned, Saul stalked him for 15 years, (see 1 Samuel 22:5; 23:7-24:21; 26:1-25).

God continued to protect David and he wrote:

Psalms 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom will I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom will I be afraid?” Modern English Version

* * * * * *

Psalms 124:7, “We have escaped as a bird out of the snare of the hunters; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.” Modern English Version

Today’s verse was not written by David. An unnamed son of Korah, a temple assistant, wrote it. That’s good news because he was fearless like David!

Psalms 49:5, “Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my stalkers surrounds me?” Modern English Version

This is real, everyday life for the Christians in the Arabian Peninsula. They are hunted, persecuted, attacked, and killed. Yet their words amaze me!

“What I was afraid of in 2004, I was not afraid of in 2005,” he said. “What I was afraid of in 2007, I wasn’t afraid of in 2009. “Voice of the Martyrs Magazine”   August 2017

And their actions inspire me!

“She met a Christian man through the secret church, and they eventually decided to marry….had their first child a few months ago. Though their country remains mired in civil war, they are determined to stay…” “Voice of the Martyrs Magazine” August 2017

I serve the same God as these Christians, and the temple assistants, and King David. I do not need to fear.

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A Valuable Vessel

I almost didn’t get the job because I was so young. The other applicant was a well-liked grandmother. She would have been awesome in that job!

But Pastor Paul saw my youth as an asset. He felt I was impressionable and he could mold me into the vessel known as a church secretary.

I was that vessel for over two decades but as time went on, my spirit hardened. God found a flaw or defect in me. I became spoiled. (We all have flaws, Romans 3:23).

Jeremiah 18:4, “Yet the vessel that he made of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” Modern English Version

How did God deal with that flaw? He squashed me and started over.

Jeremiah 18:4, “But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so the potter squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started again.” Life Application Study Bible

* * * * * * *

“As the potter molded or shaped a clay pot on the potter’s wheel, defects often appeared. The potter had power over the clay, to permit the defects to remain or to reshape the pot….Our strategy should not be to become mindless and passive – one aspect of clay – but to be willing and receptive to God’s impact on us. As we yield to God, he begins reshaping us into valuable vessels.” Life Application Study Bible Notes

Then God reshaped me into a writer. I finished the assignment He gave me when I was 13 – to write this Bible Reading Guide. He knew that defect would work to the surface. He also knew I would not let go of it. He knew He would have to start over to remove it and had a second vessel in mind.

When a flaw or defect comes to light in your life, let it go! Holding on to it will force God to remove it other ways. Keep your heart soft and pliable before God so He can keep using you as the vessel you are today.

No matter what flaws you see in yourself or mistakes you have made never give up! That is what people have done since ancient times.

Jeremiah 18:12, “But they say: ‘There is no hope! But we will walk after our own devices, and each of us will do according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’ ” Modern English Version

Instead of giving up…

  1. Turn from evil, 18:8.
  2. Repent now, 18:11.
  3. Make your ways good, 18:11.
  4. Do not forget God, 18:15.
  5. Worship only Him, 18:15.
  6. Do not get sidetracked, 18:15.

If you are going through a time of squashing, let go of anything that makes your spirit hard. Just wait until you see the vessel God is forming you into! You’ll love it!

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Satan Captured by An Unnamed Angel

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. without an alarm. I remembered we finish reading the book of Revelation today and my first thought was,

“We win!”

We don’t win in our own strength, Jesus Christ wages war against Satan and all his demons and defeats them!

Revelation 20:1, 2, “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He seized that dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” Modern English Version

There are three archangels named in the Bible:

  1. Gabriel – God’s Messenger, (Daniel 8:15-16; 9:21-27; Luke 1:26-38).
  2. Michael – Commander of God’s Army, (Daniel 10:10-21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7-9).
  3. Lucifer – Chief Musician, (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:13).

Lucifer said he would exalt his throne above the stars of God and fell from heaven, (see Isaiah 14:13). Lucifer is also called Satan or the Devil. He’s tricked us into believing he is strong.

Yet, when it is time to bind him up, (so he can no longer deceive the nations), God sends “an angel.” He doesn’t send Michael, his strongest warrior just “an angel” that is not even named.

This angel carries a heavy chain in one hand and grabs Satan with the other. He captures him single-handedly and binds him with chains.

Satan is like the wizard in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” He’s behind a curtain pushing buttons and pulling strings. He wants you to think he is all-powerful when he is not. One unnamed angel captures him.

Isaiah 14:16, 17, “Those who see you shall stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth to tremble and shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ ” Modern English Version

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Graceful and Exquisite

I was reading along today and the phrase, “graceful and exquisite” caught my attention. It was talking about the kings of the earth who had committed adultery and lived luxuriously with Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes, (see 17:5; 18:9). The merchants wept over her because no one bought their merchandise anymore, (see 18:11). They, along with the seafaring men, mourned because they gained wealth off of her, (see 18:17-20).

Revelation 18:14, “The fruit that your soul lusted after has departed from you, and all the things which graceful and exquisite have departed from you, and you shall never find them.” Modern English Version

They lost everything that was “graceful and exquisite.”

Graceful – characterized by elegance or beauty of form, manner, movement, or speech. Synonyms: elegant, fluid, fluent, natural, neat.” dictionary.com

* * * * * *

Exquisite – of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence; extraordinarily fine or admirable; of particular refinement or elegance; delicately sensitive or responsive; carefully sought out, chosen. Synonyms: beautiful, lovely, elegant, fine.” dictionary.com

They were left with the opposite:

Graceful antonyms – awkward, coarse, crude, homely, rough, stiff, ugly, unattractive, unsophisticated, unrefined, inept, uncouth.” thesaurus.com

* * * * * * *

Exquisite antonyms – gross, ordinary, dull, corrupt, disagreeable, drab, harsh, homely, inferior, repulsive, rough, second-rate.” thesaurus.com

This is the fate of all who commit adultery or gain wealth from sexual immorality. There is good news! You don’t have to continue in it! Repent and turn toward the graceful and exquisite gospel of Jesus Christ, (see 1 John 1:9).

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The Secret to Enduring

I read a series of books written about the Jews in Europe during World War II. One story stayed with me.

It was about a mother of 8 children. She thought her trial was too much to bear when she realized all of them needed new shoes. She laid her head on her kitchen table and wept.

She remembered that day when she was on a ship trying to find refuge for her family. They made it to America but could not stay. She thought purchasing 8 pairs of shoes was insurmountable but realized it was nothing compared to being on a ship, running out of supplies, with no place to go.

Our trials and frustrations today are like the shoes. But during the “Great Tribulation,” we will be on the ship – until Jesus returns to take us to Heaven.

How can we prepare for the “Great Tribulation?”

Revelation 13:10, “…Here is a call for the patience and the faith of the saints.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“The tough times we face right now are also opportunities for spiritual growth. Don’t fall into Satan’s trap and turn away from God when hard times come. Instead, use those tough times as opportunities for growth….” Life Application Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

Revelations 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * * *

This news about God’s ultimate triumph should encourage God’s people to remain faithful through every trial and persecution. They can do this, God promises, by trusting in Jesus and obeying the commands found in his Word. The secret to enduring, therefore, is trust and obedience. Trust God to give you patience to endure even the small trials you face daily; obey him even when obedience is unattractive or dangerous.” Life Application Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

“Meanwhile, the saints stand passionately patient, keeping God’s commands, staying faithful to Jesus.” The Message

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The Servants of God

It is difficult to read the horrible things that will happen in the last days of the earth. It relieved me to read one thing will not affect the servants of God.

Revelation 9:4, “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“Apparently it is only the first woe that does not affect the “servants of…God.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

But what about my friends and family who are not serving God?

Revelation 8:13, “Then I watched, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the other trumpet blasts of the three angels, who are yet to sound!’ ” Modern English Version

Dear Lord, give me the words to warn the inhabitants of the earth of coming judgment. I know You do not want one to perish, (see 2 Peter 3:9). Amen

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There Was Silence

Mom, my sisters and I were painting a beach scene at a “Coffee and Canvas” event. I admit my perfectionism had taken over and I was deep in concentration.

“Are you mad at me?” my sister asked.

“No. Why?” I replied.

“You aren’t talking.”

After almost ten years of being home alone most of the time, I do not talk as much as I used to. I have become accustomed to silence and even welcome it.

Today, most are uncomfortable in silence. The TV is always on and their phones are constantly beeping. It takes something shocking to silence them.

Revelation 8:1, “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“A dramatic pause before the next series of plagues – the final act of the drama is left undisclosed here, reserved to be presented later.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

The silence in heaven was because of shock and horror at the things to come.

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Even in Doubt, Make a Start

I had just pushed the publish button on my last post when the doubts came in. The “Chatterbox” in my head told me everything I wrote was wrong because I never experienced what John did but that doesn’t mean God is not showing me things.

In July 2007, God clearly told me my job would only last 6 more months. If I would have shared that with my boss he would have laughed. But I stepped down December 31st and others took over my responsibilities.

In 2014, my husband’s insurance filled my prescriptions automatically. I was not using them up before the next package arrived. God told me to stay on the program anyway. I had enough medication to get me through the 3 months of David’s unemployment.

In spite of my doubts, I decided to read more about John’s experiences being “in the Spirit.”

Revelation 4:2, “Immediately I was in the Spirit…” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“Four times in the book of Revelation John says he was ‘in the Spirit’ (1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10). This expression means that the Holy Spirit was giving him a vision – showing him situations and events he could not have seen with mere human eyesight. All true prophecy comes from God through the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20, 21).” Life Application Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

“(1:10) in the Spirit. In a state of spiritual exaltation by the power of the Spirit – not a dream, but a vision like Peter’s in Acts 10:10.

(4:2) in the Spirit. In a state of heightened spiritual awareness by the power of the Spirit.

(17:3) in the Spirit. In a state of Spiritual ecstasy by the power of the Spirit.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

I’ve never been “in the Spirit” like John was but taking the time to worship every day is a great way to start!

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August, 2017 “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Chapters

  • 1 – Habakkuk 2, 3; Psalms 77
  • 2 –Jeremiah 22, 47; 2 Kings 24; Psalms 102; Daniel 1
  • 3 – Daniel 2, 3
  • 4 – Daniel 4; Jeremiah 25
  • 5 – Jeremiah 26, 35, 36, 45
  • 6 – Jeremiah 46; Ezekiel 1, 2
  • 7 – Ezekiel 3-5
  • 8 – Ezekiel 6-8
  • 9 – Ezekiel 9-11
  • 10 – Ezekiel 12-14
  • 11 – Ezekiel 15, 16
  • 12 – Ezekiel 17-19
  • 13 – Ezekiel 20
  • 14 – Ezekiel 21, 22
  • 15 – Ezekiel 23, 24
  • 16 – Ezekiel 29-31
  • 17 – Jeremiah 24, 29, 20
  • 18 – Jeremiah 23, 27
  • 19 – Jeremiah 28, 34, 37, 21
  • 20 – Jeremiah 38, 50
  • 21 – Jeremiah 51
  • 22 – Jeremiah 30, 31
  • 23 – Jeremiah 32, 33
  • 24 – 2 Chronicles 36; 2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 39
  • 25 – Jeremiah 52; Lamentations 1
  • 26 – Lamentations 2; Psalms 74
  • 27 – Lamentations 3-5; Psalms 79
  • 28 – Psalms 94; Ezekiel 25; Jeremiah 49
  • 29 – Obadiah 1; Ezekiel 26, 27
  • 30 – Ezekiel 28; Jeremiah 40, 41
  • 31 – Jeremiah 42-44

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“In the Spirit”

I didn’t know it but it was my last time at Country Mission Camp. I connected with friends and felt closer to God than ever.

I returned to the apartment I shared with a roommate and knelt by my bed to pray. After spending time talking to God and singing the new songs I learned, I felt the same way I felt all week at camp.

Sometimes, I feel closer to God than others. I feel, “in the Spirit.” Why don’t I feel that way every day? John knew the secret.

Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,…” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“John of Patmos, a pastor of the late first century, has worship on his mind, is preeminently concerned with worship….Our times are not propitious for worship. The times never are. The world is hostile to worship. The devil hates worship.” The Message Introduction to Revelation

We walk by faith, not by feelings. But the only way to live a victorious life is to take the time to worship because God inhabits the praises of His people, (see Psalms 22:3).

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