YOUR DWELLING PLACE
You were intended to live in your Father's house.
Any place less than His is insufficient. Any place far from His is dangerous.
Only the home built for your heart can protect your heart.
And your Father wants you to dwell in Him.
No, you didn't misread the sentence and I didn't miswrite it.
Your Father doesn't just ask you to live with Him, He asks you to live in Him.
As Paul wrote, "For in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28 NIV).
Moses knew this.
"Lord," he prayed, "You have been our house since the beginning" (Psalms 90:1).
What a powerful thought: God as your home.
Your home is familiar to you.
No one has to tell you how to locate your bedroom; you don't need directions to the kitchen.
After a hard day scrambling to find your way around in the world,
it's assuring to come home to a place you know.
God can be equally familiar to you.
With time you can learn where to go from nourishment,
where to hide for protection, where to turn for guidance.
God can be your dwelling place.
God wants to be your dwelling place.
He has no interest in being a weekend gateway or a Sunday bungalow or a summer cottage.
Don't consider using God as a vacation cabin or an eventual retirement home.
He wants you under His roof now and always.
He wants to be your mailing address, your point of reference;
He wants to be your home.
Listen to the promise of His Son, "If my people love me they will obey my teaching.
My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them" (John 14:23).
This is very powerful thought from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Your Father is at the door of heart knocking.
If you open, He will dwell in and fellowship with you.
Have you invited your Father? Have you sent your invitation?
I urge this morning to send your invitation to Him.
Father wants to dwell in your heart.
Allow Him to stay there forever more and by doing that your life will never be the same.AMEN!
It is my desire and my heart to see all Christians meditating on this Spiritually. God be in your house of your children's heart.
I also have a very short thought for you here. I hope this may bless you too. This is from the book of
Prophet Isaiah. Please read this one too. Remember that I am God, and there is no other God, I am God, and there is no one like me. (Isaiah 46:9)
No one breathed life into Yahweh. No one sired Him.
No one gave birth to Him. No one caused Him.
No act brought Him forth.
And since no act brought him forth, no act can take Him out.
Does he fear an earthquake? Does he tremble at a tornado? Hardly.
Yahweh sleeps through storms and calms the winds with a word.
Cancer does not trouble him, and cemeteries do not disturb him.
He was here before they came. He'll be here after they are gone.
He is uncaused.
And He is ungoverned.
Counselors can comfort you in the storm, but you need a God who can still the storm.
Friends can hold your hand at your deathbed, but you need a Yahweh who has defeated the grave.
Philosophers can debate the meaning of life, but you need a Lord who can declare the meaning of life.
God bless you as you read this.
THEY SAW JESUS
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews John 20:19
Picture the scene. Peter, John, James. They came back. Banking on some zany possibility that the well of forgiveness still had a few drops, they came back. Daring to dream that the master had left them some word, some plan, some direction, they came back. But little did they know their wildest dream wasn't wild enough.
Just as someone mumbles, "It's no use," they hear a noise. They hear a voice. "Peace be with you." (John 20:19)
Every head lifted. Every eye turned. Every mouth dropped open. Someone looked at the door. It was still locked.
It was a moment the apostles would never forget, a story they would never cease to tell. The stone of the tomb was not enough to keep him in. The walls of the room were not enough to keep him out. The one betrayed sought his betrayers. What did he say to them? Not "What a bunch of flops!" Not "I told you so." No "Where-were-you-when-I-needed-you?" speeches. But simply one phrase, "Peace be with you." The very thing they didn't have was the very thing he offered: peace.
It was too good to be true! So amazing was the appearance that some were saying, "Pinch me, I'm dreaming" even at the ascension. No wonder they returned to Jerusalem with great joy! No wonder they were always in the temple praising God!
A transformed group stood beside a transformed Peter as he announced some weeks later: "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:56) No timidity in his words. No reluctance. About three thousand people believed his message. The apostles sparked a movement. The people became followers of the death-conqueror. They couldn't hear enough or say enough about him. People began to call them "Christ-ians." Christ was their model, their message. They preached "Jesus Christ and him crucified," not for the lack of another topic, but because they couldn't exhaust this one.
What unlocked the doors of the apostles' hearts? Simple. They saw Jesus. They encountered the Christ. Their sins collided with their Savior and their Savior won! What lit the boiler of the apostles was a red-hot conviction that the very one who should have sent them to hell, went to hell for them and came back to tell about it.
I'm really praying for you all. Thanks be to God for His protection. Peace be with you all in Jesus name...amen.
God is ready to do something in you and me...so let us get closer to Him.
Pastor Yaw Owusu Boafoh.
TALES FROM HOPE VALLEY
For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me from my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.
I spent the school holidays renovating the bushy's hut that has become our kitchen/dining/living area.
It started with an impassioned desire to bring out the beauty of the old pre-used hardwood beam that runs down the centre of the ceiling and holds the roof up. In its previous lifetimes this beam had been partially covered in a dusty pink paint, gouged out in various places for different applications, knocked about and bruised in other places and covered all over with decades of grime such that it didn't look too impressive at all.
"Insanity runs in your family" came the affectionate comment as I spent hours up on the ladder, exacerbating the pain in my sprained thumb with weak, weary arms raised working the sander to release sawdust that sort lodging in every facial orifice. "Yes, but I don't know that anyone else in my family exhibits quite this form of insanity." Hour upon hour I slowly worked along the beam - it takes so long to work through very rough, well-aged hardwood and the grime was ground in deep.
As my shoulders ached and my thumb pained it occurred to me that it would be so much quicker and easier to just paint it white along with the rest of the ceiling so that it would fit in and be less noticeable. Whitewash over the ground-in grime rather than working so laboriously and painfully to find the beauty of the timber beneath. I thought of how often we try to do that in our churches, schools, families and other social groups - encourage people to apply a quick whitewash to hide the grime and fit in with the rest of us. And I was reminded of God's painful determination to sand through the grime, the bruises and the gouges to bring out the unique beauty that He has created in each of us. He never seems too interested in, or impressed with, the whitewash of external conformity. Oh, how much He has invested in us! Not only did God create us and form us uniquely in our mother's womb but Christ also suffered (so, so much more than I was for this beam) and died to buy us back - and then He begins the work of restoring us, sanding out the grime, bruises and wounds (it's not real comfortable being sanded - there's plenty of times when I suggest to Him that a quick whitewash would be a whole lot easier less painful).
At last our beam was sanded. A coat of stain and two of lacquer then hours of just sitting and enjoying it. It looks so beautiful, a real feature of the room. And those rough, bruised and gouged places are now real features displaying facets of beauty that would not otherwise be seen. No longer did such toil look insane - now that the beauty that I could see hidden in the beam was on display all the toil seemed a small price to pay.
May the beauty within you be brought out for all to treasure and enjoy.
Thank you Terry Robinson for these devotions...
"But in all these things we more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37 MKJV)
Matthew Henry, in his commentary, writes: "We have good assurance of our preservation and continuance in this blessed state, Rom_8:35, to the end. The fears of the saints lest they should lose their hold of Christ are often very discouraging and disquieting, and create them a great deal of disturbance; but here is that which may silence their fears, and still such storms, that nothing can separate them. We have here from the apostle, a daring challenge to all the enemies of the saints to separate them, if they could, from the love of Christ."
I like the word "disturbance" that Matthew Henry uses for what happens when we let everything from fears to frustrations loose our hold of Messiah.
There's a screen saver that has a pond into which a drop falls. The drop splashes into the calm water, ripples are created spreading out from the center. Eventually the pond returns to its quiet state--only to have another drop hit.
I think it is like this with our lives; we go calm for a moment until something disturbs us. Our emotions rise and fall, and all around us feel the effect of the drop.
Growth in Messiah is not that the drops don't fall into our quiet pond, which is our sought-after state with Messiah, but that we allow Messiah to absorb the effect of the drop. Then the tidal wave is minimized, though never completely eliminated until Messiah returns, until we are with Him in His Glory.
Another way to understand disturbances is flying in an airplane. Occasionally the pilot will warn passengers that there may be some disturbances and to please fasten seat belts. Perhaps we need to fasten our spiritual seatbelts, and keep them fastened, to avoid falling out of our spiritual seats.
Paul tells us about the source of disturbances and how to buffer its effect: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12, 13 MKJV)
As comforting as it might be, I can’t blame all disturbances on an external spiritual power. In my journaling I worked through some issues I’d had the previous day. Part of what I wrote may be of interest: “. . .worked through some of the frustrations in my mind. It seems when I feel responsible for a mistake, I am very disappointed in myself and become frustrated. Double whammy, here! It is pride that shows itself when I think I should be better than making mistakes. Then not properly responding to issues arising from the error is the second wam-bam. I suppose I didn't beat myself up too badly. Ate and felt better. Lesson Number Two was not eating properly, opening the door for physical drain that contributes to my mood and responses.”
So listen for the voice of The Captain, take your spiritual seats and fasten your spiritual seatbelts; get ready for a bumpy ride.
May G-d have mercy upon us, upholding us in our Earthly lives, as we long for life with our Lord in the place He prepares for us. Bless the Name of the Lord, our G-d.
I CAN DO NOTHING OF MY OWN SELF
"I can do nothing of My own self. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who has sent Me."
(John 5:30 MKJV)
Nothing can I do, says Y'shuaJesus. What say I of myself? I might say, "Oh, yes, it was marvelous. Yesterday I did.." this or that or some other thing. Do I need to, in my speech, constantly say, "Oh, yes, I was blessed. Yesterday the Lord enabled me to . . ." do this or that or some other thing.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. It's all in the attitude. But if my words are indications of my attitude, then if I say "I do" this or that, I'm implying that I am the one doing, not G-d or His Spirit working through me.
Concerning future events or plans, James says to us, "Come now, those saying, 'Today or tomorrow we will. . .' Instead, say "If the Lord wills. . ." (James 4:15).
"If the Lord wills!" I believe it is the attitude of submission that enables us to set aside ourselves and live according to the Spirit. In a note in the Billy Graham Training Center Bible, we are to "consciously surrender [ourselves] to the Holy Spirit."
I think of Paul traveling to Jerusalem to deliver relief to Jewish believers there. Luke (Acts 21:11-14) tells us: "And coming to us, and taking Paul's belt, and binding his hands and feet, he said, 'The Holy Spirit says these things: So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man whose belt this is, and will deliver him into the hands of the nations.' And when we heard these things, both we and those of the place begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, 'What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.' And as he was not persuaded, we ceased, saying, 'The will of the Lord be done.' "
Luke relays to us that there is opposition to our walk in submission to the Lord. Paul tells us he is prepared for all events, thus those who would persuade him to not follow through on his trip now release him, allowing that the Lord's will should be done.
Here, observe that Paul is an example of walking according to the Spirit of G-d, rather than that of his contemporaries. He displays the work of G-d in his life.
Look at the way Y'shuaJesus points to the works that are done through Him saying that ". . .the very works I do bear witness of Me. . ." (John 5:36)
What works are we to expect that will bear witness of G-d in us? Are the works of the Spirit in us not the "Fruits" Paul wrote about in his letter to the Galatians (5:22)? These are the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
The Spirit works in us, as we submit to Him. As we are more and more filled with His Spirit, led by the Spirit, we do not walk according to the flesh. We are also a witness to others of G-d in us.
It all comes down to the song we once sung in a home fellowship in Susanville, CA, many years ago. "We will know they are Christians by their love."
The fruit of the Spirit, through our submission to Him, works in us and bears witness that we are Children of the Living G-d. How awesome it is. How awesome is our G-d!
Y’SHUAJESUS SETS HIS LOVING-KINDNESS BEFORE ME
"Set out Your wonderful loving-kindness, O Savior of those seeking refuge in You, by Your right hand, from those who rise up against me."
(Psalms 17:7 MKJV)
Regarding this scripture, Spurgeon wrote: "His favours are always performed with the love of his heart. He does not send to us the cold meat and the broken pieces from the table of his luxury, but he dips our morsel in his own dish, and seasons our provisions with the spices of his fragrant affections. When he puts the golden tokens of his grace into our palms, he accompanies the gift with such a warm pressure of our hand, that the manner of his giving is as precious as the boon itself."
Immediately upon reading this devotional passage, I thought of my "Bread Crumbs" experience. “Blessings take many forms,” I thought.
Briefly, let me share that in particular experience with Y’shuaJesus, I trudged from monastery to monastery on the Greek peninsula of Mt. Athos. The first monastery in which I spent the night served only Turkish coffee and sent me on my way. But in the hills a monk shared bread with me. It was stale, too hard to eat. But it caused me to know that the Lord, indeed, was present in my hunger, thought of me, and promised that He’d be my provision.
Now, as quoted in the devotional, it says simply "marvelous loving-kindness." And this is a wonderful way to spin off a devotional. But something caught my inner eye as I read, "Set out Your wonderful loving kindness. . ." It works along with my experience with the dried crust of bread with which G-d blessed me.
G-d set out His loving-kindness to me, showing me not only His favor, but bringing me to the awareness that it is in Him in which I receive all sustenance. This is in concert to the preaching this morning at a “Truckstop Revival” on Y'shuaJesus as the living water, the essential ingredient to our lives and making all food possible and other blessings possible.
I saved those crumbs of bread. They are reminders of G-d's mercy and kindness and provision. No, He didn't fill my stomach at that particular moment. But He filled my soul in that I knew He looked upon me and that He had set before me a table from which I'd be filled.
I believe this is the beginning of my acceptance of delayed gratification. No longer must I have it now. I can wait because the table is set and it will be given to me in abundance when it is time.
And in my story “Bread Crumbs,” I relate that the next night I feasted and was treated with what was nearly reverence, by the monks of another monastery.
Thank You, Y'shuaJesus, not only did you invite me to eat with You at Your table, You fill me with Yourself, now, that I might be sustained until the time comes that I receive Your blessing, and eventually that I sit with You at Your Great Feast. AMEN.
"The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
who hope in His mercy. "
(Psalms 147:11 MKJV)
On my mind recently has been the notion of being chosen and appointed by G-d. Additionally, I've frequently found the idea of G-d taking pleasure in His people, in their way on Earth - their walk.
At church (Carbondale AG, Tulsa, OK) Pastor Phil spoke on G-d's exceeding love of His people and His choosing us. Pastor Phil said that we use the term "accepting Christ" but that in reality it is G-d who accepts us after we repent and believe.
Even in the belief there is an element of G-d's enabling that must occur. G-d chooses us. In this love, G-d takes pleasure in us, for He created us.
How far can I take the notion - will I call it understanding - of G-d's pleasure in us? At the minimum, the result of
G-d's pleasure and choosing us is that I didn't earn it, so can't loose it. There is the freedom in Christ not to fear. Furthermore, I didn't earn it, so can't take pride that I merit the relationship as a child of G-d. I was chosen not for my merit, not to earn continued favor, but simply through G-d's infinite mercy, His love.
In the Psalm "The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him. . .," fear is better thought of as awe. G-d is awesome. Yes, Y'shuaJesus is our friend and we are free to speak with Him, to say anything. We are free to bare our soul to Him. Why not tell Him our secrets? He knows them anyway. But Y'shuaJesus is G-d. As such, our souls must leap for joy at His presence while also retreating in awe. Have you ever heard someone say, "When I get to Heaven I'm gonna ask Jesus. . ." this or that. I can assure you, when in the presence of Y'shuaJesus you will have nothing to say. On the contrary, you will place Your crowns at His feet, soul trembling in love and adoration - speechless.
Now given that The LORD, The Creator of the universe, takes pleasure in us, we have our life and significance. I like the word significance. It means I am okay as I am. I have value. Today. I am of value not in what I've worked for, not for any position in our society, or lack of it, but simply through being chosen and being a child of G-d.
There is FREEDOM. Thank G-d for His great mercy. Praise the LORD for His love and caring. He continues creating us, taking pleasure in us. He is, after all, the potter. . .
"LORD, You establish peace for us; All we have accomplished You have done for us." (Isaiah 26:12 NIV)
"LORD, You will ordain peace for us; for You also have worked all our works in us." (Isaiah 26:12 MKJV)
At first reading of this two versions of Isaiah 26:12, I immediately interpret them differently. When I read the NIV version I immediately think of a child doing something like building a model or arranging a doll house. The father encourages the child while putting little touches here and there, unknown to the child, to make it work correctly or look realistic, even to just make the dolls stand up without falling over. The child says, "Look what I've done!" In reality it was the father's doing. Eventually, as the child grows, he/she realizes the Father's work in the projects. This father and child working together is one picture I want to keep in my mind when something I do, I do well. I want to remember that it is the Father's work accomplished through me.
Now when I read the MKJV at first glance, I read that the work is a work done in me, rather than something done through me. As I ponder this a moment, it flies in the face of many “-step” plans and self-help teachings that seem to emphasis all that I can do to change myself. Self. I am reminded that changing ourselves may be overemphasized in our current culture. Are we not called to die to self?
In a closer look at the operative word in this scripture--WORK-- I can look at its definition from Strong's:
מעשׂה ma‛ăśeh mah-as-eh' From an action (good or bad); generally a transaction; abstractly activity; by implication a product (specifically a poem) or (generally) property: - act, art, + bakemeat, business, deed, do (-ing), labour, thing made, ware of making, occupation, thing offered, operation, possession, X well, ([handy-, needle-, net-]) work, (-ing, -manship), wrought.
When Webster’s Dictionary is consulted, the number three definition is fascinating: “To be in action or motion; as the working of the heart.” The working of the heart! Interesting!
I apply this scripture to me in both ways: G-d’s works in me are His accomplishments; righteous works through me are also His accomplishments. It’s a bit freeing, too, that it’s the LORD that is responsible for making things perfect on my inside and outside of me. Sure, I still feel a responsibility to make some attempt at working out things inside me but the end result is this: it is Y’shuaJesus who will wash me through and through and accomplish things through me too.
Thank You, LORD. Thank You for Your Work in and through us. Let us meditate upon Your scripture Word that it might work its way into and through our lives, that our hearts would glow and our minds ignite. Bless us this day in our walk with You. In the Name of Y’shuaJesus. AMEN.
LIVING WITH THE KING
"These were the potters and those who lived among plants and hedges.
They lived there with the king for his work."
(1 Chronicles 4:23 MKJV)
Spurgeon concludes his devotional: "Dwell ye with the King for his work, and when he writes his chronicles your name shall be recorded."
I begin to question what I'm doing, where I am in His service. I wonder about direction. I question. G-d blesses me in so many ways. I see His work, and yet continue to wonder at my value. There I said it! Yes, that is the issue. Well, perhaps it is an issue, not just the issue.
I am blessed in my work, but begin to wonder about my value in G-d's service.
There are triggers. My wife gets into a 'mood' and it sets me to thinking about what I'm doing, where I'm going with that doing. Am I suppose to change my doing, change directions?
Before my most recent questioning, I knew a trial was on its way. I've experienced the peaks and valleys in my walk with the Lord. I know they exist. For every valley and low point there is a green pasture with its high points on the other side. And still I seek to find if I'm where I am suppose to be, and if thoughts for the future are properly directed. And this isn't such a bad thing to do, occasionally. It isn't the questioning that is dangerous; it’s getting overly anxious, despairing, seeking other than G-d for guidance and approval.
Yes, approval. If I don't feel of value, am I going to seek approval from people or activities that give me the illusion of value? If I do, I'm doomed to a swamp filled with alligators and lots of bugs. I don’t like bugs, especially the kind that bite and leave me with swollen spots that burn and itch.
Paul, in Athens, said, "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of Heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, nor is served with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives life and breath and all things to all. And He has made all nations of men of one blood to dwell on all the face of the earth, ordaining fore-appointed seasons and boundaries of their dwelling, to seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after Him and find Him, though indeed He is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:24-27 MKJV) [emphasis added]
Questioning where I am, if I do right in what I'm doing, is not wrong. It is a normal response to an event or series of events. Where I look for the answers to those questions makes all the difference in my relationship with our Lord.
It is written, it is ordained, we are to "seek the Lord." It will do no good to ignore the promptings to question, as if in some way this means we aren't as spiritual as we would like to appear. Once, some years ago, I attended a church that had an attitude of continuous rejoicing. But in the eyes of many people I saw something that contradicted their smiles, hand-waving worship, their rejoicing. It seemed to me they were pretending to have the Joy of the Lord, by ignoring their feelings. Perhaps they feared that they might be less spiritual if they admitted they were having a hard time, a bad day. The Psalms cry out praises of G-d's work and faithfulness. But also they tell of troublesome times, times like our own. "You make us a strife for our neighbors; and our enemies laugh among themselves." (Psalms 80:6 MKJV) And this, as with all the Psalms, ends with promise and hope: "Turn us again, O LORD, the G-d of Hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved."(Psalms 80:19 MKJV) Rejoicing always is not ignoring our sorrows but taking them to the cross and seeing them in the light of God's goodness and great love for us.
Just as ignoring issues, questions, isn’t the answer, seeking guidance before seeking the Lord is also quite destructive. Remember King Saul’s searching: “And Saul said to his servants, Seek me a woman who is a medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her. And his servant said to him, Behold, there is a woman who is a medium, at Endor.”(1 Samuel 28:7 MKJV)
Our situation isn’t the issue; our response is the point. Ignore the issue and create an emptiness that we try to fill in some way, opening us for addictions. Seek guidance not approved by G-d, and we will suffer the discontent like King Saul. Our response is to admit to the Lord our feelings, our thoughts. Are we not encouraged to take our thoughts captive to G-d? We seek the Lord.
I question my value. I understand I desire approval. I seek the Lord. And I wait upon the Lord for His way of showing me, telling me, holding me, approving of me.
Thank You, LORD! You, O LORD, our savior and redeemer, Who walks with us in our valleys and leads us to green pastures, fresh water, calming peace—Your Peace.
“THEN ALL THE DISCIPLES FLED, FORSAKING HIM”
(Matthew 26:56 MKJV)
Commenting on this scripture, C.H. Spurgeon said, "It may be, that I, at the opening of this day, have braced up my mind to bear a trial for the Lord’s sake, and I imagine myself to be certain to exhibit perfect fidelity; but let me be very jealous of myself, lest having the same evil heart of unbelief, I should depart from my Lord as the apostles did. It is one thing to promise, and quite another to perform. It would have been to their eternal honour to have stood at Jesus’ side right manfully; they fled from honour; may I be kept from imitating them!"
In sixth grade my father enrolled me in boxing classes at Fort Leavenworth, where he was stationed. At the end of the classes we displayed our learning at an exposition. I felt well prepared, having learned the various techniques, and practiced in each class. At the end of my fight, my opponent and I stood hand in had with the referee for the winner to be announced. It was the judges who determined the winner. I didn't wait long, and the referee raised my opponents hand; he was victorious.
Later my dad pointed out the red stains on my once-white tee shirt. No, it wasn't blood; it was the wax used on the gloves. The only place my tee shirt was stained was on my left shoulder, toward my back. I had been blocking the blows with my shoulder, not jabbing effectively to keep my opponent at bay. I lost my bout for my failure to be effective in warding off blows, by just accepting the blows to a part of my body that didn't hurt badly.
When I think about it, my practice sessions were good for working on boxing technique. I sparred with an opponent that was there only to work on his technique. But the match was different. I was up against someone who was not working on technique, trading a proper blow for another’s blow. I was up against someone who wanted to win.
Sitting around a campfire, eating and drinking with Y’shuaJesus, it might be easy to think “I shall neither flee nor desert you, Lord!” But when the fire dies out and the storm begins, when the one who’d been the true strength is silent, it is a very different experience. They were not prepared to stand firm. They could only do what came natural; they fled, deserting the Lord, fulfilling scripture.
Like the experience of fleeing taught those disciples—they fled not again—we learn in our trials how to stand a little more firm in the strength of the Spirit in the next engagement. And there will be more. It produces growth, a development in our character, not to mention adding eternal crowns to our heavenly reward.
Finally, let me add that it isn’t lose one and lost forever. Yes, it feels like when we lose a battle we might never get up again. But we will. Like a child learning to walk, we fall to our knees a lot. We get up. We take a few more steps. Soon we work on climbing trees and forget the struggle learning to take some steps.
Another thought is that the final victory is Y’shuaJesus’s. It has been won! We are in a training ground being prepared for our eternal place with Him. Victory has been assured. Knocked down as we may be, we stand victorious with Messiah when He returns to Earth to take His rightful place as our King. To Him be the Power and the Glory.
Thank you Terry Robinson for this devotion...
And in that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of their gloom and darkness.
(Isaiah 29:18 MKJV)
The movie “D-Day” played at the post theater in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. My father attended the Command and General Staff Officer College, I attended sixth grade at a local elementary school. While my father rarely spoke of his war experiences with the glider regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, I recall him saying he’d heard about a particular experience recounted in the movie, that of a paratrooper.
It happened in St. Marie Eglise, France, that a soldier’s parachute caught the church steeple, suspending him above the ground. He remained there for hours. Once the unit secured the city, he was helped down. But he couldn’t hear. It seems the church bells rang and rang throughout the time he hung from the steeple. He was church-bell deaf. Once at the medical unit, medics tried to scream loudly to him, but he still couldn’t hear.
On D-Day, in this French town, a church bell sounded victory. I sounded on and on as a battle raged. I sounded victory even before victory came. It sounded the coming of victory.
I can’t recall the last time I’ve heard a church bell ring out it’s call to the faithful—it’s call to fellowship, to prayer, to worship. But perhaps I’ve not been listening. Perhaps I’ve not heard one because I’m deaf to something that I’ve tuned out. There’s a lot of noise in our cities these days. Perhaps in a small town somewhere, on Sunday morning, when the busy times of the week have passed, I’d hear the bell’s call.
I think about the ears of none-church-going folks who, by the weekend, are overwhelmed by the cares of the world. Are they sort of church-bell deaf to the call of Christ. Have they heard it all before, the evangelizing, the tracts, the Christians who invite them to attend church. I think, “What does it take to open these deaf ears to the call of Y’shuaJesus?”
Devotionals reach the hearts of believers. What reaches the heart of the unbeliever? We are called to take the Gospel throughout the world. We are called to live the Gospel, and be the light to the world. We are all called. Period. Each has a different gift to give.
So here’s what I think. I think we each, guided by the Holy Spirit, do our part in opening the ears of the church-bell deaf. I don’t think we take all the ear wax out at once, either. Perhaps our Lord, in His wisdom, allows one each of us to do a small part in opening the ears. Seeds planted by one, watered by another. And why not? We are all One Body with many parts.
Are these only clichés? I hope not. My prayer is that today we all over our days as a witness of the redemption we’ve experienced in Christ, the joy of His salvation. His salvation is a living salvation in us, in our lives.
May G-d have mercy upon us, and upon those to whom we are called to reach, one bit at a time.
"And He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures."
(Luke 24:45 MKJV)
This story is one of my favorites. The disciples are not at first named. It could be me and you. The Roman road still exists. It leads out of Jerusalem near a small village and down the hill. The road is made from stones, like the stones on the Via De La Rosa, the road Y’shuaJesus trod on His way to Golgotha to die for me, and for you.
These disciples are talking about the events of the weekend. They were conversing and reasoning together, in reality a civil sort of argument, about what had happened to Y’shua. They’d expected the savior of Israel to lead a rebellion against Rome. They’d expected many things that appeared now to be but dreams, gone like vapor after awakening. They were perplexed, astonished even, for they’d heard Y’shua wasn’t dead, that he’d come back from the dead. Why, he’d even appeared to certain women of they’re company.
As this argument continues, a man appears and asks, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
“Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” is one’s response. Then he explained the events of which they discussed and reasoned—argued.
It occurs to me that I might easily have rebuffed this man who appears ignorant of the times, the hopes and dreams of Israel’s deliverance, and how we have the right to be sad and mourn our loss.
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Messiah to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” replied the fellow who’d joined the pair. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (v27)
They did not know this was Y’shua, until later. It was in one of the disciples’ homes, into which Y’shua had been invited, that they shared bread. Y’shua took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. It was then that their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
“They said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?’” (v32)
It is my prayer that our Lord Y’shuaJesus continue to open the eyes of our hearts. And more that our hearts burn within us. It is in reading and application of His Word, His Scriptures, that we are transformed, conformed to Him. As we read the Bible, we must interpret it. That is we must find understanding within it.
While in college, I had two English literature professors with differing opinions about interpretation of literature. One, Jimmi Cushing, a poet and professor, taught about various ways we interpret literature. One of the ways we use to to bring some of ourselves to the text. That is, our own personal experiences and situations. The other professor taught his version of interpretation, and that this was the only proper interpretation.
It’s easy now to laugh a little at the second professor’s method. I recall my interpretation of Emily Dickens’s poetry as being love poems to our Lord. My professor said this is bunk, that she wrote to a mysterious lover, one that was never revealed. He said I was wrong, he was right. Needless to say, I stuck to my thesis, and was ridiculed in class by him. Okay. He’s entitled to his foolish view.
Jimmi Cushing wouldn’t necessarily have agreed with me on my interpretation, but he’d have said I have the right to this interpretation.
Hum. Sound familiar in light of various religious world views today? There are those with dogmatic views of their religious writing that say they are right and any other thinking is wrong. There are others that believe all truth is relative truth. That is my truth isn’t necessarily your truth; both are true, for us individually.
So we have a hard task today, with so many teachings, even short devotionals. Jude warns of those who “have crept in unnoticed. . . who turn the grace of our G-d into lewdness and deny the only Lord G-d and our Lord Y’shuaJesus Messiah. . . [who] mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. . . [they] are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” (Jude 4, 16, 19)
Once, some years ago an Australian Christian pastor lamented to me that the United States exported so many false Christian doctrines. It’s no longer true today - false doctrines emanate from all countries and all denominations.
Y’shuaJesus warns us, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive. If possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore, if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out.’” (Matthew 24:23-26)
Jude tells us we are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” And “building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of G-d, looking for the mercy of our Lord Y’shuaJesus Messiah unto eternal life.”
That we may not fear, we have been given the Spirit of the Living and Holy G-d as a seal and a guide. We approach all teaching and reading of the Scripture as children of the Creator of the Universe, as babies, really. And we remember the way Y’shuaJesus opened the eyes of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We pray: Lord, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your Law.” (Psalm 119:18) “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” (Psalm 119:37) “Give me understanding. . .” (Psalm 119:34)
And what of those who read and don’t understand? Those who desire, but simply haven’t yet received the Lord as their Lord and Savior, but have received a Bible and begun to read? To those who seek G-d in His word, assistance will come. Remember the Ethiopian in the desert (see Acts 8:26) and how G-d brought to him a man to help him understand. May we be ready to be a Philip to a person reading the Word.
May we test all spirits, to see that they are indeed from G-d. May we inspect all teachings, that the Spirit of G-d within us bears witness to them as of G-d.
We live in perilous times. We live in exciting times. Now let us be found continually reading the Scriptures to know Y’shuaJesus, to be transformed by Him. Let us be filled with the Spirit, praying always for all the Saints of the Living G-d.
May G-d Bless, Keep, and Shine upon you all, in the Name of Y’shuaJesus, our Lord and Savior. AMEN.
Thank you Yaw Owusu Boafoh for this word...
A WORD FOR 2007
I praise God for all His great protection and other things He has done in our lives. It is my desire and my heart to see all human being praising God, giving Him thanks and worship Him for what He has done in individuals lives. Though we went through all kinds of hardship which we may not like it, yet we should not forget to give Him thanks and praises. At least, every situation we went in, there was bright side and positive lesson God want us to know.
Soon we are entering 2007. Many people has already began to plan good plan, good dream, good vision etc in 2007. Many people will beginning very nicely. No matter what it is we are all going to start 2007 but different motive with different leader.
I urge all the Christians around the world to beginning 2007 with God. Only God who has good plan, good dream, vision etc in 2007. If we really prepare to enter 2007 with Him, surely He will reveal to you. There is no hope in human plans and keep in mind that humans are powerless. God has a lot of blessings in 2007...all these blessings are there for those entering with God. Who are ready for these blessings? If...then follow God in 2007.
Get this and read it. I have given you power...that is greater than the enemy has. LUKE 10:19 Many players appear on the stage of Gethsemane. Judas and his betrayal. Peter and his sword....The soldiers and their weapons. And though these are crucial, they aren't instrumental. The encounter is not between Jesus and the soldiers; it is between God and Satan. Satan dares to enter yet another garden, but God stands and Satan hasn't a prayer.... Satan falls in the presence of Christ. One word from his lips, and the finest army in the world collapsed. Satan is silent in the proclamation of Christ. Not once did the enemy speak without Jesus' invitation. Before Christ, Satan has nothing to say. Satan is powerless against the protection of Christ.... When Jesus says he will keep you safe, he means it. Hell will have to get through him to get to you. Jesus is able to protect you. When he says he will get you home, he will get you home.
Thank you Terry Robinson for this devotion...
SEASONS OF WORK AND REST
"In the multitude of my thoughts within me Your comforts delight my soul."
(Psalms 94:19 MKJV)
It's been many years ago now, yet I remember vividly how I turned down one of G-d's comforts.
It was late in the evening, on the southern coast of France. I'd been traveling through Europe in youth-hostel ministry, and was looking for a place to stay, as the local hostel was closed for the winter. A woman directed me to a place on a hill, overlooking the ocean. When I went there I found a couple strolling along the drive. They said the resort was closed, but I could stay if I liked. My French is terrible, but we seemed to communicate alright. I asked how much, and was told a figure, in francs. I thought it too much for me to be able to afford. I thanked them and left.
I boarded a train that would connect to another heading to Paris. The layover, in the middle of the night, left me standing in freezing weather with no coat, huddling beneath a light bulb, the only warmth. It dawned on me I'd totally misunderstood the number of francs the couple quoted me, even worse the conversion to dollars. I thought I couldn't afford the few dollars.
This scene has haunted me many times. I refused the comfort of the Lord. Imagine staying in sometimes dirty, dingy dormitories, and turning down the comforts of a five-star hotel. I did.
It seems to me, we must accept G-d's comforts that our souls be delighted. The psalmist wrote, "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters." (Psalms 23:2 MKJV) We try to emulate the Lord's servant Paul and fight the good fight, keeping the faith (2 Ti 4:7). But I wonder if we struggle against the blessings of the Lord in which would work restoration within us that prepares us for truly fighting the good fight.
Even soldiers are removed from their duties during war for what we called R&R, rest and recuperation. We are soldiers of Christ in a mission field and might we not also require some rest and recuperation.
But should I seek these comforts that delight my soul from G-d? Good question.
As a chairman for a group of singles ministers on California's Central Coast, I realized the danger of singles groups becoming social networks, Christian dating clubs. I sought to provide Bible studies that worked at relationships, alright--relationships with Jesus first. I led groups of singles into ministry opportunities, out of the party atmosphere.
A few years later, working with single adults serving as helpers in Israel, I did the opposite. I led groups on retreats from their service, for fellowship with one another and for fun. We toured Cairo, Jericho, and took a trip to a kibbutz. The Lord allowed me to take them out of their harsh environments for moments of R&R.
There are seasons to our work as Messiah's Body. We must be ready to "preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." (2Timothy 4:2 2KJV)
We must accept the seasons as times in which G-d desires for us to work and to rest.
In the professional driving course another big killer they warned us to avoid was overcompensating in our steering. When people start to slide or go in the wrong direction the natural instinct is to jerk the wheel around into the opposite direction to try to correct the error. The result? The vehicle swings around too far the other way. Another over-correction and even more violent swing back in the first direction With each over-reaction the driver loses more control of their vehicle until it is totally out of control. So how do you avoid this catch22 situation, regain control of your vehicle and continue your journey in safety? Just focus on where you need to go and steer in that direction. Don't try to correct your mistake or steer out of where you're headed but rather steer into where you want to go. Focus on where you need to be, not where you're going or trying to get out of, and direct all your attention on heading towards the place you need to be.
How easily in our lives we over-correct and end up out of control. We have a teenager staying with us at the moment and he was confidently asserting how he would get his grandmother to change her mind and allow him to do what she had said "NO" to. Next time he was with her he planned to misbehave so that she would loose her cool and 'get stuck into him' then fell sorry for him and so relent and allow him to do what she has forbid. He is counting on her over-correcting in order to manipulate her. How often does the devil and our flesh push us to over-correct our actions in order to manipulate us and send our lives spinning out of control? We realise we've messed-up, we've missed the mark, or we're headed for trouble. We react by over-correcting, steering strongly in the opposite direction and find ourselves missing the mark even more. As we keep trying to avoid or correct for the wrong we end up spinning out of control. A parent feels guilty for not spending enough time with their child and so buys them everything they ask for. A minister's request for some time off is denied so they determine to work even more until they run themselves into the ground to 'prove' how much they needed the break. A spouse feels rejected and so enters into an affair. A woman feels guilty for not wanting to submit and so becomes a door-mat and then reacts to being treated so poorly by totally rebelling. A man feels weak or helpless in the face of his wife's nagging demands and so responds with his fist. In focusing on what we're trying to avoid we give it power to rule our lives.
So how do we handle these difficult situations? How can we steer clear of greater trouble instead of right into it? How can we avoid fish-tailing out of control and get back into running the race He has called us to? Stop and re-focus. Take our eyes off trying to get away from the direction we're heading and onto Jesus. Focus on being like Him instead of trying to avoid being like someone or something else. If your life feels like it's starting to fish-tail out of control as you keep reacting to the situations around you then it's time to re-focus. Take your eyes off the situations and onto Jesus. Stop trying to be different to what's happening and start focusing on being like Jesus on the situation. Let Him wash all your sin away and give you a new start and a new point of focus, a new direction.
These two men 1) heard that Jesus passed by, 2) cried out, 3) were told to be quiet, 4) cried out the more, 5) asked for sight, 6) gained the compassion of our Lord, 7) received sight, 8) followed Jesus.
It seems to me that there are quite a few lessons we can take from this short discourse.
I just looked down from the hotel room to the Capitol Park in Sacramento, CA. I see a man with a shopping basket performing some sort of ballet act on the grass, by the sidewalk. First he raises his arms, then his legs, and then he points toward the overcast sky. I think he mouths something that I can’t hear. People walking by gave him no attention.
Had this man been blind, I wonder how he would have responded if Jesus had passed by in the crowd, with the crowd around Him.
Perhaps this man is, in fact, blind. Spiritually blind. Does he want to see? People with physical disabilities know they are disabled. But do the spiritually disabled also know they are disabled? If the Light of G-d is seen in G-d's creation so that none will have excuse for not seeking G-d, then are we really aware at some level of our own blindness?
When these two fellows of Matthew 20 cry out. They knew Jesus was coming by, with the crowd. “Hush up. You can’t cry out that way. It’s not politically correct!” might well have been what was said to these blind men. Yet they did not stop calling to our Lord.
Jesus stood still. The word “still” is interesting. It isn't the still of a person laying placidity. There is a sense in the word of action, an upright and active position. It is the way a hunter stops and listens for a sound of prey. Though the woods have many sounds, just one little sound catches a hunter’s ears, and he freezes, listens intently. Or perhaps this standing still is like a soldier on guard who hears a faint sound and wants to know more.
And so it is with Jesus. He doesn’t just stop and passively wait to ask his question; rather he stood ready to act, ready to respond.
And Jesus responded with a question. Did we expect Him to do otherwise? After all, these fellows cried out for mercy, but didn't verbally express what they expected His Mercy to actually be. Perhaps looking at these two men, one might assume they required clothing, or food, or that they really cried out for some form of shelter. So Jesus asks, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
In a difficult circumstance, I cry out, “Oh, G-d! Oh, Lord!” What is it that I really want? For what do I really ask?
Indeed. These fellows realized there own need. They knew that Jesus had the power to provide for them. They overcame the resistance of the crowd, and they called to Jesus. When they had His attention, they made their need known to Him. They made their greatest need known to Him. And "Y'shua touched their eyes; and immediately they recovered their sight and followed Him."
Hum. Rereading I go to the initial setting of this story. Jesus is going out from Jericho; a great crowd is following after Him. The narrator, Matthew, says "Behold, two blind men sitting by the road. . ." Another word for this "Behold" is "See." We are to draw our attention from the One that is leading the multitude following Jesus to the two blind men sitting by the side of the road. These two fellows might easily have gained much from the crowd, who might have been eager to give alms to these destitute men. Rather, they called to Jesus for Mercy. The narrative points to these men, who point us back to Jesus.
Another thought: Why did these blind men really ask for their sight? I marvel at the courage. Really. Why not just ask for plenty of food and maybe a bigger house. I’m not told in this narrative the conditions of the blindness. Perhaps these men were blind from birth. What would they do now with their sight? They had no training in anything but begging. Even if they’d be blind from disease, their skills might be rusty, might not be needed now. What then would they do?
These blind men thought beyond their immediate need, or needs, to a greater need. These men choose to ask for their sight. And what did they do with that sight? They followed Y’shua Jesus. The followed His way. I wonder if that’s why they asked for sight in the first place. Not just to see, but to see to follow.
May our Lord open our eyes to truly follow, showing us our blindness and our greatest need
When His disciples started vying for the top positions, getting insecure and becoming indignant with one another Jesus called them together and said: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all . For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:41-45.
It's a very ‘tall-order' that Jesus has placed on leaders, and one that goes against all our fleshly instincts in protecting ourselves and dealing with others. So easily our hearts drift from humbly serving our Lord and His people to thoughts of self-importance; of trying to build ‘ our ' ministry ; of building our ego and ‘prove our attackers wrong'; of trying to protect (or build) our reputation ; of defending our position ; …etc. All too easily we slip into reacting to others and their (real or perceived) criticisms, attacks, lack of support, undermining …etc out of our own insecurities instead of out of love in serving our Lord and them. How hard it can be to unconditionally love our critics and enemies. How difficult to truly bless those who curse us. How challenging to pray for (not against) those who despitefully use us. How contrary to totally forgive those who do the wrong thing by us again and again and again. How totally impossible all this is while-ever we are glancing AT OURSELVES, AT OUR REPUTATION, AT ‘OUR' MINISTRY, AT OUR WOUNDS, AT OUR POSITION instead of fully and totally fixing our eyes on JESUS, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Heb 12:2). Focusing on Jesus who knew that nothing and no-one could rob Him of that joy set before Him. Knowing that nothing and no-one can rob us of that joy He has set before us. Resting totally secure in our Lord.
Insecurity in the leadership can inflict so much pain in the Body of Christ. Let us take all our insecurities to Him who loves us and gave His life for us. Let us lay them down at the foot of the cross. Let us rest secure in God's unconditional love for us. Let our leadership rest secure in His call upon our lives – no one, no rumors, no attacks, no criticisms can rob that from us or deter His plans for our lives and ministry (greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world). Let us continually re-focus on our Lord and determine to do naught but love and obey Him, - love and serve others. As we do may we see the fulfillment of His prayer (John 17:22-23) “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as you loved me. ”
It's something I've been thinking about. Judge Y'shua. I hear, especially during Christmas, about Y'shuaJesus as 'baby Jesus.' And I begin to think we as a people are like the people waiting for a specific Messiah of their understanding. Two thousand years ago they looked for a conquering Messiah, yet the Suffering Messiah came to them. Today, do we perceive Y'shuaJesus as coming again as a Suffering Messiah? Will not our Lord come as a conquering Messiah, a righteous Judge?
I don't have answers. I have questions. I share these questions with you, today. These are questions I need to answer for myself, as my perception of Y'shuaJesus affects my behavior and service to Him. I share them that perhaps they become questions you want to answer for yourself, too.
How does my perception of Y'shua affect my service to Him? What I mean is if I perceive of Y'shuaJesus as the man who walked and talked and suffered two thousand years ago, how to I treat Him today? What if instead I consider Him as the King He is, and that He is readying Himself to return to a kingdom that is rightfully His, yet previously unclaimed?
Consider for a moment this thought: if I wear colored lenses in my glasses, what color will I see dawn's light reflected upon the clouds? So then the colored lens is a filter that changes how I see things. If I see Y'shuaJesus as the suffering man Jesus of history, how do I read the Bible? Will it not be through this filter of Suffering Messiah?
But if I read the Bible with the filter of Y'shua as King, Righteous Judge, how will if affect my interpretation? Will it not change it? Will not my response to Y'shuaJesus change?
“Displays are everywhere right now, Christmas displays. Window displays. Displays of lights. What isn't on display this time of year?! Maybe the main thing ......
Christ's desire is that you and I would be living displays. We're to be 360 degree screens, 365 days a year. That's right - this one doesn't come down after Christmas! We're to be living displays for a lifetime. But it's to let Him - who is at work in and through us, both to will and work for His good pleasure - be displayed. After all, we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do! On display!
One day, Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth. He explained that the man's blindness was no coincidence ... that it had happened so that the works of God might be displayed in his life (John 9:3). Questioned persistently, the man answered consistently - telling what he knew, sharing his experience, and giving honour and glory to Christ Himself. He became a living testimony of the power and work of Christ in his life. If God places us in a front-row seat, close enough to see Him at work, and if we are engaged with Him in His work ... our job is to align and bear witness of His doings. To be a Christ-like display, just as this man was.
What a privilege! That our lives might display the work of God, in our being, doing, and abiding; in our attitudes, values, and responses; in our words and deeds; in our obedience. As we live, serve, share, and work hard in this busy season, as we encounter difficulties and challenges larger than we can handle alone, let's remember to check our display often. No, not the one in the gift department. Not the end-cap. Not the one in the window. The one we're living. Let's make sure we're proclaiming the glory of Christ, and not the glory of us.
As a living epistle, you could be the only Bible someone is reading. You might be the only real glimpse of Christmas Truth someone sees this year. Watching you, they'll see what's "happening" in your life. Through your Christ-following walk and devotion they'll see the work of God displayed in your life, and hear your testimony that it's your living Saviour living out His life through you. And perhaps .... for the first time - Aha! the "lights will come on" and they'll understand and come to know the Light of the world. So, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16, NKJV)
This Christmas, be a CHRIST-mas display. A human pageant. A living plasma screen - clearly and colourfully displaying God's work in your life. A personal testimony that Christ, the Saviour of the world, Lord and Master of your life is transforming you ... from the heart out.”