Wonderful Counselor

John 14

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The Way to the Father
14 “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.”

5 “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

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Jesus Reveals the Father
7 “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.

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Praying in Jesus’ Name
12 “I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

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Another Counselor Promised
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

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The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
19 “In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

25 “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

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Jesus’ Gift of Peace
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. 28 You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. 30 I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. 31 On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do.

“Get up; let’s leave this place.


 “Emmanuel (wonderful counselor)” – Michael W. Smith


There Is Power In The Blood” – Tommy Coomes Band

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39 thoughts on “Wonderful Counselor

  1. Some of my favorite scripture…I was just reading these vs. this morning. The love of Jesus is so clear, it melts my heart.

    Thank you for this post James.
    Blessings,
    Vicki

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Opportunity — Sep 06, 2016 05:00 am | Glynda Lomax

    “Circumstances shall present themselves to you that offer an unusual opportunity in your life. This is a test.

    Will your decision in these circumstances bring you closer to Me? To all that I am? If it does not, is your decision the right one?

    Choose life, My children, for much more depends on this decision than you know. Choose life.”

    Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
    Proverbs 2:6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
    Proverbs 3:5-7
    5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
    7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
    1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
    read more

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  3. A Watchman on the Wall — Posted: 07 Sep 2016 12:00 AM PDT

    “There will be no peace for The Prince of Peace has been rejected.

    Shout it from the housetops, proclaim for all to hear – you oh man have rejected the only One who can save. You have rejected good, embraced evil and brought shame and reproach upon your land.

    The darkest of nights will be as day as evil spreads across the land. What could have been can be no longer. Evil reigns supreme in hearts and minds. Millions drank from polluted streams and now sickness fills their soul. Where are the warriors, where are My watchmen, where are the servants of the Most High? Why do stand gazing at the pollution and take no action?

    Pray for your family, pray for your friends. Continue to be light to all you can. Some will listen, some will mock and some will ignore My message, but all must be told… Repent for the kingdom of God is near.”
    ************************************************************************

    “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1:20
    “I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
    “…in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3:12

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  4. Daily Devotional — 09/07/16

    FORGIVENESS CAN BRING HEALING AND RESTORATION
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:43-45

    The literal meaning of the word “forgiveness” in the New Testament is “to release; to hurl away; to free yourself.” The only way to break the chain or cycle of hurtfulness is to stop and ask forgiveness. This allows a relationship to start over and begin anew. The Russian writer, Solzhenitsyn, believed forgiveness is what truly makes us different from animals. Only humans can perform the most unnatural act of forgiveness that transcends the relentless law of nature.

    A young Iranian lady, we’ll call Fatima, was full of hatred towards her mother-in-law. For fifteen years her mother-in law was her enemy and there was a great deal of enmity in the family.

    Several times Fatima had even tried to kill her mother-in-law. Once she put poison in her soup hoping to kill her. The mother-in-law felt very sick after that and was taken to the hospital. The doctors took the poison out of her stomach and were able to save her life. On another occasion she had beaten her mother-in-law so badly that the ambulance took her to the hospital and again her life was saved. Other times she tried to kill her mother-in-law, but every time her life was saved miraculously.

    The main reason for the hatred between Fatima and her mother-in-law was Fatima’s marriage to her son. The mother-in-law had even gone so far as to contact different witches in order to bring a curse on the life of Fatima.

    One day Fatima got hold of the JESUS DVD and watched it. The love of Jesus had a great impact on her life. When she heard one of Jesus’ teachings that says: “Love your enemies and bless those who curse you,” she was deeply moved. She was especially touched by the fact that Jesus died on the cross for the sake of His enemies and even asked God to forgive them. At that moment Fatima fell on her knees and asked Jesus to come into her heart and change her. She turned over her entire life to Jesus. After that she sensed this deep love in her heart towards her mother-in-law.

    After that experience, Fatima visited her mother-in-law taking flowers and sweets for her. She fell on her knees in front of her and asked for her forgiveness for all the bad things she had done against her. Fatima told her that her life was changed and Jesus had created a new love in her heart towards her. The mother-in-law in turn asked Fatima to forgive her for all the curses she had tried to bring into her life. She also gave her life to Jesus as the result of her daughter-in-law’s evangelism. They entered into a beautiful relationship with one another from that moment onwards.

    RESPONSE: Today I will ask forgiveness—as Jesus said—of people I have hated and treated poorly.

    PRAYER: Thank You Father for Your example in loving the just and the unjust. Help me to practice this as Your son or daughter.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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    1. Praise the Lord! Thank You Jesus!

      What a beautiful story of salvation and healing of the mind and body and soul.

      My own testimony is such that when I got my”self” out of the way and submitted to the Lord there was a heavenly result. There is no other explanation, there is no other way for me to be healed of 58 years of turmoil and sorrow and sickness all at once. God is the Way the Truth and the Life. To God be the Glory…AMEN

      He’s honoring His faithful servants answering our prayers.

      God Bless you Bette….many Blessing to you and your family!

      Vicki

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This is beautiful! I love the sound of the flute. I had one when I was a little girl in grade school. It was a beautiful silver instrument that made a beautiful sound. I wanted so much to learn to play it but was unable to continue taking lessons.

      Whenever I here the sound of it I close my eyes and take it all in.

      Vicki

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fallen Back — Sep 07, 2016 05:00 am | Glynda Lomax

    “You started well in this race, why have you fallen back again? Why do you struggle to include the enemy in your life?

    So many of My children have alliances with their enemy through wrong relationships, through wrong places, through wrong careers, and yet they still expect Me to bless them in all things.

    My children, I cannot bless what is not of Me. Search your life for what is not working and inquire of Me about it. Ask Me to remove all in your life that is not of Me and I shall do so, that your walk may be purified, that you may know Me better, that we may commune more intimately.

    No man can serve two masters. You must choose.”

    Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
    Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
    Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
    John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

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  6. Daily Devotional — 09/08/16

    GRACE
    Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16

    We now consider the most important characteristic in the training of the disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the quality of living the Christian life with grace.

    We use the word “grace” to describe many things in life:

    · A well-coordinated athlete or dancer
    · Good manners and being considerate of others
    · Beautiful, well-chosen words
    · Consideration and care of other people
    · Various expressions of kindness and mercy

    To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

    Also, grace is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Grace comes to us free and clear with no strings attached. It is the act of unmerited favor – most often to the down and out.

    Christ came down from heaven and he reminds us that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves. The ladder of power reaches up, the ladder of grace reaches down.

    Dr. Donald Barnhouse said it best: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

    Jesus never used the word itself. He just taught it and lived it. And it was written as a description of how He lived His life. The Apostle John describes Jesus’ glory as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In a world of darkness and demands, rules and regulations, requirements and expectations demanded by the hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus came and ministered in a new and different way.

    After commenting on His glory, John goes on to add, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). John and the other disciples became marked men. His style became theirs. They absorbed his tolerance, acceptance, love, warmth and compassion so that it ultimately transformed their lives. They too lived their lives demonstrating grace!

    Thus grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world. It’s a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate.

    RESPONSE: Today I desire to be a person like Jesus – full of grace and truth.

    PRAYER: Pray that God would fill your life with the ability to live with the grace of our Lord Jesus.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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  7. Walk in Peace — Sep 08, 2016 05:00 am | Glynda Lomax

    “Do not those things which you know to be wrong. Do not wrong others. Do not steal, do not murder, do not what you know displeases Me. Why do My children desire to walk in sin when I have provided them a way out of every situation?

    My children, do you not know that every sin brings consequences into your life? Do you not know that many times when you pray to Me to change a situation, I do not because you are reaping your just rewards?

    Why do you make your life more difficult by continuing to sin? When you sow to the flesh, you shall also reap from it.

    Sow to the spirit and live in joy. Do not as the wicked do, do not be unwise. I have provided all good things for you to enjoy richly, but you choose death instead of life.

    Choose life, My children. Choose life, and walk in peace.”

    1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
    Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
    Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
    Proverbs 22:8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
    Galatians 6:7-8
    7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
    8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
    Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
    Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

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  8. A Watchman on the Wall — Posted: 09 Sep 2016 12:03 AM PDT

    “As Job proclaimed My glory in the midst of great anguish and heartache, so too will millions be called to do so in the weeks ahead. Coming soon will be great chaos as one nation then another experience My wrath.”

    I believe the ‘wrath’ spoken of here is not that referred to in Revelation 6:16-17, but His anger and rage poured out upon a sin infested world.

    ‘God is holy; he totally and completely distances himself from sin, evil, corruption, and the resultant filth and guilt. He maintains his purity and rejects, fights against, and destroys that which would offend, attack, or undo his holiness and love. Hence, God’s anger and wrath must always be seen in relation to his maintaining and defending his attributes of love and holiness, as well as his righteousness and justice. The emotion or passion that moves God to this maintaining and defending is expressed by the terms “displeasure, ” “indignation, ” “anger, ” and “wrath.” A consequence of his wrath is vengeance, punishment, and death.’ Gerard Van Groningen/BibleStudy Tools

    “You, My chosen have many opportunities to proclaim the goodness of your God. Take each opportunity presented to you – do not shirk your responsibility, grow weary, doubt or fear. You are My voice to this lost and dying generation. A voice crying in the wilderness….

    Speak loud, speak long; JESUS SAVES, JESUS SAVES.!!.

    “But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.” Exodus 9:16
    “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.” Psalm 20:7
    “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16
    ” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Romans 10:12-15

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    1. I feel as if the link below to a post by Linda correlates well with the following lines in ALI’S word above:
      “As Job proclaimed My glory in the midst of great anguish and heartache, so too will millions be called to do so in the weeks ahead.” (WEEKS ahead–YIKES!!!)

      “You, My chosen have many opportunities to proclaim the goodness of your God. Take each opportunity presented to you – do not shirk your responsibility, grow weary, doubt or fear. You are My voice to this lost and dying generation. A voice crying in the wilderness….”

      “Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Romans 10:12-15”

      This post by Linda speaks of her banners “GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.”
      (even in what looks to be the very worst of times in the natural).

      https://believeacts2blog.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/8-13-15-prophetic-banners-with-warning-of-economic-collapse/

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  9. Daily Devotional — 09/09/16

    UNGRACE
    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

    Yesterday we concluded that “grace” is Christianity’s best gift to the world! It’s a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate. But sadly to a world desperate for this grace, the church sometimes presents one more form of what Philip Yancey calls “ungrace.”

    Charles Swindoll in his book, The Grace Awakening, powerfully lists these enemies of grace as:

    From without: legalism, expectations, traditionalism, manipulation, demands, negativism, control, comparison, perfectionism, competition, criticism, pettiness and a host of others.
    From within: pride, fear, resentment, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, insecurity, fleshly effort, guilt, shame, gossip, hypocrisy, and many more.[1]
    Nothing has the power to change us from within like the freedom that comes through grace. And grace has very practical outworking in our lives.

    A greater appreciation for God’s gifts

    Those who claim the freedom God offers gain an appreciation for the gifts that come with life: the free gift of salvation, life, laughter, music, beauty, friendship and forgiveness.

    Less time and energy being critical or concerned about other’s choices

    When you begin to operate in the context of grace and freedom, you become increasingly less petty. You will allow others room to make their own decisions in life, even though you may choose otherwise. A grace-full Christian is one who looks at the world and others through “grace-tinted lenses.”

    More tolerant and less judgmental

    When you are so involved in your own pursuit of grace, you’ll no longer lay guilt trips on those with whom you disagree.

    A giant step toward maturity

    As your world expands, thanks to an awakening of your understanding of grace, your maturity will enlarge. You will become more like Jesus and you will never be the same!

    RESPONSE: Today I will determine to avoid those things that prompt “ungrace” in my life.

    PRAYER: Lord, I don’t want to live any longer in the same old ways. Help me to become more like Jesus.

    1. Charles R. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), pp. 5-14.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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  10. We as believers and open confessors of Jesus Christ now stand in an eye Of the storm. Around us might still be calm but the raindrops and the rumble Of thunder comes closer as the eye Of the enemy moves to futilly trying to prevent Christs 2:ND coming.

    Take most you can Of this peace and draw your lungs full Of scriptural air before the storm closes around you!

    Feel the perfect peace Of Christ and pray IT over your family and surrounding. This Word i got to My mind sitting here at My kitchen table before sleep.

    Revelation 3:4 came on My mind for the believers Of the world, especially in western countries like Finland.

    4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

    And IT warns us in 3:6 to listen to the Spirit, IT is warning ALL CHURCHES!

    Read rev 3:1-6 i feel its relevant, i dont get this feelings often.

    Blessings to all in Jesus Christ name our Lord and saviour.

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  11. Sardis the church was part Of Lydia whose meaning is partly that Of dwellers Nuder the almond tree. Evelyn Troulliots book of in the shade of the almond tree has a passage like this!

    In the shade of my almond tree, I observed the contortions of this poor humanity. I recognized moral decay in all its guises. I have seen fine young ladies drawing the trains of their white dresses with the sprightliness of tinkling bells and satisfied ambitions. Ding dong, a living room with rattan furniture to dazzle the neighbors, ding dong, an apartment paid for in American dollars to brag about while pretending to complain, ding, dong, a dear little fetus to accelerate the wedding march, ding, dong, the ring on the finger and the pockets in a twirl.

    Epitomizes the Love of money and pride. This train of thought is not normal to me and looking at this word+ the one i posted above its My conclusion this is more than My own words!

    Take IT with prayer i believe the Lord Even uses daft people like me sometimes 🤓

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  12. Excellent Words from Glynda. She’s not talking about peace and safety, but more good news for those that have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and continue their daily walk plus promises of what we can expect to see given our authority in the name of Jesus. It’s also confirmation that even during some horrific things we will be seeing soon, more people will be given the opportunity to be saved. There is also another warning about persecution to come.

    Revival — Sep 09, 2016 05:00 am | Glynda Lomax

    “Breakthrough is just ahead for My obedient ones. You have waited long for good news, this is your time. For in this time shall I raise up many unknown who have been submitting and preparing behind the scenes as I instructed them. I am raising up those who have heeded My warnings, those who strive to obey Me and conform not to the world around them.

    In days coming, you shall see the revealing of many of My chosen ones. I am declaring revival in this time. I declare miracles, signs and wonders through My people in the earth that those who believe Me not among you may know that I am God, and I will be glorified in the earth!

    Get ready, children, for you will see that which you have only heard about heretofore. You will see mighty works and exploits that will shock the nations, and many will give their hearts to Me in this time.

    Beware, too, for persecution – extreme persecution, will be launched by the Evil One as these miracles convert many. His time is short and he knows it, and he will fight against My Glory in the earth.

    When persecution comes, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh!”

    1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
    Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
    John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
    2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
    Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

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  13. The persecution of believers according to Mathhew 24:9 starts after wars, pestilence, earthquakes. And also ethnos vs ethnos or in english race groups against each other. We are close and Glynda is on track!

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  14. Daily Devotional — 09/10/16

    Forgiveness: What It Is and Is Not

    What is it that we do, exactly, when we forgive? Lewis Smedes, who is the closest thing I know to an expert on forgiving, says we must start by understanding what forgiveness is not and then look at the three stages that are part of what forgiving is.

    First, forgiving is not the same thing asexcusing. Excusing is what we do when we consider extenuating circumstances for our behavior. We excuse expectant fathers for driving fast because they are taxiing a woman in labor, for example. Forgiveness is what is required precisely when there is no good rationale to explain away why someone did what they did. When an action is excusable, it doesn’t require forgiveness.

    Forgiving is not forgetting. All that forgetting requires is a really bad memory. Sometimes, if a hurt is severe enough, it can be buried away out of fear or trauma. It is in some sense forgotten, but it hasn’t been forgiven. Scripture writers sometimes use the language of “‘forgetting” to describe how God deals with our sin, but this doesn’t mean that God has a memory retrieval problem. It means that our past sins become irrelevant to his dealings with us. Forgiving is what’s required precisely when we can’t forget.

    Forgiving is not the same thing asreconciling. People sometimes think that forgiving someone means we must reunite with them no matter what. I think forgiveness and reconciliation are two separate things. Forgiveness takes place within the heart of one human being. It can be granted even if the other person does not ask for it or deserve it. Reconciliation requires the rebuilding of trust, and that means good faith on the part of both parties.

    The first stage of forgiveness is the decision not to try to inflict a reciprocal amount of pain on everyone who has caused hurt. When I forgive you, I give up the right to hurt you back. Even though you may hurt me deliberately, personally, and deeply, I suspend the law of vengeance. I seek to stop entertaining fantasies of vengeance in which you are tortured or fired from your job or suddenly gain fifty pounds. Of course, letting go of vengeance doesn’t mean letting go of justice. Justice must still be honored. Justice involves the pursuit of fairness. Vengeance is the desire for retribution. Vengeance by its nature is insatiable.

    The next stage of forgiveness involves a new way of seeing and feeling. One thing that happens when we get deeply hurt is that as we look at the one who hurt us, we don’t see a person—only the hurt. When we hold fast to unforgiveness toward another person, we tend to believe only bad things about them. We want to forget their humanity. When we forgive each other, we begin to see more clearly. We do not ignore the hurts, but we see beyond them. We rediscover the humanity of the one who hurt us. He is the product of a fallible mother and father; he is lonely or hurting or weak or nearsighted—just as I am. He is also a bearer of the image of God—just as I am.

    The third stage of forgiving, the one that shows you have begun to make some real progress, is when you find yourself wishing the other person well. You find that your prayers no longer drift into anger fantasies in which your enemy finally realizes he’s treated you horribly but it’s too late to make amends and he will spend eternity wallowing in unrelieved guilt. You hope for good things for them. You genuinely hope that things are well between them and God, that their relationships are healthy, and that their life is happy. Of course, this does not happen all at once. And it usually doesn’t happen once for-all; you will have some backsliding, some moments when you would like to hear they’ve gotten bald or fat or have been turned down by a dating service. But the trajectory of the heart is headed in the right direction. When you want good things for someone who hurt you badly, you can pretty much know that the Great Forgiver has been at work in your heart.
    © 2014 by Zondervan. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Visit JohnOrtberg.com for more about John Ortberg’s work and ministry.

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  15. Another Daily Devotional — 09/10/16

    DISPENSING GRACE
    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

    How can Christians dispense grace in a society that is or seems to be veering away from God? As we noted in earlier devotionals, Elijah hid out in caves. On the other hand, his contemporary Obadiah worked within the system running Ahab’s palace while sheltering God’s prophets on the side. Esther and Daniel were employed by heathen empires. Jesus submitted to the judgment of a Roman governor. Paul appealed his case all the way to Caesar. In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey shares:

    Dispensing God’s grace is the Christian’s main contribution

    The one big thing the church has over the world is showing grace. Jesus did not let any institution interfere with His love for individuals. Here is where the fruit of the Spirit are so important in our lives. Jesus said we are to have one distinguishing mark—neither political correctness nor moral superiority, but—love.

    Commitment to grace does not mean Christians will always live in perfect harmony with the government

    Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia has written, “…what a nation needs more than anything else is not a Christian ruler in the palace but a Christian prophet within earshot.” Jesus warned that the world who hated him would hate us also. As the early church spread throughout the Roman Empire, the slogan “Jesus is Lord” was a direct affront to the Romans. When conflict came, brave Christians stood up against the state, appealing to a higher authority. Through the years, this same energy continued. In all of this, we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. All our actions—and even counteractions—are to be seasoned with grace. When we show just the opposite, then we must consider the wisdom of our choices.

    Coziness between church and state is good for the state and bad for the church

    Herein lies the chief danger to grace. The state, which runs by rules of ungrace—the entire “world” does—gradually drowns out the church’s sublime message of grace.

    The church works best as a force of resistance, a counterbalance to the consuming power of the state. The cozier it gets with government, the more watered-down its message becomes. Can you imagine any government enacting a set of laws based on Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount?” A state government can shut down stores and theatres on Sunday, but it cannot compel worship. It can arrest and punish murderers, but cannot cure their hatred much less teach them love…It can give subsidies to the poor, but cannot force the rich to show them compassion and justice. It can ban adultery but not lust, theft but not covetousness, cheating but not pride. It can encourage virtue but not holiness.[1]

    RESPONSE: Today I will operate in the world I encounter and in my church dispensing grace.

    PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to be a person who is known for my ability to live like Jesus—with grace.

    1. Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1997), pp. 219-227.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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