Very First Thing | 2018

The first thing I do every New Year’s Eve is to make resolutions to do a bunch of good stuff in the coming year.  Then the very first thing I do after New Year’s Day is to NOT do any of that good stuff.

Why is that?

I’m pretty sure it’s because I am trying to do good stuff by my own will-power (slow learner).  Anyhow, it’s past time for me to get off that yearly merry-go-round and give it all over to the God of Second Chances.  Shame on me for forgetting the important stuff

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV

Still… traditions die hard, so the very first thing is a prayer:

“Lord, my New Year’s Resolution for 2018 is to walk pleasing to You this coming year.  I trust You, Father God, for what You prepared for me beforehand. Thank You, Jesus, for the greatness of Your power to keep me as I should be, regardless of my own shortcomings. Amen.”

The very next thing is,

Happy New Year 2018! 

God’s blessings to all in Jesus Christ

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“For He Himself is Our Peace,“ ~ Ephesians 2:14a NKJV

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Start Over

Start over; and this time, make the priority obedience to God’s will.

Remember this?

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Dad’s New Testament Page 381

Two years ago I was at this very spot.  I was at the end of Dad’s message he wrote in his little pocket New Testament.  There are two verses circled, Hebrews 4:12&13, that speak of the Word of God being sharper than any two-edged sword and that before Him no creature is hidden.  But that is not why I need to start over.

Today I realize that I am right back where I started.  I must learn how to be obedient to God’s will.  Just as Jesus walked out His life in a fleshly body here on earth in accordance with God the Father’s will, so I must follow.

The reason I need to start over is not found in chapter 4 of Hebrews, but chapter 5:

In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him (Father God) who was able to save Him (Jesus) from death, and He (Jesus) was heard for His godly fear. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered; and being made perfect He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, being designated by God a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. ~ Hebrews 5:7-10

So, beginning with persistent, loud, tearful and fearful prayers, Jesus was heard by the Father who allowed His Son Jesus to suffer so that He could learn obedience to God the Father’s will and to perform God’s will perfectly.

Got it.  I am just having the hardest time ever walking it out.  Oh, I have prayed, hollered and cried; I have complained about all kinds of suffering, but the Apostle Paul has me tagged:

About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s Word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil. ~ Hebrews 5:11-14

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me for being dull of hearing.  Help me to practice distinguishing good from evil in this complicated and dark world.  Help me to learn to be obedient to You by becoming skilled in Your Word.  Help me to start over with enthusiasm, resolve, and godly fear. May I boldly occupy until you come, and glorify the Holy Name of Yeshua, the Messiah, Amen.

Hollis2Dad’s New Testament – pg 194
I made known to them thy Name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. ~ John 17:26

Thank you for following

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Expect a Miracle

At any moment in time there must be multitudes of people who expect a miracle to manifest in their lives.  Each circumstance is different, but oh! so equally important.

Would some expect a miracle of healing from God after fervent prayer, while others place their trust in a team of doctors?  Do miracles manifest with or without any human expectation?

I think so.  For instance, our planet earth is spinning around the sun at an astounding speed of  18.5 miles/sec (30 km.sec).  Even more shocking is the fact that earth is rotating at 1000 mph (1600 km/hr) near the equator without any person or object flying off into outer space!  Gravity is a miracle that I have come to expect.  I don’t pray or hope for it, as it has existed for millennium.  However, just because I don’t expect it doesn’t make it any less of a miracle.

Are you expecting a miracle today? – Perhaps a miracle to land that “perfect” job? Rather than adopt, some barren parents might be praying to conceive a child when the doctors have given no hope.  In medical circles, that would qualify as a miracle.

Whatever miracle you are expecting today, consider that a miracle is likely the glory of God revealed.  Wait for it patiently.

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I pray God gives you favor and that you receive the miracle you expect.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. ~ Romans 8:19 NIV

God’s blessings and thank you for visiting

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Pray for Ourselves

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Do we forget to pray for ourselves?  Most believers have a prayer list that includes the lost, the sick, the dying, the hungry, the poor and needy; but where do we ourselves fit into that list?

Shockingly, when I thought about this recently, I realized that I have not prayed for myself in some time.  I do not mean praying for forgiveness of sin, or coming to God in prayer with a repentant heart.  No, I mean, I forget to pray for my own needs on a regular basis.

So what?  Here is the thing: my relationship with my Heavenly Father suffers.  He wants to do many good things for me, but first I must ask.

A very strange thing happened about four months ago.  I was in a church service on the birth date of a family member and responded to the altar call at the end of the service.  I went forward for prayer that God would bless me and that God would open doors causing astonishing things to happen in my life.

Within a few short months that same relative was diagnosed with cancer and asked me to visit during the cancer treatments to lend support.  I did go; and we have basically been supportive of each other ever since; but I did not make the connection at all that this may be God’s answer to my altar call prayer.  Probably because it was a door that I least expected that God would open.  Only recently did I connect the dots to the birth date of my relative being the same date that I went forward to pray for myself in church.  So the take away for me is that when I pray mostly for others and not for myself, I am very far from knowing God’s plan for my life or His calling upon me.

Praying for myself will draw me nearer to God – not praying for others (although I believe that intercessory prayer is truly His calling upon me).  I cannot be led by the Holy Spirit to know God’s will for me unless I draw closer to Him in this manner.

Frankly, I am astonished at the rapid changes in my life in just the past four months – and all I did was pray for myself.  If we ask God to open doors of His choosing, it’s a pretty good bet that He will give us a very important job.

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” ~ Acts 13: 47 NIV

Ultimately, if we answer His calling, and walk through the open doors of His choosing, each of us really needs prayer to be equipped to perform God’s will.  So let’s not forget to pray for ourselves.  Amen brethren?

Thank you for following importantstuff.live.

 

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The Crying Days

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Everyone has them, and most of us just want them to end.  For me, that is not happening; so I am left with a journey I call “living through the crying days”.  At least I am not traveling this road alone.  Jesus fights my battles for me when I think to ask Him, and the Holy Spirit consoles me as the tears flow.

Whether illness, grief, loneliness, or unwelcome burdens – sometimes one can only cry.  Our Heavenly Father knew this, of course, before He even created the cosmos.  He lovingly created tears for all broken-hearted souls.  The ancients collected tears in bottles as highly prized keepsakes.

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle, are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know, for Elohim (Supreme God) is for me. In Elohim will I praise his word: in Yahweh (Self-Existent; Eternal; Jehovah) will I praise his word. In Elohim have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O Elohim: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before Elohim in the light of the living? ~ Psalms 56:8-13 RSB  (Parentheses added)

The act of crying has a bad rep in many circles.  “What good does it do?”  “Just buck up and take it on the chin!”  “Crying doesn’t solve anything!”  But God’s Word is clear:

The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah in 713 B.C. that Hezekiah would soon die.  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed for mercy:

And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of Yahweh to Isaiah, saying, “Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith Yahweh, the Elohim of David, thy father, I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.” ~ Isaiah 38:3b-6 RSB

So Almighty God not only added fifteen years to the life of Hezekiah, but He vowed to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of the invading Assyrians and to fight the battle for them.  Wow!  Hezekiah hadn’t even prayed for that!

Our God is SO GOOD!  He promises to one day create a new heaven and a new earth.  There will be no more crying days.

And Elohim shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4 RSB

Today there are reported over 900,000 believers martyred every year on this earth.  These are Crying Days, folks.  Don’t hold back on the prayers or tears for our persecuted brethren suffering for their faith in Christ; for our nation in peril; and for those lost and on their way to eternal outer darkness.  These crying days are the last days before Christ returns.  Pray tearfully for the sick, the dying, the poor and the needy.  Remember to love one another as He loves us and in the words of Jesus, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  Few of us are called upon to make that level of sacrifice, but prayer changes things.  Sincere prayer can even change the will of Almighty God, as we have seen in the case of Hezekiah.

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for meeting our every need with your tender Spirit of love and truth; for hearing the prayers of your church; and for noticing tears of the humble being shed during sorrowful days.  We look forward in faith to victory in the Only One Who Fights Our Battles For Us – our Savior and Redeemer, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus The Anointed One.  In His Holy Precious Name Above All Names, Amen.

I pray that you are encouraged by God’s Word as you are living through your own crying days – whatever they may be.  God bless you, and thank you for following importantstuff.live.

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Unity|The Great Mystery

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Skyline of downtown New York, New York, USA

Today much of humanity is praying, hoping, and working for peace and unity.  There are many proposed solutions to global unrest; but unity continues to remain a great mystery to most of our world’s leadership.

Unity comes in many forms and shapes.  It is often tagged with titles including peace, freedom, or social reform – just words.  If anyone could solve the Middle East Crisis, avoid a dreadful WWIII, or somehow conquer pestilence and famine; that person would be worshiped as a god by many.  This will actually happen at the end of days during The Great Tribulation, according to Bible prophecy, but what does God’s Word say about our global divisions now?

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ~ Ephesians 2:11-13 NIV

Yes, it is God’s miraculous gift to man who is the answer to all forms of unrest and human division – His name is Jesus Christ (Yeshua in the Hebrew), our Messiah:

For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2: 14-22 NIV

I love the fact that Paul makes it clear that we, too, are mortised right into the walls and foundations of God’s temple.  We will never be separated or divided again, as long as Jesus is our Lord.  That is true unity.  No peace treaty; no two state solution; no “barrier, the dividing wall of hostility”.  In Christ’s kingdom, we will have not only one global government but also a global economy that function perfectly in unity; because we will finally have Jesus, our King of Kings to rule with an iron hand against the current chaotic world view of divisive power and greed.

Paul goes on the say in Chapter Three:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles … Surely you have heard … that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation …This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 3: 1-6 NIV

I can’t make this up, people.  God’s Word is infallible and tells us His almighty solution to man’s sin problem without all the complexity of political deception.  The answer is simply Jesus.  Christ is God’s gift to redeem both the Jews and the Gentiles.  What a crying shame that the world is still unbelieving and nation is still against nation when Jesus already settled this over two thousand years ago at the cross!

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3: 16-19 NIV

So how does being “rooted and established” in the power of God’s love for us bring about unity?

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ~ Ephesians 4:1-5

So it is the unity of the Spirit that holds us together like mortar glues together the stone walls of God’s temple building.  Then why do divisions persist with the church?

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ~ Ephesians 4: 14-16 NIV

If we stop chasing after the world but speak the truth in love, we will grow spiritually and experience God’s gift of unity.  God’s solution to global crisis is Jesus. The love of Jesus makes all people fit together perfectly into God’s plan for reconciliation.  Through faith in Jesus, we become one family and no one is excluded if he or she simply believes that Jesus is the true Son of God who gave Himself up to be crucified for man’s sin.  There is no other Name under heaven whereby we shall be redeemed or have eternal peace.

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Please don’t fall for the talk-talk-talk which produces no unifying solutions to world or national problems.  God has already provided the true solution in His Son, Jesus.

Do you feel lost and alone?  Or perhaps confused over world events and how they relate to you?  Does fear, guilt or shame rule over your life?  Are you tired of “looking for love in all the wrong places”?

If so, ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life.  The Holy Spirit will enter your heart and live there forever.  He will guide you in all ways of holiness and righteousness in the eyes of God, the Father.  You will once and for all be reconciled to a right relationship to God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

For he says, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV
This is why it is said: “Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”              ~ Ephesians 5:14

Unity does not have to remain the great mystery to you.  Be saved by the grace of God by faith in Jesus.  It is so simple and requires only a sincere act of confession.

If you are a Christ believer, you can have victory over church divisions by growing in grace the way God intended.  His Spirit power lives within you – just tap into it with prayer and daily study of God’s Word.

May your walk with Christ be guided by His Living Spirit and thank you for following Importantstuff.live!

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Confidence Means Not Backing Down

Today’s Nugget

Somehow your faith is being tested by a situation or circumstance beyond your control or power.  Mine too.  Let’s agree​ to persist in prayer, while pressing into the generosity of our Father as we continue in faith.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” ~Hebrews 10:35-36