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Encouragement

What’s your Spiritual ‘Sleep Number’?

Do you sleep well at night? Is your sleep restless or restful? Here’s a spiritual sleeping pill, if you’re having trouble finding rest.

David, a man after God’s own heart, says “I will both sleep and rest in peace, For You alone, O Lord, cause me to dwell in hope.” (Psalms 4:8,/4:9 LXX)

How could King David find this elusive rest that our world hungers for and enter into such a dreamy, peaceful sleep? David knew the Lord! David internalized God’s Word. He hid His Word in His heart. Therefore, knowing the Lord’s provision, protection, and paternal love, David had nothing to fear, except during the time of Urriah.

John had this same intimate knowledge and confidence, which is why he could write “There is no fear in love but perfect [mature] love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But whoever fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

But how do we reconcile this with Paul’s frequent reminders to “not sleep at night” (1 Thess 5:6) and “Awake you who sleep; Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light!”? As usual, Paul is here referring to our spiritual zeal. Are we awake in our faith, or are we sleeping? Are you hungry for God’s Word, like King David, or do we allow things to get in the way?

As we grow closer to God, continue in His teachings, meditate in His Word, and faithfully pray to the One who will answer, we find a transcendent peace enveloping our life, calming the turbulence, and the still small voice of our Shepherd comforts us as He leads us beside still waters and causes us to lie down in green pastures. The more “awake” you are in the Spirit, the more soundly you will find your physical sleep.

So before you go to bed tonight, remember this eternal promise:

My son and daughter do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
For the Lord will be your confidence!

(Proverbs 3:1,24,26)

 

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Priesthood!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #12: The GIFT of Priesthood!

“You shall be named the priests of the Lord.” (Isaiah 61:6)

One amazing Eternal Promise is that every believer in Jesus Christ is a priest of God.

Not just one or two men in the Church is a priest, but the Bible says EVERY living believer is a priest! Continue Reading

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Praise!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #11: The GIFT of Praise!

In Jesus Christ, He promises to give you “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”.

Heaviness here is akin to oppression, depression, even possession by unwelcome evil forces, earthly (humans) and spiritual (demons). Continue Reading

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Joy!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #10: The GIFT of Joy!

Jesus gives every believer “the oil of joy for mourning” (Isaiah 61:3)

Paul said it best when he penned “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!”

He’s saying re-JOY! As believers – new creations – we are brought back to a place of experiencing JOY, how God originally created us, rather than complaining and disappointment. Why? Continue Reading

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Beauty!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #9: The GIFT of Beauty!

Isaiah was speaking of one of the GIFTS of Jesus when he wrote: “The Spirit of the Lord God… has sent Me…to give them beauty for ashes!” (Isaiah 61:2-3)

If you are a believer, God has made the ash heap of your old life into a beautifully vibrant and fruitful garden.

This beauty is, in part, a transaction without outward transformation, meaning that you gained the beauty of Christ because you believed in Him and surrendered your life to His Lordship.

But the inward beauty becomes more and more outward as others begin to see this beauty that God already sees in you!

Think about it. In Christ you are not only beautiful in His sight, but also to others. Why?

John helps us understand why: “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)

Essentially when Jesus is in us and our heart is renewed by the Holy Spirit, we begin to change from the inside out! Our old fruit of anger is now a fruit of patience and love. The ugly fruit of drunkenness and out of control behavior becomes the delicious “fruit” of a life put in order by God.

So thank God that He has made you beautiful in Christ. And if you’re not a Christ follower, turn to Jesus today and freely receive the beauty of holiness and purity in your life as your old impurities are washed away by His blood.

With much love in Christ,

Jeff

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Consolation!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #8: The GIFT of Consolation!

If there is a recurring theme in God’s Word it is His comfort and consolation to all who mourn. In fact Jesus said you are blessed if you are sad because in Christ the sad will find comfort, and ultimately joy!

God the Holy Spirit not only brings comfort, He is called the “Comforter”.

“The Spirit of the Lord God… has sent Me… to comfort all who mourn, to CONSOLE those who mourn in Zion” (Isaiah 61:2-3)

Zion is a metaphor for God’s Kingdom, His people… which is any believer today: Jew or gentile. The promise is this: in Christ, inside spiritual Mount Zion (Heb 12:22), you will find consolation. But I utside of Christ, there will be no true, lasting comfort.

How is it that only Jesus can console us in such a way to truly satisfy? Because He experienced it first hand and yet had the power to overcome.

One of His early disciples wrote “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

So the next time you need deep meaningful eternal consolation, or consolation over a small matter, simply run to the Throne of Grace, where Jesus is powerfully seated, and simply ask for His help. He will not refuse anyone who genuinely asks. And nothing is to big or small for our awesome God!.

Paul clearly experienced God’s comforting consolation:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

I pray you are consoled today by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

With much love in Christ,

Jeff