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beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Cities Of Refuge



Why does God set up cities of refuge for the nation of Israel? Are these cities symbolic of something or someone else?

Cities of Refuge
There were accidental deaths in ancient Israel just as there are accidental deaths today in which a person is not responsible or guilty of killing the person, so God, in His divine wisdom, established cities of refuge where those who are involved in such incidents can flee to while the legal process takes place and they are heard before the elders to establish guilt or innocence, so these cities of refuge were established where the person could go and avoid retaliation or revenge from a family member or friend of the one that was killed (not murdered).

Moses records the establishment of these cities of refuge in Numbers 35:25 where He wrote, “And the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil,” however, “if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the boundaries of his city of refuge to which he fled, and the avenger of blood finds him outside the boundaries of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood” (Num 35:26-27). This means that the person who accidentally killed someone “must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession” (Num 35:28). As long as they were there, they were safe.

Their Purpose
Cities of refuge were established to keep people from seeking revenge from a family member or friend of the person accidentally killed. There was no room for retaliation in such cases, so when Israel settled into the Promised Land, it was “to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasturelands, Libnah with its pasturelands” (Joshua 21:13), but there were several cities of refuge placed around the land so that someone wouldn’t have to travel too far when they needed to escape. The Kohathites gave land to the Levites, but also “the cities allotted to them were out of the tribe of Ephraim. To them were given Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasturelands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasturelands, Kibzaim with its pasturelands, Beth-horon with its pasturelands—four cities” (Joshua 21:20b-22).

These cities were strategically located and provided a place of safety where they could live without the fear of retaliation from the victim’s family members or friends. Even though the person may been involved in the killing, if the killing was not intentional, the person would not have to die since there was no premeditation to the killing. The same thing could apply to someone trying to defend themselves from being killed. In short, these cities provided a shelter from someone seeking revenge, even though they were not responsible for the person’s death. If that person was killed by a family member or friend, then the person they killed could come after someone else in the other family, and it could easily escalate into a family feud where dozens of others could die in the cross fire.

Christ, our Refuge

In the Old Testament, Abner died at the gates of Hebron, a city of refuge, but he may have been responsible. The Bible says Joab killed Abner “on account of the blood of Asahel his brother” (2nd Sam 3:27), thus Joab was acting as an avenger, but the problem is, Asahel was killed during the battle. This means that his death was not technically a murder. Also, Abner took great pains to show that he did not want to kill Asahel and tried to avoid it…even riding away from him and telling him he didn’t want to kill him, so apparently Abner acted solely in self-defense.

In other words, Abner killed without premeditation and should have been safe in Hebron, but the problem was, he came just outside of the gates of Hebron, a city of refuge, and was murdered right there at the gate…a place where the elders came together to make decisions on the fate of accused slayers, so “when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he struck him in the stomach, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother” (2nd Sam 3:27), thus Abner was killed at the gate of Hebron, “in the midst of the gate,” meaning he wasn’t inside the city or inside the gate. Abner should have stayed inside the gates of the city until the changing of the high priest and he would be free to go with no fear of retribution, but Abner, perhaps trying to justify his actions rather than depend on the process of the city of refuge and the elders of Hebron to decide his case, went just outside the gates, and there, fell by the hand of Joab.

Conclusion
For everyone who’s trusted in Christ, Jesus is that city of refuge. To Him they ran and escaped the wrath of God. If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ, you are not in a city of refuge, and you will need a refuge when the God of glory appears to judge the world in righteousness. Jesus Christ will appear a second time, but this time not as the meek and mild Lamb of God Who gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, bringing judgment on all who have rejected Him. They will be judged by their earthly works, and since their works cannot save them, they will be condemned at the Great White Throne Judgment, where even Satan and his demons are judged (Rev 20:11-15). The cities of refuge were a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our refuged because we’re all guilty of sin, and not one of us is good (Rom 3:10). All of humanity falls infinitely short of His glory (Rom 3:23), so we need to repent of our sins, confess them to God, and put our trust in Christ.

That’s when the judgment is over for us; at least our being judged for our sins. That’s because the judgment that was due us, was placed on Christ at the cross. He took upon Himself our sins, but if you reject the only name by which you can be saved (Acts 4:12), you will die with God’s wrath upon you (John 3:36b), and that is not God’s desire (2nd Pet 3:9), anymore that it is mine, so I pray you put your trust in Christ today…while we can still call it “today” (2nd Cor 6:2).
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
God Our Father - Faithful, Merciful and True
For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Deuteronomy 4:31 NIV

_________________

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19 KJV

_________________

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 NASB

_________________

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

Psalm 100:4

Our Lord would have all his people rich in high and happy thoughts concerning his blessed person. Jesus is not content that his brethren should think meanly of him; it is his pleasure that his espoused ones should be delighted with his beauty. We are not to regard him as a bare necessary, like to bread and water, but as a luxurious delicacy, as a rare and ravishing delight. To this end he has revealed himself as the “pearl of great price” in its peerless beauty, as the “bundle of myrrh” in its refreshing fragrance, as the “rose of Sharon” in its lasting perfume, as the “lily” in its spotless purity.

As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ is had in beyond the skies, where things are measured by the right standard. Think how God esteems the Only Begotten, his unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of him, as they count it their highest honour to veil their faces at his feet. Consider what the blood-washed think of him, as day without night they sing his well deserved praises. High thoughts of Christ will enable us to act consistently with our relations towards him. The more loftily we see Christ enthroned, and the more lowly we are when bowing before the foot of the throne, the more truly shall we be prepared to act our part towards him.

Our Lord Jesus desires us to think well of him, that we may submit cheerfully to his authority. High thoughts of him increase our love. Love and esteem go together. Therefore, believer, think much of your Master's excellencies. Study him in his primeval glory, before he took upon himself your nature! Think of the mighty love which drew him from his throne to die upon the cross! Admire him as he conquers all the powers of hell! See him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before him as the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, for only thus will your love to him be what it should.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
God's Special Instrument


Sailors poured onto the rocky beach as their small craft landed. Nearby cliffs echoed with a shout: "Grab that short one before he gets away!" The Indian boy felt a sailor's callused hands grasp his shoulders. Though he thrashed and jerked, Squanto (SKWAN- to) couldn't break free. As fibers from a coarse rope cut into his wrists he finally decided that struggle was useless. He was dragged into a longboat, then carried aboard a three-masted English ship anchored offshore.

Squanto had been fishing along the rugged coast when his friend had looked up and pointed, "Great boats with white wings." They had scrambled over the boulders to meet the strange white-faced intruders. Now Squanto was their captive.

Weeks later, a pale Squanto wobbled down the gangplank from that lurching deck onto firm land. He and other Indians were taken to the elaborate mansion of Sir Ferdinando Gorges who had financed many expeditions to the New World. For the next three years, the Indian youths were taught English. At first Squanto found the new tongue awkward, but eventually he surprised himself: "My name is Squanto. I have come from America."

His English host was eager for the Indians to master the language. One day Gorges called them to his quarters. "Young braves, you have studied hard. Now you will be sent as guides on new explorations of America. I will miss you."

"Another ship? How can I stand that constantly rolling deck?" Squanto thought. But in time he gained his sea legs. His knowledge of the rivers and natural harbors, of the tribes and chieftains of his homeland proved very helpful to the English explorers.

For years he had longed to see his beloved bay and village again. One day, as his ship sailed along the New England coast, he spotted it. Squanto ran to the captain. "May I go ashore, sir? That's my village. That's my home!"

"Yes, young man. You have served us well. Now you can return to your people."
As soon as he heard the pebbles crunch under the longboat's hull, Squanto jumped out and ran to embrace his parents. He was home!

But his homecoming didn't last long. Within weeks Squanto spotted new sails on the horizon. No longer afraid of English ships, he proudly led a band of young braves to greet the sailors. Armed seamen seized Squanto and nineteen other Patuxet (paw-TUX-et) Indians.

Once again he was imprisoned aboard a British merchant ship. Rats scampered across the damp hold where the Indians were chained. Scarce provisions, a stormy trip, and continual seasickness took their toll. Several Indians were buried at sea. By the time they reached the Spanish slave-port of Malaga (MA-la-ga), Squanto was very weak.

One by one the surviving braves were pushed up onto the auction block to be sold. Finally it was Squanto's turn. He could barely stand. "Senores (sen-YOR-es), what will you bid for this strong Indian?" the slave trader rasped. A brown-robed monk nodded and the auctioneer grinned. "Sold to the brothers of the monastery."

A heavy pouch of coins exchanged hands and the monk led Squanto home. At last his wrists were untied. A friar brought fresh water and plenty of food, though Squanto could only eat a little.

"Estas libre (es-TAS LEE-bray)! You are free." Squanto looked into the clear eyes of this man of God. Though he knew no Spanish, he understood. Over the next few weeks he pieced it together. Their love for Jesus had prompted these Christian brothers to buy Indian slaves and teach them the Christian faith. As the monks nursed him back to health, Squanto began to love this Jesus, too.

Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stables of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto's desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.

It wasn't until 1618-ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped-that a ship was found. The day finally came when he saw the familiar coastlands of home. Once more he was granted permission to go ashore.
No one greeted Squanto at the beach. He ran to his village. The bark-covered round-houses were empty. Not even a dog barked. Graves outside the village told the story. Samoset (SAM-o-set), his friend from a neighboring tribe, could bring little comfort. "A whiteman's sickness struck your people. One week, all dead. Many villages lie silent like Patuxet."

Squanto's emptiness overwhelmed him. Parents, brothers, sisters, forever gone. He wandered the forests for weeks in his grief.

We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto's mind: Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?

Finally he went to live with his friend Samoset.

One cold December morning, six months after he returned, Squanto watched the white sails of a ship grow on the stormy horizon. This time he hid as the men came ashore. Their clothes looked different from those worn by sailors and the fancy English officers he had seen on other ships. Broad hats and great black capes shielded them from the biting wind. He could glimpse white caps and long dresses of women aboard the ship anchored in the bay. Often he saw children playing on deck. As green leaves came to clothe barren trees, the settlers began to build houses on the very place where his village had stood. Day after day Squanto watched intently, never seen.

Samoset urged him to meet these settlers. A cry went up as the Indians strode into the settlement. Men grabbed for their muskets.

The Indians lifted their hands in greeting. "My name is Squanto. This is Samoset. We come in peace." The settlers were astounded. An Indian who spoke clear English? The Pilgrims lowered their muskets and invited the Indians to share their meager food.

The sun had set by the time Samoset got up to leave, but Squanto hesitated. Many of the settlers had already died from disease and winter's bitter cold. There was little food. Yet they weren't giving up. He thought of his old village's battle with death. "You go," Squanto told his friend in their Indian tongue, "I'm staying. This is my home, my village. These will be my new people."

Squanto turned to the leaders. "May I stay with you? I can help you. I know where you can find foods in the forest."

The white men studied the Indian carefully. Could he be trusted? Still, the struggling colony was in no position to refuse help. "Yes. Please stay."

That spring and summer Squanto proved his worth many times over. He led them to brooks alive with herring beginning their spring migration upstream. He showed the settlers how to fish with traps. He taught them where to stalk game in the forest. The children learned what berries they could pick for their families. Twenty acres of corn grew tall after Squanto showed the Pilgrims how to plant fish with the native corn seeds from a local tribe.

Once, a hostile tribe captured Squanto. "If he is killed," shouted their chief, "the English have lost their tongue." A small Pilgrim force arrived just in time, firing their muskets in the air. The terrified chief released his captive and fled. Squanto repaid the Pilgrims' favor. His bargaining skills kept neighboring tribes from attacking the small Plymouth colony.

In the fall the Pilgrims planned a feast to celebrate God's merciful help. Squanto was sent to invite friendly Chief Massasoit (MASS-a-soit) and his braves.

They gathered around tables spread with venison, roast duck and goose, turkeys, shellfish, bread, and vegetables, with woodland fruits and berries for dessert. Before they ate, the Pilgrim men removed their wide-brimmed hats and Indians stood reverently as the governor led them in solemn prayer.

"Thank You, great God, for the bounty You have supplied to us. Thank You for protecting us in hardship and meeting all our needs. . ." Towards the end of the long prayer, Squanto was startled to hear his own name. "And thank You for bringing to us the Indian Squanto, your own special instrument to save us from hunger and help us to establish our colony in this new land." Squanto stood proudly. It was a day to remember.
Two years passed. Squanto lay mortally ill, struck by a raging fever while scouting east of Plymouth. He turned over in his mind the events of his strange life. It almost seemed that a plan had led him. The first time he was captured he learned English. The second time, he was freed by gentle Christians who taught him to trust in Jesus. And though his own people had died of sickness, God had sent him to a new people who built their colony where his old village once stood.

According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto "became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died."

Pilgrim leader William Bradford knelt at his bedside. "Pray for me, Governor," the Indian whispered. Then Squanto breathed his last. November 1622, gone from the New World, but entering a heavenly one.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Sin Is Against God
Our Sin Is Against God

After a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?"

Genesis 39:7-9 NIV

__________________

When confronted with his sin of murder and adultry -

David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

2 Samuel 12:13 KJV

__________________

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!

I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;

I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD";
And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

Psalm 32:1,5 NASB

__________________

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:7-9 RSV

__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.”

Hebrews 9:20

There is a strange power about the very name of blood, and the sight of it is always affecting. A kind heart cannot bear to see a sparrow bleed, and unless familiarized by use, turns away with horror at the slaughter of a beast. As to the blood of men, it is a consecrated thing: it is murder to shed it in wrath, it is a dreadful crime to squander it in war. Is this solemnity occasioned by the fact that the blood is the life, and the pouring of it forth the token of death? We think so.

When we rise to contemplate the blood of the Son of God, our awe is yet more increased, and we shudder as we think of the guilt of sin, and the terrible penalty which the Sin-bearer endured. Blood, always precious, is priceless when it streams from Immanuel's side. The blood of Jesus seals the covenant of grace, and makes it for ever sure. Covenants of old were made by sacrifice, and the everlasting covenant was ratified in the same manner. Oh, the delight of being saved upon the sure foundation of divine engagements which cannot be dishonoured! Salvation by the works of the law is a frail and broken vessel whose shipwreck is sure; but the covenant vessel fears no storms, for the blood ensures the whole.

The blood of Jesus made his testament valid. Wills are of no power unless the testators die. In this light the soldier's spear is a blessed aid to faith, since it proved our Lord to be really dead. Doubts upon that matter there can be none, and we may boldly appropriate the legacies which he has left for his people. Happy they who see their title to heavenly blessings assured to them by a dying Saviour. But has this blood no voice to us? Does it not bid us sanctify ourselves unto him by whom we have been redeemed? Does it not call us to newness of life, and incite us to entire consecration to the Lord? O that the power of the blood might be known, and felt in us this night!
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
It’s Time to Catch a Fire!
Sometimes when I lose faith in the world and wonder if there are any reasons to keep hoping against hope, something little comes along that shifts my perspective.

For example, did you know that the original Hunger Games installment made 300 million more dollars than the first Twilightmovie? Yeah! All is not lost!

And now Hunger Games: Catching Fire will definitely set the box office ablaze as Katniss and company are back to continue the fight against the pompous privileged and their insatiable appetite for violence.

We join our heroine in much better circumstances than a year before (i.e., Kentucky mining town - why do all the Districts look like that?), but the powers that be want a battle royale, complete with poisonous fog and blood thirsty monkeys.

Yes, think Wizard of Oz simians on steroids…

Obviously Hunger Games 2 is a set up for the third installment, but there is something about Katniss and her straight-up boss attitude towards The Establishment that makes me want to go out and fight injustice as well.

How about you?

When you think about it, all Christians are in an arena that truly represents life and death. Every person on the planet is moving closer to trusting in Jesus for salvation and an eternity in heaven, or they are falling away from the Truth into a pit of darkness and a destiny separated from their Creator.

And like Hunger Games, there are wicked powers at work behind the scenes:

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12).

You may think that your troubles and battles revolve around people and circumstances, but there are dark forces that animate these conflicts, and they are very skilled in staying out of view. They are trying to deceive you into thinking that the arena we live in is a battle for survival where we have to compete to survive.

But in reality, Satan and his demons are fearful that you will wake up and start serving Christ and fighting for THE Cause! He knows that the day that you lay down the earthly weapons of gossip, jealousy, selfishness and pride is the beginning of your victory over his Spiritual Establishment on this planet.

If you are ready to fight for the souls of your friends, then you must go out into the arena armed to the teeth:

And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout
until evil has been stayed. And please pray for me. Pray that truth will be with me before I even open my mouth. Ask the Spirit to guide me while I boldly defend the mystery that is the good news— for which I am an ambassador in chains—so pray that I can bravely pronounce the truth, as I should do (Ephesians 6:13-20).
Have you have been experiencing defeat in your walk with Jesus lately? Have you felt beaten up by the world? Are you tempted to just stay down and wait for it all just to be over?

If so, I believe you need to suit up and get into the games! Ask Jesus to bring back your hunger for your friends to know Jesus, and don’t even think about walking out the door without putting on God’s armor.

Let truth rule and reign in your life, and don’t give into deception.

Realize that you are completely forgiven through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, so you are in a perfect and right standing with Him.

Consider every place that your feet touch as a mission field where you must share the gospel.

Take refuge in the fact that God has your back, and your faith in Him will protect you in ways that are unimaginable.

Keep your thoughts and imagination focused on Jesus Christ and His teachings, otherwise the Enemy will get into your head and defeat you at the core of your being.

And perhaps most importantly, remember that God is only a breath away in your prayers, and with that kind of confidence, you can go forward in His power and reach the world for Christ.

Let’s catch a fire!
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
What of Shame?
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

1 Peter 4:16,17 KJV

__________________

We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 5:3-5 KJV

__________________

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

__________________

That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Romans 1:15-16 NIV

__________________

"If a person is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of my Father with the holy angels."

Mark 8:39 NLT

__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“And ye shall be witnesses unto me.”

Acts 1:8

In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at his example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain's brow. He is witnessing night and day; his mighty prayers are as vocal to God as his daily services. He witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut his mouth; even before Pilate he witnesses a good confession. He witnesses so clearly, and distinctly that there is no mistake in him.

Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom — not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface — but clear and transparent, so that your heart's love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, “I am true:” be true. Boast not of integrity, but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it. Never, for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as like heaven-touched lips should do.

“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand.” Watch not the clouds, consult not the wind — in season and out of season witness for the Saviour, and if it shall come to pass that for Christ's sake and the gospel's you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this—that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with his Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master's glory.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Don't Be A Trickle


"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." [ John 7:38]

When animals come down to a river to drink they have no concept of where the water is coming from or where it's going. God is the source of living water. When our lives become this water, we can roll down the mountain and touch the lives of many. We may weaken and become a mere trickle, or we can grow and become mighty, washing away anything that gets in our way. Rivers don't care about obstacles. They go around, through, rolling--never stopping. God uses our lives to touch others. They, in turn, touch more lives. We'll never know how many lives we've touched.

OZ (Oswald Chambers) says:

A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fullness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. We have nothing to do with the outflow--"This is the work of God that ye believe..." God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.

Just between you & God:

Don't get wrapped up in who and where. Ask God to keep you moving in and around. Ask for the strength to keep going when you're weary. Ask for the patience to reach everywhere you need to go.
 
The SIX Times The Devil Is Most Likely To Attack

1. When you are physically tired.

2. Whenever you face a major decision regarding your assignment
in life.

3. Whenever you are birthing a child that is destined to become
a spiritual leader.

4. When a specific miracle is on its way to you.

5. When you make an effort to launch a new ministry for God.

6. When you are next in line for a promotion from God.

thanks for advice
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Faithful is He!
O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness you have
done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.

Isaiah 25:1 NIV

__________________

Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

1 Kings 8:56-58 KJV

__________________

"For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,"
Says the LORD who has compassion on you.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.

"Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,
And your gates of crystal,
And your entire wall of precious stones.

All your sons will be taught of the LORD;
And the well-being of your sons will be great.
In righteousness you will be established;
You will be far from oppression,
for you will not fear;
And from terror, for it will not come near you.

Isaiah 54:10-14 NASB

__________________

So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

Joshua 21:43-45 NKJV

__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?”

Mark 14:14

Jerusalem at the time of the passover was one great inn; each householder had invited his own friends, but no one had invited the Savior, and he had no dwelling of his own. It was by his own supernatural power that he found himself an upper room in which to keep the feast. It is so even to this day — Jesus is not received among the sons of men save only where by his supernatural power and grace he makes the heart anew. All doors are open enough to the prince of darkness, but Jesus must clear a way for himself or lodge in the streets.

It was through the mysterious power exerted by our Lord that the householder raised no question, but at once cheerfully and joyfully opened his guestchamber. Who he was, and what he was, we do not know, but he readily accepted the honour which the Redeemer proposed to confer upon him. In like manner it is still discovered who are the Lord's chosen, and who are not; for when the gospel comes to some, they fight against it, and will not have it, but where men receive it, welcoming it, this is a sure indication that there is a secret work going on in the soul, and that God has chosen them unto eternal life.

Are you willing, dear reader, to receive Christ? then there is no difficulty in the way; Christ will be your guest; his own power is working with you, making you willing. What an honour to entertain the Son of God! The heaven of heavens cannot contain him, and yet he condescends to find a house within our hearts! We are not worthy that he should come under our roof, but what an unutterable privilege when he condescends to enter! for then he makes a feast, and causes us to feast with him upon royal dainties, we sit at a banquet where the viands are immortal, and give immortality to those who feed thereon. Blessed among the sons of Adam is he who entertains the angels’ Lord.
 

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Generous Asset
Living Metaphor


One of the greatest stories in the Bible is in the Old Testament book of Hosea (say ho-ZAYuh). God wanted to paint a picture for his people, the Hebrew people (and eventually, for us). So--get ready, here it comes--he told Hosea to marry a prostitute!

God was a creating a living metaphor of his love for us. (Have you learned about metaphors in school--when you use one thing to describe another thing?) In this story, Hosea represents God; the prostitute...well, that's us. That's because we're all so hot-and-cold in our commitments to God. Right after camp, we're totally pumped about God. But a few months later, we don't give God a passing thought unless we're in the car on the way to church.

But here's the wild, surprising truth. God didn't have Hosea marry a prostitute so God could show us what unfaithful maggots we are. It's so much better than that!

Hosea married Gomer. (Really, that was her name. But remember, you're Gomer! Ha! Okay, back to the story...) For a while Gomer was faithful to Hosea. But then she left him and went back to her prostituting ways, had a couple more kids (by different men), and started living with some other guy. Hosea assumed the marriage was over.

But then God came to Hosea and said (you can see this in Hosea 3:1-3):

"Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes."So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you."Sacred raisin cakes? A homer of barley? Don't sweat it--here's the summary: Hosea found his wife and bought her (like, he had to pay the pimp she worked for) so she could come back and be his wife again.

Does this story sound familiar to anyone? When we totally stray from God and love other things more than him, God buys us back with Jesus' death and resurrection to show us how much he loves us. See, God's love for you isn't connected to you being "good"or "bad"or anything in between. God loves you just because God loves you.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Where Are You Headed?
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Galatians 1:3-5 NIV

__________________

But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13,14 KJV

__________________

Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT

__________________

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."

John 5:24,25 NASB

__________________

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

John 10:27-29 RSV

__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
''His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.”

Isaiah 33:16

Do you doubt, O Christian, do you doubt as to whether God will fulfil his promise? Shall the munitions of rock be carried by storm? Shall the storehouses of heaven fail? Do you think that your heavenly Father, though he knoweth that you have need of food and raiment, will yet forget you? When not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered, will you mistrust and doubt him? Perhaps your affliction will continue upon you till you dare to trust your God, and then it shall end.

Full many there be who have been tried and sore vexed till at last they have been driven in sheer desperation to exercise faith in God, and the moment of their faith has been the instant of their deliverance; they have seen whether God would keep his promise or not. Oh, I pray you, doubt him no longer! Please not Satan, and vex not yourself by indulging any more those hard thoughts of God. Think it not a light matter to doubt Jehovah. Remember, it is a sin; and not a little sin either, but in the highest degree criminal.

The angels never doubted him, nor the devils either: we alone, out of all the beings that God has fashioned, dishonour him by unbelief, and tarnish his honour by mistrust. Shame upon us for this! Our God does not deserve to be so basely suspected; in our past life we have proved him to be true and faithful to his word, and with so many instances of his love and of his kindness as we have received, and are daily receiving, at his hands, it is base and inexcusable that we suffer a doubt to sojourn within our heart. May we henceforth wage constant war against doubts of our God — enemies to our peace and to his honour; and with an unstaggering faith believe that what he has promised he will also perform. “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
I Was Hungry And You Gave Me Food – 5 Ways Your Church Can Feed The Hungry


Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food,” so how can we feed the poor in our community? Here are five ways that your church can do that.

Potluck Saturday
We have a lot of great cooks in our church…I’m just not one of them, but we are all very blessed so I want to share with you some ideas on how you can feed the poor in your community. Post flyers in the local thrift shop, the local laundry mat, or any place that you believe most of the community will see them and invite them to come to a potluck dinner on a certain Saturday or even a Sunday afternoon. You could also find people on the street and hand deliver them or give them printed out invitations. Ask your church members to consider signing up for this and write down what they plan to bring. It’s a great way to share the gospel too because you can talk to them about how they can receive the Bread of Life and Living Water and never hunger or thirst again (John 4, 6:35).

Clothing Giveaway
Every once in a while we have a clothing giveaway but the thought had never occurred to me that we can offer them a meal too. Most of us have closets full of clothing that we will never wear or haven’t worn for a long time. I heard the rule of how to know what to give away and what to keep. Take a look in your closet and if you see anything that you haven’t worn in the last 12 months then you probably won’t wear it in the next year. Next, publicize this event and offer a hot meal to go alone with the offer of clothing. In many parts of the nation there is always the need for winter or fall clothing. Some of those who are hungry today and are homeless have to find shelter where they can, and they probably can’t remember the last time they had a hot meal, so the next time you have a clothing give away, offer them a free hot meal to go along with it. That will warm them, inside and out, plus it’s a great opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bar-B-Q in the Park
Our church elder is one of the best cooks I know and he loves to Bar-B-Q, so what better way to bring in those who don’t have much to eat than to have a cook out in the city park. Our local city park has several outdoor Bar-B-Q’s already and so all we need to do is to buy the briquettes and starter fluid and buy some hamburgers or hotdogs and let the smell draw people in. Many of the poorest of the poor live outdoors, or if they do have a home they have a limited income, so put out some flyers or advertise in the local paper about a Bar-B-Q in the park that’s open to the public. You could even ask other churches to help participate and make it a broader, more comprehensive community event.

Dry Goods Donations
We have a lot of food in our church’s pantry and probably more than we will ever use so I thought we might try to give away some canned goods along with our clothing giveaway every year. A lot of people who are struggling financially usually come to our clothing giveaway, so maybe the next time we should offer them some canned goods to go along with their clothing. The Boy Scouts usually take collections during the fall for one of their campaigns to feed the poor so why can’t we do this too, and as we do, we can publicize this event by going door to door in the community. Tell them that these items are going to be given away to local citizens who have a need and tell them where and when it is in case they want to come and participate, so be sure to invite them.

Invite Someone
About every other month our church has a potluck meal after services. It allows us to have fellowship in the dining hall and to get to know one another better, so the next time your church has a potluck, challenge each member to invite at least one person. Even if they don’t make it to church services, invite them anyway to come and enjoy a hot meal. If they don’t have a ride, then offer to pick them up and bring them. If everyone in our church invited at least one person to a potluck meal, I believe we’d have more people coming to enjoy the fellowship. Even if they don’t accept, at least we’re giving them an opportunity. This shows them there is someone who cares enough to ask.

Conclusion
Have you ever considered these different ways that you can feed the poor in your community? Of course there are more five ways that your church can feed the hungry, but the important thing is, Jesus equated doing for others as doing it to Him when He said“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt 25:35), so the way Jesus sees it is, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40).

James brought attention to this area when he wrote “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”(James 2:14-17). Talk is cheap, but actions speak louder than words, so make your actions speak into the hearts of the poor about the love of God and the command for believers to “do unto the least” of these, particularly, those who are unable to help themselves. Maybe they’ll come and be filled, and by chance, take in the Bread of Life which satisfies forever. As Jesus said “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
He is the Prince of Peace
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

__________________

Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

Isaiah 57:19-21 KJV

__________________

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6,7 RSV

__________________

"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.

Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the
LORD, we have an everlasting Rock."

Isaiah 26:3,4 NASB

__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master.”

Matthew 10:25

No one will dispute this statement, for it would be unseemly for the servant to be exalted above his Master. When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment he received? Were his claims acknowledged, his instructions followed, his perfections worshipped, by those whom he came to bless? No; “He was despised and rejected of men.” Outside the camp was his place: cross-bearing was his occupation. Did the world yield him solace and rest? “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” This inhospitable country afforded him no shelter: it cast him out and crucified him.

Such — if you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation — you must expect to be the lot of that part of your spiritual life which, in its outward development, comes under the observation of men. They will treat it as they treated the Saviour — they will despise it. Dream not that worldlings will admire you, or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you. They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough? “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”

If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world's favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout “Well done” to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a coronet of thorn.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Here Am I, Send Someone Else!


Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Isaiah 6:8

Here's a situation that may seem familiar to you: In class, your teacher asks a question about something you forgot to study. Then she starts looking around the room for someone to answer it. You slink down in your seat, trying to make yourself invisible--praying that she won't pick you. Ever had an experience like that?

Unfortunately, many believers react the same way when it comes time to serve God. When they see a need or a service opportunity, they do everything they can to make themselves invisible, hoping that God will pick someone else to get involved.

And that's a mistake.

You see, Christian service isn't just about helping others. It's about pleasing God and drawing closer to him. The best way to strengthen your bond with your heavenly Father is through obedient acts of service. If you decline the opportunities he gives you to serve him, you're the one who will lose in the long run.

The good news is that God gives second chances. Right now, he may be looking for someone to explain forgiveness to a student at school who's struggling with guilt. He may be looking for someone to start a winter coat collection for the homeless people in your community. He may be looking for someone to share his love by hanging out with the guy at church who no one can stand.

Will you be that person? Will you step up to the plate like Isaiah did and say, "Here am I--send me"? Don't let excuses like busyness or inexperience stand in your way. Few people have enough free time to get involved in service projects. People who are serious about service make time. And most people who volunteer for service work have no idea what they're doing. However, they learn very quickly that when God calls someone, he also equips that person. He will not let a small matter such as lack of experience stand in the way of his work being done.

So what are you waiting for? It's time to volunteer!

Read more on Isaiah's assignment from God in Isaiah 6:1-13.
 
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