The Power of Music to Alter the Heart: What is the Soundtrack of Your Life? Part I

musico-2Music is an amazingly powerful medium to capture and transform the heart, and to push it toward good or evil. It can move the heart more quickly than any other form of art or communication on earth. Music can instantly create an emotion, a memory, a mood, or a passion. It can change the heart’s direction, focus, and purpose. It can alter behavior. It can heal or destroy the human heart. Music has the power to change an entire culture or even a nation.

In its purest form, music is a precious blessing from God, designed to uplift the thoughts to noble and godly themes, inspiring and elevating the heart. Music is also one of the major tools the Devil uses in spiritual warfare. It can turn us away from God, move us to sin, and emotionally sabotage us.

Cary Schmidt, in Music Matters: Understanding and Applying the Amazing Power of Music, writes:

Music is not only an idol in today’s culture, it is an addiction, and is the primary tool that Satan uses to indoctrinate, control and manipulate the hearts and minds of the masses … No tool in his arsenal is so powerful, so seductive and so subtle as music … I submit to you that music is the most prominent, powerful and pervasive form of communication that satanic spirits are using to control and shape our mass culture. Everywhere you turn, the world is hearing. Everywhere you listen, the voices are speaking. And everywhere you look, music is shaping the emotions, the spirit, and the hearts of people.[i]

Music is Never Morally Neutral

As Christians, we cannot be ignorant of the effects of music on the heart. We must be aware of the music we are allowing to saturate our hearts. Music is never morally neutral. It always carries a message to the heart that is either good or evil.

What is the soundtrack of your life? What music is being played on the chords of your heart? What music is at the top of the charts when it comes to your heart? There is a direct connection between the music we listen to and the spiritual health of our hearts. Music always produces and influences a lifestyle. Life, thought, mood, emotion and desire flow out of the music we listen to.

Listen to what philosophers, scientists, doctors, professors, and musicians have said about the moral and spiritual power of music.

Plato: “In order to take the spiritual temperature of an individual or a society, one must mark the music … Musical innovation is full of danger to the State for when modes of music change, the laws of the State change with them. Music is a moral law … Let me control the music for one generation and I will control Rome … Show me who writes a nation’s songs and I care not who writes its laws … Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”

Aristotle: “Music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young … From what has been said it is evident what an influence music has over the disposition of the mind and how variously it can fascinate it.”

Albert Einstein: “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music … I get most joy in life out of music.”

Pietro Mascagni, Italian composer:Modern music is as dangerous as narcotics.”

An inscription at the Alte Opera Haus in Frankfurt, Germany:Bach gave us God’s Word. Mozart gave us God’s laughter. Beethoven gave us God’s fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words.”

Dr. Howard Hanson: “Music is a curiously subtle art with innumerable, varying emotional connotations. It is made up of many ingredients and according to the proportions of those components, it be soothing or invigorating, ennobling or vulgarizing, philosophical or orgiastic. It has the powers for evil as well as good.”[ii]

Alan P. Merriam: “There is probably no other human cultural activity which is so all-pervasive and reaches into, and shapes—and often controls—so much of human behavior.”[iii]

Dr. Adam Knieste:Music is a two-edged sword. It’s really a powerful drug. Music can poison you, lift your spirits, or make you sick without knowing why.”[iv]

Jay Grout: “Music directly affects the passions or states of the soul—gentleness, anger, courage, temperance, and their opposites … When one listens to music that imitates a certain passion, he becomes imbued with the same passion. If over a long time he habitually listens to the kind of music that arouses ignoble passions, his whole character will be shaped to that ignoble form. In short, if one listens to the wrong kind of music—he will become the wrong kind of person.”[v]

Songwriter E. Y. Harburg: “Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.”

Frank Zappa: “The loud sounds and bright lights are tremendous indoctrination tools; it is possible to modify the human chemical structure with the right combination of frequencies. If the right kind of beat makes you tap your foot, what kind of beat makes you curl your fist and strike?”

The Beatles: “Our music is capable of causing emotional instability, disorganized behavior, rebellion and even revolution.”

Drs. Daniel and Bernadette Skubik: “A driving drum rhythm in excess of three to four beats per second will put the brain into a state of stress, regardless if the listener likes or dislikes the music. And when the brain is in this stressful state, it will release opioids—a group of natural hormones that function like morphine—to help return itself to normal equilibrium and sense of well-being. These natural opioids, if experienced often enough, can be addicting, creating in the listener the continual desire for that ‘high’ somewhat like the high runners experience.”[vi]

The Power of Music to Alter Physical and Emotional States

Music is powerful enough to produce mental and physical effects in our bodies and our brains. Music can modify brain waves, slowing them down and creating a more relaxed, content, and peaceful feeling, or speeding them up, causing more agitation, anxiety, and nervousness. Norman M. Weinberger, professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine: “Music can rapidly and powerfully set moods and do so in a way not as easily attained by other means.”[vii] Music not only creates positive or negative emotions, moods, or behaviors, but also can change them in an instant. Music can even affect the rhythm of respiration causing calmness and control of emotions or superficial and scattered thinking, emotional disturbance, and impulsive behavior.

Richard Wagner’s music was thought to be instrumental in the establishment of the Third Reich in Germany. Nietzsche once said, “My objections to Wagner’s music are physiological. I breathe with difficulty as soon as Wagner’s music begins to act upon me.[viii]” Wagner’s music had a strong psychological effect not only on Nietzsche, but also on Adolf Hitler. The power of music had a part in molding one of the most brutal, ruthless, and destructive dictators of all time. Never underestimate the power of music to influence, indoctrinate, and control the human heart.

Don Campbell, in The Mozart Effect, says:

The heart rate responds to musical variables such as frequency, tempo and volume and tends to speed up or slow down to match the rhythm of a sound. The faster the music, the faster the heart will beat; the slower the music, the slower the heart beats … As with breathing rates, a lower heartbeat creates less physical stress, calms the mind and helps the body to heal itself. Music is a natural pacemaker … Music can also change blood pressure … Excessive noise may raise blood pressure … Such noise may trigger the body’s fight or flight mechanism which causes adrenaline and norepinephrine, two strong hormones, to be released, speeding up the heart and straining the blood vessels.[ix]

Music also can change the body temperature, influence blood circulation, increase endorphin levels, and affect the body’s release of hormones. Music has a pulse, a life, and a flow of energy through its beat, tempo, tone, and rhythm that dramatically affects our spiritual hearts. Music is a spiritual medium where philosophies, emotions, ideas, and agendas are conveyed directly to the heart. All music has a message in both its words and its pitch, tone, and beat, and we must be wise as to who the messenger is in the music we are listening to.

The Involuntary Response to Music: Emotion by Design

One of the most amazing things about music is its ability to affect us subliminally. Rather than intruding on our conscious thought, it enters directly into our hearts. The human response to music is involuntary. One of the greatest examples involves the company Muzak, which began in the 1940s, and provides background music for all types of businesses. Cary Schmidt, in Music Matters: Understanding and Applying the Amazing Power of Music, writes:

No group on the planet has studied the power of music more than the researchers at Muzak. An article from The New Yorker magazine in April 2006 quotes, “Today, [Muzak] estimates that its daily audience is roughly a hundred million people, in more than a dozen countries, and that it supplies 60% of the commercial background music in the United States.” Muzak offers a service known as “audio architecture” to more than 350 corporations around the globe. Audio architecture is essentially the power of public influence and control—through music … Chances are, if you have been anywhere in public in recent days, you’ve been subject to Muzak’s influence without even knowing it. This is a company that owes its success to the manipulative power of music in mass culture. Muzak simply could not exist if music did not affect the attitudes and behavior of people. The New Yorker article says in this story, “In the forties, Muzak introduced a trademarked concept, called Stimulus Progression, which held that most workers would be more productive if they were exposed to music gradually increasing intensity, in fifteen minute cycles. The process was said to be subliminal: Music affected you the way hypnosis did, whether you wanted it to or not. Only sanitized instrumental arrangements were used, because the absence of lyrics made the music less likely to intrude upon conscious thought … Audio architecture is a compelling concept because the human response to musical accompaniment is powerful and involuntary. “Our biggest competitor,” a member of Muzak’s marketing department told me, “is silence.” Did you catch that? “The human response to musical accompaniment is powerful and involuntary.” Are you getting the message? Are you understanding how powerful and dominant music is in our culture? Look at Muzak’s own promotional words, “Audio Architecture is emotion by design … It is the integration of music, voice and sound to create experiences that link customers with companies.” Its power lies in its subtlety. It bypasses the resistance of the mind and targets the receptiveness of the heart … These soundtracks bypass our intellectual resistance and create involuntary, heart-level emotions and responses.[x]

That is powerful! Consider this. If Muzak can do this with music, what can Satan do with music? More important, what is Satan doing with music, and what is the music of the culture doing to our hearts? If music is important for mass marketing, how much more powerful is it in the spiritual realm and in our relationship with Christ?

Can you imagine something so powerful that it can generate an emotional and behavioral response in your heart that you have no control over? Depression, anger, lust, and hatred can ride into your heart by the music you listen to as well as joy, peace, love, and inspiration. For the Devil to establish a stronghold in your mind and heart, it takes time to build ways of thinking and acting according to his subtle influences. But music can give him a free ride into your mind and your heart within a matter of seconds. Music is that powerful, and it can quickly change the composition, direction, and boundaries of the heart.

Music is emotion, music is passion, music is behavior by design, and it can subtly change our hearts without us even knowing it. It can be like a toxic vaccine that is injected into the bloodstream. We don’t see its dangerous effect on the heart until it begins to circulate throughout the entire body. Music can be a dangerous weapon to our hearts, and wisdom mandates that we are wise as to its powerful effects to influence our emotions, behavior, and lifestyle.

Music in the Spiritual Battle for the Heart

Music is intimately related to the spiritual battle that rages for the heart, because the music you listen to, the soundtrack of your life, can change you and dictate your emotions, your behavior, and your heart’s responses to circumstances in life. Music can create an emotion. Music can create an attitude. Music can create a desire. The music you listen to will affect your heart and your basic personal and spiritual mind-set, either drawing you closer to God or driving you further away. Every song is a sermon for either good or evil.

Cary Schmidt, in Music Matters: Understanding and Applying the Amazing Power of Music, writes:

The choices you make when you turn on a CD or an iPod are intricately related to your inner life. You will either be led by the flesh or by the Spirit of God. Your music is changing you. It is dictating emotions and heart responses that are either godly or ungodly … Ultimately your spiritual and emotional condition, as influenced by your music, will come out in your lifestyle. Your words, your deeds, your decisions, and your actions—the issues of your life—will be a product of your heart and what you’ve placed into it. Your music directly affects your heart. Both God and Muzak agree on this … The soundtrack of your life is closely related to the spiritual condition of your heart. You cannot separate the two. God’s Word is clear. Basic reasoning is clear. Medical and social statistics are clear. Our music always affects us personally and spiritually. God desires to grow you through music and Satan desires to destroy you through it.[xi]

[i] Cary Schmidt, Music Matters: Understanding and Applying the Amazing Power of Music (Lancaster: Striving Together Publications, 2007), Kindle Edition, 24.

[ii] Dr. Howard Hanson, “A Musician’s Point of View Toward Emotional Expression,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 99, (1942), 317.

[iii] Alan P. Merriam, The Anthropology of Music, (1964): 218. .

[iv] Dr. Adam Knieste, quoted by David Chagall, in Family Weekly, January 30, 1983, 14.

[v] Jay Grout, A History of Western Music (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2009).

[vi] Daniel and Bernadette Skubik, The Neurophysiology of Rock, published separately as an appendix in John Blanchard, Pop Goes the Gospel: Rock in the Church (Durham, England 1991), 191.

[vii] Norman M. Weinberger, The Nonmusical Outcomes of Music Education (University of California Board of Regents, 1995).

[viii] Freidrich Nietzsche, The Joyful Wisdom (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1924), 343.

[ix] Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2001), 67.

[x] Cary Schmidt, Music Matters: Understanding and Applying the Amazing Power of Music (Lancaster: Striving Together Publications, 2007), Kindle Edition, 24, 25.

[xi] Cary Schmidt, Music Matters: Understanding and Applying the Amazing Power of Music (Lancaster: Striving Together Publications, 2007), Kindle Edition, 41, 42.

This is an excerpt from Tim Rowe’s new book “The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life.” Order at

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The Perfect Heart


The great English clergyman John Flavel, in His wonderful work Keeping the Heart, wrote, “The greatest difficulty in conversion, is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion, is to keep the heart with God … The keeping and right managing of the heart in every condition, is one great business of a Christian’s life (emphasis mine).”[i]

We must diligently keep and rightly manage our hearts daily, for this is the great business of a Christian’s life that cannot be neglected. Yet many of us have allowed our hearts to become sickened from the toxic pollution of this world. Such hearts have become a desolate wilderness, barren of spiritual fruit.

It is time to reverse this tragedy of the heart in the Christian home and church. Our hearts must become perfect before the Lord. Do you know that God’s eyes are searching throughout the entire earth, peering into every home, every church, and every person for one thing? Do you know what it is the Creator of the heavens and earth is leaving no stone unturned to find?

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (2 Chronicles 16:9, KJV)

The New American Standard Bible puts it this way: “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”

God yearns for each of us to have a perfect heart. The word translated “perfect” from the Hebrew means “complete, whole, and completely finishing or perfecting a work.” It describes a heart wholly true to God and completely undivided in its allegiance. It is a heart that utterly trusts and leans on Him in every circumstance and does not put its confidence in the strength of another. It is a heart that empties itself of every ounce of self-pride, self-exultance, and self-reliance, and is totally consumed by God. We’re talking about a heart that gives all of itself to God without reservation.

A perfect heart holds nothing back from God. It lays itself on God’s altar as a living sacrifice. It is a heart shaped, molded, and prepared by God to accomplish His mighty purposes upon the earth. Such a heart will enjoy intimate communion with the living God and is prepared to fulfill its calling to manifest God’s compassion and love in the world. But I warn you: This is a heart that is 100 percent God’s, with no strings attached. It’s always at God’s disposal, ready to serve Him in love wherever He beckons. It is a heart that is so passionately rooted in God and His Holy Word that sin has no power over it, and no unholy desire or craving has any control over it.

Only such a heart will allow God to completely finish His work within, bringing us to the point where the heart is completely conformed to the image of Christ. Make your heart His instrument, and as God will create the most beautiful masterpiece that lives and breathes Christ in every note. The perfect heart will sound out His song to all generations.

God implants the seeds of a perfect heart within our new nature when we are born again in Christ, but we must allow Him to finish His perfect work and, as a fellow laborer with Christ, work with Him to ensure that our hearts begin to grow and blossom toward perfection.

Scripture assures us it is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart. King David said, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way … I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (Psalm 101:2, NKJV). David Wilkerson writes in Hungry for More of Jesus:

To come to grips with the idea of perfection, we must first understand that perfection does not mean a sinless, flawless existence … it means completeness, maturity. Hebrew and Greek meanings of perfection include “uprightness, having neither spot nor blemish, being totally obedient.” … A perfect heart is a responsive heart, one that answers quickly and totally all the Lord’s wooings, whisperings, and warnings … The perfect heart wants the Holy Spirit to come and search out the innermost man, to shine into all the hidden parts-to investigate, expose and dig out all that is unlike Christ … The perfect heart yearns for more than security or a covering for sin. It seeks to be in God’s presence always.[ii]

The perfect heart is fiercely loyal to God, regardless of circumstance or enticement. The perfect heart is obedient to God without hesitation or compromise. The perfect heart loves God with every fiber of its being and shuns the lure of earthly treasure. It stakes its very life on the promise of God’s faithfulness. A perfect heart is unadulterated in its humility before the Lord. It is a meek heart that is teachable and fully tuned to the voice of God. The perfect heart lives and breathes in His presence, aching with a burning passion for intimacy with the Father. Oh, that the Lord will take our weak and frail hearts and form them into perfect hearts that joyfully abide in Him always!

Now is the time for a purifying restoration of our hearts—a revival of the heart, if you will. If we will empty ourselves of pride and instead allow our hearts to become rooted in God and His Word, the church will become unstoppable, immovable, and unshakeable as we move to fulfill His holy calling on this earth.

We must once again have the shepherd heart of David, the lion heart of Jesus, the meek heart of Moses, the tender heart of Hezekiah, the perfect heart of Abraham, the wise heart of Solomon, the willing heart of Ruth, the listening heart of Samuel, the stirred heart of Jeremiah, the fiery heart of Elijah, the courageous heart of Joshua, the sacred heart of Ezekiel, the obedient heart of Noah, the fellowship heart of Enoch, the devoted heart of Peter, and the branded heart of Paul.

May Jesus Christ, the Bright and Morning Star, arise and shine forth brilliantly in your hearts so that we can turn the world upside down again (Acts 17:6) by the testimony,  actions, motives and emotions that flow from our hearts.

[i] John Flavel, Keeping the Heart, 9, Kindle.

[ii] David Wilkerson, Hungry for More of Jesus: Experiencing His Presence in These Troubled Times (Baker Books, 1992), 379, 390, Kindle.

This is an excerpt from my new book: The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life. Purchase it now:




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The Lost Art of Meditating on God’s Word

Meditate 1MEDITATE, MEDITATE, MEDITATE – Biblical meditation is the key that unlocks the greatest storeroom in the house of God’s provisions for the Christian. Indeed, saturation of our souls with the Scriptures is the secret of satisfaction of our souls! Someone has said that 1 in 100 Christians read Scripture regularly; 1 in 1000 memorize Scripture; but only 1 in 10,000 meditate! As Spurgeon says “No spiritual exercise is more profitable to the soul than that of devout meditation; why are many of us so exceeding slack in it?” He goes on to exhort us to “Read the Bible carefully, and then meditate and meditate and meditate.”

The psalmist affirms “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he MEDITATES day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3) As John Piper says “The deepest mark of this blessed person in Psalm 1 is that he delights in the Word of God. Bible reading and Bible memorization and meditation are not a burden to him, but a pleasure.” He adds that if Bible reading is more of a drudgery than a delight “We must pray for God’s enabling to help us delight in his Word.”

J I Packer explains that “MEDITATION is the activity of CALLING TO MIND, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God (found foremost of course in the Scripture)…It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.” And I would submit the best way of “calling to mind” the Scriptures is to first place them in our mind by intentional memorization. Are you actively MEMORIZING Scripture? If you are not, you will find it difficult to meditate on Scripture “day and night” as advocated in Psalm 1.

Cows chewing cud are often used as an illustration for Biblical meditation. Cows eat the grass and then settle down for a good, long chew. They bring the food back up from their stomachs and rework what they’ve already eaten, assimilating its goodness and transforming it into rich milk. Time-consuming? Yes. A waste of time? Not if they want to give good milk! So too, reading snips off the grass, while meditation chews the cud! God’s Word is not meant to be fast food, so take time for a good long chew. Indeed, reading the Bible without meditating on it is like eating without chewing. What digestion is to the body, meditation is to the soul.

We must read Scripture every day
And meditate on what God said
To fight temptation from the world
And live a life that’s Spirit led. – Sper

As John Piper observes one of our greatest weaknesses in our digital age “is that we do not meditate on the great things of God. Our lives are unbelievably distracted. We are experts at multi-tasking, surfing, and skimming, but it is harder than ever to MEDITATE. Therefore, it is imperative to intentionally cultivate MEDITATION on God’s Word. But how? I call it “going out to pasture”—resting and ruminating (like a cow chewing) on the Word of God, savoring it for the sake of life. If possible, find a consistent time, place, and plan. Then read slowly and carefully. Reread and reread. Read out loud. Read prayerfully. Read with a pen in hand. Memorize texts that you read.” Indeed, memorization is a first step to meditation. You cannot chew what you have not placed in your mouth!

Puritan Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) adds “It is not hasty reading—but serious MEDITATION on holy and heavenly truths, which makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee which gathers honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower which draws out the sweet nectar (cf Ps 19:10; 119:103). It is not he who reads most, but he who MEDITATES most, who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.”

Spurgeon adds that “Meditation and prayer are twin sisters and both of them appear to me equally necessary to Christian life. I think meditation must exist where there is prayer, and prayer is sure to exist where there is meditation.” Indeed, meditation fits a man for supplication!

Jehovah instructed Joshua on how to possess his possessions as he prepared to enter the promised land – “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth (How is this best achieved? By memorizing the Word), but you shall MEDITATE on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8). Joshua was to meditate on God’s Word so that he might possess a land promised by God. Dear Christ follower we too are to MEDITATE on God’s Word so that we might possess not a land but a LIFE, an abundant LIFE promised by Jesus (Jn 10:10). And we will be enabled to “possess our possessions” and become partakers of His divine nature as we meditate on the truth that we have been granted Christ’s “precious and magnificent promises” in addition to “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” (2Pe 1:4,3) As Spurgeon says “Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by MEDITATION and feed on them with joy.”

What made C H Spurgeon such a powerful preacher of the Word? There are probably many answers to this question, but the following quotes from Spurgeon suggest one of his “secrets” – “I quarry out the Truth when I read, but I smelt the ore and get the pure gold out of it when I MEDITATE! For lack of MEDITATION the Truth of God runs by us and we miss and lose it. Our treacherous memory is like a sieve—and what we hear and what we read runs through it and leaves but little behind—and that little is often unprofitable to us by reason of our lack of diligence to get thoroughly at it. We must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom. I often find it very profitable to get a text as a sweet morsel under my tongue in the morning and to keep the flavor of it, if I can, in my mouth all day!”

“I will MEDITATE on all Your work and muse on Your deeds.” (Ps 77:12) Spurgeon exhorts us to “meditate much on heaven, for it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss.”

“O how I love Thy law! It is my MEDITATION all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my MEDITATION.” (Psalm 119:97-99) Spurgeon – “It is an admirable plan to fix your thoughts upon some text of Scripture before you leave your bedroom in the morning—it will sweeten your MEDITATION all the day.”

Are you having trouble falling to sleep? Redeem the time like the psalmists – “My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may MEDITATE on Your Word.” (Ps 119:148) “When I remember You on my bed, I MEDITATE on You in the night watches.” (Ps 63:6) “If day’s cares tempt us to forget God, it is well that night’s quiet should lead us to remember Him. We see best in the dark if we there see God best. Night is congenial, in its silence and darkness, to a soul which would forget the world, and rise into a higher sphere. Absorption in the most hallowed of all themes makes watches which would otherwise be weary glide away all too rapidly. Meditation causes the lonely and hard couch to yield the most delightful repose – repose more restful than even sleep itself. We read of beds of ivory, but beds of piety are far better. Some revel in the night, but they are not a tenth so blessed as those who ruminate on the Word of God.” (Spurgeon) “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will MEDITATE.” (Psalm 145:5)

As Spurgeon said “Words of the mouth are mockery if the heart does not MEDITATE. The shell is nothing without the kernel; but both together are useless unless accepted; and even if accepted by man, it is all vanity if not acceptable in the sight of God.” And so may our prayer ever be “Let the words of my mouth and the MEDITATION of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Amen (Psalm 19:14)

Related Resources:
(1) Primer on Biblical Meditation
(2) Memorizing His Word

Courtesy of

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The Plan, the Vision, the Purpose of God for Your Life

gods-planGod is the master builder, the perfect planner, the passionate artist, the original designer, the patient sculptor and the Creator. Look at the breathtaking beauty of His creation from the beauty of a simple flower to snow-capped mountains to the sun, moon and billions of stars in the universe. Why do we think his plan and design for our live is any less spectacular? God has called every single Christian to do something special, something mighty, something unique and something that makes a difference. He has given us a special assignment to advance His kingdom. This is part of God’s calling over our lives. Ephesians says we are to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. This calling is so big and magnificent that God dreamed about it before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Do you know of the seven billion people on the planet earth not one has the same fingerprint? God is not a duplicator, a copycat, and a counterfeiter, but God is a Creator; God is an originator: God is a visionary. God only designed one you. He only has one blueprint that he masterfully used to make a masterpiece called you. God has designed you wonderfully unique and awesomely made as a true original. God has the most spectacular design for your life that is absolutely breathtaking and specific down to the littlest detail. The gift of holy spirit, the Christ in you, that carries the flame of God in your soul is uniquely and specially designed for your body, your soul and your heart. No one has the same flame of God. No one exactly the same gift of holy spirit for God has tailored made this wonderful gift for your life and your purposes. Are you ready for a God original life? Are you ready to surrender to His purposes? Are you ready to give everything to Him?

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” We were made for God. We were made to know God, to serve God, to love God, and to live forever with God. As Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” In enjoying God, we will enjoy (in the truest and deepest sense) the life he has given us.

So where does the spiritual life begin? It all starts with this fundamental truth: He’s God and we’re not. Nothing is more basic than that. All spiritual reality begins with this truth, and if we skip this or ignore it or downplay it, life will never work. “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases” (Job 23:13). Life began for the human race in this intimate moment described in Genesis. Can you imagine this beginning of life, God and man face to face, eye to eye and breath to breath as God breathed in Adam’s nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7) and created Him in his image.

The vision, purpose and plan God has for you is beyond anything you have ever imagined; it is big; it is colossal; it is world shaking. It is never too late to walk in His vision, follow His plan and fulfill His purpose.

I Corinthians 2:9.10a: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:

God has an extraordinary plan, purpose and vision for each one of our lives. The opposite of extraordinary is normal. We were created to live extraordinary lives and God has equipped with the power to do so. Jesus Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly and through Him we can reign in life (John 10:10, Romans 5:17). Do you know that God has goals for your life? Do you know has a detailed architectural plan for your life, a vision like no other? Jesus Christ is the door to this plan and purpose. Without Him, we can never fulfil the God-given purpose for our life. John 10:9,10:  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The Vision

Proverbs 29:18: Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

“Vision” in Hebrew means a divine vision from God respecting future events.

Jeremiah 23:16: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.

Not a vision of our own heart, but out of the mouth of the Lord. He must have spoken it to you sometime or some place if you are listening. Maybe He is speaking His vision for your life to you right now. He sees the vision for your life, do you? He is Yahweh Jireh, the Lord who sees and provides.

We become vain with the wrong vision, a vision out of our own hearts. The Hebrew word for “vain” means to be vain in action, word or expectation; to lead astray. It comes from the word to breathe or exhale. It is like a puff of air. It is to act emptily and to have an empty hope. A vain vision is an empty, fleeting vision that leads you astray far from the Lord. Jeremiah 2:5: Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

Not a vision, purpose or plan conformed to this world. It is a heavenly vision. It comes from the Word of the Lord. I Samuel 3:1: Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

The vision is built on the Word of God. It is rooted in the Word of God and it cannot contradict the Word of God. It is a revelation from the heart of God. It is a seeing of God’s heart and vision for our lives. We must first open the eyes of our heart to see. The wrong vision of Eve in the garden that was after her own heart caused the great fall of mankind into sin. Genesis 3:4ff:  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. The world has had the wrong vision ever since. Satan has vision for your life too as he did for Eve’s. He wants to steal, kill and destroy the vision God has for your life. (John 10:10a). He is a thief, a liar, a deceiver, a destroyer, an accuser and an opposer and utilizes all of his devises to still the vision of God for your life and replace it with his vision. The gospel delivers us from the power of Satan to God and replaces Satan’s vision with God’s vision.

Without this vision we perish. “Perish” in the Hebrew means to go at it alone, to be unrestrained from God’s Word, to let the reins loose and go unbridled. It is to let go of God and try to do it alone without Him. To dismiss God’s vision and God’s instructions and to go lawless. It is the vision of rebellion. It causes us to wander aimlessly.

Habakkuk 2:2,3: Then the Lord answered me and said, “Write the vision
And engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets So that the one who reads it will run
.3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time. It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay.

“Write” in the Hebrew means: to engrave, to write down and describe in writing. We record and write it down so we do not forget. “Make it plain” in Hebrew means to dig out the sense and make it distinct and clear as we declare it with our lives. “Run”: We move quickly and decisively with speed and diligence and never look back. It’s the Lord’s vision for our lives. What are we running to daily? We must run toward and with God’s vision for our lives and never forget it. It is what we live and breathe and move in. Take time daily to be still in prayer and the Word and listen to God speaking to your heart. Write down His thoughts until His vision becomes crystal clear.

Jeremiah 1:4:  Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond] branch.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”

Isaiah 49:1b: The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.

Psalm 139:13-18: For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.

God embroidered everything about you like a beautiful tapestry when he formed you in the womb. He knit you together with magnificent detail and in all the vibrant colors of His glory. He formed your heart, your eyes, your abilities, your personality, your hands, your DNA and every minute detail about you. Your book, your story of all the days of your life, was written by God before you ever took shape. God’s thoughts about you are so immense, so numerous, so vast that they cannot even be numbered. They are more than all the grains of sand on every beach on earth. Oh how special you are to God!!! How wonderful must your purpose be!! How much you mean to God!! Oh how we have missed this truth.

What is the most tragic thing that could ever happen in the history of the world? What is the greatest catastrophe throughout the ages? The greatest tragedy in life is when we turn our backs on God’s design and purpose for our lives. This tragedy hurts the heart of God for He knows what could have been. The story that never came to pass; the beautiful masterpiece that was left in the box. The awesome calling that faded away. He has written a beautiful story for our life, but when we pick up the pen and try to write the book ourselves, everything falls apart and crumbles before our eyes. Pray to God. Talk to God. Ask God to show you day by day His design and function and purpose for you on this earth. Pray to God that you fulfill every jot and tittle of it. It is glorious. It is immense. It is adventurous. It is the best. This purpose always has at its fabric that you have a heart of service to God and others. It begins with salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and the new birth. No one can accomplish their destiny without the Lord Jesus Christ. God is with you every step of the way and He will help you, strengthen you and guide you into fulfilling His purpose that He has for you in your generation. Don’t ever waste your potential, your purpose and your design on things, paths, ways that God never intended for you. Be all that you can be for God. Every cell in your body was designed for you to fulfill your purpose that God knew about before time began. Let God make your life count and ring as a gem of God’s glory throughout the halls of eternity forever. Every moment counts; every day counts; every week counts; every year counts, but we live with God one day at a time.

The Purpose

Acts 13:36: For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, 

It is no mistake you were born in this generation, in this time. You have a purpose to fulfill for your generation. David completed it. He served this purpose of God for his life and fulfilled it.

Most of us have no idea why we were born. We spend our lives in search of purpose. We are on the race track of life; the course of the world and all we do is spin our wheels going around in a circle having the same fears, doing the same routine things, having the same worries and living in a rut of existence. God wants us to enter each day with anticipation which can only be done when you begin to know the heart of God. Each day is a gift from God and contains a moment God has been planning to express his purpose for creating you; a moment that he has planned since before time began to express his grace and mercy through you. Entering your day with the same trusting anticipation as a child asking a parent, “Where are we going today and what are we going to do?” will let God be the Lord of your day and your work.

What is your mission statement for life? What is your purpose for life? What were born to do in God’s kingdom? God wants us to be perfect (telios) which does not mean without flaw or defect, but means to reach the goal of God’s intended purpose for your life and be all that God wants you to be; to be just like Him as I fulfill my mission in life given by my commander-in-chief, the Lord of Hosts. God wants me to become the destiny that He purposes for me to be. 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have stayed on course and finished the race, and through it all, I have kept believing. Philippians 1:6: Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This is not done by doing nothing; living like everyone else, wasting your life away with trivialities that matter little in His kingdom. God wants me to be everything he designed me to be. Only with God is this possible. It cannot be done by human grit, human achievement, human effort and human knowledge because YOU WILL ALWAYS FALL SHORT. God is the designer, the architect, the master-builder, the sculptor, and the artist and without Him the true design for your life falls flat and fails miserably. Such a waste of God’s potential; such a waste of God’s impact in the world through your life. Grow up and become His destiny for you. Be completely what He wants you to be. To do so you must surrender to His will, His purposes, His design. You must serve Him above all else. “No man can serve two masters” Matthew 6:24.

The Plan

Jeremiah 29:11: 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

God knows: Hebrew word for “know” is yada. The Bible uses this word to proclaim God’s complete knowledge of creation.  Nothing can be hidden from His understanding.  God’s perception and recognition extend to every act and circumstance.  God’s knowledge extends to our relationships, tendencies, behavior, talents and emotions.  God talks about knowing us before we are even born.  Someone with that kind of knowledge would certainly know what is best for us and exactly how we should fit into His world.

“Plan” in the Hebrew means: that which one meditates, purposes or plots; a project. It is used in other verses as a skilled plan of artistic design to produce a breathtaking work.

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Psalm 33:8-13: Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. The plans of His heart stand forever, The plans of man are but a mere breath (Psalm 94:11) Nothing can compare with God’s plan. Psalm 40:4,5a: Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts (plans-same word in Hebrew) toward us; none can compare with you!” Anything that is not God’s plan is built upon a lie. God has multiplied his plans toward us.

Isaiah 55:8,9: For my thoughts (same Hebrew word translated “plans”) are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Plans for welfare. “Welfare” in the Hebrew is shalom and means: wholeness, completeness and soundness; it’s a harmony and unity of heart and soul because of a restored relationship with God, our Father; it is an inward and outward tranquility, a quiet assurance and a complete well-being where nothing is lacking or broken. It’s the freedom from being disturbed, agitated, stressed and troubled. It is the absence of discord, strife, and anxiety. It is to be at ease and calmly unaffected by circumstance. Peace is the highest measure of contentment, joyfulness, happiness, and satisfaction in life. There is absolute security, safety, and victory at the center of peace. It is the absence of inward conflict, condemnation, and torment, but rather a state of rest, calmness, and quiet confidence.

Not plans for calamity (ra). It is translated “evil” in the Hebrew. The root behind ra is a noun that means “rotten, spoiled or good for nothing”. His determination about what is evil is the last word on the subject.  If God says that some act or event is evil, there is no negotiation on the matter.  The essence of evil is disobedience to God’s will.  It is progressive.  Evil begins with a lack of acknowledgement – we do not recognize God as God, we refuse to give Him honor as the Creator.  From this lack of acknowledgement, we proceed to an attitude of ingratitude.  We are not thankful for what God has done.  Refusal and ingratitude become ingrained as habit, then compulsion.  The result is that we do injury to others and to ourselves. In this verse, God tells us not only that He has no plans to harm us, but His plans and purposes will keep us from self-inflicted harm.  God’s plan is for harmony, unity, peace and life.  Ignoring His plans for us will lead to strife, hostility, injury and death, Evil is destroying or injuring by scattering or breaking into pieces; to destroy, circumvent or hinder the good purpose or design God has intended for someone or something. Think of a beautiful flower vase that has the design or function of holding flowers and water, and all are blessed to observe the breathtaking display of beauty in the flowers. But if you take that vase and smash it on the floor, the action of destroying its purpose, design, and function is a vivid illustration of what this Hebrew word for “evil” means. Evil is the active opposition of God’s good purpose or design for a person with the intent of destroying, limiting, suffocating, and hindering it in any way possible.

Plans to Give us a Future. Future-The word is aharit.   Skip Moen: What is unusual about this word is that it literally means “afterward, backwards or after part”.  So, how can it be about the future?  H. W. Wolff says that the Hebrew concept of time is like a man rowing a boat.  He sees where he has been, but the future is toward his back.  He backs into the future.  It is entirely unknown to him because it is behind him! This picture is very powerful.  God must set our course since only He can see “behind” us.  There is a great connection with the idea that we must trust God’s direction and not fear.  If we are “backing” into the future, we must trust the guide.  We cannot see where we are going, but He can. There is a tremendous example of this word in a story from Genesis.  When Lot and his wife ran from the destruction of Sodom, they were told not to look back.  Lot’s wife did look back and she saw her future.  She died there.  Looking back was a choice not to obey the guide who was taking her out of harm’s way.

Plans to give us Hope-confident expectation of His faithfulness to His promises for all eternity. God is the God of hope.

Who knows better the sculptor or the sculpture, the potter or the pot, the Creator or the created?

Isaiah 45:9-12: “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? 10Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?'” 11Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:) “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? 12 I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.

God as the great sculptor and potter knew what He was doing when he formed you and called you to fulfill His purpose. Who has the right to command God concerning His children? Truly Father knows best. Did we have any part in creating the heavens and the earth? Is God’s design of us any less spectacular?

Skip Moen-Have you ever experienced the wonder that occurs when you allow God to give you His perspective about the task you face?

Sin: missing the mark. The word “sin” in the Greek means: to miss or fail to hit the mark, like when someone fails to hit the target with a bow and arrow; to fall short of any goal, purpose, or standard, and a failure or aberration from a prescribed law or duty. Trench, in Synonyms of the New Testament, states that the word means “a falling and missing the true end and scope of our lives which is God.” Wuest, in Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, says it means “missing the divinely appointed goal, a deviation of what is pleasing to God, doing what is opposed to God’s will…a missing of the goal conformable to and fixed by God.” There is great emptiness of soul and meaningless in life without God.  Mankind has lost their true heart, their true destiny, and their true purpose. David Needham, in Birthright, Christian Do You Know Who You Are?, gives a vivid illustration of the emptiness and meaninglessness of the sin nature:

Try to imagine for a moment the entire human

race as though it were an art gallery full of

picture frames. Long, long halls. Billions of

picture frames-without any pictures! Empty

can you visualize it? Some of the frames are

very carefully carved. Some boast very delicate

gold leaf, others are rather gaudily painted. A

few are dirty, chipped. But every frame is

wrapped around-nothing-emptiness. Is it

possible the human race is seen in such a

way by God? An art gallery with no paintings!

Each human being was intended to frame an

inimitable, individual masterpiece of God’s

own reflected glory. But where God should

be, there is only emptiness, a bare patch of wall.

Man and woman were meant for so much more than an enslaved obedience to the sin nature. Humans struggle with a nature that has been crippled by the loss and continued absence of a relationship with God. The sin nature, like a deadly disease, is lethal to life.

Ephesians 2:10 (New Jerusalem Bible): We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.

New Living Translation: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Moffatt Translation: God has made us what we are, creating us in Christ Jesus for the good deeds which are prepared beforehand by God as our sphere of action.  

The word  “workmanship” is the Greek word poiema, which means  “a thing made or produced with effort, object, and design; a work of art especially a poetic product, and a masterpiece.” We are God’s poetic masterpiece. God is the poet, the sculptor, and the artist, and we are the masterpiece. Poetry is masterfully chosen words, that mixed with rhythm and sound, express great depth of meaning and emotion. A poem is an expression of a vision that is rendered in a form that arouses the emotions and touches the heart. Poetry is the chiseled marble of language, it is a paint spattered canvas, but the poet uses words instead of paint, and the canvas is the human heart. Poetry evokes emotion and deep thought, often calling the human heart to action. Poetry inspires, enlightens, defines, and unfolds.

As God’s poetic masterpiece, who is the audience that we are to have such a great impact upon? Who are the listeners who are stirred and deeply affected by the beautiful poetic expression of language and art? The audience is the world. The listeners are our communities, cities, states, and nations. Once we are created in Christ Jesus as a son or daughter of God, God wants our lives to be His poetic masterpiece to the world. God wants our lives to be a beautiful poem of His love and goodness that inspires, touches, and stirs the human heart to return to the loving arms of God Almighty.  The poiema of God is too be seen by the human eye, felt by the human heart, experienced by the human mind, and heard by the human ear. The poeima of God is not to be hid under a bush, concealed in a room, or buried underground. The poeima of God is to be clearly seen and manifested to the world so that all might see a wonderful glimpse of the heart of God. The words “clearly seen” in the Greek mean: to behold fully, to distinctly apprehend, and to discern clearly. The poiema of God is created so that all people can fully behold and distinctly comprehend the amazing characteristics of our loving God.  God wants the beauty of who He is and the wonderful grace of His goodness to be seen and understood by every human being on the face of the earth.  The poiema of God is the artist’s most magnificent masterpiece, and it reveals many details of the awesome power and glory of Our Creator, our Father, our Lord, and our God.

These good works, which come forth from God’s poetic masterpiece of our new creation in Christ, are to inspire, heal, touch, mend, repair, and restore. These good works are rooted and grounded in God’s love. Every Christian believer has been called to a ministry of good works that touch the heart, soul, and needs of people emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

We are always producing works in our daily life. What kind of works are we producing? What types of works are coming forth from our mouths, our hands, and our hearts? Are we wise master builders, building a beautiful poetic masterpiece of good works on the foundation of Jesus Christ? Or are we building works of selfishness, pride, lust, greed, anger, and hatred on a foundation of sinking sand? What are you building? What does your building look like?

I Corinthians 12,18,21: But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” We also have a special purpose in the Body of Christ. This is part of God’s plan for the Christian life.

God gives us the vivid example of Moses who had to decide to either follow the world’s plan, vision or purpose for his life or God’s?

Hebrews 12:24-27: By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Moses had the best of everything the world had to offer. Josephus said he was a mighty general who one great battles against the Ethiopians. He was royalty and a mighty conqueror in Egypt’s eyes. He chose to be identified with the slaves in the world’s eyes, God’s chosen people. He saw with spiritual eyes God’s vision and purpose for his life.

Mark Batterson: Jesus did not die to keep us safe, He died to make us dangerous. Faithfulness is not holding the fort; it is storming the gates of hell. The will of God is not an insurance plan; it is a daring plan. The complete surrender of your life to the cause of Christ is not radical; it is normal. It is time to quit living like the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Many think they are following Jesus, but the reality is this: they have invited Jesus to follow them. Who is following who? The true adventure of following Jesus does not begin until you go all in.

DL Moody: The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is wholly and fully consecrated to Him. Consecrate means to set yourself apart; it means full devotion. It is a complete divesture of all self-interest. It is a simple recognition that every second of time, every ounce of energy, and every penny of money is a gift from God and for God. Consecration is going all in and all out for the all in all. Why not you? Why not now?

Our fundamental problem is we try to God’s job for Him. We want to do amazing things for God and that seems noble but we have it backwards. God wants to do amazing things for us. That is His job not ours. Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow God will do amazing things among you (Joshua 3:5)

We can be a Christian for our entire lives and never go all in for Jesus Christ. We never sell out to follow Him no matter where, no matter how, and no matter when. Eric Ludy: When the gospel it truly received it costs you everything, your life, your old ways, your old mannerisms, your old self.  You cannot hold on to a scrap of the old you. The problem is us. We have a born disposition that is in rebellion against the Most High God. I want my life on my terms. You can have all that Jesus Christ is, but there is a little caveat: He gets all that you are. Oh the glow, the soul satisfaction, the radiance that comes from giving our all, our entire lives, EVERYTHING to Him. Few want to live Christianity like this. Can you look God square in face and say you made me, you fashioned me for a purpose and a destiny, you gave your Son to set me free, and I now give you my life and will do what you require me to do. I don’t want my way. I want your way. Do you know you have a thousand moments in every day that you need to be rescued and delivered? From what? From YOU, from the problem of you. You have a desire; you have an esteem for that very throne in your life. You want to be in control; you want it to be your way. You are a problem; you are a rebel against the kingdom agenda. But God has a better plan. It starts with this question: Lord what do you want me to do with my life?

The Excuse: Don’t we all have excuses why we don’t follow God’s purpose for our life. He has given us the invitation. He has set a place for us at his extraordinary banquet. But we have more important things to do. We are too busy to fulfill His purpose for us for our generation. We just want to be left alone and live life on our terms. Big mistake. Oh what you are missing out on now and in eternity! We have all become the Marthas of our generation. So busy we do not have time to sit at the feet of Jesus. Our days so packed that God is a distant memory. Busybodies instead of disciples. Anxious wanderers instead of living in His plan. We have lost our vision, our eyes have been blinded and the darkness of our selfishness seems so normal, but in our heart we know something is askew. Something is not right.  Excuses! Rationalizations! Puffed up reasonings! And the extraordinary life slips away. We are living off the scraps of the flesh instead of the bread of life at His banquet.

Luke 14:16ff:  But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[c] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said,‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,[d] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

God’s intense desire is that we be filled to capacity with a full, perfect, precise, and detailed knowledge of the desires of His heart. God wants us to intimately experience His will, His heart, His purposes, and His plans and know them in the depths of our heart. God wants us to be absolutely full of the rich heart knowledge of His will, to the end it powerfully influences our character and the growth of our spiritual life.  God never wants us to be left empty concerning the purposes, designs, and plans for our lives that come from the very heart of God.  God wants us to have a thrilling, living, and dynamic heart experience of His will and His desires through our personal relationship with Him. (Colossians 1:9,10).

 Awaken to the vision the purpose the plan God has for your lives. Put off the grave clothes of our old life and become alive to the righteousness you are clothed in in Christ. A new creation.  Ephesians 5:14b-17: Awake, you sleeper! Rise from your grave, And the Anointed One will shine on you.15 So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don’t run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise! 16 Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times. 17 So understand and be confident in God’s will, and don’t live thoughtlessly.

I Corinthians 3:5,6,8,10-15 (NIV): What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe-as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. By the grace God has given me, I lay a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

According to I Corinthians 3, every born-again Christian believer is a builder, which from the Greek means “architect, skilled craftsman, and master worker.” By our works, we are constructing a building on the foundation of Jesus Christ. This building is the sum total of the quality and character of our deeds, words, and actions throughout our Christian life.

At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the quality of our workmanship will be tested and we will be rewarded according to how the building passes the inspection. A wise master builder does not throw together the building haphazardly, but contemplates every detail, and works tirelessly to bring about the best, quality product. God is our co-worker, our fellow-laborer, and our building partner, and He will help us build a beautiful structure of good works that is unmatched in quality if we only let Him. God has magnificent architectural plans and drawings for your beautiful house and is so excited to help you build it. God has all the right contacts, knows all the right people, and knows all the proper building techniques to construct the best home that perfectly suits your life. Whose architectural blueprints are we going to follow? God’s or the world’s? Isn’t God the best suited to help us build a quality Christian life that glorifies Him in word and action? God is the ultimate wise master builder, and without His help our building will not pass the inspection.

Every Christians building will go through a complete and thorough testing process at the bema. The word “test” in I Corinthians 3 in the Greek means “ to put to the test for the purpose of approving.” It is a critical examination of something to determine its genuineness. The word was used in secular Greek literature to describe the action of the examining board putting its stamp of approval on those individuals who passed the examination for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. It was also used of a candidate who passed the test as fit for public office. This Greek word describes a process of approval, not condemnation or punishment. You either passed or failed, as the testing was not done to determine how much good or evil was in the product or person being tested.  The testing was done to determine whether the thing tested passed the examination according to specifications.  It was also used in classic Greek to describe the testing of precious metals, usually by fire, to determine if they were truly authentic and measured up to their stated worth. The word also implies that the testing was done with the expectation and hope that the person or thing being tested would pass the test with flying colors.

God is like the master builder, or the renowned artist, that molds a hunk of clay into a beautiful masterpiece. He shapes, contours, and forms the clay with a delicate and loving touch in great detail, throwing off the excess dirt and molding it into the image that is in his heart. He is not rushed, as time does not matter when you are crafting a magnificent work of art. Not one aspect, not one element, and not one detail escapes the eye of the master. He heats his work in intense flame, and then adds the finishing touches and brushes of color that reflect the beauty of the picture that engulfs his soul. Finally, when the masterpiece is finished, it can be proudly displayed as it forever illustrates the wonderful touch of the master’s hand. God will do the same for your life if you will only let Him. Oh, how we need to let the Lord God, the Master, the most talented artist of all times, work in our lives and shape and mold us into a glorious masterpiece that is a witness to all the world of His love. You can read all the self-help books on the shelves of every library in the world; you can master all the philosophies and psychologies of mankind; you can take every course of self-improvement offered at all the universities throughout the ages and still not reproduce or duplicate one iota of what God can do for you.

I want to end with a beautiful poem which is one of my favorites.

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried, “Who’ll start the bidding for me?” “A dollar, a dollar”; then two!” “Only two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three..” But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not
quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch of a master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
“mess of pottage,” a glass of wine; a game – and he travels on. “He is
going” once, and “going twice, He’s going and almost gone.” But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.

Myra ‘Brooks’ Welch

Ecclesiastes 5:7: Many words are meaningless. Stand in awe of God.

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The Time of Your Life

lightstock_67242_max_user_1468309What does 2016 hold for each of us beloved? Our Father knows (best). We do not. G Campbell Morgan wisely said therefore “Let the year be given to God in its every moment! The year is made up of minutes: let these be watched as having been dedicated to God! It is in the sanctification of the small that hallowing of the large is secure.”

“Time that is past we can never recall.
Of time to come, we are not sure at all.
Only the present is now in our power,
Therefore, redeem and improve every hour.” -Anonymous

Time is a strange commodity — we cannot save it, retrieve it, relive it, stretch it, borrow it, loan it, stop it or store it , but can only use it or lose it. We can’t call “time out” in the game of life and there are no “instant replays” as in the game of football. Job in the midst of the trial of his life was very sensitive to the brevity of life declaring “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle…my life is but breath… my days are swifter than a runner. They flee away. They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey. Man, who is born of woman, is of few days, and full of trouble. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He flees like a shadow and does not remain.” (Job 7:6-7, 9:25-26, 14:1-2) A poet phrased it well — “When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept. When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked. When I became a full grown man, time ran. When older still I daily grew, time flew. Soon I shall find in traveling on, time gone.” And so while we cannot control the length of our days, yet by God’s grace we can control their depth, for we know that our Redeemer lives (Job 19:25) and that He is on our side (Ps 124:1-2note, cf Ro 8:31-32note).

Our vigor is fleeting, our best years are brief,
Our youth passes quickly—time’s ever a thief;
But hope yet becomes us—death’s sting holds no power;
We have a Redeemer—an unfailing Tower. —Gustafson

James wrote you “do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:15) When the great artist Raphael died at the early age of 37, friends and relatives carried his marvelous but unfinished painting The Transfiguration in the funeral procession. His family felt that because of the limited time he was allotted to use his creative genius, the painting was an appropriate symbol of his unfulfilled earthly aspirations. That half-completed picture has another meaning–a message that should impress itself on all of us: Life is fleeting and death may come unexpectedly. We should treasure each hour as a gift of great value and use it to the best advantage. And so we do well to pray the prayer of Moses the man of God “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born, or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.…. Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away….SO TEACH US to number our DAYS, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:1-2, 10, 12note) The root meaning of the verb translated “NUMBER” is “to weigh” or “to measure.” We are to place each DAY in the divine balance so that it tips the scales in such a way that will bring glory to God and blessing to the lives of others. Remember that there is no time after time, but there is an eternity. Indeed, time is but the fringe of eternity!

Reflect for a moment what time of day it would be today if Moses’ normal life span of “70 years” were were squeezed into a single 24-hour day. For example, if you are 59, the time is approximately 8:30pm. If you approached your 70th birthday, it would be near midnight! In fact, this Christmas I considered asking my children for a watch called the “Tikker” which not only tells time but calculates your estimated life span, and displays a running countdown of your remaining time! It is advertised as the watch “that counts down your life, just so you can make every second count!” That’s not a bad tagline Biblically speaking! So the question is…

How much time? We are never sure,
But at least we have today
To seek to do the Master’s will,
In all we do and say. —Fitzhugh

David a man after God’s own heart echoed a prayer similar to Moses — “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my DAYS are numbered–how fleeting my life is.” (Ps 39:4NLT) Did you notice that the prayers of both men specify “DAYS” not years? Most men number their life in years, but wise men number their lives in DAYS. David goes on to write “BEHOLD, Thou hast made my DAYS as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Thy sight. Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah…. And now Lord what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Ps 39:5,7note) For what are you waiting? And how can you be sure that what you’re waiting for is going to come to pass? In light of the brevity of life, David’s HOPE was in Jehovah. Biblical hope is not “hope so,” but “hope sure,” a mindset that gives us an absolute assurance that God will do good to us in the future. The “Tikker” is ticking. Today is the DAY for us to seek God’s presence and power to enable us to be the people He wants us to be. And finding HOPE in our eternal God gives meaning for our daily lives however long or short. As Spurgeon explains “a handbreadth is one of the shortest natural measures, being the breadth of four fingers; such is the brevity of life, by divine appointment; God hath made it so, fixing the period in wisdom. David’s “BEHOLD” calls us to attention. To some the thoughts of life’s hastiness will bring the most acute pain, but to others the most solemn earnestness. How well should those live who are to live so little! Is my earthly pilgrimage so brief? Then let me watch every step of it, that in the little time there may be much of grace.” Selah – Pause and reflect on these things remembering that it is not HOW LONG you live that counts, but HOW WELL you live. Don’t spend time. Invest it! Don’t spend it on futility. Invest it in eternity!  “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl 9:10).

One life for Christ is all I have,
One life for Him so dear;
One life for doing all I can
With every passing year. —Brandt

Moses and David were both seeking God’s wisdom to live in the eternal now, to live in light of eternity, knowing that TODAY is the only DAY of which one can be certain. We need to give God our days, confident that He will take care of our tomorrows. “Yesterday is but a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is all of the cash that you have. Spend it wisely.” Indeed, we are stewards of every God-given DAY. DAYS wasted can never be recovered. No man ever possessed the same moment twice! One DAY we will all give an account for the opportunities God gave us each day of our life (2Cor 5:10note). We have all been allotted the same amount of time each day. May God grant that we learn to view every minute as precious, seeking to use it for His glory, for as the poet put it “I have only just a minute – only 60 seconds in it./ Forced upon me – can’t refuse it/ But it’s up to me just how I use it; I must suffer if I lose it./ Give account if I abuse it./ Just a tiny little minute – but eternity is in it.” Amen

SO THE QUESTION IS “AM I REDEEMING THE TIME OF MY LIFE?” To help answer that question ask yourself what do you really value most in life? Undoubtedly God, Jesus, family, etc are at the top of your list. But did you remember to include “TIME?” Ephesians 5:15-16note has been called the Bible’s key to TIME MANAGEMENT. In these passages Paul commands all believers “Therefore (because we have been awakened from spiritual stupor and spiritual death and have the light of Christ – Eph 5:14noteBE CAREFUL(a command to continually take heed, be alert, be vigilant, to discern with Spirit enabled vision) how you walk, not as unwise men (foolishly), but as wise, MAKING THE MOST OF   (REDEEMING) THE OPPORTUNITY (Kairos) because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) Notice that the evil of our day should motivate us to redeem the time each day. C H Spurgeon paraphrasesEph 5:16note–“See then that ye walk circumspectly (being careful to consider all circumstances and all possible consequences), not carelessly, not thinking that it is of no importance how you live; but looking all round you, “walk circumspectly,” watching lest even in seeking one good thing you spoil another.” In other words, if we walk wisely, we will be careful not to let the good steal God’s best! Charles Hummel, author of “Tyranny of the Urgent,” wrote that our “greatest danger is letting the urgent (secular, temporal) things crowd out the important (divine, eternal things).” Our problem is that too often we live by life’s demands, instead of by God’s priorities. Remember that life is too short for us to do everything we want to do, but it is long enough for us to do everything God wants us to do.

Paul gives a parallel command in Colossians to “Conduct (command to make this your habitual practice enabled by the Spirit) yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders,MAKING THE MOST OF (same verb as Eph 5:16) the OPPORTUNITY (KAIROS). Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” (Col 4:5-6note) The verb MAKING THE MOST OF (REDEEMING) (Eph 5:16, Col 4:5) literally means to “buy out of the market place” as would a wise merchant diligently seeking the best bargains, taking care not to miss the fleeting “opportunities!” MAKING THE MOST OF is in the present tense which calls for us to make redemption of time our daily practice, buying up the strategic opportunities which God providentially places in our path. If we are walking wisely (Eph 5:15note), filled with (continually controlled and enabled by) God’s Spirit (Eph 5:18note), we will be spiritually alert to divine OPPORTUNITIES and will begin to view people and circumstances not simply as encounters (or irritations) but as opportunities (and “invitations”) to impact eternity, as we learn to “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Cor 4:18note).

Think of redeeming the time this way – If each day someone gave you $1440 (the number of minutes in a day) and said spend it or lose it, most of us would be quite motivated to wisely spend every dollar! A survey asked “What do you have to live for?” to which 94% answered they were just enduring today and living for tomorrow. That is living unwisely (Eph 5:15note). Too many people miss TODAY because they are worrying about TOMORROW (cf Jesus’ words in Mt 6:34note). Adrian Rogers said “We face the future out of breath, because we have been fighting tomorrow’s battles today!” Instead of killing time, redeem it. Instead of counting the days, make your days count. “ETERNITY will be appreciated only in the measure that we have rightly handled TIME!” Spurgeon said “‘NOW’ should be the watchword of the wise.” LATER may be too late! Right NOW counts for eternity. To make our life count for eternity, we must be wise in how we spend our time today. What will your eternal harvest be? A popular slogan says, “Life Is Short—Party Hard.” But God, Who gives us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, reminds us that “Life Is Short—Live It Well!” It’s not how long you live that counts, but how well you live, for a life lived for God will count for eternity. To make the most of our earthly existence, we must lose ourselves in the will of God, living “the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” (1Pe 4:2note).

I do not ask for honor, fame
While life’s short race I run,
But for a will to do Thy will
And then Thy glad “Well done.” —Meadows

In Ephesians 5:16 the word TIME is the Greek word KAIROS which can also be translated as OPPORTUNITY (as in Col 4:5) or SEASON (Ps 1:3 in the Lxx). In ancient Greece “Kairos” was a mythological character who had a forelock by which you could seize him when you met him, but who was bald in the back, so once he had sped past (his statute had wings on his feet), he could not be seized again. And so kairos refers to a fixed and definite period of time during which something can be accomplished that cannot be accomplished after the time has passed. The idea of kairos is not “clock time” (Gk – chronos) but what one writer refers to as “kingdom opportunities.” The time/opportunity for bringing forth fruit is the spring SEASON in which the tree bears fruit (Ps 1:3). Once the season has passed, there is no fruit. And so in a spiritual sense kairos is the time which  God allots to each believer to bring forth “spiritual fruit.” Therefore it behooves us, enabled by the Spirit, to  “Seize the Day” (Carpe diem) because Tempus fugit (Time flies)! Kill time and you murder opportunity. History records that when Hannibal could have taken Rome he did not, and when he later sought to he could not. As Horace Mann put it “Lost yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” Kairos represents the best time to do something, the moment when circumstances are most suitable. Kairos can be a moment or a season, but always refers to specific times in which opportunity is “ripe”, so that when the time passes, so does the opportunity.

Our English word OPPORTUNITY is derived from the Latin “ob portu.” In ancient times before modern harbors, ships had to wait for the timing of the tide before they could make it safely to port. Thus “OB PORTU,” described the ship waiting “FOR PORT,” ready to seize the crucial moment when it could ride the tide into safe harbor. The captain knew that if he missed the passing tide, the ship would have to wait for another tide to come in. God gives each of us many “ob portu’s”, but we must be spiritually wise and Spirit filled in order to see and seize them. As Charles Swindoll said “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities (ob portu’s) brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Shakespeare’s famous line from Julius Caesar conveys the same thought: “There is a tide in the affairs of men (an “ob portu”), Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries.” Napoleon said, “There is in the midst of every great battle a ten to fifteen minute period that is the crucial point (kairos). Take that period and you win the battle; lose it and you will be defeated.” In short, KAIROS conveys the sense of an “opportune time,” a “window of opportunity”.  “Opportunity is the flower of time which blooms for a moment and is gone for ever.” (G Barlow) John Broadus said “Opportunity is like a fleet horse that pauses for a moment at one’s side. If you fail to mount him in that moment, you can hear the clatter of his hoofs down the corridors of time. That opportunity is gone forever.” Jonathan Edwards America’s greatest theologian understood Paul’s charge to REDEEM THE TIME and as a young man wrote “Resolved: Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can. Resolved: to live with all my might while I do live.”

A farmer’s clock ran amuck one morning and struck seventeen. The man of the house jumped up and ran all over the place, saying, “Get up, it’s later than it ever has been before!”  It is later than it ever has been by God’s eternal timepiece. It is later than you think! Today you are as young as you will ever be. Don’t vacillate! Don’t hesitate! Don’t procrastinate! Time is loaned to us and, as good stewards of Christ, enabled by His Spirit we must use it wisely. Let us each redeem the golden moments of opportunity while we still can! “Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.” (Ps 144:4) As Spurgeon (who went home at age 59) said “A short life should be wisely spent. We have not enough time at our disposal to justify us in misspending a single quarter of an hour!” Spurgeon in fact reduced our lives to four words “Sown, groan, blown, gone!” As Larry Moyer said “Decide now what you want written on your tombstone, then live your life backward from there.” Stated another way, instead of counting your days, make your days count! Ask yourself what would you change if this day were your last? In fact, we should live every day as if it might be our last, for one of these days we will be right!

Now is the only time we own
To do His precious will,
Do not wait until tomorrow;
For the clock may then be still.

John Piper reiterates that the “OPPORTUNITY will never come again. The days are evil; opposition is great; be wise as serpents (Mt 10:16). Understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:17-note)…These words ring with a sense of urgency. They are like the words of a platoon leader addressing his unit just before they enter combat. The air is tense and your heart is beating fast and, even if you love battle, your hands are sweaty. “Watch your step; be smart; don’t miss your opportunity; keep yourself lean for the battle!”…In other words, the Christian life is a vigilant life, defensively guarding itself from the subtleties of the evil days and offensively redeeming the time to strike for love and righteousness again and again. We are a vigilant people at war with unbelief and evil. O to be a faithful steward of the breath God has given me…Surely God means for our minutes on earth to count for something significant. Paul said, “In the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain” (Php 2:16note). In the same way, I have good hope from the Lord that my “labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1Cor 15:58note). And I commend this promise to you. No minute need be lived in vain. Eternity will render it significant if lived in faith for the glory of God. In the end we rest in this: “My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15note).

Adoniram Judson a famous missionary to Burma wrote that “A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated throughout eternity. The same may be said of each DAY. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever. Each DAY will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny. How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, (enabled by God’s Spirit) resolve to send the DAY into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more DAY is irrevocably gone, indelibly (forever) marked.” Eternity will reveal whether we have made the right use of time for what we weave in time we will wear in eternity.  David Brainerd whose candle burned so brightly that God brought him home at the relatively young age of 29 wrote in his diary “Oh, how precious is time; and how guilty it makes me feel when I think I have trifled away and misemployed it or neglected to fill up each part of it with duty to the utmost of my ability and capacity. Oh, that I might not loiter on my heavenly journey!” It’s too late to redeem the time that is past, but not the time that is passing! Clocks don’t move backwards! So don’t replay those old tapes of failures of unfaithfulness. The hands of the time of your life that count are the ones moving “clockwise!” So enabled by God’s Spirit and His Word, make every second count for eternity!

Time that is past you can never recall,
Of time to come, you are not sure at all;
Only the present is now in your power,
Therefore, redeem and improve every hour.—Unknown

Adrian Rogers offers some practical thoughts on redeeming the time: (1) Learn to live in the eternal now. Today is the only day you have. Redeem the time. (2) Stop saying, “If I had time.” You do have time. (3) Stop worrying about tomorrow, and stop waiting for tomorrow. Give God today, and He will take care of tomorrow. (4) Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today. Cut yourself loose from the past. Bury your failure in the grave of God’s forgetfulness (read Micah 7:18-19Isaiah 43:2544:22), and let Him give you a brand new day. (5) If you have not accepted Christ, now is the time “for He says, “At the acceptable time (kairos = the opportune time!) I listened to you and on the day of salvation I helped you”; behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME (kairos),” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” (2Cor 6:2)

Let us pray like the old Puritans in Valley of Vision — “Turn my heart from vanity, from dissatisfactions, from uncertainties of the present state, to an eternal interest in Christ. Let me remember that life is short and  unforeseen, and is only an opportunity for usefulness; GIVE ME A HOLY AVARICE TO REDEEM THE TIME, to awake at every call to charity (love) and piety (godliness), so that I may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant, reclaim the vicious, forgive the offender, diffuse the Gospel, show neighborly love to all. Let me live a life of self-distrust, dependence on Thyself (Thy Spirit), mortification, crucifixion, prayer.” Amen

Dear reader, may God by His Spirit cause each of us to so order our steps that when that great day comes we might hear those glorious words “Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful in a few things, I will put your in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your Master.” (Mt 25:21) “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:12note)

The famous missionary C T Studd penned these words…

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice,
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes and fears,
Each with its days I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Now take a moment, as you ponder the moments of your life which remain and the poignant words of Robin Mark’s song

When It’s All Been Said and Done
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?
When It’s All Been Said and Done
All my treasures will mean nothing.
Only what I’ve done for love’s reward,
Will stand the test of time.

Courtesy of

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Amazing Message of Psalm 23 for Our Times

23-psalm1In all likelihood, many of you are very familiar with Psalm 23, but I would like to consider this portion of Scripture in the context of a life well-lived in God. I believe that the Christian life, at least as has been the case in America, is generally lived in two stages, both of which are ordained of God and supernaturally lived. These two stages are beautifully illustrated in Psalm 23, so let’s take a look, starting at the beginning.

David’s song opens with the words, “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). Can you, too, say today that the Lord is your shepherd? In other words, have you truly transferred the ownership and direction of your life over to God? Consider this: If I were to tell you that I was going to give you my car, the transaction would not be complete until I signed off on the title and you went down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and got it registered in your name. At that point, with the title in hand, you would be able to rightfully say, “This car belongs to me.”

Now, a lot of people want to call Jesus their shepherd, yet they do not want to release the rights of their lives over to Him. They may come to church and agree with a set of facts, understanding that there is a heaven and a hell and knowing that Jesus died for their sins. However, mental agreement with a set of facts is not salvation. There comes a point when each person has to sign over the rights to his life to the One who bought him with a price.

Until that happens, one cannot honestly say, “The Lord is my shepherd.” There are other people who want to retain joint ownership. They come to the altar and sign over the “title” of their life, but they also say, “I will now be a co-owner with Jesus of what He purchased with His blood.” However, the Lord will never be a passenger in any car! When you sign over the rights to your life, it does not mean co-ownership. He fully owns you! He owns the rights to your future—to wherever He calls you to go and whatever He calls you to be!

And then there is a third type of people who want to be the lien holders. In other words, they essentially say, “If You do not treat me the way I think You ought to, I am taking back the rights to my life.” No! When we come to Christ, we cast ourselves on the mercies of God. We make the choice to go with Him all the way—no turning back. It is truly wonderful when you can rightfully say, “The Lord is my shepherd.”

Yes, you may have struggles, and you may even argue with God at times. But if He is the Lord of your life, He will lead and guide you, using your life for His glory.


David then goes on to say, “I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Having once been a shepherd myself, I well understand what this means. When we were younger, my wife and I had a sheep farm with sixty-eight females, two males, and a bunch of lambs, depending on the season. Sometimes when I got home after working all day, I would go sit in the barn among the sheep for an hour or so, just listening to them. I was able to pick up on many things. You see, because I was their shepherd, their needs were my concerns. I could tell if there was trouble simply by the tension in the air. If they were chewing too fast, quite often it was because there was a sick lamb in their midst. Or perhaps a snake or rat had gotten into the barn. I would then get up and start looking around and I would always discover the problem!

And so when I gave my life to Christ, it became easy for me to understand that His heart is for me. His heart is to feed me when I am hungry, to calm all my fears, to reassure me by His presence that all will be well. Every need I have is of deepest concern for my shepherd, and so I know I shall not want!


“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:2). I grew up in a house where I was taught to worry. Before my mother became a Christian, she worried so much that if there was nothing to worry about, she would worry about that! It seemed as if most of her sentences had “and die” at the end of them. “Don’t eat your food too fast—you will choke and die!” or “Be careful crossing the street—you might get hit by a car and die!” By the time I was fifteen years old, I was afraid to go out of the house.

But when I came to Christ, He “made me to lie down in green pastures”—which meant reading the Word of God. I opened the Bible, and He began to reveal to me why I was born. I started to sense that there was a divine purpose for my life and that it would be achieved by His promises. I learned that God had not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. He led me to a place of stillness in my spirit—a place where all of the clanging voices of doom and despair were silenced.


“He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3). We all have pain and wounds from the past that threaten to dominate our thinking and our lives forever. However, the Lord restores our soul. He brings healing that cannot come any other way. The verse continues: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). Notice that God does this for His name’s sake. Did you know that God has interwoven the honor of His name in you? What an amazing thought! God might say to the angels in heaven, “Do you want to see what I look like? Look at that person! I have interwoven the honor of My name in keeping that child of mine—leading, guiding, and transforming him into what he was destined to be!” One day back on the farm, I was about to leave for work when I looked out the kitchen window and saw that about twenty of my sheep had escaped through a hole in the fence. They ended up underneath my neighbor’s deck next door. I was already dressed for work and didn’t have time to gather a bunch of people to help me get the sheep back. As I was trying to figure out what to do, I suddenly remembered that sheep love oats. I quickly put some in a can and carried it over to my neighbor’s porch. I then shook the can, saying, “Here, you ewes, come follow me!” Even though there were twenty sheep and only one little can of oats, they all felt certain they were going to get some, so they followed me down the road back home. If I had left them there, I would have become known as the guy who lets his sheep wander all over the place. Therefore, for my name’s sake, I led them back to where they were supposed to be!

That is exactly what God does. If you are where you shouldn’t be, you will soon find before you somebody with a “can of oats”—the promises of God. “Follow Me; I have something greater for your life! You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to be in this relationship. You don’t have to keep going to this club.”

Remember, wherever God is calling us to go will always be a place of safety and provision. I would never call my sheep home only to leave them high and dry in the barn. I would break open a bag of oats and fill the troughs so that they all had as much as they wanted!


Did you notice that up until this point, Psalm 23 has been all about me? “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down; He leads me; He restores me” (see Psalm 23:1–3). It has been all about my comfort, my promises, my healing and my being led. Of course, all of these things are important. You don’t make demands of a child when he is learning to walk or read. A child needs constant reassurance that everything is going to be okay.

And so the first three verses of Psalm 23 speak to me about the beginnings of the Christian walk. God is reassuring us that He will be with us, comfort us, provide for us, and lead us. But then we come to the bridge. Just as a bridge in a song is a climactic build to something greater, verse four is a bridge that takes us to a deeper place as sons and daughters of God: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (23:4). It is a bridge from that place of youthfulness to something deeper in God. It is where we fulfill our purpose as sons and daughters of God, representing Him in the earth. It is often a place where we must face our deepest inner fears; a place where we may feel incapable of doing what Christ is asking of us.


The Bible gives us another picture of this bridge in the story of Elijah and Elisha. Elisha was a young prophet in training who ended up following Elijah across the Jordan River. This crossing was the bridge—representing death to an old way of living and birth to a new destiny. Before arriving at the Jordan, they passed by different cities with prophets who saw Elisha’s journey only as one of loss. They warned Elisha, “If you follow this path, you are going to lose your master! It is going to be difficult” (see 2 Kings 2:5).

It is in such a place that many Christians stand idle in indecision, and some end up turning back. But not Elisha. The Bible tells us that when Elijah crossed over the Jordan with Elisha following close behind, the people who knew truth watched, refusing to embark on the journey themselves. It was the journey to life and power, yet they would not take it because it meant dying to something they did not want to let go of; it meant a lifestyle that they were not prepared to embrace. They did not mind studying the Scriptures and knowing the history. But to be given for a failing, fallen society was not something they found palatable at all.

In America, this, too, has been the source of weakness in our testimony of Christ. Our theological focus has primarily been on ourselves. We have lived in verses one to three of Psalm 23 for the last fifty years and, as a result, society is now turning against the testimony of Christ, with multitudes heading for hell. It is time for us to be willing to take the journey! We must go across the bridge in verse four and move on to something deeper for all of our lives.

Sadly, many will not cross the bridge because it means death to their own desires. It means entering into the work of God as mature sons and daughters, living for the benefit of others. Of course, it is not easy for any of us; we all inherently want to be happy and comfortable. Yet we are being called to this place known as the valley of the shadow of death.


David was willing to take the full journey, and we see in Psalm 23 that he eventually came to the place where he could say, “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). He recognized that God was working through him an honorable and eternal purpose. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5). David was led to a table of divine strength in the midst of a hostile society. Although he was surrounded by enemies, he was able to sit down and eat with a peace deeper than any he had ever known; with confidence that could not be taken away from him. David went on to say, “You anoint my head with oil” (Psalm 23:5).

In other words, “Now I understand the purpose of my life. I thought I had won the victory in the days of Goliath, or when I sang my sweet songs and drove the devils away from Saul. But then You led me through the valley of the shadow of death, and now that I have come out the other side, I see that my life is meant to be something greater than I once thought. I understand that this is about Your kingdom and Your people!” “My cup runs over” (Psalm 23:5).

Now gladness flowed out of his entire being. There is a joy available in the Christian life that is so deep and so far beyond just singing songs in church or feeling good about ourselves. The Lord and the angels in heaven rejoice every time a sinner returns home, and He is willing to let us share in this joy! That means your joy will no longer merely be because there are oats in the barn or because you feel comfortable and warm. Your joy will be so far beyond all those former things you learned in verses one to three. Now it will be found in seeing the heart of God satisfied through your life in your generation.


Lastly, David said, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). When I get to the end of my journey, I want to be able to look behind me and see goodness and mercy in people’s lives. I want to be able to say, “Lord, You gave them to me, and I didn’t lose them. I did everything I knew to feed them and remind them that You care for them. I did everything I could to get them to follow me across the bridge so that they might be given for the needs of this society. I taught them that there is a table even in the presence of hateful places where, in the natural, we would rather not go.”

Which brings me back to the title of this newsletter: “For heaven’s sake, hurry up and die!” Let’s hurry up and die to ourselves and to our fears so that we can cross the bridge, making a way for many others to come to Christ. A self-focused Church will never touch this generation. That is why God is calling us to cross that bridge to where it is no longer about us but about His plans and purposes. So let’s go and be everything that God has called us to be. Let’s believe Him for the supernatural. Let’s allow Him to make us ambassadors of the Christ who went to a cross!

If we will allow Him to take us on this journey, God will cause us to make a difference in this world. He will give us grace and strength so that we might pave the way for countless others to find Him as Lord and Savior!

Carter Conlon ©2016 Times Square Church

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God the Great Giant Killer

Charlton-Heston-as-Moses-The-Ten-Commandments-1956-ParamountThese are my notes for my teaching at the Chapel Service at Wheeler Mission for the homeless on January 17, 2016.

Life consist of many circumstances, difficulties and problems that seem overwhelming. We feel crushed under the weight of these giants. Often we want to give up as we lose heart to go on. This teaching is for you to tell you are not alone. God knows what you are going through and He is the great giant killer. In battling the giants, and the impossible in our lives, the first and foundational truth you must first know and believe is that you have immense value to God. You are important to God. God loves you with an infinite love and you are more precious to Him that all the treasures in Heaven and earth. Do you believe it?  It is true. Much about life in this world seems designed to make us think that what we are or what we think or do is of no account. We feel that it really makes no difference whether we live or die. We feel that we are lost in the shuffle; we are nameless, faceless blobs in the teeming masses of humanity!

Do you realize the significance of your life to God? Now is the time to decide what direction you are going and with whom. Alone or with God? Now is the time of your salvation in God.

God is not a duplicator. Of the seven billion people on the planet earth not one has the same fingerprint. God is not a duplicator, a copycat, and a counterfeiter, but God is a Creator; God is an originator: God is a visionary. God only has one you. No one can ever be you. God only designed one you. He only has one blueprint that he masterfully used to make a masterpiece called you. God has designed you wonderfully unique and awesomely made as a true original. God has the most spectacular design for your life that is absolutely breathtaking and specific down to the littlest detail. This is a new day. Past is gone. With God move forward from this day forth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Value of your life to God. Only person on earth that would believe, Jesus would have still died for you.  You are significant. You matter. The Value of One Human Life Matthew 10:29-30: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Luke 15: The prodigal son and the loving, forgiving father. He was looking for him to return to Him and He ran to meet him.

The Bible shows you who you are and what you can become. Matthew 4:4:  our spiritual diet, our food that restores our soul, that defines our being guides our path, that gives us light in the midst of darkness and gives a rock to build our lives upon. God cannot lie and He is faithful to His word. It is the truth and it will set you free.

Land of promises and land of giants.

Do you know there is a spiritual Promised Land for each Christian believer where the believer lives and breathes the promises of God? It is a place where the promises of God are experienced in all their fullness and a place where we bear abundant spiritual fruit for our God. The Promised Land is where God has called us to live as Christians and where God wants our hearts to be. The Devil does not want us to enter the Promised Land and has set hostile giants throughout the land to prevent us from taking the inheritance that God has given us.  As Christians we must arise out of the wilderness and boldly go into this Promised Land and claim our rightful inheritance. As Joshua did, we need to take the mountains of giants and slew every giant in our minds and hearts that has ever prevented us from living the more abundant life that God has promised.  The Promised Land and the battle with these giants is the epicenter of spiritual warfare and we must conquer every giant in Christ if we are ever to fulfill our purpose for this generation.

God is a giant killer

First of all, let’s look at just how great the promises of God are. Nothing on the face of the earth compares to the promises of God. No amount of money or wealth can even compare to the riches of possessing even one promise.

II Peter 1:3, 4 (ESV):

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.


He has by his own action given us everything that is necessary for living the truly good life, in allowing us to know the one who has called us to him, through his own glorious goodness.

It is through him that God’s greatest and most precious promises have become available to us men, making it possible for you to escape the inevitable disintegration that lust produces in the world and to share in God’s essential nature.

God is His Word (John 1:1). It is what God has spoken. It is living and powerful and will change everything in your life. Jeremiah 23:29: Does not My word burn like fire? Does it not shatter rock like a strong hammer? Nothing can stand against His Word. Generations have tried but it lives and abides forever. This is what we need to be hiding in our hearts and meditating in our souls. This needs to be our fix in life.

The Bible teaches us the last and greatest lesson that the soul had to learn is the fact that God and God alone, is enough for its needs. This is the lesson that all His dealings with us are meant to teach; and this is the crowning discovery of our whole Christian life. God is enough!

Job 33:12,13: Behold in this you are not right, I will answer you, for God is greater than man. Why do you contend against him…?

Why do we go to weak substitutes and counterfeit gods that cannot satisfy and give you life? Why do we contend with His Word?

Then Job answered and said: If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded? — who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him. Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him? For he is not a man, as I am, (Job 9:1-4, 6, 8-12, 19, 32, 33 ESV)

Nothing compares to God in this world. He is enough. He is all that you need.

“Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back? “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.” (Job 11:7-10, 13-15, 17-20 ESV)
Only God provides the way of escape. Without God there is no hope. Their hope vanishes with their last breath. Eternity.

Psalm 18 should be our confession in the battle against any giant in our life.

Psalm 18:1ff: I love you, O Lord, my strength.The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 28 For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.29 For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.31 For who is God, but the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God?—32 the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.
36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.

Job 33:28: He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light. Behold God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit that he might be lighted with the light of life.

Psalm 40: 1-5: I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I as stranded, mired in the muck and clay. With a gentle hand, He pulled me out To set me down safely on a warm rock; He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.As if that were not enough, because of Him my mind is clearing up.
Now I have a new song to sing—a song of praise to the One who saved me.
Because of what He’s done, many people will see and come to trust in the Eternal. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

We do not need to go astray after the lie anymore. He is our helper, our deliver. He will not delay. We can trust God and His promises as we enter the land of giants.

He is the Sovereign Lord. We reject the words of the enemy that bombard our hearts daily because we know what He thinks of us and what He has made us to be.

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food? “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding. If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open. He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. (Job 12:10, 11, 13, 14, 23 ESV)

Joshua 1:1-9-The Battle Cry Against the Giants

There is a beautiful illustration of this truth in the book of Joshua. When Joshua was about to lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land, he faced thirty-one hostile nations that were not about to surrender their territories to the people of God. These hostile empires were thirty-one strongholds, most having heavily fortified cities, and were described as giants in the land of Canaan (Numbers 11:31-33). The Devil placed these nations right in the heart of the Promised Land. If Israel was to inherit the land God had promised them, they would have to defeat these nations and tear down their strongholds. God told Joshua that not one nation, stronghold, or person could stand against him. Joshua was to courageously advance into enemy territory and conquer every stronghold in the name of God Almighty. God encouraged Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God was with Him. God was going to show in spectacular fashion in the presence of His people that no stronghold can stand against His mighty power. The first kingdom-city that stood in the way of Joshua and all of Israel was Jericho a formidable, heavily fortified city. This stronghold had to be demolished, but human logic and reason would label this task as impossible. Jericho was one of the greatest cities of its day, and was surrounded by a great embankment with a stone retaining wall twelve to fifteen feet high. On top of the retaining wall was a mud-brick wall six feet thick and six to eight feet high. At the crest of the embankment was another mud-brick wall that was forty-six feet above the ground level outside the retaining wall. If you were standing in front of this city, the walls would be close to seven stories high. This stronghold’s massive fortifications dared any soul, army, or nation to attack it. Joshua could have easily thought, “Are you kidding me? This is impossible! This stronghold is impregnable!” But is anything too hard for God? What people say is impossible, God says is possible with Him! (Luke 18:37).

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success[a] wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The fall of the first giant: mighty Jericho:

Joshua 6:15ff:  On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.  20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.

Jeremiah 32:26,27: The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

Genesis 18:14: Is there anything too difficult for the Lord?

Luke 1:37: For nothing is impossible with God. (For no word from God will fail)

David and the formidable giant Goliath

The shepherd boy against the mightiest warrior on earth

I Samuel 17:4ff: And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span (9 ft 9 inches). He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze (126 pounds). And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron (15 pounds). And his shield-bearer went before him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, hat all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.


2 Chronicles 20: 1ff: After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi).Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

Moses and army of Egypt and Red sea.

Exodus 14:13ff: 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.23 The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, 25 clogging[b] their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the seareturned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw[c] the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. 29 But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Now stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. I Samuel 12:16

Gideon-300 men vs. 135,000 Midianites. 450 to 1.

Judges 7:7: And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand…19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. 22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

Daniel 3: Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so,our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics,[e] their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

We make God too small!

Daniel vs. the hungry lions: Daniel 6:16: Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions.20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.

Hezekiah vs. the terror of the Assyrian kingdom

The atrocities, cruelty and savagery of the Assyrian Empire make ISIS today look like child’s play. The cruelty of the Assyrian Empire’s actions were publicized via text, colored wall paintings and carvings in stone. Historian Arthur Ferrill compared them to photos of Nazi concentration camps, and said they had few parallels in history. Artwork showing the skin being cut off of living captives, the impaling of prisoners on stakes, mass forced deportations of conquered peoples, captives being burned or having their tongues torn out and everywhere piles upon piles of human heads are highlighted. There mistake was to take on the Lord of Hosts, Yahweh.

2 Chronicles 32:9ff  After this, Sennacherib king of Assyria, who was besieging Lachish with all his forces, sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all the people of Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, 10 “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting, that you endure the siege in Jerusalem?11 Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst, when he tells you, “The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? 13 Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? 14 Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? 15 Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!’”

2 Kings 19:14ff: Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord.15 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19 So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.”  “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. 34 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” 35 And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. 37 And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

Moses: And He said, Certainly I will be with thee”   (Exodus 3:12).

Of course, if the LORD sent Moses on an errand, He would not let him go alone. The tremendous risk which it would involve and the great power it would require would render it ridiculous for God to send a poor lone Hebrew to confront the mightiest king in all the world and then leave him to himself. It could not be imagined that a wise God would match poor Moses with Pharaoh and the enormous forces of Egypt. Hence He says, “Certainly I will be with thee,”

What are you giants?

Fear? Addiction? Job? Place to Live? Past? Bad reputation? Criminal record? People? God will deliver you from them all if you trust in Him.

Psalm 91: God’s promise against any giant

Psalm 91:1ff: Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you;

One of the amazing names of God is The Lord of Hosts: Exodus 15:3: The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is his name. This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD of Hosts (Zech 4:6). God is our warrior who will fight every battle, every difficulty and every problem for us. Nothing can withstand God!

Learn to trust God

Proverbs 3:1-7: My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Isaiah 64:4 boldly promises that God acts on behalf of those who trust in Him.

There is hope. We cannot be tethered to the sins of yesterday.

We cannot change the past no matter how wishful we may be. We can, however, learn from it. That’s certainly better than being held captive to its regrets, setbacks and problems. Every morning you awake to a new gift—the gift of today. It is my prayer that you will be freed to let go of yesterday—learn from it, yes, but also let go of it—and then to embrace today. For today is full of hope.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Amazing lessons in the Bible of flawed people. Why does God show us the failures of these great leaders? Could it be He wants us to know that in spite of our fiascoes, He can still make something glorious out of our lives? The list of names in Hebrews 11 underscores this truth. In this passage, men and women of great faith are noted—ones whom God Almighty approved. One might be shocked, however, to discover how many of them were restored spiritually following failures such as deception, drunkenness, adultery, idolatry and murder. Consider Jacob. What a saga his life story is. From birth, God gave him a remarkable promise that he would be blessed and his older brother would serve him. With this kind of divine assurance, it would seem like Jacob would turn out to be the perfect saint. Instead, he became a crook who lied to his own father, stole his blessing and lived a life full of deceit. Jacob ended up wasting 20 precious years of his life. I consider his biography one of the most interesting of them all. Here is why: Numerous times throughout the Bible, God reminds His people that He is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:15). In fact, in this same verse, God says, “This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.” Toward the end of Jacob’s journey, God changed his name, which means “deceiver,” to Israel, meaning “Prince of God.” So, why doesn’t He say, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and . . . Israel”? How strange! How come He associates His name with a cheat who wasted two decades trying to do things his own way? Through His name, His very identity, God wants to say to you and me, “I am still the God who makes failures into princes of God. I remain the God who takes broken lives—people with multiple divorces, sick in body because of sin, in prison for decades, labeled as losers, crazy folk nobody wants, outcasts with no hope—and turns them into something beautiful.”

2 Corinthians 3:4ff: Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,

2 Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Romans 8:31ff: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is for you. He is on your team. Nothing and I mean nothing can separate you from Him and His love. This makes you a super-conqueror in Christ. THe court of God has wiped your slate clean in Christ and you no longer fall under condemnation for you have been justified, freed from the penalty of sin. THis is the victory we stand in in Christ.

God wants each Christian believer to come to the knowledge of the truth according to 1 Timothy 2:4 of their new identity in Christ. Jesus tells us in John 8:31-32 that when we continue in the Scripture, reading, memorizing, and reflecting on its words, we shall know the truth and the truth will set the heart free from any prison that is holding it captive. Truth in our thinking leads to great physical, mental, and spiritual freedom in our hearts. If we want to be set free from whatever burden is holding us back from living passionately for God, we must allow the truth of the Bible to govern our thought life. Either the truth of God or a lie is controlling our thought life. God gives truth, and the Devil speaks lies and deception. We must decide which takes control of our thought life. If truth does not live and breathe in our thinking, we will eventually fall into the snare of the Devil, and our thinking will turn from the truth of God and embrace a lie. The Devil is always trying to turn our thinking away from the truth. These dungeons of bondage melt when they touch the glory of our God. God cries out to us like He did in Isaiah 45:2, “I will go before you and level the mountains. Bronze doors I will shatter, and iron bars I will snap!”

Never forget these words as long as you live:

Isaiah 41:10: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 121: 2-8:  My help comes from the Lord,  who made heaven and earth.He will not let your foot be moved;    he who keeps you will not slumber.The Lord is your keeper;    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.The Lord will keep you from all evil;  he will keep your life. The Lord will keep    your going out and your coming in    from this time forth and forevermore.

Hebrews 13:5b, 6: For He has said: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Double and triple negative in Greek. When God says something twice in Bible it is certainly established without any iota of a doubt.

“Leave” in Greek: (aniemi)-to desert, send back, to relax, to loosen, not to uphold, to let sink abandon.. He is not going to leave us, fail to uphold us or let us sink! One might translate this phrase — “I will in no way let you go.” “I will not relax my hold on you.” Think about these words. God cannot lie. His Word is faithful.

“Forsake” in Greek: Forsake:  egkataleipo means to abandon, desert, or leave behind, leave helpless, leave destitute, leave in straits or let one down. It speaks of forsaking someone in a state of defeat or helplessness, even in midst of hostile circumstances.

Remember — When it’s just you and God, that’s enough.

“I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope” (Hosea 2:14–15, NLT).

I am here tonight to tell you no matter what happened in the past in the Valley of Trouble there is a gateway of Hope. Tonight is a new beginning. God is extending his hand to life up and embrace you. He is telling you, I’ve got this, do not be afraid, do not worry, Do not be anxious, I will take care of you.

God pleads, God admonishes, God commands and God calls to us every single day to not be afraid, but to simply trust Him in everything. He stands at the door of our heart and cries daily: “It is I! Be not afraid!”

Isaiah 43:1,2: But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.

Know from this day forward you are God’s through his saving work in Christ. You’re his child, his prized possession. You are His and nothing can change this. He is with you through the waters, and through the fire. He will never let you go, never abandon you and never forsake you. He is your giant killer.

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