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Praise Be to God

Rejoice and praise God, for He is good. He made the heavens and the earth, gave us dominion over all things under the sun, and blessed us with the power of His name. All glory belongs to Him. He has withheld nothing from us. His greatest gift, the gift of eternal life, He gave through His son Christ Jesus whom He sacrificed for the forgiveness of our sins. Praise Him always.

Should we limit how we give thanks to God? The Psalms tell us otherwise:

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

(Psalm 148:1-4)

God has shaped us into who we are, breathed into us life and has given us the desire in our heart to want to know Him. Our love for Him should be without ceasing, for in everything He does, He does because He loves us. There is no limit to God’s love, because God is love.

Whatever we are feeling, if we are sad, if we are angry, if we are hurt, God is there, waiting to comfort us. Our prayers are as incense to Him. They rise to the heavens and fill his throne with the sweet aroma of our praise.

Let us rejoice always for knowing our heavenly Father is there for us. Praise be to God.

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The Heart of God

What would it be like to have the heart of God? What would it be like to know Him, fully and completely, without boundaries and without end? Would we act as we do today, with restraint in our step and caution in our tongues? Loving God is knowing God. If we love Him, we will do His will and we will know Him. His heart will then be our heart, and we will no longer hold back from proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God.

The prophet Jeremiah, who was still a youth when God called him, said this about God’s children:

“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.” (Jeremiah 24:7)

When God imparts the Holy Spirit into someone, He has imparted His heart into that person. This means that you and I, regardless of race, gender, culture, or otherwise, if God has chosen us and begotten us with His spirit, He then lives in us.

The prophet Ezekiel describes it this way:

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

God wants nothing but good for his people. God wants Christians to know He loves them, will provide for them, and will bless them in everything they do. In everything we do, the heart of flesh that God has imparted in us will lead us to do His will in spite of the temptation that surrounds us.

This is what it is like to have the heart of God.

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Love One Another

In everything we do, we ought to love one another. For if we love one another, we will not harbor grudges, we will not hurt from heartbreak, we will always look to God for His will, and most of all, we will be at peace. Love one another, for in love we will know God. As He lives inside of us, His nature will show outside of us. It is a difficult thing to keep the nature of God from urging us to do good to others. For when His spirit works in us to do His will, we have all but to contain our love for Him and for others.

The Apostle Paul explains it like this:

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

As bearers of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, we owe others our love. Through that love we will not want to lust and commit adultery, we will not want to hate and murder, we will not want to steal, and we will not want to covet. Our love for one another will be deep, will be high, will be strong and will be wide. There will be no limit to our love for one another because there is no limit to God’s love.

Let us come before God with humble hearts, seeking His will, and loving one another.

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The Gift of the Holy Spirit

In the new heaven and the new earth there will be no more sadness, no more pain, no more tears, no more evil, and above all, God will dwell with us forever. In a way, He is doing that already. The gift of the Holy Spirit is what makes us who we are. We are Christians. We do not go by any other name other than that of being followers of Christ. We are God’s offspring, his chosen and his elect. Our future is with God. And what a future to which we look forward. Even King David understood this:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalms 23:6)

When Jesus died on the cross, it was just the beginning. His death ushered in the joyous event of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised a helper to his disciples, and when the Apostle Peter stood up on that fateful day of Pentecost, this was a different Peter. Gone were his insecurities of who would be first in the kingdom, instead he was bold and offered life to those looking to God for answers. Peter’s sudden emergence as a leader was not without its trials. The memory of his denials that he knew Christ was still fresh in his mind. Yet the gift of the Holy Spirit changed him, and he became a different person.

We have the opportunity to be different. God in us renders us to be different. There will be a day when we will dwell with God forever in the new heaven and the new earth. Until then, let us grow in the knowledge of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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How Great Is Our God?

Out of nothingness came life. Out of the emptiness and the void, came we. God formed us out of the dust of the ground, breathed into us the breath of life and made us living beings. How great is our God?

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalms 8:3)

We mere humans are dust. Yet God loves us so much that he was willing to sacrifice his only son Jesus so that we may live, live free from the penalty of sin, and live forever. How great is our God?

From edge to edge of this deep vastness called the universe, God has set the foundations of our firmament. He gave us dominion over all things on the earth. He provided us food with which to feed ourselves, and clothes to keep our fleshly bodies warm. How great is our God?

We are but bones, sinews, flesh and skin covering it all. We have seventy years given to us, eighty by reason of strength. Our lives are like a vapor, but even King David asked: Who are we that God should be so mindful of us? How great is our God?

Out of the emptiness, God made us, and through Jesus, he fills us with the Holy Spirit and saves us. God is great.

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Forgive as God Forgives

Our nature dictates that we ought to hold a grudge against anyone who would slight us. Should we find ourselves angry with someone, our nature would want us to take it further. It is within us not to want to forgive.

But God showed us what forgiveness really is. In everything we do, no matter how awful, no matter how horrible, no matter how ugly it is, God will forgive us, if we wholeheartedly repent of our sins. It is within His nature to want to forgive.

No greater sacrifice had anyone made than that made by Jesus when He gave His life on the cross for us sinners:

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16)

How much more would His sacrifice mean to us if we had seen with our own eyes Jesus bound, whipped, tortured and nailed to the cross, if we knew that cross was meant for us?

In the same way, we have to let go of grudges, slights and anger. Instead, we have to love those who cause us hurt. Bless those who want us harm. Forgive those who wish to do us evil. And even if others did not mean to offend us in any way, but in our old nature, we might want to do them evil, we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to change. Our nature will then be as God’s nature; and through this, we will have the power to forgive as God forgives.

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Believe in God’s Promises

God promised He would never leave us or forsake us. That is a promise from God Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth. His power is beyond measure. His strength is without end. And his mercy never fails. As His children, we ought to seek every opportunity to honor our Father whenever He makes good on His promises. His Yes is as sure as the sunrise:

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Of all the promises given, the one most important is the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17). If we love Jesus our Savior, keeping His commandments, giving God the glory in all things, He will impart the Holy Spirit to us and He will dwell in us forever. We will know God and He will know us. Our sins will be no more, and even when our flesh ceases to exist, we will live again. We will put on a new body, without defect, and it will be perfect in every way. We will be perfect in every way.

It all starts with believing Jesus is the Christ, who died for us on the cross. When we accept Him as our personal savior, God promises we will rise again to new life, filled with glory, honor, and joy, brimful and running over.

Now is the time to believe. Now is the time to claim those promises.