YOUR ADVANTAGE

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FORGIVING OTHERS IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. – Matthew 21:20-22; Mark 11:20-26

There are qualifications for believing and receiving as well as restrictions for receiving answers to prayer. Unforgiveness in our hearts will keep our prayers from being answered.

We should forgive others as quickly as it takes to make the decision to pray. The Greek word for “when” means “whenever, as soon as, or while.” When we stand praying, we must forgive if we have ought (“anything at all, the least little part; whatsoever”) against anyone.

When we are offended or hurt, we often feel justified in holding a grudge.

The Old Testament law expressed this when it stated, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Ex. 21:23-25). Until the offense was paid, we did not feel free to forgive. However, God dealt with all men’s offenses by placing sin upon the perfect Savior who was judged in place of every sinner of all time. To demand that others must earn our forgiveness is not Christlike. Jesus died for every man’s sins, extending forgiveness to us while we were yet sinners, and we should do the same.

It is doubtful that a person who refuses to forgive has ever experienced forgiveness himself. This is comparable to the servant that Jesus talked about in Matthew 18:23-35. He was forgiven a debt of over $3,000,000,000 and yet he refused to forgive his fellow servant who owed him $3,000. The forgiveness that we have received from the Lord is infinitely greater than any forgiveness we will ever be asked to extend to others. Freely forgive as you have been forgiven.

Prayer is the most underutilized tool that we have as Christians. The Bible says that where two or more are gathered together, there He is in the midst of them. So, what are you waiting for? Get on your knees! Phone a friend and bind the enemy!

If God is for you, WHO can be against you?

PLACES THE SOLITARY IN FAMILIES …

God places the solitary in families… – Psalm 68:6, NKJV

Most everyone goes through times in life when they feel a little lonely or wonder where they belong. God designed family to always be a place of love and acceptance. Maybe you didn’t come from an environment like that, or maybe you’ve been away from your family. Maybe they are no longer around. God still desires to meet that need for family. The Bible says that He is the Father to the fatherless, and He places the solitary in families. God wants to give you a circle of people you can trust who will embrace and accept you.

If you need family today, ask God to meet that need and show you where you belong. Or, maybe you are the one who can open your home and heart to someone who is alone. The point is that God loves family. He designed family for a purpose. Jesus said in Matthew 12 that those who do God’s will are His family. When you are part of the family of God, you are never alone! He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. He promises to fill you with His peace and joy so that you can live as an overcomer all the days of your life!

BEAUTY IS AN INSIDE JOB

‘Those who look to Him are radiant…’ Psalm 34:5 NIV

It’s said, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, but you can waste your life trying to please the wrong beholder. Kristin Armstrong says: ‘When it comes to beauty, each of us carries baggage from childhood… I’ve fretfully hung clothes of every size in my wardrobe… messed with make–up when I should have slapped on sunscreen and gone outside to play. I’ve eaten close to nothing in an effort to stay small… wasted time worrying I wasn’t pretty enough when I should have been enjoying the things that made me interesting. Throughout history the definition of beauty has shifted to reflect society. Sometimes we should be curvy, other times thin as a lathe; sometimes tanned, sometimes pale; sometimes with long hair, sometimes with short… We devote our energies to meeting the latest standards and… guess what? There’s always another mandate… We must seriously consider whose heart we’re trying to capture… God’s is the only one worth pursuing.’ Paul says, ‘…Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re–mould your minds from within…’ (Romans 12:1–2 PHPS); ‘If anyone belongs to Christ…The old things have gone; everything is made new!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NCV) You won’t find the secret to inner beauty and peace by comparing yourself with the photoshopped models on magazine covers. That kind of image is unsustainable. You’ll find peace by asking God to remove the scales from your eyes and show you what you look like in His eyes. ‘Those who look to Him are radiant.’ The only healthy and lasting definition of beauty comes from God because He judges people by ‘…what is in their hearts.’ (1 Samuel 16:7 CEV)

AT THE BLAST OF A TRUMPET!

1 Thessalonians 4:16 – For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

All over the world, Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Occurring usually in the month of September, this feast is celebrated with the blowing of trumpets—the shofar or ram’s horn. That is why it is also called the Feast of Trumpets.

The Jews observe seven feasts: The Passover, Unleavened Bread, First fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. The first four have been fulfilled literally by Jesus. He was the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), the bread of life (John 6:35) and the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20) And when Pentecost had fully come after His ascension, He sent us the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1–4)

So the next feast that we are waiting for Jesus to fulfill literally is the Feast of Trumpets. Why is this feast significant to us? Because when Jesus fulfills it, it means that we are going up to meet Him in the clouds!

I am talking about the rapture of the church. When the trumpet sounds, “in the twinkling of an eye”, we who are alive will be changed. We will put on new bodies that will be like Jesus’! Those who are dead in Christ will rise and also receive new bodies. They will go up first followed by us who are alive, and we will all meet the Lord in the air. (1 Corinthians 15:51–55)

This means that there is a possibility that you might not see death! The Bible says, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) It is one thing to happen to be alive, but quite another to remain alive.

I believe that there is a generation of Christians who know the resurrection power of the Lord. They know how to walk in their inheritance and put off sickness and death until the coming of the Lord. My friend, may you be counted as one of them as you take the Lord Jesus and His finished work as your victory over sickness and death!

GOD SO LOVED . . .

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” —Luke 23:34

July 28, 2014, marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. In the British media many discussions and documentaries recalled the start of that 4-year conflict. Even the TV program Mr. Selfridge, which is based on an actual department store in London, included an episode set in 1914 that showed young male employees lining up to volunteer for the army. As I observed these portrayals of self-sacrifice, I felt a lump in my throat. The soldiers they depicted had been so young, so eager, and so unlikely to return from the horror of the trenches.

Although Jesus didn’t go off to war to defeat an earthly foe, He did go to the cross to defeat the ultimate enemy—sin and death. Jesus came to earth to demonstrate God’s love in action and to die a horrendous death so that we could be forgiven of our sins. And He was even prepared to forgive the men who flogged and crucified Him (Luke 23:34). He conquered death by His resurrection and now we can become part of God’s forever family (John 3:13-16).

Anniversaries and memorials remind us of important historical events and heroic deeds. The cross reminds us of the pain of Jesus’ death and the beauty of His sacrifice for our salvation.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me so much that You left Your home in heaven, came to earth, and willingly went to the cross for me. Thank You for paying the penalty for my sins and forgiving me.

The cross of Jesus is the supreme evidence of the love of God. – Oswald Chambers

http://billyburke.org/PrayerMinistryRoom/JourneyofYourPrayerRequest/tabid/142/Default.aspx

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