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  1. Motives for Steadfastness
  2. Jesus and the Identity of God
  3. Fasting #6 Nehemiah Fasted
  4. The Wise Masterbuilder Series: Practical Principles of Powerful Prayer
  5. Copyright:

Righteous art thou O Lord when I plead with thee, yet let me talk with thee of thy judgements. Since she knows Saint Peter hath said, For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God, 1 Pet. Since Christ himself hath said, this is your hour, and the power of darkness, Luke 22 Or lastly, with the same Prophet, Wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Since our blessed Saviour himself, had a Traytor among his own Apostles? Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven Christ himself was crucified between two theives, and thats reason enough why his Church should not greatly complain, though she be crucified, not only between, but also by two thieves.

The one robbing God of his honour, the other of his Patrimony; Saint Paul hath given a hint of them both in one piece of a verse, Rom. Thou that abhorrest Idols, dost thou commit Sacriledge? I must needs confess that being in this Eden of God, in this Paradise contemplating the tree of life, I am unwilling to divert my eyes from that tree, and much more my heart from that contemplation; but am desious to perswade my self, that I see the Prophet Isaiahs vision turned into action, and God acting it in heaven, no less then the Prophet acting it on earth, Isa.

Also, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send, or who will go for us? For God the Father did as it were consult with himself, saying, whom shall I send? For as there was faciamus hominem, Gen. Thus hath love brought God from God to be in man: and thus should it also bring man from man to be in God: For this is the end of that blessed Mysterie, and more blessed mercy which we commemorate when we celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God; he was made of us, that we might be new made by him; he made one flesh with us, that we should be one spirit with him.

Saint Peter accounted it a great mercy, that God had sent his Angel to deliver him from the hand of Herod, Act. He considers his deliverance, ver. God who at sundry times, and in divers maaners, spake in time past unto the Fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.

It was a great mercy that he spake to the Fathers by holy men, a greater that he spake to them by the holy Angels for that was one of the divers manners of his speaking. But the greatest mercy of all was, that he hath spoken to us by his son; and the reason is intimated in the following words; for in time past was the beginning, the inchoation of his love, when he spake by his Prophets and Angels; but in these last dayes hath been the accomplishment and consummation of it, when he spake to us by his Son.

The Lord is not slack, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Yet so saith Saint Luke 2. But infinitely greater was the mercy that he pleased to send his own Son to teach the Apostles; for he is the cheif corner stone, 1 Pet. We cannot too much prize the voice of the Apostles; as for example, Saint Pauls Epistles cannot be in too great esteem, which saith Saint Hierom bring him every day more glory, as Christ more converts: But the voice of the eternal word, calling to Saint Paul from heaven, Act.

Accordingly Saint Chrysostom justly finds fault with Aquila and Theodosius, for rendring the words of Isaiah 7. For verily he took not on him the nature of Angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. But in the reason of that title, the son of God made man, they are above them.

It behoved him to be made like unto his Brethren, because he is of the same flesh and blood with men; but never was it said of Angels, that they were brethren to the son of God. O mercy of mercies, the Son of God made lower then the Angels, to exalt the sons of men above them! This was the good Angels joy for us, and sheweth how much more it should be our own joy for our selves.

They have still joy in heaven for our conversion, Luke Earth the place of sorrow, because of sin, till Christ came on it; and then the place of joy because he came to take away the sin, and with the sin the sorrow: This made earth at that time seem heaven to the Angels, and that made them leave of looking on God in God, that they might look on God in men; leave of praising God in heaven, that they might praise him in Earth; Luke 2. Lord keep us men from ceasing to praise thee for this mercy of mercies here on earth, least we keep our selves from beginning to praise thee for it hereafter in heaven; for this mercy, God made man, is a mercy not be forgotten, till there be no man left upon earth to remember it: But if it should be forgotten upon earth through our perversness, or profaness, yet sure we are, it will never be forgotten in heaven, where this very same son of man now sitteth on the right hand of God; and shall at the last day come in the same flesh to judg us, in the which we now acknowledge his coming to save us; Lord grant that we may so praise thee in this day of salvation, that we may not be condemned of thee in that day of Judgement.

And shall we think that those men do not open the mouths of the Jews to blaspheme our blessed Saviour, and shut their hearts from receiving him as the Messias, who forbid others to exhibit this worship or reverence unto him? So little Reason is there, and less Religion, for us instead of kissing the Son least he be angry, to be angry with others for desiring to kiss the Son, even our blessed Saviour, the Son of God from all eternity, but by his blessed incarnation made also in time the Son of man. Sin is the transgression of the Law, saith Saint John, 1 John 3.

This temper should be far from Christians, because it was far from Christ: The Text tells us, He was made under the Law; sure not for us to make our selves above it; but that all good Christians should labour to follow him both in active and in passive obedience: As for active obedience, the Text is plain; It is said of Christ, Heb. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me; he could not live without his obedience; and he also tells us that we have little hopes of eternal life without it; Mat. And Saint Peter saith no less concerning the Christian, 1 Pet.

The reason why the natural man looks so much after his delights, is, because he looks upon them as medicines to heal his sicknesses, or as remedies against the continual labours of his sense, and of his motion. The Redemption of our souls from death, is undoubtedly both a convenient and a present good; and yet few men have true joy and delight from it, because few apprehend it as actually present. For this indeed is the joy in the Holy Ghost, and comes only from him.

It is he that teacheth the Church Militant to sing a new song on earth for her joy in Christ: it is he that teacheth the Church Triumphant to sing a new song in heaven for the same joy: O sing unto the Lord a new song, saith the Psalmist, Psal. Psalm which now the office it self of the blessed Virgin blusheth at, and taketh no notice of at all: and it were to be wished it had left out other prayers to the Blsseed Virgin, which are as grosly superstitious as were those Hymns: For they that believe Christ to be God, must confess him to be a jealous God, and that he hath said, I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another, Isa.

As for me, I will patiently abide alway and will praise thee more and more; for this praise never comes to its zenith or vertical point till our souls be there where our Saviour now is, and from whence we expect him again to our salvation. WE cannot but have great joy, if we have true joy in our Redeemer: and we cannot but have true joy in our redeemer, if we rightly weigh and faithfully embrace the mercy of our redemption: therefore when the Holy Ghost hath said, Let Israel rejoyce in him that made him, Psal. And agreable to this is our Saviours doctrine concerning Judas, who in that he betrayed his redeemer, forfeited his share in this redemption; It had been good for that man if he had not been born, Mat.

And we may accordingly see that such is our deliverance from the dominion of sin, in that it is said in the next words, for ye are not under the law, but under Grace: the spirit of Grace now reigns in you, and therefore will not let sin raign any longer in you; nor the Law reign any longer over you, as it is the strength of sin to provoke it, or the judge of sinners to condemn and to torment them: For if we lay not some such restriction upon the Apostles words, we shall never be able to prove it is a mercy not to be under the Law; which is gloriously magnified by the Spirit of God, as that which giveth both holiness and wisdom, Psal.

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; there is the wisdom: we must therefore say that the Law had a threefold use, to restrain, to condemn and to instruct; to restrain sin, to condemn the sinner, and to instruct in righteousness. And gave them the Lands of the heathen, and they took the labours of the people in possession, that they might keep his statutes and observe his Laws, hath not promised to the Christian an inheritance in heaven, to have his Law broken.

Nay the Heavens shall pass away with a great noise, 2 Pet. But this power of the Law shall not pass away; for it follows ver. And they truly are under grace, because they truly are under Christ, the fountain of grace; for grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, John. A man may know himself to be in grace, if he find that he delights in God, and contemns this world, and is not conscious to himself of any grievous or mortal sin. Our Saviour said to his own Disciple, Notwithstanding in this rejoyce not, that the Spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoyce because your names are written in Heaven, Luke If it be not the cause of a true Christians joy to have power and dominion over evil spirits, which is the peculiar priviledge of Christs own Church: much less can it be the cause of a true Christian joy to have dominion and power over good men, which is the common priviledge of Christs enemies.

But who can eat of this heavenly Manna, save only they who have their names written in heaven? Nor can the dogs eat so much as the crumbs that fall from this heavenly table. We must be children before we can eat of this bread; and then may we not always expect to eat our fill of it, least that Scripture be fulfilled of us the second time, He that eateth bread with me, hath lift up his heel against me. John And though we be indeed the called of Jesus Christ, Rom. A most blessed assumption which gives to the true Christian soul, not an imaginary, but a real, not an anniversary, but an everlasting Holy day: Hence it is that Saint John cannot speak of this infinite mercy without a double Preface, 1 John 3.

It doth not appear to the world what we are, nor to our selves what we shall be; only this we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, ver. We our selves groan within our selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our body; as if the adoption were not to be obtained here, but to be expected hereafter; wherein however he speaks as it were out of Christs own mouth, as well as by his spirit; for our blessed Saviour himself useth these words, Luke For as a natural son of man is partaker of his humane nature, or else he cannot be his son; so also is an adopted Son of God, partaker of his Divine Nature; though not Originally, because he is adopted; yet sure derivatively, because else he cannot be a Son: for on the participation or communication of the Divine nature is founded our adoption, or being the Sons of God, according to that of the Apostle, 2 Pet.

THE Spirit of adoption, though it were given under the Law, yet was it not so fully given, as it is now under the Gospel.

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And himself plainly applies this distinction to the Church before Christs time, verse 3. As she was an heir, she had the Spirit of adoption; but as she was an infant, she had the Spirit of fear and bondage; which makes the Apostle say, Rom. For ye have not received the Spirit of bondage again, ye had it once, sc. What a vast difference is there betwixt those words of Moses, The seed of the woman shall bruise the Serpents head, Gen.

What a vast difference is there betwixt that of Gen. What a vast difference is there betwixt Abrahams being called to go out of his Countrey; and from his Fathers house, Gen. What a vast difference betwixt the sacrifices of the Jews, and the sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross?


Psalm, and in the same strain beginneth the And indeed, what joy like the joy of the Redeemed by Christ, or rather what joy like the joy of the adopted in Christ, Since the joy of the Redemption is not to be had without the joy of the Adoption? For the Greek Church, let Saint Chrysost. What Prayer can be more spiritual then that which he gave us who hath also given us the holy Spirit?

Primus Sermo, quanta sit gratia! And they were ashamed least what was the Angels joy, should be thought their sorrow: Therefore though they were still enemies to their own souls, in not embracing this Doctrine, yet they were ashamed to shew themselves enemies to other mens souls in gainsaying it; nay indeed to shew themselves enemies to God himself, who must be excluded out of heaven, or he cannot be excluded out of thy joy; for it is said, ver.

The Apostles saw but a glimps of our Saviours Divinity in the transfiguration, and they fell to the ground, Mat. IT is impossible that a good Christian should either desire not to know Christ because he loves him, or not to know him in the flesh, because so he hath most reason to love him: and yet Saint Paul hath said, Henceforth know we no man after the flesh, yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more, 2 Cor. The improvement of my reason exalts me above other men; but the improvement of my Religion, exalts me above my self: And what knowledge can improve my Religion, but only the knowledge of Christ, who is both the Author and the Finisher of my Faith?

Therefore let me ever say with Saint Paul, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, Phil. That each article is a mysterie. That neither article can be sufficiently explained in this life. That in the Trinity there is one substance, and three Persons; but in Christ three substances, the soul, the body, and the Divinity, but one person.

Accordingly the same Greek Father tells us most excellently lib. That is to say, 1. MEN and Angels might stand amazed to see so much mercy where they had seen so little innocency, were it not that they could not but see so much merit, where they had seen so much mercy.

But he comes nearer the fountain-head of this mercy, who telleth us of the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world, 1 Pet. First the Paschal Lamb was one of the flock, Exod. So Christ was one of us, and dwelt among us, Saint John 1. Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of an Harlot? God forbid, 1 Cor.

Fourthly, the blood of the Paschal Lamb sprinkled on the door posts, made the destroying Angel pass over the Israelites, when he smote the Egyptians; So the blood of Christ sprinkled upon our souls, preserveth us from the destroying Angel: A mercy to be remembred with an everlasting thankfulness, and to be commemorated with an everlasting thanksgiving; for this is a part of the new song in heaven, Rev. Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God with thy blood. Secret not only to others, but also to my self: He that so heartily repents of the sins he knows not, doth much more repent of those he knows: And indeed the Paschal Lamb might not be eaten without bitter herbs, nor can Christ be received without sorrow and bitterness of Spirit, so as to become the nourishment of our souls; and those men are grosly mistaken, who think they can receive him by faith alone, without repentance; for who dares preach Christ otherwise then he preached himself?

Motives for Steadfastness

WHere shall a good Christian look for comfort but in the Word of comfort? And what text so comfortable in that word, as that which assures us not only of God the Holy Ghost, but also of God the Son to be our Assistant and Advocate to intercede for us? If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. No greater friend to a poor Client, that hath a bad cause, then a good Advocate to plead for him, unless it be a favourable and friendly Judge to absolve him.

All our care is or should be how to save our souls; and therefore the first thing we should all do, is to put our selves in such a condition that our blessed Saviour may take care of us, that so we may securely cast all our care upon him: Then will Saint Pauls Problem be turned into a Position, Rom.

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? N Ext those Hereticks that oppose Christ in his person, they are in the saddest condition who seek to oppose him in his Satisfaction; for as the one overthroweth the foundation, so the other hindereth the edification of the Christian Faith; both acting the wicked parts of Sanballet and Geshem, whiles true Christians with Nehemiah are labouring to build up the Temple of God. For if there needed no satisfaction for sin, why was the eternal Son of God offered up as a sacrifice for our sins?

And if we be indeed pattakers of his satisfaction, what madness is it for us to rely upon our own? For all other sacrifices were but Types of this great sacrifice, which in the end of the world appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, Heb. Judah desired to be a bondman for Benjamin, but he was his brother; Saint Paul said, He could wish himself accursed for the people of the Jews, but they were also his brethren and his kinsmen; But our Saviour Christ was contented to be made both a bondman and a Curse for us, whiles we were yet his enemies; His bondage was our freedom; His Curse was our blessing; but let not his love be our enmity; for though he came to save us whiles we were his enemies, yet he will not save us, if we continue so.

We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all; to say there is more offering, were to say there is less Sanctification; to say his body is more offered, were to say, that our souls are less Sanctified: ver. The blessing of God, the Father, Son and Holy-Ghost, descend upon you, that you may be blessed in the order of Priests, and offer acceptable sacrifices for the sins and offences of the People; Pontifical.

Venetiis editum, An. First, Christ is ours in his nature by a real conjunction, having taken our nature upon him: and in that respect he is ours as we are men, and he hath bestowed on all mankind a greater capacity of his Grace, then otherwise they would have had, by reason of their corrupt nature: for which cause the Evangelical Promises which God maketh to man in Christ, are universal, as excluding none, because Christ hath taken the nature of all: but yet conditional, as including only those who repent and believe the Gospel: for no others make a right use or attain the end of Christs Merits and Mercies.

And in that respect he is ours as we are Christians, and hath bestowed on us the knowledge of his grace, though very many of us by our own infidelity and impenitency, make but a little and a bad use of that knowledge. O happy soul that is thus wedded to her Saviour by a spiritual marriage! This is more then a spiritual contract, it is a compleat marriage, when the same will being in two persons, shall make them both but one Spirit: So the same Saint Bernard, and so likewise saith Saint Paul, He that is joyned unto the Lord, is one spirit, 1 Cor.

In my self I can see nothing but sin and death; In my Saviour I see both righteousness and life; righteousness to deliver me from sin, and life to deliver me from death: Therefore I will greatly rejoyce in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, Isa. Therefore let me say as they did, but let me say it with a more thankfull heart and with a more cheerfull voice; for greater is my duty, though lesser is my ability; I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously, Exod.

What can my soul say more? Again, Who is like unto thee O Lord amongst the Gods, who is like unto thee glorious in holiness, fearfull in praises, doing wonders? Criticks are too much in love with the glosses of the Jews, who oppose them against the Judgement of the whole Catholick Church, that they may enervate one of the soundest proofs of the Resurrection that is to be found in all the Old Testament: And that proof is, Job Nor is it easie for any man to shew another Day wherein they first left off this Report. Sure we are that when the Apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead, Act.

So again Isa. So again, Isa. That it is said, he was wounded for our transgressions, whereas Israel was afflicted for their own sins. That it is said, He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth, whereas every man is a liar, and God only is true, who is the first truth.

Jesus and the Identity of God

For excellently Greg. Yet do we most willingly confess that the Christians feast of Jubile is not to be confined to a day, because he that is the cause of it, Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, and to day and for ever, Heb. Only the reason is much more express in the New, then in the Old Testament; Be ye sure that the Lord is God, saith the Psalmist: It is he that hath made us; but much more forcible is the Apostles reason, It is he that hath redeemed us: We are his people, and in that regard ought to hold a feast unto him, Exod.

The whole Psalm is nothing else but a song of Jubile in one verse, and the reason of it in the next; as ver. O be joyful in the Lord with gladness and with a song, there's the Jubile; but ver. The Lord he is God, it is he that hath made us: there's the cause of it. And again, ver. But ver. For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth from generation to generation, there's the reason of it. He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter: so that though a stranger from the Common-wealth of Israel could ask the question, Of whom speaketh the Prophet this?

And Saint Philip acknowledgeth the person typified and foretold to agree exactly with the Type, and prediction, when he saith, ver. But in truth nither are confinements to Gods spirit, and both alike are intended for the enlargements of our spirits: Set times and Set words, that we pray in the greater assurance of faith, knowing we cannot be willworshippers, whiles we conform our selves to his will whom we worship. AMong all Gods Attributes, none are so remarkeable in our lives and deaths, as his mercy and his Justice. For if the argument be undenyable concerning marriage, from John 2. By this ground Aerius his Heresie will soon be ejected out of the Church, who taught, That Imparity of the Ministry was condemned, and Parity commended in the word of God, as saith Saint August.

And as God prescribed the Jews a set form of Catechism to instruct their children in the reasons of this solemn festival, Exod. We had at the same time a much greater deliverance; and why should we have a less Annuntiation? God gives a signal intimation to the Jew, Exod. For though words are not sacrilegious in putting a part for the whole, because that is a right way of speaking; yet works may be guilty of sacriledge by doing but a part for the whole, because that is not a right way of working; for in speaking we may follow the custome or practice of men, but in doing, we must follow the precept and prescription of God.

Lex enim est Constantini M. By taking off the opinion of holiness I see much profaness and irreligion in all respects, which makes me conclude, that though the Church should proclaim, Holy, Holy, Holy, never so much before the place and time of Gods worship, yet all would be little enough to beget the love and practice of holiness in the worshippers. That there be a publike solemn worship of God, or exercise of Religion for our souls to rest in God. And this is morale naturae, moral by the Law of Nature, that man should desire and declare his rest to be only in God.

That some certain dayes and consequently other requisites or adjuncts be consecrated or made holy for that publike worship, and in relation thereto be esteemed holy and religious, as set apart to serve our God, not to serve our selves. And this is Morale Disciplinae, as saith Halensis or ex instituto; moral by way of Discipline, or by way of institution, and is also a substantial part of the fourth Commandment, belonging not only to the Jew, but also to the Christian.

In this case he looked round about on the Pharisees with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, Mar. Accordingly our blessed Saviour and Master hath in one chapter, Mat. Whether it be not of faith for want of evidence, or for want of assurance. And if we have such a Sabbath as is subject to alteration, we must have such a Sabbath as is subject to annihilation; for the one is naturally not only a fore-runner of, but also a preparation to the other.

The reason of the name Sabbath depends upon the creation, of which God repented soon after, as saith Moses, it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart, Gen. More daies then this may be set apart for the honour of Christ, by the example and from the reason or end of this; for the duty is of extent large enough to employ many daies, and God having consecrated time to his own service, hath made it lawful, or rather necessary for the Church to do so too; and we find the Jews did ordain the feasts of Purim and Dedication, without any peculiar precept from the text, and yet are justified for so doing: But this day must be set apart by the example of Christ himself, who made it his free-will-offering to God, by making on it the first ordination of the ministers of his Gospel.

So we read, John Why is the first day of the week so punctually named? Surely not to tell the Apostles what day it was, but to tell us that should be after them, that we might know the very day on which Christ had purchased for, and bestowed on his Church such unvaluable mercies, and so know it as to keep it, as it followeth, ver. This is the full meaning of those words, and therefore the antient Fathers, particularly Saint Cyprian and Firmilian did rightly apply this Text to prove by it the authority of the Church in their daies, and we may as rightly alledge it now to justifie the same authority: For the Bishops are obliged by this Text to ordain a succession of Ministers even to the worlds end, One must be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection, saith Saint Peter, Acts 1.

As I have given order to the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye: that is, the same order that I gave to them concerning the first day of the week, I give also to you, and in you to all other Churches; which order was accordingly speedily and generally obeyed, because there was an irresistible reason for that obedience; so also there is an order from the Holy Ghost concerning the persons, proved from Acts For God who hath given us time only to prepare and provide for eternity, will certainly call us to a strict account for all our time; but to the strictest account for that time which he hath more immediately allotted and consigned us to make that preparation.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul; and with all thy mind; this is the first and great commandment. Accordingly we must account every Christian Festival that is truly in honour and for love of Christ. O Lord, let it be thy pleasure to deliver me; make haste O Lord to help me, Psalm 40 I have been hitherto a miserable sinner, but I beseech thee to deliver me both from my misery, and from my sin.

Secondly, what we are, penitent sinners; Thus holy Job observed himself when he said, wherefore I abhor my self and repent in dust and ashes, Job. Thirdly, what we resolve to be; amended sinners: Thus the Prophet Jeremiah adviseth us; therefore now amend your ways, Jer.

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The other observation must be of our Saviour, and that is also threefold, what he was, what he is, and what he will be. What he was in his humiliation, what he is in his exaltation, what he will be in his retribution. First, what he was in his humiliation; our Surety and pledge to undertake for us: surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows, Isa. And again, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, ver.

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For whom? Thus to draw neer to Christ, is to draw neer to him with a true heart, as we are commanded, Heb. A Carnal heart receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor.

For the soul though not named, must also be in the sacrifice, or else it cannot be a reasonable service. I will say to my soul, Soul take thine ease, eat drink and be merry, said the rich glutton, Luke What a great preparation is here to carnal joy? I will say unto my soul what a great proportion of it? For they cast up for the time to come, making that a part of their reckoning; and by that, their life longer in their fansie then tis truely in it self, or in Gods appointment: which is so unimaginable folly, that it causeth the Son of God to thwart his own instructions; and though he much dislike the language of thou fool, Matth.

Yet here he useth it, saying, verse Thou fool, this night thy soul shsll be required of thee. And the Jewish Authors tell us, that during those four daies, the Lamb was tyed to their bed-posts, that not only eating and drinking as Saint Paul requires of us, 1 Cor. And so will we too, if we have the true love and zeal of godliness, saying with those three holy men, for the same cause that they did, even our deliverance from the fiery furnace, not of temporary but of everlasting burnings, O ye servant of the Lord, bless ye the Lord, praise him and magnifie him for ever: O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord, praise him and magnifie him for ever: O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord, praise him and magnifie him for ever.

This is the zeal we should bring with us to this and all other our Christian Festivals, as the Prophet requireth, saying, If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thine own waies, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, Isa.

Thus did the primitive Christians keep their feasts, as is affirmed by Nazianzene, orat. Wherefore it shall be my labour and my prayer, so to keep all the Feasts which are kept truly in honour of my Saviour, That I may at last be a guest at his own wedding Feast, and be numbred among those of whom it is written, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage Supper of the Lamb, Rev.

And though I cannot deserve it by my service, yet I will hope by being his constant and faithful servant, That he who maketh the marriage Supper, will bestow on me the wedding garment, and clothe me with his own righteousness, that I may be a guest prepared to come to, and set at his heavenly table, to keep one everlasting Feast with him and his, world without end, Amen.

I T is the property of a sinner to run from God; and therefore no man that is a sinner, and looketh upon God as angry for his sins, can truly worship him: For he that will worship God, must come unto him; but he that looks upon God as angry, will be sure to flie from him. No wonder then if the Text saith, God heareth not sinners, John 9. Wherefore though Moses spake not one word of Enochs faith, yet Saint Paul takes it for as good a proof that Enoch had faith, because he pleased God; as that he pleased God, because God took him.

And is it possible that this faith should be in any man who is yet in his sins? Wherefore that Religion which hath not the Son, hath not life; and the Religion which hath not life, what can it have but death? And indeed these three excellencies among many other, do give to the Christian Religion the preheminence above all other Religions. So that no Jew could have this opinion of his own Religion, that it taught a way of expiating sin, unless he would be mad, that he might be thought religious; for there is no room for any the least probability against an absolute impossibility; but the Apostle saith it is not possible.

And yet Saint Peter doth moreover add piety, bidding the husband and wife to dwel together, that their prayers be not hindred, 1 Pet. Others may look only after pleasure, or profit; but Saint Peter bids all Christians look after prayer and piety in their marriages. GOD cannot be rightly worshipped by those, by whom he is not truly known nor loved; and he cannot be truly known or loved by those who know and love him not in Christ; For he is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, Heb.

Whether a man can love God save only in Christ? Whether a man can love God in Christ, till Christ be revealed or manifested to his soul? And let not my profit be the impediment of my piety; for what is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? For himself hath told me, If any man will do his will, he shall know of the Doctrine whether it be of God, John 7. And Saint John saith expresly, hereby we do know that we do know him, if we keep his Commandments, 1 John 2. Telling us of a twofold knowledge of God and of Christ, the one inefficacious to salvation, such as hypocrites may have, who know God, but glorifie him not as God, Rom.

And Saint Matthew applieth it unto him in the eighth verse, He trusted in God, let him deliver him now if he will have him; Saint John in the eighteenth verse, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots: And Saint Paul in the twenty second verse, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the Church will I praise thee, Heb. O ye that are mad and sensless, who hath bewitched you not to obey the truth?

Take away Christ from the glory, and you were as good take away the glory from God: And again, unto him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end, Eph 3. If they worship him now by his Son, they may so worship him for ever: But if they worship him now by any other Mediator, they are sure they must leave that worship behind them, when they leave this world: and therefore they are on the surer side who had rather not take it, then be forced to leave it.

And why then should we otherwise continue or conclude then they have begun it? Will they join with us in this our new worship?

Fasting #6 Nehemiah Fasted

Since they glorifie God only in Christ, how shall we venter to glorifie him in any other? How shall we dare to do it, and not think to make his Doctrine as well as our own worship, both alike questionable? Doth not the blood of Christ speak better things then the blood of Abel to my soul? Is it not folly in me to leave the better and take the worse?

Nay is it not impiety in me to neglect the Son of God, and go a gadding after the sons of men? Can I bestow any of my hope in praying to Saints and Angels, and none of my Faith and Charity go along with it? Can I devote my self too much to a true Invocation? Lord, we desire so to know thee as to love thee, so to love thee as to worship thee, so to worship thee as to glorifie thee, so to glorifie thee in this world, as to be glorified by thee in the world to come; Thou hast commanded us to forsake all to follow thee; Lord make us readily to obey this command, that we may so follow thee, as at last to come to thee, to be with thee, and to abide in thee for ever.

For at Saint Luke gives a full definition of Christs Gospel, when he calleth it a Treatise of those things which Jesus did do and teach, Acts 1. Thus did the holy Apostles follow their Master with their eyes and with their hearts, when they could not follow him with their bodies; They looked stedfastly towards heaven, as he went up, Acts 1.

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven. But Saint Luke describeth the Ascention with the sending down of the Holy Ghost, which was not till ten daies after our Saviour Christ was actually ascended, as appears, Acts 1. The first apparition was to Mary Magdalen alone, as saith St.

  1. The Parallel Lives of Women and Cows: Meat Markets (Critical Studies in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture);
  2. Shaba II: The French and Belgian Intervention in Zaire in 1978.
  3. ~ Eternity (1) - The Prophet's Call.
  4. Account Options.
  5. Confessions & Enchiridion.
  6. Mac! When Running Away is the Best Option?
  7. Prayers for Challenging Times.
  8. Mark, Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalen, out of whom he had cast seven Devils, Mark Which must needs be the grand comfort of any sinfull, and sin-sick man that though he hath very impure and unclean thoughts and inclinations which do possess him, like so many devils, yet if he fly to his Saviour for relief, he will immediately cast out those devils, and likewise shew himself unto him in the bright beams of his grace and mercy, as soon as to others that can boast of a much greater Purity: But yet sure this first appearing of Christ to Mary Magdalen, did neither give nor bespeak her any priviledge or prerogative above others; It only shewed that he who came into the world to save sinners, would not have them discouraged or dis-heartned because of their sins, after their consciences had been throughly purged from dead works by faith and repentance.

    Yet some men in these latter ages of the Church, thinking those had a real preheminence above others to whom Christ first shewed himself after his resurrection, would needs phansie our blessed Saviour to have appeared first to his own Mother; So Durand in his Rationals, lib. The like is Baronius his Logick, Anno Christi It seems he thought not of the reliques, or happily he would not have disproved them; but tis evident he thought of the text, and cared not to disprove that; This is the jumbling of Scripture, which some will rather use then want arguments to justifie their own parties or phansies; One saith the Latine was first written, though the Hebrew and Greek be first named; others say, though Mary Magdalen was first named, yet she was not first meant, but that the blessed Virgin Mary must step in before her.

    These Divines are not so moderate, so ingenuous in their Divinity, as Gregory Naz. O my God, let me never cease to prepare for thee spices and ointments, even the sweet odours of praise and thanksgiving joyned with the tears of an unfeigned repentance and the oyle of good works, that the Sun of righteousness may arise to me with healing in his wings, and shew me the light of his countenance, and I may be healed of all those wounds whereby I have so long weakned, and so grievously tormented mine own soul. The same reason is in effect given by Saint Chrysostome, as saith the learned Causabone, in these words, because he alone had denyed his Master, and had reason to be afraid of appearing in his presence.

    O my God, give unto me a heart truly sorrowful for what evil I have committed and daily do commit, that thou maist give unto me a heart truly thankful for what good I have received and daily do receive, and that thou maist make me fully capable of receiving the greatest good thou hast in store for a penitent sinner, even the forgiveness of my sins, and the comfortable assurance of that forgiveness sealed unto my conscience by the Testimony of thy holy spirit, and the amendment of mine own sinful life, that so thou maist shew unto me the merits of my Saviour, and give unto me the joy of his salvation.

    And how was it that he appeared to those two? They were making great lamentation that the cheif Priests and Rulers had condemned to death and crucified one that was a Prophet mighty indeed and word before God and all the people, vers. Is it not a most terrible sight to see a whole member at once torn away from Christ's mystical body? For God the Holy-Ghost made those Lamentations, and the Prophet uttered them in the person of God the Son; So that the badness of the occasion being more then recompenced by the goodness of the company, let him sigh with himself and say, Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?

    For he may well say this, when he cannot but say what follows, cap. Thus it is for want of joy and admiration that we dayly turn unbelievers, whereas the Apostles did not yet believe for joy and wonder; therefore were they the more true believers; for what kept them from believing, did in truth strengthen their belief. That is then, and not till then, he appeared to them, when they were thus prepared to receive him.

    The Wise Masterbuilder Series: Practical Principles of Powerful Prayer

    O my God, make me zealously to follow all those means which thou hast given me of knowing thy eternal Son, my blessed Lord and Saviour; that pursuing after those means with an active industry, I may overtake them with a happy speed, and lay hold on them with immortal joy, and make use of them with unwearied care and constancy: Let me never absent my self from the assemblies and meetings of thy Apostles, the guides and governours of thy Church, for fear I should lose the opportunity of seeing thee, whilst I am absent from them; For thou hast promised to be with them alway, even to the end of the world; if therefore I will not be with them, how can I hope thou wilt be with me?

    For how shall they know thee, to whom thou dost not reveal thy self? Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, Luke Thou hast the words of eternal life: John 6 For surely our blessed Saviour did not bring down with him the words of eternal life to carry them back again to heaven, but to leave them here on Earth; and where hath he left them, if not in the holy Scriptures? Wherefore since Christ himself alledged the Scriptures to confirme the Apostles in their faith, who yet believed because they had seen him with their their own eyes, John Thomas was now with the rest of the Apostles, Joh.

    And those two spoken of by S. James alone, 1 Cor. Pauls words, 1 Cor. Peters first Sermon were but Luke in the Acts; whereas Saint Luke saith not there were then in Jerusalem, but Having given this hint only out of zeal to Gods holy word, which must sway my faith against the practice of whole Churches, much more against the phansies of private men, I pass to the words which our blessed Saviour spake immediately before he ascended; for without all question he then again repeated them, though he had spoken them several times before; Saint Luke records them as spoken on the very day of his Resurrection, Luke Saint John records them as spoken, also on the very same day, John Saint Mathew records them as spoken after that day, sc.

    And doubtless, if we seriously consier the words themselves, we shall easily see and willingly confess, that as they did concern the constitution of the Church at that time, so they do concern the constitution of the Church at this day, and will concern both its constitution and conservation to the worlds end. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost The Apostles were commanded to baptize in this form for three reasons; 1. To shew that here was nothing of humane invention or power to be given or received in baptism, which was in the name of God only.

    And this efficacy of Baptism is more fully expressed by Saint Mark saying, He that believeth and is Baptized, shall be saved, Mark And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. This was the answer that put Moses to silence, though he had been almost refractory in objecting that he was slow of speech; Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say, Exod.

    But where are these commands? Are they, or any of them, devolved down unto us only by unwritten Tradition? Nay more, yet Preacheth; for the reading of the law of Moses is called Preaching, Acts For Moses of old time hath in every City them that preach him, being read in the Synagogues every Sabbath day, and if reading in the Law of Moses was Preaching, who dares deny it to be so in the Law of Christ? And without doubt, our blessed Saviour took such a course, that the main effect of his words should be so engraven as to be both lasting and legible, to the worlds end, when himself hath said, that heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away: Mat.

    Saint Luke records this for one of them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the father, Acts 1. Wherefore the Ministers of the Gospel, rightly ordained, are no less blessed then they are hallowed in their callings, whatever they may be, or may be thought in their persons and may comfortably make this answer to their Revilers and Persecutors, Though they curse, yet bless thou, and let thy servants rejoyce, Psal.

    May we not here put Indulgentiam for Indignationem, and avow that it came from our Saviours own mouth by unwritten Tradition? He was received up into heaven. Let the man after Gods own heart both ask and answer this question for us, Psalm Surely to teach us, how we may soonest have comfort from this his title to heaven; nay after some sort be sharers in it, claiming heaven as a reward, but of our Saviours, not of our own righteousness; or rather as a reward of his righteousness, but made ours. Earth in it self moves furthest from heaven, but in the body of Christ, earth moved towards heaven, nay earth went up into heaven: And the reason is given by Saint Paul, Phil.

    Who shall change our vile body, that it may be like his glorious body. Fourthly and lastly, they shall also be spiritual and subtle without any sluggishness. It is good for me to hold me fast by God, to put my trust in the Lord God, there's the strength of perswasion; And to speak of all thy works in the gates of the daughter of Sion, theres the strength of affection; first in the exercise of devotion, to speak. Secondly in the extent of it, of all thy works. Thirdly in the profession of it, in the gates. Fourthly in the integrity or purity of it, in the gates of the daughter of Sion: What pitty is it that we who out-pass others in the purity of our devotions, should come far short of them in the profession, extension and exercise of the same?

    That we who are in the daughter of Sion, should come short of those who we say, are under the Whore of Babylon? It was he that loved us, it is by him that we are more then Conquerours: Let me fight the good fight of faith, that I may have my Saviours love, and though all the Nimrods and mischiefs of this wicked world prevail against me, yet none of them shall conquer me. But the place from which our blessed Saviour ascended into heaven, is called Mount Olivet, Act. Can you drink of his cup, without fear it may overcome your weak Stomack, since the fear of it made him offer up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, Heb.

    But Aquinas in 3. In regard of the office of the Priesthood, which was to reconcile the sinners, and expiate the sin. In regard of the outward calling to that office, for no man might take that honour to himself, but he that was called of God as was Aaron. Accordingly our Saviour Christ was pleased to be made man, that he might be capable of being our high Priest, to intercede for us and to have compassion on us: And he did actually undertake this office of the Priest-hood, in reconciling sinners and in expiating sin; nor did he undertake this office without being thereunto called of God, as was Aaron.

    Surely when thou didst first say, And ye shall be witnesses unto me unto the uttermost parts of the earth, Acts 1. Tis true that his first witnesses forsook him and fled, Mar. Then all the Disciples forsook him and fled, saith Saint Matthew, Mat. Ascendit Deus in jubilatione, God is ascended with a shout. Those authorities were spoken prophetically of God the Son, in respect to his Incarnation: And a more truly Angelical Doctor did in effect so determine long before him, and that was Saint Paul, when he applyed those words of Psalm Adstantem ad dexteram Dei, i.

    Most heavenly is that contemplation of Tertullian, lib. Our blessed Saviour as he gave unto us the earnest of his Spirit, so he took of us the earnest of our flesh, and carried that with him into heaven, as a pledge that all the rest should follow after it: Be secure then O flesh and blood, for ye have already ascended into heaven, and do even now, in Christ your head, possess and enjoy the Kingdom of God. Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God. Excellently Damascence lib. IT is not to be denyed but that our Saviour Christ, doth as he is a man, sit at the right hand of God: For he doth sit there in his humane nature, whether we take his sitting at the right hand of God for his resting in eternal blessedness, after all the travails and labours of his sufferings, as Saint Augustine doth, in Expos.

    For so himself hath told us, Mat. For the office of his Mediatorship will then be at an end, no less as King. Quis est qui sedit ad dexteram patris? The Man Christ: For as God, he was alwayes with his Father, and of his Father; and when he came to us, did not depart from him; Therefore Christ was alwayes at the right hand of his Father, as God; but since his ascension, he is there also as Man. IF it be demanded, whether to sit at the right hand of God be proper only to Christ, it must be answered, Yes: For none else is, none else can be there but only he.

    For by this argument doth the holy Apostle prove him to be the Son of God, Heb. But to which of the Angels said he at any time, Sit thou on my right hand? Laus Deo will reflect directly on him, no less then on the Father and the Holy Ghost, for the blessed administration of his Kingdom, but Virginique Matri Mariae may securely be left out, and is blasphemously and idolatrously put in, since the blessed Virgin her self must needs think it robbery to be equal with her Son, when her Son thinks it no robbery, to be equal with God.

    Just be specific and practical. Encourage — Caregiving is an emotional and spiritual journey. Caregivers need a shoulder to cry on, someone to pray with, and someone to laugh with. Bring her coffee and chocolate. Text her a link to a devotional that encouraged you. Send her flowers. Recording artist and author Plumb has stayed true to herself since her debut in If she adds an instrument, she asks herself if she is adding it because it appeared in a recent Billboard article, or is she doing it for authenticity?

    Or I thought it was healed and gone. Following the release of two consecutive successful albums, Need You Now and Exhale, Plumb toured with Big Daddy Weave in and performed in cities. Being a mother to two tweens and a teen has humbled her, and she realized the importance extending grace to others and herself. Seeing divisions in families or turmoil faced from tough circumstances helps her to be intentional to love and embrace her children. Reflecting on her latest release, Plumb reminds us that even though we might all be broken, that is not our identity. I believe we are seeing more spiritual warfare today than ever before.

    Once an anointed cherub, Satan allowed his beauty to corrupt him. When God expelled him from heaven, Satan took a third of the angels with him as allies. That means war. For example, years ago, I co-led a Bible class for ladies. My friend taught a month and then she handed off the class to me for a month. The moment my turn came to take over teaching, negative thoughts bombarded my mind. You are too stupid to teach. Such attacks undercut my.

    That means he can command the elements as well as influence people to carry out his plans. Several years back, the devil turned his attention to my husband, Ray, who serves as a teaching elder at our church. He was sick five days before doctors diagnosed him, and all that time the virus destroyed brain cells. Church members worried they would never hear Ray teach again because the infection was severe.

    However, the pastor called a special prayer meeting, and people all over the world prayed. Despite a damaged area in his brain, Ray can function today as if he were never sick. His recovery ranks in the top three percent of people who suffered the same disease. God healed him. Third, as you can see from my stories, God provides the means and authority to oppose our enemy. If we put on the armor of God, pray, and stand against the evil one, he will have to run. Be confident you can defeat the enemy because we stand with God. Olympic team in At the age of 22, she became the head coach for the Lady Vols at the University of Tennessee.

    She worked hard and expected her players to have the same strong work ethic. It was always electrifying to attend a game, as Coach Summit intensified the sport with her enthusiasm and definite coaching style. But off the court, she always had time for her players, whether it was writing letters of encouragement to new recruits, having the team to her home for dinner, or attending church with several players or coaches. We had the opportunity to watch an amazing coach for the six years we lived in Knoxville, Tennessee. Pat Summitt lived a life of discipline, hard work and courage as she battled major obstacles in the sports world.

    She loved basketball, and she loved Jesus. When she was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of 59, Summitt courageously continued working with her assistant coaches and used her gifts to encourage her players to always give their best to the game and to life. Only five years after she was diagnosed, Summitt died at the age of She touched thousands of lives, not only on the basketball court, but across America and the world.

    Be strong and courageous. Each time I watched her in action on the basketball court, I was impressed with her firm commitment to do what she had been born to do. Her principles reached out to women, young and old, and encouraged many to be courageous and push beyond what they thought they were capable of achieving. Hard work and integrity were the hallmarks of her coaching style. She wanted her girls to succeed, not only on the basketball court and life, but also in the classroom.

    The players were required to attend all classes, and they had to sit in the first two rows. She was a leader who left a legacy that influenced impacted many. Her faith in Christ and her courageous spirit were evident in every area of her life. Whenever we reach out and encourage a friend to take a step of faith or invite someone to eat at our dining room table, we are leaving a legacy. My hope is that we would be the true friend and always point them to Jesus. She was a mother figure to many of her players, which included feeding then around her dinner table. One of the recipes she always served at her home was printed in the Knoxville Sentinel and has become one of our favorite side dishes.

    I think sharing this recipe is a beautiful way to recognize and honor the amazing woman of courage that Pat Summitt was. Use yellow or white corn if shoepeg not available. I use butter. Melt butter and cream cheese together and pour over the corn. Stir together while adding jalapeno slices.

    You can add a little jalapeno juice to the mix if you like. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Available autographed from PenelopeCarlevato. Choosing a word of the year helps me let God define my year before it even begins. I gave those up a long time ago. Instead, I choose a word of the year. And that was definitely part of what He had to share with me.

    With this, my word had begun to move from negative to positive. I was less inclined to react with hurt and anger to the things and people I came into contact with. This proved incredibly important as my online interactions have continued to grow. I thought those things made for a full application for one four-letter word, but God had even more for me. I learned I needed to switch my focus to being more prayerful and more thankful. This has allowed me to deal with things that are stressful and situations that make me fearful in a more fruitful way.

    Like the unfolding flowers of spring, God is opening my eyes to what it means to fill my social media feeds and blogs with the fullness of Him. Through stories, practical application, examples of prayers, and guided reflection, she leads you toward a more powerful prayer life! That will help you become more creative. Schedule time to be creative. That also includes the secret power of rest. We need to let our mind rest and empty it of problems and negative thoughts and comments. Then we have room to be creative. I can dream and start anything and then see what sticks or what beckons me to continue.

    Problems need solutions. When we view them as challenges and puzzles to solve, we approach them more creatively. Instead of complaining or dwelling on the obstacle, we look for ideas that will fix the difficulty or provide something new in place of a problem. Take a walk in a zoo or garden. Look at what God made. Look at the humorous creations and be amazed by the intricacies. Let creation inspire your imagination. It is that power I pray for and that power I have received.

    Scientists study creativity, trying to find it in the human mind when it really flows from God. So, how do we tap into creativity and use it? First, some basics. One cannot create high fashion without first learning to sew and understand fabrics. In any area where I wanted to be creative, from puppetry to writing, I studied the basics. Rejoice in failure. The process of being creative includes practice and trial and error. Be willing — and. I like to have someone give me a theme or problem to pray about.

    I pray until God nudges me to open my mind. Then ideas pour out. I write the ideas out and then reflect on which ones to try. Getting together with other creatives is a huge blessing, a time when ideas run wild. We capture the best and laugh at the most absurd. Take the risk, and open your mind to ideas, thoughts and nudges from God. Let that creativity start from your innermost being, the inner fibers of your soul that God wove. I love that I can wander around the town. I love to sit in the church and let the cares of the day drain away.

    Does that sound familiar to any of you? Shucks, sometimes I suspect we all treat the word rest as if it were a bad word. But eventually, we pay the price for countless action-packed days. So, knowing my crazy schedule and my seeming inability to say no when asked to do something, I had to laugh when God answered my prayers for a word for this year and the one He sent was rest. We can accomplish so much more when our bodies are rested.

    Getting some rest makes a huge difference. That 30 minutes of reading, a short nap or heading outdoors into the sunshine often gives me the oomph I need to finish the afternoon workload. I want to hear from you. Matthew says,. The best place to start is with Jesus. Fire completely consumed the possession of a local family, leaving them clinging to the memories of the past and uncertain about the future. Flood waters swept through, carrying away hope in its path. What these situations have in common is a feeling of having portions of your life consumed by circumstances beyond your control.

    I empathize with those walking through this pain because I have experienced it. The circumstances may not be the same, but the feeling of emptiness, grief and hopelessness are understood. How can He give back what appears to be forever lost? After the locusts are done, there is no viable sign of life left in the situation. All that is left is the debris of what once was and now is no more. Have these feeling ever been a part of your story? Are there seasons in your life when you were surrounded by loss? In the midst of the questions and the despair, God promises something that sounds impossible.

    What are the most painful years of your life? Return to the place where the locusts consumed the blessings in your life and left you with bitterness, fear and doubt. Return with the promise that God will restore the years. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me Psalm , NIV. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds Hosea , NIV. Lamentations , NIV. Of course! God not only had my joy, He had my dread, grief and fear, not to mention my future.

    No matter what happened next, He would be there and He would see me through. The stellar cast made the characters live and breathe, just as Eva and I had first imagined them. That night, when I put my head on my hotel room pillow, I could still feel the thrill of the evening, but I could also feel my heart sink. So, mixed with my feelings of joy, I also felt feelings of dread, grief, and extreme fear of the future.

    My heart pounded and my eyes stared into the darkness surrounding me. The next morning, I flew home, and within twentyfour hours, my dog was recovering from surgery, my family member was recovering from his dilemma and I was still experiencing amazing peace because I knew God was on the move. He had it. He had it all. But as soon as I remembered that God had my life in His hand, I no longer needed to worry. So no matter what fears we face, we do not need to behave as though we are facing them alone.

    Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. No squall will ever destroy us. No wave will ever capsize us. We can be at peace. If you are feeling rundown, overlooked, and in desperate need of someone to help you see your potential, my friends Beth and Rhonda have a message for you. I wrote this book to help you know how to position yourself, so you can break through to your miracle.

    There are also group discussion questions for small groups. This is a much-needed resource that offers hope even when the outcome may not be what we think we want. I will be ordering several copies of the book to give to friends. Roberts, Amazon Reviewer. I was given this book in exchange for a review. However, I am currently purchasing two now as gifts because of the impact it is having on me.

    At first I assumed this book would be another book about understanding your aging parents. However, I was pleasantly pleased to find that this book deals with my heart in the midst of dealing with my reality. This book addresses real emotional issues I deal with, including issues that have existed between your parents and you previously.


    It does not assume that everything between your parents and you is perfect. It has also been helpful to know that other people experience similar things as I have and I do. It is practical and points you to the Lord, growing your relationship with Him as you work daily to take care of others.

    Beautifully done. Bohannon, Amazon Reviewer. She brings the strong, mature vocals and upbeat, delightfully quirky, always optimistic pop style fans love about her music to the long-awaited project. I want to walk in all of it. I want to own it! And I want that for everyone who listens too. Planetshakers is skilled at putting together live session recordings that capture the infectious authenticity of worship in congregational settings and delivering that same experience of pressing into God into the living room, prayer closet, kitchen — anywhere. Rain Part 1 is no exception. Following close behind this installment is Rain Part 2 released April 12, It declares that we can overcome with His help, no matter the trials we face.

    You know, if it were actually a word? And then I see somebody run into a door while texting and it all suddenly becomes very clear. Because, let me tell you, I can laugh for a good twenty minutes. Not just a little, under-the-breath chortle either. Then tears. Then snorting. That kind of laughter. Videos of people stumbling? Like a muscle or a spleen or whatever. I have a lot of stamina. You will laugh. In His day, these words of Jesus were groundbreaking. He changed the way people thought about joy. Outside of Christ, people generally understand happiness to be all wrapped up in their ability to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

    Embracing the gospel causes us to look at every single one of those Beatitudes in an entirely new light. That I will think more like Jesus and look more like Jesus and be more like Jesus. And that He will be my joy. And that it will morph into all kinds of laughter. Even the wheezy-snorty kind. But this, what God is currently calling me to surrender, indefinitely, will take my most earnest prayers and every ounce of strength I possess.

    This thing cuts to the core of my hopes and dreams, triggers insecurities and fear and ultimately, reveals where my heart truly lies. So what is this thing that God calls me, persistently, to relinquish? My agenda. My time and my to-do list. Or perhaps I should say, easier. And help me to obey You.

    Help me to give up everything to follow after You. My prayers sound more like complaints and longwinded requests than commitments to my Savior. This is my greatest, most fervent and frequent battle — the battle against self, saturated in pride and selfishness. But Christ calls me to love — not with the conditional, temporary, convenient love our world offers, but the kind He demonstrated when He stripped himself of all His heavenly glory, took on flesh, and died in my selfish, prideful place. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

    This, Scripture says, is the same attitude I am to have. Often, my prayers are centered on me—on what God wants me to do or not do, on how I wish things would turn out. And each time, God answers, but not in the way I expect. If I want to be used by God and touch lives for eternity, to avoid the dangerous pitfalls of sin, my life must be touched first by the transforming power of God, the God who shows me how to love, to surrender, and to give all of myself no matter the cost.

    Even if it means surrendering everything I hold dear. This is the call. Help me. Do whatever you need to within me to make me pliable in Your hands, a cleansed and open vessel always and ready to do Your will and Your will only. Get fresh-brewed inspiration like this, delivered free each morning with Arise Daily! Sign up at arisedaily. She is also a best-selling author, an in-demand speaker, and president of Right to the Heart ministries.

    She lives in Colorado with husband, Paul, and son, Jimmy. She is a writer, speaker, and multiaward-winning editor, having spent 23 years in the magazine industry. Amber is the owner of barefacedcreative and provides branding, graphic design and communications and support for authors, nonprofits and missionaries. She lives in Ashland, Ohio, with her husband, Jerry Duewel. They have three grown children. When they are not traveling to speak on marriage or family, you will find them at home on their live-aboard boat in Southern California.

    She is president of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, serves on several boards, and coaches aspiring writers and speakers. She lives in the St. Louis area with her pastor-hubs and has five grown children. COX is an author, speaker, and the creator of the Just 18 Summers parenting resources and products. Visit her parenting blog www.