Category Archives: Money / Finances / Wealth

The Light of the Righteous Rejoices, but the Lamp of the Wicked Goes Out.

Proverbs 13

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1A wise son accepts his father’s discipline,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

      2From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good,
But the desire of the treacherous is violence.

      3The one who guards his mouth preserves his life;
The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

      4The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
But the soul of the diligent is made fat.

      5A righteous man hates falsehood,
But a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.

      6Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless,
But wickedness subverts the sinner.

      7There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing;
Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.

      8The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth,
But the poor hears no rebuke.

      9The light of the righteous rejoices,
But the lamp of the wicked goes out.

      10Through insolence comes nothing but strife,
But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

      11Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles,
But the one who gathers by labor increases it.

      12Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

      13The one who despises the word will be in debt to it,
But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.

      14The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn aside from the snares of death.

      15Good understanding produces favor,
But the way of the treacherous is hard.

      16Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool displays folly.

      17A wicked messenger falls into adversity,
But a faithful envoy brings healing.

      18Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline,
But he who regards reproof will be honored.

      19Desire realized is sweet to the soul,
But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil.

      20He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

      21Adversity pursues sinners,
But the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity.

      22A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

      23Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor,
But it is swept away by injustice.

      24He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

      25The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
But the stomach of the wicked is in need.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Commendation of Wisdom

I really need add nothing more to explain Proverbs 8. Wisdom, godly wisdom, is worth pursuing and praying for… worth studying the Bible to learn.

Proverbs 8

The Commendation of Wisdom

1Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?

2On top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

3Beside the gates, at the opening to the city,
At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:

4“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.

5“O naive ones, understand prudence;
And, O fools, understand wisdom.

6“Listen, for I will speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.

7“For my mouth will utter truth;
And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8“All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.

9“They are all straightforward to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.

10“Take my instruction and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choicest gold.

11“For wisdom is better than jewels;
And all desirable things cannot compare with her.

12“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And I find knowledge and discretion.

13“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.

14“Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, power is mine.

15“By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.

16“By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.

17“I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.

18“Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness.

19“My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield better than choicest silver.

20“I walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,

21To endow those who love me with wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

22“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.

23“From everlasting I was established,
From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.

24“When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no springs abounding with water.

25“Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills I was brought forth;

26While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,
Nor the first dust of the world.

27“When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,

28When He made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became fixed,

29When He set for the sea its boundary
So that the water would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;

30Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,

31Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.

32“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.

33“Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.

34“Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.

35“For he who finds me finds life
And obtains favor from the LORD.

36“But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.”

 

The Prayer of Jabez

Almost buried in a section of historical family lineage in 1 Chronicles is a brief excerpt, limited to two verses, about a man named Jabez for whom God answered his prayer. Like so many parts of scripture, it is waiting for us to find it and explore the depths of God’s word, like buried treasure.

It is worthwhile to pause and reflect on these verses.

1 Chronicles:9-10

9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Quite some time ago, someone wrote a book about “the prayer of Jabez” and people got almost in a craze about it. The problem is that many focused on only his prayer. They wanted to turn it into some formula whereby if anyone repeats the words they force God to bless them also. However, this is not how a relationship with the Lord works. We don’t control Him. We don’t get His power by rehearsing specific words like some sort of spell.

Matthew 6:7-8

     7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The prayer of Jabez was an honorable prayer. He asked for God’s blessing and asked for God’s protection from harm. These are good things to pray for. Let us also take care not to overlook that he also asked for God’s hand to be with Him and he was honorable in his life.

Jabez was not simply asking for more land and less pain, but also for a relationship with God and living his life in accordance with what God directed.

The path to living with the peace and joy of the Lord is one of submitting to him and building relationship with him. You can not and should not try to skip the relationship with God in pursuit of controlling him to give you the outcomes you want. As you build relationship with him, you will also discover that the relationship is the real treasure… that his hand would be with us.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Timeless Wisdom

Proverbs contains timeless wisdom we should still be teaching our children. Do not become financially responsible for someone else’s debts. Do not be lazy. Plan ahead for your future. Even the ants do that. Do not speak with perverse mouth or speak wicked things. Do not devise evil or stir up strife. In particular, there is much emphasis on avoiding adultery.

Proverbs 6

     Parental Counsel

     1My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
Have given a pledge for a stranger,

2If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,

3Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.

4Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;

5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

6Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,

7Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,

8Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

9How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?

10“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—

11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

12A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,

13Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;

14Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.

15Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

16There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:

17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,

18A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,

19A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.

20My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;

21Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.

22When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.

23For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life

24To keep you from the evil woman,
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

25Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.

26For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,
And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.

27Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?

28Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?

29So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.

30Men do not despise a thief if he steals
To satisfy himself when he is hungry;

31But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold;
He must give all the substance of his house.

32The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense;
He who would destroy himself does it.

33Wounds and disgrace he will find,
And his reproach will not be blotted out.

34For jealousy enrages a man,
And he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

35He will not accept any ransom,
Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Spending and Debt – The Christmas Hangover

Sharing this message originally written by our partnership website, GrowGodsMoney.org.

Christmas is over and many of us are back at work. This is a good time to reflect on how we celebrate Christmas and brace for the credit card bills that are coming our way in January.  A good time to reflect on the last few weeks and look ahead with a plan for next Christmas.

Most people in our culture get drawn into the heavy marketing and traditions of the season which tell us that we should buy many things for everyone we know in order to show them that we love them or even care about them. As a result, they are facing heavy credit card debt from well-intended spending. For those who put it on a credit card and can not pay it off right away they will now also pay high interest until it is paid off, increasing the bill for the season.

It goes well beyond the money alone. Gift exchanging actually becomes a stressful distraction from celebrating Christ at Christmas. It can consume even those with the best intent for one whole month out of every year. It centers gift giving and getting as the important part of celebrating instead of Jesus Christ.

While you are experiencing your Christmas financial hangover, please consider a few alternatives or suggestions for next year.

1- Reduce the number of people for whom you buy gifts.

Buying gifts for everyone you know is not necessary. Instead of buying gifts out of obligation for many with whom you are not close, just make a point to be nice to them all year round. Treat them with kindness and sensitivity and they will know you care for them even if you do not give them a gift. If they only like you when they receive a gift, then they are not really your friend anyway. If you are concerned they will buy for you and you will not have something for them, just have a real conversation with them about managing your expenses and budget responsibly and encourage them not to give something to you. If they are not close enough to you to have this conversation, then why are you even exchanging gifts with them? In some cases, it may be very important to someone close to you to exchange gifts… go ahead if you want to.

2- Reduce how much you spend on each person

Contrary to advertising… you do not need to buy a car, a diamond, gold jewelry, expensive electronics, etc. for people just because it is Christmas. If you don’t show them you love them throughout the year, you will not fool them with an expensive gift in December. For those with whom you want to give or exchange presents, you can set a reasonable budget for each person and then stick to it. This helps you set your overall Christmas budget in a predictable instead of impulsive way.

3- Save up your Christmas budget in advance and avoid credit cards you can not pay back before you have to pay interest.

Once you decide who you will get gifts for and how much to spend, you have a good estimate for your budget planning. Now divide by 11 and start saving it each month starting in January and continuing through November. Inevitably you will still have surprise expenses in December from the season’s activities, so you don’t plan on taking money for gifts from that months budget.

4- You can even consider replacing your current gift exchange traditions with a donation to a charity or family in need… someone you can give to in God’s name with no hope of receiving a gift in return. You will spend less money and honor God more.

5- Simply agree not to exchange presents. Enjoy spending time together without the high expense and extra distraction.

If you find yourself condemning me as “Grinch”… I do not mind. You are not alone, but you are in fact also not correct. If Christmas is all about giving and getting gifts as the centerpiece and focus, then it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ and is simply a pagan festival where people want to get a lot of expensive stuff from each other. I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically reject giving (and receiving) gifts on the basis of obligation.

The alternative is to recognize that gifts are intended not as the focus, but as a means of showing those closest to us that we were thinking of them. That does not require spending lots of money, despite what our culture would have us believe. Besides, you can  give gifts to those you love any time during the year… it does not all have to be at Christmas.

Many tell us that giving gifts is a tradition originated to honor God’s gift to us in the birth of Jesus Christ or because of the acts of the real man who came to be known as Saint Nicholas. Though many give with this in mind, the fact is that this is not the accurate origin of gift exchange. In fact gift giving to children in late December did not start with Christian origins, but rather as part of a pagan celebration of the sun god, Saturnalia, in ancient Rome. It is easy to research for yourself… even in Christian history encyclopedias such as by Zondervan.

Let’s explore the gift giving tradition further and test if it is even consistent with celebrating Jesus’ birth according to the principles of the Biblical record of that glorious event. Does this tradition point to or honor God, or is it just a tradition of men and a potential distraction from God?

Mary and Joseph did not get gifts for one another or even for Jesus and they knew who He was and that He would be born soon. The shepherds came to celebrate and honor God. They did what they were commanded by God to do… which did not involve bringing gifts. The wise men did not even come when Jesus was born… contrary to common tradition.  Scripture tells us they came and found Jesus in a house, not a manger. Herod killed all the male children two years and younger… not a week and younger, or even a few months and younger. It was likely they arrived over a year after Jesus was born. When they did come, they brought gifts to honor God. They did not exchange gifts with each other, nor did they expect to receive gifts in return from Joseph and Mary. I should not fail to mention that God came down as Jesus to die for us and while this is a great gift, He expects no gift from us in return.

So if you really want to focus on giving gifts to honor Christian traditions… give in a way that honors God to those who will not be able to give anything in return and convince others to do the same. You will honor God more, find more joy instead of stress, and spend less.

If suggestions number 4-5 seem overwhelming… start with suggestions number 1-3. The less focus you put on gift exchange, the more focus you will find is available to consider God’s gift to us in the person of Jesus Christ. You will have more time and less stress to enjoy the holidays and hopefully next year you will not have the Christmas hangover in January.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Be Faithful Unto Death so that You Get the Crown of Life

We are continuing to examine and reflect on the letters Yeshua sent through John in Revelation to the seven churches of Asia. They were written for a specific audience long ago, but have broad applicability for us as well. Let us test our walk and our church against these encouragements and rebukes.

Message to Smyrna

      8“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:

      9‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

Once again, Yeshua introduces the letter with a reminder that He is one with the Father, He is the first and the last. Further, He reminds them that He is the one who died and was raised. He is not unaware of the struggles they are experiencing… tribulation, poverty, and false teaching.

Yeshua warns them that they are about to suffer difficulty so that they will be tested. He encourages them to be faithful unto death so that they would receive the crown of life from Yeshua. We should likewise take heed when we experience hardship and testing.

It would appear the second death may appear to those who are cast into hell in separation from YHWH. Those who are faithful in life, will not be hurt by the second death.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Avoid The Christmas Hangover – Spending, Debt, and Stress

Christmas is a holiday with many competing areas of focus. Some manage to stay focused on the Lord, but there are many distractions. Some focus on family, but one can easily get caught up in a month long stress about the “perfect holiday” and “who is or is not coming” and “do we have the perfect gifts for everyone”,  etc. I have seen people who strive to genuinely follow Jesus yield a month of every year to stress associated with the Christmas holiday.

Others get lost in debt, convinced by marketing and our culture that to celebrate Christmas requires spending lots of money, often money they don’t have. For the record, even “good sales” cost you money unless you were going to buy that item anyway. It costs even more if you buy other stuff along with the thing that was on sale. That is why the companies selling you things run the sales… to make money, not to save you money! Often this debt creates stress that lasts for months after Christmas is over as the credit card bills roll in.

Rather than waiting for that after Christmas “hangover” to set in along with the credit card bills and extra 5 pounds you put on by eating too much… consider challenging some of the holiday cultural norms.

1- Reduce the number of people for whom you buy gifts.

Buying gifts for everyone you know is not necessary. Instead of buying gifts out of obligation for many with whom you are not close, just make a point to be nice to them all year round. Treat them with kindness and sensitivity and they will know you care for them even if you do not give them a gift. If they only like you when they receive a gift, then they are not really your friend anyway. If you are concerned they will buy for you and you will not have something for them, just have a real conversation with them about managing your expenses and budget responsibly and encourage them not to give something to you. If they are not close enough to you to have this conversation, then why are you even exchanging gifts with them? In some cases, it may be very important to someone close to you to exchange gifts… go ahead if you want to.

2- Reduce how much you spend on each person

Contrary to advertising… you do not need to buy a car, a diamond, gold jewelry, expensive electronics, etc. for people just because it is Christmas. If you don’t show them you love them throughout the year, you will not fool them with an expensive gift in December. For those with whom you want to give or exchange presents, you can set a reasonable budget for each person and then stick to it. This helps you set your overall Christmas budget in a predictable instead of impulsive way.

3- Save up your budget in advance and avoid credit cards you can not pay back before you have to pay interest.

Once you decide who you will get gifts for and how much to spend, you have a good estimate for your budget planning. Now divide by 11 and start saving it each month starting in January and continuing through November. Inevitably you will still have surprise expenses in December from the season’s activities, so you don’t plan on taking money for gifts from that months budget.

4- You can even consider replacing your current gift exchange traditions with a donation to a charity or family in need… someone you can give to in God’s name with no hope of receiving a gift in return. You will spend less money and honor God more.

If you find yourself condemning me as “Grinch”… I do not mind. You are not alone, but you are in fact also not correct. If Christmas is all about giving and getting gifts as the centerpiece and focus, then it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ and is simply a pagan festival where people want to get a lot of expensive stuff from each other. I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically reject giving (and receiving) gifts on the basis of obligation.

The alternative is to recognize that gifts are intended not as the focus, but as a means of showing those closest to us that we were thinking of them. That does not require spending lots of money, despite what our culture would have us believe. Besides, you can  give gifts to those you love any time during the year. You do not need Christmas as an excuse to give a present.

Many tell us that giving gifts is a tradition originated to honor God’s gift to us in the birth of Jesus Christ or because of the acts of the real man who came to be known as Saint Nicholas. Though many give with this in mind, the fact is that this is not the accurate origin of gift exchange. In fact gift giving to children in late December did not start with Christian origins, but rather as part of a pagan celebration of the sun god, Saturnalia, in ancient Rome. It is easy to research for yourself… even in Christian history encyclopedias such as by Zondervan.

Let’s explore the gift giving tradition further and test if it is even consistent with celebrating Jesus’ birth according to the principles of the Biblical record of that glorious event. Does this tradition point to or honor God, or is it just a tradition of men and a potential distraction from God?

Mary and Joseph did not get gifts for one another or even for Jesus and they knew who He was and that He would be born soon. The shepherds came to celebrate and honor God. They did what they were commanded by God to do… which did not involve bringing gifts. The wise men did not even come when Jesus was born… contrary to common tradition.  Scripture tells us they came and found Jesus in a house, not a manger. Herod killed all the male children two years and younger… not a week and younger, or even a few months and younger. It was likely they arrived over a year after Jesus was born. When they did come, they brought gifts to honor God. They did not exchange gifts with each other, nor did they expect to receive gifts in return from Joseph and Mary. I should not fail to mention that God came down as Jesus to die for us and while this is a great gift, He expects no gift from us in return.

So if you really want to focus on giving gifts to honor Christian traditions… give in a way that honors God to those who will not be able to give anything in return and convince others to do the same. You will honor God more, find more joy instead of stress, and spend less.

If suggestion number 4 seems overwhelming… start with suggestions number 1-3. The less focus you put on gift exchange, the more focus you will find is available to consider God’s gift to us in the person of Jesus Christ. You will have more time and less stress to enjoy the holidays and hopefully you will not have the Christmas “hangover” in January.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

We Will Be Held To Account If We Misuse Our Wealth

James is clearly rebuking the rich who have misused their wealth in James 5. He is not condemning every person with money. Note the clear indication that he is speaking to someone who was dishonest and did not pay what he owed, someone who was focused on their own pleasure above other people, who put to death the righteous. This is not true of all rich people by any stretch of the imagination. Abraham is one quick example of a man held in esteem for his faith and he was wealthy. Job was another.

James 5

Misuse of Riches

      1Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

We will be held to account for how we use what gifts YHWH provides to us, whether they are time, talent, or money. We do not have to give up all our money either. Quite the contrary, for those who have wealth, they have opportunity to help others with it, even if just to provide jobs and pay… it is not always about just giving it away.

Another thought to remember… a lot of people judge if they are wealthy or poor by comparison to others around them. However, in countries like the USA, compared to much of the world and historically speaking, almost all of us are wealthy. We have plentiful food, clean water, shelter… even TVs and smartphones. Do not be quick to dismiss the message in James 5 assuming it applies to those who are richer than yourself.  It applies to most of us, even if we don’t feel rich compared to “the other guy” who has a bigger house and fancier car.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

How Blessed Are the People Whose God Is The LORD!

I really appreciate the example David sets in his psalms. He prays to the LORD and asks for help, yes, but he first focuses on praising and recognizing YHWH for who he is and what he has done. He does not simply jump into a list of requests or demands. He comes before YHWH with humility and thankfulness and focuses first on the greatness of our God.

Psalms 144

Prayer for Rescue and Prosperity.

A Psalm of David.

     1Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle;

      2My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer,
My shield and He in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.

      3O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You think of him?

      4Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

      5Bow Your heavens, O LORD, and come down;
Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.

      6Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Send out Your arrows and confuse them.

      7Stretch forth Your hand from on high;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
Out of the hand of aliens

      8Whose mouths speak deceit,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      9I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

      10Who gives salvation to kings,
Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.

      11Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens,
Whose mouth speaks deceit
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      12Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants,
And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;

      13Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce,
And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;

      14Let our cattle bear
Without mishap and without loss,
Let there be no outcry in our streets!

      15How blessed are the people who are so situated;
How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The LORD Is My Helper; I Will Not Be Afraid

Good reminders and areas for reflection in the closing of Hebrews.

Hebrews 13

The Changeless Christ

      1Let love of the brethren continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. 4Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

6so that we confidently say,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.
WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

      7Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

God-pleasing Sacrifices

      15Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

      17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

      18Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Benediction

      20Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

      22But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

      25Grace be with you all.

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