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Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25

The past few days we discussed about the enemies of the heart. Now what? That is the question.

As today's Scripture says we should not merely listen to the Word of God which will be decieving ourselves. Let us follow what we have learned. Then we will be blessed in what we do.

So, here's a reiteration of what we learned over the days.

* Let us cure our guilt by confession
* Let us get rid of our anger by forgiveness
* Let us overcome our greed by generosity
* Let us be free of our jealousy by celebration

Hope you enjoyed the series as much as I did. Love you all in Christ Jesus our Lord! God bless.

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Jealousy is an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of presenting emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust. It is not to be confused with envy. [Wikipedia]

The attitude behind jealousy: God owes me!

We read in the Scriptures that God is jealous (Exodus 34:14); but it is the right kind. In Deuteronomy 32:21 we read, they made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols.

There is a difference between ambition, determination, motivation and being jealous.

Cure for jealousy: Celebration. Acknowledging what we have is much more than what we deserve.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

Let us celebrate what we have! Let us praise His Holy name with a grateful heart!

Have a blessed weekend!


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Guilt is defined as feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : morbid self-reproach often manifest in marked preoccupation with the moral correctness of one's behavior.

Attitude behind guilt: I owe you.

Guilt can be a killer when we are really at fault. It is a result of our unconfessed sin.

Cure for guilt: Confession

We need to confess it to God obvisousely but we also need to confess it to one another - whoever we offended.

King David writes:  I decided to confess them to you, O LORD. ... I said, I will confess my transgressions to Yahweh, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5

James writes: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16

Confession will set you free!

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:34-36
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Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.

Attitude of the greedy is - I owe me!

A greedy person can become dishonest, deceitful because he/she is lways looking out for more.

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10

“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” Mark 7:20-23

Luke 12 talks about a rich fool. He was called a fool because he failed to realize where his increase came from. He had forgotten who blessed him with the harvest in the first place. He claimed it all as 'his'.

Greed is not a financial issue; it is a heart issue. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

Cure for greed - Generosity. Acknowledging that God has blessed us and what we have belongs to Him.

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly andwhoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6

Let us make this our prayer, like King David: Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Psalm 119:36

Excerpt frommy Sunday school notes...
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Anger is an emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation.

Attitude behind anger - You owe me!

God's anger is different from man's anger.

Psalm 86:15 - But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:20

God's anger is moral, holy and is about the righteousness of God. Man's anger is selfish, immoral and sinful - someone will have to pay.

Issues of anger - ill health, depression, paranoid, suspicious of others, judgemental, messes up our relationship with people and ultimately God Almighty.

Cure for anger: Forgiveness

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Colossians 3:5-8

Excerpt from my sunday school notes...
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"Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you." Isaiah 60:1

"...it is light that makes everything visible ...and Christ will shine on you."" Ephesians 5:14

"the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;" Numbers 6:25

"You are the light of the world. ...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Mathew 5:14-16

I guess these verses are pretty straight forward and self explanatory. For today's coffee let's focus on the word "light". Thinking of light in general terms, what are some of the things that come to our minds? Of course the sun, the moon, the stars, light houses, street lights, lamps, flashlights, fire, decorations, what else?!

Now let's try to imagine ourselves as one of these sources of light. Can we be a sun to the world? How about a moon - reflecting the light from the Son? Could we be the stars brightening the night? A light house directing a boat or ship of life? Street lights illuminating someone's path? A lamp chasing away a child's fear? Flashlights used in a search, how about a bonfire to someone cold and tiered, or pretty decorations in the busy downtown? Do we shine for His glory?

Can we play light for today and practice it for the days to come?! When we attempt it the Lord makes His face shine upon us! It's a promise!

If you recall anyone who was such a source of  light in your lives please share so it may benefit fellow readers.
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Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty--he is the King of glory. Psalm 24:10

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16

Months ago we had discussed about getting ready for Our King's banquet, which sets the scene for today's discussion. As we stand before His throne today in our prayer & worship, how do we visualize our self? What is our expectation? Are we seeking His presence as the King's mere citizens forgetting that we are His own children?

A while back I happened to read C.H. Spurgeon's sermon The Throne of Grace and loved a passage from it which perfectly fits our discussion today.

Spurgeon says, "We do not come, as it were, in prayer, only to God's almonry where he dispenses his favours to the poor, nor do we come to the back-door of the house of mercy to receive the broken scraps, though that were more than we deserve; to eat the crumbs that fall from the Master's table is more than we could claim; but, when we pray, we are standing in the palace, on the glittering floor of the great King's own reception room, and thus we are placed upon a vantage ground.

In prayer we stand where angels bow with veiled faces; there, even there, the cherubim and seraphim adore, before that selfsame throne to which our prayers ascend. And shall we come there with stunted requests, and narrow and contracted faith? Nay, it becomes not a King to be giving away pence and groats, he distributes pieces of broad gold; he scatters not as poor men must, scraps of bread and broken meat, but he makes a feast of fat things, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined."

In Hebrews 4:16 we read, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Shall we?
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Today's reading: Proverbs 28 Click here to read online (NIV)

Verse of the day: "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." 28:13

This verse explains the fundamental of salvation. Anyone who is not convicted of their sins and when convicted does not repent and when repented does not discontinue that sin is not truly saved.

Anyone who has been convicted of their sins, have repented for their sins and have discontinued from their sins is truly saved!

This is not just a one time process. This should be a regular practice. As we mature more in Christ more of our sins will be revealed which we might have overlooked in the past. Then we repent for those sins and receive forgiveness all over again. There is no shame in repenting as many times it takes and getting forgiven as many times needed.

For some of us, when the Pastor calls for an alter call following a convicting sermon, though convicted we are reluctant to go upfront and own it publicly. This need not be. Let's forget the whole world around us and get new infilling of the joy of salvation as often as we can.

God bless you all!
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You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. Psalm 128:2-4

In Genesis 3:16-19, we read of a somewhat contrasting scenario:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life...”

I find it amazing how even the curse God gave man, was in fact a blessing in disguise. I am sure you will agree with me that having a job, being profitable by the toil of our hands, having children are all in fact blessings; no denying that!

Let us pause a moment this morning to acknowledge and appreciate the blessings He has showered on us. Let our hearts earn to Him with sincere gratitude.

God bless you! Enjoy the weekend!




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"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15

What is greed? I am sure all of us know what greed means; however I thought it will be a good idea to start with the definition. Greed means: 'An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth'.

We sometimes tend to wrongly measure our happiness against what we have, which causes us to envy others and greed for more. Some may ask what is wrong with that as it only motivates us to 'be better off'? Is it so?

Well, if you think about it, greed makes us selfish, workaholics, spendthrifts, debtors and in the long run we will tend to lose focus on our priorities and run after things of this world soon forgetting the importance of the Eternal Glory we ought to be bound for.

That's the very reason why Jesus warns us to be on our guard against all kinds of greed. He also reminds us that the measure of our life is not in terms of our possession.

Here is another verse to set us on our track rest of the way.In I John 2:15 we read, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

King David shares in similar lines in one of his Psalms. In Psalm 62:12 he writes, "...though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them."

What do you think, is it hard to heed to these instructions?
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"Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Luke 12:1

What is hypocrisy? A quick look up in the dictionary explains hypocrisy as "the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc., contrary to one's real character or actual behaviour, esp the pretence of virtue and piety".

Hypocrisy or duplicity is the opposite of integrity. It could be unintentional at times but hypocrisy is something that will never go unnoticed in the sight of God who knows the depths of our hearts.

In today's Scripture hypocrisy is compared to yeast. Why so? Barnes's Notes on the Bible has a very good explanation which I would like to share with you:

1. Hypocrisy may exist without being immediately detected. Leaven mixed in flour is not known until it produces its effects.

2. Hypocrisy is insinuating. Leaven will soon pervade the whole mass. So hypocrisy will, if undetected and unremoved, soon pervade all our exercises and feelings.

3. It is swelling. It puffs us up, and fills us with pride and vanity. No man is more proud than the hypocrite, and none is more odious to God.

Barnes goes on to explain, "When Jesus cautions us to beware of 'the leaven of the Pharisees', He means that we should be cautious about imbibing their spirit and becoming like them."

Today let us take a moment to analyze our thoughts and actions and see if we have any "leaven" or "yeast" in us. If we do, let us work to get rid off it lest it fully leavens us...
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When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19

Interestingly the Scripture here points out it is not the wealth or possessions that are considered the gift of God, but the heart that accepts our lot and remain happy in our work - that is a gift of God.

In his letter to Timothy Apostle Paul writes about Love of Money and says "Godliness with contentment is great gain". I Timothy 6:6. Indeed it is!

King Solomon was the richest king ever. He writes in Proverbs 28:25, "A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper." - which shows that his prosperity came from trusting in the Lord and not from greed.

How many of us are content this morning?! Praise God for all those hands that are going up! Let us continue to accept our lot! This is our gift from the Lord! Amen!
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"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." Isaiah 43:2

Today's scripture is a promise verse from God. We are familiar with the Israelites journey across the red sea and the river of Jordan. Just as how God was with them when they passed through these waters, He has promised to be with us also.

Here water represents turmoil or calamity or sudden danger or why not real water too! Whatever is the circumstances none of these waters can sweep over us. The waters may be too close, the rivers may seem too wild at times, the floods could overwhelm us, but remember these waters can never harm us. How can we say that for sure? Because that's exactly what our Lord has promised us.

King David sings in Psalms 29, "The LORD sits enthroned over the flood", which is true of any flood like situation too.

Let us repeat the verse to ourselves and claim it as our own today: When I pass through the waters, God will be with me; and when I pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over me. Amen!
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* "Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs" (Psalm 100:2)
* "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)
* "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." (Jeremiah 31:25)

A quick reminder as we get ready to go worship the Lord today! Let's do it with gladness; and let's come before Him with joyful songs.

Some of us may not be in a mood for joyful songs. Always remember when the burden gets heavy there is only one solace, the foot of the cross.

The weary and burdened find rest at His presence as He refreshes the weary and satisfies the faint.

Wishing everyone a refreshing worship!
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The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Deuteronomy 28:13

Have you noticed that every promise in the Bible comes with a condition? It is only fair, I believe.

In the scripture quoted we read, if we keep the commands of the Lord and carefully follow them, He will make us the head, not the tail; we will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Our focus today is the underlined text.

It is not just the ten commandments we are talking here, it would be all the commands and commandments of God that we read throughout the scriptures. Feel free to check out this link where someone has painstakingly compiled a list of commandments he/she calls a Complete List.

As you see it is a very long list. I am sure you would agree it is not a one time effort to keep His commandments; it is a lifelong process ... but trust me while you are at it, during the process itself, the promise will be fulfilled. He will make us the head and not the tail; we will be at the top and not at the bottom!
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Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Revelation 2:4

Since today's verse starts with 'Yet' let's read a few verses above that: Revelation 2:2-3: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

All is well. All is good. We are okay - that's what we think. But there is a complaint against us - that we have lost our first love... :( What? Me? Is our first reaction. But if we sit down to think about it, sadly, we can all relate to that.

We are not as upbeat about spending time with the Lord. Not as keen on spreading the Gospel. Not as passionate about church gathering - as in the past. Our love has gone cold - okay not really cold - but not hot either. This is bad - very bad. In Revelation 3:16 it says, "Because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

What is the remedy? In the following verse it says: Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:5

Let us repent and do the things we did at first. Let us first seek Him and His kingdom, shall we? Matthew 6:33


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Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Let's look closely at how to turn away from our wicked ways as part of our discussion on 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Ask the behavioural experts, they will tell you that one can't really get rid of a bad habit, but only replace a bad habit with a good habit. That's exactly what we see in today's Scripture. Turn from evil and do good!

Every one of us, whether we are believers or non-believers, young or old, rich or poor, we all know for sure what is good vs. what is evil. That is the only way we humans differ from animals - the sense to know the good from the evil. Which ultimately means only one thing - we are solely responsible when we choose to live in wicked ways. No, it is not satan, nor the world; but the self in us is to be blamed.

This self dies when we are born again, resulting in a brand new sparkling fresh self! This is what we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

So, the ultimate solution to turn from wicked ways is to give our hearts to Jesus Christ! He will guide us in the paths of righteousness. Then we will turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Amen!
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As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy. Psalm 123:2

As part of our ongoing discussion on 2 Chronicles 7:14, today we will see how to seek His face?

The Scripture above explains how King David sought His face. If a King could so humble himself and relate to a slave or maid while seeking His face, why is it hard for us to humble ourselves?

True, we are His royal priesthood, His own children, but when it comes to seeking His face, we need to humble ourselves like a servant or slave or maid. A slave or maid has one goal and one goal only - that is to please the master. Such should be our desire to serve our Maker!

When we come before His presence let us acknowledge how limited our abilities are compared to the awesomeness of His power. Let us develop a servant's heart to bless our Master. He who looks at the heart will embrace us as children and will grant us our petition.
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This is in continuation of our discussion on 2 Chronicles 7:14

Our focus today is on how to pray?

The best passage on prayer in my opinion is from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6, verses 5-14 especially because these words were spoken by Jesus Himself:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

It is interesting to note that forgiving others is mentioned as part of the prayer. So even if we pray for hours together but have not forgiven our neighbors, our prayer is of no use. A clear conscious is key for effective prayer. Ready?
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A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. Proverbs 29:23

Few days ago we had discussed 2 Chronicles 7:14 and understood that one of the reasons our prayers have not been answered yet is that we may not have humbled ourselves. Today we will see how to humble ourselves.

Humble by definition means: "Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance."

Right away some of us DO NOT want to humble ourselves. Mainly because the world teaches and expects one to be just the opposite - to think high of his/her own importance.

But the word of God clearly says that God opposes the pride but gives grace to the humble. Anytime pride shows up to steal the credit for an achievement, let us be careful to quickly shun it and give all glory to God Almighty who enabled us in the first place.

Let us repeatedly remind ourselves it is His grace that keeps us hale and healthy, happy and contend. It is His grace that enables us to work, to buy a home or any other material things we have. It is His grace that keeps our family bonding together filling our hearts with peace, love and joy! It is His grace we are saved. It is His grace we are not fallen. It is His grace we have risen every time we fell.

As we remind ourselves with such thoughts, we will automatically develop a dependency on God and would stop thinking too high of ourselves. It will come natural to be humble at heart. Soon our prayers will be answered. Seeing our humble heart God will lift us up! Amen!
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Teach me to do your will... Psalm 143:10

I am astonished by the connection King David had with the Lord. He was constantly praying, constantly worshipping, constantly praising, constantly learning, constantly improving, constantly repenting, constantly singing the name of the Lord! Our Lord! There are endless Scriptures pointing us to that, let's look at a few of them today.

Here in Psalm 143, he prays, "Teach me to do your will". In Psalm 25:4 he sings, "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths". Again in Psalm 119:12 he says, "teach me your decrees". In Psalm 139:24 he asks, "See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting".

As a King he couldn't just say words he did not mean. He was indeed making strong statements here. He was constantly seeking God's will in His life. Sure enough God led his path, even when his foot slipped, he was forgiven and set on solid rock!

Many of us wonder from time to time, "How do we know the will of God?" When we constantly seek the will of God like King David did, God reveals Himself to us - in ways we can not imagine - sometimes very subtle - as if it is a secret between you and Him! But sure you will know it when He speaks to you.

Just be keen to listen Him speak!

God bless you as you gladly join the fellow believers this morning!
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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: This morning we have a prayer request shared over the coffee table.

Reader D.Linnel has written the following prayer request:

Please pray for my mother carol,she has been diagnosed with cancer. Pray for peace,strength and faith for her. Pray that god will be glorified. Jesus is the name above all names. Cancer is a name, Jesus is above it. Thank you jesus!!!

The only way we can help Linnel at this time of his/her need is to pray for her/his Mom. Please, please, please offer a prayer with me today for her.

Abba Father! We have gathered here in your presence in one accord to pray for Linnel's Mom Lord. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins, curses and sickness Lord. In your name, by the power of your name, we rebuke this disease of cancer from her body this very minute Lord. We join hands and lift our hearts and voices to your name Lord. We cry out to Lord! We do not have anyone else to run out to Lord. You are our deliverer Lord. You are our only comfort Lord.

Please heal D.Linne's mother Lord. Plese touch her this very minute Lord. Please do a miracle in her body Lord.

Give the strength for Linnel too Lord. Please continue to be the comforter Lord. Please be the counselor Lord. Please provide for all their needs Lord. Fill them with the divine peace Lord. Let them constantly feel your presence Lord. Please remove all the fears, doubts, and anxiety Lord.

Bless them Lord.Use them for your glory Lord. We take the healing in your name Lord. We pronounce victory in your name Lord. Your name is above all names Lord, even above this very sickness Lord. You are mighty to save Lord.

Thank you for listening to our prayer Lord. Thank you for the healing Lord. Thank you for touching Lord! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

In Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's most precious name we pray,
Amen!

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If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Some of us wonder why our prayers are not answered. Here is the direct message for us. The reason could be one or more of the following:

* We have not humbled ourselves enough
* We have not prayed
* We have not sought His face
* We have not turned from our wicked ways

As we close yet another week of seemingly unanswered prayers, there is no better time than this to humble ourselves, pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways to receive forgiveness of our sins and healing of our land. Want to give that a try, what do you think?

If you don't know how, stay tuned for the next couple of days we will discuss each of these in detail. God bless you!
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Of all the conversations mentioned in the Bible, the one I truly enjoy is that between Gideon and the angel of the Lord. Gideon at first does not know that it was an angel he was talking to and is quite candid about his faith.

When the angel of the Lord greats him, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior", without skipping a beat Gideon asks, "If the Lord is with us, why has all this happend to us?" To understand Gideon's aloofness and frustrations we need to know little bit of his background.

In Judges 6th chapter we read, "Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country.

They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it."

It is beyond our comprehension to even imagine how it would be to live in constant fear like that not for one or two days but for seven long years! Even as the angel is talking to him, Gideon is actually threshing wheat in a winepress. Wheat is normally threshed in the wheat field - right?, but to save it from the Midianites he was threshing it in a winepress. So you get a picture of his plight.

The Angel's response was, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel " Let's stop at that for today's coffee!

Go in the strength you have, against your "Midianites"; the victory is yours...

(If you would like to read the whole conversation and what happens after, continue to read Book of Judges Chapter 6 & 7 )
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But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5

What we read in these Scriptures is the exact opposite of what we see and hear around us. The world defines self confidence as confidence in oneself or one's own abilities. But for us - the believers - the Lord must be our confidence!

Paul has set a very good example for us in his statements. Great King Solomon - the wisest ever lived has said: The Lord Is My Confidence. Proverbs 3:26. My favorite King David has sang, It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. Psalm 118:8

The Lord has spoken through Prophet Isaiah: "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Can we too confirm the Lord indeed is our confidence?!
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Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2

Isaiah 54th chapter is titled 'The fertility of Zion' and is full of blessings for Zion which is the Church; or in other words you and me who make up the church! If you have some time this morning you may click here to read the entire chapter.

I can't help but relate to the Prayer of Jabez as I read these Scriptures, the words of which are posted here: Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.1 Chronicles 4:10

* Jabez cried to the Lord to enlarge his territory; Zion is being asked to enlarge her territory.
* Jabez prayed for expansion; Zion has received the blessing already and therefore has to expand. 

I believe for those of us here at the coffee table, the same message as that was given to Zion by Prophet Isaiah holds true this morning: Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

Let us free our hearts from hurt, ill feeling, envy, pride and the likes to make room for joy, peace, love, humility and the likes. Let us not hold grudges on things of past, completely overlooking the here and now. Let us not turn back to look at our Sodom or Egypt when God has already led us out of it to our Promised Land.

Let us be prepared to spread out, expand, to be able to hold in our blessings!

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
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"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again" Exodus 14:13

When we were first married both of us were without jobs & without insurance for 8 months. After eight months when my husband got a job, we were very afraid of losing it as it was a temporary job. We had a child on the way and were not sure how we would manage it all.

One of those days, during our family meditation time God spoke to us very clearly through this verse "The Egyptians you see today you will never see again". We took it as our promise and prayed over all our fears one by one - fear of joblessness, fear of not having enough to support a family, fear of not having insurance, fear that we might have to go back to our home country empty handed, fear of losing our rented place, fear of sickness, fear of many things...

All these fears were wiped out clean when we began to hold on to His promise, repeating it in our daily prayers and coming to fully trust it was given by the Lord. I must add God kept His promise and we have never seen "those Egyptians" ever again in our lives.

I share this testimony to encourage you who might be in a similar situation now - fearing "your Egyptians". This is what the Lord says, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again"

His promises are Yea and Amen!
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Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him," declares the LORD. Jeremiah:31:20

Who is this Ephraim? Ephraim is Joseph's second son. Ephraim and his brother Manasseh were born to Joseph in Egypt before his father Jacob and his brothers came to him during the draught.

When Jacob sees Ephraim and Manasseh, he adopts them both as his own. (Gen 48:5) however Ephraim is set apart and seems like Jacob has a soft corner for him. Probably he recalls his younger days of being a second son to his own father and sees himself in Ephraim.

Very important point is that Ephraim became a blessing or greeting in Israel. People would bless their children, "God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh".

Later in Joshua we read, when Ephraim got his inheritance they (the tribe) did not drive out the Canaanites that dwelt among them (Judges 1:29)

Interestingly in Jeremiah 31:9, we read the Lord saying, "Ephraim is my firstborn"! In fact he was the second son to his father Joseph and the youngest if counted as a "son" of Jacob, yet he was as special as a first born in God's eyes.

You might be excited to know - as I am - that Joshua is a descendant of Ephraim! Plenty of other references can be found on Ephraim.

Why did God speak against Ephraim? I understand his main sin was not chasing away the Canaanites from his inherited land. I am sure he endured issues due to that.

Does it sound familiar? We too hold on to some "Canaanites" in our lives. Let us not take God's compassion on us for granted. It is true we are very dear to Him, but there are times as we continue to rebel, God's anger is directed towards us, but when we repent, almost immediately His mercy is revealed...
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Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.

Worship the Lord in the splendor of hisa holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;

let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;

they will sing before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth.

~Psalm 96
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A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. Proverbs 12:16

How many of us are wise based on the standard set forth here by today's Scripture? I feel ashamed to say I am not.

The fact of the matter is we can be gentle and polished outwardly - at work, in the church, with friends for example; but at home we could be way different, annoyed, irritated, frustrated, angry, whatever you want to call it.

Just realized this is foolish and sinful. What do we do then when situation calls for it - when the spouse is forever working, when the house is a total mess, when the chicken doesn't thaw on time?? The Scipture teaches us to overlook these insults to stay prudent.

Very hard I am sure. But we can all try. After all it's a new month and why not strive for something new - prudence?!

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:11