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"He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm" Mathew 8:26 (KJV)

"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm" Mark 4: 39 (NIV)

"He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm" Luke 8:24 (NIV)

Good morning and welcome to Coffee with Jesus. For some of us, there could be something more than a coffee brewing right now. We could be experiencing a great storm in our lives at this very moment. It may look like the storm may never end; the wind might seem to have the upper hand; that we are about to sink into the depth of our sorrows. I encourage you to please meditate on the verses above, where Jesus rebukes the storm and the wind and it was "completely calm" or "a great calm" or "all was calm" as the Gospel authors put it.

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever! Amen! Is He not powerful enough to calm your storm? Does He not have the authority to rebuke your wind? Why are you afraid? Why do you doubt Him? Repeat these words, "Quiet! Be still!" against all your stormy situations.

Be it peace in the family, joblessness, financial difficulties, health conditions, disobedient children, abusive relationships or bondage to sin - whatever your storm may be, however strong your wind may appear, when you call unto Jesus He will say "Quiet! Be still!" Soon there will be a great calm. He will fill you with the peace from above. You will start rejoicing in the Spirit and before you know it, the storm will subside and the wind will die down! Hallelujah!!

Let us pray, Our Father in Heaven! We come to your presence in one accord, as one family Lord. You see some of us are struggling with huge storms Lord. Please command against our storms Lord so that there will be complete peace and a great calm Lord. Please help us rid of all our doubts Jesus! Please help us overcome our fears Jesus! We trust and believe you are still able to rebuke our storms Lord. Thank you for the complete deliverance you are granting us Lord. Thank you for the peace from above Lord, for the joy of salvation Lord. Thank you that we are soon going to praise your name seeing the calm you have ordered Lord. Bless this day for each one of us Lord. We completely surrender us at your feet Jesus. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen!

Remember to share your prayer requests and praise reports, over the coffee table.

P.S: Please keep those in Hurricane Sandy's path in your prayers.
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* And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24:31
* In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.1 Corinthians 15:52
* For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:27
* For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17

The most important event we as Christians ought to look forward to on a daily basis is the The Last Trumpet Call!!

What is meant by the last trumpet call? The last trumpet call is the imminent return of our King and Savior Jesus Christ at the least conceivable time to gather His Church in mid air. The dead in Christ will rise and the faithful living will be transformed to be caught up with Him. This is also widely refered to by the term 'pre tribulation rapture'.

When will the last trumpet call be? No one knows the exact date/time/hour of the last trumpet call - which makes it all the more difficult to be ready for it.

What does it take to be ready? Knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and having our name written in the Book of Life is all it takes to be rapture ready. When Apostle Paul was in prison, a jailer asked him, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul's answer was: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts: 16: 30-31) If we believe in the Lord, we will be ready.

Are you ready?
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He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3

When do we need a new song? Only when the old songs aren't enough to praise Him. Which means that the latest deliverance or blessing we received from Him is so good that we don't find anything appropriate to sing and worship Him with. Our heart just opens up bubbling with a new song of praise.

It is a wonderful experience when you don't have anything but only gratitude for the Lord. When you come to His presence without the long to-do list but only with praise and worship from a very grateful heart.

When we sing such new song of praise, as King David suggests many will see and fear and put their trust too in the Lord. What an awesome way to share our testimony - by being a living proof!

I pray that as we all get ready to worship our Savior today, let us for once forget our "shopping list" at home and only go with a grateful heart and a new song of praise. God bless you all and have a great 'Son'day!
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* The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
* The heavens proclaim his righteousness Psalm 50:6
* The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too Psalm 89:5
* When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3,4

I am a sky gazer. I love looking at the skies. Looks like King David did too. He has beautiful reflections on God Almighty looking at the skies.

If you don't normally care for the skies, please take a moment to gaze it next time you are out. You too will be able to reflect on the Creator.

We will become so insignificant in the vast expanse of the skies. The more insignificant we get, the more significant He gets! It is an awesome experience folks; you will sure appreciate! Care to try?
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"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Matthew 6:25

Seems to be a practical advice, but to think about it, it seems quite impractical too. How is it even possible not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear. Isn't that the first thing that comes to our minds when we start the day? - when we plan a get together? - when we are invited to an event?

We don't really think, "Oh I am alive and well that's enough to make it through the day"; do we? May be we should. I guess the emphasis is on the words "do not worry" Of course we need to eat, drink and dress well, but what we learn here is that it shouldn't be our primary concern.

As we read towards the end of the same passage in verse 33, our focus should be on 'Seeking His Kingdom' then all these things will be taken care of by Him. Shall we?

Happy weekend folks!

P.S: We are working on a mini promotional video about Coffee with Jesus. If you would like to participate in it, please email me your picture with a saying to nrigirl@hotmail.com . We will include it as a slide show. If you have a Coffee with Jesus mug, it will be a great idea to pose with the mug!

Come, let us build His kingdom together! God bless you!
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Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.


Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
~Isaiah 40:27-31

Such a beautiful passage from the Scriptures! It has an instant calming effect on our worries.

It reassures us that our Lord is mighty to save and that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength! Amen!

Are you hoping? Please do.
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Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

Amen! Praise God for this beautiful promise this morning. The Lord is our Shepherd! A Good Shepherd! We are His sheep - a little flock.

Though we are few in numbers against the world we need not fear. Because it is the Shepherd's good pleasure to give us the kingdom - the green pastures, the joy of salvation, the peace in His presence, the assurance of His providence - it is all in His will for us! Amen!

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15
 
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. Psalm 23:1

If the Lord is our Shepherd and has led us thus far, why wouldn't we trust Him for the rest of the way? If it is His will to give us the kingdom, would He not provide for all our daily needs?

Is anything too hard for the LORD?

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
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The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. Isaiah 35:1-2

Praise God for this beautiful verse this morning! May it be Yeah and Amen to those who believe. Your wilderness and my wilderness will rejoice and blossom. It will burst into bloom! Hallelujah!

Since this is a very beautiful passage, I decided to post the rest of the chapter too as part of today's Coffee with Jesus. Slowly read the verses; let it sink in! The passage header says in NIV: Joy of the Redeemed. Since we are the redeemed in fact it is talking about us!


The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Gladness and joy will indeed overtake us, and sorrow and sighing will flee away... Amen!

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Across the Bible we find various references to preparing a room for something or someone. Paul writes to Philemon: "Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers." Philemon 1:22

Jesus gives specific instructions to His disciples on how and where to prepare for Passover (or the Last Supper as famously known). We read in Luke: “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.” Luke 22:10-12

A rich Shunammite lady wanted to set up a nice room for the visiting Prophet Elisha. She shared with her husband: "Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” 2 Kings: 4:10

Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." John 14:2

Today, we are also going to prepare a room. Yes; a room in our hearts to host our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ!

Quite often there is hardly any room in our hearts for our Savior as too much of junk gets accumulated over there. Worries, anger, sadness, vengeance, self pity, enmity and the such occupy most of the space. Spouse, children, job and family take the rest of the space. Where then is the room for Christ in our lives?

Today I urge you to clean out a corner for our Lord, a spacious enough corner where He can live and reign; where He can help us clean the left over debris; where we can sing and dance in joy; where we can be completely in awe of His presence.

When you have prepared the room, invite Him in; He will come and dine with you!
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As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you! Isaiah 62:5

God's love has been personified in many roles such as father, mother, master, friend and also lover and here the groom. What that implies is that He perfects each role in its fullest. No one can love us as much as He does in any role. He is the ultimate Mother, Father, Lover, Master, Friend and Groom.

The fondness between a bride and groom is a very special kind of love. To know God rejoices over us like a groom would rejoice over his bride is very exciting, is it not? It implies that the bride (us) ought to love Him (God) like a bride would rejoice over her groom, does it not? Are we?

Do we love Him the best? Are we constantly indulged in thoughts of Him? Are we looking forward to spending time with Him as much as possible? Do we long to see Him?

As we go in to worship Him today, let us go with a new kind of fondness, a new perspective, a new infilling of love and a special bonding to fall in love with Him all over again. Let's go celebrate with our Groom!
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Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:21-24

In the Gospel of Mark we read an account of Jesus healing an evil possessed boy. Here's the link to the passage if you are interested.

Our focus today is on the conversation between the boy's father and Jesus. It is evident that the father was not fully convinced that Jesus could heal his son. True, he had some hope otherwise he wouldn't have brought his son to Jesus. But he was not very sure if Jesus could indeed help him. His doubt came out in the words he used like 'if', 'but', 'anything' etc. and Jesus did not miss noticing it.

So, He asks the father, "(What do you mean) 'if you can' ?" and goes on to assure, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

The boy's father admits the slightest doubt he still has and pleads Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief. Jesus performs the miracle rebuking and chasing out the evil spirit from the boy, thus proving to the father, "Yes, I can!".

In our lives also, though we are steadfast believers, we do struggle with some trace of doubt from time to time. We can't deny that. To us Jesus gives the same answer He gave to the boy's father: “(Why doubt?) Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Are we ready to admit our unbelief and pray to overcome it? When we do, our help will be near...
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"I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you" Haggai 2:23

What is a signet ring? It is a finger ring bearing an engraved signet - an emblem or seal.
Who has a signet ring? The King or a Noble
What is a signet ring used for? It is used to attest the authority of its bearer.

What does the verse above signify for us?
The Lord will make us like His signet ring, or in other words, He will grant us His authority.

What kind of authority?
* authority over the nations Rev 2:26
* authority over evil spirits Mark 6:7
* authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction Mathew 10:1
* authority over all the power of the enemy Luke 10:19

Why? Because he has chosen us

What do we do next? Be a Signet Ring!
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Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

Many of us wonder how we can find out the fill of God in our lives. Today's Scripture gives us the answer for that.

If we do not conform to this world, but are transformed by the renewing of our mind, then we will know what is the perfect will of God for us. Isn't that simple? I believe it is smart, holding us responsible for knowing the will of God! Instead of saying, ask your pastor or check with your parents to find out what God's will for your life is, the Scripture clearly says it is within our capacity to know His will!

Now few more questions arise: What does it mean to conform to the world? How not to conform to the world? How to be transformed by the renewing of our mind?

In the Gospel of Mark when we read about the parable of the sower, chapter 4 verse 19 says, "...the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful."

This is conforming to the world. This is what the ungodly do - they worry for this life, they deceive for wealth and they desire worldly things. But not so are the godly. We need to live a life without conforming to the world.

Ephesians 4:17-32 explains how we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

... You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “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. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Can we try these suggestions? Then our mind will be transformed and we will not conform to this world. His perfect will will be proven in our lives. What say?
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Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:13 

In the book of Joel we read of many end time prophesies and here in Chapter 2 a detailed description of an army of locusts. If you have some time today I encourage you to read the full chapter to get a glimpse of the impending danger by an invasion of locusts. It is dreadful to realize that such destruction could be caused by swarms of locusts. It is absolutely horrifying even to read.

The chapter does not end with just the warning; but goes on to explain how we can escape the ordeal. This clearly shows the love of the Lord to protect us from these calamities. In verses 12-13 we read:
“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12-13

You may ask, what does rending our hearts or repenting have to do with escaping the army of locusts. The answer is in verse 32: And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Joel 2:32 Amen!

If we are intune with the Lord, we will be caught up in the sky when Christ returns to gather His Church before such calamities strike the earth. Praise the Lord!

We have been warned. Let us heed to it. It is time to return to the Lord with all our heart! Yes, today!
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Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

For the explanation of today's Scripture let us read the complete passage - in Jesus's own words:

I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

It makes perfect sense; does it not? Yet, we run after the wordly things first - putting aside "seeking His kingdom and His righteousness" as the very last item in our day's agenda as if to say, "if we get to it well and good; if not we can skip it, no big deal".

Then we worry why we can't make the ends meet or whatever happened to our joy and toss and turn through sleepless nights, worrying more and more about how to make things work - still forgetting to seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

When all else fail we get back to our senses and come back to Him. But by then our need is so great we can't really seek after His kingdom but only beg and plead for our rescue. That's why our prayers are always like, "give me, give me, give me" rather than "thank you! thank you! thank you!"

Now, let me challenge you all - for the next couple of days, as soon as you wake up, before you even do anything I want you to sit at His feet - seeking His face, His kingdom and His righteousness. When you have raised up enough thank you's remember your needs, submit it at His feet and go about your day's business. Do this for a week and let me know if indeed the promise worked in your life or not...

God bless you!


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As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. Psalm 42:1

Here's sharing an extract from the Treasury of David which explains this Scripture in such depth.
As after a long drought the poor fainting hind longs for the streams, or rather as the hunted hart instinctively seeks after the river to lave its smoking flanks and to escape the dogs, even so my weary, persecuted soul pants after the Lord my God.

Debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag.

Like the parched traveller in the wilderness, whose skin bottle is empty, and who finds the wells dry, he must drink or die - he must have his God or faint. His soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence. As the hart brays so his soul prays.

Dear reader, dost thou know what this is, by personally having felt the same? It is a sweet bitterness. The next best thing to living in the light of the Lord's love is to be unhappy till we have it, and to pant hourly after it - hourly, did I say?

Thirst is a perpetual appetite, and not to be forgotten, and even thus continual is the heart's longing after God. When it is as natural for us to long for God as for an animal to thirst, it is well with our souls, however painful our feelings.

We may learn from this verse that the eagerness of our desires may be pleaded with God, and the more so, because there are special promises for the importunate and fervent.

That being said, let me ask you: Did you drink your fill today?!
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Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:14

We are all familiar with Abraham's trekking trip with young Isaac to one of the mounts in Moriah. We have heard about it time an time again and admire at Abraham's faith.

Let us for a moment think of the plight Abraham was in. He was childless for all his life holding on to God's promises for over 80 years and now finally God has blessed him with a son, but asks him to sacrifice him. Just imagine how hard it is.

Reading the passage carefully we can see that Abraham already knew what was going to happen at the eleventh hour! He knew his son was in safe hands, he knew God was not that cruel after all, he knew it was a test for him, he knew God's promises to bless his descendants like ocean sand will be fulfilled through Isaac, he knew they were both going to return from their trip safe and sound, and above all he knew God was going to provide for the offering! It all came to pass just as he believed.

Now, how are we doing when it comes to believing that the Lord will provide? On hearing a bad news such as job cut or pay cut or hours cut, what is our reaction? Do we panic or do we keep our cool believing that it will be provided at the Lord's mountain? Do we immediately withhold our tithes and offering or continue to open our hands to bless God's ministry and the poor and the needy?

If we are not certain, let us pray "Help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24
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Return, return, O Shulammite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. Song of Solomon 6:13

This seems like a conversation between Shulammite and her friends.

In the earlier verses of the same chapter we see how beautiful Shulammite is and how much she is loved. I guess that is the reason why her friends are suddenly interested in seeing her again! They want to look upon her to see what it is about her that attracts her Lord.

Let's just pause there for today... Does our Lord find us (our hearts) impressively beautiful? Does His love for us make our friends want to look at us once more - up close?!

Remember, Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)


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Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The LORD's right hand has done mighty things! Psalm 118:15

What is the significance of the tents of the righteous? According to today's Scripture, shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous. There is constant praising and thanks giving in the tents of the righteous as the Lord has done mighty things for them.

What kind of voices resound in our homes? Are we acknowledging the mighty things God's right hand has done in our lives? Can people hear us rejoicing over our joy and victory that comes from the Lord?

If you were to tell me this morning that there is so much going on within your walls which prevent you from resounding shouts of joy and victory, here's a verse to strengthen you in the Lord:

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.” Job 8:20-22

Keep praising the Lord in spite of everything! Joy and victory will soon be yours!
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No harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:10

Today's Scripture utters a blessing for our dwelling place; however it is conditional. Reading verses 9 & 10 together we get the complete context: If you make the Most High your dwelling even the Lord, who is my refuge then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

Of course we want no harm to befall us nor any disaster to come near our tents; but the question is how to satisfy the condition - How to make the Most High our dwelling?

There is no better example than King David who often attests to having the Lord as his refuge:

Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:2

O LORD; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." Psalm 142:5

Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The LORD's right hand has done mighty things! Psalm 118:15

Making the Most High our dwelling would therefore mean:

* Finding our solace in Him
* Relaxing at His feet
* Looking to Him for our protection & provision
* Attesting by word of mouth that the Lord indeed is our refuge
* Shouting His praises in our tents etc.

So, let me ask you this morning: Have you made the Lord Most High your dwelling yet? Great! Then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent! Go in peace!

Oh, if you were not sure, stay tuned for further discussion on the same topic in the next few days...
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Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. Jonah 4:6

“You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Jonah 4:11

The book of Jonah is a very interesting book and I hope you have all read through it. If not please take your time one of these days to breeze through the four easy chapters.

Here's the summary to set the context: Jonah was asked to preach in Nineveh about the impending destruction to the city God was planning. He refuses to do it, leaves for Tarshish, gets thrown out into the stormy ocean, a big fish swallows him, he survives inside the belly of the fish for three days and night before finally being spit out. Now he visits Nineveh as how God had told him to. People of Nineveh including the king and the cattle everyone wear sackcloth and fast and pray asking God to relent from His fierce anger. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He was not hesitant to let God know how very disappointed he was that he even wanted to die right then and there. If you think about it he had all the reasons to be angry, right? Wrong! That's what God intends to prove by teasing him with a little shade one day and removing it the next. Using that as an example God was able to explain to Jonah why he changed his mind about the hundred and twenty thousand people of Nineveh who could not tell their right hand from their left and the many cattle there. Though the chapter ends there I am sure Jonah was convinced of the reason and continued to serve the Lord, happily ever after...

Application: Like Jonah, we may think too high of ourselves at times and care more for our reputation than the will of God to be demonstrated in peoples lives. To us God asks the very same question today: “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Jonah 4:11

We were not punished according to our transgressions, why then do we expect others to be punished and not forgiven?! Freely we have received, let's freely give. (Matthew 10:8)
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You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Psalm 45:7

"Rejoice!" is an often mentioned command throughout the Scriptures. Yet, that is one area we Christians fail from time to time. All it takes is one criticism or one sickness or one crisis, or blank <you name it>, to offset us from our joy of salvation.

"Rejoice!" by it self implies that it is something within our capacity to do, not necessarily something others can do for us. If it were so, the command would have been something like "Make him/her rejoice".

One may wonder how we can rejoice irrespective of the circumstances. Or is it even possible to rejoice always? Yes, when God anoints us with the oil of joy we can rejoice in all situations! What it takes to be anointed with oil of joy? According to today's Scripture, when we love righteousness and hate wickedness God will anoint us with the oil of joy.

To add, anytime we feel that the joy within us is lost, we need to repent and cry out to the Lord for restoring our joy. We are familiar with Psalm 51 where King David cries out "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Let this be our prayer too today: "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
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* Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5
* A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

What these verses tell us is that mighty kings too felt downcast and crushed at times like the rest of us. Knowingly or unknowingly we get pulled into a broken spirit from time to time; which is hard to avoid.

When things don't work out, when the bills are mounting but resources have dried up, when a loved one's health gets affected, it is only natural to get low.

But what we do about it is what makes us different. Let's see how King David handled it:

* He puts his hope in God.
* He keeps praising the Lord.
* He acknowledges the Lord as his Savior.
* He sings praises for His Holy name

Let us learn from his example. Let us put our hope in our Lord. He will fill us all over again with His joy of salvation in no time. Amen!
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Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Song of Solomon 2:3-4

Those of us who have experienced the love of the Lord can assure to the fact that His love is the best! It is unconditional to begin with; it is sacrificial love, love that is always constant and does not depend on our merits.

As believers we make up His Church which is personified as the bride here. There may be other attractions around us in the world, but He is the best! His love supersedes every other "love". Like the apple tree is the best among all wild trees in a forest; our Savior is set apart as pure gold from all other glitter.

We have a date with Him today. He is taking us to the banquet hall (worship service). As we eat and drink (listen to the Word of God) and be merry in the fellowship of believers, let us remember one thing - His banner over us is LOVE!
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It is mine to avenge; I will repay. Deuteronomy 32:35

Tit for tat is how we like it sometimes. If someone doesn't invite us for some get together, we remember to "forget" them when we play host. When someone doesn't pick up our calls, we don't either. Agree, this is in the simplest form, but what I mean to say is, avenging or repaying is in our blood, even if in it's minuscule form. One might argue it is only natural.

But let us ask ourselves: Is it not the "natural sin" the blood of Jesus Christ has delivered us from? If we behave the same way like everyone else, what difference we make as believers?

We are done wrong, I do not deny that. But let's move past that not letting anyone or anything take up space in our minds making us dwell on thoughts of how to avenge or repay them back.

The Scriptures promise us time and time again that it is the Lord's to avenge. But sometimes it may seem to take forever for Him to do anything on our behalf. That's when King David cried out in Psalm 94:1, "O LORD, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth."

Sometimes it may appear we are given an easy opportunity to pay back in vengeance. Let us be careful not to fall into that tempting trap. Remember King Saul was right there for King David to avenge, but he had clearly made up his mind against that. He said in 1 Samuel 26:10-11 "...the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD's anointed..."

Here are few more verses to remind us in those lines:

* Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath. Romans 12:19
* Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18
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Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Ask any believer he/she will share with you the times when his/her prayers did not get answered (the way they expected that is). What happens then to our faith?! Do we continue the Spiritual walk or find it an excuse to stray?

Here Habakkuk makes a strong statement which attests to his faith during difficult times. Of course his hope is that the fig trees would bud and there would be plenty of grapes in the vines, the olives would not fail and his fields would produce food; he absolutely wishes for his sheep to multiply.

But what happens if his desired outcome is not met? Will he be upset with the Lord? Will he be heartbroken and depressed? No! Absolutely NOT!! In fact he says he would continue to rejoice in the Lord and that he would be joyful. Amen!

In other words his joy is not based on external circumstances but comes from within. Irrespective of the outcome of his yield he will rejoice in the Lord!

Didn't Job have similar take on life? When he was bombarded with all those calamities including loss of his precious children, he said:

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. Job 1:21

We are familiar with the fiery furnace incident in Daniel 3rd chapter; in verses 16-18 we read:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

What is our story? What material our JOY is made of - external or internal?
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Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad! Psalm 14:7

Amen! I praise God for these wonderful promises this morning!

It does not say, "If the Lord restores.." but says with assurance "When the Lord restores...". So there is absolutely no room for doubt here. If any of you experience even the slightest trace of doubt, you must rebuke it in the name of the Lord. His promises are yes and amen!

In his letters to the Corinthians Apostle Paul writes about the same:

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22

"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." Matthew 8:25

He commands the winds and water and they obey Him! Is it hard for Him to solve our needs? Is it difficult for Him to restore our fortunes? Is it beyond His abilities to make us rejoice and be glad?

Why then it is hard for us to still trust in Him completely? Why are we holding on to our heavy burden? Why not cast it all at His feet and walk free?!

Repeat this verse after me and claim it as your own this morning: Oh, my salvation would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores my fortunes, I will rejoice and be glad! Amen!

Go in peace! Love you in Christ!
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This is what the LORD says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31:16

Whoever is crying continuously over something, this message comes from the Lord to you: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded".

King David cries out in Psalm 56:8: "You tell my wanderings: put you my tears into your bottle: are they not in your book?" Indeed our every tear drop has been recorded and accounted for by our Lord.

In Revelation 21:4 we read, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

So, the message today comes loud and clear for all of us who need to hear: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded". Amen!

P.S: Please note the Giveaway winners were announced yesterday under each Giveaway posts. Please check it out if you had participated and send an email to nrigirl@hotmail.com with your address to claim your gift.
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Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

King David was a great king with thousands of chariots and horses. In I Chronicles 18:4 we read: "David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses."

We read in 2 Chronicles 9:25 about the great wealth his son King Solomon had: "Now Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem." I am sure a great deal of this wealth was passed on to him from his father along with the kingdom.

In spite of all that King David was very clear on where to set his heart. He was not counting on the number of his chariots nor his horses but his trust was in the Lord.

He took no pride in his possession nor his abilities but in the name of the Lord alone he trusted. He had complete assurance that it is the Lord who gives him victory not his armies of chariots and horsemen.

He had also taught the same to his son Solomon who writes in Proverbs 21:31, "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD".

How about us? Where do we put our trust? What do we teach our children?
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They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Jeremiah 31:12

Garden here signifies our hearts. The more we read the word of God, listen to the word of God, praise and worship our Lord, our hearts will be "watered" of the Holy Spirit on a continual basis filling us with such joy deep within.

On the other hand when we spend less time at God's presence, our hearts will be "withered" of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, thus leading us to sadness, sorrow, depression and other issues related to that.

King Solomon shares an incident he recalls, "I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins." Proverbs 24:30

And he goes on to say, "I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man". Proverbs 24:31

In the parable of a sower in Mark 4, Jesus explains: "Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful." Mark 4:18-19

To conclude, if we want to be a 'well watered garden' we need to "water" our hearts on a regular basis. If we give heed to slumber and laziness, our hearts will be soon covered by "thorns" and "weeds" and will be in ruins in no time.

So, did you water your garden today?