Heaven’s Worth

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. Romans 8.18

Paul, the apostle, had suffered many things because of his preaching. The Jews made plans numerous times to have him killed. They did not agree with his acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. In the past, Paul had been where they were in their disbelief, traveling to imprison any one he could find that was following Jesus.

However, Paul was converted to the truth. He suffered many of the things that he had once been guilty of doing against the disciples of Jesus. He wrote to the Galatians that he had been crucified with Christ and no longer lived, but Christ lived in him, Galatians 2.20. He had crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, Galatians 5.24.

Paul placed his hope in the life to come. He awaited the crown of righteousness that was reserved for him and all who remain faithful until death, 2 Timothy 4.8. He believed that all the suffering that he had endured could not begin to compare with the glory to be revealed in heaven.

Heaven will be worth whatever the price that has to paid here on this earth. Pay the price. You will be glad that you did!

#risingjoy #Romans #heaven

Be a Paul

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

After the disturbance had ended, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left to go to Macedonia. After he had gone through those regions and spoken many words of encouragement to the believers there, he came to Greece, where he stayed for three months. Because the Jews had made a plot against him as he was intending to sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Acts 20.1-3

Paul had been in Ephesus preaching and teaching. Demetrius, a silversmith by trade, had caused an uproar in the city due to greed. Paul was drawing people to the truth, away from the idol worship which was the way Demetrius made a living. The uproar was so great that the disciples would not allow Paul to enter the public assembly.

Afterwards, Paul decided to continue on his journeys, going to Macedonia. He went about encouraging the believers. He decided to stay in Greece for three months continuing to teach the truth. Having made plans to go to Syria, he had to go a different route, once again due to the Jews plotting against him.

No doubt, Paul had been influenced by Barnabas, who was instrumental in his being accepted by the disciples in Jerusalem after his conversion. The name, Barnabas, meant “son of encouragement”. Paul was also an encourager, strengthening the disciples where ever he went.

Today, more than ever, we need people who are encouragers. It is so easy to complain about everything. Be a Paul. Go about encouraging the disciples!

#risingjoy #Acts #Paul

Be a Barnabas

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that the Lord had spoken to him and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. So he was staying with them, associating openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. Acts 9.26-28

Can you imagine how the disciples in Jerusalem felt when Saul, otherwise known as Paul, returned to the city? The last thing that many had heard of him, he was on his way to Damascus to bring disciples back to Jerusalem to put them in prison. Is it any wonder that they were all afraid of him and just a little skeptic of his change of heart?

However, there was one who was willing to talk to him and listen to his story. Barnabas took Saul to the apostles and told them what he had learned. Afterwards, Saul associated openly with the disciples speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.

It must have been difficult for Saul to return to Jerusalem knowing what awaited him there. He would be returning to a familiar place, but associating with people that were not in his old circle of friends. Most importantly, his message and his life had changed drastically!

Do not let fear stand in the way of service in the kingdom. Be a Barnabas and take the one, who is different from who you knew, under your wing. Help pave the way for their acceptance from the brethren. Help to dispel the fear. The gospel has the power to change lives drastically, for the better!

#risingjoy #Acts #Barnabas

Are you a stumbling block or a building block for Jesus?

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 562 • September 13, 2020

ARE YOU A STUMBLING BLOCK OR A BUILDING BLOCK FOR JESUS?

QUESTION: “What is a stumbling block and what does it mean to be a stumbling block to someone else? What should you do if you encounter a stumbling block?”

A stumbling block is anything, whether or not designed and intended as such, that will cause one to go astray, to stumble, fall, or fail in a required task or required path or to make a mistake for which he can be held accountable. In the midst of a series of laws regulating the treatment of others we find this: “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:14). Obviously, putting a rock or brick or some other hazard or object to cause stumbling in front of a blind person is cruel, but the New Testament takes the practical adage and turns it into a spiritual metaphor. Continue reading

#geraldcowan

Merciful

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant! Lamentations 3.22-23

God is merciful and compassionate. Man made a choice to disobey him. After that choice was made, there was no way for man to come into his presence again on his own merit for he was stained with his sin. Sin is the very thing that separates us from God, Isaiah 59.1-2.

However, God loved man so much that he gave his own son, Jesus, as a sacrifice to make redemption possible, John 3.16. There is a condition for redemption. You must believe in Jesus. John 14.15 reads that if you love him then you will obey him. John 14.21 says that if you love Jesus then the Father will love you.

God made all of this possible while you were still helpless, sending Jesus to die for you, Romans 5.6. You were still a sinner, Romans 5.8. You were an enemy of God that now has the possibility of reconciliation through the blood of Jesus, Romans 5.10.

The Lord’s compassion never ends. His faithfulness is abundant!

#risingjoy #Lamentations #compassion

Assurance

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Now, this is what the Lord says, the one who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel: “Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you. … Isaiah 43.1-2

The assurance, that the prophet passed on to the remnant of Israel, was given to those who had remained faithful to God, who was, and continues to be faithful.

In John 8, Jesus made the comparison of children and slaves. The Jews were taking pride in their physical heritage, but were no longer obeying God due to their rejection of Jesus. They had become slaves to sin. Jesus put their place in perspective by stating that they were not the children of Abraham for he acted differently, verso 40. Those who obey God are the spiritual sons of Abraham.

The prophet stated that God would protect those whom he called by name, those that belonged to him. No matter what came upon them, he was with them and would bring them through it. In Matthew 16.18, Jesus stated that not even death would be able to overpower his church. The faithful Christian has the assurance that nothing can separate him or her from God’s love, Romans 8.38-39.

#risingjoy #Isaiah #assurance

Do Not Fear

For I am the Lord your God, the one who takes hold of your right hand, who says to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am helping you.’ Isaiah 41.13

The Israelites had disobeyed God. As a result, they were overthrown and taken into captivity. God was about to bring them back together from where they had been taken. Israel did not feel up to the task.

In Isaiah 41.10, the Lord told them not to be afraid because he was with them. He would give them strength and uphold them in his right hand. The right hand was a symbol of the Lord’s power to save and protect. Exodus 15.6 told of the majestic power of his right hand that shattered the enemy.

The Lord continues to be with his disciples today. God knows the number of hairs that each one has on his head, Luke 12.7. Jesus gives us his peace telling us not to be distressed or lacking courage, John 14.27. The Hebrew author writes to remind us that God will not abandon us, Hebrews 13.5.

Truly, we are privileged to know who God is and how we may serve him. There is no need to be afraid, for he is helping us.

#risingjoy #Isaiah #fear

Soar Like the Eagle

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired. Isaiah 40.31

Do you ever get tired? If you are like the common person, you do. How do you recharge or realign yourself? Some might take a vacation. If you cannot get away, you might read a book, watch a movie, or soak in a warm tub. These things might provide temporary relief, but for the one who is mentally tired, they are like bandaids.

When you have the Lord as your lifeline, you can be renewed daily. The daily practice of communing with him through his word has the power to renew your spirit and recharge your batteries, 2 Corinthians 4.16. You can cast all of your anxieties on him in prayer because he cares about you, 1 Peter 5.7.

Find your strength in him. Soar like the eagle!

#risingjoy #Isaiah #strength

Hugh’s News & Views (Stephen And Paul’s…)

STEPHEN AND PAUL’S MEETING IN PARADISE

According to sacred Scripture, the first person to die for the faith of the gospel was a man by the name of Stephen. Stephen had first been chosen as one of the seven men to look after the neglected Grecian widows in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-7), but he went on to become an able and courageous defender of the faith. His preaching stirred up the anger and animosity of several groups of Jews in Jerusalem, and he was eventually brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin Council to defend himself (Acts 6:8-7:53). Stephen’s words “cut to the heart” of his audience and so enraged them that “they gnashed at him with their teeth…cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and cast him out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7:54-58a). Standing by and holding the clothes of those who stoned Stephen and consenting to his death was a young man by the name of Saul (Acts 7:58b). What an ugly, ugly picture of religious prejudice and what it can do to people! Continue reading

#hughfulford

How would Jesus vote?

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS

Number 561 • September 7, 2020

HOW WOULD JESUS VOTE?*

Maybe you think Jesus wouldn’t vote, that he would not let himself be soiled with the chicanery and megalomaniacal egotism of modern politics. He probably would not recommend any politician and would surely not endorse any political party. There were two or three major political parties in his day and he found fault with them – he never said any of them could be trusted. Now do not chastise me for calling them political parties and remind me that Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and Herodians were religious, not secular.

The truth is, they were more concerned about their sectarian standing than they were about the nation of Jews and the will of God. They pushed their own agenda, not God’s. Jesus said they were more concerned about their own traditions than about God’s word – they actually made the word of God ineffective by their traditions, interpretations and applications of it (Mt. 15:9). They professed spirituality but it was superficial and hypocritical (Mt. 23:13-33). They were not promoting the kingdom of God on earth and to that extent they could be called enemies of God. Continue reading

#geraldcowan

Pleasant Words

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16.24

Words have power. They have the power, both to destroy and to edify.

James 3 talks about the tongue. It is hard to tame. It is compared to a flame that can quickly start a blazing forest fire that destroys everything in its path.

Psalm 12.6 reads that the Lord’s words are absolutely reliable. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for us, 2 Timothy 3.16. God’s word teaches a person how to live. It teaches you how to make corrections in your life. Scripture trains us how to live righteously.

Proverbs 12.18 states that words that are recklessly spoken are like the thrust of a sword. They have the power to debilitate a person to the point that the person may never overcome what was said. Negative words can destroy a person’s character.

Proverbs 12.18 also states that the words of the wise bring healing. Positive affirmations can change a person’s habits. They can change a person’s perspective and attitude.

The words that we use in speaking with others or with ourselves are powerful. Let our words be pleasant and reliable, with the ability to heal.

#risingjoy #Proverbs #words

No such thing as a secret Christian

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him. … Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so they would not be put out of the synagogue” John 12:37-42.

It’s towards the end of Jesus’ three-year ministry, and His hard teachings are separating those who want their heads and hearts full and not just their mouths and bellies. Even though He had proved to them in a variety of ways—even raising a dead man—they still did not believe in Him.

Here, ‘believe’ is used in its truest sense that requires action. If you believe that a truck is going to hit you, you get off the road! The actions because of true belief are outlined in scripture, publicly confessing Jesus as Lord being one of them.

There is no such thing as a secret Christian. A few verses later, after Isaiah shows that true belief requires the actions of an understanding of the heart and a turning from sin, certain authorities who loved the glory of men more are said to believe on a level in which they would not confess Jesus for fear of repercussions. More than just words, they wouldn’t let Jesus be their Lord.

Have you confessed Jesus?

Doug Kashorek

sermonlines.com

#dougkashorek #devotional #confession

God is Awesome

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The Lord is near all who cry out to him, all who cry out to him sincerely. Psalm 145.18

This psalm, written by David, is a hymn of praise to God. It talks about the greatness of God. It extols his mighty acts and amazing deeds. It recognizes God’s mercy, compassion, patience, and love. It states that the Lord is just in all his actions and exhibits love in all that he does. He is there to help those who cry out to him in truth.

Many of the same ideas are stated in the New Testament. In Matthew 6, Jesus taught that God takes care of his creation. He feeds the birds as an example. He certainly loves mankind and has shown that love in an amazing way. John 3.16 states that he gave his own Son to die for us. Romans 8.28 states that all things work together for good for those who love God.

God is near and his love for us is real. In return, he asks that we love him and show that love through obedience to the truth.

#risingjoy #Psalms #love

Secure your heart by putting on the whole armor of God

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 560 • August 26, 2020

SECURE YOUR HEART BY PUTTING ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD
Ephesians 6:10-20

We will all stand naked before God in judgment. But it is not safe to stand naked before our spiritual enemies with nothing to hide behind and nothing to protect us from the devices designed to destroy us. We should not remain ignorant of the enemies of God and the dangers they present to us, nor of our available defenses against them. We preach and teach rightly that one is not safe and secure forever after initial salvation. It is possible for a once-saved person to fall away and be eternally lost. Holding to the doctrine of impossibility of apostasy and eternal security – the popular “once saved always and eternally saved” doctrine, is not “obeying the gospel” but is in fact a “denial and disobedience to the gospel.” Multitudes of people become Christians, and multitudes fall away from the Lord. Many are saved but far too many of the saved fall away and are lost again. Continue reading

#geraldcowan

Deliverance

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Magnify the Lord with me! Let’s praise his name together! Psalm 34.3

This psalm was written be David. The superscription makes a reference to 1 Samuel 21.10-15. David had gone to King Achish of Gath to flee from Saul who was King of Israel.

When David heard what the king’s servants were saying about him to Achish, he was very afraid. He altered his behavior and pretended to be insane in their presence. David was able to leave there without coming to harm.

This psalm praises the Lord. The Christian should be continually praising him. Our boasting should be in the Lord and all that he has done for us. As his name becomes known in the earth, his glory is increased and magnified. He answers our prayers for help and delivers us from our fears.

Let us be like David and taste and see that the Lord is good!

#risingjoy #Psalms #praise