Isaiah 48:17 ” This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

God wants only the very best for us…the most excellent, most productive life we  can live…filled with the greatest satisfaction we can ever experience.  Just like the old TV show, “Father Knows Best”,  our Heavenly Father really does know what’s best for us.  And we will discover it also as we allow God to teach, lead, and guide us.

I John 4:12 ” No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

In the Gospels, it tells us to love each other…whether it’s family, neighbors, or enemies…God’s word instructs us to love one another.  For when we obey His word, His love is truly made complete in us. (I John 2:5)   And by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,  God’s love will manifest and be perfected in us as we display that love to others.

Mark 10:42-44 ” Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.’ “

Elsewhere in Mark,  Jesus brought home this point when He said, ” If anyone wants to be first he must be the very last and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)  But having a servant’s heart goes against our grain.  We’d much rather be honored and have people serve us than swallow our pride and do for others.  But we need to remember that the most important thing that comes out of a servant’s heart is joy.  For when we put others ahead of ourselves…we’re putting our priorities in proper perspective… Jesus first –Others second – Yourself last.

Psalm 69:29 ” I am in pain and distress; may Your salvation, O God, protect me.”

Suffering, grief, troubles, and pain are all part of the human experience.  No one is exempt.  So if we know this will happen in our life…why does it sometimes take a while to give these burdens to the Lord rather than shouldering them alone?  The Psalmist here is crying out to the Lord for protection and deliverance…realizing, that only God can help him.    The time to give our troubles  to the Lord is long before we’ve come to the end of ourselves…when desperation, hopelessness, and despair have taken over our life.  If you’re in this place today,  I pray Psalm 20:1-5  over you now,  “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.  May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.  May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests.”   Amen.

Isaiah 1:16-17 ” Take your evil deeds out of My sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

The premise of these verses is pretty simple…stop doing wrong, learn to do right.  In other words, practice the truth…doing the right thing when you see injustice happening.  But this is usually  where fear jumps in and stops us from becoming involved.  We know what the Lord would want us to do…but stepping into an unknown situation can be scary.  But if we do choose to walk away, God sees it as indifference and blatant disregard for the oppressed.  The Lord has called all Believers to champion the causes of the vulnerable among us.  Let’s not allow fear and doubt to stop us from practicing the truth.

I Corinthians 1:8 ” He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We can’t save ourselves.  Nor can we lead a totally blameless and holy life without the help of the Holy Spirit.  For it reminds us in Philippians 1:6, “That He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”  The Holy Spirit is ever at work,  confirming in you the goals and objectives set before you…until that day the ultimate plan and purpose of your life is fulfilled in you through Christ Jesus.  We can’t do this without the help of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus spoke of this as He called the first disciples in Matthew 4:19,  when He said to them, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”   The Greek word for “make” here means that Jesus would actually be doing the work…causing and enabling those fishermen to seek and draw out the lost around them.  And we now have the Holy Spirit to do that work in us…inspiring, strengthening, and giving us confidence.

Jeremiah 10:2 ” This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.’ “

In both Exodus 23:24 and Leviticus 20:23 the Lord was emphatic…Don’t bow down to foreign gods, and you must not follow their customs and practices…and this included their response and rituals  towards signs in the sky.  The world has always reacted to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes with alarm…for there is nothing humanly possible we can do to control them.  But as Believers, we know these types of signs are finger-marks of God…indicating His spiritual purpose…signs of the End of the Age.  We only have to read the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:6-8 for clarification, ” You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.”