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The Promise Of Restoration

In the history of the world, there has only been one nation that has been forced out of their land, spread all over the world and then returned to being a nation again. On May 14, 1948, after nearly being exiled for 2,000 years, Israel became a nation once again returning to their land. Somehow they were able to maintain their culture and language throughout that long period. Upon returning, they began agricultural work. The people who were living in the land laughed at them. A hundred years earlier, Mark Twain passed through the land and described it as am uninhabitable, desolate wasteland. Today, it is an agricultural wonderland.

The prophesies of the Old Testament are being fulfilled to this day and are obvious as you drive through the country. The biggest has to be the return of the exiles. No matter how far you feel from God’s promises being fulfilled in your life, He can still make them happen. No matter how desolate your life appears at the moment, God can still create new growth in you. He specializes in doing the impossible and proves it every day. Though you may be separated from where you want to be, living in exile from your dreams, God can still bring you back into your Promised Land.

Here are some Bible verses about God’s promises of Israel being returned from exile.

1. If you and your descendants will turn back to the Lord and with all your heart obey his commands that I am giving you today, then the Lord your God will have mercy on you. He will bring you back from the nations where he has scattered you, and he will make you prosperous again. Even if you are scattered to the farthest corners of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you together and bring you back, so that you may again take possession of the land where your ancestors once lived. And he will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your ancestors ever were.

Deuteronomy 30:2-5 GNT

2. The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev.

Obadiah 1:20 NLT

3. So fear no more, Jacob, dear servant. Don’t despair, Israel. Look up! I’ll save you out of faraway places, I’ll bring your children back from exile. Jacob will come back and find life good, safe and secure. I’ll be with you. I’ll save you.

Jeremiah 30:10 MSG

4. The Lord is restoring Jerusalem; he is bringing back the exiles.

Psalm 147:2 GNT

5. Also I shall bring back the exiles of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the deserted and ruined cities and inhabit them: They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit.

AMOS 9:14 AMP

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The Importance Of Prayer

Prayer should be as vital to a Christian as a heart is to their body. You simply cannot survive without it. As I’ve traveled the world, I’ve seen different religions have certain times and certain prayers that their adherents must follow and do. Some have to face a certain way, others have to wear special clothes, and some have to repeat certain mantras. Protestant Christianity doesn’t have any of that so that prayer can be an act of willing worship from the heart. It’s about getting alone with your creator, sharing what’s on your heart and listening to what’s on His. Unfortunately many Christians don’t have a regular time to spend with God and instead only offer up prayers when we need God to solve a problem.

I want to encourage you to find a set time to spend with God each day, not out of obligation, but out of devotion. You don’t have to Pray the entire time. Many times prayer is simply sitting in God’s presence and listening. He knows what you’re going to say before you even say it, and hears your heart when words are not enough. Christianity is about having a relationship with God, and relationships live and die on communication. Prayer is our way of communicating with God and finding direction in our lives. Pick a time and a place to meet regularly with God and watch your relationship grow.

Here are some Bible verses on prayer.

1. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalms 116:2 NLT

2. GOD ’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it.

Psalm 145:18 MSG

3. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you.

Jeremiah 29:12 GNT

4. I will answer your cry for help every time you pray, and you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble. I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast.

Psalms 91:15 TPT

5. Lord, you know my prayer before I even whisper it. At each and every sunrise you will continue to hear my cry until you answer.

Psalms 88:13 TPT

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Times Of Refreshing

In today’s fast paced world where we are having to do more with less, it’s easy to become fatigued and tired. Before the internet and technology as we know it, there weren’t Starbucks on every corner. Technology has improved our lives no doubt, but it has also made us work more than ever. The amount of information we consume also can make us feel like we need a brain break. What we need is a refreshing in our body, mind and spirit. The refreshing that God offers does just that. It reinvigorates us and helps us to be able to continue doing the things that God has called us to no matter what life has brought against us.

Like a glass of ice cold water on a hot day, God wants to bring refreshing times to us no matter what we are going through. His Word promises that if we will go to Him when we are weary and tired, He will refresh us. Like any promise in the Bible, we must do our part first. We need to take time to be still and quiet in His presence. We need to give up the heavy burdens we’re carrying and give them to Him. We need to spend time in His Word and to repent of any sin in our lives, then He will give us times of refreshing that will give us what we need to make it through life and be the light He has called us to be.

Here are some Bible verses on how God promises to refresh us.

1. The law of the LORD is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul; The statutes of the LORD are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.

PSALMS 19:7 AMP

2. And now you must repent and turn back to God so that your sins will be removed, and so that times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence.

Acts 3:19 TPT

3. What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

Psalms 84:5-6 NLT

4. Now, Lord, do it again! Restore us to our former glory! May streams of your refreshing flow over us until our dry hearts are drenched again.

Psalms 126:4 TPT

5. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].

MATTHEW 11:28 AMP

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Tested By God

About twenty years ago, I went to purchase a truck. Throughout the process, the salesman would tell me little things about how the different parts of the truck had been tested. One of them I remember clearly was the cloth seats. He showed me a video of how the put blue jeans on a robot arm that rubbed across the seat cloth and pressed down. They said they tested it 250,000 times and the cloth held up. They did this with many parts of the truck. What they were trying to tell me was that this truck was going to last and they knew it because it had been tested and proven.

Believe it or not, God puts you and I through tests. Over and over we go through things that test our mettle, our faith, our endurance and our trust in Him. It’s never fun to go through these times, but they have a purpose. When you go through adversity, no matter how banged up and bruised you are, it gives you the confidence and faith to make it through the next. I heard someone say that they want to arrive at Heaven riding in on fumes, banged up, dented in and exhausted because it would mean they gave life their all and God would have trusted them to go through Hell to bring people out of it. The more you’re tested, the more you can be trusted with greater things.

Here are some Bible verses on being tested by God.

1. Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:6-7 GNT

2. Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.

2 TIMOTHY 2:15 AMP

3. God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval—only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.

1 Thessalonians 2:3-5 MSG

4. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

James 1:3 NLT

5. For You have tested us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.

PSALMS 66:10 AMP

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A Life Of Integrity

It used to be that Christians and non Christians held the Bible in high esteem. Just about everyone could agree that its principles for living were good. It became the standard of what was right and wrong even by people who didn’t trust or believe in Jesus. Today, it is no longer regarded that way in society. Each person or people group is now believed to have their own standard of what right and wrong is. Our world has moved from a place of absolute truth to one where truth is relative to the person looking at it.

Integrity is not just about being honest. It’s also about holding yourself to a higher standard. As Christians, it’s important that we don’t lower the bar of what truth is just because the world has. The truth of God’s Word and the principles in it are not relative to how you’re feeling or want to interpret them. Our lives must be lived by the integrity of the Bible. Its truth has endured thousands of years and will continue to. If we want to live lives of integrity, we do it by building them on the Word of God.

Here are some Bible verses on living a life of integrity.

1. Above all, set yourself apart as a model of a life nobly lived. With dignity, demonstrate integrity in all that you teach.

Titus 2:7 TPT

2. The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

Proverbs 20:7 NLT

3. O LORD, who may lodge [as a guest] in Your tent? Who may dwell [continually] on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity and strength of character, and works righteousness, And speaks and holds truth in his heart.

PSALMS 15:1-2 AMP

4. The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold; the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.

Proverbs 14:32 MSG

5. Integrity will lead you to success and happiness, but treachery will destroy your dreams.

Proverbs 11:3 TPT

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Possessing The Promises

How do you react when God doesn’t answer right away and you’re in desperate need for Him to answer? Do you take the Abraham approach and try to be the answer yourself? I know that’s what I’m tempted to do. Waiting on God and His timing is very difficult. He loves to wait until the last minute. Even though I know how He operates, I still try to preempt Him just in case this one time He doesn’t show up. The longer I have to wait for Him to intervene, the smaller my faith seems to get. I think that’s just our human nature, but I also think that’s what God is trying to get us to fight against.

Like a parent teaching their kid to ride a bike, there are times God lets go and it feels like He’s no where near you as you come crashing down. In that process, we learn how to trust Him, how to get back up and how to ride. God uses process to get us to the promise. You and I must learn to be patient and to trust His process. Patience is the key. We must learn to let God do what He needs to do in our lives so He can produce what He needs to produce. If you’re in that place where you’re waiting, fight impatience. God is at work in ways you can not see. It takes time and endurance to get us to the greatest promises.

Here are some verses on waiting for God.

1. I waited and waited and waited some more, patiently, knowing God would come through for me. Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.

Psalms 40:1 TPT

2. Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!

Psalms 27:14 TPT

3. Enthusiasm without knowledge is not good; impatience will get you into trouble.

Proverbs 19:2 GNT

4. So don’t be impatient for the Lord to act; keep moving forward steadily in his ways, and he will exalt you at the right time. And when he does, you will possess every promise, including your full inheritance. You’ll watch with your own eyes and see the wicked lose everything.

Psalms 37:34 TPT

5. But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.

Romans 5:3-4 TPT

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In Desperate Need

Recently two Florida teens were swimming in the ocean when they were pulled away from shore. They found themselves two miles from shore. The waves were choppy and the current was strong. After treading water for two hours, their strength was giving out. Hope was gone as reality was setting in. In desperation they cried out to God, “If you really have a plan for our lives, just bring something!” It was about that time that a boat named “The Amen” was going by, thought they heard something in the water and found them. They were rescued from their situation and returned safely to shore.

I haven’t been in a situation like that before, but I have been desperate for God to answer in a hopeless situation. Desperate prayers cut through our religious jargon we like to say to God. They are the most authentic prayers and that’s why I believe God answers so many of them. Our need for God to move will increase our faith in Him and His ability to intervene. God desires that we would have that same desperation for Him even when our circumstances aren’t dictating that need. We are all eternally hopeless without Him. It’s time our lives, our prayers and our relationship with Him reflected that kind of desperation.

Here are some Bible verses on desperation.

1. I was desperate for you to help me in my struggles, and you did!

Psalms 120:1 TPT

2. When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe I would be healed.”

Luke 8:47 TPT

3. For when I was desperate, overwhelmed, and about to give up, you were the only one there to help. You gave me a way of escape from the hidden traps of my enemies.

Psalms 142:3 TPT

4. GOD is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, No matter how desperate the trouble.

Nahum 1:7 MSG

5. When I had nothing, desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and he heard me, bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.

Psalms 34:6 TPT

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