THE TIME TO LAUGH IS IN THE FACE OF OUR ENEMY

by Tammy Phillips
July 28, 2021

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh…” (Ecclesiastes 3:4 NKJV)

Aren’t you glad that the word of God says there is “a time to laugh?”   Leviticus 23 describes seven different feasts/festivals throughout the Jewish year.  These were sacred, Holy Days of remembrance and celebration.   Jewish festivals were time of rejoicing, yet they were serious, too.  I would describe them as more of a serious time of joy.   When we think on a celebration, festival, or party, we think of laughter and dancing, but these were more serious times of remembering what God had done.  However, one of the feasts, Purim was established as a feast to commemorate the victory of Esther and Mordechai over Haman who plotted to wipe out the Jews of Shushan, Persia.  Purim was/is a time of extreme joy and laughter, celebrating victory over the enemy. 

I know God laughs. His word says He does.  I recently told my friends that I know that I give God a run for his money.  I know He ever laughs at me.  Do you know the only times the Bible speaks of the LORD laughing?

The three times the Bible mentions the Lord laughing are when He laughs at His enemies. I love it.  If we are to follow the example of our Father, we are to laugh in the face of our enemies.  Not only did God laugh at them.  He held them in derision.  Derision is not a word I frequently throw around.  Actually, I had no clue what it meant and had to look it up.  It means to mock, make fun of, laugh at in contempt and to speak unintelligibly.  Yes, the word shows us that the Lord literally made a laughingstock of His enemies.  

“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4 NKJV)

“The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming.” (Psalm 37:13 NKJV)

“But You, O LORD, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision.” (Psalm 59:8 NKJV)

Jesus defeated His enemy and ours, Satan, and all that he is, on the cross and provided us with salvation and deliverance.    In fact, the Lord mad a public spectacle of them.  “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:14-15 NKJV)

The word of God tells us to do the same:

“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” (James 1:2 NKJV)   
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NKJV)
“Rejoice always,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 NKJV)

If we are to rejoice always that means in the face of our enemies.  In Him, we can laugh at sickness, disease, covid, cancer, lack, loss, fear, shame, guilt any obstacle that dares cross our path.  Can you hear Father God laughing back at Abraham and Sarah?  They laughed in His face when He told them that they would bear a child at the age of 100 and 90.  Although the Bible doesn’t say this, I know in my heart that the Lord chuckled when He responded, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Genesis 18:14 NKJV)

When we believe the word of God for our life, we should be laughing in derision at our troubles.  Hannah was a great example of this.  She was childless, too, and desperately longed for a child.  In 1 Samuel, she poured her heart out to the Lord and petitioned Him for a son.  Her adversary had made fun of her because of her empty womb.   The Lord granted Hannah’s prayer in the child of SamsonAfterwards, “Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the LORD, For [there is] none besides You, Nor [is there] any rock like our God.’” (1 Samuel 2:1-2 NKJV)

When faced with impossibilities, we can either despair, get depressed, distressed, discouraged, and disappear in defeat, OR we can boldly, courageously, resolutely stand in the face of our enemies, and laugh out loud.

I enCOURAGE YOU to laugh, chuckle and snicker.  Laugh at the mountain before you.  Laugh at the trial you ARE going through.  Mock at the mayhem in this world, and in year world!  In the middle of all the chaos…crack up!  Knock out your opponent with a little giggle.  Sing lalala in the presence of your adversary.  Live amazed by our Father and always laugh in Him.

“Now thanks [be] to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV)

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

by Tammy Phillips
July 27, 2021

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].” (1 Peter 5:10 KJV)

A home is not built over night.  A foundation has to be laid before the house will stand. Every single piece of the house has to be carefully designed, thought out, constructed, and set in place before the house can reach its completion. The building process can be painful.   Obviously, there are obstacles along the way. There are delays and storms. How good does it feel to walk into a new home or a newly renovated home when it is complete?   Allow the Lord time to complete what He started in you. 

BUT GOD!
It is always God!
It is God of ALL GRACE. 
It is God of all…
Good-will
Lovingkindness
Unmerited favor
Kindness that bestows what is undeserved
It is God.

God has called us…
God has invited us…
God has called us by name…
into His eternal glory
by Christ Jesus

After you have suffered…
Been affected
Been afflicted
Undergone

Awhile…
A little
Small
Shortly
Slightly
Briefly

God of all grace will…

Perfect you
Put you in order
Mend what was broken
Repair you
Restore you
Make you what you ought to be
Complete You

God of all favor will…

Establish…
Confirm
Strengthen
Firmly Place
Fix
Steadfastly set your face
Turn you resolutely in a certain direction

God of all loving kindness…

Strengthen…
Make you strong body and soul

God of all unmerited favor will…

Settle…
Found
Ground
Lay your foundation

I enCOURAGE you in the middle of your passion, suffering and waiting to hold on. You are under construction.  God has got you in His mighty right hand.  He is an amazing project manager. Your current suffering is only going to last a little while on His construction timeline.  He will use it to perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you.  You are complete in Him.

 

 

 

FOCUS IS FIRE

by Tammy Phillips
July 26, 2021

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.” (Proverbs 4:25 NKJV)

Focus is fire and I can prove it. 

  1. Our word focus is a derivative of the Latin word focus, which means fire, fireplace, or hearth.By meaning alone focus is the place of fire. Focus is fire.   I could stop here, but I will continue.
  2. A magnifying glass lens can take the sun rays coming from every direction, gather them and concentrate them on one central point.  The focus of the light rays on  that center point creates enough heat to ignite a fire.  Focus is fire.

Focus is a point in which rays of light meet, after being reflected or refracted.  Focus is the convergence on a perceived point of concentration.  Focus is having clear visual definition.

When we seek God, He lights our path, clears our road, and gives us clear vision to walk the right way.  When the Lord wants us to focus on something specific, He sheds His light into the darkness of our life through a variety of light rays.  It can be through reading His word, praying, talking with other Christians, listening to a sermon, a song or just about anything. Those light rays enter through one point, our God-given lens, and create a fire inside of us.  Then, as we concentrate on what the Lord has told us to accomplish and keep our eyes looking straight forward with laser focus, we can fulfil His will for our lives.  This God kind of focus extinguishes the distractions the enemy sets before us.  Focus is fire. 

3.  Here is a perfect example:  The Lord directs me to lose weight.  He shows me how.  He teaches me the right food to eat and the exercises to do.  When I focus on what He has told me and I am not distracted by the bad food, a fire is fueled.  When I center in on eating the correct food and drink, my targeted actions fuel a literal fire inside me.  Calories are burned and weight is lost.  When I add another light ray of knowledge, exercise, to the plan laid before, I am adding focused fuel to the fire and more weight is lost.  As I keep my eye on the prize, stayed focused on what the Lord has told me to do and put blinders on to the distractions of life, I will eventually attain my goal.  Focus is fire.

I enCOURAGE you to “let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you!”  Do not be deterred by the distractions the enemy put in your path.  Walk by faith around, over, or break straight through them.  Godly focus will fuel the fire for you to achieve your destiny. Remember, focus!  It is fire in your life.

And if that is not enough, “Our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29 KJV)

HOW TO GO THE RIGHT WAY

by Tammy Phillips
July 25, 2021

Has the Lord called you to Him?  Are you following Him?  Has He told you to do something and you have not been obedient?  Sadly, I can answer yes to this question.  I have tried on and off for years to lose weight, but have I done it?  I can say I have started, like Israel, but I have not finished the job.  I have known for years to exercise self-control.  I have “tried,” but I have not exercised sound mind.  I just haven’t done it, but I am doing it… now!   Israel had been directed to rebuild God’s House.  They had been slacking for fourteen years.  They also knew what to do, but like me, they gave God a lot of excuses.  Haggai under the direction of the Lord encouraged them in the right way to go to accomplish His will.   Following are the guides of Haggai that pointed Israel and in the right directions.  They will do the same for us.

HAGGAI 1:12

  1. FOLLOW RIGHTEOUS LEADERS
  2. HEAR, listen, answer, attend, AND OBEY THE VOICE/call of the LORD
  3. And the word of the prophets sent by the Lord
  4. FEAR THE LORD. Revere and stand in awe of  the LORD.  Be amazed in the presence of God.

HAGGAI 1:13

  1. LISTEN AND KNOW THAT THE LORD IS WITH YOU!

HAGGAI 1:14

  1. BE STIRRED. It is the LORD who stirred up everyone’s spirit.  Do you feel the Lord stirring your spirit?   We can do nothing without the Lord and all things with Him. Nothing like the God of the universe to stir things up. The Hebrew word for stirred up is ʿûr and it means:  to be hot, ardent, alert, watchful, awake, aroused.  It is the idea of the eyes being opened and wide awake. 
  2. GET TO WORK. The Lord told them what to do and stirred them up. They listened.  They went to work on the house of the Lord.

Haggai 2:3

  1. SEE WORK AS IMPORTANT AND DON’T COMPARE. They compared their work to Solomon’s work on the Temple and thought it was nothing.  If God calls us to do or give anything, IT IS NOT INSIGNIFICANT!  IT IS SIGNIFICANT work for the kingdom.  We have to do our part, plant the seed, and trust Him to grow it.

Haggai 2:4

  1. BE STRONG.  BE COURAGEOUS!  BE FIRM! HOLD ON!  BE RESOLUTE!  
  2. WORK. Do it. Make it happen.  Commit.  Execute.  Keep it going.  Get after it.
  3. The LORD says: “I AM WITH YOU.” We are doing His work with Him.

Haggai 2:5

  1. NOT STANDING OR WAITING ALONE   According to His word and His blood covenant, the Spirit remained in the middle with Israel.  According to His word and the new blood covenant in Jesus, His Spirit remains in the middle of us. He was with them, but He is in us. He remains, stand, endures, continues, and waits with us. 
  2. DO NOT FEAR. Do not be frightened by anything.  Don’t be frightened by the obstacle nor  task ahead. We are not alone. If the Lord calls you to it, He will help you through it. 

Haggai 2:8

  1. HIS RESOURCES ARE UNLIMITED.   All the gold and silver are His!  All power is His.  All might is His. All authority is His. He will supply us with everything we need to get the hob done.

I enCOURAGE you to listen to the word of the LORD.  He is calling.  Fearlessly, follow the word of God for your life.   He will instruct you and teach you the right way to go. (Psalm 32:8).  In summary, Haggai gave great consult to Israel to get the job done:  Listen. Obey. Fear the LORD. (It is the beginning of wisdom.)  Know the LORD is with you and stirring you.  Do it.  Be strong!  As always, be resolute and just do it with the LORD.  He will give you all you need to get you going the right way.  You cannot go the wrong way with the LORD. 

 

 

 

ARE YOU GOING THE RIGHT WAY?

by Tammy Phillips
July 24, 2021

” Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:5 KJV)

Now, it is so easy to get from place to place.  We enter our beginning and end point in our GPS (Global Positioning System …which sounds like something from Star Trek).  We push a button.  We are given turn by turn instructions and even have a voice to guide us if we wish.  If life was only that simple!  What if we could enter a starting point as single and destination as married? Push a button and then receive turn by turn directions to our perfect mate.  The LORD knows I made so many wrong turns and went down so many dead-end roads in an attempt to find my husband. 

The LORD had told His people to rebuild His house two years after they came out of Babylonian captivity. They worked on it for two years and stopped.  Fourteen years later, enter Haggai, again.  His people had stopped work on the temple, but had taken time to build themselves nice, new homes.  They had said that the time had not come to work on God’s house and offered up a lot of excuses.

How many of us have nice, new, decorated homes?  However, we have not spent any time on the temple of the LORD.  “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and [that] the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV) Yes!  After we follow Jesus, we are the temple of God, and He lives in us.  We have some restoration, renewal and transformation that needs to take place on the inside.  We are washed and perfected by the word of God.  The only way that this happens is to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  (Romans 12:2 NKJV) Sadly, we do not have an easy GPS directing us which way to turn, but if we listen to God, He will teach us the way to go. 

Where are we going?  What are we doing?  Which direction is our life going?   Have we come to the Lord?  If we have, are we following Jesus?  Are we being obedient to His word?  Are we doing what He has asked or called us to do?  Are we going the right way? 

This is what the Lord said to His people in Haggai 1:5 and 7:  Now!  It is time.   Consider your ways!  The Hebrew figure of speech means “put your heart on your roads.”   In other words, think about where you are going.  Set your mind on the path of your inner man.  

The Lord tells them later through Haggai that they had not lived their best lives because they had been going the wrong way.  They had been living their own lives as they pleased, doing what they wanted to do and not what the LORD had told them to do.  They had been running around building and decorating their own homes, while His laid in waste. 

I enCOURAGE you to “consider your ways.”  Put your heart on the road.  Are you obedient to the calling of God on your life?   Are you following Jesus as Savior and Lord?  Are you working on your temple?  Did you begin the process eighteen years or forty years ago and it is still incomplete?  ARE YOU GOING THE RIGHT WAY? What would the LORD have you to do?  Tune in tomorrow.

“THIS WILL NOT OVERWHELM, NOR DEFEAT ME!”

by Tammy Phillips
July 23, 2021 

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2 KJV)

Early in our marriage, when Kris and I would go through difficult circumstances and begin to become discouraged, I would firmly say, “This will not defeat us!”  It became a banner flying over our marriage in our early years.  I am thankful that God reminded me of the proverb that He gave us.  I need to confess it more often.

Are you at wits end?  Are you drowning, sinking, floating, swimming or standing on the Rock in the sea of life?  Are you overwhelmed or overcoming?  Many of my friends and family are enduring some really stressful things, as well as their friends and family:

  • The unexpected passing of a spouse
  • The premature loss of a child
  • Fighting cancer, the virus and other crippling diseases
  • Battling aging and dementia
  • Divorce
  • Wayward children
  • Unexpected pregnancies or troubles getting pregnant
  • Chaos at work
  • Not enough employees to keep their business running

Some are drowning.  Some are swimming.  Some are standing on the Rock, and some are walking on the water.  Two individuals could be experiencing the exact same thing but look at it differently.  One could be drowning by focusing on the problem, while the other could be standing on the Rock, focusing on the One, Jesus, who has the answer, strength, and power to help them overcome. 

We all go through life and experience tribulations.  WE MUST STAY FOCUSED.  It is too easy to become engulfed in trials.  By definition overwhelmed means to be crushed beneath something violent and weighty, that covers up or encompasses the whole; to be immersed and to bear down upon; to overlook gloomily.   The word whelm means to cover with water or other fluid; to cover by immersion in something that envelops on all sides; to cover completely; to immerse deeply; to overburden.  This sounds like drowning to me.  As Christians, the only thing that we should be totally immersed in is the word of God, not the cares of life.  It is the word of God that will help us float and walk on water, whether stormy or calm.   The LORD tells us:

“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 NKJV)

When life tries to crush and crash in on us, do we turn to the problem, or do we turn to the Lord?  David said, “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me.”  (Psalm 142:3 NLT).  Our enemy is always in pursuit of us trying to steal, kill and destroy us… our marriage, our children, our life, our jobs, and our country.  When we feel swamped and covered up, turn to the Lord.  Cry out to Him. He will lead you through it.  He will be the saving rock on which you can stand.

I enCOURAGE you not to be overwhelmed with all the chaos that is spinning around in the world today.  Allow the Savior to save you.  Surrender to Him. Stop flailing around.  He has a saving word and direction for you.  Seek Him.  Call Him.  He will save you.  “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NLT). Through Him, you are more than a conqueror and can victoriously declare, ““THIS WILL NOT OVERWHELM, NOR DEFEAT ME!”

I am saved and covered by the Lord!” 

“I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10 NLT)

My mom’s response to this post:  

“So much going on in people’s lives.  Breaks my heart for them.  I am so much older, wiser, and knowledgeable of God’s Word than I was, and it increases daily.  God IS the Answer!!! Without Him, where would “I” be?? With Him, I have hope, confidence, and assurance for today, and tomorrow!”-Marie Poon

CAN YOU FATHOM EVERLASTING?

Photo credit: MamaArtPhotos

by Tammy Phillips
July 22, 2021

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The EVERLASTING GOD, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)

We live in time and space.  Trying to imagine anything everlasting is truly mind blowing.   Everlasting God, El Olam is Eternal God without beginning or end.  He is the eternal ruler of the universe, and He is beyond time or space. He is God outside of time.  He always has been and always will be.  He is God who was, is and will be.  He sees from beginning to end and from the end to the beginning.  “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  (Psalm 90:NIV)

From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.

Everlasting God
Everlasting Father
Everlasting Son
Everlasting Holy Spirit

God you are from everlasting…

Everlasting covenant
Everlasting arms
Everlasting love
Everlasting loving kindness
Everlasting life
Everlasting power
Everlasting strength
Everlasting mercy
Everlasting righteousness
Everlasting king
Everlasting kingdom
Everlasting dominion
Everlasting foundation
Everlasting consolation
Everlasting salvation
Everlasting gospel
Everlasting joy
Everlasting light
Everlasting ways

…to everlasting.

The LORD is eternal and does not change!   However, since God operates outside of time, He sees who we were, who we are, and who we will be. We were  dead sinners.  We are saved by grace and the everlasting righteousness of Jesus Christ, and we will be His for eternity, complete in Him and ruling and reigning with the Everlasting God. When we believe in everlasting God, we are no longer bound by time either. We can move in Him whenever and however He chooses. He can multiply our time if more is needed to complete the tasks in a day.  He can subtract time if less is needed to heal a wound or a broken heart. When we submit to Him, our times are in His hands.  

I enCOURAGE you to “trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, [is] everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:4 NKJV).  The LORD, Jehovah, Yahweh is His Name. He is the Existing One.  His name means the One who was, is, and is to come.  His name means that He always was, He is, and He will always be.  He is Everlasting God.

PROMISES TO STAND ON

Will you be like this turtle and stand on the promises of the Lord our Rock? Or, will you jump off the rock in fear and hide like all the turtles that were covering the rock when I walked by?

by Tammy Phillips
July 21, 2021

“Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.”   

I do not know how many promises are in the word of God.  I suppose every word in the Bible is a promise.  It is His word.  In the Old Testament the word for promise was dabar which really means to set things in a row, ranging in order, to direct, lead, guide, to put words in order, to simply speak.  In times past when a man gave you his word, he was giving you, his promise.  A man’s word was enough.  An oath did not have to be given.  Today, we look at a promise as an oath day, when in it all actuality is our word.    Taking into consideration that our word is our promise, we should be much more careful with our words. 

On the other hand, King Solomon said of the Lord: 

“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. (1 Kings 8:56 NKJV)

To reiterate, not one word that the Lord has spoken has ever failed.   Joshua’s dying words stated the same:

“Behold, this day I [am] going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one WORD of them has failed. (Joshua 23:14 NKJV)

 Do you feel like David today?  Are you crying out to God with the same words?

Has His mercy ceased forever? Has [His] promise failed forevermore? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah 10 And I said, “This [is] my anguish; [But I will remember] the years of the right hand of the Most-High.” (Psalm 77:8-10 NKJV)

David was discouraged.  He was wondering if God had forgotten him and if the Lord’s word was untrue.  He made a fast recovery and encouraged himself by remembering the years that the Lord had been faithful to His word.  I hope to do the same for you.

Everett R. Storms was a schoolteacher in Canada who on his twenty seventh time reading through the Bible decided to study the promises in the Bible.  He found 8,810 promises with 7,487 of them being promises made by God to us.  Like I said, the Bible is the word of God, so it is His promise to us. 

His promises are exhaustive. “For all the promises of God in Him [are] Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”  (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV)

BE ENCOURAGED!  

THE LORD’S PROMISES ARE:

  • UNFAILING-1 Kings 8:56
  • A NEW HEART- Jeremiah 31:33
  • ALWAYS TO BE WITH US -Isaiah 43:2, Matthew 28:20
  • ASK, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN YOU – John 14:14
  • CALL AND HE WILL ANSWER -Jeremiah. 33:3
  • COMFORT -John 14:16
  • COMPLETE -Colossians 2:10
  • DEFENSE -Isaiah 41:13
  • DELIVERANCE -Psalm 50:15
  • DIRECTION -Psalms 32:8
  • ENDURING, FOREVER LOVE -1 Chronicles 16:34
  • FORGIVENESS -1 John 1:9
  • FUTURE HOME -John 14:1-3
  • GOOD TO ALL -Psalm 145:9
  • HEALTH AND HEALING -Jeremiah 30:17
  • HOLY SPIRIT -John 14:27
  • HOPE -Romans 15:13
  • JOY -John 15:11
  • RECONCILIATION -Romans 5:10-11
  • ABUNDANT LIFE -John 10:10
  • ETERNAL LIFE – 1 John 2:25
  • LIGHT OF LIFE. John 8:12
  • NEW LIFE IN CHRIST-2 Corinthians 5:17
  • LOVE EVERLASTING -Psalm 103:17
  • NOTHING IS TOO HARD -Jeremiah 32:27
  • NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE -Luke 1:36-37
  • PEACE -John 14:27
  • POWER, LOVE, AND A SOUND MIND -2 Timothy 1:7
  • PROTECTS AND SAVES -Psalm 116:5-6
  • PROVISION -Philippians 4:19
  • PURPOSE -Jeremiah 29:11
  • REST- Matthew 11:28-30
  • SAFETY-Proverbs 18:10
  • SALVATION -Romans 10:9
  • SAVE OUR CHILDREN -Isaiah 49:25
  • STRENGTH TO THE WEARY AND  POWER OF THE WEAK – Isaiah 40:29
  • SUSTAINS US -Psalm 94:18
  • SWEET SLEEP -Proverbs 3:24-26
  • THE WAY,  TRUTH AND LIFE -John 14:6  
  • UPHELD BY GOD’S OATH -Hebrews 6:12-9
  • VICTORY OVER TEMPTATIONS -1 Corinthians 10:13
  • VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST -1 Corinthians 15:57
  • WISDOM -James 1:5
  • NO MORE DEATH, SORROW, CRYING, OR PAIN,Revelation 21:4
  • HE IS COMING SOON -Revelation 20:20

I enCOURAGE you with the “exceedingly great and precious promises” of God.  I pray that you can be like Abraham who “did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.”(Romans 4:20 NKJV) Know that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 KJV)

Stand on His word. He will not fail you.  He is faithful that promised!

SWEET “SET” PRAYERS

by Tammy Phillips
July 20, 2021

“Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2 NKJV)

Sweet smells are intoxicating and stimulating .  A sweet aroma makes a powerful impression.  A pleasant  fragrance can remind you of an old flame, a happy time, or take you to a happy place.  Think of chocolate chip cookies baking in an oven or grandma’s buttery biscuits.  Incense was the sweet smell offered to the Lord in the Old Testament.  It is a picture of prayer. The golden altar of incense in the tabernacle of God was carefully constructed from specific instructions.  A recipe for the sweet-smelling incense was given and could only be prepared for the altar.  Each morning and night the high priest would add to the fire and refill the incense so that the sweet smoke would continually ascend to heaven.  As the High Priest completed his assigned duties, and the sweet smoke rose,  Israel was reminded that the High Priest was ever offering prayers on their behalf.

The Holy Spirit is the fire in our lives that kindles our prayers.  We are encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.”   In Revelation 5:8 we find that in heaven there are golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

As incense on  the golden altar was carefully prepared with very specific ingredients.  It was kindled with holy fire, and presented to God the same way, everyday morning and night. 

When we intercede, we are entering the presence of the King of Kings.  He has set aside or appointed time to meet with us.  We should come before Him in reverence and awe.  We should not take it lightly nor for granted.  Prayer is serious time.  It is time to go to work with our Father who is Owner, President and Chief Executive Officer of everything. 

We throw the word prayer around like it is a cliché.  Jesus our High Priest  made and paid our way without sinning, so that we now can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrew 4:16)

We have the freedom to speak to the CEO of Everything with confidence and frankness.  We have a place before Him, and we belong there because of our position in Christ.  However, we would never meet with our boss or make a presentation at school before a teacher, or without first preparing for it.  We cannot make dinner  or build a house without preparation.  Prayer is the same.  As David said, It must be “set forth” before the Lord in reverential admiration not  in awless disrespect.  “Set forth” is the Hebrew word meaning, to be erect, stand upright, arranged, directed, ordered, put right,  be prepared, made ready, be firm, stable, established, fixed and securely determined. This is a picture of a house built on pillars, firmly established.  

We have an obstacle before us.  We make an appointment to meet with our boss for his advice.  We go into the meeting distracted, unfocused  and ill prepared.  During the meeting, we look at our phone, make a few texts, and even file our nails, too.  How do you think that meeting will go?   However, if we go into the meeting confident, determined and prepared to present our case, don’t you think we would garner our employer’s attention?  Which scenario is going to leave a sweet smell with the chief?

“Prayer is knowing work, believing work, thinking work, searching work, humbling work, and nothing worth if heart and hand do not join in it.”  —Thomas Adam, 1701-178

I enCOURAGE you to work with the Lord.  Give Him something to work with.  Offer the sacrifice of prayer without ceasing.  Be directed and specific with your prayers.  Prepare and align your prayers with the word of God, so they will be like sweet incense before Him.   Do not meet with the Lord distracted by the tasks of the day, nor more focused on the problem than the Solution sitting before you.  May your prayers be counted as incense and captured in the golden bowls of incense in heaven.

 

WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT PRAISE

photo by “The king of sunsets” (He might have taken picture, but I only know one King of Sunsets, the Lord! And the heavens are definitely praising Him in his photo.)

by Tammy Phillips
July 19, 2021

“Therefore, by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of [our] lips, giving thanks to His name.”(Hebrews 13:15 NKJV)

When a baseball player hits a home run or a pitcher strikes a batter out, we applaud them.  When a  florist exceeds our expectations, we extol their works.  When a restaurant serves a sumptuous meal, we recommend it to our friends. When a child speaks its first words or takes its first steps, we celebrate them.  When my husband washes clothes all day on his day off, I praise him!  We all want to be acknowledged and thanked for our good works.   If we offer praise at every worldly event and action, how much more should we offer praise God?  The Lord who created and saved us from ourselves is worthy of all our praise.  Yet how often do we stop to praise the Lord?  Look at the faces of those in church,  are we  truly offering the sacrifice of praise to the worthy Lamb of God?

The author of Hebrews tells us to continually praise God.  King David said in Psalms 119:164 that  he stopped and offered praise to God at least seven times a day.  Praise is mentioned 248 times in the King James Bible.  Obviously, praise is important to God!   I was amazed to find seven different words for praise in the Old Testament: HALAL (H1984), YADA (H3034), TODAH (H8426), SABAH (H7623), TEHILLAH (H8416), ZAMAR (H2167), and BARAK (0)

  1. HALAL [H1984] The KJV translates Strong’s H1984 as, to be clear; shine; boast foolishly; act like a madman; make a show of; to rave; rage; celebrate.

Sadly, we do this at sports events and music concerts, unashamedly.  When is the last time we acted a fool for God or were called a madman for our open praise to our Creator?  When is the last time we made it clear that we worship the one and only God ?

In God we boast [H1984] all day long, and praise [H2167] thy name for ever. Selah. (Psalm 44:8 NKJV)

For the LORD [is] great, and greatly to be praised[H1984]. (Psalm 96:4 KJV)

 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.[H1984] (Psalm 113:3 KJV)

Further, our hallelujah is derived from the Hebrew words, halal and ya!

Praise ye the LORD  [H1984, 3050]. I will praise[3034]  the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in  the congregation. (Psalm 111:1 KJV)

  1. YADAH [H3034] The KJV translates Strong’s H3034 114 times(!), in the following manner: give thanks; confess; thanksgiving; cast; throw; shoot. The root word for yadah is hand. Yadah means to praise with the extended hand, to throw out the hand, and to lift the hands while making a confession or surrender to God.

We also do this without thought at football games. Praise the touchdown, right?  How about when you hear your favorite song and you put your arms in the air like you do not care

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD. (Psalm 134:2 NKJV) 

Give thanks[H3034] unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. (1 Chronicles 16:8 KJV)

 I will praise[H3034]thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works. (Psalm 9:1 KJV)

 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise[H3034]   thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things. (Isaiah 25:1 KJV)

  1. TODAH [H8426] Todah comes from the same root word as yadah, but it is an extension of the hand in adoration; confession; thanksgiving; a choir of worshippers. It is singing and praising together. 

Whoever offers praise[H8426] glorifies Me. (Psalm 50:23 NKJV)

And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving[H8426] to the LORD, offer [it] of your own free will. (Leviticus 22:29 NKJV) 

When I remember these [things], I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise[H8426], With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. (Psalm 42:4 NKJV)

  1. SABAH (H7623) The KJV translates Strong’s H7623: to pacify; to sooth; to stroke; to still the waves with words, be free from care.

When the storms come, it is our soothing praise that will still the waves and set us free from our cares. 

Because Your lovingkindness [is] better than life, My lips shall praise[H7623] You.  Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. (Psalm 63:3-4 NKJV)

One generation shall praise [H7623]  Your works to another  and shall declare Your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4 NKJV)

  1. TEHILLAH [H8416] The KJV translates Strong’s H8416 as, song or hymn of praise; adoration; thanksgiving; to glory

He is your praise [H8416], and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. (Deuteronomy 10:21 NKJV)

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise[H8416],  from the upright is beautiful. (Psalm 33:1 NKJV)

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You [are] my praise[H8416]. (Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV) 

  1. ZAMAR. [H2167] The KJV translates Strong’s H2167: to pluck the strings of an instrument and to sing

Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises[H2167]  to Your name. (2 Samuel 22:50 NKJV)

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises[H2167]. (Psalm 98:4 NKJV)

I will praise [H3034] You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises [H2167]  to You. (Psalm 138:1 NKJV) 

  1. BARAK [H1288] The KJV translates Strong’s H1288 as, to kneel; an act of adoration

I will bless[H1288] You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. (Psalm 63:4 NKJV)

O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel [H1288] before the Lord our maker. Psalm 95:6

I will bless [H1288] the LORD at all times; His praise[H8416], [shall] continually [be] in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1 NKJV)

I enCOURAGE you to Praise[H1984] the LORD! For it is good to sing praises [H2167] to our God; For [it is] pleasant, and praise[H8416] is beautiful. (Psalm 147:1 NKJV)

God is good and does good.  He continually deserves our praise in every way!

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving[H4826], and into His courts with praise[H8416]. Be thankful [H3034] to Him  and bless[H1288] His name. (Psalm 100:4 NKJV)