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Knowing God and Making God Known

Blameless! I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. Jeremiah 15:21 Notice the personal nature of this promise: "I will." The Lord Jehovah Himself intervenes to deliver and redeem His people. He pledges Himself personally to rescue them. His own arm shall do it, in order that He may have the glory. Not a word is said of any effort of our own that may be needed to assist the Lord. Neither our strength nor our weakness is taken into account, but the lone "I," like the sun in the heavens, shines out resplendent in complete sufficiency. Why then do we allow ourselves to be wounded by calculating our forces and consulting with mere men? God has enough power without borrowing from our puny arm. To enjoy peace, our unbelieving thoughts must be stilled, and we must learn that the Lord reigns. There is not even a hint of help from any secondary source. The Lord says nothing of friends and helpers: He undertakes the work alone and feels no need of human arms to aid Him. All our looking around to companions and relatives are vain; they are broken reeds if we lean upon them—often unwilling when able, and unable when they are willing. Since the promise comes from God alone, it is best for us to wait only on Him; and when we do so, our expectation never fails us. Who are the wicked, that we should fear them? The Lord will utterly consume them; they are to be pitied rather than feared. As for terrible ones, they are only terrors to those who have no God to turn to, for when the Lord is on our side, whom shall we fear? If we run into sin to please the wicked, we have cause to be alarmed; but if we maintain our integrity, the rage of tyrants will be overruled for our good. When the fish swallowed Jonah, he found him a morsel that he could not digest; and when the world devours the church, it is glad to be rid of it again. In all occasions of fiery trial, let us maintain our souls in patience.

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God works in strange ways

  No Filter Required JENNY WHEELER “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) Hipster. Antique. Vibrant. Faded. Not the latest style or a band name. Those are photo filters in one of my apps. And I rarely post a picture without one. Editing shadows, softening blemishes or unsightly details has become the new “reality” in an Instagram- and Facebook-riddled culture. I don't particularly enjoy showing my flaws to the world. Who does?! No real harm, right? With something as trivial as social media, sure. But I wonder if the edits to appear “picture-perfect” might be causing me to miss the bigger picture. It's not easy to admit, but it’s nonetheless true: I usually put better filters on my selfies than I do on my heart. Fixing the not-so-lovely details is easy to do with an app, but it’s a little harder in this broken world. Deep down, I know I should be more focused on what I'm taking in — who I'm becoming. When I quiet the noise of social media and get alone with the Lord, I’m reminded that my heart, not my appearance or what I project to the world, is what matters most. Sometimes my actions just don’t line up with my intentions though. Have you been there, too? The wise author of Proverbs understood the importance of guarding the heart — the soul — the most precious part of who God created us to be. He reveals such a powerful truth when he implores, "Above all else, guard your heart …” (Proverbs 4:23a). The eternal piece of us … what Christ came to redeem and inhabit. Why? Because "everything you do flows from it" (Proverbs 4:23b). Everything? Everything.  Actions. Thoughts. Feelings. Emotions. Passions. Drive. Hopes.  Every. Single. Little. Thing.  In biblical wisdom, the heart is viewed as the core of human existence — the center of our spirituality and true essence of who we are. The heart is also compared to a well from which all we think, feel and do flows. This makes it abundantly clear: What we allow into our hearts matters. A lot. If we aren’t careful to guard what goes into that sacred space, we’re in danger of being polluted by muck that has the potential to steer our hearts away from the very One who fashioned us. All that is true, honest, lovely, pure, holy, godly: Those are the things we should allow to shape the most intimate part of our being. Everything else should be edited, cropped or filtered out.  But how do we safeguard our hearts? Philippians 4:6-7 gives us three powerful tools in the Apostle Paul’s instructions: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (ESV). Prayer, supplication (requests) and thanksgiving is the 1-2-3 punch God has given us to effectively protect our hearts. When we talk to God, wisdom for decisions is available in abundance. By letting prayer, petitions and thanksgiving lead, our hearts are then rooted in a place of peace, safety and connection with Truth. Filters for selfies may be just fine. But what we need to focus on is who and what we allow into our hearts. Each of us was created to be captivated by God alone. The portrait of a heart and life being developed through the lens of God’s Truth is one that reveals what this world desperately needs to see. And guess what? No (selfie) filter required. Dear God, I admit I sometimes care more about what I project to the world than about what goes into my heart. My heart was made for You. Forgive me for opening it to things or people You don't want in my life. I ask You to give me wisdom about how to protect this beautiful heart You've entrusted me with while revealing Your great love to all I meet. In Jesus' Name, Amen. TRUTH FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (NIV)

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The Journey to Eden