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Godís presence -- "I will never leave thee" (Hebrews 13:5)
Godís protection -- "I am thy shield" (Genesis 15:1)
Godís power -- "I will strengthen thee" (Isaiah 41:10)
Godís provision -- "I will help thee" (Isaiah 41:10)
Godís leading -- "And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them" (John 10:4)
Godís purposes -- "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jeremiah 20:11)
Godís rest -- "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)
Godís cleansing -- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)
Godís goodness -- "No good thing will He withhold from them that work uprightly" (Psalm 84:11)
Godís faithfulness -- "The Lord will not forsake His people for His great nameís sake" (1 Samuel 12:22)
Godís guidance -- "The meek will He guide" (Psalm 25:9)
Godís wise plan -- "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28)
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AIRPORT SECURITY AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Airport inspections are more thorough than they used to be, and lines are longer. They also have X-ray machines for the checked baggage. Fortunately the standards aren't so stringent for that category, so you may arrive at the other end still owning a nail file. But the inspectors are a lot more thorough than they used to be. You have to take both your coat and shoes off. There are layers and layers of security before you can get where you're going. And getting picked up isn't that easy, either. You can't wait at the curb for a traveler to come out; you have to circle and wait, or go to the cell phone waiting area. Your checked baggage may had also be picked for a manual search (they leave a card in your suitcase in case you notice that things aren't in quite the order you packed them in).
And once upon a time it was just as difficult to come into the presence of God as it is to get onto a airplane. First of all, you had to buy your ticket... that is, you had to bring a sacrifice. And there were pretty specific rules about what you had to bring depending on whether it was a sin offering or a thank offering or one of the other categories. And then of course it had to be inspected for blemishes, and accepted by the presiding priest. And of course your own identity was up for scrutiny, too - only Jews could come beyond the court of the Gentiles. That's where the money changers that Jesus drove out were located. Think of it as where Thomas Cook and American Express had their booths... The next layer of
protection was the women's court, where Jewish women in a state of ritual purity were allowed to worship. There were donation boxes there, but no vendors. Remember the widow's mite? That's probably where she made the offering Jesus commended. Jewish men could go through the Nicanor gate into the next room, the Court of Israel, to gather for daily prayers; it was also where the lambs and doves and other sacrificial animals were slaughtered. Beyond that was the priests' court, where they washed their hands and feet before approaching the sanctuary. Think of it as having a large "Employees only" sign on the door. The next level, the sanctuary itself, was approached by 12 steps and divided into two parts. The vestibule held the lampstand with its seven lamps - the origin of the
Menorah used in today's Hanukkah celebration - a table for the bread of the Presence, and the altar on which incense was offered each morning and evening. And at the center of everything was the Holy of Holies. I suppose you could think of it as the cabin of the airliner, meaning no disrespect, but the curtains separating the vestibule from the Holy of Holies were the last layer of security. Once you made it past those, you were home free. NOT.
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HERE BE GOD
Before 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the common belief was that if a ship from Europe sailed too far West, they would either fall off the edge of the world or face terrible danger. There was fear of the unknown. In England, there is an ancient nautical map dating back to the time of King Henry IV. On it, the mapmakers wrote these words over the Atlantic Ocean: "Here be dragons; Here be demons; Here be danger." And based on those superstitious warnings, sailors were afraid of sailing there. But there was an English navigator named John Franklin who was a mighty man of God. He knew the Word of God that says God sits above the circle of the earth. He took that same map and crossed out those fearful words and added these three words: "HERE BE GOD!"
If you are a servant of God, you need to know that as you sail toward your darkest fears and deepest worries, here be God! He is there to keep you and sustain you. Job discovered that. He was able to look through his tears and say: "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth." (Job 19:25) Our Universe is so large scientists can't measure it. But the Bible says in Isaiah 40:12 that God measures the heavens with the span of His hand. So, when your world crumbles in, the most important thing you can do is to simply place yourself in God's hands. The safest place in this Universe is in His hands.
(From a sermon by Fred Markes, Praise God, 8/30/2011)
Do you remember your first girl or boyfriend? I remember mine. The one thing that I was set on was to impress her so that I could get to know her. Iíll never forget. I was in the 8th grade. We were going to meet up at a basketball game. I had found out that she really liked the fragrance of British Sterling. I went and bought a bottle. As I was getting dressed I figu...
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DADDY, ARE YOU THERE?
Oh how blessed it is to know that when the times of pain come and when our hearts become broken, we have Someone to whom we can turn that will give us Strength and that will keep us Safe. Only Jesus does that!
A little girl and her father were returning from the funeral of their dearly loved mother and wife. Some kind neighbors invited them to spend a few days with them so they wouldn't be alone in the house with all its sad memories. However, the father decided it would be better to go home. That night the father placed the little girl's bed next to his, but neither could fall asleep. Finally the child said, "Daddy, it's dark, I can't see you. But you're there, aren't you?" "Yes, dear, Daddy's here right next to you. Go to sleep."
The little girl finally dropped off to sleep. In the darkness and the depth of sorrow, the father in tears said aloud, "O Heavenly Father, it's so dark, and my heart is overflowing with sorrow. But You are there, aren't You?" And immediate...