Joy on Our Journey

by Jo Umberger

Have you ever noticed that some Christians seem to be joyful most of the time? Are they simply happy with their circumstances? Perhaps they have always made it a habit to smile, which makes them appear to be joyful, even if they are suffering inwardly. Or are they truly aware of God’s favor?

Because joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), it is only by the power of the Lord that can we have true joy! Nothing else — no amount of money, perfect health, a job that you love, or any other person — provides lasting joy. True joy is not a temporary emotion. Like love, peace, patience and the other fruits of the Spirit, we must grow in it.

So where do we start?

Jesus said, ” In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). When Paul and Silas were in prison for the Gospel, Acts 16:25 tells us they sang praises to the Lord! Obviously we can choose our attitude when we are in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Another way to practice being joyful is to intentionally dedicate our work everyday to the Lord. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:17, 23, 24)

Whether we are cleaning the floor, taking care of a sick child, manufacturing an airplane, preaching the Gospel, typing a report, or leading a country, it is the Lord Christ we are serving. When we realize the significance of serving Christ throughout the day, it can increase our joy.

1 Thes. 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” To “rejoice” is “to delight in God’s grace (“rejoice”) – literally, to experience God’s grace (favor), be conscious (glad) for His grace.”¹ To be conscious of something requires practice.

How do we practice rejoicing? Make it a habit to recognize favor from the Lord, then stop and say to Him. “Lord, this (specific blessing) is Your favor and I’m glad about it!”

Changing our mindset can be challenging, especially if we believe we must do it on our own. Knowing that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit assures us we are do not need to rely on our own strength. We can, however, choose to have an attitude of joy, dedicate our work to Him, and practice rejoicing. We all need joy on this journey of life!

All Scriptures quoted are from the New International Version.

Questions for Consideration

  1. When are you most likely to be filled with joy?
  2. Under what circumstances is it most difficult to recognize God’s favor?
  3. What are some ways you can remind yourself to practice rejoicing throughout the day?

¹ Strongs Concordance, HELPS word-studies. https://biblehub.com/greek/5463.htm Retrieved 6/21/22.

Here is a simple explanation of why and how to become a Christian.

https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/

Can I Be Free From Worry?

by Jo Umberger

There was a time in my life when I thought I would scream if one more person said to me, “Just don’t worry about it.” “Just,” I thought. “Apparently you think refraining from worry is a simple proposition!”

Honestly I had no idea how to stop worrying. “But what if we don’t have enough money? Or one of us is in a car crash? What if things don’t work out like we need them to work out?”

The roots of this kind of negative anticipatory thinking can be many. For me, worry was a way of dealing with unpleasant circumstances that were outside my control.

It’s twisted but here it is. Somewhere along the way I bought into the lie that analyzing the problem over and again would solve the problem. That’s a big, fat, lie!

When we worry, we are meditating on the negative.

Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Ready for a new idea?

What will it take for us to control our thoughts?

Yes, there is personal responsibility in this matter. My job and your job is to take control of what we think.

Here are two very important strategies for controlling thoughts, which means we are to choose the thoughts on which we will meditate. Bottom line: we can control worry rather than allowing it to control us.

1. Study the Bible to know the Son of God and to learn the truth of God. If we truly believe (mentally accept and act on) these and other truths, we can use the truth of God as a weapon to combat the lies that Satan plants in our minds.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV (Emphasis mine)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NIV (Emphasis mine)

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1a NIV (Emphasis mine)

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” I John 5:13 NIV (Emphasis mine)

2. When lies from Satan and negative thoughts (such as worry) come into our minds, we must take them captive.

 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholdsWe demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV (Emphasis mine)

When the thought enters your mind, “catch it.” Be aware of what you are thinking!

Question the thought. “Is this based on the truth of God or is it a lie from Satan? Will I continue to think about this, meditate on it, and think about all related possibilities?”

If the thought is not based on truth, take charge! We must replace what we are thinking with another thought. Memorize this verse to be ready for this spiritual warfare.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 NIV (Emphasis mine)

This is one tool we can use to break a bad habit of dwelling on the negative and on thoughts that Satan plants in our minds.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one (Jesus) who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV (parenthetical phrase and emphasis mine)

Jesus was tempted in every way, which means He was tempted to worry. But he did not give in to the temptation.

Jesus offers freedom from worry. We must believe him — mentally accepting His truth and acting on it!

You’re not invited.

by Jo Umberger

You’ve heard there’s an upcoming announcement about some incredibly good news and that everyone in your community has received an invitation to hear it.

You checked your

mailbox,

email,

and social media accounts

. . . but there is no invitation.

It hits you hard. “There’s some really good news and no one is willing to share it with me.”

Here’s a true story about a guy who needed the good news.

He was an important official in charge of the treasury for the highest official in the land. And he was very puzzled. He’d just read something that he did not understand, when suddenly, a stranger ran up to him.

“‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  . . . Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:30-35 NIV)

The good news changed everything  — the man turned his life over to Jesus! “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” (Acts 8:36-39 NIV)

Prompted by the Holy Spirit, someone had asked him a simple question.

Here’s another true story. My husband has worked in media for most of his career. The friends he has made in the industry — both men and women — are intelligent, beautiful, and outgoing.

The Lord prompted me to speak about Jesus with one of these intelligent, beautiful, outgoing women.

In my flesh, I felt intimidated. She was well-known, well liked and truly appreciated by her peers. She was highly intelligent and had an air of confidence. (My flesh was really talking to me!) “What will I say?” I wondered.

Knowing that this was in God’s hands, I asked her to meet me for lunch.

Fighting back the nervous feelings, I visited with her over a sandwich or salad or something. Soon — much sooner than I had expected — my new friend began to confide in me. At the end of our visit, I asked her a simple question I had been taught to ask.

“Would you like to read the Bible together?”

She jumped at the chance and we began meeting weekly at a restaurant near her home, Bibles in tote, reading the book of Matthew together. After reading just a few chapters, she looked up and said, “I want to be baptized.”

What?! We hadn’t even talked about baptism! She believed Jesus was the Son of God and wanted Him to be her Lord. Needless to say, we began looking at the Scriptures related to baptism.

In the next 3-4 months, my new friend, her best friend, and her best friend’s adult daughter had all given their lives to Jesus and been baptized, experiencing the same thing the eunuch had experienced in Acts 8. Every sin was washed away and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, beginning a new life.

Sometimes Christians just need a good question to get the conversation started

“Would you like to read the Bible together?”

Is there anyone in your life who needs this question? Perhaps this is someone who doesn’t understand what’s so good about Jesus dying on a cross. Maybe they just need to choose one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and start reading with you!

Maybe this is someone who has never received an invitation to hear the good news.

“O Lord Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Savior of our souls, help us to recognize opportunities to speak with people about you. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.”

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.

I Ask You for a Miracle, Father

by Beth Fore

“Ask and it will be
given to you; seek and
you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to
you.  For everyone who asks
receives; he who seeks
finds; and to him who
knocks, the door will
be opened.”

(Matthew 7:7-8 NIV)

I Ask You for a Miracle, Father

I ask You for a miracle, Father,
that You will give my loved one healing.
I pray for Your divine intervention,
that health to this body You will bring.

Mary and Martha asked You, Father,
to heal Lazarus as he lay on his death bed.
You waited to come until after his death,
but then You raised him from the dead.

Jairus sought You out, Father,
and asked You to heal his dying daughter.
After she died, You went with him
and took her by the hand and healed her.

I ask You for a miracle, Father,
for all things are possible with You.
Immeasurably more than we ask or imagine,
is what You are able to do.

You have told me to ask, Father,
“for everyone who asks receives.”
I ask for complete faith in You, Father,
for You bless the one who believes.

I ask You for a miracle, Father,
that You will give my loved one healing.
I pray for Your divine intervention,
that health to this body You will bring.

In the Mighty name of Jesus Christ,
I offer up this prayer!

by Beth Fore

*Everyone encounters difficult times in their lives when they have no control over their circumstances in life.  God has told us we can pray about anything and he will hear and answer our prayers.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”  (Matthew 7:7-8)

One of the times people pray to God is in times of serious illness for themselves or someone they love.  We realize that we have no control over the healing, so we ask God to heal us or someone we love, recognizing that God is the only one who can heal.  God responds to our prayers in many ways.  He may do as we ask and heal the person.  He may not completely heal the person, but he may give him longer to live.  The person may die, and this could be a form of healing for the person’s spirit to be freed from his dying body.

Sometimes, it seems as though God does nothing; but we know that God hears our prayers, cares about us, knows what is best for us, and will eventually answer our prayers, though it may be in a way we do not recognize or understand. 

We have examples of God answering his children’s prayers in the Old and New Testaments.  God could and did perform miracles of healing for many people.  God has the power to heal anyone from anything, even death, and He delights when his children call upon him to perform miracles because he knows they believe He can do them and it shows their complete reliance on him!

God loves a grateful, thankful heart, so we should be like the one leper, out of ten, who returned to thank Jesus for healing him.  We should also give God all the honor and glory for these healings.  This is one way God shows non-believers his power and might, and it is one way a person witnesses for the Lord! 

Applications

  1. Do you really believe these words spoken in Matthew 7:7-8?  Can you share an example of a time when you received one of these promises from God?
  2. What was the purpose of performing miracles in the Bible?
  3. Do you believe God still performs miracles today?  Why, or why not?
  4. Do you think it is wise to follow your request to God with a statement such as, “if this is the will of God”?
  5. Have you, or anyone you know, ever experienced a miracle in your own life.  Explain.

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.

Here’s an article about becoming a Christian. https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/

3 Things to Make Your Heart Brighter

by Jo Umberger

If there were three simple things you could do to ease your mind and heart, grow closer to God, and increase your joy, how fast would you run toward them?

Consider how our lives would change if we were to practice this Scripture consistently and daily.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version)

Rejoice always

To rejoice means to recognize God’s favor and be glad about it. God’s favor is abundant! From a spiritual perspective, He has expressed far greater love than we can imagine by giving His only Son, perfect in every way, as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus willingly went to the cross; He is an obedient son who loves His Father and us in a way that we cannot comprehend.

God also provides for our physical needs. Certainly we may not have everything we want, but He never promised that we would.

Certainly the circumstances of life don’t always lend themselves to rejoicing but we always have a choice about which perspective we will take. Up or down. Joy or sadness.

We can make it a practice to take time throughout the day and consider how God has blessed us then say to Him, “Lord, this blessing is favor from You and I’m glad. I rejoice in you!” 

Pray continually

A minister made this easier for me to grasp when he paraphrased it this way, “Stay in touch with God.”

We are bombarded with messages. How much time do we spend in conversation on the phone or in-person? How many times a day do we check social media, emails, or texts? What if we were to spend this much effort staying in touch with God?

Imagine how much peace we could have if we were to take our cares to the Father instead of pondering them over and over and over. How much more focused we would be if we were to seek His wisdom by praying over decisions instead of reacting to life’s challenges immediately!

Interceding for other people in the Name of Jesus is an important part of our prayer lives. Not only does God bless others, but we are also blessed when we focus on the needs of others. It gives us an opportunity to serve when we can as well as a broader perspective. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what’s happening in our own lives that we forget (or don’t make the time to learn) what others are going through. Praying for others benefits everyone involved.

One of my challenges of praying throughout the day is remembering to do so. It takes practice!

Give thanks in all circumstances

We are not told to give thanks FOR all circumstances. Jesus specifically said we would have trouble in this world. But is there anything for which we can choose to be thankful — even in the midst of trouble?

Giving thanks to God is one way to glorify God, to worship Him. Giving thanks demonstrates that we are paying attention and that we are not taking God’s blessings for granted. Giving thanks centers our minds on the blessings He continually pours on us.

Psychologists say that focusing on the things for which we are thankful provides multiple benefits. Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, identifies 7 benefits of gratitude.

When I focus on the spiritual blessings, people, situations, and things for which I am thankful, my mind and heart are happy. Let’s choose to focus on these things instead of negative, hurtful or even painful thoughts.

When we rejoice, pray, and give thanks, our spirit has an opportunity to rise above the hurtful and ugly things in this life. Our minds and hearts are more at ease, we grow closer to God, and our joy is increased.

Will you or I allow anything to keep us from running toward God in these ways?

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.

Crossing Over to the Other Side

By Beth Fore

“One thing I ask of
the LORD, this is what
I seek:  that I may
dwell in the house of the
LORD all the days of my
life, to gaze upon the
beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in
his temple.”

(Psalm 27:4 NIV)

Crossing Over to the Other Side

Holy Father, as I rest here quietly
in sweet repose upon my bed.
My mind wrestles with consciousness,
and my thoughts go where they are led.

I can vaguely hear distant voices
of loved ones attending to me.
I feel the warmth of their gentle presence
as they touch my body lovingly.

Sometimes I see the smiling faces
of loved ones who are now a memory.
Sometimes I hear joy and laughter,
precious moments with friends and family.

And then I see the kind face of Jesus,
shining brightly aglow with light.
He speaks softly with a smile on His lips,
“Child, you are precious in my sight.”

I feel the essence of life slip away
as I breathe my last breath of air.
I see Jesus extending His hand to me,
as He answers my last earthly prayer.

by Beth Fore

*One of the greatest motivations for Christians choosing to accept Jesus as their Savior and to live a life of love and obedience to Him, is that they know they will one day be in heaven with Him and will be able to worship, praise, and adore Him all the time.

“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to see him in his temple.”  (Psalm 27:4 NIV)

Every person has a unique journey with God, and we can’t know for sure what a person experiences in the last few months, weeks, days, or minutes of his life.  I have been present with my parents and my sister when they were dying, and I’ve witnessed some very interesting things.  Sometimes you see people squirming and getting agitated in their sleep, as though they are hashing out some things about their lives with God.  Sometimes, you see a person smiling and calling out to loved ones who have already died.  It is as though the person sees their loved ones in heaven and they look forward to going to heaven to be with them.

I think that there are times in the weeks and days before a person’s death when they are in an altered reality, or a semi-conscience state.  They know what’s going on here on earth, but they also seem to know what is going on in the world beyond the grave.  It seems as though God is preparing them for what is yet to come.

Unfortunately, many people are in great pain before they die.  They are usually given much stronger doses of pain medicine to relieve them.  They may have hallucinations about their death and their destination after death.  This may be very pleasant or very unpleasant depending on their destination.  Sometimes people who are dying talk about what they see in these dreams , or hallucinations, and it can be very frightening if they are seeing hell rather than heaven.

The Christian’s greatest desire is to see God in all His power and holiness and to stand before Him in heaven and gaze upon His face as he worships and praises Him.  The Christian looks forward to the beauty and perfection of heaven and the fact that there will be no sickness, sadness, or sorrow in heaven.  The Christian waits to hear the voice of Jesus and knows that his Savior will take him by the hand and lead him to his new home in heaven!

Applications

  1. Even though the Bible teaches us that there is a heaven and a hell, many choose not to believe in either of them, or, at least, not hell.  Why do you think this is so?
  2. How do you picture God in all of his beauty?
  3. Have you, or anyone you know, experienced some things that seemed supernatural, or very revealing, at the time of a loved one’s death?  Share them.
  4. What do you fear about death?
  5. What do you think a Christian’s attitude toward death should be?

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.

Here’s an article about becoming a Christian. https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/

Beyond My Understanding

By Beth Fore

“Oh, how I wish that God
would speak, that he would
open his lips against you and
disclose to you the secrets of
wisdom, for true wisdom has
two sides.  Know this:  God has
even forgotten some of your sin.
“Can you fathom the mysteries of
God?  Can you probe the limits of
the Almighty?  They are higher than
the heavens—what can you
do?  They are deeper than the depths
of the grave—what can you know?  Their
measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.”

(Job 11:5-9 NIV)

Beyond My Understanding

I have so many questions, Father,
so many things I don’t understand;
but I believe You are the Sovereign One,
and everything is under Your command.

There are many secrets and mysteries
about the heavenly realms and our universe.
There are so many unresolved questions
since the fall of man and Adam’s curse.

My thoughts can’t compare with Yours, God,
as I search for answers that I cannot find.
Though You created me in Your image, God,
You created in me a limited, finite mind.

I’ve spent a lifetime of seeking, Father . . .
meaning and purpose in this life for me.
I’ve asked for wisdom and discernment,
for ears that can hear and eyes that can see.

Help me accept what I don’t understand,
to trust and submit to Your will for me.
Increase my faith beyond measure, God,
and help me embrace my divine destiny.

by Beth Fore

*Mankind cannot understand many of the mysteries about Almighty God.  God has no limits; and even though man desires to know and understand all there is to know about God, he will never be able to fully comprehend the majesty and mystery of God.

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7 NIV)

As human beings, we long to understand our Creator; yet, we can never really comprehend All that He is, All that He can do, and All that He has put into place for His honor, glory, and praise. These mysteries about God demonstrate the gap between Creator and created, God and man.  God is so superior and perfect and Omni-everything, so mankind is humbled in His presence when he recognizes and acknowledges the Supreme Being who has created everything and is sovereign over all things.

We have so many unanswered questions about so many things, and there are many unsolved mysteries about the spiritual realm that we cannot see or hear.  The Bible tells us to pray for wisdom and we will receive it. We also gain more insight and understanding by studying God’s Word and seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance and leadership into all truth. God does choose to unravel and demystify some of these mysteries when we truly seek Him through study, prayer, and worship.

Faith exists because of the gap between God and man. If mankind understood everything and had all knowledge, as God has, what would differentiate God from man?  Logic and debate won’t cause man to stand in awe of God and believe that He is the great I AM!  Man must realize that he cannot prove there is a God; but, rather, he chooses to believe in God, a Supreme Being, and a Sovereign who is the creator, sustainer, and ruler over every thing and every being.  When we choose to believe, trust, and obey God as the Supreme Being, we understand that we are human beings with finite minds and understanding and that we are humbled by the Authority and Omnipotence of Jehovah God.

Applications

  1. What are some of the questions you have yourself and others about God?
  2. Have you been able to answer some of those questions?  If so, what were they?
  3. What are some of the questions you ask that you doubt you will ever have answered in this life?  Is it important to you that you have them answered?
  4. Meditate on this question for a while.  Then write down your answer and find someone to share your question and answer.  Why, or why not, do you believe in God?
  5. Do you feel frustrated or blessed by the many unanswered questions and mysteries you have about God?

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.

Here’s an article about becoming a Christian. https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/

Awaken Within Me

By Beth Fore

“My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast; I will sing
and make music.  Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!  I will
awaken the dawn.  I will praise
you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching
to the heavens; your faithfulness
reaches to the skies.  Be exalted,
O God, above the heavens; let
your glory be over all the earth.”

(Psalm 57:7-11 NIV)

Awaken Within Me

Awaken within me, Father,
Your spirit of mercy and grace.
Remind me of Your forgiveness
that frees me from sin’s disgrace.

Awaken within me, Father,
a heart filled with humility.
Rid me of my self and pride.
Make me who You want me to be.

Awaken within me, Father,
a love filled with passion.
Fill me with the desire for You
over any thing and any one.

Awaken within me, Father,
an attitude of thanksgiving.
You are the source of all goodness
and my purpose for living.

Awaken within me, Father,
a hope I cannot measure.
Bless me with Your abundant love
for that is my greatest treasure.

by Beth Fore

*Only God has the power to create us, renew us, and awaken our souls when they fall asleep.  When we call upon the Holy Spirit, He will awaken us and create a new heart and fervor within us to rekindle the fire of passion we have for God in our hearts.

“Awake, my soul!  Awake, harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn.  I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;” (Psalm 57:7-9 NIV)

Just as the psalmist approached a new day by crying out to God to awaken him, so should we pray this prayer each morning.  We start our day by praising God and thanking him for a new day and new blessings, and we ask Him to awaken the day, the music, and our souls!  When we start our day like this, our focus is on God and His goodness; and we ask Him to guide us through the day to be the people He wants us to be!

We ask God to awaken His spirit of mercy and grace within us.  As human beings, we often forget that the sovereign Lord over everything has poured out His mercy and grace on us through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, on the cross.  There is NO greater sacrifice and gift than the gift of Jesus Christ.  His death took on ALL of the sins of the world and offered grace, forgiveness, and pardon to every one who will accept it.  We must re-visit this idea over and over again because understanding God’s grace and forgiveness for us is necessary for us to show mercy, grace, and forgiveness to our fellow human beings.  We must ask God to help us be loving, merciful, and forgiving to every person we meet.

We should also ask God to awaken our hearts to the magnificence and omnipotence of Almighty God.  We must recognize God as the one and the only great I AM, and we are only a creation of God.  He made us, shapes us, has a purpose for our lives, and He desires that we give up our wills and obey His will in all things.  Then we will be humble because we recognize that we are nothing without God.

Let us also ask God to awaken the hope within our hearts.  Hope in a better tomorrow is what sustains and motivates all of us.  People who do not believe in Jesus Christ have no hope for a better tomorrow.  Their hope ends the day their body dies.  Christians have hope because God promises that we will live forever with Him when we trust and obey Him!

APPLICATIONS

  1. Are you passionate about Jesus and on fire for God?  If not, what do you need God to awaken in you?
  2. Do you begin the day by talking to God and thanking him for His goodness and asking for His guidance?  If not, you might try this for a week and see if it makes a difference in your life.
  3. Are you gracious and merciful and forgiving in your daily relationships?  If not, what are some things you can do to change?
  4. Do you seek God’s will for your life by asking Him to guide you and lead you where you want to go?  If not, try doing this and see what happens.

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.

Here’s an article about becoming a Christian. https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/

Behold My Savior and My King

By Beth Fore

“Praise be to the God
and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who
has blessed us in the
heavenly realms with
every spiritual blessing
in Christ.”

(Ephesians 1:3 NIV)

Behold My Savior and King

I lift up my voice in adoration
and praise to You, God Almighty.
You are the giver of all good things,
and You open my eyes to see.

Whether this is the first day of life,
the last day, or some day in between,
You reveal Your mysterious wonders to me
so that unknown things can be seen.

You send the rain, the snow, and sleet;
You exhale and the mighty wind blows.
You rest Your eyes and the dark appears;
You wink and smile and the sunshine glows.

I behold Your wonders all day long
and praise Your name in the morning light.
I marvel at heaven’s planets and stars
as they shine brightly in the evening night.

I worship You joyfully in my heart,
and my lips praise You as I sing.
I bow down humbly and worship You
for You, Lord, are my Savior and King.

I offer You the gift of a grateful heart
and ask for Your presence with me today.
Lead me, guide me, and walk with me
as I seek to honor You and Your will obey.

by Beth Fore

*Christians are blessed beyond measure and understanding. We are truly blessed with the physical things in this life; but, more importantly, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing that God gives.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  (Ephesians 1:3 NIV)

Our heavenly Father is the giver of all good things, especially every spiritual blessing.  I don’t even understand or comprehend all of the spiritual blessings, but I am still joyful and grateful to know that God makes these blessings and gives them to me.

God truly lavishes His love, His goodness, His gifts, and His blessings on His children.  Our response to God for these generous blessings should be thanksgiving, loving and obedient hearts, and the desire to share His goodness with every person we encounter.  When we have it this good, we should truly desire to share these great things with the people who do not now enjoy them.

We behold miracles in God’s creation all around us: the birth of a child, the beautiful voice of a gifted singer, the smell and taste of a freshly cooked apple pie, and the warm touch of a loving parent. God desires that we are thankful in all circumstances of life, and He can give us peace and joy and hope in the most difficult of circumstances.

God desires to hear our voice frequently during each day: singing praises to His holy name, offering up prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude for His goodness and His gifts, calling on the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit when we need help and guidance, and just taking the time to share the little moments in life with Him because we have an intimate relationship with Him. Thank you, Lord, for loving and blessing us so much!

APPLICATIONS

  1. Spend some time thinking about the physical gifts God gives you, and write them down.  Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for these gifts.
  2. Think about the spiritual gifts God is giving you. Write them down and pray a   prayer of thanksgiving for them.
  3. What are some spiritual gifts you don’t feel like you have received? Ask God to help you receive these gifts and thank him for them.
  4. Why is it so important that we spend much time giving God our praise, worship, and gratitude for what he has done, and is doing, for us?
  5. Share these thoughts with another Christian and bless one another with your sharing.

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.

A Closer Walk with God

by Beth Fore

“Who is wise and understanding
among you? Let him show it
by his good life, by deeds done
in the humility that comes from
wisdom. But if you harbor bitter
envy and selfish ambition in your
hearts, do not boast about it or deny
the truth.  Such ‘wisdom’ does not
come down from heaven but is
earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For
where you have envy and selfish
ambition, there you find disorder
and every evil practice.  But the
wisdom that comes from heaven
is first of all pure; then peace-
loving, considerate, submissive,
full of mercy and good fruit,
impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow
in peace raise a harvest
of righteousness.”

(James 3:13-18 NIV)

A Closer Walk with God

Father, as I meditate on Your word today,
I understand that You alone know the path I will take.
I ask for Your wisdom, insight, and discernment
as I submit my will to Yours in the decisions I make.

Give me complete trust and faith in You, Father,
as You walk with me on this journey today.
Give me Your power, strength, and faithfulness
as Your Holy Spirit guides me to follow Your Way.

Help me to live this life as an exciting adventure
looking forward to the delights and sorrows that lie ahead.
Help me to live life fearlessly and expectantly
as I submit wholly to You and follow where I am led.

Keep my eyes and mind focused on You, Father,
so that Satan’s deceitful lies don’t lead me astray.
Transform me into the likeness of Your son, Jesus,
so that in every thought and deed I will seek to obey.

Use me as Your vessel to bring honor and glory to You,
so that others will know You and offer You praise.
Shower me with Your spiritual blessings, Father,
and walk closely beside me for all of my days.

by  Beth Fore

*Wise people ask God for His wisdom and understanding so that they can know what God desires for their lives, and they seek to do His will rather than Satan’s will or their own.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peace lovers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”  (James 3:18 NIV)

As Christians, we can have a closer walk with God when we ask for His wisdom and understanding.  God has a perspective on everything that is unique to only Him.  He sees the whole picture from the creation of the world to the end of times.  He works ALL things together for His good and our good.  We show that we have this wisdom from God when we live a good life and do good deeds in humility.

Many people choose worldly wisdom rather than godly wisdom.  This wisdom is selfish and self-satisfying.  These people harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in their hearts, and this wisdom is earthly and unspiritual because it comes from the devil.  This wisdom leads to disorder and every evil practice.

In order for us to walk closely to God and to understand His will for our lives, we must meditate on His Word often.  We must trust Him completely and ask Him for His power, strength, and understanding as we face our daily challenges.  We must keep our eyes focused on God’s will and stand up and confront Satan with his deceitful lies.  We must desire God’s transformation of our spirits into the likeness of Jesus Christ, and we must seek to bring honor and glory to our heavenly Father in everything we say and do.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Do you pray that God will give you wisdom?  Why is it important for us to pray for wisdom?
  2. Why do so many people fall into the trap of believing Satan’s wisdom?
  3. What are some of the things you need to do to be sure you are choosing God’s wisdom over Satan’s?
  4. Think about your relationship with another person with whom you are very close and intimate.  What are some characteristics of that relationship that make it so intimate?
  5. Do the characteristics mentioned above characterize your relationship with God? Are there additional characteristics that you could have to make your relationship to God even closer?

If you have questions about how to follow Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, email us at NLBIministry@gmail.com.