Take Control, Lord

by Beth Fore

“Submit yourselves, then,
to God.  Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he
will come near to you. 
Wash your hands, you
sinners, and purify your
hearts, you double-minded.
Grieve, mourn and wail.
Change your laughter to
mourning and your joy to
gloom.  Humble yourselves
before the Lord, and he
will lift you up.”

(James 4:7-10 NIV)

Take Control, Lord

Please control my thoughts, Lord,
and keep them pure and holy.
Help me think about righteous things
and keep me from sin and folly.

Please control my tongue, Lord,
so that I don’t offend or demean.
Help me say words of encouragement
that come from a heart that is clean.

Please control my behavior, Lord,
as Your wisdom to me You reveal.
Help me study and know Your law
and seek to be obedient to Your will.

Please control my choices, Lord,
and let Your Spirit guide my way.
Help me listen to Your gentle voice
as You speak to me each day.

Please control my circumstances, Lord,
and help me be faithful in all that I do.
Help me be pliable like clay in Your hands
as You mold me into the likeness of You.

Please take control of my life, Lord,
and on your promises I will rely.
Help me live a life of worship and praise
so that I lift up Your name on high.

by Beth Fore

*Submission to God’s will, rather than our own will, is very difficult for us to do;but, it is absolutely necessary if we want to be in an intimate relationship with God.

“Submit yourselves, then to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:7 NIV)

As human beings, we desire close, personal, intimate relationships with other people.  We also desire to know and understand our Creator, and we want to be close and intimate with Him.  This type of intimacy is possible for us, but we must be willing to choose God’s will for our lives over our own wills.  This is very difficult.  We are also aware that God’s will for our life may lead us far away on a path we are not so sure we want to travel.  Submission means we love and respect God enough to trust and obey Him, regardless of what He has in store for us.

When we do submit to God, we give him control over everything, including our thoughts, our tongue, our behavior, our choices, our circumstances, and everything in our life.  Many of us are independent, strong personalities who are used to making decisions for ourselves and others; we like to be in control.  It takes a true love and commitment to God to choose to submit to Him.

The scripture implies that once we submit ourselves to God, we can then resist the devil. We can resist Him because we have completely submitted ourselves to God.  God will empower us to resist Satan, and Satan will flee from us if he cannot deceive us and persuade us to do what he wants.  Once Satan flees, our relationship with God will become even more intimate.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Is it difficult for you to submit to God’s will for your life?  Why do you think this is so?
  2. In your everyday work and home life, are you a person in charge of making decisions for others?  Does this help you, or hurt you, in choosing to submit to God’s control?
  3. Choose an area of your life that you have difficulty submitting to God.  Pray about this area for a week.  Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and help you pray that God will help you submit this area to Him.
  4. Sometimes Satan really tempts us with special pleasures we enjoy that are sinful. What are some things we can do to resist him so that we don’t give in to him?
  5. Do you have the close relationship with God that you desire to have?  If not, how can you draw closer to Him?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

“One Anothering” While Coming Out of a Pandemic”

by Jo Umberger, VP, NewLife Behavior International

Author Richard C. Meyer has written three books on a concept termed “one anothering.” The idea implies that the “one another” passages in the Bible provide opportunities for Christians to do something for each other. While creative in nature, the thought certainly is rooted in truth. 

The phrase “one another” occurs 100 times in the New Testament. It is used at least 13 times to convey why and how we are to “love one another.”¹ Four times we are instructed to “greet one another with a holy kiss” or a “kiss of love.”² Galatians 5:13 tells us to “serve one another humbly in love.”

Christians are to “encourage one another” regarding our confidence that we will live with Christ after this life is over (1 Thessalonians. 4:18) and to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians. 5:11). Hebrews 3:13 provides more insight into at least one of the purposes of this concept by saying, “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

There are many purposes for encouraging one another and many ways to do so. For example, we are to encourage one another is by “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:19). Additional purposes are detailed in Colossians 3:16 where Paul writes, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

As a sharp contrast to the world’s way of treating people, Christians are given instructions on how to treat one another in a way that glorifies God. “Be devoted to one another in love” and “Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10). “Serve one another humbly in love,” as Galatians 5:13 tells us and “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” as 1 Peter 5:5 says.

Over the past year, Christians around the world have had to resort to new ways of practicing the “one another” passages. While we have been and are thankful for technology, the situation also served to help us realize the importance of encouraging one another face-to-face.

Even before the pandemic, scientific research indicated negative effects of the lack of socialization, including poor self-esteem, depression, losing a strong grasp of reality, decreased ability to learn, decreased sense of empathy, reduced resilience, health risks and even a shorter life span.³

Because God made us, He certainly knows all our needs – spiritually, physically and emotionally. Perhaps that’s why the Holy Spirit says, “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24- 25).

Of course each person must prayerfully decide when it is wise to resume meeting with the church. Oh! Meeting together is such a blessing! It allows us many more “one anothering” opportunities so that we can bless others in ways that can’t be accomplished through a screen and others can bless us as well.

Let us do whatever it takes to spur one another on, love one another, greet one another warmly, serve one another, teach and admonish one another through various types of music, honor one another, and encourage one another.

Give us wisdom and love, dear Lord!

RESOURCES
All passages are from the New International Version.
¹ John 13:34John 13:35Romans 13:81 Thessalonians 4:9Hebrews 13:11 Peter 1:221 Peter 3:81 John 3:11 ,1 John 3:231 John 4:71 John 4:111 John 4:122 John 1:5
² Romans 16:161 Corinthians 16:202 Corinthians 13:121 Peter 5:14
³ “11 Negative Effects of Lack of Socializing.” PTSD Journal, 5 Dec. 2016, www.ptsdjournal.com/posts/11-negative-effects-of-lack-of-socializing/. Retrieved 4 June 2021.

The Battle Within

by Beth Fore

“So I find this law at work:
When I want to do good,
evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight
in God’s law; but I see another
law at work in the members
of my body, waging war
against the law of my mind
and making me a prisoner
of the law of sin at work
within my members.  What a
wretched man I am!  Who will
rescue me from this body
of death?  Thanks be to God—
through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind
am a slave to God’s law, but
in the sinful nature a slave
to the law of sin.”

(Romans 7:21-25 NIV)

The Battle Within

There is a battle within me, Lord,
that rages between spirit and flesh.
My flesh is hostile to You, Lord,
but my spirit Your will does cherish.

My sinful nature tempts me daily
with selfish desires and pleasure.
This nature ends in spiritual death
and despair that we cannot measure.

My spiritual nature submits to You,
and Your Spirit gives me life and peace.
Christ lives in me and my spirit is alive,
and His presence in me brings release.

I choose to be led by Your Spirit, Lord,
and I cry out, “Abba, Father”, to Thee.
Put the misdeeds of my body to death,
and defeat the power of the enemy.

May Your Spirit give me a bold spirit
and testify to all that I am Your heir.
Give me courage and strength, Lord,
so that in Your sufferings I may share.

May Your spirit ever live in me, Lord,
and may Your glory be revealed in me.
Help me know that through Your will
the battle within will be Your victory.

written by Beth Fore

*Both good and evil live inside of man.  There is a constant battle raging between the flesh and the spirit.

“So I find this law at work:  When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.”  (Romans 7:21-23 NIV)

Paul is saying these words to the Romans, long after he has been converted to Christ on the road to Damascus.  So that means that this war going on inside of him, and us, is a war between good and evil (God and Satan) even after we become Christians.  Because of the fall of Adam and the curse God placed on mankind, we are sinners.  Because of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, we are made pure and righteous before God.  But Satan is still roaming the earth, seeking whom he can devour, and Christians are at the top of his list.

As Christians, our spirits desire and seek God.  We want to obey God and become more like Christ.  But, our flesh is human and fallible; and we want to satisfy our fleshly desires and enjoy the pleasures that the flesh desires.  So, this war goes on inside each Christian.  God gives us the strength and fortitude to overcome these temptations and allows His spirit to reign in us and rule over our bodies; but we must be willing to do His will and ask His Holy Spirit to give us the strength to battle Satan and sin.

*God is the only one who can defeat Satan and give us peace of mind and spirit.

“What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a NIV)

The Holy Spirit lives inside of the hearts of Christians.  He guides us into all truth.  He gives us the strength we need to overcome anyone or anything.  We must cry out to our God, “Abba, Father, put the misdeed of my body to death, and defeat the power of the enemy.”  We must truly seek to become pure and holy, and we must fervently pray to God to help us overcome evil with good.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Name one of the sins that you constantly battle.  Think of some things you can do to defeat this sin.  Spend time in prayer asking God to help you defeat it.
  2. Write down some verses, such as, “…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4), and speak them aloud when you are tempted.
  3. Choose one sin to focus on changing.  Try speaking scriptures over it when you are tempted.  Keep a record, for a week, of each time you are tempted and how you deal with this sin.  Reflect on your record and proceed another week, etc., until you defeat it.
  4. Too often our pride deceives us and makes us think we are strong enough, on our own, to overcome sin.  This is the power of Satan, the great Deceiver, lying to us.  It is only through the power of God that we can overcome and defeat Satan.  Pray to God confessing this truth, and ASK HIM to give you the strength you need to defeat sin and Satan.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

In the Garden

by Beth Fore

“My soul is overwhelmed
with sorrow to the point
of death,” he said to them.
“Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell
to the ground and prayed
that if possible the hour
might pass from him.
“Abba, Father,” he said,
“everything is possible
for you.  Take this cup from
me.  Yet not what I will,
but what you will.”

(Mark 14:34-36 NIV)

In the Garden

Jesus went with Peter, James, and John
to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He was deeply distressed and troubled
and fell to the ground on bended knee.

His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow
at the thought of His impending death.
He knew that He was destined to die
and would soon breathe His last breath.

He prayed three times in deep agony,
“Abba, Father, take this cup from Me.
Yet not what I will, but what You will”,
and with sweats of blood made His plea.

He returned to His disciples after each prayer,
and each time Jesus found them asleep.
He asked them to keep watch for one hour
as tears of sorrow and pain He did weep.

Jesus told them to, “Watch and pray
so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the body is weak,”
yet they slept when each prayer was done.

Jesus submitted to His Father’s will
as He prayed agonizingly at Gethsemane.
Then Jesus chose to be crucified at Calvary
offering Himself as a sacrifice for me.

written by Beth Fore

*Jesus may have shown more emotion and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane than He showed any other place while he lived on earth.

“’My soul is overwhelmed with sorry to the point of death,’ he said to them.” (Mark 14:34 NIV)

Jesus knew that his time had come.  He would soon be arrested, tried, and crucified.  He knew that he would have to take on the sins of the whole world for all time, and this must

have been a horrible thought for the Son of God, a perfect and righteous man who was without sin!  Christ also knew that he would be separated from God, his father, for the first time.  This would have to happen because Almighty God despises sin and Jesus would become sin for the whole world.

We do not know the exact words of Christ’s prayers in the garden, but we do know that Christ asked his father, Abba Father, to take this cup from him.  In other words, Christ asked God to find another way so that he wouldn’t have to become sin, wouldn’t have to be separated from God, and wouldn’t have to die a humiliating painful death by being crucified.  Perhaps this time in the garden demonstrates the humanity of Jesus more than any other time recorded in the Bible.  We can all identify with his sorrow and agony as he prayed about the coming events.

*Even though Jesus did not want to be crucified on the cross, he yielded to God, the Father’s will, when he said, “…yet not what I will, but what you will.”

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  (Mark 34:36 NIV)

The ultimate test for Jesus, and for all human beings, is whether or not we will follow God’s will for our lives, regardless of what that requires.  Jesus made a decision to do just that in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He knew he was the only perfect sacrifice who could be offered to God to reconcile mankind to God.  He loved God and mankind, and he made the decision to do what he had to do to forgive mankind’s sins, make him pure and righteous in God’s sight, and reconcile man to God.  Likewise, God desires that we follow Him and do his will, whatever he asks of us.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Some people might say that this passage shows a weakness in Jesus.  What are your thoughts?
  2. Why do you think Jesus prayed this prayer three times?
  3. Try to imagine what it would feel like to know that you were going to have all of the sins of all people, for all times, placed upon you.  We know how heavy and difficult it is to carry our own sins . . . let alone ALL SINS of ALL MANKIND!
  4. Do you think that God could have taken this cup from Christ?  Why do you think he did not take it away?
  5. Have you told God you would follow his will, whatever it may be?  Can you?  If not, why not?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

Cleanse Me from the Inside Out

by Beth Fore

grave, crypt

“Woe to you, teachers of
the law and Pharisees, you
hypocrites!  You are like
whitewashed tombs, which
look beautiful on the outside
but on the inside are full of
dead men’s bones and
everything unclean.  In the
same way, on the outside
you appear to people as
righteous but on the
inside you are full
of hypocrisy and
wickedness.”

(Matthew 23:27-28 NIV)

Cleanse Me from the Inside Out

Holy Father, we ask You to hear our heartfelt cry.
May Your Holy Spirit intercede for us with groans,
for we are hypocrites like the scribes and Pharisees.
We are unclean and filled with dead men’s bones.

We spend much of our time on our outward appearance,
yet within we are filled with hypocrisy and iniquity.
We neglect the important things such as love and mercy,
and we pride ourselves on our works that all may see.

Father, we look like beautiful whited sepulchers.
We appear polished and clean in the sight of all men.
But our hearts are filled with extortion and excess,
and we are filthy and ugly and unholy within.

We are Pharisees, filled with selfishness and pride,
and we seek power, riches, pleasure and fame.
Help us examine ourselves and see us as we really are,
so that we repent of our sins and call on Your Name.

We ask You to tear down all of our self-made walls.
Help us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek.
Help us look only to You for inward strength and power
and ask for Your wisdom as Your truths we seek.

Father, we need the power of Your Holy Spirit
to lead us into Your truth and to convict us of our sin.
We confess the name of Jesus and we cry out to Him,
“Precious Savior, cleanse our hearts and purify us within.”

written by Beth Fore

*Jesus rebukes “religious” rulers, teachers, and Christians who are mostly concerned about their outward appearance.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”  (Matthew 23:27 NIV)

Many people are very concerned about their outward appearance.  Millions of dollars are spent each year on cosmetic surgeries to make people look more attractive to others.  Many people spend money they don’t have on fancy cars, stylish clothes, and beautiful new houses.  Many people are also careful to project a certain image of themselves as powerful, self-made, religious, wealthy, educated, cultured, etc., so that other people will see them in a certain way. 

Jesus calls these people hypocrites, whitewashed tombs which are beautiful on the outside but ugly and filthy and unclean on the inside.  Jesus confronts all of us to see ourselves as we really are, not as we would like to appear to be.

*God is concerned with our hearts, not our outward appearance. 

“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.”  (1 Kings 8:61 NASB 1995)

God seeks out people who have pure hearts.  Because of our humanity, we are often selfish and self-centered.  We may do good things for others, but our motives may be to receive praise and recognition from other people.  We need to ask the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts pure and humble before God.  We need to examine ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to help us become more like Jesus.  We do not have the strength, patience, and resolve to change many of our weaknesses without the help of God and his Holy Spirit.

God desires that we love Him and keep his commandments.  He also desires that we love other people and treat them as our neighbors.  It is only through the mercy and grace of God that we will ever be able to be pure in heart.  We must ask God to help us be more loving, obedient, benevolent, and gracious every day!

APPLICATIONS

  1. Write down some of the Christian attributes you value most.  Examine each one to see if you are growing in these attributes.  If not, think of some things you can do to begin growing in these areas.
  2. Spend time reflecting on one of your weaknesses that you would like to change.  Think of some things you can do to become stronger in this area, and pray that God will help you change.
  3. What are some things that you want other people to think about you that are only surface, not heartfelt?
  4. Intentionally begin doing kind deeds for others secretly so that you do not receive any praise or acclaim.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

Renewal

By Beth Fore

“But when the kindness and love
of God our Savior appeared, he
saved us, not because of righteous
things we had done, but because
of his mercy.  He saved us through
the washing of rebirth and renewal by
the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out
on us generously through Jesus Christ
our Savior, so that, having been justified
by his grace, we might become heirs
having the hope of eternal life.”

(Titus 3:4-7 NIV)

Renewal

The pear trees are beginning to bloom,
adorned in colorful pinks and white.
Azaleas dressed in beautiful frocks,
majestically clothed in the morning’s light.

The blades of grass are raising their heads,
and trees are budding in shades of green.
Flowers are rising from their sleepy graves,
and the beauty of Your work can be seen.

Flocks of migrating birds fly in formation,
and I hear the mockingbirds sing.
The sky is clear blue and the air is crisp,
as renewal of the earth You bring.

Spring brings new birth and regeneration
to the wondrous things in Your creation.
Easter beckons and renews my soul
through Christ’s death and resurrection.

Lord, Your Holy Spirit renews me,
and through truth unveils my face.
You transform me into Your image
with Your increasing glory and grace.

Father, please renew my inner self,
and let me share in Nature’s beauty.
Sanctify me, make me pure and holy,
so that Your beauty will be seen in me.

written by Beth Fore

*God created the seasons, and we enjoy the renewal of many plants and the birth of many animals during the spring season.  Spring is a time of new life and of renewing life:  the beautiful colors, sounds, aromas, and new creations delight us.

“Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.  As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”  (Hosea 6:3 NIV)

God has created the different seasons for us.  What a blessing it is to see the spring flowers come to life, after many months of lying dormant in the earth!  What a blessing it is to watch a bird nesting on her eggs in spring, waiting for her new chicks to hatch!  There is a warming of the earth, and the temperature rises.  We can shed our coats and wear light, comfortable clothing.  Many people choose this season to get married — a new beginning of a new stage in life.  Spring signifies a new beginning, a new opportunity to get things right.

*Jesus saved his children through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit . . . “  (Titus3:4-6 NIV)

The only way that you and I can be saved is through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins.  Adam sinned.  Mankind was cursed because of it.  A perfect sacrifice had to be offered so that God could forgive man and make him righteous and new through thee washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.

So, “…we are buried with him by baptism into death:  that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

(Romans 6:4 NIV). We become dead to our self when we are buried in baptism and we are raised from that death, just as Jesus was raised, and we are new people who are pure and righteous in the eyes of God.  The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts, and He changes us and renews us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  This renewal gives us new life, joy, peace, love, and hope!

Applications

  1. Discuss some of the things that begin new life in the season of spring.
  2. What kinds of feelings do you have when the last winter storm is over and spring is in the air?
  3. How did you feel when you decided to give your life to Christ and you were baptized into his name?
  4. We can renew ourselves each day with a more committed love to God.  What are some things we can do to accomplish this daily growth?
  5. How would you describe to a non-Christian what it means to you that God has forgiven your sins and He has placed his Holy Spirit in your spirit to guide you, to protect you, to comfort you, to help you discern truth, and all the other wonderful things He does to mature you as a Christian?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

I Bask in Your Glory, Lord

by Beth Fore

“Save us, O LORD our God,
and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks
to your holy name
and glory in your praise.”

(Psalm 106:47 NIV)

I Bask in Your Glory, Lord

I bask in Your glory, Lord,
as I behold Your majesty.
I’m in awe of Your creation
and the wondrous world I see.

I bask in Your glory, Lord,
and feel Your presence everywhere.
I search for You in the heavens,
and I know that You are there.

I bask in Your glory, Lord,
as I hear the mighty oceans roar.
I’m inspired by Your creatures
when I watch the eagles soar.

I bask in Your glory, Lord,
when I feel the sun’s light.
I’m amazed at Your power
when I see the stars at night!

I bask in Your glory, Lord,
when I hear the songbirds sing.
I’m delighted every moment
with the surprises that You bring.

I bask in Your glory, Lord,
I know I’m safe in Your care.
I feel Your holy presence
as I offer up this prayer!

written by Beth Fore

*The creatures who are created by the Creator, Almighty God, delight and find joy in thinking about and enjoying the beautiful, awesome, wonderful aspects of God.

“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.”
(Psalm 111:2 NIV)

When we, the created, behold the awesome majesty of God’s creation, we are in awe and wonder at the One who created such spectacular, seemingly unimaginable sights for us to behold and enjoy.  We look at the vast, mighty ocean that goes on for miles and miles, seemingly into infinity; and we delight in its power, beauty, resourcefulness, and force.

We look at Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and so many more wonders in Nature, and we are humbled by their beauty, majesty and their Creator.  Each place is unique in its form and appearance, and the ability to even think of so many different, unique places causes us to marvel and bow down to the One who could, and did, create such wondrous places.

It is important for us to “be still” and take time to meditate on the wonderful, awesome traits of our God.  We see His glory, His beauty, His power, His fingerprints on every beautiful creation in the universe.  He is pleased, indeed delighted, when we take the time to think about all the good things He has created for us and when we take the time to give Him the praise and thank Him for all of these good gifts.

*The children of God rejoice and delight in being in the presence of Almighty God.

“Then I was constantly at his side.  I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.”  (Proverbs 8:30-31 NIV)

As children of God, we KNOW He is always near us, and we feel safe and protected, secure and provided for, when we are in His presence.  We are in awe of Him when we recognize that the same God who created the planets and stars, volcanoes and hurricanes, the songbirds and beautiful flowers, is also the God who created us and remains faithful and present with us while we live on earth.  What a beautiful, reassuring thought it is to know that our God is always present with us when we seek Him!

APPLICATIONS

  1. Take some time to reflect on some of the marvelous gifts in nature that God gives us to enjoy.  Write these down on paper, and take time to thank God for them in prayer.
  2. What are some of the intangible gifts God gives us to enjoy?  Reflect on these things, and spend some time writing down the delight and joy you find in one of these gifts.
  3. Think of some times in your life when you have felt very close to God, perhaps even touching Him in some way.  How did this closeness affect you?
  4. How does believing that God is always present with you affect the way you approach the challenges you face in life every day?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

A New Heaven and a New Earth

by Beth Fore

“Then I saw a new heaven
and a new earth, for the first
heaven and the first earth had
passed away, and there was no
longer any sea.  I saw the Holy
City, the new Jerusalem, coming
down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully
dressed for her husband.  And
I heard a loud voice from the
throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling
of God is with men, and he will
live with them.  They will be his
people, and God himself will
be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from
their eyes. There will be no more
death or mourning or crying
or pain, for the old order of
things has passed away.'”

(Revelation 21:1-4 NIV)

A New Heaven and a New Earth

I long for a perfect home, Lord,
just like the Garden of Eden.
A place of beauty and splendor
with no sign of sorrow or sin.

I wonder how it would be, Lord,
if Adam and Eve had obeyed you.
We would talk and walk in the garden
and be refreshed by the morning dew.

There would be no ugly curse on us
to inflict pain, agony, and death.
Each day would be filled with delight
as we praised You with every breath.

Our bodies would never age, Lord,
and we would never grow old and decay.
We would forever rejoice in Your presence
and serve You joyfully each day.

Is this how the New Earth will be, Lord,
a restoration of Your original plan?
Will our resurrected bodies be renewed
and transformed into a perfect man?

I long for a perfect home, Lord,
when my resurrected body You will raise.
I desire to be in Your presence forever,
to glorify You and give You praise.

written by Beth Fore

*The time will come when the old heavens and earth will be destroyed, and God will create a new heaven and a new earth for us to enjoy.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  (Revelation 21:1 NIV)

The Bible tells us that the heaven and earth we know will pass away.  There will be a new heaven and a new earth.  We don’t know exactly what this means, but we do know things will be different and much better. 

Some people think the new earth will greatly resemble the original Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned.  If this is true, just imagine how beautiful and pristine it will be.  All of the plants will be beautiful, and we will be able to walk in God’s gardens with Him in the evening.  Life will be peaceful and pleasant, and there will be no sadness or sorrow or sin!

There is much that we do not know about the specifics of the new heaven and earth; but we do know that the one we now live in will be destroyed, just as our physical bodies will be destroyed, and our spirits will live on forever with God in the new heaven and earth.

*God will live with us in the new heaven and earth, and there will be no sadness or sorrow, nor tears or disappointments.  Our lives with God will be wonderful beyond our imagination.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.’”  (Revelation 21:3 NIV)

The most wonderful blessing we have, as Christians, is the unfailing love, forgiveness, grace, and salvation God offers us through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ.  We have the honor and privilege of being in his presence, and He reigns as the Sovereign Lord over everything.  Non-Christians will face the afterlife and God’s judgment.  Their punishment will be eternal; not only will they dwell in hell for eternity, they will also be separated from God eternally.   Perhaps, this is the greatest punishment of all.

Let us all look forward to the day when God creates the new heaven and earth and takes us home to heaven to live with Him forever!

APPLICATIONS

  1. Look up descriptions of the new heaven and earth in the Bible.  Write these down.  Then, write a poem or paragraph describing what you think heaven will be like.  Share this.
  2. Most women look forward to the day they will be beautiful brides, dressed in splendor, to come before their soon-to-be husbands.  The Bible describes the New Jerusalem as coming down from heaven, appearing as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  What do you think this means, and why do you think this metaphor is used?
  3. Think of some of life’s greatest sorrows and burdens you have overcome.  Write these down.  Then, go through them, one by one, and mark through them.  You might say something like, “In the new heaven and earth, I will no longer deal with this problem/sorrow; and, hopefully, I won’t be reminded of it any more.
  4. Where do you think you will spend eternity?  Are you happy with that?  If not, what can you do to change your destination?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

Death is Not the End

by Beth Fore

Death is Not the End

Death is not the end for Christians
because our spirits live eternally.
It is a metamorphosis and molting
as our body is shed and our spirit set free.

The eternal spirit that lives within us
is no longer bound by physical chains.
It is vibrant and ageless and timeless
and no longer suffers or endures pain.

Death is actually a new beginning,
much like a flower returning to seed.
God nurtures the seed and the spirit of man
and makes provision for his every need.

The Christian’s spirit goes to paradise
to enjoy the blessings God will bring.
The spirit of man will offer honor and praise
to Jesus Christ, our Master and King.

There will be no more sadness or sorrow,
only joy and peace for every one.
What a delight to be in His glorious presence
when a faithful life on this earth is done!

So, do not mourn for this mortal flesh
when the shadow of death draws near.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and He will remove every doubt and fear.

Soon your spirit will soar to the heavens,
and you will be with the One you adore.
Your body will return to the earth as dust,
but your spirit will live on forevermore.

written by Beth Fore

*The death of man’s body is not the death of man’s spirit.  The spirit of man is immortal and will live forever, either in heaven with God, or in hell without God, for eternity.

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:  ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’”  (1 Corinthians 15:54 NIV)

Many people fear death, especially non-Christians, because they believe that death is the end of life and there is nothing after death.  This lack of hope for something else, something better, comes from a belief that man is flesh and bone and he lives only as long as the body lives. 

The Christian knows that he is made in God’s image, and God is a spirit; therefore, man also has a spirit and that spirit will live on after the body dies.  Death is actually a new beginning for the Christian. The spirit of the Christian goes to paradise, and later to heaven, to enjoy the blessings of God.  There, man will offer honor and praise to Jesus Christ, our King.

In heaven, there will be no more tears or pain, only joy and peace for everyone.  We will worship and honor Almighty God around his throne with the angels and the other saints, and our spirits will live eternally with God in heaven forever.

“But I will show you whom you should fear:  Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him.”  (Luke 12:5 NIV)

The non-Christian also has a spirit, and that spirit will be thrown into hades, and later hell, after his body dies.  Unfortunately, many people do not believe in hell and they do not fear life after death because they do not believe there is life after death.  This scripture tells us there is life after the body is dead, so every person’s spirit will live for eternity, either in heaven with God, or in hell apart from God.  It is God’s desire that every created person will choose to believe in Him and choose to spend life with Him in heaven forevermore.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Do you believe that the spirit of man lives after the body of man dies?
  2. How does the belief, or disbelief, in the afterlife, affect the way a person views and lives this life in the flesh?
  3. How does the Bible describe heaven?  What do you think heaven will be like?
  4. How does the Bible describe hell?  What do you think hell will be like?
  5. How does the knowledge that your spirit will live on after your body dies, and you will spend eternity in either heaven or hell, affect the way you view Jesus Christ and your choice and responsibility to choose how you will live the rest of your life in your body?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

Remove This Heart of Stone

by Beth Fore

“Therefore say:  ‘This is what the
Sovereign LORD says:  I will gather
you from the nations and bring you
back from the countries where you
have been scattered, and I will give you
back the land of Israel again.’
They will return to it and remove all
its vile images and detestable idols. 
I will give them an undivided heart
and put a new spirit in them; I will
remove from them their heart of
stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Then they will follow my decrees
and be careful to keep my laws.
They will be my people, and I will
be their God.”

(Ezekiel 11:17-20 NIV)

Remove This Heart of Stone

In our humanity we frequently sin, Father,
for our bodies are made of flesh and bone.
Too often we are selfish and disconnected,
our hearts are hardened and made of stone.

Too often we look the other way, Father,
when we see the hurt, the desperate, the lonely.
More often we fail, not only from neglect,
but from the sins of indifference and apathy.

Our human hearts are made of stony ground,
divided between You and this world.
Satan rules over our rebellious hearts,
and his wrath on the earth is unfurled.

Father, we ask You to change our hearts,
make them tender and compassionate.
Break our hearts and fill them with tenderness
for the poor, the broken, and the disconsolate.

Help us to share all of the gifts You give us
with our neighbor and with our brother.
Help us to offer our lives as holy sacrifices
to honor You, Father, and one another.

Father, You are the Master of my soul,
and You are the Lord of my destiny.
Remind me each day of Your gifts,
not only for me, but for all humanity.

written by Beth Fore

*Just as God forgave Israel over and over again and desired that she return to Him and destroy all of her idols and images, so God desires that we return to Him and His church and give up our selfish pleasures, willingly, for Him.

“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:  I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’”  (Ezekiel 11:17-18 NIV)

All human beings sin because of Adam’s sin.  Even after we become Christians, we continue to sin because of the curse of sin on us.  We are our best and our happiest when we walk with God and follow His will for our lives; however, we often wander off and chase after our own pleasures and desires.  God never stops desiring that His children will repent and return to Him and worship Him as the one and only Sovereign Lord.

*Just as God chose to forgive the Israelites and give them new undivided hearts and a new spirit to replace their hearts, so God chooses to forgive us and create within us a new, pure heart when we confess our sins, repent of them, and return to Him to be obedient to His will.

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  They will be my people, and I will be their God.’” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 NIV)

Our human hearts are made of stony ground, and they are often preoccupied with this world and its carnal pleasures.  God will change our spiritual hearts when we truly desire these changes.  He will make us more tender and compassionate and concerned for the poor, the broken, and the disconsolate people in this world.

God has given us physical and spiritual gifts, and He wants us to share these gifts with other people to bring Him honor and glory.  He desires that we love Him so much that we will offer our lives as living sacrifices to Him and confess that He is Lord of heaven and earth and we will follow Him wherever He leads us.

APPLICATION

  1. Think of some times in your life when you have wandered away from God seeking your own pleasures.  What brought you back to God?
  2. Why do you think it is so difficult for many people to give up their sins and pleasures?
  3. It is a wonderful blessing to know that God removes our hearts of stone and gives a pure, clean heart.  We must constantly ask God to help us maintain this clean heart.  Pray a prayer asking God to keep your heart holy and pure.
  4. Write down your physical and spiritual gifts that you have either used for God’s glory, or you could use them for His glory and honor.  Ask God to place circumstances in your life so that you can use your gifts to honor Him.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.