Photo of Her

Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” (NLT) -Jeremiah 31:3
God never fails to love but we do. How often do we need to be reminded of our love for our spouse? Every day, minute, perhaps moment? We get engulfed by our busy work life that our real priorities in life seem to slip away. Many times, it’s a small chip each day. How long will you wait? Remind yourself with a photo of her in places you visit often. It may be a wallpaper of him or her on your phone or better yet a real physical photo of the two of you in your wallet.
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“God has not given us a spirit of…timidity.” 2Ti 1:7 NLT

One of the most famous intimidators in the Bible was Goliath. He boasted, “Come… and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (1Sa 17:44 NKJV). But David didn’t have “a spirit of…timidity,” so he replied, “This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head” (v. 46 NIV). Intimidators count on you to wilt in the face of verbal attack. That’s why you must let them know you refuse to give in, and that you have the God-given strength to resist their tactics. God never intended anyone to oppress or dominate another person. So stand up for yourself today in His strength! And if you are the intimidator, ask yourself why you feel the need to gain power and control over others. Indeed, you may need the help of a seasoned counselor to help you work through it. Intimidators often grow up in a chaotic or negative environment in which they feel powerless to change their circumstances. As a result they vow never to allow their lives to be out of control again, so they seek control instead. But their so-called strength just masks their insecurities and fears. Whatever the cause, intimidators can never hope to have a meaningful relationship with anyone they force into submission. And since the spirit of intimidation doesn’t come from God, there’s only one other source—Satan. Understand this: God is in control of every aspect of your life, so you’ve no need to control, or be controlled by the behavior of others.

Remembering Our Purpose

As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel. — 1 Kings 6:12–13

The Torah portion for this week is Terumah, which means “contributions,”from Exodus 25:1–27:19, and the Haftorah is from 1 Kings 5:26–6:13.

In this week’s Torah reading, we read about the construction of the Tabernacle. In this week’s Haftorah reading, we jump forward to the construction of the First Temple in Jerusalem during King Solomon’s reign. If you go to Jerusalem today and look at the massive stones remaining in the Temple excavations, you will marvel at what an amazing feat the building of the Temple must have been in its time.

As Scripture describes, the building of the Temple was a monumental task. Solomon enlisted 30,000 men to chop down trees in Lebanon to be floated down the Mediterranean and then transported across the rocky terrain to Jerusalem. There were 70,000 carriers and 80,000 stonecutters working in the hills. The finest craftsmen carved palm trees, flowers, and cherubs into the wood-paneled Temple walls. The holiest room in the Temple was covered in pure gold. Indeed, the Temple was a sight to behold!

However, in the midst of describing how the Temple was constructed, Scripture digresses for a moment to relay a message to Solomon from God: “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.”

Why are these words inserted in the middle of an otherwise descriptive portion? The answer is because it is specifically when we are in the middle of something that we often forget why we began a project in the first place.

By placing this message in the middle of describing the Temple’s construction, God was teaching Solomon – and all of us – that we must never get too caught up in building something lest we forget the reasons for our efforts. In Solomon’s case, God wanted to stress that no matter how beautiful the Temple was, it would only be as meaningful as the Israelites made it. If they obeyed God, then the Temple would serve its purpose. Otherwise, it would just be an empty shell, devoid of meaning.

Whether we are building a church, a house, a family, or a career, we need to stay focused on our original priorities. A doctor must remember that her goal is to heal; a lawyer needs to keep his passion for justice. A home is most meaningful when it helps a family thrive; and a congregation must never forget its mission.

What are you building in your life? Take a moment this week to consider your answer, and then – most importantly – remember the reasons why.

2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

There is a blessed proportion. The Ruler of Providence bears a pair of scales-in this side He puts His people’s trials, and in that He puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the black clouds gather most, the light is the more brightly revealed to us. When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to His crew. It is a blessed thing, that when we are most cast down, then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit. One reason is, because trials make more room for consolation. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart-He finds it full-He begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it. Another reason why we are often most happy in our troubles, is this-then we have the closest dealings with God. When the barn is full, man can live without God: when the purse is bursting with gold, we try to do without so much prayer. But once take our gourds away, and we want our God; once cleanse the idols out of the house, then we are compelled to honour Jehovah. “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. “There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, fret not over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.

Without Faith

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (NLT) -Hebrews 11:6
When something bad happens to you, and you have faith in God, your attitude changes. You begin to figure out why God wants you to go through tough times and what He wants you to learn from it. When you see that bad situation happened for a reason, you begin to trust God even more. Eventually, you want to allow Him into more areas of your life. Sincerely seek the Lord today in prayer.
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“Your Father knows exactly what you need!” Mt 6:8 NLT

Jesus said: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (vv. 7-8 NLT). When people say, “I don’t know how to pray,” what they usually mean is that they don’t know how to pray like us. They don’t know how to use our “Christian jargon.” Jesus says you don’t need to worry about getting the words right because “your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him.” God’s listening to our hearts more than our words. We don’t have to be self-conscious; He’s not grading us on how well we express ourselves. Compare prayer to breathing. You breathe instinctively without awareness and conscious attention; it’s a natural expression of our moment-by-moment dependence on oxygen. That’s how God wants us to engage in our communication with Him. He wants to be the air we breathe and the environment in which we live. Edwin Keith said, “Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the Spirit of God.” Through prayer we can live in continuous contact with God. Jesus said, “Pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you” (v. 6 TLB). Prayer isn’t a public demonstration of how spiritual you are. Communication with the One we love calls for getting alone with Him, away from interruptions and distractions. It’s about you and your Father having an intimate talk.

Acts 4:13 And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ; yea, such striking likenesses of Him, that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of Him; he is like Him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions.” A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you: take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God. Imitate Him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus.” Imitate Jesus in His holiness. Was He zealous for His Master? So be you; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted: it is too precious. Was He self-denying, never looking to His own interest? Be the same. Was He devout? Be you fervent in your prayers. Had He deference to His Father’s will? So submit yourselves to Him. Was He patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means, so live that