Tag Archives: Hebrews 12:14

Reconciliation With Others

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Reconciliation With Others

 

Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

God always desires for us to be reconciled with others.

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Hebrews 12:14 NKJV
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”

We must forgive others, just like God has forgiven us. Jesus is the perfect example of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Colossians 3:12-13 NKJV
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

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Yamim Noraim – One Christian’s Perspective

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Yamim Noraim  – One Christian’s Perspective

     The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. For the Jewish person this is a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.

God’s Record Book / Book of Life
The Days of Awe are based on the Jewish belief that God has books that He writes a person’s name in on Rosh Hashanah – who will live, who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life during the next year. The belief goes on with the idea that a person’s actions can change the decree. They feel that repentance, prayer, and good deeds can alter what God writes down concerning their life. Their belief is even reflected in a common greeting during this time – it is, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
God does have a book that lists all true believers – the Book of Life. The Book of Life, is also referred to as the Lamb’s book of Life. It is a record written by God, listing people who will live forever in heaven, in His presence. Those who’s names are not written in the book will not have everlasting life in heaven, but will spend eternity in the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 NKJV
“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

According to the Word of God, neither prayer or good deeds will atone for a person’s sin. Only Jesus, the Son of God can take away sins. However, the majority of the Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the only one who can take away their sins. Through the atonement that Jesus’ blood made on the cross we can have forgiveness of all our sins. Faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior is what saves us, not works.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Romans 11:6 NKJV
“And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”

Galatians 2:16 NKJV
“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

A person can work for God and not have a relationship with Him – people can even work for God with sin in their life.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NKJV
“each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Works that won‘t be burnt up only come out of our intimacy / relationship with God. Each believer will have their works / actions evaluated.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Reconciliation
Reconciliation is important to God. He desires for us to be reconciled with Him, for us to be reconciled with others, and for us to be active in the ministry of reconciliation.

Reconcile: to make friends again; settle a disagreement or difference; make agree; bring into harmony, make satisfied; make no longer opposed.
Reconciliation: a reconciling; bringing together again in friendship; settlement or adjustment of disagreements or differences.

A.. Reconciled With God
Man was separated from God because of sin.

Isaiah 59:2 NKJV
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”

Ephesians 2:12-13 NKJV
“that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Sin caused man to be alienated, isolated, and separated from God’s presence.

Colossians 1:21-22 NKJV
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight”

Jesus entire reason for taking on the form of man and coming to this earth was reconciliation – His purpose was to reconcile us to God. It was as if He provided a bridge between us and God.

Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Ephesians 2:14-16 NKJV
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”

Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

The story of the prodigal son is a wonderful example of reconciliation. In the parable, the father looked at the youngest son’s future – what it could be, not at the son’s present or his past. God, our heavenly Father does not look at our past or present, He looks at our future, what it can be. He is ever waiting with outstretch arms to welcome us back home.

Luke 15:11-32 NKJV
“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

B. Reconciliation With Others
One of the Jewish customs of Yamim Noraim is to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and God. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.

Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

God always desires for us to be reconciled with others.

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Hebrews 12:14 NKJV
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”

We must forgive others, just like God has forgiven us. Jesus is the perfect example of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Colossians 3:12-13 NKJV
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

C. Ministry of Reconciliation
At salvation we become a new creature. Our relationship with God changes. We become reconciled to God and we have the privilege of telling others that they can receive the same reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NKJV
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

The ministry of reconciliation has been entrusted to believers. They are to tell all people that God wants to restore them to a right relationship with Himself.

2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”

Self-examination
Believers should regularly have a time for serious introspection. Self-examination should be part of our life. We are instructed to judge ourselves, and there are benefits to examining our own feelings, thoughts, and motives. If we judge ourselves, God will not have to.

1 Corinthians 11:31 NKJV
“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

A believer should always be reviewing their actions to see if they are in right standing with God.

Galatians 6:4 NKJV
“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another”

2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…”

Many times we may not be able to see our own faults and weakness, so we must rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to show us. As we read God’s Word it gives us a clear reflection of ourselves.

James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

The Beatitudes

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The Beatitudes

A beatitude is a pronouncement of some blessing that we will receive when we follow Jesus’ example and allow God to shape our thoughts, words, and actions. It should bring joy to us when we know that God is pleased with us.

The world would have us to believe that we are blessed if we are happy and have a lot of things. But God says that we are blessed if we relinquish our pride, have a mindset characterized by meekness, and look to Him for spiritual significance. True blessings come from being like Jesus – gentle and humble.

Matthew 5:1-12 NKJV

“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

God will bless those who are poor in spirit.

When a person is poor they are lacking or in need. When we realize that we are poor in spirit and that we are dependent on God, His mighty power is available to us, and we find favor with Him! God desires that we realize that we are dependant upon Him

Matthew 5:3 NKJV

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

God will bless those who mourn.

When we mourn we feel or express sorrow or grief.

Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

“For thus says the High and Lofty One

Who inhabits eternity,

Whose name is Holy:

‘I dwell in the high and holy place,

With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,

To receive the spirit of the humble.

And to receive the heart of the contrite ones’ ”

Contrite means that we are broken in spirit by a sense of guilt. It also means showing deep regret and sorrow. When we are truly sorry that we have sinned against a holy God, God will receive us, comfort us, and forgive us. When we receive salvation the Holy Spirit (the comforter) comes to live in us. He will be our companion and help us in times of trials and troubles.

Matthew 5:4 NKJV

“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.”

God will bless those who are meek.

When a person is meek they are not easily angered, are patient and are yielding. We must not get being meek mixed up with being weak. They are two totally different things. When we see ourselves the way that God sees us it will cause us to be meek. We will no longer focus on ourselves, instead we will focus on God and others. God will bless us when we put Him first.

Psalm 37:11 NKJV

“But the meek shall inherit the earth,

And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Matthew 5:5 NKJV

“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”

God will bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Righteousness means always thinking and acting in a way that is just, right, and good. When we have a very strong desire (need) to live in such a way that pleases God and brings glory to Him we will be filled. When we are filled with God and the things of God there will not be room for anything else. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will want more of God. This desire will cause us to spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible and in worship.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

1 John 2:29 NKJV

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

When we receive Jesus as our Savior we receive His righteousness, and with it comes the power to live right (to think and act in a way that is just, right, and good).

Matthew 5:6 NKJV

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”

God will bless those who are merciful.

Mercy means not to punish someone when they deserve it. The dictionary describes mercy as more kindness than justice requires; kindness beyond what can be claimed or expected; kindly treatment; pity; something to be thankful for. Merciful means having, showing, or feeling mercy; full of compassion. When we forgive others and show them kindness when they don’t deserve it we are being merciful. God has been merciful to us by giving His Son, Jesus, to take our punishment for our sin. Because of the great mercy that was shown to us we must also be merciful to others, even when they disappoint us or hurt us.

2 Samuel 22:26 NKJV
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;

With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.”

A person that is merciful will also reach out to help others in need. When we show mercy to others we will be blessed with God and others being merciful to us.

Matthew 5:7 NKJV

“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”

God will bless those who are pure in heart.

Pure means not mixed with anything else, genuine, perfectible clean, spotless, without defects, correct, with no evil, without sin, or, chaste (virtuous, decent, or modest). God wants us to be pure in heart. We cannot be pure in heart if we try to mix the things of God (and our relationship with Him) with evil or sinful things of the world. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we become the temple of God. God will not share His house with evil, therefore we must be pure in heart. It is more important to be clean on the inside (pure heart) than it is to be clean on the outside.

Matthew 23:25-26 NKJV

“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and the dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

People can only see us our outside, but God see us on the inside. Being clean inside where God sees and being clean outside where people see are both important to God. He wants us to take good care of ourselves, but being clean on the inside where only God sees is most important to Him. No matter how good we try to be on the outside, without God’s forgiveness we are still dirty and impure on the inside.

1 John 1:9-10 NKJV

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

The first thing we need to do to become pure at heart is to realize and admit that we are not. After we realize that we need to be pure at heart, all we have to do is ask God to forgive us ) and cleanse us.

Psalm 51:10 NKJV

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

The Bible tells us that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. God will give a pure heart if we ask Him to.

Matthew 5:8 NKJV

“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

God will bless those who are peacemakers.

A peacemaker is a person who makes peace. The dictionary describes peace as freedom from strife of any kind; condition of quiet, calm, order, and security. Peace is also described as an agreement between contending parties.

John 14:27 NKJV

“Peace, I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

We have peace with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we receive a special type of peace that only God can give and we become a child of God. We will put on a spirit of calmness and tranquility because Jesus’ peace removes dread and fear from our heart. As a child of God we can tell others how they can receive the same peace that we have. When we tell others that they can have peace with God through His Son, Jesus, we are being a peacemaker.

Psalm 34:14 NKJV

“Depart from evil and do good;

Seek peace and pursue it.”

Hebrews 12:14 NKJV

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

Not only does God desire for us to live at peace with Him, He desires for us to live at peace with others. When a person is at peace with God and other people it will bring blessings.

Matthew 5:9 NKJV

“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God”

God will bless those who are persecuted falsely because of Him.

Persecuted means to suffer repeatedly because of what you believe or because of your principles. There are people all over the world that are caused to suffer repeatedly, harmed, oppressed, annoyed and harassed for righteousness sake. When people oppress a child of God because of the stand that they take for God, He will bless them.

1 Peter 2:21 NKJV

“For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example , that you should follow His steps.”

When we begin to feel like we are persecuted for righteousness sake we must remember that it (the persecution) will not last forever. We must also remember to follow Jesus’ example of handling persecution.

Romans 8:18 NKJV

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

The persecution and troubles that we face here on earth are nothing compared to our time in eternity with God.

Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

The Blessings of God

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DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELLIsaiah 58:11 NKJV

“the Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

God will bless us spiritually, emotionally, physically and materially. A blessing is receiving something that brings comfort and joy. When we are blessed we are favored by God.

When We Have An Intimate Relationship With God He Will Bless Us

Psalm 91:14 NKJV

“Because he has set his love upon Me,

Therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him on high, because he has known My name.”

God will bless those that He knows and those who have an intimate relationship with Him. When we set our love upon God He will show us His favor and bless us by delivering us and setting us in a place of protection.

Because of our relationship with Him God will answer us when we call upon Him. In times of trouble He will deliver us and He will honor us. Our intimate relationship with God will also cause us to be blessed with a long life, and God will show us His salvation.

 

Psalm 91:14-19 NKJV

“Because he has set his love upon Me,

Therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him on high, because he has known My name.

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him,

And show him My salvation.”

The blessings, favor, and benefits that we receive from God because of our relationship with Him are endless. He will provide for us in every area of our lives.

 

Deuteronomy 11:13-15 NKJV

“And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.”

The Beautitudes

Luke 6:20-22 NKJV

“Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you…”

 

Matthew 5:1-12 NKJV

“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

A beatitude is a pronouncement of some blessing that we will receive when we follow Jesus’ example and allow God to shape our thoughts, words, and actions. It should bring joy to us when we know that God is pleased with us.

The world would have us to believe that we are blessed if we are happy and have a lot of things. But God says that we are blessed if we relinquish our pride, have a mindset characterized by meekness, and look to Him for spiritual significance. True blessings come from being like Jesus – gentle and humble.

1. God will bless those who are poor in spirit. When a person is poor they are lacking or in need. When we realize that we are poor in spirit and that we are dependent on God, His mighty power is available to us, and we find favor with Him! God desires that we realize that we are dependant upon Him

2. God will bless those who mourn. When we mourn we feel or express sorrow or grief.

Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

“For thus says the High and Lofty One

Who inhabits eternity,

Whose name is Holy:

‘I dwell in the high and holy place,

With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,

To receive the spirit of the humble.

And to receive the heart of the contrite ones’ ”

Contrite means that we are broken in spirit by a sense of guilt. It also means showing deep regret and sorrow. When we are truly sorry that we have sinned against a holy God, God will receive us, comfort us, and forgive us.

When we receive salvation the Holy Spirit (the comforter) comes to live in us. He will be our companion and help us in times of trials and troubles.

3. God will bless those who are meek. When a person is meek they are not easily angered, are patient and are yielding. We must not get being meek mixed up with being weak. They are two totally different things.

When we see ourselves the way that God sees us it will cause us to be meek. We will no longer focus on ourselves, instead we will focus on God and others. God will bless us when we put Him first.

Psalm 37:11 NKJV

“But the meek shall inherit the earth,

And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

4. God will bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Righteousness means always thinking and acting in a way that is just, right, and good. When we have a very strong desire (need) to live in such a way that pleases God and brings glory to Him we will be filled. When we are filled with God and the things of God there will not be room for anything else.

When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will want more of God. This desire will cause us to spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible and in worship.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

1 John 2:29 NKJV

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

When we receive Jesus as our Savior we receive His righteousness, and with it comes the power to live right (to think and act in a way that is just, right, and good).

5. God will bless those who are merciful. Mercy means not to punish someone when they deserve it.

The dictionary describes mercy as more kindness than justice requires; kindness beyond what can be claimed or expected; kindly treatment; pity; something to be thankful for.

Merciful means having, showing, or feeling mercy; full of compassion. When we forgive others and show them kindness when they don’t deserve it we are being merciful.

God has been merciful to us by giving His Son Jesus to take our punishment for our sin. Because of the great mercy that was shown to us we must also be merciful to others, even when they disappoint us or hurt us.

A person that is merciful will also reach out to help others in need. When we show mercy to others we will be blessed with God and others being merciful to us.

2 Samuel 22:26 NKJV
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;

With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.”

6. God will bless those who are pure in heart. Pure means not mixed with anything else, genuine, perfectible clean, spotless, without defects, correct, with no evil, without sin, or, chaste (virtuous, decent, or modest).

God wants us to be pure in heart. We cannot be pure in heart if we try to mix the things of God (and our relationship with Him) with evil or sinful things of the world. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we become the temple of God. God will not share His house with evil, therefore we must be pure in heart.

It is more important to be clean on the inside (pure heart) than it is to be clean on the outside.

Matthew 23:25-26 NKJV

“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and the dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

People can only see us our outside, but God see us on the inside. Being clean inside where God sees and being clean outside where people see are both important to God. He wants us to take good care of ourselves, but being clean on the inside where only God sees is most important to Him.

No matter how good we try to be on the outside, without God’s forgiveness we are still dirty and impure on the inside.

1 John 1:9-10 NKJV

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

The first thing we need to do to become pure at heart is to realize and admit that we are not. After we realize that we need to be pure at heart, all we have to do is ask God to forgive us ) and cleanse us. The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. God will give a pure heart if we ask Him to.

Psalm 51:10 NKJV

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

7. God will bless those who are peacemakers. A peacemaker is a person who makes peace. The dictionary describes peace as freedom from strife of any kind; condition of quiet, calm, order, and security. Peace is also described as an agreement between contending parties.

John 14:27 NKJV

“Peace, I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

We have peace with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we receive a special type of peace that only God can give and we become a child of God. We will put on a spirit of calmness and tranquility because Jesus’ peace removes dread and fear from our heart.

As a child of God we can tell others how they can receive the same peace that we have. When we tell others that they can have peace with God through His Son, Jesus, we are being a peacemaker.

Psalm 34:14 NKJV

“Depart from evil and do good;

Seek peace and pursue it.”

Hebrews 12:14

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

Not only does God desire for us to live at peace with Him, He desires for us to live at peace with others. When a person is at peace with God and other people it will bring blessings.

8. God will bless those who are persecuted falsely because of Him. Persecuted means to suffer repeatedly because of what you believe or because of your principles. There are people all over the world that are caused to suffer repeatedly, harmed, oppressed, annoyed and harassed for righteousness sake. When people oppress a child of God because of the stand that they take for God, He will bless them.

1 Peter 2:21 NKJV

“For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example , that you should follow His steps.”

When we begin to feel like we are persecuted for righteousness sake we must remember that it (the persecution) will not last forever. We must also remember to follow Jesus’ example of handling persecution. The persecution and troubles that we face here on earth are nothing compared to our time in eternity with God.

Romans 8:18 NKJV

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Give Thanks To God For His Blessings

A thankful heart opens up even more blessings from God.

 

Luke 17:15-16 NKJV

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”

 

One day as Jesus was traveling through the middle of Samaria and Galilee on His way to Jerusalem He was met by a group of ten lepers. The lepers cried out to Jesus asking Him to have mercy on them.

Because of Jesus’ compassion, He did have mercy on them. He instructed them to go to the priest so that he could declare them clean. As they were walking to show themselves to the priest they were healed of their leprosy.

When one of the ten men looked down and saw that his skin was well he turned to go back to thank Jesus for this wonderful blessing. He returned to Jesus and immediately began giving God glory for his healing. The blessing gave the leper comfort and joy.

Jesus asked him where the other nine men who were healed were at. When Jesus realized that only the one man, a Samaritan, returned to thank Him, He gave the man another blessing. Jesus made him well – he was made whole.

All the men were blessed with being cleansed (healed), however the one leper that thanked Jesus for His blessing received an even greater blessing. Instead of just being cleansed, he was made well (whole).

Psalm 34:1 NKJV

“I will bless the Lord at all times;

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

All believers are to give thanks to God for His blessings. When we truly thank God for His favor and His blessings, He will bless us even more. The Bible tells us that we are to give thanks for everything, and that includes the blessings of God.

Ephesians 5:20 NKJV

“…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Dear Father,

Thank-you for blessing me spiritually, emotionally, physically and materially. Thank-you for the favor that You shower upon me. I am most grateful that I am Your child and I have an intimate relationship with You. You are my heart’s desire and I love You with all my heart and soul. You have set Your love upon me and You deliver and protect me in every circumstance. You give rain in due season and I never lack for anything. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to follow Your ways and obey Your commands. May I not focus on myself, instead focus on You and others. Fill me with an increased desire to spend more time in prayer and reading Your Word. And may my entire life be worship unto You. May I be an extension of Your mercy and compassion. Give me a pure heart and clean hands. Purify me from all unrighteousness and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Let peace surround me in every relationship and situation.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Bulldog Desperation – Being A Bulldog For God

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desperation - Copy   

          When we hear the word bulldog the first thing that comes to mind is a little dog with a smashed in face – a dog that when it bites into something  it won’t let go. While that first thought has some truth to it, there is more to a bulldog than meets the eye. In the past, I always thought of a bulldog as an ugly, mean little dog. To a breeder, someone who knows all about bulldogs, that is far from the truth. I found ten things that breeders look for in the character and attitude of a bulldog. As I read over these things, I thought that it would be wonderful to have a church full of spiritual bulldogs. People that have bulldog desperation for the presence of God.

I. Bulldogs have a loving disposition.

Disposition is one’s habitual way of acting toward others or of thinking about things; one’s nature or tendencies. Bulldogs act in a loving way toward others. They have a loving way in which they think about things. Their very nature exhibits love. As a refection of Christ, we too should have a loving disposition. Our very nature should exhibit love. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have a loving disposition.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8  NKJV    

“Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek it’s own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”

          The way we think about things (and the way we think about God) should be different than the way the world thinks. We should have a loving way in which we think about things and people.

John 13:34-35  NKJV    

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

          We should show the love of Christ in everything that we do and say. When people look at us our very disposition should show that we are disciples of Christ.

1 John 4:7  NKJV     

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

          Our very nature will show if we really know God or not. If you are truly born again you will habitually show the love of God.

II. Bulldogs have great stability.

Stability is being fixed in position; firmness, permanence, steadfastness of character, purpose. Stability is having the ability to maintain or to return to an original position. Bulldogs have great steadfastness in their character and purpose. They have a great ability to maintain their position.

2 Peter 10:14  NKJV    

“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be steadfast in our service, in our faith, in our growth in Christ, and in our perseverance.

Steadfast: firm of purpose; loyal and unwavering; firmly fixed; not moving or changing.

A) Steadfastness in service

1 Corinthians 15:58  NKJV    

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

          We should press on to fulfill God’s calling on our lives. Every believer is called by God to minister to Him, then to the saints, then to the world. Every person bought by the blood of Jesus Christ is called by God, every person has a ministry. Ministry can be wearing on your body, soul and spirit. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to work (minister) through us. By allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us we will not grow weary in well doing.

2 Thessalonians 3:13  NKJV    

“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

B) Steadfastness in our faith.

Colossians 2:5  NKJV    

“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”

         Things of this world and things of the enemy should not shake our faith. We, as Christians, have a solid foundation. We have Jesus as our cornerstone.

1 Peter 5:9  NKJV   

  “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

         When we are steadfast in our faith we are stable. True victory comes when we are steadfast in our faith and remain committed to God no matter what we are facing (in all situations). We are not easily disturbed or likely to fall apart when trouble comes our way. Stability is a sign of maturity.

C ) Steadfastness in growing in Christ.

2 Peter 3:18  NKJV    

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

1 Thessalonians 3:11-14  NKJV    

“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

          It is important that we grow (mature) individually and as a body. If we remain “children” we are vulnerable and gullible.

Vulnerable: can be wounded or injured easily; open to attacks; sensitive to criticism, temptations, influences.

Gullible: easily deceived or cheated.

          Many new believers are drawn away from the faith when they do not mature (grow) properly. Also there are some churches that close their doors because they refused to grow (spiritually). When proper growth is not taking place in a believer’s life (or church) they are injured easily, open to attacks, sensitive to criticism, temptations and influences.

Ephesians 10:14-16  NKJV    

“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

          We should mature in all aspects of our relationship with Christ. Maturity comes from practice. You must practice (put in action) what you are taught.

Hebrews 5:12-14  NKJV   

  “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

D)  Steadfastness in perseverance

God has commanded us to stick to our calling in Christ Jesus. We are to hold fast to the things of God that we have been taught.

Revelation 3:10  NKJV    

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on earth.”

Perseverance: sticking to a purpose or an aim; tenacity.

Tenacity: firmness in holding fast; stubbornness; persistence; ability to remember; firmness in holding together; toughness.

Endurance: power to last and to withstand hard wear; power to put up with.

          When facing trials, tribulations (hardships, suffering, distress) or desperate situations, we must not give up or give in. We must stand firm in our faith and persevere. We must remember what God has told us and stand firm on His Word.

Romans 5:3-4  NKJV    

“And not only that, but w also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

          We are counted as blessed (enjoy the favor of the Lord) when we endure what God has allowed to come against us.

James 5:11  NKJV    

“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”

III. Bulldogs are full of vigor.

Vigor is active strength or force, healthy energy or power. Bulldogs are full of vigor. They are strong and active. They are energetic and forceful. When a bulldog encounters a fight (war) it wages a vigorous war against the enemy.

Isaiah 59:19  NKJV    

“So shall they fear

The name of the Lord from the west,

And His glory from the rising of the sun;

When the enemy comes in like a flood,

The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be full of vigor.   When the enemy comes against us the Lord will judge the enemy (person or thing). He will wage war against the enemy. Our part is to be full of the power of the Holy Spirit, and He will help us stand firm in the face of the enemy. He has armed us with strength for the battle.

Psalm 18:39  NKJV    

“For You have armed me with strength for the battle;

You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

          The battles that we go through do not belong to us. They belong to the Lord. We should not try to fight the battle for God.

1 Samuel 17:47  NKJV    

“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.

           Unlike a bulldog, our vigor (strength, force, power) does not come from the physical. It is supernatural. It only comes from the Spirit of God.

Zechariah 4:6b  NKJV   

  “ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” 

Philippians 4:13  NKJV   

  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

IV. Bulldogs have great strength.

Strength is quality of being strong; power; force. Strength is the power to resist force, degree of intensity, something that makes you strong; support. A bulldog is strong, powerful and forceful. It has the power to resist force. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have great strength. We must rely on God’s power for our strength. God’s power is limitless. The resurrection of Jesus from the grave was an example of God’s power.

Ephesians 1:19-20  NKJV    

“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ Jesus when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”

          When, not if,  the enemy comes against us we must stay strong. We must stand fast under pressure.

James 1:2-4  NKJV    

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

        Believer’s have the power of Christ in them. That power is greater than any other, therefore we are able to resist whatever the enemy attacks us with.

1 John 4:4  NKJV    

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

V. Bulldogs are equable.

Equable is changing little; uniform; even. When something is even it is not easily disturbed or angered, it remains calm. Even can also mean something that is fair or impartial.

Calm: not stirred up; quiet; still; not excited; peaceful.

          A bulldog’s disposition and temperament changes little. It is not easily disturbed or angered, it remains calm.

Malachi 3:6  NKJV

“For I am the Lord, I do not change..”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be equable.  God does not change. His mercy toward us is continuous (it never ends). He is fair and He is impartial. He does not show favor to one person over another.

Acts 10:34  NKJV    

“ Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’ ”

          God is fair and just. God loves us very much and He is not easily disturbed or provoked.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  NKJV   

  “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

          We should be not given to change. Our disposition and temperament should vary little (be even). We should not be easily disturbed or angered, but remain calm.

Proverbs 24:21  NKJV    

“My son, fear the Lord and the king;

Do not associate with those given to change.”

          As followers of Christ, we too, should be fair and impartial. God requires for us to show absolute fairness in all aspects of our lives. There is to be no partiality (favoritism) in our lives.

James 2:8-9  NKJV    

“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

VI. Bulldogs are kind.

Kind means doing good rather than harm; friendly. Kind also means a gentle, gracious, sympathetic, considerate attitude toward others. The attitude is genuine, natural and sincere. A bulldog is genuinely kind. It’s kindness is natural and sincere.

Friendly : on good terms; not hostile; wanting to be a friend; supporting.

Gentle : not severe, rough or violent; not harsh or extreme; easily managed; having or showing good manners; polite.

Gracious : pleasant and kindly; courteous; merciful.

Sympathetic : having or showing kind feelings toward others; sympathizing; agreeing; enjoying the same things and getting along well together; harmonious; agreeable.

Considerate : thoughtful of others and their feelings.

Ephesians 4:32  NKJV    

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

         As the body of Christ, we should strive to be genuinely kind. The kindness that is shown must be natural (instinctive) and sincere (honest), free from pretense or deceit. We are to be friendly, gentle, gracious, sympathetic, and considerate toward others. Even to the unthankful. God, Himself, is the model of kindness for us.

Luke 6:35  NKJV    

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”

VII. Bulldogs are resolute.

Resolute is having a fixed resolve; determined; firm. It also means constant in pursuing a purpose; bold. A bulldog is determined and bold.

Resolve: make up one’s mind; determined; come to a decision; decided.

Determined: with one’s mind firmly made up; firm.

Constant: never stopping; continuous; incessant; always the same; faithful; loyal; steadfast.

Bold: without fear; daring; brave; showing courage.

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be resolute (determined and bold).The body of Christ has been commissioned to go into all the world and make disciples. We must be determined and bold to fulfill what God has instructed us to do.

  Ephesians 6:19  NKJV    

“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.”

          Our heart must be the same as Paul’s. He desired to proclaim the Gospel courageously. He was a faithful witness for the Lord.

VIII. Bulldogs are courageous.

Courageous is full of courage; brave; fearless. A bulldog is full of courage, brave and fearless.

          1 Corinthians 16:13  NKJV   

  “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be courageous.

Psalm 27:1  NKJV    

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”

          With the Lord on our side we can be courageous. Danger (and opposition) can be met  without fear. Courageous people will follow their convictions. When we get to a place where we are desperate for the presence of the Lord we will do whatever has to be done without fear.

2 Chronicles 15:8  NKJV    

“And Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Obed the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim; and he restored the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord.”

           Desperate circumstances can be endured with a firmness of spirit by courageous people that are looking to the Lord for their help.

2 Chronicles 32:7-8  NKJV    

“Be strong and courageous; do not fear nor be dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

          The body of Christ must be able to face danger (opposition) boldly and with determination that with the Lord on their side they will overcome.

Deuteronomy 31:6  NKJV    

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

IX. Bulldogs are not vicious or aggressive.

A bulldog is not evil or wicked. It does not have bad habits or a bad disposition. A bulldog is not spiteful or malicious. A bulldog does not start a fight (war) or a quarrel- it does not have an attacking nature. Vicious is evil or wicked, having bad habits or a bad disposition, spiteful or malicious. To take the first step in a war or quarrel, attacking, quarrelsome is to be aggressive. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must not be vicious. We must turn from our wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV    

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

         The above passage is not talking to the world – it is talking to the church (the body of Christ). His people, called by His name.

Nehemiah 9:35  NKJV    

“For they have not served You in their kingdom,

Or in the many good things that You gave them,

Or in the large and rich land which You set before them;

Nor did they turn from their wicked works.”

         We must turn from (lay aside) every evil work and abandon evil practices.

Ephesians 4:31-32  NKJV    

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:5-8  NKJV   

  “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked you lived in them. But now you yourselves are put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

1 Corinthians 14:20  NKJV  

   “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

1 Peter 2:1  NKJV   

  “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking”

X. Bulldogs have a pacific and dignified demeanor.

Pacific means tending to make peace; peaceable. Pacific also means loving peace; not warlike, peaceful; calm; quiet. Dignified means having dignity of manner, style, or appearance; noble; stately. Demeanor means the way a person looks and acts; behavior; manner. A bulldog shows honor by the way it acts (behaves) in a peaceful, loving and calm manner.

Matthew 5:9  NKJV    

“Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called sons of God.”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have a pacific and dignified demeanor. God has called us to peace.

Hebrews 12:14  NKJV   

  “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

Psalm 34:14  NKJV    

“Depart from evil; and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

Conclusion:

Each of the above characteristics and attitudes should be countenanced by a Christian’s expressions and a Christian’s behavior. Especially by one that is desperate for more of the Lord.