“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27). The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23). Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.
To obey Christ and battle disbelief
To battle unbelief effectively, we must press doubts and temptations into specific arguments. What specifically is being asserted or promised to us? Only then can we destroy the enemy’s false arguments with true ones. We destroy arguments. What are the satanic strongholds that spiritually imprison people, the strongholds that we seek to destroy? Arguments and opinions. Where is the battle raging? Where our thoughts are. And arguments are not merely strongholds, they are weapons of mass destruction. Adam and Eve (and all of us with them) fell because of an argument. They believed the serpent’s argument and stopped believing God. That is the deadly essence of sin: not believing God. To not believe God is to ally with Satan, whom Jesus said is “a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth… for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
The Acts of the Apostles often referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman empire. Acts of the Apostles discusses Paul’s conversion experience at three different points in the text, in far more detail than in the accounts in Paul’s letters. The book of Acts records that Paul was on his way from Jerusalem for Syrian Damascus to arrest followers of Jesus, with the intention of returning them to Jerusalem as prisoners for questioning and possible execution. The journey is interrupted when Paul sees a blinding light, and communicates directly with a divine voice. Acts tells the story of Paul’s conversion as a third-person narrative: As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
Sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants,
beyond my fears, from death into life.
God is my shepherd, so nothing shall I want,
I rest in the meadows of faithfulness and love,
I walk by the quiet waters of peace. Gently you raise me and heal my weary soul, you lead me by pathways of righteousness and truth, my spirit shall sing the music of your Name. Though I should wander the valley of death, I fear no evil, for you are at my side, your rod and your staff, my comfort and my hope. Psalm 23:4
Why Prayers of Praise?
Many people consider prayers of praise to be the “highest” form of prayer. Why? A prayer of praise is all about God. We ask for nothing, we seek nothing, we focus on nothing but God himself. Compare that to when we thank God for things we received. When we confess things we did. When we wait upon the Lord so that we may sense His presence or hear from Him. And when we ask for something, it’s either for us or we’re acting on behalf of someone else. But when we praise, it’s God and only God. Some people struggle with the idea that God wants or needs our praise. They find it odd that a Supreme Being would require praise from His created unless He also had a Supreme Ego. Prayers of praise. Think instead of a mother when her 5-year-old child hands her a drawing made especially for her. What’s happening in that mother’s heart? Then magnify the tenderness of her heart a million times over and you still won’t be close to understanding how tender God’s heart is for us. And how much it must mean to Him for us to praise and adore Him, no matter how meager our attempts. The God of love, Who is love, loves to be loved. We were created for a relationship with God: a love relationship. Praise God for that! So why don’t we praise God more often? For one, it’s not something that comes naturally; we have to learn how to praise. When it comes to asking for things, most children seem to learn on their own. They need help learning to say things like “Thank you” and “You’re the best.” But even after we’ve learned the lesson, there are often other things that get in our way of praising God. Let us all make the effort to notice, so that praise then becomes a natural response to the wonder around us, a natural response to God. And fast on the heels of praise is thanksgiving.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded , having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind . 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation , and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow , of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed , not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. 17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy , and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same cause also do ye joy , and rejoice with me. 19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort , when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. 23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. 25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness , because that ye had heard that he had been sick . 27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice , and that I may be the less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: 30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
King James Version of Job: Chapter 37.
1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.
3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.
9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.
10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.
11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:
12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.
13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.
14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?
16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
17 How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?
Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?
19 Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.
20 Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.
21 And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.
22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.
24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.
King James Version of Job Chapter 38
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
14 It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.
15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken.
16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?
21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?
22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?
25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;
26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
30 The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?
35 Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?
36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,
38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?
39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions,
40 When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?
41 Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.