First Things First

This is an article written by my husband JC Hall.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did. ~KrisAnne Hall

First Things First

by JC Hall

I was in prayer about purpose and priorities for the new year. Here’s what God began to speak in my Spirit as I prayed and studied in His Word.

First, the way in which I prioritize things in my life is not left to chance. It doesn’t come from someone’s system that they’ve devised over the years. It comes from God and His Word. Most of the productivity books I’ve read lay out the tools you need to keep your job and your daily tasks running smoothly. Some tell you to do the big things first. Some tell you to do the small things first. I see in the Word that we are to put FIRST THINGS FIRST.

In Matthew 22:37 — 40, Jesus answered the question, Which is the GREATEST commandment in the law? Greatest is a superlative, it implies a ranking of things.

Notice His answer:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

So God Himself ranks our priorities. First is our relationship with God, second is our relationship with neighbor. Jesus says, the rest of scriptural instruction fall under these directives. All of this works together for the overriding purpose of all of His Creation – to glorify God.

We see the framework of ordering our lives in Matthew 22:37 through Matthew 22:40 where Jesus said,

“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Given that Jesus said with all our heart, mind and soul, it stands to reason that God’s framework doesn’t apply to only life’s overall priorities but to each area, action, project, subproject, task etc.

​The order Jesus gives shows that our first priority is our relationship and fellowship with God. Our relationship with neighbor comes second.

Loving God
Note that Jesus uses the word love. “Thou shalt LOVE the Lord THY God…” You can’t love God for someone else nor can someone else love God for you;  nor is it a group effort as far as this commandment is concerned. Your love is your love. So it seems that this would speak of your own relationship and fellowship with God, it’s not a reference to a dedication to your ministry. Ministry, being directed toward others in service to God would seem to fall into the neighbor category. Clearly, one’s love for God is demonstrated by obedience, but we are talking about how we order those acts of obedience: first you and God and second your relationship and works for others.

The blurring of these distinctions seems to be a very common area where ministers subject their families to great neglect and unnecessary suffering in the ministry. The minister often equates his vocation and calling with his relationship with God and his duty to put God first. The ones closest to him are often sacrificed in the name of being dedicated to his calling. I believe this neglect is often due in part to a mis-ordering of God’s priorities. It’s your relationship with God first, then neighbor. We find in Acts 1:8 that ministry starts close by and then move outward. Certainly, our closest neighbor is our spouse and children. So, love your neighbor must begin at home.

From the structure revealed in the command of Jesus to love God completely and love your neighbor as yourself, I believe we get the following order of priorities:

1. God – Your God-relationship, worship and devotion
2. Neighbors (from closest to farthest: Acts 1:8, 1 Tim 5:8)
A. Family
B. Friends
C. Ministry

Here are some suggestions and scripture to consider in the above categories of prioritization:

1. God First – Enter into deeper relationship, worship and awareness of God. Make Him first priority or all else will not work.

Mat 22:37 — Mat 22:40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.

2. NEIGHBORS SECOND in order from closest to farthest

A. Family – rediscover my spouse, love my spouse more than self, show – not just say, be a father/wife to my children to show the love of Christ and show how to be a Godly man/woman in Christ.

My closest neighbors consist of my spouse and my children. I cannot rightly be said to be loving my neighbor if I jump over my closest neighbor and focus on serving those most distant before fulfilling the responsibilities specifically articulated by God in His word.

Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Ephesians 5:25 — 5:30 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Psalms 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.


6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

B. Friends Identify true friends, cultivate relationship, maintain fellowship. Eliminate poisonous attachments.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

2 Samuel 13:3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtle man.

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Romans 16:7 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

C. Ministry – clarify the current purpose and aims of God’s ministry calling and do not accumulate unrelated distractions. Work in unity as a Family in all to which God has called us, serving those around us both near and far.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (from closest to farthest)

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them

in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 22:37 — 22:40 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1Peter 4:10 — 4:11 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

It is not easy to balance all that life throws our way, but we must seek to use God’s priorities to keep us on track. His ways are the best ways and are the best paths to a spiritually healthy and productive life with Him and for Him.

Blessings to you all! ~ JC Hall

Taking Jesus At His Word

I hope you enjoy this guest article as much as I did.  Be blessed on this remembrance of His Resurrection!~ KrisAnne
Taking Jesus at His Word-
A Resurrection Day Lesson from History ~ Pstr. Aaron Turner Fellowship Baptist Church, Lake City, FL
Luke 24:21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
The day was Resurrection Day. The place was on the road to Emmaus. Two of the disciples were walking together carrying on a conversation about what had transpired in the previous three days.
They had seen the mighty deeds of the Lord Jesus, they had heard his mighty words and they had believed that he was going to redeem Israel. But instead of delivering Israel from the bondage to Rome, Jesus was delivered to the Romans to be crucified. And they were greatly discouraged.
As they were walking a Stranger drew near to them and started walking with them. The stranger was the resurrected Christ but they didn’t recognize Him.
He asked why they were so sad. They told Him about His own crucifixion. They told Him how they had hoped in Him. They even told Him how the women in their group had alleged that He was alive. But they obviously didn’t believe it.
This Stranger then said to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? (Luke 24:25-26). He then gave them a Bible lesson about Himself from the Old Testament.
Why did he charge them with unbelief? Because on three different occasions before his crucifixion he had told them exactly what was going to happen.
Matt. 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (See also Matt. 17:23 and Matt.20:19)
If they had taken Jesus at His Word instead of being sad on the third day, they would have been excited! Instead of being on the road to Emmaeus, they would have been camped out at the tomb in anticipation of His coming out!
So often we too are guilty of not taking Jesus at His Word and are therefore sad and anxious.
He tells is not to anxious about our needs being met because Our Father is going to supply them (Matt 6:25ff) Yet we worry. He tells us that if we ask anything in His name he will hear us and answer us (John 13:14-15) and yet we fail to pray. There are other examples that we could give but space will not permit.
Where would you have been on that day? Would you have been walking sadly on the road to Emmaeus or would you have been excitedly waiting outside the tomb in anticipation of Christ’s Resurrection?
Rom. 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
We see little because we believe little. Be blessed! ~KrisAnne

Consider An Alternative Perspective

Sometimes in my devotionals I like to look at familiar Bible stories from an unfamiliar perspective.  My first experience with this came through teaching Sunday School to young people in our church.  For this particular class I was studying to teach the story of Jonah.  Everyone knows and love the story of Jonah and the Whale, especially young people.  As I was studying and preparing for this lesson I read:

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 2:1-3, 5 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly and said, I cried by reason of my affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.  For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about:  all they billows and thy waves passed over me…The waters compassed me about, event to the soul:  the depth closed me round about, the weeks were wrapped about my head.

After Jonah spent 3 days and 3 nights in the whale under those conditions, praying fervently, Jonah 2:10 says that “the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited Jonah upon the dry land.”

The question came to my mind, what if Jonah had given up after 2 days of praying to God?  What if after 2 days and 23 hours Jonah said, “I have prayed and prayed and God has not heard me.  If he was going to help me, surely he would’ve done something by now.  I don’t have the strength to continue waiting.  I quit.”  What would’ve happened if Jonah had just laid down and died?

If Jonah had relied upon his faith, strength and patience, the people of Nineveh may never heard God’s word of warning.  Would they then have had the opportunity to correct their ways and be saved?  Recall what Ezekiel 3:18 says:

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”

What would have happened to Nineveh, if Jonah would have just given up?

What about Jonah? Ezekiel’s warning being truth, Jonah would’ve had blood on his hands.  Then imagine what Jonah would think upon getting to heaven and finding out that he literally only had minutes to go before God would help.  How would Jonah feel to find out that if he had just waited on God for a few more minutes the future of an entire city of people would be different?

I posed this question to my students, “when you are in a time of trial or difficulty and you feel like nothing is changing, nothing is improving; when you feel like you can’t go on and God doesn’t hear you, what does this lesson tell us?”  Answer: We can’t quit until we are out of the trial.  If we quit before we are out of the trial, how do we know we weren’t just a few minutes from God’s solution?  How will we know God’s greater purpose?  How will that feel when we stand before God and he shows us that if we had just hung on a few more minutes, if we had just trusted Him for a little while longer, we would’ve seen the full reward?  God’s patience and God’s faith is sufficient to get us through it all.

I had a similar thought process in my Bible study today.  Acts 7:59-8:1, 3 reads:

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this in to their charge.  And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  And Saul was consenting unto his death.  And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem;…As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”

We know how the story goes; Jesus meets up with Saul in Damascus and Saul becomes Paul in a literal flash of light.  We more often relay this history from Paul’s perspective, giving glory to God for a miraculous transformation in Paul’s “Damascus moment.”  But as we did with Jonah, what if we look at this lesson from an uncommon perspective; not the perspective of Paul but the perspective of the Christian?

Beginning with Stephen being stoned to death, the Christians began praying for their persecution to end.  As Jesus teaches that we should pray for our enemies, you can rest assured that these Christians were praying for a miraculous change of Saul.  These Christians suffered greatly for their disobedience to government under the command of God.   Yet, they continued to pray and wait on God.  What if they had just quit?  What if they said, “God doesn’t obviously doesn’t hear us or maybe he doesn’t care?  I am not going to do this anymore, it’s just not worth the suffering.  I don’t have the strength, the faith, or the patience to do this anymore.”  They would never have seen the miracles that God was about to perform.

I say “miracles” because Paul’s transformation was more than just one miracle.  Yes, Paul saw one miracle; his Damascus transformation.  However, when we consider a different perspective we understand that the Christians saw many miracles; God’s answer to their prayers. Paul’s transformation and the miracle of God’s mercy and grace to endure the hardships to the end of God’s plan.  Both perspectives prove that God’s grace and mercy are sufficient.  However, the Christian perspective proves that although you may suffer through God’s longsuffering of man’s sinful behavior, it is not our patience, faith, or strength that is to carry us through, it is HIS.  His supply of faith, His supply of patience, and His strength will take you all the way to the miracle you need.

God has given us a promise in 1 Cor 10:13:

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

I am so grateful for these lessons, as God used them as a preparation of my heart for my own trials.  I found myself in a position of emotional stress and pain.  I often doubted my ability to endure, wanting to give up, wanting to take actions into my own hands, instead of waiting for the end of God’s plan.  In those moments of spiritual depression, I recalled these lessons and was able to pray for God to uplift my spirit with His strength, faith, and longsuffering.   It was not easy, but I was able to endure.  Weeks become months, months became years waiting for God’s purpose and I kept thinking of Jonah: “I can’t give up on God now, what if I am just minutes away from deliverance?  I want to stand before God one day with His joy in my heart.”

After three years of waiting, true deliverance came.  Those on the outside may have only seen the deliverance.  I, however, was able to experience multiple miracles!  The first miracle was in the deliverance itself.  The second miracle was in seeing the answer to my prayers.  The third miracle occurred when God whispered to my soul, “I’m sorry it took so long, but I had some demons to wrestle first.”  Glory be to God.  What a wonderful feeling not only knowing that God will deliver, that He hears our prayers, but that he loves ME so much that He wanted to reassure me that He was fighting for me the whole time!

When we doubt our ability to continue in a difficult or painful situation, we are not doubting ourselves, but doubting God.  He will make our escape, we just must undergo some “wait training” and wait upon the Lord.  God never promised us the walk would be easy.  We have a placard hanging in our home, “Faith is not believing God can, it is knowing God will!”  That testimony means more to me now than ever before.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

What is the common moral of these stories?  You can trust God and trusting God is worth the wait, no matter the pain in the middle!!


forgive handsForgiveness?

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors Matthew 6:12

Do we really want God to forgive us as we forgive others?  Understanding forgiveness had been a struggle for me until one day the message of David and Bathsheba seemed to sink in.  After David sinned with Bathsheba, there were many who were hurt by this act; many people who would be betrayed by David’s act.  But David says in 2 Samuel 12:13

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.

And in Psalm 51:4

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight

How can that be?  How can it be that David hurt and betrayed so many but it was only God that he sinned against?  Then it occurred to me that this is the key to forgiveness.  forgive hurtWhen someone hurts you or betrays you it is God that they have truly sinned against, not you.  You may be hurt, but the real offense is against God.  It is up to God to decide the consequences for these actions, not you.  Our God is a jealous God and claims certain things to be his own.  I believe that is why Paul wrote in Romans 12:19:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Forgiveness for us is easier when we understand that the true assault is against God and that He will take care of the punishment in due time.

On a personal level, forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the forgiven.  We are supposed to forgive someone for our own spiritual protection.  Refusing to forgive someone leads to bitterness.  Bitterness is caustic and destroys you not the person who hurt you.  We do not have to wait for someone to ask for forgiveness to forgive them, nor should we.  Take these examples to heart.  When Stephen was being stoned to death, he did not wait for his assailants to ask for forgiveness, he pleaded to God on their behalf:

And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Acts 7:60

Jesus when he was about to be betrayed by Judas, kissed him and sent him on his way and as He hung on the cross, Jesus said to all eternity:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

forgiveness lockForgiveness is essential for our own spiritual well-being.   Paul asks Jesus this very important question:

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?   Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

Why would Jesus make such an “unreasonable” demand upon us?  He knew that when we refuse to forgive and bitterness is the result and we will be lost.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;  Hebrews 12:15

I believe a great source of confusion lies within the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.  Forgiveness is personal and doesn’t require the other person’s participation but reconciliation does!  You can forgive someone and never be reconciled with them because reconciliation requires the offender to humble himself and repent of the offense.

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18:15-17

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.  Mathew 5:23-24

Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins…the whole world’s sins.  But only those who confess, repent, and accept that forgiveness receive reconciliation with God and eternal life.

forgivenessIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Our lives are but a picture of our relationship with Christ.  Our relationships with each other work the same way.  Reconciliation with your brother only comes through repentance.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. John 5:16

In conclusion, it is easier to forgive when you remember that the real offense is against God and not you.  God is control and will never leave you or forsake you.  Forgiveness is a matter of YOUR heart and is essential to your spiritual health.

Notice I said “easier” not easy.  When Jesus tried to explain this to the apostles their reply was, “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. Luke 17:5.”  The road to righteous living is never easy, but the reward at the end is always worth it. May God Increase our Faith!

Be On Notice

noticef-A Note to My Enemies-

I must first begin by pointing out that I recognize that this is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats.  This is not a battle between Progressives and Conservatives.  This is a SPIRITUAL battle:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

I find it very telling that the last clause points out “spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Paul is clearly talking about people who have power over others…like government.  This is the enemy we battle, spiritual wickedness, and it lives in government.  Knowing our enemy means we must be dedicated in the battle.

We are not promised that these battles will be easy or short.

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” Thomas Paine Dec. 23, 1776

We should not expect any less a trial today, knowing that the same spirit assails us now as did Thomas Paine then.  I know that the battle rages and that I am the enemy of theA female African lion, Panthera leo, stalking prey. enemy.  The enemy is ruthless and knows my weaknesses and will attempt to use them to my defeat.

Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me. Psalm 102:8

The enemy has taken an sworn oath to see me destroyed.  What is the primary goal of the enemy?  To make me quit; To make me worthless in the battle; To make me curse God and deny His Word and His promises.

Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. Job 2:9

BUT BE ON NOTICE…you may attack me, you may hurt me, I may stumble, but I will NOT curse God.  I know that God cannot lie and HE has made ME promises!

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19

I KNOW that God will keep His promises.

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21

I KNOW that God has a purpose for me to glorify Him and He will not allow that purpose to fail.

Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known Psalm 106:8

So BE ON NOTICE, enemy, I know that God will prevail and through Him so will I!  He has placed us all on a path and if we are willing, he will see us through, HE IS ABLE and I will trust Him.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

Not only that, we have certain promises that should bolster our faith in the dark valleys.  When all looks lost, when all looks like a waste of time, when all looks like needless suffering, I lean on one promise:

overcomerAnd we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

See, I know God is faithful to his promises and this promise means that no matter how I suffer, God will make it all good!

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:23

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Enemy just know, you may attack me. I may feel overwhelmed.  I may feel like I am about to fail.  But I will REMEMBER…

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13

He is my deliverer.  He is my friend.  He will keep me and preserve His purpose.  I will keep the faith.

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? Psalm 27:1

Because of this knowledge, because of these promises, I will be able to proclaim myself a victor in the midst of the battle through His name.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

I know victory is MINE, Because I have seen the end of the story!victory

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:4-8

So be on notice, enemy, I will not quit, I will not curse God, and YOU WILL LOSE!

Seek Ye First…

psalm 37

by KrisAnne Hall

My study verse today is from one of my most favorite chapters in the Bible:

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Psalm 37:4

I love Psalm 37 because it appeals to my logical, linear, and dot connecting method of assimilating information. Check it out:

FRET NOT thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3 TRUST IN THE LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 DELIGHT thyself also IN THE LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5 COMMIT thy way UNTO THE LORD; TRUST also IN HIM; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7 REST IN THE LORD, and WAIT patiently for him: FRET NOT thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8 CEASE FROM ANGER, and FORSAKE WRATH: FRET NOT thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

mat 633The great understanding of this passage is really summed up in Matthew 6:33:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God is very clear on how the progression of our mind and thoughts dictates how we are able to walk and trust in the Lord.  Philippians chapter 4 tells us more on this truth;

PHilippians4-8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8

Worry is a sin because it operates outside of faith and proves our lack of trust. Delighting in anything but the Lord’s direction means you are not seeking him but the ways of the world…idolatry.  The anger spoken of in this passage is the anger that results from envy and pride. Don’t be angry because of something someone else has, or some evil done against you. Vengeance is mine, says God and when we do what is God’s to do, well, that is evil.

This passage has always been a great source of comfort because God is telling us he is faithful to his promises. I hope this will be a comfort to you as well.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

The Peace of God

graceMany of you do not know this about me, but I feel moved to share my testimony this morning. In my younger years I was heavily into the occult and new age religion.  This religion suggests you can simply create your own reality by your words and makes you the Sovereign of God’s universe instead of God being Sovereign over His own Creation. It is a subtle form of the highest idolatry – reliance upon and worship of SELF.   There is no peace in believing that I am powerful enough to make myself “good enough.”  No matter what I do, no matter what power I think I have, I will never be “good enough.”  There is no peace in a constant futile effort.

Today I stand in wonder and awe that God would save me out of that and bring me into His truth and love.  God showed me that is not about what I do, but about what HE HAS DONE!  I stand amazed that He loves me so.  The question still remains…so many people, why me?

Praise God for his overwhelming GRACE!

Here is my scripture for today’s devotion and may the peace of God be with you.

Philippians 4:

1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

peace of God4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Where Is Your Compass Pointing?

azimuthwsGalatians 1:10

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Very simple, yet powerful verse.  Very self-explanatory.  But as a pastor used to say, “easy preaching, hard living.”  God spends a great deal of time in His Word trying to show us that there is really only one choice to be made in our lives; God or Men.

Every soldier knows that to stay true to the plotted course you have to regularly stop to shoot your azimuth.  What that means is that you find a place in the distance that is along your path and using a compass, you verify regularly that you are still headed in the right direction.  Galatians 1:10 is my daily azimuth.  What am I aiming for, God’s approval or man’s reward?

I endeavor in my life, and in my ministry to always choose God.  That choice has taken me down some roads that others would call foolish or bad business.  I choose to let God provide the necessary funds for my ministry which is why I don’t charge fees or travel expenses.  Here is what God has to say about that:

 Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Matthew 6:31,33

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I have turned down offers to work for large “national groups” that would have paid a decent and reliable salary because they wanted me to deviate from the message of this ministry.  Why? Because I choose the provision of God and not men.

I have exposed personalities for their error, not wanting their endorsement or their fellowship, only to be told that my actions were foolish and that I shouldn’t “make enemies” of such people who are “in our group.”  Why?  Because I choose the influence of God and not men.

Why do I share this today?  To glorify God and show that the decision is not foolish or bad business.  That God IS faithful to provide and truthful in his promises.  And, perhaps, as a reminder to myself to stay the course, fight the fight, and that serving God is always a greater reword than serving men.  It is not easy, and we need reminding that staying true and principled is work:

James 1:3

 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

It may be hard work, but it is always worth it:

Matthew 19:29

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.


Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

With Whom Do I Claim Unity?

yokeEphesians 4:

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Thomas Paine said, “It is not in numbers, but in a union, that our great strength lies.” That is biblical.

Eccl. 410-12: Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The Bible is very clear that through unity is strength and that we were designed to gather strength from each other!

But WHAT am I supposed to be united WITH? It does not seem profitable to have unity just for the sake of unity. Do I stand with someone who actively works against my principles and beliefs just because they call themselves by a common name? No. Unity for the sake of unity is not the key here. Look at this passage in Ephesians 4.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

We are NOT to have unity with vanity, lasciviousness, greediness, and lies. The purpose of our unity is:

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We cannot work toward edifying the “body” in “truth” if we are continually associated with people who are openly engaged in vanity, lasciviousness, greediness, and lies. There is NO UNITY in that, that is being UNEQUALLY yoked.

Today there are too many who want to carry a name they have not lived. We are to judge someone by their fruits. If their actions are continually pointing a self-serving manner, in a way that sacrifices what is good, for their own comfort and gain, then those fruits identify them regardless of the name they profess.

Again Thomas Paine gives a good measure of fruits in a story he tells in his pamphlet “The American Crisis.”

“I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.” Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;”

I can have NO KINSHIP with people who will give my child “trouble” just so they may have “peace” in their day. I can have NO KINSHIP with those who operate in personal greed, vanity, lasciviousness, and lies. This is not opinion, these are the Words of God!

Christians! We have an Biblical Responsibility to distinguish ourselves from any person or group that would ACT contrary to the Word of God. That includes politicians and political parties, regardless of their “professions.” We cannot fulfill the obligation of edifying to the truth if we are unequally yoked with liars and men or women whose hearts lust after greed and comfort.

This is not an essay on politics, this is an essay on morality. My husband always says, “you are who you roll with.” That, apparently is Biblical, too. Who you are yoked with is who you will be.

I will endeavor to be yoked with Christ’s Liberty. I will endeavor to be yoked with these Principles. I will endeavor to be yoked with this Truth. And I want my child to live in a country where the government is dedicated to Liberty, Principles, and Truth. Because if they are not, regardless of their party title, then I am NOT to be associated with them.

What do I fear? Where is my comfort?

be-strong-in-the-lordPsalm 119:

109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

113 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

118 Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.

119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

God so very often gives us these comforts of knowing that he is our shelter and our stay. My question today are what do I fear and where is my comfort?

We are guaranteed trouble in this world:

Matthew 6:34: Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

But we are also guaranteed that we have a Father that is our Shepherd and our protector.

Psalm 27:
1 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?

2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

Think about it, what do I really have to fear? My greatest fear should be disappointing my Creator, Savior, and Friend. All other fears should just melt away. I am reminded of one night with my son. When my son was younger he was very afraid of the dark. I was trying to help him overcome his fear by showing him that nothing really changes when we turn off the lights.

One night we were having our bedtime routine. I said to him, “Ok, Colton, tonight you will turn off the light.” He responded in fear, “No mommy, I can’t! It will be dark, I will be scared!” I tried to reassure him that there was nothing to fear. The room is the same room in the dark as it is in the light, I told him. After much cajoling he agreed. He crept over to the light switch; turned it off; and then performed that super human feat all kids do by leaping from the light switch to the bed. He nestled up close to me and I noticed he was crying. I said to him, “Colton I am very proud of you, you were very brave.” He said, “Mommy, I was not brave, I was scared.” My heart was full for him. I told him, “Buddy, being brave doesn’t mean you are not scared. Being brave means you do what you need to do even though you are scared.”

I wish I had been more scripturally minded at the time. I would have shown him these passages. I would have shown him that we really have NOTHING to fear. God wants us to know that even though ALL the evil in the world WILL assail us, HE will NEVER leave us. He is our comfort. He is our provider. He is our protector. The founders of our nation KNEW this! Patrick Henry said,

“Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”

He knew his comfort was in the Lord. He knew that we are never alone. We are guaranteed to experience evil. But we will suffer instead of rejoice if we do not keep the proper perspective.

John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.