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May the Lord fill your life with the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

If God is not first in your life, then something else is (Deut 6:4-5, Matt 6:24, 33; 10:32-38, Mark 8:34, Luke 11:23, 1 John 5:21).

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Holy Spirit
"I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 56:11)
We cannot live our lives without challenges (John 15:20, John 16:33, 2 Timothy 3:12). While Jesus Christ was the only sinless, perfect human to exist on earth, He was made of flesh so He faced challenges like each one of us (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13, Hebrews 4:15) and experienced similar feelings (Luke 19:41, John 11:33-35). In fact Jesus was the only person to know the future. He knew that He was going to be beaten, humiliated, and nailed to a Cross (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53). Yet He continued, voluntarily. He knew Judas was going to betray Him. He knew that Peter would deny Him three times before sunrise. Yet He washed both of their feet. Jesus knows exactly what we are going through in our lives. He lived them firsthand!
As Christians, it is important to understand that we are in this world but do not belong to it (John 15:19, Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:15). The challenges we face build our relationship with God and strengthens our faith (Nehemiah 8:10, Romans 15:4-6, Hebrews 10:35-36, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:7, 1 John 5:4). Above all, challenges are humbling moments that lead to obedience in His ways and allows for us to look to God for His strength and direction (Colossians 1:11, 2 Timothy 3:14-16, 1 Peter 1:14). By putting God first in all that we do, and live in obedience to His Word, we will overcome every challenge (Psalm 34:19, Isaiah 40:29, Philippians 4:13). Good or bad, nothing ever happens without His permission (1 Chronicles 28:9, Job 1:6-12; 2:6, Daniel 4:17, Psalms 47:8; 75:6-7, Romans 8:28). Be strong, teach what you have witnessed, endure suffering, and do not get tied up with the ways of the world (2 Timothy 2:1-4). Stay focused! Fix our eyes on what cannot be seen. Jesus Christ is the prize, so remove all of your weights and run the race with endurance (2 Corinthians 4:6-18, Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 12:1-4)! In Hebrews 11:35-38 we are reminded of what faithis all about; about being persecuted by refusing to turn from God and instead focusing our hope in a better life after the resurrection. The author is describing the fate of the disciples, also written in Foxe's "Book of Martyrs."
Read and study Nehemiah and Job to learn about overcoming opposition. See also Zephaniah 3:17, 1 Corinthians 15:58, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Ephesians 6:10-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11, and Jude 24-25.

Changed Lives (from
Thump-Thud, Thump-Thud (by Max Lucado)
Living Free Devotionals (by Living Free Everyday)
"The Bell" (unknown)
Created Monday, January 21, 2008