The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4
Incense is something that can bring a sweet smell to an area. It can push out bad smells of other things. The smell of the incense will overpower a negative smell.
Sometimes certain chemicals are used for incense that can also brings a calming to the body, peace or comfort. These can sometimes be mind-altering drugs, changing how a person feels, covering up a bad situation in one’s life.
John describes a picture of an angel in heaven bringing before God some incense with the prayers of God’s people.
Everyday people around the world are worshipping God and praying to God. With all of the negative things happening in life on this earth, those words of worship and prayer can often appear to be worthless sounds in this noisy world. It can feel as if the prayers are only reaching the ceiling and bouncing back down, useless.
The world wants a believer to think that his worship and prayers are worthless, but God thinks differently. That worship is rising before God as an incense, a sweet smell coming out of a dark and dying world, full of sin.
The prayers of believers brings God great comfort and peace. Those prayers are showing God that His people are believing in and trusting Him to meet their every need. It gives God the ability to work in the lives of His people to meet their every need.
God hears every prayer that a person makes. He is not so far away that He cannot hear them. In the end, if not sooner, God will remember all of those prayers and get His vengeance upon the wicked for the wrongs that they did to His people.
You may wonder about the value of your prayers or if God even hears those prayers. Know that your every prayer is brought up before God as a sweet smelling incense before Him.
Do not withhold your prayers and worship from God. They enable God to do things that will be for your benefit. God is collecting those prayers to be used at the right time, in the right way to build you up and to build His kingdom up.
Do not get discouraged when your prayers appear to not be answered, God is already working on it.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will pray daily to God; that you will trust God as you pray; that you will know God hears your prayers of faith; and that God will smell the sweet incense from your life of worship and prayer.
Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling. Zechariah 2:13
Being still is something very difficult for most people. They feel as if they need to be doing something at all times. When one is not doing something, he feels like he is failing or, more often, as if he is missing out on something.
In the process of continual movement, many people will burn out or make poor choices. Anxiety and depression will arise because of the need to keep moving. Health will quickly deteriorate, causing many serious health issues. Focus will become unstable.
Zechariah tells the people to be still before God. God was beginning to rise up again among them to lead them. He would rise against the enemies and destroy them.
Believers will often find themselves acting as the world does, needing to be constantly doing something. Some will never say no to anything asked of them, regardless of what it costs them.
While it is good for a believer to be doing the work of God, ministering, witnessing and serving, one needs to sometimes be still before God. Some move forward so much that they will run ahead of what God is doing and begin to do their own thing.
Every believer needs to stop once in a while and be still before God. This gives God a chance to renew their strength and focus. It allows time for a person to hear from God to get the information for the next mission. It also allows the person to be able to take a step back and see what God is doing.
Jesus often stepped out of the picture to be alone with God. He took time to be still before His Father. No believer should be any different than Jesus.
As you are going through your days take note as to how much you are running. Are you slowing down enough to hear from God and really see what He is doing and to hear what He wants you to do next?
Each day allow yourself to pause and be still before God. Ask God to show you what He is doing and what He is requiring of you for that day. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you into the work He desires of you.
As you are still before God, you will gain the strength and ability to do more with God.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will slow down to hear from God; that God will open your eyes and mind to what He is doing; and that God will give you strength to do His work He has for you to do.
In order to begin to look at marriage we have to start with defining what marriage is. Over history throughout the world there has been different meanings of what marriage is and is not.
While individuals and even the world as a whole defines marriage in multiple ways, there has to be an ultimate authority on what marriage is. In this study on marriage, I will be looking at it as from the viewpoint of God and the Bible. This is with the thought that God created everything. If God created everything, then He is the ultimate authority and can define everything and anything in His way.
If you take God out of the picture, then anything goes. At that point there is no real definition of what marriage is. Marriage can then become any thing a person wants it to be, there are no limits or boundaries in which one cannot cross.
Looking at the world, one can see how these boundaries have been removed and nearly anything goes. In some countries there are a few boundaries still in place, while in others, nearly every boundary has been removed. Each nation has its own set of rules and boundaries on how they define a marriage and what is acceptable and what is not.
In America, many boundaries have been removed as a whole. However, in some states, some of those boundaries are still recognized and held on to, though many wish to remove all boundaries.
Marriage begins in the beginning of all creation. God had made the earth and everything in it. After making the land, seas, sky, plants, animals, birds, and fish, God made man. He made Adam to take care of this new earth He had created. Adam was the first man made.
God noticed that Adam did not have a helper to help him, so He chose to create a woman for him. At that point God created Eve, the first woman.
Notice the process that God did in making Eve. He took a rib out of Adam and created Eve. She was made different and was called by a different name.
At this point the world had its first marriage. There was no ceremony or celebration, it just became a marriage. Eve had become Adam’s wife. They become one in flesh and spirit.
This here shows that marriage is between one man and one woman. It is not between two men or two women, or between a man and child or woman and child, or even between a person and an animal. Nor is this between one man and several woman or one woman and several men. It is one to one. The world has chosen to corrupt what God has made.
If God is not in the picture, then, yes, the world has the right to define what marriage is in whatever measure they want. Without God there is no absolute authority and anything goes. However, there is a God and there will be a day of reckoning where everyone will have to give an account to what he or she did.
Over time, man has chosen to create a ceremony to establish a marriage. This is where the wedding comes in. The ceremony is not the actual creation of the marriage, but the public proclamation and recognition of what one man and one woman does.
The actual marriage takes place when the man and woman choose to be together as one before the eyes of God, with or without a ceremony, and in or outside of a church, and with or without a minister. It is when they agree to say ‘I do’ to each other in their hearts and minds as one.
The wedding certificate is just man’s way of showing proof that the two are married and that both had agreed to the marriage. It is a formal way of tracking marriages. This is needed because people will lie. Later many might try to say that they had never been married, when in fact, they had been. This is just proof.
This here is just the basic beginning of what marriage is. It is the groundwork for the rest of this study. Next week I want to look more at the vows that are done in the marriage ceremony and what they can mean in a marriage. After that I will continue to look at what marriage looks like and how to make it work or destroy it. See you next week!