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Psalm 5:12

For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.

What do you believe and say to your loved ones every day? For orthodox Jews, on Friday evenings in their homes, the father lays his hands on his children and pronounces God’s blessings over them. No wonder Jewish children grow up to be winners in the fight of life! They become some of the world’s greatest inventors, bankers, musicians and entertainers.

Although a minority race, the Jews have produced the most number of Nobel Prize winners. I believe that it is because they bless their children in the same way the patriarchs of the Old Testament did. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob released God’s blessings upon their children by laying hands on them and speaking forth the blessings. (Genesis 27:27–29, 38–40; 48:14–16)

In the New Testament, the apostles pronounced blessings over the churches they were preaching to. To the church in Philippi, Paul declared, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) John released a powerful blessing upon Gaius when he said, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2)

Even Jesus pronounced a blessing of deliverance on the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman—“go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter”. (Mark 7:29) This was a blessing of deliverance by proxy. The woman took it by faith and found that her daughter was well when she reached home. (Mark 7:30) Likewise, the centurion took the blessing by faith and healing came upon his servant back home. (Matthew 8:8–13)

The parents of a little girl did the same thing while worshiping in our church. Their daughter was in hospital in the final stages of cancer. When I pronounced the blessing of healing that Sunday, they received it and pronounced it over their daughter. She was soon discharged from the hospital healed!

My friend, bless your loved ones. Declare over them, “The Lord blesses you and surrounds you with His favor as with a shield.” Speak forth your own blessings by declaring, “Thank You Lord, You over supply my needs and I am in excellent health!”

Thought For The Day

Pronounce God’s blessings over your children and they will grow up to be winners in the fight of life.

Open Heavens Today. August 16th 2015 by Pastor E.A Adeboye

PEACE THROUGH HIS PRESENCE – Sunday August 16th 2015

Memorise: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Romans 5:1

Read: Exodus 14:13-14

13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Bible in one year: Genesis 21:8-23:20,King James Version (KJV)

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.
12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.
14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:
23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.
24 And Abraham said, I will swear.
25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.
26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.
27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.
28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?
30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.
31 Wherefore he called that placeBeersheba; because there they sware both of them.
32 Thus they made a covenant atBeersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
33 And Abraham planted a grove inBeersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.
34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.

22 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
15 And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;
21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father ofAram,
22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.
23 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.

And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land ofCanaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.
And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,
I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,
Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.
And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.
And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,
That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.
10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,
11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.
13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,
15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.
17 And the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure
18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city.
19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land ofCanaan.
20 And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying place by the sons of Heth.
John 14:15-31
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

The assurance that God is on the side of the righteous and not against them, gives peace to their life. It is commonly said that “One with God is majority.” Even if the whole world is against you, as long as you know that God is on your side, you will not be afraid. As a child of God, because God has justified and cleansed you, there is now peace between you and Him (Romans 5:1). The rift of separation is gone! Condemnation is also gone! Praise God! As long as God stands by you, nobody can withstand you (Romans 8:31). If God is for you, it means that He loves you, and if He loves you, then you are more than a conqueror. If God is for you, He will personally take over the battles of your life. As you simply praise and worship Him, He will arise and engage your enemies in battle. You can be certain He will bring the victory back to you. While facing the Red Sea with no visible way to cross it, the children of Israel suddenly had the Egyptian army rushing furiously towards them. Faced with this impossible situation, Moses said this to them in Exodus 14:14:

“The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
When you have the Commander-in-Chief of the heavenly hosts fighting for you, oh what peace and joy will flood your heart in the midst of the storms of life! As long as Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is in your boat, that boat will never sink. A song writer wrote, “… No water can swallow the ship where lies, the Master of ocean and earth and skies”. This is so true. You can go to sleep in the midst of an earthquake when God is with you. That was why Peter could sleep so deep after his arrest. Acts 12:6-7 tells of how he slept, bound between two soldiers:

“And when Herod would have brought Him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.”

He knew that even though he was in prison, He was safely in God’s hands. He also knew that God can do the impossible whenever He decides to. Are you anxious over how you will come out of that impossible situation? Fear not! What did Peter do to come out? Nothing! He slept while others prayed, yet he came out. You are coming out today in Jesus’ Name. Because God is with you, you will never fall.  
Key point
The peace that God gives cannot be eroded by the storms of life.

Open heavens daily, By Pastor E.A. Adeboye

Full List Of Gospel Nominees For The 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards

Full List Of Gospel Nominees For The 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards

doveawardsnewThe 46thAnnual GMA Dove Awards just announced the full list of nominees for this year’s ceremony! Below are all the nominees in the Gospel categories. The event will take place at Allen Arena in Nashville, TN on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm CST, with tickets on sale now, and air on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on Sunday, October 18, 2015.

Gospel Artist of the Year:

Erica Campbell, Entertainment One

Fred Hammond, RCA Records

Israel & New Breed, RCA Records

Jonathan McReynolds, Light Records

Tamela Mann, Tillymann Music Group

Tasha Cobbs, Motown Gospel

Contemporary Gospel/Urban Song of the Year:

“Worth Fighting For” – Brian Courtney Wilson, (writers) Brian Courtney Wilson and Aaron Lindsey

“I Luh God (ft. Big Shizz)” – Erica Campbell (writers) Warren Campbell, Erica Campbell, Lashawn Daniels

“Flaws” – Kierra Sheard, (writer) Dianne Warren

“Say Yes (ft. Beyonce & Kelly Rowland)” – Michelle Williams, (writers) Harmony Samuels, Michelle Williams, H.”Carmen Reece” Culver, Al Sherrod Lambert

“No Greater Love” – Smokie Norful, (writers) Aaron W. Lindsey and Smokie Norful

Traditional Gospel Song of the Year:

“Fill Me Up” – Casey J (writer) William Reagan

“#War” – Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago, (writer) Charles Jenkins

“How Awesome Is Our God (ft. Yolanda Adams)” – Israel & New Breed (writers) Israel Houghton, Nevelle Diedericks, Meleasa Houghton

“This Place” – Tamela Mann (writer) Darrell Blair

“God My God” – VaShawn Mitchell (writer) VaShawn Mitchell

“Send The Rain” – William McDowell (writers) William McDowell, William McMillan

Contemporary Gospel/Urban Album of the Year:

Vintage Worship – Anita Wilson, (producers) Rick Robinson, Anita Wilson

I Will Trust – Fred Hammond, (producers) Fred Hammond, Raymond Hammond, Geo Bivins, Calvin Rodgers, Phillip Feaster, King Logan, Shuan Martin

Graceland – Kierra Sheard, (producer) J. Drew Sheard II

Journey to Freedom – Michelle Williams, (producer) Harmony Samuels

Forever Yours – Smokie Norful, (producers) Aaron Lindsey, Antonio Dixon, Derek “DOA” Allen, BlacElvis, Tre Myles

Traditional Gospel Album of the Year:

Worth Fighting For – Brian Courtney Wilson, (producer) Aaron W. Lindsey

The Truth – Casey J, (producers) Korey Bowie, Chris Carter

Any Given Sunday – Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago, (producer) Charles Jenkins

Amazing – Rickey Dillard and New G, (producers) Ricky Dillard, Will Bogle, Rick Robinson

Unstoppable – VaShawn Mitchell, (producers) VaShawn Mitchell and Daniel Weatherspoon

SONG OF THE YEAR – CAT 1 to be Announced

 by triumphantradio..

When America Put Pastors in Prison The Baptist Battle for Religious Liberty

friend in Pennsylvania about troubling developments in Virginia. There were reasons to worry about oppressive British taxes, of course, but that was not Madison’s primary concern in this letter. The “worst” news he had to deliver was that the “diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution” was raging in the colony. “There are at this [time] . . . not less than 5 or 6 well meaning men in [jail] for publishing their religious sentiments. . . . Pray for liberty of conscience to revive among us.” While today we tend to think of early America as a bastion of religious liberty, many in the colonial era lamented its absence.

No one suffered more persecution than Baptists. They were the most likely “well meaning” Christians to be thrown in jail on the eve of the American Revolution. While leaders like Madison and Thomas Jefferson learned much about the need for religious freedom from “Enlightened” authors such as John Locke, their deepest convictions about liberty of conscience came from watching it being denied to fellow Americans.

What Set Baptists Apart

Baptists caught the brunt of persecution because of their unusual practices and brash style. Baptists had begun to appear in early seventeenth-century England, and were present in America by the early colonial period. Insisting that the baptism of believers by immersion was the biblical mode, they were fighting an uphill battle in the religious culture of the day. With few exceptions, Christians had taught for a millennium that baptism was meant for infants. Infant baptism introduced a child into the covenanted community of the church, and hopefully put them on the path of salvation. Depriving babies of that blessing seemed tantamount to child abuse, the Baptists’ persecutors believed.

Baptists were among the most fractious of all dissenters. They refused to attend the state-backed churches of England or America, or to pay religious taxes to support those churches. They flamboyantly violated rules that required dissenters to secure licenses from the government to preach. Sometimes local authorities would not agree to have these dissenters preach at all. Regardless, Baptist itinerants traveled throughout the colonies, often holding outdoor baptismal services in rivers and lakes, drawing crowds of mockers.

The Troublers of Churches

Baptists, Quakers, and other nonconformists suffered discrimination and maltreatment in the American colonies that believers today in places from China to Nigeria would find strangely familiar. In 1651, for example, a man named Obadiah Holmes, accused of proselytizing for the Baptists, was taken from his cell at Boston’s prison to receive a punishment of thirty lashes with a three-corded whip. Holmes had been alone in prison for weeks, struggling to come to terms with the impending travail. But the day of his whipping, an unusual calm came over him. Although his captors tried to keep him from speaking, he would not be silent.

“I am now come to be baptized in afflictions by your hands,” Holmes said, “that so I may have further fellowship with my Lord, and am not ashamed of his sufferings, for by his stripes am I healed.” Holmes was tied to a post. The officer tasked with meting out Holmes’s sentence spit on his hands, took up a whip, and began flailing him with all his might. Still, Holmes felt the presence of God as at no other time in his life. The pain of the scourging lifted away. When they untied him, Holmes stood up and smiled. “You have struck me as with roses,” he chided them.

A 1645 Massachusetts law had specifically banned Baptists from the colony, calling them “the incendiaries of commonwealths” and “the troublers of churches in all places.” Quakers sometimes endured even rougher treatment than that faced by Baptists. Massachusetts expelled several Quaker missionaries in the late 1650s, warning them not to come back. Three did return, and Massachusetts executed them by hanging.

Freedom for Some

Colonial America did have an embryonic tradition of religious liberty, of course. Rhode Island founder Roger Williams had been expelled from Massachusetts for criticizing that colony’s mingling of state and church. Accordingly, when he started his new colony, he mandated that Rhode Island would not sponsor any particular Christian denomination. No one would suffer persecution for their beliefs or religious practices there. Likewise, William Penn’s Pennsylvania, founded in the 1680s, offered religious liberty not only to persecuted Quakers, but to a host of Christian sects.

By 1700, many of the worst aspects of persecution against dissenters in England and America had ended, but most of the colonies (like England) still had official denominations. New radical movements emerging from the Great Awakening of the 1740s ran afoul of the “established” church’s requirements, and a new wave of American persecution began.

The Persecution Progresses

The great New England Baptist pastor and historian Isaac Backus recorded numerous instances of the harassment of Baptists in Connecticut and Massachusetts during the mid-1700s. When Baptists of Sturbridge, Massachusetts refused to pay to support the Congregationalist Church, authorities imprisoned some of them for tax evasion, while from other Baptists they seized property including livestock, tools, pots, and pans.

Madison’s and Jefferson’s Virginia saw the era’s worst outbreak of persecution against Baptists. During the 1760s and 1770s, more than thirty Baptist pastors were jailed for illegal preaching in the colony. Many more Baptists suffered violence and intimidation. Itinerant Baptist preacher James Ireland was among those arrested, but even jail time would not shut him up. His friends and supporters came to listen to him preach through the cell grate. Some of these were African American Christians, whom white authorities dragged away to be whipped. Ireland’s tormenters devised other means to keep him quiet — some burned noxious materials to drive away his audience. Some even urinated on him as he spoke to the crowd.

Our Costly, Fragile Freedom

The troubles in Virginia generated a backlash, as Enlightened elites and evangelical Christians alike called for a new era of religious freedom. That reaction birthed the most important statutes regarding religious liberty in American history. Backed by legions of Baptists and other evangelicals, Madison and Jefferson finally secured the adoption of the Bill for Establishing Religious Liberty in 1786, stopping formal support for the Church of England and promising an end to religious persecution. That law was the critical precedent for Madison’s religion clauses in the First Amendment, which committed the new nation to “free exercise of religion” and prohibited Congress from establishing a national denomination.

America has historically set the global pace for religious liberty, though even in America that freedom was hard won. Long before secularism took hold in America, persecution was already part of the American story. Where religious freedoms failed the Baptists, they endured oppression for their theological commitments. Every generation of Christians should be prepared for it. “A servant is not greater than his master,” said Jesus. “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).

We should also be thankful life in America today for Baptists is not as oppressive as earlier generations faced. But neither should we indulge the fantasy that religious liberty is permanently secure. If there was a time when free exercise of religion was viciously denied to many Americans, we would be foolish to think that this could never happen again.


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