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      By simplyrhetorical in simplyrhetorical
      How do we respond to the challenges in life?  I am certain that we all have a different approach to circumstances that could have a negative effect on our faith.  Christians know the Word, but to implement it in our own lives is another thing.  To many Believers, the first response against an attack on their faith is to exhibit an arsenal of resources which are based on feelings and human emotions.  Worry, fear, anxiety, and doubt play the role of pawns that block faith, trust, belief, and confidence from entering into the arena of conflict.  These emotionally unstable pawns persuade the physical body to respond with things such as high blood pressure, ulcers, and sleeplessness.  It is only when our pawns are wiped out that our spiritual weapons finally enter the conflict.  Why do we feel that we have to initiate carnal responses before we can introduce the spiritual weapons of warfare?  Why is it that the “first responders” are fleshly instead of spiritual?  Maybe we need to look at the Scriptures and see how the early Believers dealt with assaults against their faith.
      The Apostle Paul realized that complete trust and faith in God was the only way to be guaranteed a victorious life.  How did he deal with tribulations and sufferings?  He gloried and rejoiced in them!  The reason he took that approach was to show God that his hope rested in Him.  Paul knew that tribulation would work patience.  Patience is one trait that Believers have a difficult time achieving.  We want God to work things out yesterday, instead of waiting for God to develop spiritual character in us.  Patience then develops experience.  Experience is the best way to understand Biblical truths.  We must come to a point where the Bible is to be experienced, rather than just read.  When we act on the Word, Hope enters the picture.  In other words, we are confident that God is in control and our “tribulations” will become a teaching tool in the hand of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 5:1-5)
      Many times I have assumed a responsibility of acting on my own volition.  Needless to say, I made decisions that led me on a spiritual roller coaster.  During these periods of emotional conflicts, I would exhibit my “pawn emotions” which would only help to intensify the problem.  I have to admit there were times I failed to practice what I preached!  Some Believers have a condition known as “Biblical Gluttony.”  We can be full of the Word, but unless we act on the Word, we become lethargic and ineffective during our times of testing.  Some claim to know the Word, but fail to show the Word.  
      The next time we are faced with challenges to our faith, let us rejoice, knowing we are about to embark on a journey that will bring growth and spiritual development to our lives.  Let us be patient as the Holy Spirit leads us through the difficult times.  As we experience Divine intervention, let us learn through the challenges so we will be ready for the next assault on our faith.  Let us take our emotional pawns off the board and let our spiritual arsenal be displayed!
      The Apostle James also stressed the importance of expressing joy when faced with challenges to our faith.  He showed how patience helps to establish the goal of spiritual maturity. (James 1:2-4)  Joy and patience (longsuffering) are two ingredients of the Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23)  Fruit is to be eaten as well as exhibited.  As we digest the Fruit, people should see its growth displayed in us!  When the problems arrive, let us keep our fleshly responses locked away, and start rejoicing at what the Holy Spirit is going to work in us through our times of difficulties!
    • How Far Fly?
      By Ragamuffin_John in Ragamusings
      As a bird that wadereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place (Proverbs 27:8 - KJV)
      How far fly off in Faith?
      A tangible answer deserves what God has made, a nest like a temple where witness is woven. Fly as far as you feel heat, where the Spirit rests, cloven.*   Knowledge may take you too far, Faith-novices, mull an older man's words here by heart! Love and discernment must go hand-in-glove. Fly every day, but live as Jesus would.   How long does it take till your nest where you were born again cushions zeal and zest? Creature of grace, count the hours, the place of your first love** remains your strong tower.*** __________ * https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2%3A1-3&version=KJV ** https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+2%3A3-5&version=CEB *** https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+18%3A10&version=CEB
    • Change Your Mind!
      By Jessica Tendayi in Jessica Tendayi's Blog
      Lessons Learned From An Early Morning Run
      I laced up and went for my first run of the Spring Season this past weekend.  It was still pretty cold on Saturday morning - with a  light dusting of snow from the night before still on the ground; so for that I alone, I think I should pat myself on the back for just making it out my front door!
      Perhaps one of the motivating factors was that I was quiet excited for this run.  I am determined to win some tournaments in the upcoming tennis season, so I know I that I have to be in top physical form.  Or it could have been for the simple reason that I had also recently splurged on new running gear from Old Navy, so I was feeling confidently "sculpted" in my new Lycra pants, unlike the pudgy feeling I used to have from my old running sweat pants. Don't judge me - we are all motivated by different things!
      I set off as soon as I had my music and running app queued. The first few minutes of my selected route seemed easy.  It was all downhill, so I did not struggle.  But as the landscape started to flat-line, I started to feel the slight challenge in my legs.  My chest also started protesting, and it seemed I could not get enough air into my lungs with every breath that I took.  Before long, I was literally speed-walking through some of the sections of the route.  Determined not to give in so easily to my complaining thighs, I forced myself to run.  I wanted my body to know that I am in charge of it.  And I wanted my mind to know that I have the power within me to choose my actions, and my reactions.  Strangely enough, the more I set my mind to accomplishing the run - and I mean running, not walking -  the more my legs complied.  All it took was to change my mind.
      I ended up running 3kms in twenty minutes.  Not bad in my books...... especially for the first run in almost six months.
      So what did I learn?  In a strange way - I learnt about the power of one language and a common speech.  I realised anew that I have power. I have the power to control me! You are probably wondering if I just fell out of the sky to only realise this now - but you tell me - when was the last time you found yourself doing the complete opposite of what you had set out to do?  That was the time that your mind won, and you lost.
      Just from my morning run, I realised anew that  I have in me more mental strength than I would have ordinarily accepted.  When my mind and my heart are flowing in unity, even my  body conforms to the demands of my mental state.  Now for me - that's just a powerful revelation.
      I am reflecting on the bible account of The Tower of Babel, found in Genesis 11:1-9.  God himself knew the potent power in unity:
      I learnt from my morning run that I can only thrive when I am in harmony with myself, and with those around me.  Marriages thrive when spouses are speaking one language.  Families blossom when children are raised in common speech and harmony . Businesses prosper when partners operate from the same page.  And  churches glorify God when the brethren dwell in unity.
      So what is it that is in your heart to do?  God speaks to your heart, but your mind is so  full of what you tell yourself, or what you allow people to tell you.  Your defining moments will always be those moments when you decide to take over your mind and bring it into harmony with your heart.  Your heart will never lie to you - it is the true you.
      So go ahead  - CHANGE YOUR MIND and FOLLOW YOUR HEART!
    • This little light of mine
      By Shiine in Honesty is a kindness rarely recognized
      It is the simplest of things that we can do that bring joy, faith and love into the world.
      Cut down and throw greed into the fire.
      Cut down and throw pride into the fire.
      For if you hold onto them you will only be cut and dragged into the fire with them, to burn and die.
      Give into freedom, the freedom of giving, of loving.  Take back your joy by giving away these damaging desires.  If your brother is drowning, dive into the water and tread at his side until he sees past his fear, sees who you really are, a root in the tree of Life.  You are strong and capable with the power of God at your side.  Unashamed and willing to do the work that others shy away from.  Go into the dark blazing bright.  The song "This little light of mine" comes to mind.  
      I'm going to let it shine
      For even as it starts out a flicker
      It surly grows quicker
      with every leap of faith
      and taste of grace
      my light is fed
      spirit led
      unwilling to be quenched
      for the word flows through me and in me
      how could I ever deny
      roll over and die
      I refuse 
      for I choose life
      to tend the fire
      terraform this muddy mire 
      Luke 3:7-14 (KJV)
      7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
      8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
      9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
      10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
      11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
      12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
      13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
      14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
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