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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/29/2016 in Stories

  1. 5 points
    This morning, my mom and I took a walk down a park trail that is (conveniently) right by where we live. As we walked, I began to notice things that I'd normally ignore - the soft crunch of the yellow and brown leaves, dotted with occasional red and orange leaves and damp with rain from the night before; the sharp, cool air that hit my nose as I slowly inhaled and exhaled (and at one point, the air even smelled like raisins); the sunlight filtering through the trees and making the raindrops shimmer delicately. It reminded me of a story Helen Keller wrote about if she had three days to see and how she would use them. It's really a great message to us all who have been blessed with the ability to hear, see, smell, touch, and walk. She mentions how she asked a friend once if she had seen anything interesting on her walk. The friend merely shrugged and said that she hadn't seen anything in particular. Don't we often ignore the small details that others would enjoy? Do we often just see what's in front of us and take it for granted? Take a nature walk today, but keep your eyes peeled. Notice how the air feels and smells. Notice the way the leaves fall, the way the branches quiver and shake its leaves when the wind blows, and the way the squirrels run. Take the time to enjoy what God has made without rushing it. Then go back home and write it down in a journal or ponder it carefully. Let's be thankful for the surroundings that God has given us and for the eyes that we can use to see them, the ears that we can use to hear them, the mouth to talk about them, the legs to walk and see them, and the arms to reach out and use your hands to touch them.
  2. 5 points
    Ephesians 4:29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, Paul reminds his audience and us, that our manner of walk must be different from others who walk in the vanity of their mind. Others that are alienated from God by a darkened understanding and blindness like we once were. We are to abandon these former ways of living that have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. I like how the Lexham English Bible translates verse 29. "No rotten word must proceed from your mouth, but only something good for the building up of the need in order that it may give grace to those who hear." What do you do when you are driving your car down the road and all the sudden you come up on a skunk that has been run over? Oh my gosh! It is horrible. You are turning off the air conditioner if you got it on cause it is only pulling the smell into the car stronger. You are rolling all the windows down to let the fresh air roll in. And if you are like me, you are probably coughing and gagging and your eyes are watering cause you are about to be sick! Whew! Do you understand what I am saying right now? We are to fight against the rotten ways of our old sinful self. We make great efforts to avoid the rotten smell when we come up on a skunk. Why are we not making these same efforts in our life with Christ? We are not children of darkness anymore, through Jesus Christ we should be living as children of light. We are not living that old sinful lifestyle anymore. The Christian walk does not and should not look like an alienated and separate life from Christ! Let's think about Paul here for a second. He was a prisoner at the time he was writing this to these Christ followers. What better a time to let the foul, abusive, rotten language roll. I was in prison for 3 years myself and it wasn't a pleasant experience and I imagine that it was much worse in Paul's time. But yet he is not torn apart from Christ by his circumstances and he is a perfect example of how our behavior should look in times of troubled situations. That is why Paul could say, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." Can you say that? I know I certainly cannot! So for those of us that know Jesus Christ, He has completely flipped our lives upside down. It is definitely a sad picture when we are pulled back into the darkness after living in the light. Unfortunately I was the one posing for that sad picture. Because that is exactly what happened to me. But thankfully, Jesus is forgiving and He is definitely a God of 2nd chances because He hasn't given up on me. As believers and followers of Christ God calls us to avoid sin and through Jesus Christ, gives us the inner power to be victorious in this area! Here are a few things that I need to remember so I do not stumble. I am a new person now. The old is gone! Psalm 119:11 is a beautiful Scripture that we should all know. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." As believers and followers of Christ, we should be striving for this. One way to do that is to be constantly meditating on Scripture. As believers and followers of Christ, we should have a prayerful dependence upon God. Matthew 6:13 says, "And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." As believers and followers of Christ, we should constantly be seeking the good things of God. Romans 6:19 says, "Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy." So, back to our Scripture now, verse 29, "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." We sometimes forget how powerful this is. Let me remind you of something right here and I really want you to think about this because it really spoke to me in a very powerful way. Look at what James says in the beginning of chapter 3 about controlling the tongue. James says, "For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth." Wow! Do you see how powerful that statement is? As believers and followers of Jesus Christ controlling our tongue matters. Good words benefit and empty and destructive ones only tear down and break away. How do good words benefit? They literally give grace and enablement to the hearers. Our words are to be presented with truth and pureness lifting others up and beneficial for them. This is definitely not a description of how my words always look. I have work to do! How about you? Do your words give grace and enablement to the hearers? Thank you Lord Jesus for your many, many blessings. Help me today, to imitate you in all that I do, especially with my words. In your name I pray - Amen. Be Encouraged, Chris
  3. 4 points
    Money, Money, Money Where are you? I want to be rich. I want to be wealthy I must look for more money Invest in God. He is a stock broker, I am told He will give me thousands for my tens He will give me millions for my hundreds Be rich. Be rich on earth, that is the way to go Everything I need God provides on a daily basis Clothes to wear and food to eat Adding up all his provision over the years I am already a billionaire, why do I want to be a millionaire? My Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills The earth is his, and the fullness thereof He owns the world and they that dwell therein His Name is the Lord of Heaven and Earth Ask whatever you want and I will give you, he says I have a mansion in heaven I am joint heirs with Christ Why do I want to be a millionaire? I am already a billionaire I live on earth, yet not I The live that I now live in the body I live by the faith of the Son of God Whatever I need I receive, if only I ask by faith Godliness with contentment is great gain Food and clothing are enough to make us content Those that want to be rich in this world Fall into a snare, temptation, and harmful desires A strong desire that leads to their own griefs Source: John 14:14; Matthew 7:7; Galatians 2:20; Psalm 24:1; 1 Timothy 6:6-11
  4. 4 points
    Today’s post is the final devotion in my series on the symbolism found in my children’s book, “Finished: A Fictional Story With Heavenly Truth”. I am so grateful for the work of artist Terri Melia Hamlin on this project. Terri’s illustrations compliment the story and visually depict deeper theological truths. In today’s devotion, I share the final scene in the book, which shows Jesus sleeping and dreaming. So much of “Finished” is a foreshadowing of the crucifixion of Jesus. In fact, the book’s title, “Finished” reminds us that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross completed the work of forgiveness and restored the sin-broken relationship between God and man. It’s no coincidence that Jesus is sleeping as the story comes to a close. Sleep, after all, is a metaphor for death in the Bible. Make no doubt about it. Jesus lost his life to save people from their sins. Still, the story is not ultimately over, and death never gets the final word. The illustration shows Jesus dreaming while he sleeps. Jesus’ dream is of a better day, the Resurrection Day, when Jesus would rise from the dead. The lesson here is that brighter days are always ahead for the Christian. The empty tomb of Jesus assures it. I’d like to close this devotion by thanking you, the reader, for your investment in this project. I believe “Finished” has the potential to ignite conversations between young and old. My prayer is that both the reader and listener would grow in wisdom and in their relationship with the Savior, Jesus. May you and yours always be blessed.
  5. 4 points
    This story was told by my pastor to our church one Sunday, but I did hear it from it a few years before. I'm not exactly quoting everything he said, and I'm not actually sure who the author of this story is about or if this is a true story or not, but I am only publishing what I recall. I did not in any shape, form, or fashion write or assist in the writing of this story, and I'm not sure if it's a true story or not. Again, the credit of this writing goes to the anonymous author behind it. The story goes as follows: There was a little girl who had gotten saved in church, and she was around six to eight years old, I believe. Because she was saved, the next step was for her to be baptized to profess the outward sign of her belief to the church. However, the deacons and the pastor of that church were in controversy over whether she should be baptized or not because of how young she was. Finally it was decided that she should wait until she was older, and the pastor had the job of telling the little girl their decision. When she heard their choice, she began to cry. "But I'm not too young to die," she persisted in tears. These words pricked the pastor's heart, and he and the deacons changed their decision. She was then baptized as soon as possible. But then two weeks later, the little girl died. And on her gravestone, the words "I am not too young to die" were engraved.
  6. 4 points
    I woke up a few days ago with this faint echo in my mind. It went something like “fight tomorrow’s battle like yesterday’s war.” Being half asleep at 6 in the morning, I thought that sounded like a pretty catchy line, and I have to admit that I was rather impressed with my pre-caffeinated self. If a little puzzled. But the more I thought about this little sentence the more I realized that it carried profound meaning for me. Fight tomorrow’s battle like yesterday’s war.... because the struggles that you faced yesterday and today.... you will most likely face tomorrow or at least that Is how my long ongoing battle with depression and suicidal thoughts have been for me. Over the years the waves of melancholy that have clouded my existence have created a residual doubt in my mind. If I am so sad, am I even saved? If all believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit and joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and I am NOT joyful, how can I profess to know the Lord? Needless to say these thoughts have only fueled the sadness and worse still fed into the spirit of fear. Have I prayed for deliverance? You bet I have! Am I staying rooted in the Word. Confessedly, not always. But am I consistent now? You bet I am! Have I decreed that the spirits of oppression and depression have no power over me in the name of Jesus? Yes I have..... and still there are times when I can barely keep the constant flow of tears in my heart from pouring out of my eyes. But finally I seem to have come to a conclusion. It is OK to struggle and you know why? Because everyone has a thorn. It is Paul who related this when he stated that the Lord sent him a “thorn in the flesh” to “buffet” him (2 Corinthians 12: 6-7). This thorn troubled him continually until finally he too cried out to God for deliverance. And you know what the Lord’s reply was? “My grace is sufficient for you.” At first glance when you look at the Lord’s response it seems rather harsh. Surely the creator of the universe could come to the aid of his servant? Especially such a mighty man as Paul! But you know what God’s response means to me? It means that even in the midst of darkness we must keep out eyes fixed on the GRACE of God. Do you have a thorn? Do not condemn yourself for God has only grace and compassion for those in Christ. So comfort yourself in this....your inner turmoil does not dictate your salvation. Being saved does not mean that you are suddenly a finished work. Yes we should strive for perfection, the grace of God is not a free pass to sin or to let our “thorns” control our lives. But what it does mean is that “though we walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death” he is right there with us (Psalm 23:4). Once, while listening to evangelist Daniel Kolenda, he shared that early on in his ministry, he prayed to God offering him all of the assets he had to offer; any talents or money he had he would give to ministry. But in response to this “holy” prayer the Holy Spirit stated “I’m not interested in your assets, I’m interested in your weaknesses.” What a comforting thought! Much like evangelist Kolenda the prayers I have uttered consistently have been “use me God, if I have anything to offer, take it!” But....breakthrough has been illusive and the thought in my mind has been “I must not be good enough yet or I’m not truly ready to receive’: falling into the trap of believing that there’s some sort of checklist I need to complete before the Holy Spirit can rest upon me. When the truth is..... there’s absolutely nothing I can do because it’s already been completed by Jesus (see 1 John: 18-19). And I’ve realized that I have been trying to hide my weakness from Christ. I’ve said in my heart, “Lord I can do this and I’ve also got these gifts....but that stuff over there in the corner....just ignore that. But the whole time Christ has been saying “give me the stuff you wish wasn’t there” “Give me your brokenness and I will use it for my kingdom.” After all, when the Lord was looking for a man to lead the children of Israel into the promised land who did he choose? He didn’t select someone who’d been living among the people, someone they regarded with deference. No. He chose a vagabond living in the wilderness. Moses was an old man, slow of speech who had never really lived with the Israelites; in fact he was scorned by them. Not only was he an outsider, but he was a murderer. In his anger Moses killed a man and then he BURIED his shame before running away (Exodus 2:11). How many times have you or I tried to bury and run from our shame? And when God was searching for the man who would replace Saul as king. Who did he choose? A boy who was so insignificant that when the great prophet Samuel came to Jesse and commanded him to assemble all of his sons before the Lord, Jesse didn’t think to send for David his youngest. It wasn’t until Samuel asked if he had another son that Jesse remembered David (1 Samuel 16:8) and he must have remembered David with thoughts akin to “ Well yes but he’s just a boy who shepherds the flock. My older sons, these here are my assets!” But again here God expressed the fact that he’s more interested in weakness then strength. God says “send me the one you think is lowly and I will make him great.” And great indeed he made David. David was both a prophet and king, a man after God’s own heart, who went on to father the lineage of Christ. You see God works in us, not in spite of our weaknesses but because of them; because in our frailty God’s majesty is revealed. Look again at all the great men and women of the Bible. Abraham was a liar who put his wife at risk multiple times, Sarah a jealous woman who doubted God, Jacob a liar and thief, Rachel stole idols, Joseph a braggart, Rahab a prostitute, David an adulterer and murderer, Solomon a glorified philanderer, Peter denied Christ, James & John had such terrible tempers Jesus named them “sons of thunder,” and Paul was a wrathful persecutor of the Church!.... So if God can use all these problematic people, why can’t he use me? Why can’t he use you? Ultimately, what I’ve realized is that depression in itself is not a death sentence. Look at Isaiah 53: 3 “For he was a man of SORROW and acquainted with much grief. He felt it too. He felt lonely, isolated, overwhelmed. God felt overwhelmed! What a thought? Jesus himself prayed “Lord If possible let this cup pass from me.... but even so not my will but your will be done.” And even though God’s son cried out for deliverance, the Lord still brought him to the cross. “He was punished for our iniquities and bruised for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). ALL of our sin was laid on him. Imagine the burden? But despite the good news of the cross, the best news is that God did not leave him on it. NO Jesus literally walked thought the fire - seized the keys of sin and death - and came out the other side alive again! Hallelujah! So I’m here to encourage all of us my friends. Myself as much as you. Victory is ours even whilst we are still fighting. Christ is bringing us through because he’s already won and his grace is more than sufficient for us. Hallelujah! Amen.
  7. 4 points
    Still Living by Faith I ended up in Hebrews 11 this morning. I have a daily reading plan that I use, but I also like to venture off and just see what comes my way. But this really spoke to me, and I hope it does you as well. “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation” (Hebrews 11:1-2). “It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did” (Heb. 11:4). “It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying - For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God” (Heb. 11:5). “It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before” (Heb. 11:7). “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance” (Heb. 11:8). “It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise” (Heb. 11:11). Now this is the verse that really touched my heart and made me really think about a lot of things. “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.” (Heb. 11:13). Look at how faithful all of these people were. Abraham left his home and spent his whole life living in a tent. Living in a tent! They trusted God with everything in them. If this was you or I, we would not have done this. We would have given up so easily and just went back home. We would have returned back to what was comfortable for us - what we know. We do not like living life by faith. But when we experience Christ, we are confident and comfortable living a life of faith and trusting Him. We realize that this place we live in, we are exiles, because our real home is with Jesus Christ! We have a heavenly home. This is what drives that obedience and trust found in the people of old. I hope you are encouraged by this and reminded that everything you see before you will one day be gone. A lot of people work their whole lives because they want to leave behind something for their family - a house, a car, money, etc. I tell you that I have learned that the best thing you can leave behind for your family is your faith in Jesus Christ. Are you living a life of faith that will impact those around you? Do not get me wrong - there is nothing bad about working hard and making sure your family is taken care of. I do that myself. But the best way you can take care of them is to have a strong relationship and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be Encouraged, Chris
  8. 4 points
    “ For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17, NIV). Many people view the Apostle Paul as one of the greatest preachers of all time. Certainly, Paul was instrumental in spreading the Gospel like wildfire throughout the region of Asia Minor. Paul, however, recognized that he was hardly the most eloquent of speakers, nor the wisest of men, and that the power behind his words was not in his preaching, but in the cross of Christ. At times, we might be hesitant to share the message of God’s love in Jesus with those around us. We might feel like we don’t know enough about the Bible or that we won’t have the right words to say. Paul destroys this notion as he recognizes his own limitations in speaking about Jesus, but he does it anyway. Again, the power of God is not in the preaching, but in the cross of Jesus. As a pastor, I sometimes have people compliment me on a particular sermon. As a Christian author, people will sometimes remark on the message of my writing. I must admit that I love the affirmation! Still, I recognize that these individuals are not ultimately responding to me, but to the good news of the Gospel. And, while you might think that that’s humility on my part, it’s actually honesty. There is power in the cross of Jesus. The message of the crucifixion changes lives and saves souls, and we are privileged to share it. Therefore, let’s be bold in our witness and in our less-than-perfect delivery. God will use it to change the world!
  9. 3 points
    Oct. 1, 2020 Habakkuk 1...Oh Lord how long shall I cry and thou wilt not hear? The country has fallen to the depths of violent treatment of its citizens, oppressive measures against the poor are being used and the collapse of the legal system has the country in a mess. Men are in control and evil men at that, acting like you would expect without God's restraint. See if these words ring in your ears, iniquity, grivance, spoiling, violence, strife, contention, law is slacked, judgement never goes forth, wicked is all around the righteous and wrong judgement is everywhere. No, this isn't the United States, it is Judah during the life of the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk. The book titled after this prophet gives the account of a spiritual journey telling of one man's pilgrimage from doubt to worship. He questions God just as you and I do sometimes with his why am I forced to see this chaos? But Habakkuk reminds us it is okay to question God. With everything currently going on in our country, if you don't ask why, you might want to check your pulse to see if you are still with us. Your why will find it's ultimate answer in God and yes, He will answer your why. You may not like His answer but He will answer you. God already knew about his issues and like He does with us, answers him reestablishing the vital component we all have to realize, God is in control, don't lose faith in Him because your doubt will become your Praise in the God who never let's His people down. In our today and the issues we are having to deal with, if we like Habakkuk come to God honestly we will discover like him when the Lord answer's it will be profound. Chapter 2:2 KVJ God tell's him to Write the vision and make it plain upon tables that he may run that readeth it. 3...For the vision is yet for an appointed time but at the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Leaders are supposed to be visionary, they are supposed to have a vision to give to the people because the Bible say's in Proverbs 29:18...without a vision, people will perish KJV. The presence of a GOD centered vision will bring hope to people when they are told about it. God tells Habakkuk, the vision first must be written, it must be clear so make it plain, it must be motivating to those who read it and it must be received with patience. This also must be a leader who recognizes he or she need's God in their life as their true advisor. Great Biblical leader's had and today's leader's must have that relationship with our Heavenly Father to become a leader with respect and authority. God then gives Habakkuk a series of woe's in chapter 2:9...Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil. 2:12...Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood and stablisheth a city of iniquity. 2:15...Woe to drunkards giveth his neighbor drink, that putteth thy bottle to him, and nakest him druken also that thou mayest look on their nakedness and 2:18...Woe unto him idolaters that saith to wood, AWAKE, to the dumb stone, ARISE it shall teach. Behold it is laid over with gold and silver and there is no breath in it. These are foolish and foolishness to those who toy with them. Habakkuk remembers the reality of just who His God is, how mighty He is and describes to Him just how awesome His God is just like we do after hanging around the pity party mindset. He tell's God 3:10...The mountains saw thee and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice and lifted up his hands on high. He confesses in 3:17...Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall the fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cutoff from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls. 18...Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the GOD of my salvation. 19...The Lord GOD is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds feet: and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. Thank You Lord for Your Word.
  10. 3 points
    Many preachers preach to their congregation about giving hundreds of pounds to the Church and reaping millions from God. They quote “give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38. As soon as we sow, we start expecting the millions to roll in. For many Christians, no visible changes are seen for years. Some stop giving because they never became the millionaire they were promised. For others, they are still struggling to make ends meet and pay off the pledges. Farmers know all about the agonizing wait for their seeds to germinate and bear fruit. Tree planters know that it takes years for a seed to grow into a tree. We should never be discouraged even if nothing seemed to change for us. One thing is for certain, God never forgets the offering of a cheerful giver. Also, to God, it is not all about giving money. Someone I nominated for the employee of the year at his employment because of the way they motivated me as their customer, when I lost my job, became the same person eleven years later my employer contacted regarding a misunderstanding between me and one of his own customers. He wrote me an email, stating that my employer contacted his company. He assured me that he would never say anything to harm my career. I knew it was his turn to talk to my employer about me. He told me that his employer gave him my recommendation email years ago and he had kept it since. The reality of what we sow through word and action dawned on me. What if I had said negative things about him to his own employer eleven years ago? What we sow does not necessarily have anything to do with money. What we say to people, how we treat people, and how we make people feel, could be what we reap several years later. By that time, we might have forgotten that we caused someone to cry throughout the night because of what we said or did to them. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.
  11. 3 points
    The Lord's long-suffering toward us is repentance for the fallen. The Lord's long-suffering towards us is salvation; for our restoration, being rebuilt through deep intimacy in Christ Jesus. God made us complete and fit for a position in His eternal kingdom. Because of death, we all are just fallen buildings to be rebuilt by Jesus. This is for a greater glory. We all are building blocks, a specific and unique part of God's kingdom building. We all are rooms in the Father's house to be prepared by our Lord Jesus Christ. However, intimacy, ( love ) is the only building material. How much do we love? Of what value is our love? We'll be measured in eternity by our love. How much we love God and how much His love is manifested through us unto others by His spirit of love will determine how much we become like God, because God is love. This is our restoration, to become more like Jesus, this is our eternal reward. How much we love God is measured by how much we spend time in fellowship, communion with Him in our heart; in prayers, thanks, In spiritual songs, in communion, every second in our heart. We talk to ourselves at all time, every second in your mind, but how much do we actually commune with God in our heart? How much God's love is manifested through us unto others is measured by our willingness to sacrifices unto the world according to whatever good spiritual gift, talents, ability God has given to us. When we love our neighbors, ( enemies, strangers ) willing to lay down our lives for the salvation of their soul, we love God. For the salvation of their soul, I don't necessarily mean from hell. Whatever God has given, use it in love ( sacrifice ). I don't know what God has given you, I don't know what He has predestined you before creation, but I'd always say; we all are given unique abilities and talents ( spiritual gifts ), but there's one thing we all have in common, a loving heart that prays for any and everyone. Nothing makes us love a person as much as praying for him. God's long-suffering is for our salvation, our restoration not necessarily from hell, no, but for a relationship, for intimacy. Intimacy is how much we spend in God's presence, in our heart and how much we sacrifice to be used by Him for His glory. Love Him, give Him your heart, your will, your all. This is our glorious restoration, this is our salvation, this is Love, God's will. This is God's long-suffering towards us, " Love," for our salvation, our restoration.
  12. 3 points
    Autumn Cry I cry when autumn lace comes in When things of life must cease and end; When air is colored with a hue Of turning yellows 'gainst the blue. And through my tears I seem to see The loveliness of every tree: How green has greened itself with rain And life respected color's pain. I scan the red, a nearer rhyme— Tho death it brings (Is this a crime?); And quest for love in stilling air, And find her in the light that's fair. Upon a hill I behold her face— This Love that's filled with nature's grace And solemnly I gather dear Her joy, her sigh, her quiet tear. Then following her wise design, I give my heart to bitter pine And cry a healthy rainbowed well As autumn comes on earth to dwell. —Dumas fils (Fall has touched me many times and many ways. There is no season that is so alone like itself. Yet so lovingly beautiful. I always pay attention to it. It is so much like people. It flushes, it dazzles, it rustles and then it winks just before the colder rains comes to spot its fallen palms with frost and snow.)
  13. 3 points
    How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.
  14. 3 points
    Genesis Chapter 40 Man Joseph had some extreme patience and trust in God. I could only hope that I had just a little tiny piece of this. Only a piece the size of a mustard seed will surely do! A couple of Pharaoh's high ranking officials did something to upset him and he put them in the pen. Even in prison they still got special treatment because Joseph was assigned to them. They had a couple of dreams, and Joseph's gift was - you guessed it - interpreting dreams. I love how Joseph's head didn't swell up. In verse 8 we see that Joseph brought all the attention to God: "Interpreting dreams is God's business." He completely pointed all of the attention to God and didn't let pride and possible recognition swell his head up. I struggle with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, so this is very hard for me to do. I love the recognition and the attention so it is a constant daily struggle for me to remain humble. Joseph was completely aware of God's presence in his life, but I can imagine he was starting to become impatient with his circumstances. Believe me, I would have been impatient the 1st day of being in prison, especially since he is completely innocent. After interpreting the dreams Joseph asks one thing from the Cup Bearer, a favor. He asks, "Please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I'm here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it." Joseph's response to God's promises have been amazingly led by faith and obedience even when he has been through the ringer. When God gives us a promise and it seems it is never going to pass, we must still react most responsibly. Our positive responses would include: prayer, faith, obedience, and EXPECTANCY! With positive responses, there are always negative ones as well. This is where my problem occurs and I mess up. See, even if we are 100% conscious of God's presence and His promise to us, we still may act in unbelief trying to make things happen ourselves. We see this with Joseph trying to run ahead of God by manipulating his way out of prison! I mean, I can say nothing here but I am thankful that God has helped me recognize this. I am so bad to try and take things into my own hands and run ahead of him in making His promises happen in my life. And I am so impatient. I do this only after a couple days sometimes, and Joseph has been trusting and waiting for a decade or better by now. Man O man, the things we can learn from this. I am hoping this will help me draw closer to God, and hopefully make less mistakes of trying to run ahead of Him. When I think about it, I am crazy for thinking that I can do anything to accomplish God's promises in my life. What I can do is completely trust in Him and be completely aware of His loving presence in my life. And hopefully I can grow to a point to where that will be enough no matter my circumstances. Be Encouraged, Chris
  15. 3 points
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NIV). I’ve always found the words of this first verse in the Gospel of John to be interesting. As a kid, it was one of the easier passages of Scripture to memorize for my church’s Wednesday night Catechism class. The verse had a certain rhythm to it. It didn’t have any big words, and it was relatively short. I could recite John 1:1 in short order to my teacher and receive my sticker on the memorization chart. I suppose, at the time, I didn’t realize the significance of the words I was articulating. One of the things to notice about John 1:1 is that the “Word” is capitalized. John comments that this “Word” was present in the beginning, that it was with God, and actually was God. The “Word”, you may know by now, is none other than Jesus himself. Yes, Jesus, was present at the dawning of all Creation. We don’t always think about the Jesus of the Old Testament, but he was there. In the New Testament, of course, Jesus would take on human flesh and live among people. Still, Jesus made his first appearance at Creation. John says that the Word was with God and was God. If you’re like me, you find the concept of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – difficult to understand to say the least. Jesus was, at the same time, God, but he also had his own identity as one-third of the Trinity. Again, such understanding is challenging and doesn’t ultimately save us from our sins. It just makes us look smarter than we probably are. Perhaps you find additional difficulty in referring to Jesus as the “Word”. I, too, have struggled with this concept, intellectually wrestling with it, and have come to the following conclusion. I think John calls Jesus the “Word”, because Jesus is the ultimate message, the word, of God to mankind. Jesus is the Gospel message of God’s goodness and grace personified. In fact, if we want to truly understand the character of God, his justice and mercy, his love, and his kindness, we need not look any further than the “Word” that is Jesus. Yes, Jesus is God’s Word to mankind. He has freed us from our sins and has given us the promise of life, both here on earth and eternally in Heaven. God is for you, not against you. He loves you. He forgives you. He sets you free.
  16. 3 points
    Doubt comes when we fail to remember what the Lord has done for us. When we become Christians, God gives us a new heart and a new desire to love Him. Never doubt your salvation. Once you become a Christian, satan can never snatch you away from God. Many people in the bible whom we regard as pillars of faith had some doubt as well, not that they had less faith, but their faith was challenged in a new way. God does not mind doubt as long as we're seeking answer from Him in the midst of doubt. Allow your doubt to move you closer to God, not further away from God. Be patient and let God answer your question on His schedule not yours. Never doubt God's desire or ability to help you. When you're struggling with doubt, take time to remember the way and manner God has walked in your life. You know, you were once an embryo in your mother's womb, look at what you've become today. When David was right before the king, he simply testified how God brought him out of the mouth of lion and bear in his tender age. Take time to recall God's track record in your life To overcome doubts resist the temptation to isolating yourself, be humble and step close to other Christian, because doubt feeds on loneliness. When Daniel received the new order from the king, he simply went to his upper room, looking towards Jerusalem and said, “thank you Lord.” T.B. Joshua
  17. 3 points
    what is the Reason for Love your neighbor as yourself
  18. 3 points
    "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief" (Psalm 22:1-2). Prayer Father, as I read through you Word, I pray that you would speak to me. Help me understand and know you better, and help me apply your Word to my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. Reflections As I was reading through Psalm 22, I was reminded of times in my life that I have felt abandoned by God. A few days ago, I was reading through my Understanding Theology, Volume One book, and I came across a topic called "The Betrayal Barrier." The "Betrayal Barrier" is defined as followed: It is when we experience perhaps the most acute manifestation of God hiding his face - when he appears to betray us. I was thinking about some of the times in my life when I experienced this. One of those times was when I turned back to my addiction and relapsed with alcohol. What happened was, I was experiencing depression and a lot of stress with just everyday adult life. I was looking for fast relief from the pain I was dealing with, and I looked to alcohol for that relief. I did get temporary relief, but only with a handful of consequences that only made the pain bigger in the long run. Reading through the negative responses to the "Betrayal Barrier," I relive these horrible moments. The 1st negative response is Rebellion (Hebrews 3:7-8). I hardened my heart and I was unable to hear the voice of the Holy spirit any longer. The 2nd negative response was Not knowing God's ways. It seems that I didn't fully understand or recognize what was happening and I tested God rather than letting Him test me (Hebrews 3:9-10). The consequence of me doing this led my heart astray. The 3rd negative response was Unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19). The path that I had chosen to journey on once again 1. Turned me away from God, and 2. Led to being completely disobedient. The 4th negative response was Blaming God for it all! (Exodus 32:1). I felt like God owed me something and that He should prove himself to me. I now know the positive examples that I should have followed that would have led me down the right path to breaking "The Betrayal Barrier" that I was experiencing. 1. Obedience - Even when I didn't understand while I was going through the things that I was going through, I should have been obedient anyways. A great example of this is in Genesis 22 when Abraham's faith was tested and he broke this barrier. 2. The continued seeking of God's face - When I was experiencing this trial, I should have constantly been pursuing God and resting in Him instead of looking for temporary relief. 3. Consciously praising God, despite being misunderstood - Psalm 34 is a good example David gives us of doing just that. 4. Not questioning God but trusting Him completely - Daniel 3:18 is a great reminder of trusting God when otherwise you definitely would be raising an eye brawl or two. Application 1. Remember that God never betrays us - he only appears to do so. 1 Corinthians 10:13 2. Remember that breaking the betrayal barrier is God's idea - (2 Chronicles 32:31) 3. See every evidence of an apparent betrayal as a hint we are being tested. 4. Remember what pleases him most - Faith (Hebrews 11:6) 5. Pray more than ever 6. Walk in all the light God gives you 1 John 1:7 7. Remember that breaking the betrayal barrier is the greatest opportunity you will ever have to know God with intimacy. (Psalm 25:14). The most important thing to remember is that the Betrayal Barrier is one of the hardest of all experiences that any Christian will face. We need to understand the betrayal is apparent and not actual. God has not abandoned us, but rather He is seeking to test his sovereign vessels. What I need to remember not to repeat these same mistakes is to be led during facts rather than feeling when I am tempted. What I mean is remembering all the times that God has been faithful to me - and remembering all the promises that He has kept to me. Prayer Lord, thank you for your wonderful Word, and for helping me see the mistakes that I have made in the past. Please forgive me for treating you so poorly, and strengthen me that I may never do so again. I pray these things in the wonderful name of Jesus, Amen. Do you see any times in your life that you have had this experience? Feel free to share if you feel led to do so. Be Encouraged, Chris Reference Kendall, R.T. (1996). Understanding Theology, Volume One. Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus.
  19. 3 points
    Look Ahead It seems that every time that I pray and ask God to speak to me through His Word - He does just that. I have to admit though; it isn't alway what I want to hear! I was in Genesis chapter 25 reading about Jacob and Esau. The birthright of the 1st born was a pretty big deal back in the day. I cannot believe that he gave it up so easily. I feel like he exaggerated a little. That makes sense to me because I have done that throughout my recovery. He said, "What good is a birthright if I am dead from starvation." That sounds like me when I say, "Oh, just this one drink won't hurt me." Or, "I am tired and going through a hard time. A drink will relax me." God showed me today that I am a lot like Esau. I am indifferent to the things in life that are really important. Like Esau, my primary concerns have been to satisfy my immediate physical needs - with little or no thought at all about my future! I can easily talk myself into any bad decision without giving much thought to the consequences or the way that it will alter my future. Recovery gets tough! Lots of times I know that I just want to give up. A bad day will make a bad decision look good and much easier to make. God showed me today that I need to see things in the long view. Before I make any decisions, I need to think about the consequences and the way it may alter the future. I definitely need to treat my recovery this way. I need to picture the positive, long range results that will come if I just hang in there. The hard work pays off in the end when you get the positive results. If you look ahead and think about that, maybe it will be a little easier to give up the momentary pleasures of the bad decisions that keep us from reaching the positive results at the end! Be Encouraged, Chris
  20. 3 points
    WELL OF LONELINESS By Norma Armand I’ll never forget that Sunday afternoon when I looked out of my window and saw the flashing blue lights of an ambulance. I opened the front door to investigate, and that’s when I saw Trudy and her husband standing outside Dorothy’s house. Trudy’s face was ashen as she told me her mum had been found dead in the bath. I was horrified as I had a close relationship with my elderly next-door neighbour and meant to pop over for a chat in the days leading up to her death. The thought, like so many others, had bobbed to the surface before sinking again. And I begin to feel guilty for not acting on God’s promptings, believing I must be a bad Christian for letting Dorothy down. Jeff, my husband, told me these things happened. Dorothy’s life had been long and fruitful, and she’d died because it was her time. I couldn’t have done anything to prevent it. But my negative thoughts and feelings persisted long after my neighbour’s funeral. I neglected to read the Bible, and my worship became dry. And as I sat in church one morning, it dawned on me they were all deluded. They believed in a God that didn’t exist, so I stopped attending services. Jeff wasn’t a believer, but he worried about my depression. He had his own health problems to deal with as he had multiple sclerosis and retired from work on medical grounds several years ago. However, he could walk short distances with crutches and drove a car, which gave him some independence. I worked full time as a telephone debt advisor. It’s the kind of job that requires excellent listening skills and a great deal of patience. After a while, I found I could no longer focus or function effectively, so I took sick leave. And the longer I stayed away, the harder it became for me to return. When my salary halved, money became tight, and I struggled to pay the bills. This put a strain on my marriage as Jeff couldn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t know myself. I only knew that darkness had descended and I couldn’t find my way out. My doctor continued to prescribe me with antidepressants, which made me feel listless and numb. A night, in bed, my mind turned to all the things in my life I was ashamed of. The wicked thoughts, words and actions. My inadequacies as a human being. My utter worthlessness. My father loomed largest. I found him physically repulsive, and I always wondered what my mother, who was slim and attractive, ever saw in him. I wanted him to die so that she could marry someone handsome. And death came suddenly one morning when my father went to investigate a roof leak. He fell off the ladder and broke his neck. I’d just turned twelve. My mother and siblings took it quite hard, but I was secretly happy. I’d got what I wanted, but mum never married again or took a partner, despite my encouragement. I was disappointed by her devotion to my father, and whenever l thought about him, it was always in derogatory terms, which persisted long after I'd become a Christian. It was a habit, a reflex action. Only later on in my Christian walk, did I repent of this sin and changed my thinking. Yet here I was, dredging up the past, and hating myself all over again. Even worse than this, I started to believe that Jeff’s illness was my fault. A punishment from God, and the reason why my prayers for his healing hadn’t been answered. It became too much for me to bear and I silently sobbed, so as not to awaken Jeff. But my body shook the bed, and his arm went around me. I started wailing then, and in between the tears, I kept saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.’ Jeff tried to comfort me as best he could, but my emotions were too strong to be assuaged. ‘You can’t go on like this, Marion,’ Jeff said. ’You’ve got to get some help.’ He was right, of course. I knew I needed help. I had put him through enough stress already. ‘I’m going to make myself a cup of tea,’ I said and got up. As I entered the kitchen, an inner voice spoke to me and said, Why don’t you kill yourself? It seemed like a good idea. What did I have to live for? It’s not as if I had a good relationship with Shelley, my daughter. She‘d turned against me as a teenager, and we rarely saw our grandson. Even Jeff would be better off without me, and maybe my death would bring about a reconciliation between them. That thought comforted me as I opened the drawer and took out the large carving knife. It glinted in the light. I only needed to switch the handle and plunge the point deep into my chest, and my life would end. ‘Marion, what are you doing?’ I jumped at the sound of Jeff’s voice. I turned around to see his concerned eyes shift from the knife to my face. ‘I was about to peel an apple,’ I lied. ‘I love you, Marion,’ he said. Shaking, I put the knife down and supported my weight against the work surface. Wrestling with my emotions, I looked up and said, ‘Okay.’ I swung my head toward the doorway and frowned. Jeff wasn’t there. I called his name but only heard a high-pitched ringing silence. Apart from the passage lights, all the others were off, and he wasn’t on the stairs as I climbed up them. I pushed open our bedroom door, and to my astonishment, Jeff lay in bed, fast asleep. I couldn’t believe it. Jeff’s legs didn’t allow him to move that quickly. Yet somehow he had. ‘Jeff?’ He stirred slightly as I slipped beneath the covers. I decided not to wake him. ‘I love you too,’ I whispered in the dark. I must’ve fallen asleep, for when I next opened my eyes, sunlight poured in through the net curtains. I reached for my watch on the side table. It read 12:30 pm. I sat up as Jeff entered the room and perched on the bed. I thought I'd better let you sleep,’ he said. ‘Half the day’s gone, already.’ I sounded as though I had something to do; somewhere to go. Not that I’d made any plans for months. Time mostly passed in a haze as I operated on autopilot, but today felt different. ‘I don’t know how you managed it,’ l said, swallowing hard, ‘but thanks for stopping me last night.’ ‘How do you mean?’ He looked baffled. ‘You came into the kitchen after I went down. Don’t you remember?’ ‘I know you were upset, but I didn’t get out of bed.’ ‘Of course you did. You stood in the doorway when I...’ ‘I did have a strange dream though,’ Jeff said. ‘I dreamt that you were in the kitchen, holding a knife and I told you that I loved you.’ ‘It wasn’t a dream, Jeff. It really happened. I was going to kill myself.’ ‘I’m glad you didn’t.’ He put an arm around me. ‘I think God had a part to play in this.’ I’d never heard Jeff give God credit for anything. ‘It’s a miracle,’ I said as the truth dawned on me that something supernatural had happened. ‘I suppose it is, ‘Jeff said and laughed. We both did, only I had tears in my eyes. ‘Can we pray together? Now?’ I asked, seizing the moment. He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘If you want to.’ I put my hands together, closed my eyes and gave thanks to God, for snatching me out of the enemies clutches. When I’d finished, Jeff joined me in saying ‘Amen.’ From that day forward, my faith in God was restored. I started reading the Bible, and the words came alive. I copied scripture from Isaiah 43:18–20 and stuck it on my bedroom wall. It read, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” I did indeed. I realised God had more for me to do, and I was ready and willing to embrace whatever lay ahead of me, knowing I would not have to face it alone. I reclaimed my life, which involved returning to work. And it was tough, especially on the first day. But having survived it, I knew things would improve, given time. And at home, the tensions eased in my marriage. Jeff and I didn’t talk about what had occurred on that fateful night, but it changed both our lives forever. I went back to church, and Jeff joined me, and not because I wanted him there. He made the decision alone, and I believe it was his way of giving thanks to God for saving my life and of course, to learn more about our wonderful, merciful Saviour.
  21. 3 points
    I looked at my phone. The time said almost an hour and half. I could not believe I had been talking for that long. Time flies when the conversation is great! It was toward the end of the night. I had decided to walk my dog, Romans, and talk at the same time. Romans needed his nightly walk before bed, so it all worked out great. I finished the walk, and went inside. I went to my bedroom, and sat in my chair. I took out my bible, and nightly devotion. I sat there enjoying God’s word for the night. As I closed the bible, I looked around for Romans who usually joins me in bed. He was nowhere to be found. I did a quick search of the house, and found him by the door. He was staring at his leash, and was ready to go outside. I thought. How strange, there is no way he has to go out so quick after an hour and a half walk. I did not want any accidents though, so we went outside. Just as I thought. Romans really did not have to use the bathroom. I then began to piece it together. I had changed up my routine. Every night I read my bible first, and then walked Romans. Romans saw me reading my bible, and was just waiting for the usual routine. Without realizing it. Romans began to be trained by me. For two years my dog saw me read my bible every night, and then walk him. He thought when I read the bible at night, the next step, meant he goes for a walk. He was just following the nightly routine. Routines are developed daily, and then weekly. Weeks turn to months, and months turn to years. I have been guilty of the desire to prove “how Christian I am”. I need people to see this, or understand this about me. I need to tell people I do this. I need to show people I do this. Then they will see what a great Christian I am. I think I was way off track with these thoughts. I developed the habit of reading my bible every night for a lot of reasons, but I was determined to make that a goal that stayed with me for the rest of my life. It really was between me and God, this goal of reading the Bible. I knew that if His word was so important to me, I would have to make it a priority to at least read part of it every day. I praise God that the habit has been developed. The things we create that are consistent do not need to be shouted out. They speak for themselves. Even a dog figured out that I can be faithfully relied upon to read my bible every night. Others have watched you too. They can see what you are faithful about. You don’t have to list them. It will show itself to others. I love when I can talk, and show others what I have done, and accomplished. I think this night though God was showing me something else. He was showing me that just by seeking Him, others will notice. I don’t always have to be focused on who is seeing, and who is listening, and who understands. I read the bible that night and saw God words. But the Lord used my dog that night to understand what his words look like in action. Luke 12:2-3 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
  22. 3 points
    “ ‘Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:9, NIV). In Old Testament times, God gave the Israelites several commands, the culmination of which was, “ ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV). God’s chosen people were not only to obey these commands, but they were to pass them on to their children and grandchildren. For this very reason, God told the Israelites to “ ‘Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:9, NIV). In this way, the Law of God would be remembered every time the Israelites entered their homes. I find it interesting that the Law of God was to be written on the doorframes of the homes of the Israelites. For just prior to this command, the Israelite’s doorframes were written upon, not with the Law, but with the Gospel. During their captivity in Egypt, in an event that would become known as the Passover, the blood of lambs was spread on the doorframes of Israelite homes so that death would literally pass over these families. Time and again, both then and now, the Law of God is covered by the grace of God. Such grace is found in Jesus at the bloodied frame of his cross. For on the cross, the Lamb of God was put to death on our behalf. Our sins are passed over and we are free.
  23. 3 points
    “…He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him… Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isaiah 53:2-3, NIV). A small picture of Jesus stood on the nightstand near my childhood bed. Long, flowing hair framed the masculine features of the Savior. The look of sincerity and quiet contemplation adorned his lips. His eyes were kind and focused, his beard perfectly trimmed. I would fall asleep each night under his protective gaze. Life was simple then, long before the awkward years of adolescence and the endless demands of adulthood. But with age came struggle and temptation, sin and brokenness. The foes of anxiety and depression became my constant companions. Loneliness, fear, failure, and doubt attacked my mind and strangled my faith. I needed a Messiah to invade my mess of a life, a Savior to rescue me from my sin and from myself. That’s when Jesus became the most real to me. I realized that there was so much more to him than an artist’s rendering recalled from my childhood. I recognized him, yes, as true God, but as one who had taken on human flesh, and with that, my very sin. I learned to appreciate his rawness, his untamable Spirit, his unkempt appearance, and his humanity despite his divinity. He became to me a Rescuer, who was not afraid to save me from the darkest, most remote places of my rebellion. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty, even bloodied over my sin. The realness of God dressed in human flesh and the ugliness of the cross causes many to stumble. But true beauty is found in both. And when we get real with him, he becomes real to us.
  24. 3 points
    So don't be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31 (HCSB) As I am preparing this devotional, the price of gold is $1,467.25 per ounce. (Hmmm...I could use five ounces of it right now, but that is beside the point.) This price will go up or down depending on various economic factors that I will not discuss. Needless to say, gold is a valuable metal. Yet, there is one asset that is more valuable than gold. The value of this asset does not change with time. It is not platinum even though that is a reasonable guess. This asset is us. Us? Yes, us. Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we are more valuable than many sparrows. So, how much is a bunch of sparrows worth? It really does not matter. The key word in today's devotional verse is "are". We are highly valuable to God. So, how valuable are we to God? We are so valuable to God that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Then, God raised Jesus up from the dead on the third day to give us all hope of eternal life if we choose to believe in Him. I encourage you to thank God for seeing you as highly valuable to Him. May God bless you today and every day!
  25. 3 points
    I started walking for exercise and had set a goal for myself that each time I walked I would go a little further. As I began walking this woman was coming towards me, and I was going to ask her, if she knew where the trail ended, but I decided not to, because she never looked at me, and didn't appear to be friendly, so I didn't bother and kept on going. I recognized the place where I stopped the last time and continued to walk. I believed I walked another mile and decided that I would stop. I stood there for a few minutes before I started to head home. As I was walking, the woman that I had seen earlier was coming towards me and this time I decided that I would ask her. I began by saying, excuse me Miss does this trail end or does it continue around the entire park? She responded that she didn't know and began to express that she tries to walk at least 15 minutes everyday. She then asked, how about you, and my response was that I try to go a little further each time. I thanked her and we both said to the other, enjoy the rest of your day. I continued to head home, and as I was walking I became thankful that I initiated a conversation. Then I remembered the Scripture that encourages us to show ourselves to be friendly. The next day I learned a very valuable lesson, as I reached the point that I stopped at the day before. As I continued to walk, and to my surprise I had reached the end of the trail. I began to praise the Lord for the lesson I just learned. You see, we never know how close we are to where we want to be. I am not saying that I was too tired or that I wanted to give up, but what I am saying, is this, that if I had just kept going I could have celebrated my achievement the day before. But nevertheless, the Lord is good! I believe He ordered my steps according to His Word, and allowed me to stop where I did, so that I would learn this lesson. We never know what God will use to teach us. My brother always says, "we have to see God in everything." I am learning how true this statement is. My encouragement to you, is keep going, because you will never know what lies ahead, and how close you are to reaching your goals or receiving what God has promised you!
  26. 3 points
    I thought I'd share with you a very special story that has become my annual post. It was read on a Christian radio program. May it bless you. Oh, and bring tissues! ***** The dark, gray skies overhead threatened an early snow. Rushing shoppers, all bundled up to ward off the cold, crowded the sidewalks, lost in their to-do list for Thanksgiving. Oblivious to their surroundings, no one noticed a small, shivering boy standing in front of the shoe store, his nose pressed against the window, barely dressed and only flip-flops on his dirty feet. However, one man did see him and stopped, dead still in his tracks, causing others to bump into him. He didn’t notice the bumps and grumblings, but he did notice the small boy because he had a son about the same age. Thinking how he would feel if this were his son standing there, barely clothed, the man quietly slid next to the boy, the man stood there for a moment, and then said, “They have some nice shoes here, don’t they?” “Yeah,” came the soft reply. “Which ones do you like?” “That pair over there…the cool running ones.” “Oh, I’ll bet you could run fast in those.” “Yes, sir. I sure could. Like the wind!” “You know, I have a little boy just about your age.” “Oh, yeah? I’ll bet he has shoes like that.” “Yes, as a matter of fact, he does. But I have an idea.” “Yeah? What’s that?” “How ’bout I take you into the store and buy you that pair of shoes?” The boy stood there motionless. After a few moments, with tears in his eyes, he looked up at the man. “You want…to…buy…me…shoes?” “I sure do. Your feet must be freezing and I’d love to buy them for you.” The boy couldn’t speak another word. The man took the boy by the hand and walked into the store. Finding the manager, the man described the pair of shoes and asked the manager to please get a pair in the boy’s size, along with some socks. Then, he said he and the boy would be in the restroom and would he please bring the shoes and socks in there. The manager gathered the shoes and socks and, upon entering the men’s restroom, found the man on his knees washing the young boy’s feet. “Can’t stick dirty feet into clean, new socks and shoes, now can we?” The young boy just stared at the man as he lovingly washed away all the accumulated street-dirt and gently dried his feet. Feeling he was intruding on a very special moment, the manager quietly placed the shoes and socks on the floor without saying a word and backed out of the restroom. After placing the socks and shoes on the boy’s feet, the man stood up, and with hands on his hips, said, “Okay. Let’s see how they look. Walk around.” The little boy couldn’t move. He just stared down at his feet that felt glued to the floor. He looked up, tears now streaming down his little face, and said, “Mister, are you Jesus?” The boy’s words took the man’s breath away. So overcome with emotion, the man could barely speak. Finally, he muttered, “No, son, I’m not. But I know Him very well. And this is a gift from Him.” “This is the greatest Thanksgiving ever. Would you tell Jesus thank you for me?” “Well, let’s go for a walk and I’ll tell you how you can do that yourself.” ***** May your thanks-giving be one for which others may give thanks! Thanksgiving blessings to you...Lynn
  27. 3 points
    Full Story with photos at https://tiaspage.com/my-story-pt-1/ I planned to climb out of my castle and ride my white horse to victory. To me, it sounded simple. Unfortunately, no one told me that a leap from the tallest tower makes for a great fall. I was born into a Korean-Japanese family. I think the best word to describe my childhood is: extraordinary. My parents met in Tokyo, Japan, and my dad fell madly in love with my beautiful mom. They were 18 years apart in age, but my dad was persistent in getting to my mom’s heart. Soon, they tied the knot and had over a dozen miscarriages before they had me at seven months, as the “miracle child.” My mom became a businesswoman and my dad, a high-ranking political leader for the Republic of South Korea. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out between them, and by faith, my mom remarried her long-lost friend from high school who was the youngest son from the Japanese Mafia Family. Fortunately for me, my parents remained great friends. My stepfather looked up to and respected my biological father. I loved them both and was their princess. My biological father was always on TV, and the whole nation paid great respect to him. His words were like gold in many people’s lives, though I never knew why till years later. My stepfather, on the other side, was a very handsome and powerful figure, too. Strangely, I looked very similar to both of them and people often couldn’t guess which one was my birth father. The unique life got me living in Taiwan, South Korea, and eventually, Hawaii. We had many properties. Our family friends who were famous and noble—including the presidents—would come over for parties at our homes. My friends, however, were only allowed to come over to three of our homes: one in Honolulu, the other two near the Paris Park and Hyundai Tower in Gangnam, South Korea. My life was above average, but not to the extent that some of my relatives were. To give you an idea, one of my cousins received an entire temple with a golden Buddha for her birthday. Still, I grew up with butlers, nannies, drivers, and bodyguards who treated me like a princess, and I indeed always got my ways. I was also protected from the outside world, but I desired my own freedom...
  28. 3 points
    My father was born in 1891, 12 years before the Wright Brothers flew. He lived his entire life in New York City from the horse-and-buggy era to the age of jet-airliners and tall skyscrapers – a very transformational period. I was born in 1946, and was the only child from my parents’ late-in-life union. Mom was 43 at the time, and they told me many times that I was a “surprise baby.” Dad was a respected supervisory mechanical engineer. He worked until 1954 when he was ruled disabled because of quickly deteriorating eyesight. As a young lad, he took me for outings on many of the city’s far-reaching elevated and subway lines. By the time I was 11, my father was no longer able to navigate the city and transit system on his own. But he still took me out exploring to both show and teach me. My father held his cane in one hand and my arm in the other, telling me how to get where we were going, and it was my job to get us there safely. It was a sight to behold – a youngster leading a blind tour guide on sightseeing trips! On the many forays around the city, I saw bridges, buildings, trains, railroad facilities, museums, ships, and a lot more. My blind father gave me a passion for railways and engineering, which led me into a very successful and enjoyable career. Photo - Stephen Sr. and Catherine McEvoy with “Surprise Baby” Stephen aka Me I was told little about Dad’s earlier life before my birth. But my father did share that he was put in an orphanage when he was just 4 years old, where he lived 10 years. There was never any mention of my paternal Grandparents James and Emily (Foster) McEvoy. And, in spite of asking many times, I never learned why my father wound up in an orphanage at such a young age. It wasn’t until many years after his death that I realized how great of a man and father he truly was, and I recently learned that I only knew half the story. My family gave me a DNA kit as a Christmas gift. It included a box, vial, instructions, and seemed high-tech and complicated. It sat on my desk for six months before I finally read the material, which turned out to be quite simple. I spit some saliva into the vial, completed a short form, put it into the provided box, and mailed it back for DNA analysis. Nothing complex at all. I had no idea what the DNA results would be. The only significant question I had about my heritage was why my father found himself in an orphanage at 4 years of age. A few weeks later, I received the results – Great Britain 45%, Ireland 34%, Iberian Peninsula 9%, Scandinavia 8%, and a smattering of other geographical regions. I also received a list of 159 possible 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th cousins, but I never reached out to any of them. However, two of these relatives contacted me – David, the grandson of my Uncle Henry, and Patricia, the great granddaughter of my Uncle William. They both confirmed that my father was one of seven siblings. Interesting but nothing earth shattering. Then I raised the long-unanswered question whether they knew why my father wound up in an orphanage at a young age. They were surprised that I did not know about the family tragedy. Rather than tell me the gory details, they briefed me about the basics and explained how I could research the sad events for myself. I quite easily found the tragic story in many newspapers. I was shocked to learn that on July 6, 1895, my Grandfather James McEvoy, during a drunken rage, shot my Grandmother Emily in the head and torso. The shooting occurred in front of two of their children. The other five children immediately ran into the room after the gunfire. As reported in the New York Herald, “The seven children were screaming and yelling. The flat was in the wildest disorder.” James penned two suicide notes before the deed, but he yielded to the children’s pleading that he not turn the gun on himself. Police officers soon arrived and took James into custody. “Only the clubs of six policemen kept James McEvoy from being lynched by his frantic neighbors…” Emily was taken to a hospital where she died two days later. My grandfather was a premeditated murderer. The day after Emily’s death, James was being transported to court for legal proceedings via Manhattan’s Third Avenue Elevated Line. While handcuffed and waiting on the 59th Street Station platform, James pulled away and threw himself onto the track in front of the approaching train. He was mortally wounded and died in a hospital an hour later. Within three short days, my father and his six siblings (ranging from 2 to 19 years of age) violently lost both parents. James’ family helped the seven children transition through the aftermath of the terrible tragedy. The three eldest needed minimal assistance, while my father, the second youngest, wound up in an orphanage. I spent my entire career in railway operations and engineering, and it was bizarre for me to learn that my grandfather died in Manhattan after being run over by an elevated train, hauled much less by a steam locomotive. And I walked through the intersection of 59th Street and Third Avenue many times over the years totally unaware that such a horrific family tragedy occurred there just one long generation ago. Photo - New York’s Third Avenue Elevated Circa 1878-1895 before Electrification There are many events in life that we cannot foresee or prepare for, and learning this sad family history was certainly one of them. And yet, as terrible as the tragedy was, I felt prepared for the bad news to a significant degree. I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior 54 years ago on simple blind faith, without thinking it all through. Almost immediately, I struggled with many “whys” – why God allows pain, suffering, disease, death, and dozens more. After 10 years or so of wrestling with God, I still could not understand or rationalize the human condition, and I gave up trying. I simply decided to yield and accept the Biblical explanations – we live in a fallen world where free will prevails, sin permeates, and stuff happens – both good and bad. While I still do not like or understand why things are the way they are, I stopped trying to make sense of it all. I reaffirmed my faith in Jesus and His Sacrifice on my behalf, and I also firmly embraced God’s Written Word, regardless of my feelings and unanswered questions. So, learning about my family’s tragedy did not jar or rattle me to any significant degree, but the sad story did slowly cut to my heart in a number of other ways. I have been unable to feel any sympathy for James McEvoy. He had a history of drunkenness and violence, and was arrested several months before the murder for attacking his wife Emily while intoxicated. I do have an immense empathy for Emily, who gave James seven children only to be slaughtered by him. The story generated much emotion in me about my father overcoming such a turbulent and tragic childhood, and excelling in life in spite of it. Dad never complained and never seemed sad, even after he went blind. Dad’s oldest brother William stirs even greater emotion in me, because he unexpectedly became the family patriarch at the age of 19. He stepped up to the plate, providing love and assistance to his youngest siblings. My father recounted that William visited him many times during the 10 years spent in the orphanage, after which William took my father home to live with him and his family during my dad’s teenage years. However, the greatest emotion and discomfort I have felt about the tragedy is not about James, Emily, William or my father, but about me. The story has reminded me about my sinful nature, failures and shortcomings. As strange as it sounds, I feel blessed, enriched and even healed by these sad introspective feelings. While I cannot change history, I can still change myself and also allow God greater control over my life. A touching side story to the tragedy was that the Plasterers’ Union of which James was a member contributed $150 towards the funeral cost. When adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to $4,167 today – not a trivial amount. Considering that James was a drunken murderer, such a sizable donation was a remarkable showing of fraternal love, and also an important reminder that the Second Great Commandment to love our neighbor applies even when we hate what the neighbor did! The moral of the story may seem to be that before spitting for a DNA test, be prepared for the possibility of bad news. However, that is just a “catchy” title; the lesson is much deeper than that. There are many other far more likely possible tragedies that could befall us tomorrow, which would more greatly test and challenge our faith, and rack our emotions. The promises in Revelation 21:4 make clear that we currently live in a fallen world where bad stuff happens even to the best of Christians: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV) The sheltered “bubbles” we live in might burst tomorrow. We could prematurely lose a loved one, have a heart attack, be diagnosed with cancer, or become paralyzed! I have seen these and other tragic life-changing events happen to the finest of Christians. Although rarely preached or dwelt upon, such sad possibilities are well-established Biblical truths. As much as I do not like or understand it, living the Christian Life still subjects us to significant risks and uncertainties every day, because we live in a fallen world. Every person deals with some measure of obstacles, problems and even tragedies in life. However, Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection provide promise, hope, grace and power to rise above and overcome the worst of events. The larger moral of my family story is Before Going to Bed Tonight, Be Prepared. I am reminded of Ephesians 6:13: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13 ESV). And what is “being prepared?” Nothing more than trust and faith in Jesus Christ, not only for salvation, but also for all our tomorrows; and, obedience to the Word of God, and actively living out God’s desires and plans for our lives. Not only will this prepare us, these “actions of faith” (regardless of feelings) will also allow us to live victoriously.
  29. 2 points
    Peace! Be still, Jesus is in the boat. When you have Jesus, you know by Faith. I mean, His spirit testifies that He's right there in you. Jesus is right there sleeping in your heart. He's might seem quiet for your own benefit, because He had promised to get us to our destination. Without Jesus being silent, we cannot in reality grow in maturity of Faith. What is your destination? Be it known by revelation or not yet known, He has promised to see you through the storm. For many who haven't yet come to know Jesus more, the storm is to bring to light the true revelation of Jesus to their hearts, God's eternal purpose. And for many who've received their revelation through deep intimacy with God, it is for their preparation, building and refining of their heart to become a perfect conduit to bear the glorious weight of their destiny in Christ Jesus. Like the disciples on the boat, while the storm was raging, even though Jesus did told them they would cross over to the other side, even though He did give them a revelation still, they looked away from Faith, they looked away from the word, allowing fear to blur out Jesus' vision, His promise of crossing to the other side. And so, they lost Faith and vision, forgetting that Jesus was in the boat. When we see by Faith that Jesus is in the boat, it'll either draw us closer to Him or prepare us for the future He's bringing us into to live as His will, as we build the nature of God in us until it's time. Jesus was in the boat sleeping, because He knew all was fine. He sees what you don't see, we can only have joy, peace of mind, only when we see what Jesus sees. It takes the eyes of Faith to see by revelation what Jesus sees, and to see by revelation is to have a free heart, drawing more closer to God. Because prayers, I mean, being in God's presence, inviting Him into our heart always, brings revelation and revelation, conviction, conviction, real movement, movement of vision and Faith. Why then are you worried? Don't let your situation blur out your vision, God's promises, making you forget that all is fine. You'll get to the destination, slowly, but surely because; Jesus is in the boat, Peace! Be still. Remind yourself of this always, and focus on your relationship, building God's character. Your destination is what God wants to call you to be. You only needed to go through the storm to get there. Don't trade your joy with your situation, when you trade your joy with your situation, your situation will overcome you. We as souls wearing earthen vessel, are like persons in a house. What happens to the house doesn't affect us in anyway, only if we let it. I mean, your soul having Jesus, is wearing an earthen vessel. A man can choose to have a heart failure or not when it was merely His house that was being damaged and not him. Pay no attention to the house, but to the one in the house with you. We're in a house, and Jesus also, dwells with us in that house. Pay no attention to the house, come what may, sunshine or rain, it is meant to keep you prepared for a new movement. Everyday comes with a new movement that brings us closer to what Jesus really has called us to be, every movement brings us closer to and closely conformed to the glory of God. Jesus is in the boat, Peace! Be still. Do not fear, remain unwavering. Remember, Jesus never promised a sail without storms. Surely, there'll be storms. However still, remember “Jesus is in the boat.” Our storms are either meant to keep our relationship in check or to prepare us into becoming all God has called us to be. When it's due time, He'll calm the storm. As we sail through this storm of the flesh, it is meant for our glory. Soon our sail will come to an end, soon we'll get off this waters.
  30. 2 points
    Some of us have been given special ability as apostles; to others He has given the gift of being able to preach well; some have special ability in winning people to Christ, helping them to trust Him as their Savior; still others have a gift for caring for God’s people as a shepherd does his sheep, leading and teaching them in the ways of God. Why is it that He gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It is that God’s people will be equipped to do better work for Him, building up the Church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity; until finally we all believe alike about our salvation and about our Savior, God’s Son, and all become full-grown in the Lord—yes, to the point of being filled full with Christ. Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. Under His direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of Love.
  31. 2 points
    Every year I trump In the down-quiet hollows In the paved parking ways And on thru rudy-ochre'd forests And yellowed quid roads To Gramma's house, To the great Book Barn In search of raw kind verdure: 'Leaves of grassy poems,' 'Bone fire for my sanity,' Hearth-Light for the cognitive dendrites Of my voluntary mind. I see their motionless fall-downs, I hear their squish-masp tearing Under my black winter shods; I feel their reaching up Through my two walking sticks —as I always do— Remote-Sensing their seasoned silent plaint That sub-roars into a too bright Indian Fall Where their flipped colors sting-chill our air, —they are here— They are here with their invominating whispers, Voices I hear from the higher world of wood Repeat and clear: ‘Come…come—and walk over all our dead bodies.’ —Dumas fils
  32. 2 points
    Contentment, Faith and Love are some of the basis roots of our joy and peace and also our place in Christ Jesus. Let us cultivate a heart of love, for the extent of which we love God will determine how much we'll hunger for His word, inviting His presence into our heart. Love is the link between man's heart and the word, it is our love for God, by the spirit of God that draws us to His word, which then builds in us more of His nature. If we say we love God and yet, not drawn to His word, not for anything else, but to become filled with His life and knowing His mind and will, then we do not have or have failed in Love. Placing God's word first, as small as it may seems, “like a mustard seed” is the greatest desire the holy spirit puts in the heart of everyone born of God, because it branches to all, all that is in Christ Jesus. Nothing in Him is impossible by His word and spirit dwelling in us. It's sad many has failed to nurture this mustard seed. From walking naturally in the nature of God by being filled with the holy spirit to being baptized in the holy ghost, finding our blueprint and being empowered to walk in God's project for His master plan, It all starts with a mustard seed, “putting God first” by being immersed in His word, feeding on it. From a tiny little seed there comes everything that seems impossible. When we lack contentment, we're simply not satisfied with Jesus. Although, Jesus has promised He'll be with us always, yet because, of our selfishness and impatience to rely fully on God, not waiting for God's appointed time, we begin to doubt and question God. When doubts is harbored in our hearts, our Faith begins to decrease and decrease rapidly without us knowing. When our faith decreases, our trust in God decreases also, even when He speaks His word, when we hear His word, it doesn't get to our heart, our hearts no longer receives God's word, because our heart, out of lack of contentment, becomes filled with worry. When our heart becomes filled with worry, God begin to lose His place in our heart, we become less of Him more than we were before, and naturally we find ourselves spontaneously acting out of God's character when we begin to lose God's nature. When we begin to become less if God, every little thing irritates us as we begin to lose patience, having doubts and then lacking Faith in God's word. These destroys our relationship, because where there's no trust, there's no love. Such, have so little love for God, because it's no longer about God anymore, but rather self, it all centers around self, what we want and not what God wants. Meanwhile, what God wants is a free flowing fellowship, relationship like streams of water, not like tap water we can turn on and off. It is this relationship when built in maturity of Faith that brings about God's blessing naturally, because where God presence is overwhelmingly invited, there lies manifestation of life, and where life is, there lies everything, because life erases all that is death. Here, we come to a place of trust where Jesus can trust us with the will of God without it destroying us and others. And more importantly it'll usher us into finding our true identity in Christ Jesus, what God has written concerning us in His master plan. Be contented. To be contented is to have Faith in God both in good and bad times. It is a free heart, a heart of peace and joy, a heart that finds peace and joy in whatever life brings, knowing that in all, they're all allowed by God, working in us inwardly, a greater weight of eternal glory. It is this peace of heart, this free heart, that strengthens and increases our Faith even more to draw more closer to God in intimacy, not because we want out of the temporary light afflictions at hand, but rather, because we want to see the answer of God, what He'll bring of it all, and the answer is; “His glory” in us being revealed from glory to glory, a glorious future. We are this glorious future being recreated more in Christ Jesus to become an extension of His glory and power, manifesting the will of God naturally, we become God's hands of restoration to a dying world, to build His kingdom and to reign with Him eternally. Where there's absolute Faith, there's love, love to live no longer for self, believing that God has all things under control even when it seems not yet so in the material. We see through the eyes of Faith, what God sees, that all things are taken care of already awaiting to manifest at God's appointed time. His appointed time is when we're be lifted and built in maturity of Faith inwardly from glory to glory. With the mouth, everyone can say; “God has all things under control,” but it takes maturity of Faith to confess the same with a free spirit, ( a heart at peace ) even when the situation seems bleak and impossible. Where there's Faith, there's love, to love even more. Love, no longer for self, but love that desires to meet the need of Jesus. We're not the only one who has need, Jesus does too, such great a need that can't be met without our lives being given in return. We are that “help,” by living only for Him to become His hands of restoration reaching out to a dying world and to build the kingdom of the Father. Jesus has needs and our lives given are the only requirement to meet that need. This need also is “us.” We are His need to be met and our lives fully given are the requirements to meet that need. His need is to restore us, fallen from thrones to become a part of God's government for all eternity. He only needs our love just as He has loved us by laying down His life. When we live to meet the need of Jesus, we In turn meet our needs, because not only does He supply according to our contentment and love, but more importantly, our eternal need is met, because by living as His hands to build the kingdom, we're being renewed and glorified inwardly, in the glory of God just as He said; “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” [ I John 3:2‭-‬3 ] To the measure we're glorified inwardly as we walk in love while on earth, to that measure we'll be more like Him, seated with Him upon thrones or as subjects, I.e. if we fail in our love walk. In all, it is man's to be lacking in things of the spirit. By man's natural ability, nothing in God can be achieved or attained, but only by God's spirit through His word. It is the infilling, indwelling of God's nature dominating us as we feed on God's word to become filled with life. To hear God's word to heart is to receive it as life with an open heart, not history or for mere knowledge. It is hearing God's word to heart that ushers us into a God kind of life to live naturally in the nature of God. This becomes the foundation, branching into all that we are called into in Christ Jesus. Contentment, Faith and Love. Love remains the greatest, for without an ever increasing love, there's no contentment. Contentment wants what the Father wants, and without love there's no Faith, because love also is absolute trust. It takes believing of heart in the name “Jesus” to become part of God's family. However, it takes walking in love to get us a place in God's kingdom.
  33. 2 points
    The storms go spinning one by one Hoo-ah, hoo-ah The storms go spinning one by one Hoo-ah, hoo-ah The storms go spinning one by one The little one stops. A shear to its top! And they all go spinning, swirling Around the globe To stir up The ether.
  34. 2 points
    It takes complete reliance on God’s word to deal with the flesh, because the flesh has been given over to death, giving the devil more influence and supremacy over our hearts when we yield to it. The flesh is always in conflict with God’s will and God’s spirit in us, because death can never be in agreement with life, it’s either we let Life have it’s right of way in our lives or rather, death. The less we spend In God’s presence, the more we feed the flesh with death which renders us more and more insensitive to the spirit of God and eventually remaining or becoming spiritually dead. A break in relationship with God is an interaction with darkness, an infilling with death. In this fallen world, when we cease to breath in life, we breath in death. I.e. when we walk in the flesh and not always in God’s presence, every second in communion with Him in Spiritual songs, thanks, talking or listening to Him, we damage our hearts, hindering our being more like Jesus. A break in fellowship with God, It’s like taking off one’s gas mask in a contaminated zone. Don’t wear yours only for an hour or less, but rather always, then you’ll have a healthy heart functioning to grow more. When we live by the flesh and not by the spirit, our hearts becomes like a room having a ventilator with more burning materials being burnt faster than it could ventilate. The devil draws his strength from death, ( the weaknesses and corruption of the flesh ) whenever we yield to satisfy the flesh. When we listen to the flesh, we live by the senses and in actuality feeding the evil one to gain more influences to suppress God’s spirit in us. Ask Peter and He’d tell you about how the flesh made him debt Jesus three times. And he’d tell you also, what Jesus said to him. “ But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” [ Matthew 26:52 ] Do not live by the flesh, or fight flesh with flesh, but rather; “ Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [ Matthew 26:41 ] Our common enemy “ satan,” feeds on death, i.e. when we live to replace the hunger of God’s spirit in our hearts with the satisfactions of the flesh. Anytime we’re bored, it’s simply our heart yearning for God’s presence, the flesh only interprets it as boredom, because we’re too full of flesh. There’s a void within us. Man’s heart is always and always open to receive either death or life, when we continue to sow to the flesh, we reap death, but when we sow to the spirit i.e. when we keep our hearts always in God’s presence we become filled always with God’s spirit dominating and renewing us more to be like God in every sense. It takes total reliance on God to neutralize the flesh and when the flesh is swallowed up by God’s spirit, the devil finds no space to interfere or hinder our relationship. We are like a building blocks, whenever we spend time with God our building increases. However, anytime we live to satisfy the flesh we decrease, we don’t remain stuck, it’s either high or low, there no neutral ground in things of the spirit. Time with the flesh, is a gradual removal of the blocks that has being laid, and how great is that destruction when we spend more of our time living in the flesh and the world rather than inviting God’s presence into our hearts. It’s the same reason many aren’t saved, it’s the same reason many Christians are too weak to stand for long or rather unwavering, and it is the same reason only a few are being called and being used as a tool in God’s master plan. This is hard to accept, but a Christian who is always constantly being filled with God can never open His mouth or think in his mind saying “I’m bored.” If you say you’re bored, know that you’re still more of flesh and less of God, because being filled with eternal life is being filled with eternal joy God, when we say “we’re bored,” then we should know we are too less of God and more of flesh, it’s a reflection death is fully at work in us than we supposed life is. “ For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. [ Galatians 6:8 ] I.e. He who sows to satisfy the flesh rather than God’s spirit, will reap destruction, destruction not to hell but a gradual destruction to his building, which can of course lead to hell when we’re hell bent on being disobedient. Life ( God’s word or His presence ) becomes our building blocks. And death, surely to destroy our building. A break in prayer, i.e. a break in fellowship with God in our heart, a break from being in the presence of life, is an invitation to the wrecker to wreck what has been built. Anytime we invite God’s presence into our hearts, it doesn’t matter if we’re born again of not, there’s always a building process on going, how much we choose to remain or maintain will determine the progress, either to salvation from sin or to restoration from death back to our original position and place In God. Man cannot do or desire the things of the spirit only God’s spirit in us can. It takes God’s word dominating our hearts to become filled with His spirit that hungers and stays always in His presence, by loving Him through prayers in; hymns, spiritual songs, acknowledgement, thanks, talking to or listening to God through His word, whatever it is. Here’s a little scriptural references; “ What should I do, then? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray also with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will sing Also with my mind.” [ 1Corinthians 14:15 ] “ So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in The faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” [ Colossians 2:6-7 ] “ Do not be drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the spirit. Speak to one another in psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs, sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [ Ephesians 5:18-20 ] “ Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” [ 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 ] When Jesus comes in our lives, He does so with the tendency of occupying our hearts with His spirit, making us a new creation. However, to know God, i.e. to be more of a Christian, being Christ-like, thinking, talking and acting more like Jesus, doing what Jesus do, we must live not after the flesh or see through the eyes of the flesh, but rather, only on God, because He came into our hearts to build in us restoration through life. The flesh sows in us “death,” which hinders or destroys our building of God. Don’t take bricks out rather, add more bricks. Death cannot conquer death, I mean; it takes Life to destroy the works death. Relying only on human wisdom, strength and ability will never bear good fruits, rather aggravates destruction. Because, reliance on the flesh in reality is; allowing death gain more influence or dominion over us. I mean, it is letting the devil have his way in our lives either to hinder our salvation or our relationship. The devil came for one thing and one thing only, to stand against God’s kingdom, i.e. to destroy God’s building, and we are that building. One thing we should know; God will always complete His building, even if we fail to live fully for Him, because there’ll always be that someone other than us He’ll use. Hey! The master took the one talent and gave to the one with ten. Going to hell is just a secondary plan of the devil, actually it is naturally the penalty of disobedience. The primary aim of the devil all alone has being against God’s kingdom, and since we’re God’s building, he’s there to always hinder our relationship by causing us to live only in the flesh rather than the spirit. Everyone born of God cannot sin, because God’s seed remains in him as said in the scriptures [ I John 3:9 ]. However, through doubts and the desire to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the devil uses to hinder our relationship with God. When we are born of God’s spirit, the flesh becomes the only channel through which the devil can talk to or gain access to us. It takes the infilling of the word to have the strength to resist satan, because he always comes to steal, kill and destroy. If he knows he cannot bring us to sin because of the power of God’s word keeping us bound, he’ll try to steal, and destroy God’s building blocks ( us ) gradually, by stirring us to satisfy the flesh, to live after the flesh and not God’s spirit. It’s the same reason I said; If a Christian can say or feel bored, then he should know he’s lacking in God, because by satisfying the flesh the, his building blocks are been stolen, thrown down, destroyed to become less and less of God, leaving only a foundation if possible. God’s speak from within our heart when we are born of Him, the devil can only speak through the flesh, our minds or what we feel emotionally, our senses. We only need to pay no attention, by giving God our attention. Our heart must be in constancy with God, that His word will become our thoughts and not ours becoming ours. The flesh is the only channel the devil can steal from a child of God, we only need not to listen to the flesh anymore. This is why we pray without ceasing, to keep our heart in tune always with God. We find it natural and comfortable to talk and listen to what the flesh has to say, we find it natural to satisfy the flesh and give God so little of our lives, because we’re still more of flesh and less of God. It takes the infilling of the holy spirit by allowing God’s word dominate us to actually allow His divine nature take hold of our hearts and live only by the Spirit. It can be tempting and so natural to talk to, listen to and also, satisfy the flesh always when we are still more of flesh and so little, less of God. Talk to Him ( God ) rather, have a conversation with Him, spent time with Him, invite Him in every little thing. He made you for a relationship. However, God’s word remains the basis, for without being immersed in His word by feeding on it; slowly, attentively and repeatedly, it’s impossible to be filled with the spirit of life which aids in our weaknesses to live in the spirit. To live in the spirit is to be always in tune with God. God is only awaiting us in a life time to move so He can move, He wants our relationship, but He needs us to move first. We only need move and ask Him to help us, before He does. Moving becomes our righteousness, His righteousness is to completes the rest, He only needs our genuine approval to silence the flesh and He will. The thorn in Apostle Paul’s flesh might have led him to depression, a discouraged servant if he gave into it by seeing only through the flesh. Rather, instead of talking about the problem, he lived by spirit by relying fully on God waiting for God’s perspective. And God said; “ And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” [ II Corinthians 12:9 ] Paul persevered, he completely relied and waited upon God’s time, His answer. Relying on God doesn’t necessarily disregard the presence of our weaknesses or mistakes, but rather, propels us more closer to God and makes us stronger. When God seems to delay, He does so only to strengthen, improve and renew us inwardly as a gold being refined. His answer becomes; “a gold of greater value.” “ In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” [ I Peter 1:6‭-‬7 ] What’s is that thorn in your flesh? It could be sin, doubts, a bad habit hindering your inward renewal to become more like Jesus, I don’t know! Whatever it is, rely only by resting always in God’s presence with a praying heart, loving Him and waiting on His answers. His answer is the rewriting of that thorn with the glory of a flower. “ My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” [ James 1:2‭-‬4 ] Deliverance is a complete erasure of everything that is not of God and replacing it all with God. Each day has enough trouble of its own, but the Lord is faithful and He has promised to see us through. “ Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” [ Matthew 6:34 ] Only if we let Him, that is. These thorns becomes what increases our love for God and our eternal weight of glory when we see them as a means to rely more on God, awaiting His answer. And His answer as said earlier is; an end to and recreating in us an eternal weight of glory. “ Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” [ II Corinthians 4:16‭-‬17 ] In this fallen world the evil one wastes no time after our hearts, we also ought to waste no time in communion with Jesus. Jesus promised never to allow any burden more than we can bear. In all things, acknowledge God, acting your Faith by faithfully waiting on God’s answer. His answers turn it all to a greater weight of glory, not only to live above, but for the salvation of others, because we, a reflection of Jesus, by our stripes others are healed, restored. For those who’re weak, still faltering or still sunken in death, Jesus is willing to restore and give you strength to walk with Him unwavering, all you need is; no longer hinder Him by doubting the delivery power and the strength of His word. He said to us in [ John 15:3 ] “ You’re already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” Don’t try to fix the situation by your righteousness, invite the one who does, that’s your righteousness. And He’ll take care of the rest. You only need say this prayer and maintain what you’ve received by relying only on His word and as you walk and live in His presence every moment of your life, by talking or listening to Him always in your heart and in obedience to His will. Let us pray; “ Lord Jesus, I believe and I accept you as Lord over my life, in Jesus’ name, Amen!” This prayer, “I believe, speaks over all doubts, be it sin or weaknesses, hindrances to our relationship with God, whatever it may be.
  35. 2 points
    To get to Heaven, you must follow the way of the cross. The highway to Heaven starts on this side of death and the entrance is very easy to find. Paul Apostle declared that the road to heaven is not difficult to find nor to access. It is right in your front, in the word of God. You need not fear where you are going when you know Jesus is going with you. Death is not a period; it is only a comma, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Any day, even today, may be our final day on earth. We need to be sure that we are ready to depart. If we are prepared to die, we are prepared to live. Whether you are young or old, what matters is the grace to continue living hereafter. A man may die young get be satisfied with living, but a wicked man is not satisfied even with long life. T.B. Joshua
  36. 2 points
    Whatever is your gift, that is what God will use to bless others through you. Works of charity and righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus complements each other to get us a place in God's kingdom. Works of charity alone, only helps to measure our level of kindness. We make a living by what we get and we make a life by what we give, because turning the other way when your fellow brother is in pain, in trouble, is equally rejecting Christ Himself. You begin to succeed with your life when other people's trouble, pain, begins to matter to you. This is the surest way to reactivate your love, by showing more love and Faith to the society of which we are a part. You're a part, I am a part, may God bless His words in your hearts, in Jesus name. Thank you lord. Apostle John Chi
  37. 2 points
    Acts 6:1-15 Giving Up = Getting Full I know that I have plenty of chances to share my faith - but I always clam up. I feel ashamed for some reason. Maybe it’s because I haven’t yielded all areas of my life to the Lord yet, and I know it. And I know that is what is holding me back! Even when I had the special privilege of teaching and sharing the Word, I still hadn’t yielded all areas of my life to the Lord. That is what I am seeing here in this passage. Stephen was full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). I am guessing that he was able to fully surrender to God, that is why he was able to be “Full of God.” Everything that I do is a witness. Every word that I speak, every move that I make. When we say we are following Christ, it really should look like we are following Christ. I know a lot of times, I’m sure people around me think I am definitely not following Christ. The people around Stephen knew that he was following Christ. What would those around you say about you? Our witness doesn’t just happen when we are around other Christians. It should happen when we’re not around other Christians. I’m just saying there have been times that I have been at church or an event and have been on FIRE sharing Christ. Then when I’m out anywhere else just in this old ordinary world, I’m just regular old Chris that looks just like the regular old world! I see what I need to change in my life, and I hope that maybe you see what needs to change in your life as well! Is there anything in your life that you are unable to lay down that is holding you back from God? Be Encouraged, Chris
  38. 2 points
    I was staring at the website. I was disappointed, hurt, and even pride showed up. Being a writer can have its ups and downs. I felt like this was a confusing down that I was experiencing. I had submitted a piece to an editor. I thought the interaction between us had gone very well. I was happy with the content that was written and it was submitted. Writing takes time from when it is submitted to when it is actually published in print, or on the screen. I knew this and was familiar with the process. It had been months and I had no communication with the editor. I knew this was the time frame they were going to publish. I decided to go to the website. That is when I saw an article. The article was displaying some other writers words and as I searched, my name was missing. That is why I was disappointed. I was hoping to be published with this site. I had been encouraged and thought I would be. Then I became hurt. How could they not think I was a good writer. I began to take it personal instead of examining other possibilities. The last emotion to show up was pride. I had read some of the information and thought. What I submitted was better than that. As I sat there with these emotions and thoughts swirling in my head, I felt like I was going to take a road of sulking and self pity. Then I stopped. The Holy Spirit seemed to stop me. I said a prayer. "Lord I don't know what has happened. I don't understand it. I know you did not want me published on this site. I surrender it all to you, with my emotions." Lord I trust you with how you will use my writing." Instead of a bucket of yucky feelings swiring in my spirit, I had a transformation. I felt peace. I could focus on the Lord, and I could move on to what God wanted me to focus on. I have not always responded with my focus on the Lord, but I was grateful that this time I had. Time passed and then, it was a busy Monday with lots of communication to respond to. I quickly opened the email, being prepared to trash the correspondence. I completely changed that idea as I began to read. It seems that the editor had written back and I was published in an article. What happened? The first article was part of two articles. The first one was just the warm up let's say. The one where I was published was for the top writing. God had told me no. I did not understand. What He knew was that no meant yes for something better. We have heard that before. A no, can be praise worthy because it means yes to something better. People have told us this at times of difficulty. Someone was not telling me this, I was living this. God is telling you no. You want to have a pity party. This is a no that can be praised. This is God telling you, that there is something better! Surrender your heart and pray for God to help you with the Holy Spirit. You will be amazed at what God can do with that prayer. Hebrews 11:40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
  39. 2 points
    "This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again" (Genesis 13:4). Abraham's faith was strong because Abraham had a strong prayer life! Prayer is direct conversation and communion with God, whether vocal or silent, planned or spontaneous, individual or corporate. "Prayer, according to Scripture, is conversation directed to God that, like human conversation, may take many different forms. It may come as an expression of desire or appeal, of sorrow or apology, of love or admiration, of gratitude or appreciation, of dissatisfaction or frustration - or of hopes and joys, fears and doubts, questions and curiosities. All these forms of communication can be broadly grouped under three major conversational categories: 1. Entreaty (or request), 2. Esteem (or worship), 3. Fellowship (or communion). In Scripture, prayer may take any or all of these forms" (Ward, M., Parks, J., Ellis, B., & Hains, T. (Eds.). (2018). Lexham Survey of Theology. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. Genesis 4:25-26 is the first reference in Scripture to prayer. It says, "Men began to call on the name of the Lord." The same language "calling on the name of the Lord," is used by Abraham in Genesis 13:4). When I read the remainder of chapter 13 with this knowledge it definitely painted a better picture for me. Verse 8, Abram was easily able to let Lot choose what he wanted because Abram was waiting for God to deliver to him. Lot chose the best of the best that there was. It looked good anyways. But we find out later on how destructive that decision was. We have got to have a strong prayer life if we are going to have strong faith. I am ashamed to say it, but my prayer life definitely lacks what it should be. It should be like oxygen to my lungs, but it is more like a cheat meal when you're on a strict diet - a couple times a week maybe even once a week. Abram's faith reminds and encourages me that I, just like him, need to draw closer to God. Sometimes I ask God to show me certain things. "Explain these things to me God!" But now I feel like if He did that, and I did understand everything, then I really wouldn't need much faith would I ... What does your prayer life look like? How has prayer affected your faith? Be Encouraged, Chris
  40. 2 points
    Genesis Chapter 8 The Rain is over "But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped" (Genesis 8:1-2). I was living in the projects, barely getting by mowing lawns and doing little landscaping jobs, and I had just enrolled into Bible college at Grace Christian University. If you think about it, my situation kind of reminds you of Noah’s. I had no money but yet I was taking on a $16,000 journey. Noah had a big giant boat he built out in a field with no water around! I was just trusting God as was Noah, and it all worked out. If I would have constantly thought about it and let the negative side of the debt amongst other things rule my mind, I would have never listened to God. Noah would have probably done the same. It is definitely comforting to know that when we obey God, he will not forget about us. He will stand by us until his plans for us are complete! We definitely see that with Noah, and I have seen that in my own life. How have you experienced this? I would love to hear ... "After another 40 days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat and released a raven. The bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. He waited another 7 days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back" (Genesis 8:6-12). I decided that I was going to paint the wheels that I have on my Cobalt. I took the wheels off, taped around the tire, and away I went spraying them. The directions said to let them sit for 4 hours to dry. I think I waited 30 minutes or so to put them back on the car. I drove out town a little while later to pick up some things. When I returned home, I noticed that the paint had run marks in it, and there were little pieces of gravel and dirt stuck in the paint. So, I learned a lesson about patience right there. If I would have just followed the directions, I would have been fine. After being in this boat as long as Noah was (a whole year), I would have been extremely anxious to get out of there. But he demonstrates an insane amount of patience and an awesome display of obedience to waiting on God. That is a valuable lesson for us - We must trust God and be patient during the difficult and stressful time that waiting brings us! I have been praying for a career opportunity for a while now. To be a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist. I talked to the coordinator, and I didn't make the training the last time because of my 3rd shift job. She thought it would interfere with the day hours of the training. I didn't get impatient, I just continued to pray about it, and I am still going to do just that and wait for God's timing. In verse 11 the dove returned with a FRESH olive leaf in its beak and then Noah KNEW that the floodwaters were almost gone. I don't know too much about Olive Trees so I looked into it a little bit to get an understanding of how the ancients would have understood this text. Olive trees are apparently extremely difficult to kill, kind of like the pain you experience when you are fixing to hit 40 (me :) not only that, but they don't mind growing in a pile of rocks with a little soil, and they do not grow in high elevations. So, with that being said, Noah would have known that it was almost time for him to get outta that boat. But his patience remained strong. Rebecca Van Noord makes a life impacting statement here: "Delayed gratification is a foreign concept to our natural instincts. Our culture doesn't encourage patience or contentment; we would prefer to have our desires met the moment they arise. It doesn't feel natural to wait and anticipate, but in many ways, staying faithful and being hopeful characterizes our faith. Waiting doesn't mean we're not bold or risk-takers. It means we're faithful to God - we're waiting for things to happen in His time. We know God has something planned for us that is beyond our expectations." Be Encouraged, Chris
  41. 2 points
    Cain and Abel I seem to be intrigued by this passage this morning. Adam and Eve had a child, Cain. Later on, they had another; Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd while Cain cultivated the ground. Look closely at this verse! The 1st born Cain worked the soil, and his little brother became a shepherd. Remember in the last chapter, Genesis 3, what part of that curse was? Adam used to work the soil and it was great. But now, it would become hard. It would produce thorns and thistles and be a major pain! But little brother was living it up. Genesis 1:28 says, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground." So Abel seems to be lined up with man's original purpose to have dominion over life because he kept flocks, and Cain seems to be getting the short end of the stick. It is quite possible that Cain is a little envious of his little brother. "When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift - the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift. But he did not accept Cain and his gift" (Genesis 4:2-5). Hebrews 11:6 says, "It is impossible to please God without faith." I believe that Abel went out of his way to please God and his offering came genuinely from his heart. His actions were righteous. Cain's on the other hand - E.V.I.L. 1 John 3:12 says, "We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous." Cain could have tried to make it right with God, but his response showed his lack of faith. He became very angry, sad, and depressed. Abel's sacrifice was a blood sacrifice. I know this. Cain's was not. But I do believe that has nothing to do with the point being casted here! Proverbs 21:27 says, "The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives." God gave him a chance to fix things. God gave Cain simple advice that was this - It was that if Cain would please God by doing what is right, all would be well. But if not, sin would be ready to overcome him. Cain was filled with envy and he could have overcome it by doing what was right, but instead he sat and let it burn and grow and his anger got stronger and stronger until he acted on it. He killed his brother. God gave him a chance and tried to talk him out of his sin. The devil talked Eve in to her sin, and God tried to talk Cain out of his.He didn’t listen, so here come the consequences - his punishment was to be out of the presence of God! And Cain says to God, "That is too much. That is too severe God. You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me." God still shows mercy to him and promises him that he will mark him in some way that no one will attempt to kill him or they shall be cursed. So Cain is on his way. He left the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. But we see that he yet once again defiles God. He was told he would be a wanderer but yet settled in a city. This is just the very beginning of a rebellious generation to come! Reading this story this morning, I am reminded of how sinful I am. No matter the amount of offerings I bring to God, it will achieve nothing if I have not faith! Abel's faith is what made him righteous and it was accepted by God. God was very pleased with Jesus Christ's sacrifice and offering on the cross for our sins and it is by our faith in Him that we are righteous before God. No other way. Be Encouraged, Chris
  42. 2 points
    Guilt "When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees" (Genesis 3:8). We have all experienced what Adam and Eve just experienced in this passage. We have all felt ashamed when we have done wrong and we ourselves have tried to hide. I have done people wrong a number of times and have tried to avoid them. I won't answer their calls, I won't open the door if they come and knock, and if I see them out, I will turn my head and pretend as if I didn't see them. That was the old me anyways. I now try to face the consequences of my wrongs and make them right. It isn’t right to play with people's feelings. See this is interesting. Even before I knew Christ, I still knew right from wrong. I knew when I wronged someone because I had the feeling of guilt. It just sits with you uneasily and drags you down. With me, it caused a feeling of anxiousness , stress, and anger. A mental cocktail that raised my blood pressure and soon, it overflowed into an angry outrage on some undeserving individual. I would become angry at other people because I was dealing with undealt guilt. 90% of the time we want to blame others for our guilt and sometimes we even try to blame God just like Adam and Eve did. Adam said, "Well, if you hadn't given me this woman, this would have never happened." And Eve said, "Well, it was the serpent's fault - he tricked me." When we know we are wrong and we accept and own what we have done and show general remorse - the outcome has a quite different effect. Remorse leads to genuine repentance. It seems that we could never recover from this horrible tragedy that took place on that day. Sin brings a violent hurricane along with it that impacts everything and everyone through its path. Life was changed that day for everyone. The consequences of sin became a living reality for everyone. Verses 14 - 24 further explain what had to be done because of disobedience. Everything that Adam did wrong that caused separation from God, Jesus did right and restored it! That is why we now can have a relationship with God! Jesus Christ is the 2nd Adam who became that curse in verses 14 through 24. Jesus Christ is the one who sweat great and mighty drops of blood in bitter agony. Jesus Christ wore the thorns on His head, and was hanged on a tree, until he breathed in last - and then he was placed in the dusty dust of death! Because of Jesus Christ, when we experience this guilt, we don't have to be completely separated from God. We can recognize what we've done, ask forgiveness, trust in what Jesus Christ has done, and be united with God - Amen! Be Encouraged, Chris
  43. 2 points
  44. 2 points
    Ephesians 6:12 - 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. KJV Jul. 2, 2020 Jeremiah 17:9...The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it. KJV Last month, The Holy Spirit dropped the word Righteous in my Spirit. I asked Him what is it you want me say about “Righteous”? He told me to look at what is going on in my peoples heart, it is disturbing because too many are falling away from my moral right. Choosing to instead to follow the crowd. I asked Him about the message for this month, He led me to the 17th chapter of Jeremiah which deals with two kinds of people...the wicked and the righteous. Jeremiah was warning the people about their sin even though they had the Law, prophets of God and history filled with God’s miracles. Just like us today. He said in verse 9...the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. When the Bible speaks of the heart, it is not talking about the one that pumps blood through our body...It is our mind. It is amazing how we allow our minds to consider everything contrary to God’s Word. Sin is what the Bible calls it and that is exactly what it is. The comparison between the wicked and righteous begins in verse 5...Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusts in man and not Me. We know the evil in man goes back to Genesis and by the time we get to Genesis Chapter 6 verse 5 we find out what God's penalty will be...And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6...And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7...And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repent me that I have made them. The stain of man’s evil was so devastating to God that everything paid for it. The animals, birds and beasts ...everything God said was good when He created it, paid the price of death and they had nothing to do with man’s evil. There was however redemption and it is in verse 8....But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was not perfect but verse 9 say’s...he was a just man and he walked with God. Biblically, the contrast between the Righteous and wickedness can be found primarily in Proverbs. The Righteous are hopeful., the wicked are fearful Proverbs 10:24...The Righteous are concerned about the welfare of God’s creation, the wicked’s kindness is cruel, Proverbs 12:10. The righteous are showered with blessings, the wicked are covered in violence Proverbs 10:8. The Righteous understand justice, the wicked do not, Proverbs 28:5. The Righteous seek out the honest, the wicked hate the honest...Proverbs 29:10...The Righteous care for the poor, the wicked are unconcerned about the poor...Proverbs 29:7...The Righteous are bold as lions, the wicked fear constantly...Proverbs 28:1...The Righteous are protected by God, the wicked are destroyed by God...Proverbs 10:29...The Righteous have a refuge when they die, the wicked are crushed by their sins...Proverbs 14:32… Man will trust in other men, military, business and other entities he created, for their success as they see it but the Righteous have faith in God. They are called the underdogs, the ones struggling to get by, the ones who are crazy with this faith in God thing but in reality they have the peace that surpasses all understanding which is only found in God. God has stopped the world with Covid 19 yet many want to diminish it’s severity in peoples lives. The evidence of God’s hand in this is the fact the atmosphere has been cleansed, the land has been restored, the waters are cleaner, families have spent more time together and those who recognize God’s work have given Him their Praise and Worship. Gas was under $1.00 per gallon and we had nowhere to go. Then He sent a dust cloud formed in the African desert, across the oceans taking the same path hurricanes do that has hit the United States creating a breathing issue. Most recently flooding in the south and many still refuse to recognize Him sending His message to us. It is amazing to me that due to the death of George Floyd, not only have the Righteous in America taken a stand against evil but people from all over the world are standing with those marching and not one person has contracted or been affected by the virus. We have seen the huge throng of people but they have had Divine Protection. There will be a price to pay, we will reap what we sow...Galations 6:7-9... Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8...For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9...And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10... As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. In the final analysis the questions will be...Whose side will you be on? Mark 2:17 - When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Paul wrote in in his letter to the Philippians Chapter 1:9...And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10...That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11...Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. The Apostle John, The Beloved Disciple whom Jesus loved wrote in 1st John 2:1 & 2...My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2...And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. My brothers and sisters. I will be praying for your strength and determination to follow God's call to righteousness...though it may be difficult, walk away from the crowd who chooses not believe. Thank You Lord for Your Word.
  45. 2 points
    My life is just a pile of ashes Blown away in the wind every single day My life is just a big old pile of ashes Nothing ever seems to change! Until one day I met You You took the ashes and made something new You created new life within me And now my life is to serve you! My life is just a pile of ashes Molded and shaped and created new My life is forever changed By your Love, Mercy, and Grace Lord forever you I praise!
  46. 2 points
    In the spring of 1985, I found myself at the doorstep of mom’s house. She was expecting me, but unprepared for the shock of her life. I had called to inform her that I was coming back home. I hopped into my car and drove the four and half hour trip. I was a physical wreck for it took every bit of strength I could muster up to complete the journey. I had the shakes and a severe hangover from the previous night. I cannot remember the last time I had taken a sober breath. I pulled into the childhood driveway, threw the transmission into park, and walked up to the front door. With my right hand, I reached for the doorknob, twisted it, and walk through the threshold. I was embraced with a loving hug followed by sobbing. The tears falling down the cheeks of her face were not joyful but terror. She did not recognize her youngest son because she remembered her boy being full of life. Bewilderment radiated through her expression, and she was devastated. I was one hundred and ten pounds and the skin on my face was sunken inward, giving the appearance of a sick and frail young man. I was speechless, hopeless, and desperate. I was only away from home for three years. I never thought it would end up like this. I was full of ambition, ready to take life by the horns. I had visions of prestige by planning to make a name for myself. I had a lot of good intentions. These should have been achievable goals, but the demons inside myself stripped away anything worthwhile. I was baffled, ashamed, and did not know where to turn. My parents agreed to provide me a place to stay under the condition I would seek help. I was willing and took them up on their offer. Mom knew of a counselor who specialized in alcohol addiction. So I contacted him. After the first face to face session with Mr. Barfield and just before leaving his office, he handed me a flyer with a list of twelve-step programs. He highly suggested I start attending meetings. I decided to choose one and did not know what to expect from the twelve-step program. I was scared. I cannot recall the topic at my first meeting. I continued attending and began to identify with the medical description of alcoholism. The way they laid it out made perfect sense because for the first time concerning my drunkenness there was a logical explanation. It spoke volumes, and as I looked back at the past, there was concrete evidence staring me between the eyes. Then came their hook, line, and sinker that would be the only solution to my predicament. God! That presented me with a major stumbling block because I was agnostic. There could be no God in this world riddled with evilness. I was highly offended by their seemingly shallow outlook. How could God do anything for me? Well, they said to me, just hang in there a little longer. Don’t give up before the miracle happens is a frequent slogan. Things did change. God began to work on me, and I gradually found faith. As a result, from seeking God a transformation began taking root, and I learned a lot about how He works. I came to understand that through trusting Him everything will be taken care of regardless of the current situation. The power I received from His strength allowed me to make amends for my wrongdoings as well as healing my heart. Even though I found the effect of God, I failed to maintain it and became complacent. I was content with the way my spiritual life was and started to slack off in my devotion. I did not realize the danger this type of view would bring. This blindness cost me dearly and after eighteen years of sobriety, I got drunk. I remember the moment I started using alcohol again was not wise. Everything God had done for me was tossed aside because I decided to get drunk. The insanity of alcoholism returned with a fury taking me places of degradation. I was in the grip of wickedness unlike any I had known. I was dying a slow and miserable death. God did not give up on me and continued calling me back. I finally heard Him after eight years of misery. He opened His arms, and I embraced Him. God picked up where He had left off and quickly showed me the light at the end of the tunnel. As I walked down God’s tunnel, He delivered me to His Son Jesus Christ and into salvation. I now know the Light at the end of God’s tunnel is Heaven.
  47. 2 points
    The real good in any ministry is in the measure in which it feeds the heart with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the sun to give to give light and warmth, and the greater the extent of surface presented to Him the more He confers. There is more capacity to receive, which is increased as the heart is occupied with Him. The heart is first won, and this deepens as it learns His love “in His humiliation” (Act 8:33; Phl 2:8, 9). He “loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Secondly, the heart is satisfied because united to Him, and in association with Him where He is in His glorification (Jhn 12:16). The heart captivated by and object could not be at rest until it was united to the One who had won it, and for satisfaction the heart must be where He is. Love really cannot think of anything until it is quite sure of its object; then when at rest about itself, it studies the mind and heart of that object. The first desire of a true heart, as with the women in Luke 7:37-50, is to seek the presence of the Savior, to be in personal nearness to Him. With the bride in Canticles, whenever He is present, all is bright—but there is no satisfaction. There is true affection, and often deep delight, but there is no satisfaction until the heart is in assured union and association with its Object (knowing permanency in Christ allows for confident and persistent satisfaction, and nothing else will do—NC). Thirdly, after satisfaction comes an entirely new occupation. All before related chiefly to oneself. The heart is won, and the heart is satisfied; now the occupation will be studying Him—seeking to be suitable to Him. One may try to be suitable to Him in order to satisfy one’s own heart, but then there is a legality about the effort, and it bears the mark of seeking to make oneself the object rather than Him (if first motive is pleasing Him, esp. with enduring difficulties, all aligns properly for growth—NC). Now after my heart is satisfied, I sit down before the Lord and study Him, and from that study I grow (now, all is only a matter of growth in the “image of Christ” in our walk—NC). “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2Co 3:18). All the previous gains of the heart are increased by each new one; that is, I am more won by the Lord Jesus as I am satisfied by Him, and I am more won and satisfied as I fellowship with Him. I continue in His sanctification and company. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself” (Jhn 17:19). As I am sanctified I am ornamented, and it is the adorned one that is properly qualified to be the serving one. “That they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior, in all things” (Titus 2:10). The serving one deepens in all the preceding gains. He is more won, more satisfied, more suitable as he is more serving. I do not come to the Lord Jesus as to my fellow, attracting Him by something in me—I have nothing (from self—NC) to bring Him, and He won me when I was in the most unattractive state. Hence I must be well assured of the constancy of His heart for me, and of my association with Him, which far removed me from the depth of misery I was in, before I can think whether I could be anything or could to anything to please Him, for I have nothing of myself, and it is only in His company that I “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2Pe 3:18). - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for September 10: We receive life by reliance upon the Savior; we grow in that life by reliance upon the Spirit. "Many think that because of faith they are cleared of everything before God through the Cross, and therefore by faith they are clear of everything in themselves. But that is the error of ‘holiness by faith.’ The objective (position) is that we are clear before the Father; the subjective (condition) is that we are cleared from ourselves by the growth ministry of the Holy Spirit." "As you by faith in the positional facts realize that you are in the Father’s presence, you will not try to depend upon any sense of His presence. You know His presence because you know that your position in the Christian life is a life of faith in the facts—nothing else. That the Father forces you to live by faith so as to draw you into His presence—not you, by sense, trying to draw Him into yours." - Miles J Stanford
  48. 2 points
    My soul doth wait on You My heart quickens to Your word My mind gulps Your endless rivers of knowledge My body trembles at my infinite faults in the face of Your glory May I call upon Your name May I beg Your Mercy What right can I claim to You I give You my heart willingly I possess nothing else to offer I am but a weakend vessel, spilling out from pierced sides Even in the darkness, I can hear the echoing of Your name In death, You breathe In me
  49. 2 points
    While the world sleeps He can hear the weeps Of the suffering, crying at His feet As He carries their burden of defeat Comforting those who have been made weak From the brutalities of this world and the things we seek For the lost and destined souls There's hope for those He knows'
  50. 2 points
    The Promise Anna sat in the temple entrance; shady now: the huge stone slab that supported her aching back still held the heat of the day. The warmth helped to ease the troubling pain in her stooped frame. She liked this time of day. Late afternoon, when the sapping heat of the day had given way to lengthening shadows, for Anna was ancient, tired, and spent, with only a fragile wisp of life left within her. As Anna sat watching the occasional people still mounting and descending the wide stone steps leading to the temple, she mulled over her readings for the day, taken from the Torah of Micha. Micah 5:2* – “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” Anna revered the ancient history and the story of deliverance that God had wrought for her people. She believed the promises written on sacred scrolls by men of God who had heard God’s voice and had applied quill to parchment. For God had kept his word. He had taken the Israelite’s from the bondage of slavery in Egypt and He had brought them safely to a home land of their own; hadn’t Anna’s life in this land been a fulfillment of that promise? These very walls that Anna leaned against had been built, destroyed and rebuilt, each time with numerous men of God foretelling what would happen next. God’s promises had been fulfilled. Anna laid her head back, mumbling “Bethlehem, Bethlehem,” to herself, like the old are sometimes apt to do when some cloudy thought trails within their muddled heads, unravelling like yarn, knotted with age. It was true that her life hadn’t been easy. Only married for seven happy years, and then a widow for let’s see, Anna examined the worn flag stone entrance, polished smooth from the tread of countless sandals, while she counted in her head: 84 years, yes, 84 years she had spent living in the temple. Married instead to God, her Lord, at least that’s how Anna liked to think of it. Never leaving the temple complex, Anna had found a quiet joy and fulfillment in praying, fasting and listening. For God still spoke; of that, Anna was certain. Anna’s thoughts trailed on; this time to the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah, had lived around the time of Micha, almost 800 years hence, and he had echoed Micha’s words telling of a child who would be born. Isaiah 9:6-7* – “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!” Some might say 800 years was too long a time to wait for the fulfilment of a promise. For the past 400 years God had been silent. Not a word had He spoken through his prophets or Godly men. Yet, in Ann’s ancient heart, in the inner most chambers of her being God had indeed spoken of a Saviour who would come in the Royal lineage of King David, to reign, and to save his People, Israel. From the base of the steps Anna glimpsed, Simeon, weaving his way through the people to ascend haltingly, his left leg visibly paining him. Now and then he’d stop and view the remaining steps. “Back again, Simeon? And so soon,” Anna said, chuckling, “you’ll soon be residing at the temple like me, for didn’t you just leave less than half the hour hence?” Simeon, dear Simeon, what a good friend he was to Anna. Often running errands for her, making sure she didn’t go without, even though he himself was getting on in years. He, who had been so sick this past winter. She’d thought he was lost to her then. He stood before her now, panting through the thickness of his brown beard that fell to his chest. “Ah, yes Anna, it’s true, but I was still some measure from home before I felt the stirring to return. Why now, I am not sure, but here I am, for when God calls I listen.” Simeon’s lips curled upwards with a warm smile that Anna knew so well. His serene countenance glowed down at Anna, who with watery eyes, almost hidden between deep furrows of skin, nodded back. They were both familiar with the promptings of God. Once, many years ago now, Simeon had confided in Anna. He had assured her with the boundless expectation of youth that God had spoken to him, assuring him, Simeon; that he would not depart from this life without a glimpse of the promised Messiah. Anna had basked in Simeon’s secret with joy, knowing that the reaction of others would have been doubtful at best. Why was Simeon so special to think that after 800 years of waiting, God would fulfill an ancient promise, they would have certainly inquired? Simeon and Anna would have had no answers. But this one thing they both shared: they’d been looking, they’d been waiting, and they’d been expecting; 800 years or not. “Well, whatever the time of day, I’m always glad,”……Anna’s words trailed off as her countenance shifted from Simeon to a spot on the steps behind him. There below, a young couple climbed the steps, he with two turtle doves in a wicker cage clasping a shepherd’s crook in one hand, with the other hand resting on the small of her back. And her? a very young woman, not much more than a girl, with a baby cradled in both arms. Ah, said Anna, a firstborn son, and the young parents, here to present him to the Lord according to the Law of Moses. But Simeon wasn’t listening. He stood intently, watching. “Careful. Mary, mind your step,” the man said, passing Anna and Simeon. The young couple stepped into the shadows of the temple entrance. Simon turned his gaze back to Anna. A speechless look of wonder and expectancy glimmered across his face. Simon, turned into the temple and watched as the priest carried out the ancient familiar rituals passed down from Moses: the offering of two turtle doves, the dedication of the firstborn baby to the Lord. With the presentation before the lord complete the couple turned from the priest. Simeon was already striding purposefully towards them. “May I?” Simeon whispered, stretching his aged arms towards the woman. The mother glanced up at her husband who nodded his consent. Simeon took the bundle tenderly and laid the baby in the crook of his arm. Moving the rough hempen cloth aside he gazed into the watchful brown eyes of an eight-day-old baby. A wisp of dark hair curled on his forehead. The baby lie contently secure in his embrace. And in that moment, Simeon loved him, as pure and as completely as if this child had been born from his own body. Lifting his eyes and the baby heavenward, Simeon’s gravelly voice cut through the stillness: “Now dear God, Now, your servant can depart in peace for as you promised, I have seen the redeemer of Israel with my own eyes. He is your light of revelation for all peoples and the glory to your People, Israel.” The parents exchanged a glance of surprised wonder. As Simeon reluctantly handed the baby back he asked: “What is your name, dear woman?” “Mary, and this is my husband, Joseph. Simeon placed a hand on the shoulder of Joseph and the other he laid on Mary’s arm, then, drawing them into the circle of his presence he blessed them saying, “May the God of Israel; the God of heaven and earth be with you as you raise this little one, for he is no ordinary child. Your son, is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign to all those who are oppressed, and Mary, Simeon added, my dear Mary, your own soul will be pierced through with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Anna appeared, shuffling forward, calling to those in the temple, “come everyone, come,” she beckoned, “and see this child.” Anna strained forward to see the baby’s face. “What is his name,” she asked, tracing a gnarled finger across his soft baby cheek. “Jesus, Mary said, simply.” Then Ana lifted her shaky arms heavenward and cried aloud saying look upon this child, you people who have come to the temple this day, for God has intended that you meet with him here in the presence of this, his most holy child: his own son, Jesus. All those that gathered were amazed at her words, for she was respected by many, but it was Mary and Joseph who marvelled the most. As they turned to go, Simeon and Anna stood watching them. Anna suddenly jumped and calling after Joseph, she cried, “So your trade is a shepherd then, young man, and from where do you come? “No mother,” Joseph replied turning once more to smile at Anna. My trade is that of a carpenter, from Nazareth. Joseph continued on, taking just a few more steps before halting once more, as if, with an afterthought, he turned again to Anna saying: This staff was a gift from the shepherds on the hills of Bethlehem, who came to greet our newborn son. Ah, yes, replied Anna, nodding and mumbling to herself, as her teary eyes glowed with a renewed flame of love. “Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Bethlehem!”
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