Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy Monday

How Much Are You Worth?

By Asher Intrater

A friend used to buy old jalopies and fix them up. He would essentially rebuild them from the inside out. Then he would resell them for a profit as restored, antique cars. Once, an old car was brought in and I asked him how much it was worth.

He replied, "You don't understand. This car isn't worth anything. It’s a piece of junk. The value is all inside my imagination, my creativity and skills. I can make something out of it that is beautiful, stylish and worth money."

So it is with us and God. Without His creativity we are without worth. It takes humility to understand that. In His love, He sees potential in us that He can make something beautiful and worthwhile out of our lives. That takes faith. We have to believe in Him and let Him do His work in us.

How much are you worth?
Yeshua said, comparing us to the animals:
Matthew 6:26 - Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 10:31 - You are more precious than many sparrows.
Matthew 12:12 - You are a lot more valuable than a sheep!

On our own, we may be just a pile of junk. But with God's grace in our lives, we become a masterpiece of His craftsmanship (Ephesians 2:10), just a little lower than God Himself (Psalm 8:4-6). Many psychological problems stem from a lack of self-worth. In Yeshua, we regain the image of God in our lives, and problems of self-worth disappear.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Happy Sunday

Hide and Seek
By Micca Campbell
"But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)

During my childhood, one of my most memorable times was during the long, hot days of summer. Each evening, the neighborhood kids and I went outside after dinner for one last game. At dusk, we would meet at the dead-end street to play "Hide and Seek."

This was a very serious game. The goal was to hide from your seeker until it was safe to run for home base without being seen and tagged out. That is why we played under the cover of twilight. The darkness kept you concealed as you dashed from object to object until you finally made it to home base - unseen and untagged by the pursuer.

I especially loved the memories of when I was young enough to still enjoy the game, but old enough to know how to keep from being found.

It was my dad who first introduced me to Hide and Seek. Although, my father and I played the game with different rules.
When Dad hid, he would leave clues on purpose so I could find him. Sometimes, I would spy his wiggling toes sticking out from under the living room curtains. Others times, I noticed a lampshade sitting atop a very large stand in the shape of his body. Or I'd hear noises coming from behind the couch.

For my dad and me, the game was not about staying hidden. It was about developing our relationship.

Our reunion brought joy and laughter. Mostly, it taught me that whenever I needed my dad, he could always be found.

The same is true with our heavenly Father. He is not playing a game of chance - that we may or may not find Him. No. God wants to be found, and He leaves clues about His presence everywhere we look.

Today's key verse assures us that we will find God if we seek Him with our heart and soul. "But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut. 4:29)

When do we seek Him? God's Word tells us to seek Him while He can be found. We should seek God immediately.
How do we seek Him? With diligence, through prayer, in His Word, and with our whole hearts.

He will be found in the beauty of creation and within the pages of His Word. As we seek God, we will discover His will, His plans, and His blessings in new found strength as we face adversity, and in the comfort of His presence as we communicate with Him in prayer.

God isn't playing Hide and Seek with us. He longs to be found by those who earnestly seek Him. The Lord is ready and waiting to reveal Himself to you in such wonderful ways that it will leave you longing for more. It's an adventure you don't want to miss. Ready, set, seek!

Dear Lord, I long to see You in my daily life. Reveal Yourself to me as I seek in times of sorrow and in times of joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Happy Saturday

Let Go!
 "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." Hebrews 12:1. NIV
   I was driving along a country lane recently when I came across a bird of prey in the middle of the road, feasting on the remains of a dead rabbit. The bird tried to fly out of danger with the rabbit in its talons, but it was not able to take off quickly enough while carrying such a weight. It was obviously very reluctant to leave its meal behind, but finally, with my car nearly upon it, it abandoned the dead rabbit and flew off out of danger.

   It made me think of how often we put ourselves at risk because we’re reluctant to let go of the things our carnal nature wants to hang on to. Romans 8:13 tells us: ‘If you live by the carnal nature you will die.’ The bird nearly lost its life because it wouldn’t let go. When we hold on to the things our flesh desires, which may be besetting sins, worldly pleasures and greed or lust of any kind, we can separate ourselves from God and the blessings that He has for us. We may also put ourselves in danger as we open ourselves up to the enemy to have a foothold in our lives.

    Are you holding on to anything today that is jeopardising your walk with God? Is there something that God has been asking you to let go of? Let’s resolve to do as the writer of Hebrews urges, and ‘throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.’ 

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for holding on to things that hinder my walk with You. Help me to let go of everything that is holding me back from fullness of life in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Today's Writer : Jilly Lyon Taylor

Editor's Note:
What is hindering your walk with JESUS??? 

What is keeping you from submitting 100%???

You may be in the church every time the door opens, but still be missing that life changing walk with JESUS...

You may have walked the aisle as a youth, but memories of the past keep you and your family from church...

You Feel Out Of Touch... 

You no longer feel GOD'S Presence... Guess What??? GOD Didn't move...

You claim to be a Christian, but there is still a void within...

MAYBE, you base your Salvation on JESUS + What you can do to be saved... After all, this is what you were taught as a child... If this is the case, then you have watered down what JESUS did when HE died on the cross...

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.   (KJV)

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
9  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

BUT You are saying, "GOD, I appreciate you sending JESUS to die for me on the cross, but I feel that this was just not enough and for me to really be saved, then I must do (fill in the blanks) _______, _______ and _______... Then???

I based my Salvation on my belief in JESUS, The Risen Savior, that HE was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and died on the cross and took on all my sins, paying the price for once and always, but died on the cross for the Billions that will never accept HIM... After Crucifixation, HE rose from the grave three (3) days later, something no other god(s) of this world can claim... Other than accept JESUS as My One and Only Savior there is absolutely nothing else I can do to save myself... HE DID IT ALL...

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Broad is the path that the LOST of the World walk... Oblivious of the fate that waits for them with their finally breath... There are Millions that CLAIM to be a Christian, but believe the LIES of the False Teachers that sprinkled with a little truth adds a sense of reality to the lies that guide them away from the extremely narrow path of True Salvation... They never realize or question the path they walk, they have believed the lies so long that it is no longer necessary to sprinkle truth within... They walk the broad path rejoicing, still believing that they are on the right path and everyone else is headed to HELL... 

Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Sorry 'bout that... Went from a short note to preaching... ((Smile)) Digest what I have said... I welcome you comments...

Have A Blessed Day,

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Friday

Luke 1:46-47, "And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
LUKE 1:39-56
Here, Mary makes a very clear distinction between her soul magnifying the Lord and her spirit rejoicing.

Our soul is the part of us that is considered to be our personality. It is our intellect, emotions and will. Our spirit is the part that gets changed at salvation and it is always operating in "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 5:22-23). That's true whether our souls (feelings and emotions) "feel" it or not.

Many believers wait until their emotions feel like praising the Lord before they enter in to worship. They think it's hypocritical to act like they are rejoicing in the Lord if they don't "feel" it. But our spirits are always rejoicing in the Lord. It's actually hypocritical to go by our feelings and not magnify the Lord with our souls when our born again spirits are already rejoicing.

Our born again spirits are always in tune with the Lord and walking in the joy of the Lord. Our flesh is often dominated by what it sees and feels.

Sometimes it doesn't feel like praising the Lord, but the choice rests with our souls. If we choose to praise the Lord, our emotions will follow.
The decision is yours (Dt. 30:19).

Today, choose to walk in the joy of the Lord.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Thursday

When You Don't Have It In You
By Renee Swope
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

I was completely blindsided. I'd been called into a meeting at my church with another woman in leadership who had been upset with me for months. But I was just finding out about it.
Someone told her I didn't agree with her leadership style. But that wasn't what I'd said - months before - in a meeting with several other leaders. I had been asked my opinion about a situation and shared my thoughts. It broke my heart that I was just being asked about it now, many months later.

We both volunteered countless hours in ministry, pouring our hearts and lives into women in our church. All the while, we were on the same team and assumed we fully supported one another. But now the trust we'd built for years was unraveling.
It was a mess. I was a mess.

I decided I was done. I just didn't have it in me. I wasn't strong enough or resilient enough. And I was exhausted from the hurt I felt and the hurt I had caused.

That afternoon I went home and cried. Told God I was ready to call it quits. Laying my head down on my desk, I said I couldn't do it anymore.

But then a truth that had been buried deep in my heart surfaced: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

And in that moment, I knew if I was willing to die to myself and completely rely on Christ in me I could experience His resurrection power in this place of depletion - where I had nothing left to give.

There was no way around this crossroad: I could either walk away from God's calling on my life or I could allow Jesus to live HIS life through me.

I could die to my desire to protect myself from getting hurt again and choose to tap into His power by relying on the strength of His Spirit.

I wasn't enough ... wasn't strong enough, resilient enough, or humble enough, but Christ in me was more than enough.
You see Jesus did not die on the cross just to get us out of hell and into heaven. He died on the cross to get Himself out of heaven and into us! That is resurrection life - and the very place where we get our enough!

If you have been crucified with Christ, you no longer live, but Christ lives in you. The life you now live in your body, you can choose to live by faith in the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you.

I opted to rely on the Holy Spirit within me as my friend and I navigated this tough leadership situation. It wasn't easy, but it was good and it helped restore our friendship. The next time you and I find ourselves at tough relational crossroads—choosing to walk away from God's calling on our life or allowing Jesus to live HIS life through us—let's allow HIM to be our enough! For indeed He is.

Dear Lord, You are mighty, and holy, and strong. And I thank You that Your sweet Holy Spirit is more than enough to help me die to myself and let YOU live through me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Wednesday

A Comfy Girl on Adventure
 Suzie Eller 

"They asked him to stay longer, but he declined." Acts 18:20 (NLT)

I have a comfy throw I snuggle in when watching my favorite TV program.

I wear faded and worn jeans at home.

I have a pair of shoes needing to be retired, but they fit in all the right places, so I keep them handy. Just in case.
I love comfort; yet following Christ means that God often leads me out of my comfort zone.

Paul the apostle modeled a life far from comfort. When he wasn't in prison for preaching about Jesus, he had a packed travel schedule. He preached in Thessalonica, traveled to Berea, spoke in the synagogue in Athens, made his way to Corinth, set sail for Syria, and made a brief stop in Ephesus. At Ephesus the crowd was eager for him to stay.

After all that travel, can you imagine how tempting that invitation must have been? It would be so easy to settle in with new friends to enjoy a respite from the unfriendly religious leaders, accusations, and fatigue of ministry.

Instead, Paul said a simple goodbye with a promise to return one day, God willing.

Five years ago I was invited to speak in Europe. Sounds amazing, right? It was, except for the fear that lodged right in the center of my chest as God called me away from my cozy throw and faded jeans. We were traveling to three countries and six cities in 10 days. There were language barriers to overcome. The speaking schedule was intense. And massive cultural differences had to be hurdled, especially in the area of faith.

There were times I was far outside my comfort zone on that journey. But I also had a front row seat to watch God work.
We witnessed the faith of moms whose families and neighbors weren't Christians light up with encouragement as we shared the Word of God. We drank thick Turkish coffee with immigrants in a refugee camp, praising and worshiping God together.

God was powerful in our own lives as we traveled by train, plane, and car—filled to overflowing in spite of the demanding schedule as we led Bible studies in homes, spoke at conferences, and ministered one-on-one.

Paul surely experienced this spiritual excitement on his journeys. Maybe he didn't linger in comfortable places because he had discovered the joy of walking straight into the lives of those who needed a Savior.

Since my first trip I've returned twice more with the team. Different countries. New challenges. Each time I was reminded that faith is an adventure and God sometimes calls comfy girls away from their safe places.

Maybe like me, you love to get comfy. It feels good to be settled. It's nice to know what to expect. But if you sense God inviting you out of your comfort zone, are you willing to go?
When God leads us out of our comfort zones, we experience uncharted territory. We might even come to the end of ourselves.

But we also have the privilege of being a small part of a big plan, offering our willing hearts and seeing the work only God can do.

Dear Lord, I'm willing to step outside my comfort zone to discover Your plan, not just for me, but for those You love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Tuesday


"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing."
Psalm 23:1, NIV

I recently found some old works of art produced by our sons as they were growing up. The boys were delighted to find these gems and reminisce over when and where they were made. What makes me smile the most is how each child laughed at his past creations, and tried so hard to outdo his brothers with having produced the most ‘terrible’ creation. Gone are the days where they came home from school and nursery proudly displaying their ‘masterpieces’. At the time their offering was a gem, a creation just for Andy and me, and something they were delighted to hand over to us. They never considered it was less than adequate or could be improved on. It was great and it was for us; what more could we want?
As a parent, what more could you want? The creation was amazing and admired and treasured – not because it was the work of an artist or craftsman, but simply because of the love with which it was given. As I watched the kids now laughing over their creations, jokingly mocking each other’s past art abilities, I was reminded of today’s verse.

When I used to read today’s verse, I would find myself in a quandary. It was a verse that was wonderful when considered in terms of financial needs and provision, but what about the other lacks? ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing’ and yet why, I would wonder, did I feel like I lacked so very much? Why was I so painfully aware of my lack as a mother, a wife, a child of God, a worker in His Kingdom?

For years, it would seem to me, my offering to the Lord of my heart and my being was so much lacking and limited, painfully inadequate and insufficient. It was a joke and something to be laughed at, just like the kids now mocked their earlier attempts at art. I would look at what I had to offer and I would only see the need for improvement. And how quickly the enemy reminds us of our shortcomings and compares us to the people around us, swallowing us up if we’re not careful, in shame and self pity, encouraging and enticing us to hide back all that we are and all that we have to offer.

One day as I pondered this psalm before the Lord, I discovered a truth that spoke so deeply into my heart that it continues to change me to this day. God showed me that the emphasis and responsibility wasn’t on ‘I’ but on ‘Him’. Now I always read this Psalm beginning with the word ‘Because’. ‘Because the Lord is my shepherd I lack nothing’. I began to understand that my focus shouldn’t be on what I was giving Him but on His ability to make up the difference. I lack nothing, not because I’m super duper, but because He provides all that’s missing! Because of who He is, He takes what I offer Him and He makes it enough!

Yes, my offering is just the same. I could still mock it and tear it apart with criticism; it’s still pretty inadequate and limited. The difference is now I understand that God sees beyond the gaps and the limitations. He not only takes my offering with the delight of a parent presented with their child’s masterpiece but He also transforms it into something beautiful for His glory. Just like the boy with the five loaves and two fish – it really wasn’t enough, but put into the hands of Jesus, it became so much more.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I give You my life and all that I am. I know, Lord, it isn’t all that it should be or could be, but Lord I ask You to take my life and use it for Your glory. I ask, Lord, that You would take my offering and mould it in Your time into something beautiful and reflective of You. Lord, today I chose not to look at my lack, but at Your sufficiency. Thank You, Father God, for Your love that makes this possible for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today's Writer : Cath Taylor

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Monday


By C. R. Stam
"He that is spiritual judgeth [discerneth] all things, yet he himself is judged [discerned] of no man" (I Cor. 2:15).
The truly spiritual man is so far above the wisest sages of this world, yes, so far above the mass of Christians with whom he comes into contact, that he can understand them, but they can never quite understand him.
We should all long to be truly spiritual, but what is true spirituality?
In the Pauline Epistles the human race is divided, by the Spirit, into four classes: the natural man, the babe in Christ, the carnal Christian, and the spiritual Christian.
All four of these are referred to in one passage of Scripture (I Cor. 2:14—3:4) and it should be noted that they are classified according to their ability to appreciate and assimilate "the things of God" as revealed in His Word.
Through diligent, prayerful study of the Word, and with a sincere desire to obey it, the spiritual man has come to know God and the Lord Jesus Christ more and more intimately. Babes in Christ and carnal believers about him cannot "discern" him, simply because they have not come to know God as he. But he, having grown to spiritual maturity, quite understands them. He is among those of whom it is written:
"But strong meat [solid food] belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14).

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Sunday

Will You Give Me Your Son?
Glynnis Whitwer
"And she made a vow, saying 'LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'" 1 Samuel 1:11 (NIV)
As my arms wrapped tighter around my son, I squeezed my eyes hoping the hot tears stinging my lids would stop. Forcing a smile I knew he'd want to see, I released him and stepped back on the airport sidewalk.
Despite my efforts, tears dripped down my cheeks. I grinned and shrugged, unable to speak. Thankfully my son's gentle teasing helped get past the awkwardness of the goodbye. With a final hug, my 19-year-old left for a mission trip to China.
Having children willing to serve God was my heart's desire before they were born. It was what I've prayed for since they were small. And it is what I have worked toward for years. I just didn't know it was going to stretch my faith so much.
You see, long ago my husband and I dedicated our children to the Lord, and we raised them to serve God. I was thrilled at my son's decision to go on a mission trip, but the reality of releasing him to God's calling felt like a piece of my heart was being torn away.
It was so much easier to dedicate my children to God during the three years my husband and I struggled with infertility. Each time I read the story of Hannah and her struggle with infertility in 1 Samuel 2, my heart leapt in hope. Just as she pledged her child to the Lord if He would only give her one, I was willing to do the same.
It was also easier to dedicate my children to God once we finally had them, while they were wrapped safely in my arms.
But standing at the airport, there was a fragile part of me that wanted to take back that offer. Fears rose up. My son is so adventurous, what if something happened? What if I never saw him again?
I tried to put the fears aside, but hours after our final goodbye, I still had a crumpled tissue in my hand. It was then, I heard God speak to my heart. It was unmistakably Him. I'd never ask myself this question: Will you give Me your son?
By that time my son was on a plane, so the question seemed pointless. But what I wanted to say was this: Well, now that You've asked ... the answer is no, I've changed my mind about all that dedication stuff I said years ago.
In the weeks since that day, I've often wondered why God would ask that question since He didn't really need my permission. I've come to believe it's because He knows the influence a mother has on her children, even when they're grown. With words spoken or withheld, tone of voice, and emotional and financial support (or lack thereof) a mother can influence her children's obedience to God's call at every age.
And in my case, God knows my fears have affected my children. Ten years earlier when my oldest son wanted to go on an international mission trip, my fears stopped him. At that time, I thought he was too young and the destination too far. Without my active support, his plans fizzled.
Over the years, God has helped me overcome that fear time and time again, and eventually that same son went on other mission trips. Every time I've released my tight grip on my children to obey God, my faith has grown. Apparently my faith needed to grow again, hence God's heart check that day: Will you give Me your son?
Gripping my soggy tissue, I whispered a shaky "yes." Hoping it was good enough, but sensing it wasn't, I answered again, this time with confidence: "Yes! You can have my son!"
Immediately peace started to grow in my heart as I turned my eyes from my own situation to His plan for my son. Peace and joy continued to grow stronger each day.
Sometimes I wish I were one of those mothers who never deals with fear. They seem so confident and faith-filled. But I've learned when I give God my weaknesses, His power is displayed and His kingdom is advanced. So in spite of a bit of trembling, and a few tears, I'm going to say yes each time God asks if He can have one of my children.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my weakness. I want to trust You more and confess the times fear has held me back. Help me to be honest with You and receive Your strength. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy Saturday

Overlooking an OffenseWendy Blight
"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11 (NIV 1984)
What did she mean by that? Why does she always hurt my feelings? Why does she treat me that way? I didn't realize these words played through my head on a continual basis until my daughter pointed it out.
She ended many of our conversations with, "Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?" Or, "Mom, you're so sensitive."
At first, her words angered me. But over time, I began to hear what she was saying.
For years, I allowed people's words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I re-played them in my mind. Each time the anger grew deeper roots.
Listening to a sermon in church, I would think, "I wish ______ was here. She really needs to hear this!" Of course, the sermon by-passed my heart all together.
Without realizing it, the words of others consumed my thoughts and focus and stole my time. About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of wisdom.
One afternoon, this verse leapt off the page and into my heart, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11). I had a choice. Up until then, I heard people's words, jumped to a conclusion and chose to be offended.
But through His Word, God gently corrected me. I sensed Him saying that I can choose to look past people's words and not receive them with an offended heart. I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Or do they need something I am not giving?
The responsibility was on me to stop the words from taking root in my heart. When I accepted this, my attitude changed. Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it before letting it take residence in my mind. I hear the words, recognize my issue, and speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, "It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense."
Everyone wins because I don't ruin the rest of the day by pouting, making it all about me, or soaking in self-pity. Each time I make this choice, I sense God is pleased as I honor Him by choosing NOT to be offended.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You that I find my identity in You. Thank You that it is only Your Word and Your opinion that matter. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Friday

God, can I ask You a question?

Me: God, can I ask You a question?
God: Sure
Me: Promise You won't get mad
God: I promise
Me: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?
God: What do u mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late
God: Yes
Me: My car took forever to start
God: Okay
Me: at lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait
God: Huummm
Me: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call
God: All right
Me: And on top of it all off, when I got home ~I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn't work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?
God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that
Me (humbled): OH
GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
Me: (ashamed)
God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn't want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.
Me (embarrassed):Okay
God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered.
Me (softly): I see God
God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I'm Sorry God
God: Don't be sorry, just learn to Trust Me.... in All things , the Good & the bad.
Me: I will trust You.
God: And don't doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.
Me: I won't God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.
God: You're welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Thursday

Take the Plunge
"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure." Psalm 119:162 (NLT)
My husband and I had saved for a year to go snorkelling. With all the sacrifices we had made, I couldn't believe we were finally on the white sandy shore. Confidently, I grabbed my gear and prepared to jump into the clear blue water.
But it wasn't like I had imagined. The mask felt funny once I got it on; how was I supposed to breathe like that? My heart fluttered as anxiety grew.
My head screamed at me, dive in! Get out there. This is an opportunity of a lifetime! But my feet stayed planted on dry ground. Though Greg pleaded with me, even came and took my hand to lead me out to the deep water, I never got past the rocky shore that day.
Twenty years later, my chance came again. Starting a few months before the trip, I gave myself a talking-to every day. Go for it, Lynn! It will be worth it. Just dive in and don't look back! I recited this pep talk as I waded in the ocean.
My heart began pounding again, but I kept going. Encouraging voices beckoned me to come farther out where the schools of rainbow-colored fish swam. Holding my breath, I peeked under the water, shocked to see the cobalt blue and golden yellow creations. I even swam with a sea turtle! Before I knew it, an hour had passed.
Did I want to quit? Some moments I did, but I reminded myself of all I was gaining by staying out away from the shore.
There was a time when I avoided "diving" deeper into Scripture. My schedule was always short on time. Not to mention I felt intimidated by stories I didn't understand and challenges that made me feel "less than."
I relieved any guilt I felt about not studying the Bible by reading a verse or two here and there. Yet, like that young woman on the rocky shore so many years ago, I knew I was missing out by not going deeper.
When I became part of a leadership team at my church, I had to take the plunge. The group's accountability helped me be consistent in reading and studying the Bible. The daily homework navigated me as I learned to go below the surface. I found I loved it!
Years later, I can't wait to hang out with Jesus and learn what He has to say to me each day. I still participate in a group Bible study now and then, but what I enjoy most is going through my Bible on my own.
When we study God's Word, He reveals who He is and His plans and heart for us. As we explore different verses, their original Greek and Hebrew meanings, the culture the text was written in, and how verses tie in together, it's like coming upon a gold mine. See how the psalmist put it: "I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure" (Psalm 119:162).
It was one thing to hear my husband's experience of snorkelling 20 years ago when I waited on the shore. But, his stories came to life when I dipped my head under water and discovered for myself the beautiful coral, shimmering fish and vibrant colors.
In the same way, it's wonderful to hear what others have to say about Scriptures they have studied, to listen to sermons or to read books. But it's really amazing to dive in ourselves. Studying God's Word opens our eyes, heart and mind to learn from Him about His ways, His will and His direction for us. So go ahead, take the plunge. What are you waiting for?
Lord, the only thing holding me back from discovering the depths in Your Word is me. Empower me to be disciplined and help me to hear Your voice as I study Your Word. Amen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Wednesday


Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply,

'If I were any better, I would be twins!'

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, 'I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'

Jerry replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood.

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.'

'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested. 'Yes, it is,' Jerry said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood.

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the

hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?' I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. 'The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,' Jerry replied. 'Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.' 'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked. Jerry continued, '....the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a deadman.' I knew I needed to take action.' '

What did you do?' I asked. 'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said Jerry. She asked if I was allergic to anything.

'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'

Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Tuesday

The Dividing Light

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, NIV

In the beginning, before anything else existed, was the Word of God, separate from God but one with Him. He is the source of life. He spoke:“Let there be…” And there was. He came to live among us as a man, to bring the light of God into the darkness, and that light has never been extinguished (John 1:1-5).

When we read the Bible, the words we read are not just wise, well thought out concepts printed on a page. Not just a record of past events with a moral meaning and guidance on how to live our lives within a godly framework; but the Word of God Himself, speaking to us by His Spirit and communicating truth to our spirit. This is God’s heartbeat, God’s power, God’s divine purpose for our destiny; the Word of Life.

Our spirit was imparted from the beginning by the breath of God. When man gave way to sin the spirit was quenched and died to God. We became carnal beings. But, as we’re born again of the Spirit of God, our spirit is re-connected with Him and the lifeline is restored.

Now we have a choice: to follow the passions of the flesh, emanating from the soul, in our search for fulfillment; or listen to the leadings of the Spirit and so discern the ways of God. Sometimes the distinction is blurred, and confusion rules. My way or God’s way? Which is which? How do I know?

The consequences are clear: `The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6).

The Word of God separates spirit from soul. It cuts cleanly through the cloud of confusion, making a clear distinction between the carnal and the godly. He’s our light in the darkness, showing us the ways of God. `If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free` (John 8:31-32).

Prayer: Father, You know my concerns. You know my confusion. You know how the enemy loves to hide in the darkness of my thoughts. Let Your Word pierce through that darkness and bring into the light Your purposes for my life. Let there be a clarity of vision, so that the way ahead becomes clear. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today's Writer : Ron Scurfield

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy Monday

I Am Not Alone
Whitney Capps

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)

I sat at my computer and typed, deleted and then re-typed the same email at least three times. Did I sound too desperate, too needy? Surely things weren't this bad. Maybe I just needed a little perspective. So I stopped and looked around.

Toys of a million varieties, parts and pieces were scattered across the floor. My 3-year-old and 2-year-old were still in their pajamas. It was nearly 10:30 a.m. and they'd been watching television far longer than any good mother should allow.

To top it off, my newborn was crying. I'd stuck him in the swing because I just needed a break. I hadn't showered in two days. At least I think it had been two days. I was in a time warp, so who could be sure? I knew I hadn't changed clothes in as many days. My t-shirt and sweatpants were stained with unmentionables.

Who was I kidding? Things really were this bad.

I turned back to the computer and typed an honest assessment of the situation. I hit send before my pride vetoed my cry for help. I wasn't going to pretend anymore. I needed to know I wasn't alone.

If I didn't send a SOS, things would go from bad to worse. So I did what Scripture tells us to do in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ("Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble") and called out to friends to help me out of this messy, sticky, stinky mess.

Girlfriends, I am struggling. Life with three boys under four is hard. Ryder is such an easy baby that I feel guilty voicing my weariness. And Cooper and Dylan are just little boys. I don't expect anything to be other than what it is right now. It's just that right now is rather taxing. I know every stage of motherhood is.

My life is no more difficult than yours. That's why I have started and stopped this email three times. I feel self-indulgent to talk about how parched my soul is. But I'm drowning in diapers, potty-training and milk.

In a matter of minutes my inbox filled with messages. I had asked my girlfriends to pray for me and pick me up from this pit. These amazing women came through in a big way, sharing some of the funniest stories I've ever heard and offering the kindest commiseration a new mom could want. I felt connected, accepted and loved.

Hearing their words in my head, I changed diapers, wiped noses and unloaded the dishwasher repeating:

I am not alone.

God's grace is sufficient.

Do the next thing.

Why hadn't I asked for help sooner? What was I afraid of?

I knew what it was. I didn't want them to think less of me. Would they see the real me, and still love me? My pride shouted, but my heart trembled.

In the moments before I sent that email I felt utterly alone. In the days that followed, I realized the fellowship I had gained was totally worth the embarrassment of admitting my fears and failures. As it turned out, these dear women didn't love me less for sharing; they loved me more.

Through their kind words, my friends did the best thing possible: they lifted my focus from myself and put it on Jesus. I learned not to depend on my own abilities, but to depend on Him.

Interestingly, I didn't have more confidence as a mom after that day. And I didn't suddenly get to take a shower every day. I realized I am absolutely inadequate. I am sincerely overwhelmed. But my friends reminded me that I'm not alone and my situation isn't unique to me.

As my friends promised to walk this journey with me, I discovered there's safety in numbers. In the quiet of my head and heart, sometimes the voice of fear and condemnation drowns out God's truth. With a resounding chorus, these girlfriends shouted truth so loudly it couldn't be ignored. It was just what I needed.

And they didn't care that I hadn't brushed my teeth.

Lord, thank You for Your encouragement through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Thank You too for friendships that lift me up when I'm overwhelmed and down. Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Sunday

Spiritual Lives
I know many Christians whose spiritual lives have ground nearly to a halt. Oh yes, they still love God and are determined to live their lives for Jesus but their inner fire seems to have gone out. Their devotional lives are dry, and ministry efforts feel more like a duty than a joy.  God is like a great mountain, and there are an infinite different facets to His beauty and glory. The spiritual disciplines of the Christian life are like paths to help us come into the presence of God to behold a different aspect of His glory. One day as we meditate on Scripture, we see one aspect of God’s glory. On another day as we pray we see a different sight of His beauty. The problem is that too often, we get so focused on completing the spiritual discipline that we forget why we are doing it. We get enamored with completing the discipline, and forget that the value in the discipline is to commune with God and behold His glory.  Think of the Spiritual Disciplines as paths that lead us into the presence of God to commune with Him. Think of them as tools or helps to bring us to God. They are means to an end. They are not ends in themselves. We were not made for the spiritual disciplines. The spiritual disciplines were made for us. In other words, they are to serve to enable us to grow in our relationship with God. Don’t worry about it if you are not doing every spiritual discipline every day. But definitely avail yourself of those disciplines that prove helpful in enabling you to connect with God and walk with Him.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Happy Saturday

"Thanks for your time."
A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door.
Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering
his childhood days.
"Jack, did you hear me?"
"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said...
"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.
"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.
"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.
"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important. Mom,
I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his
relatives had passed away.
The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.
Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time, the house was exactly as he remembered.
Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture. Jack stopped suddenly...
"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.
"The box is gone," he said.
"What box?" Mom asked.
"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.
It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.
"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."
It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. 
Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home.
Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed
a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package.
There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.
"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes,
Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.
Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:
"Jack, Thanks for your time! - Harold Belser."
"The thing he valued most was... my time"
Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.
"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.
"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"