Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Saturday

The Problem With Thanksgiving
(By Charles Tucker, Jr.)

You know the story of that very first Thanksgiving Day in the English colonies, right? You know, the one where Captain John Woodlief and those 38 colonists who had just had arrived in the Virginia colonies from Berkeley, England and set aside a day of giving thanks to God at the Berekley Hundred (later renamed Berkley Plantation) on December 4, 1619 where Woodlief proclaimed--

"Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God."

Oh, you haven't heard that story? That's because those Johnny-come-lately Pilgrims from Massachusetts arrived at Plymouth Rock with a publicist, so that now everyone just "knows" that the first Thanksgiving was in Massachusetts with the Pilgrims after the whole colony almost froze to death following that first bitter winter in 1622. But the very FIRST Thanksgiving Day was in Virginia. OK, so actually the first Thanksgiving in the New World was one led by Spanish explorer Juan de Onate held near one El Paso, Texas in 1598, but that one doesn't count because it was in Texas! They probably had chili and burritos and guacamole or something (actually, that sounds pretty good).

At any rate, the idea of a Thanksgiving Day was not held as a "perpetual" celebration in either Massachusetts or Virginia. Thanksgiving Day was never more than a local and sporadic event until Abraham Lincoln made it an annual national holiday observance in 1863. Which means that "first" thanksgiving in Massachusetts took place after a bitter winter almost destroyed a whole colony, and the first national Thanksgiving Day was observed DURING the tragedy of the Civil War that almost destroyed our nation. We still observe Thanksgiving Day, but it has little to do with struggle and more to do with eating ourselves silly and then complaining about how stuffed we feel!

But that's not the real problem with Thanksgiving. The real problem is that we set aside this one day to reflect on and give thanks for our blessings (in which we overindulge) and then ONE DAY later... we rush out for "Black Friday," the biggest shopping day of the year. We forget all about Thanksgiving Day in our rush to run out and get more stuff. The idea of Thanksgiving was born from struggle and the awareness of God's goodness despite our difficulty and hardship. Now we seem to believe that we deserve all the good things we have, and we can't even have a day of reflection on Thanksgiving without turning it into an excuse to shop until we drop getting more, more, more. Will Rogers drew this contrast between Thanksgiving Day then and now:

"In the days of our founders, people were willing to give thanks for mighty little, for mighty little was all that they expected. But now neither government nor nature can give enough but what we think is too little. In the fall of the year, if the founders could gather in a few pumpkins, some potatoes, and some corn for the winter, they were in a thanking mood. But if we can't gather in a new car, a new radio...and some government relief, why we feel that the world is against us."

It's ironic that the more and more we have for which to be thankful, the harder and harder it seems to get to be truly thankful. As the late Andy Rooney would say, "Why is that?" 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Friday

Nothing Can Separate

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t and life can’t. The angels can’t and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away." Romans 8:38, NLT

We can find ourselves separated from much in our lives. It could be because we are hospitalized or imprisoned, because of war, persecution or distance. A thousand reasons can cause us to be unable to be in contact with those we love or go where we wish.

But let this promise encourage you. Nothing can separate you from His love, but nothing! If you ever feel all alone, and like dying, weeping, hurting or hopeless, this promise you can hold on to. We may be parted from everything else but never His love.

I was listening to a prisoner in the Isle of White, who had rung Premier radio and was experiencing this promise and was surrounded by God’s love, his spirit being lifted up in praise, whilst being in jail. For wherever you are, in every circumstance, His love can reach you and hold you.

In the 1960’s a friend of mine was just doing her washing one day, when she suddenly experienced the love of Jesus coming upon her, filling her with His Spirit. God is always looking to bless us. All she knew was an overwhelming love. So even a busy Mum, perhaps stressed with the world’s problems on her shoulders is not separated from His love. It’s not just words, but a powerful revelation of Gods holy, love filling your being, that raises your spirit into His presence.

Beloved and Blessed, The Fathers’ pure delight,
Redeemer, Sustainer, You’re my passion and my prize.
My brother, my comforter, My shepherd and my friend,
My ransom, my righteousness, The streams that never end.
You’re unchanging, magnificent, You’re all I could desire.
You’re my breath of Life, Son of righteousness,
You’re the love that satisfies. Stuart Townend

Prayer: We pray for anyone we know, who is insecure and fearful. We pray that You would dispel their doubts and enfold them with Your presence, that they would know Your inseparable love in their lives, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today's Writer : Pam Smith

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Simply Give Thanks

"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." – Luke 18:17

On Thanksgiving Day when I was five years old, snow started to fall. This was unusual for our area, and it stirred my young heart with excitement. I remember jumping up to catch the flakes in my hand, not the least bit worried about the roads becoming slick, although my dad would have to drive on them later and he was probably concerned. I just trusted that he would get our family safely home from my uncle's house after our holiday dinner.

When I went into the kitchen, I found my mom checking on the amount of food and worrying that there would not be enough mashed potatoes to go around. Others seemed concerned about where everyone would sit. However, I once again simply enjoyed the coziness of my uncle's small house and basked in the mouth-watering aromas coming from the delicious dishes being prepared. I was quite sure there would be enough potatoes, and I was content to sit on the floor if need be. While others worried, I explored my uncle's glass bookcase filled with treasures.

Seeing through the eyes of a child with simple trust and faith has countless benefits. As Christians, we have many Bible promises of God's care and provision, yet we may occasionally still find ourselves worrying about matters. Sometimes these cares even consume our thoughts. If this happens, we need to channel our inner child and remember that God, our Heavenly Father, will never leave us alone or without help. Just as I was able to place complete trust in my earthly father, we can put our complete trust in our Heavenly Father. He has everything under control and He never fails in His love, care, and understanding toward us.

The Lord has done so many wonderful things for us. He provided for our salvation, He loves us unconditionally, He is able to meet any need we bring to Him, and He has prepared a home for us in Heaven. Why would we worry over details that God has promised to handle, when we could just trust in Him and enjoy all that He has provided? While we celebrate and give praise to the Lord during this Thanksgiving season, let us be as little children in our trust and devotion to Him.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Wednesday

When You're Not Sure You Belong
Suzie Eller
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:16 (NIV)
The moment we found out a beautiful gift might be coming to our family will forever be etched on my heart. My daughter and son-in-law were about to receive something they had desired for over three years.
We'll never forget the day they heard they'd been chosen by a birth mother to receive the gift of her child. A whirlwind erupted as we all came together to create a nursery and buy the necessities. Five days later a perfect little baby boy was born, and Josh and Melissa brought their long awaited, beautiful miracle home.
Walking with them through the adoption process made me treasure even more these words in Romans 8:15: "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father" (NKJV).
Initially, we didn't know the baby's name, what he might look like, or even his ethnicity. We didn't know how old he would be, or whether he would be a bubbly little boy or a sweet baby girl. All we knew is that long before my daughter and son-in-law held him in their arms, we loved him.
Now that the gift of this precious baby being adopted into our family is a reality, his parents are changing diapers and slogging through sleep-deprived nights. It's not easy, but he is worth every bit of sacrifice they're making.
No matter how exhausted they are, Luke is still wanted. Still treasured. Still loved. Still a miracle in every way.
Sometimes we may look at God and wonder if we are a bother. After all, we're a work in progress. We get busy and forget to treasure our times with Him. We promise ourselves we'll grow spiritually and then lose our temper with a loved one. Why would God choose to love us, even when we mess things up?
The answer appears in Romans 8:16, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Perhaps today you struggle with accepting God’s love. You don't have to fear rejection, because you are adopted. God loves you just like Josh and Melissa love their son Luke, but in a God-like measure.
Romans 8:14-16 promises that God's love for you is irrevocable. You are signed, sealed, and officially His child. Today, as His adopted child, ask the Holy Spirit to gently remind you one more time of Whose you are and how very loved you are by Him!
Dear Lord, You are my Abba Father! Today I place all fear aside and place my trust in You. I walk into Your arms where I am welcome. Thank you for adopting me. Help me to rest in the assurance of knowing I am Your child Amen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Tuesday

The Sacrifice of Thanks-sharing
Glynnis Whitwer
"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16 (NASB)
Enough. That's what I have. Really, more than enough.
More than enough clothes in my closet. Food in my fridge. Shoes spread on the floor. Cans in the cupboard.
My children have books, warm jackets, tennis shoes, pencils, and opportunities for more. I have clean sheets, soft pillows, a kitchen table, and indoor plumbing.
My husband and I have never taken our provisions for granted. Every day we are thankful for the blessings of our home and family. Yet eight years ago we were increasingly aware of what Luke 12:48b tells us, "When someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." (NLT) We felt an obligation to do something more with our blessings.
So in 2005 our family of five put a plan in place to share what we had. We had enough home, enough time, and enough love. Our gratitude to God for His blessings couldn't be kept to ourselves any more. We started with some rearranging. Two of our three sons moved furniture around so they could share a room, Then we bought two little white beds, pink curtains, and some dolls. I bought matching calico comforters and guessed at sizes of dresses.
After months of planning to share what we had, two little orphaned sisters stepped off a plane gripping the hands of their new daddy and walked into our hearts and homes.
They wore "African suits" bought from the place of their birth, brightly colored dresses that hung on tiny bodies. So proud they were to own their first new pieces of clothing, wanting to greet their new family in their best. As we wrapped our arms around these little girls, our family of five became seven.
As weeks turned into months, and typical family issues mingled with trauma from our daughters' pasts, we learned God's call to share isn't always easy. Oh, at first it was great, before the first blush of excitement wore off. But the magnitude of sharing our lives with two wounded little girls was harder than we ever imagined.
When worry about the future threatened to overwhelm me, God quietly reminded me that He didn't ask me to have the answers. That's His job. My job is just to share what He has given me–my love, my home, my life–with two not-so-little girls now who call me Mama. With a heart of thankfulness, and an open hand of generosity. That's all He's asking me. That's what blesses Him.
God's Word confirms what pleases Him. Hebrews 13:15-16 teaches us that we must link thanksgiving with sharing. But it also says it will be a sacrifice: "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (NASB)
As we walk together as a family, we continue to learn that showing thanks to God involves sharing, and sharing involves sacrifice. God still calls us to share out of our abundance, and it still involves sacrifice. But when we share our lives, our homes, our money, our hearts, our skills, and our time as an outpouring of thanksgiving, God is pleased.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generosity with me. I don't deserve Your favor, and my heart overflows with thanksgiving. Help me to show my gratitude through words and actions that are pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Monday

Slippery Friendships
Samantha Evilsizer
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
The white snow clouds shadowed the faces peering down on me as I lay flat on the freezing ground. Squinting up at the group, my thoughts whirled: How did this happen? Are my bones broken? Did I take anyone down with me?
Four winters in the mountains, coupled with countless sightings of others falling down, had taught me to watch where I stepped. I had gingerly led my Freshman Orientation group across campus as we picked our way through snowy sidewalks. But the brick steps outside the English building got the better of me.
After carefully standing up, and gathering my book bag and pride, I spotted the culprit. A small patch of ice—that I thought was melted snow—winked up at me.
Losing our footing happens, even when using caution. Stepping lightly isn't always a sufficient safeguard when walking into a potentially slick situation, especially one that involves our heart. Jeremiah 17:9 warns, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (NIV) My friend Mia learned this truth at her first job.
In her new position, Mia often collaborated with people in other departments. She enjoyed getting out of her office and breaking up the day-to-day routine. There was one thing she most looked forward to though: meetings with her co-worker, Paul.
Though their jobs were serious in nature, meetings with him were light-hearted. An hour of shuffling paperwork disappeared in laughter and conversation.
Weekly meetings soon seemed like an eternity apart. To fill in the gaps, Paul and Mia emailed each other funny anecdotes. They'd catch a few minutes on the phone to tell about a snippet in their day. Eventually Mia and Paul shared lunches, inside jokes, and personal stories. When in a crowd, they'd gravitate to each other and sit together at staff meetings.
I'd heard so much about Paul I wasn't surprised when Mia brought him up one morning over coffee.
"I think I have a problem," she said. "I have a crush on Paul."
Honestly, I wasn't surprised after all she'd told me about him—everything but one incredibly important fact: "He's married."
In that moment, we both saw how little conversations and small confidences shared led her to fall for Paul. She'd stopped looking carefully where she was stepping and convinced herself they were "just friends."
But Jeremiah 17:9 tells us our hearts are deceitful and sly. The word "deceitful" in the original Hebrew language is 'aqob, meaning slippery and insidious. In other words, our own hearts can cause us to lose our footing before we're even aware it's happening.
When we fail to keep our guard up, we're at risk to fall down. And after the realization that we've gone too far, we may find ourselves asking: How did this happen? Are any marriages broken? Did I take anyone down with me?
Looking back, if I had re-routed my tour around campus, I could have avoided the fall. And that's just what Mia did. She asked God for forgiveness and wisdom. Then she determined to change her pattern at work. Mia stopped spending time alone with Paul and limited their non-work interactions. It took time for her feelings for him to go away, and she admitted it was a bit awkward at first. But after a while they settled in to a professional relationship—nothing more, nothing less.
Sometimes we don't recognize slippery spots on our own. But God does and if we ask, He will reveal these to us. Let's pause before taking another step in our friendships to ask the Lord for guidance. We might just spare our heart and avoid a damaging fall!
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship … Yours and others. I want to point others—and myself—to You by my actions, words, and deeds. Help me do this by testing my heart and removing anything that could put me at risk of slipping. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.


Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Sunday

The Bitter Root 
Wendy Blight
"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Hebrews 12:15 NIV)
How dare she ask this of me?
I reread her email, which only fueled my fury. Rather than reply immediately, I decided to forward the note to my husband for his advice. Any words I would've written to her at that moment would not have been kind.
Bitterness took root as I typed a note to my husband, spewing out my frustration. When I finished, I reviewed my message with great satisfaction. I'd expressed myself well to a safe person. Then I pressed send.
In that moment, I glanced at the "to" box. I was horrified when I realized I'd hit "reply" instead of "forward." My heart sank. All my hurtful words and anger were now en route to her, not my husband.
I felt sick. What should I do? I picked up the phone and called my husband at work. We both agreed I needed to email her, explain what happened, and ask forgiveness. It was the hardest email I've ever written.
Her gracious response astounded me. She thanked me for my apology and closed her response with these words, "I forgive you, so let's just put this behind us." Her words of forgiveness melted the bitterness that had consumed my heart just an hour before. I'm sure she was hurt. My words were harsh. Yet she chose to overlook and pardon my offense.
It's easy to forget that we have choices when we're offended. We can surrender our hurt or hold on to our hurt. We can extend grace or harbor bitterness.
Bitterness is like poison that infects our lives. The author of Hebrews compares bitterness to a root that overtakes our hearts and causes trouble in many other areas of our lives (Hebrews 12:15). Although our feelings of bitterness, anger, and resentment may seem justified, they are not. Instead, they're hurtful and destructive—to ourselves as well as to the person who hurt us.
God's Word teaches us to forgive and instructs us not to let the sun go down while we're angry. When we do, we give the devil a place to work in our hearts and relationships. Instead of allowing the enemy room to plant relational weeds between us, my friend chose forgiveness, extended grace, and prevented a bitter root from taking hold.
She became a living example of the apostle Paul's words to the believers at Ephesus: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). Her wise example helped me move beyond my anger. My friend's gracious decision modeled humility. Her choice to forgive salvaged our friendship and changed how I react toward others who offend me. From that day forward, I've prayed that God's grace would flow through me, leaving no room for bitter roots.
Dear Lord, search my heart. See if there is any bitterness in me. Lead me to forgiveness. Enable me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to let go of all bitterness and to extend Your amazing grace. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Saturday

When You Don't Know What to Say 
Lysa TerKeurst
"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Nahum 1:7 (NIV 1984)
Recently a moving truck pulled up to my friend's house. Sometimes moving signifies something exciting and new. Sometimes it doesn't.
This move signified an end. A few hours into the process of emptying her home, the movers carried out her wedding portrait and asked, "Are you taking the photographs separately?"
"Yes," she said, the irony not escaping her. Separately. That was how she'd be living now. Separate from their neighborhood. Separate from her husband. Separate from the way she thought life would be.
She took the wedding portrait and through her tears she called me and said, "I don't know what to do with this portrait. What do you do with things that have no place anymore? We built a life together and now there's no more together."
I knew better than to throw out something just to fill the uncomfortable silence. Trite sayings weren't going to curl up in bed with her and hold her unglued heart.
Maybe you've been there. You were the one sitting in the midst of confusion or the one trying desperately to know what to say. In these difficult moments, we have to place our feet on the only solid ground there is—God's truth.
His truth won't shift with feelings.
His truth won't drown in a sea of tears.
His truth won't leave you even when your gut honest cries don't sound so Christian.
I finally said, "I don't have answers, but I do have prayers. And I'm going to write out conversations I have with God so you'll know He's not being silent right now. He sees you. He hears you. And through His truth He will comfort you."
I pulled out my Bible and poured out the hurt and sadness. "God, please show me the right truths. Use my hand to write out some comfort from Your Word for my friend."
Me: Lord, it's hard to watch my friend hurt so much. She begged You to help save her marriage and honestly we're confused why it still fell apart.
The Lord: Does Job 17:11 express the way you're feeling? "My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart." (NIV 1984)
Me: Lord, don't You see her tears? If seeing her sadness breaks my heart, it must break Yours too.
The Lord: Recall the beauty of trusting the only One who can see what is and what is to come. Nahum 1:7... "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." (NIV 1984)
Me: I do trust You. But for everything to end like this is so hard. It just seems pointless.
The Lord: Nothing I allow is pointless. Even in the midst of hurt I will work good. Proverbs 19:20-21... "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (NIV 1984)
Me: Why does she have to go through this?
The Lord: You don't have to have answers. You just need to trust. Isaiah 55:9b... "My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (NIV 1984)
Me: What about the desires of her heart Lord?
The Lord: I am the only one who knows the full scope of those desires. Just encourage her to trust Me and make wise choices. Psalm 37:3-4... "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV 1984)
I sent this written out conversation with God to my friend. My note didn't fix her hurt or answer her questions. It didn't give her a place to put those things that seemed to have no place right now. But it did get her to open up God's Word and start having conversations with Him for herself. And as she moves on, this is a good first step to take.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Friday

Camel Lag by Michael E. Brooks

  "So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had  put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was  there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode" (Nehemiah 2:11-12 NKJV).

   It is more than 10,000 miles by air from my home in Alabama to South Asia, to where I have traveled this past week. There is twelve hours difference (twelve time zones) between Alabama time and Bangladesh time. In other words they are exactly on opposite sides of the earth. 

   Jet lag is a concept with which I am very familiar. After flying for about 26 hours of actual time in the air over an elapsed total time of 36 to 42 hours onaverage, I am always tired and physically confused. My mind may say "It is morning, let's get to work." My body however responds, "I am tired; it is time to sleep."

   When Ezra the scribe led a company of Priests and Levites from Babylon to Jerusalem, the journey required exactly four months ( Ezra 7:7-9). We do not know how long Nehemiah and his guards took to make the same trip, but it was certainly a long and arduous journey.

   Similarly, we are not told just why it was three days after arrival in Jerusalem before Nehemiah began his mission. My own personal experience suggests he may have required a little resting time. Perhaps he was suffering from "Camel Lag" from his long trip across the desert.

   Time is a valuable resource, yet our use of it must reflect physical reality. Nehemiah's example leads us to a few reasonable guidelines which will help us become good stewards of our time.

   First, do not hesitate to use necessary time for restand recuperation. When the disciples returned from the limited comission Jesus invited them to "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" ( Mark6:31). He understood the body's demands. It is not a waste of time for us to get the rest which is required for good health and strength.

   A recent news report suggested that in America there is an epidemic of sleep deprivation -- too many people just don't get enough sleep to be healthy.

   However, the body's need for rest however in no way justifies laziness and idleness ( Proverbs 24:30-34; 2Thessalonians 3:10).

   Second, Nehemiah shows us that when rest has been acquired, promptness and careful haste are appropriate. Certainly his arising in the night was partially in order to preserve secrecy for his mission. Yet there is also the inescapable conclusion that Nehemiah wanted to waste no available time. His task was urgent. He moved decisively and quickly.

   The New Testament teaches us, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2Corinthians 6:2). We are to "Walk circumspectly, . . .redeeming the time, because the days are evil"(Ephesians 5:15, 16). Time is one of God's gifts to us. Let us be good stewards in its use.

   Third, Nehemiah made excellent use of the time which he was given. When he asked the king of Persia to be appointed governor of Judah, the King said, "How long will your journey be?" (Nehemiah 2:6). Nehemiah wasconscious of a limited time-frame in which to act. He worked swiftly therefore without delay or hindrance.

   When enemies of Israel sought to distract him from his labors he responded, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3). As a result of his determination, the wall of Jerusalem was completed in a remarkable span of only 52 days(Nehemiah 6:15).

   There are physical limitations within which we all must work. Yet we must also give an account for the way we use our time, as is the case with all our possessions and resources. Nehemiah teaches us to be time conscious. In so doing, we too can accomplish great works for the Lord.

Onward, Christian Soldiers

1. Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, 
    with the cross of Jesus going on before. 
    Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; 
    forward into battle see his banners go! 
 Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, 
 with the cross of Jesus going on before. 

2. At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee; 
    on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! 
    Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise; 
    brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise. 

3. Like a mighty army moves the church of God; 
    brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. 
    We are not divided, all one body we, 
    one in hope and doctrine, one in charity. 

4. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, 
    but the church of Jesus constant will remain.
    Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail; 
    we have Christ's own promise, and that cannot fail. 

5. Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng, 
    blend with ours your voices in the triumph song. 
    Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King, 
    this through countless ages men and angels sing.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Thursday

Good Morning Everyone,
     With less than 26 hours left before the layout pages are needed at the printer, I sit before my computer pondering the day ahead... A last minute advertisement picked up yesterday afternoon was suppose to be camera ready, instead, I received five business cards... New advertisers had pooled their money for the upcoming Christmas season in hopes that a larger advertisement would indeed bring them the customers they need... I know little about these owners or their businesses, something I had gotten use to over the years with a consistent clientele of advertisers and with that knowledge a better way to serve them... I can only feel a door opening to the possibility of relationship developing and the addition of not only consistent advertisers but new friends in my life...
     Somewhere between now and 10am, I need to focus on this first task and combine the information from the card and photos I took into an advertisement that will find the approval of five individuals... A challenge I readily accept...
     The aches and pains that have become a part of my life for so many years seem to magnify themselves this morning... Just sitting in my chair, that is so comfortable I can fall asleep in it, has become a challenge as I continually adjust my position trying to find that one sitting position that will give me the brief relief I need... The fence post, as I call it, stuck through my back and out my chest a few days ago continues to waver in different degrees of pain... Some times it is tolerable, other times the pain radiates to a point that I feel as if my left arm will fall off...
     The only consolation I have is that I am not alone in my quest to get finished before that 8AM deadline Friday morning... My LORD is with me...
     My prayer this morning is not for all these aches and pains to stop, but that I can stay focused on what needs to be done, that I will not be distracted by things of this world, that I can avoid the sidetracks and stumbling blocks that will litter my walk today and that I will be able to stay focused on that glimmer of light that radiates from the mountain top as I walk through another valley... I pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I assemble the pages... No subtleties in the directions, but a BOLD Direction that will remove all doubts of what needs to be said and done... I pray for a cleansing  of the area in which I work... The removal of any toe hold that satan thinks he still has to be removed, along with the demons he controls... Bind them up and cast them out so that my focus on YOU will not be interrupted... In the Name Of JESUS, the Risen CHRIST I Pray... Amen...

     Stand with me in my prayer as I seek HIS Will and Direction today...
Love ya All,    
Your Brother In
JESUS, the Risen Christ,
Bro. Richard

Sweet to the Soul 
by Stan Mitchell
"My son, eat honey for it is good, and the drippings
from the honeycomb are sweet to the taste"
24:13, ESV).

The Psalmist declares that "the earth is the Lord's and
the fullness thereof" (Psalm 24:1). God made the
earth. He made sunsets, and friendship and, yes, honey
too. He created all these things with our enjoyment in
mind. It's OK to enjoy the pleasures of God's world, as
long as we do so within the bounds of his laws and his

"Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it,
there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut
off" (Proverbs 24:14).

The words "know also" are a tip off that verse 14
continues the thought of verse 13. The thought moves
from "honey" that is sweet to the taste to the much
deeper satisfaction of attaining "wisdom," whose
satisfaction reaches to the very depths of our being,
and is "sweet to the soul."

So enjoy the physical blessings of life, such as honey;
but don't forget to satisfy the heart with blessings
for the soul too.

This Little Light Of Mine

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel - NO!
I'm gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel - NO!
I'm gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine over the whole wide world,
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine over the whole wide world,
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy Wednesday

Do Not Sleep
 Charles Haddon Spurgeon
"Let us not sleep, as do others." --1 Thessalonians 5:6 
There are many ways of promoting Christian wakefulness. Among the rest, let me strongly advise Christians to converse together concerning the ways of the Lord. Christian and Hopeful, as they journeyed towards the Celestial City, said to themselves, "To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse." Christian enquired, "Brother, where shall we begin?" And Hopeful answered, "Where God began with us." Then Christian sang this song-- 

"When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb'ring eyes.
Saints' fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell."

Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone, are very liable to grow drowsy. Hold Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress in the road to heaven. But as you thus take "sweet counsel" with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your converse is the Lord Jesus. Let the eye of faith be constantly looking unto Him; let your heart be full of Him; let your lips speak of His worth. Friend, live near to the cross, and thou wilt not sleep. Labour to impress thyself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which thou art going. If thou rememberest that thou art going to heaven, thou wilt not sleep on the road. If thou thinkest that hell is behind thee, and the devil pursuing thee, thou wilt not loiter. Would the manslayer sleep with the avenger of blood behind him, and the city of refuge before him? Christian, wilt thou sleep whilst the pearly gates are open--the songs of angels waiting for thee to join them--a crown of gold ready for thy brow? Ah! no; in holy fellowship continue to watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.

The King is Coming
(Bill Gaither)

Praise God, He's coming for me

The marketplace is empty, no more traffic in the street
All the builder's tools are silent, no more time to harvest wheat
Busy housewives cease their labor, in the courtroom no debate
Work on earth has been suspended as the King comes through the gate

Happy faces line the hallway, those whose lives have been redeemed
Broken homes He has mended, those from prison He has freed
Little children and the aged hand in hand stand all a-glow
Who were crippled, broken, ruined, clad in garments white as snow

The King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpet sounding and soon His face I'll see
The King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He's coming for me

I can hear the chariot's rumble, I can see the marching throng
And the flurry of God's trumpet spells the end of sin and wrong
Regal rolls are now unfolded, heaven's grandstands all in place
Heaven's choir is now assembled, start to sing "Amazing Grace"

Repeat Chorus (x2)

Praise God, He's coming for me, for me, for me

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happy Tuesday

No Doubt
Charles H. Spurgeon
"Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation." --Psalm 35:3 

What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my evening's petition; but first let it yield me an instructive meditation. The text informs me first of all that David had his doubts; for why should he pray, "Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation," if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only saint who has to complain of weakness of faith. If David doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I have doubts. The text reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he repaired at once to the mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine gold. I too must labour after an abiding sense of my acceptance in the Beloved, and must have no joy when His love is not shed abroad in my soul. When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul must and will fast. I learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying, "Say unto my soul I am thy salvation." 

I must be much alone with God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus' love. Let my prayers cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress. I notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source. "Say unto my soul." Lord, do Thou say it ! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it. "Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation." Lord, if Thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless Thou shouldst say it to me. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not Thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, "I am thy salvation." Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am Thine, and that Thou art mine.

Precious Lord Take My Hand

Words & music by Thomas A. Dorsey

            Precious Lord, take my hand
            Lead me on, let me stand
            I'm tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
            Through the storm, through the night
            Lead me on to the light
            Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
            When my way grows drear precious Lord linger near
            When my life is almost gone
            Hear my cry, hear my call
            Hold my hand lest I fall
            Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
            When the darkness appears and the night draws near
            And the day is past and gone
            At the river I stand
            Guide my feet, hold my hand
            Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
            Precious Lord, take my hand
            Lead me on, let me stand
            I'm tired, I’m weak, Lord I’m worn
            Through the storm, through the night
            Lead me on to the light
            Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Monday

A Lesson from Pelagius

"Are you so foolish? After beginning with The Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"
Galatians 3:3, NIV

Paul did not beat around the bush when he addressed the Galatian believers. They were making a grave mistake. Having started off right by believing in the grace of God they were starting to change their course. They were trying to maintain a good standing with God through their own efforts – an impossibility with God, which Paul called foolish!

The fact is it’s easy for us to repeat their error. It’s so tempting to rely on our own efforts - even if it’s only a little bit- for being right with God! Paul’s warnings are as relevant for us today as they were for the Christians back then. The problem with allowing any room for our own merits is the truth that ‘A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough’ (Galatians 5:9). When we start to rely just a little bit on our own efforts to stay holy or to be righteous, then this will start to work its way through the whole of our lives. The inevitable result is that we end up increasingly losing sight of God’s grace.

Quite recently I realized how easy it is to fall into this trap. I was reading a book which traced the developments of Christian doctrine throughout history. Around the fourth Century a man named Pelagius arose, who opposed Augustine’s teachings on free will and grace. In essence Pelagius laid a strong emphasis on our role as individuals to choose to be saved, whereas Augustine had emphasized God’s grace in choosing us and in giving us the grace to believe in Jesus.

Sadly the teachings of Pelagius gained ground in the western Church and allowed more and more room for human merit. Things got so bad one could even ‘purchase’ one’s way into heaven! But finally the Reformers came along and convinced the Church of the all-important grace of God. John Calvin said “The Gospel rules out any thing that man might add.” How true!

If we have in any way tried to add to Jesus’ work on the cross, by seeking to be righteous through our own efforts, let’s ask God for our own personal reformation! Let’s ask God to bring us back to the freedom and joy of relying only on His grace. For His grace is sufficient!

Prayer: Father, I ask You to forgive me for trying to be righteous in my own strength instead of wholly depending on Jesus. Please help me to be completely dependent on Your grace. I thank You that Your grace is enough for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Today's Writer : Peter Brokaar

Grace Alone
I was an orphan lost at the fall
Running away when I'd hear your call
But Father, you worked your will

I had no righteousness of my own
I had no right to draw near your throne
But Father, you loved me still

And in love before you laid the world's foundation
You predestined to adopt me as your own
You have raised me so high u above my station
I'm a child of God by grace and grace alone

You left your home to seek out the lost
You knew the great and terrible cost
But Jesus, your face was set

I worked my fingers down to the bone
Nothing I did could ever atone
But Jesus, you paid my debt

By your blood I have redemption and salvation
Lord, you died that I might reap what you have sown
And you rose that I might be a new creation
I am born again by grace and grace alone

I was in darkness all of my life
I never knew the day from the night
But Spirit, you made me see

I swore I knew the way on my own
Head full of rocks, a heart made of stone
But Spirit, you moved in me

At your touch my sleeping spirit was awakened
On my darkened heart the light of Christ has shone
Called into a kingdom that cannot be shaken
Heaven's citizen by grace and grace alone

So I'll stand in faith by grace and grace alone
I will run the race by grace and grace alone
I will slay my sin by grace and grace alone
I will reach the end by grace and grace alone