Monday, March 31, 2014

Our Provider

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread of heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:32-35

I love to sit down at the dinner table with my family. While it doesn't happen as often as it used to, there's nothing better than time spent with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren over a good meal. And there's almost nothing better than Virginia's cooking. It's the best around! With every bite, you can almost feel the warmth take over your body and soul.

What's interesting is that this scenario is completely opposite from what takes place when a human being goes for days or months without food. The body goes into starvation mode breaking down fat and muscles for energy. Diseases are more apt to take over and other symptoms begin to take effect: irritation, fatigue, pain, depression, personality changes, hysteria, and eventually death.

I think it says something that Jesus called Himself the bread of life and the living water (see John 4:1-26) numerous times in Scripture.

He said, "Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:49-51).

Yes, Jesus is our salvation. He does provide eternal life when we enter into a personal relationship with Him. But we are also to fellowship with Him in prayer, His Word, and community with other believers in order to nourish and sustain our spiritual lives.

Challenge yourself to spend time in God's Word each day. Take in one bite at a time and enjoy the consistency and flavor of it. Drink in the presence of Jesus during your prayer time and fellowship with other believers at His table.

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Jesus, nourish my soul with Your Word. Fill my cup with Your presence. Give me sweet fellowship and communion with You and other members of God's family.

Slow Church Movement Fights the 'McDonaldization' of Church

Bob Smietana | USA Today | Friday, March 28, 2014
Slow Church Movement Fights the 'McDonaldization' of Church

A mega-church pastor has come under fire of that for allegedly claiming Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Critics have taken aim at Brian Houston, pastor of the 30,000-member Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australian for comments he made in a December 2013 sermon titled "Living for the Master's Well Done, Part 1.”

"Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God,” Houston said. “Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God. And of course through history, those views have changed greatly. But let's make sure that we view God through the eyes of Jesus, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the beauty of a Savior, the loving open inclusive arms of a loving God. And that way we'll lead out of that and you'll be purposeful about your leadership and you'll draw people just like the Lord Jesus always does through the power of the Holy Spirit."

According to Christian Post some Christian leaders claim Houston is promoting a new theological concept known as “Chrislam” which blends the two world religions of Christianity and Muslim.

Houston refutes such claims. He released a statement Friday clarifying his comments.

“Recently there have been false claims on social media that I believe Muslims and Christians worship the same God. This is incorrect. Those propagating these false statements have taken one sentence from an entire message out of context. I realize that some critics WANT to believe their interpretation, but my prayer is that reasonable people will take my comment in context, accept my acknowledgment that I did not explain this sentence as I intended, and judge me on 40 years of pointing people to Jesus - not one sentence.

For further clarification, here is the context of my message:

King David said about His God in Psalm 119:68, "you ARE good and you DO good". Who David believed God IS, determined what He Believed God DOES. The spirit of the message was exactly the opposite of what some critics are claiming. If you listened to the message in its entirety, my point was that; who a Muslim extremist believes God is, determines what they believe God does, and what they believe God loves.

I was contrasting their harsh perspective of (their) god, with who I believe God is - (a Loving God, the Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ) and therefore what I believe God does and what I believe God loves. The ONE sentence that critics are drawing huge conclusions from was clearly a (clumsy) way of me explaining that though both Christians and Muslims believe they serve the God of Abraham, they are very DIFFERENT 'entities' or 'deities' in both nature and action.

I have always believed and will always believe that there is only one Way to God and that is through His Son, Christ Jesus. I also believe that anyone – irrespective of their religious upbringing, culture or background – can find grace, peace, freedom and eternal life through Christ.”

Have a Fantastic Monday,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring brings a glimpse of Christ’s resurrection power

“ I want to Christ and the power of his resurrection...”  — Phillipians 10:13 ( NIV)

As I looked at the computer screen saver, I saw a picture my husband had taken last year of three bald-headed, baby birds still in the nest. It brought back memories of last spring, when a  mother robin  built her nest on the down spout of our neighbor’s garage. Each time I looked out my kitchen window I could see the circular bundle of twigs, bark, and grass nestled on top of the elbow of gutter pipe.

It wasn’t hard to recognize because I’d seen robin’s nests before. Each time I spotted one I looked with anticipation hoping to find some eggs inside. However, I’d never had the pleasure of witnessing life inside those nests. But this one was different. It wasn’t an empty decoy. There were three tiny eggs snuggling side-by-side in the bottom, as if they were being held in the palm of God’s hand.

I took my binoculars and eagerly watched each day for signs of life to resurrect from this group of miniature eggs. Then one day, I watched with delight as a newborn bird stretched it’s skinny neck up over the top of the nest. Before I knew it, there was a threesome bobbing up and down, with their tiny beaks wide open, crying for their mother to bring them some  food.

Within days, their little heads were sprouting fuzz. It seemed almost overnight that feathers emerged from their barren wings. Jeff snapped pictures, as we watched in wonder how the baby birds transformed from barren and bald, to a state of beauty. Watching them resurrect from eggs to living creatures was a breathtaking experience.

Spring is the season we celebrate the Easter holiday. It commemorates God’s display of power in Christ’s resurrection from death to new life. I think God planned it that way. Watching creation emerge all around us each spring, gives us a glimpse of the miracle of His resurrection power.

Annettee Budzban is a newspaper religion columnist, freelance writer and author. She has been published in Christian magazines such as guideposts Angels on Earth, Stewardship, Standard, and many more. Her writings have also been many popular anthologies such as a Cup of Comfort, Chicken Soup,God's Way books and others. Her books when Heaven Whispers and Inspirations to Restore Your Soul can be ordered on -line in any bookstore. Her e-mail is    

Pakistani Christian Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

Carrie Dedrick | Editor, | Friday, March 28, 2014

The Pakistani court found Sawan Masih guilty of blasphemy on Thursday and sentenced him to the death penalty. The Christian sanitation worker had been accused of speaking against the Prophet Muhammad in March 2013 by a Muslim friend.

According to The New York Times, the friend informed authorities that Masih had insulted Muhammad during an argument. The accusation caused an uproar in which riots swarmed the Christian neighborhood of Joseph Colony in Lahore. Residents fled the area as 170 houses were burned along with two churches.

While an execution has never been performed in Pakistan for a blasphemy charge, recently elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has voiced his public support of capital punishment.

Masih’s lawyer will be appealing the sentence to the Lahore High Court.

Masih says that he has been falsely charged so that Christians will leave the Joseph Colony area, making it available for industrial development.

“They hatched a conspiracy to push out the residents of the colony,” Masih said in a  statement. “They contrived a case and got it filed by a person who was close to me. I am innocent.”

Human rights groups say that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been used in the past by individuals with personal vendettas settle scores with another. Some accused of blasphemy are attacked and murdered by vigilantes before cases come to trial.

Pray for the persecuted Christians of the World... 
Have a Blessed Sunday,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Not of Works, But of Faith

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17

Martin Luther struggled with the book of James because he felt that the book discredited grace. After he, himself, tried to work so hard to prove his own faith, Luther came to the conclusion that salvation is by grace alone. He also realized that even our works are an act of God's grace. Verses like those above stumbled him because earlier in his life he tried to earn his salvation and to prove his faith through works, instead of grace.  It is not works that save or justify or affirm your faith; it is a result of your faith that you desire to work for the things of God. When Luther ended up exhausted, burned out and lacking peace in his works, then he let faith be his guide to do what God called him to do. The Reformation is a result of his faith, not of his work. The Reformation resulted as a work of God through the faith of Martin Luther.

As the Bible says, God causes all things to work together for good. Today, there are countless churches and denominations reaching the world through the means and convictions that God has placed on each one's heart. God works through movements in His churches, but His works are still accomplished through individuals.   That work is a result of the outpouring of love we have for the Lord. His burden is easy and His yoke is light. Titus 3:5 says "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us," meaning that we do works of righteousness but those deeds are a result of God's mercy, saving us and then working in us through faith. Today, allow the Lord to develop and strengthen your faith. Rest in His saving mercy and He will accomplish His work through your faith.What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 
James 2:14-17 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A True Disciple

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:4

... When my hair began to turn gray, and it was evident I'd been around a long time, people began asking me, "How are Christians today different from Christians when you came to Christ?" My answer is always the same: Today's Christians are far better trained to serve the Lord. There are conferences, seminars, and workshops available today that were unheard of in my early years. There's also one thing lacking: the intense hunger for holiness that was in the lives of Christians a few decades ago.

Paul told the Romans, "I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil" (Romans 16:19, KJV). The word translated simple also is translated guileless and innocent! The word doesn't come from the field of religion but from the study of metal. There are pure metals--gold, iron--and there are mixed metals--steel, bronze. And that's the word Paul uses to mean unmixed regarding evil.

... To the Greeks in Corinth, he spelled it out by asking them five questions recorded in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16: What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and [Satan]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?

... It's clear, isn't it? You can't mix light with darkness, or Christ with Satan. And to make this point, Paul never hesitated to go head-on against the culture in which these new converts were living. He warned them that God had called them to holiness in a culture where chastity was an absolutely unknown virtue. Christian, take your stand. Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.


"Lord, create in me a hunger for holiness in my life.  Amen."

... Is the light of Christ in you so bright that it's like a beacon in this dark world?

Ed Chandler

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Happy Friday, The Weekend is almost here... 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Leaving the Light

Today's Scripture: Hosea 7-8

"This is the verdict: Light had come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." - John 3:19

For those people who think that the God of the Old  Testament is a God of wrath and judgment, with no mix of compassion and love, I recommend reading the book of Hosea. Admittedly, God does eventually unleash His wrath on those who disobey, but it is not His first impulse.

Day after day, sometimes year after year, He pleads with His people to repent and turn to Him. But finally the day of reckoning comes. In the section of Scripture before us, we find these words: "I wrote for them the many things of my law, but they regarded them as something alien" (Hosea 8:12). God had become a stranger--an alien--among His own people. Hosea records that the Word of God did not fit the people's lifestyle. They were glued to their idols. Sin and immorality were the order of the day. At long last these people had made their final decision: sin, rather than God.

You can be assured that the final act on their part did not happen overnight. It was a long time coming. And it started with a slight deviation from the path--a small sin, an act that looked quite harmless. But it resulted in disorder. So Hosea makes this chilling statement: "My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations" (9:17 KJV).

Christian, take stock. Are you toying with something that displeases the Lord? Take steps to nip it in the bud. Put it to death before it gets a stranglehold on your life.


Lord, have mercy on my wayward heart and draw me back to You. Great is Your faithfulness to me. Amen.

To Ponder

Does my lifestyle fit with God's Word?
Ed Chandler 

May your day be filled with joy... Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

There Is Power In The Blood

 by Ed Chandler
...While perusing through a Christian Hymnal, I came to a realization that there is a wealth of "Gospel" in the hymns that we Christians sing.  From The Old Rugged Cross to Power in the Blood ... we sing about Jesus and His love for us.... what incredible LOVE!
...Most of the hymns we sing are truly "All About Jesus"... I don't know what YOUR favorite hymn is, but, as I went from hymn to hymn, it occurred to me that I have many favorites.

...Basically, I prefer hymns and songs that tell of the saving Grace of God and the POWER of the blood of Jesus to cleanse us of our sin.   Hymns that tell of SALVATION by the shed blood of Jesus.... of LIFE after death ... eternal LIFE with Jesus!

...Hymns that LIFT UP the name of Jesus and Glorify our Lord and Savior.  I feel led to begin a series about the time-honored hymns and spirituals, which I believe have been given to the various song writers by Almighty God Himself, to help us to WORSHIP God for WHO HE IS.

... God lives in our PRAYERS and WORSHIP ... HE demands that we sing PRAISES to Him!  Scripture tells us that if we do not WORSHIP GOD, the hills and mountains will clap their hands in PRAISE to Almighty God!

... Truly, all creation is admonished to WORSHIP GOD in some form or fashion.  One of the FIRST HYMNS that I learned to love after becoming a child of the Living God more than fifty years ago, was introduced to me by a dear Methodist friend.   It tells of the wonderful cleansing power of the Blood Of Christ... YES, There is truly POWER IN THE BLOOD!

... "Would you be free from your burden of sin?  There's POWER in the BLOOD, POWER in the Blood.
Would you over evil a victory to win?  There's wonderful POWER in The BLOOD.

... There is POWER, POWER, wonder working POWER in the BLOOD of the LAMB, There is POWER, POWER wonder working POWER in the precious blood of the LAMB!

... Friend, if that don't light your fire, your wood is wet!

...   Many songs have been given to us about the POWER of the BLOOD of Jesus to CLEANSE us from SIN.  I am at a loss to name my FAVORITE... they are all so marvelous!  Perhaps YOU will tell me what YOUR favorite hymn is... I would appreciate that very much.

... Scripture tells us that without the shedding of blood, there can be no cleansing from sin ... In the old testament, we had the shed blood of animals ... and burnt offerings.  The NEW TESTAMENT brings salvation and cleansing from sin by the shed blood on that Old Rugged Cross by none other than the Son of God, Jesus, our Redeemer.

...   Jesus shed His blood that you and I might LIVE!  Jesus became sin in our place!  Such incredible LOVE... AGAPE LOVE!

... Oh, what a Savior!  Because Jesus shed His blood on that cross at Calvary, you and I can claim VICTORY over death!  We call it SALVATION through the shed blood of Christ, plus NOTHING we can do to deserve or earn salvation!

...   It is a free gift, bought and paid for by God... WHY?  because God desires that NONE should perish, but that all might be SAVED!  GOD IS LOVE!

"Thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving even me ... so much that you would have died on that cross if I was the only sinner in this world!  Lord Jesus, I love you and want to serve you.  I want to be in Your perfect will at all times.  Help me, Jesus, to be your vessel here on earth, filled with Your Holy Spirit ... ready to say, Here am I, Oh Lord... send ME.  May I ever proclaim to "whosoever" that JESUS SAVES."

... YES, there is POWER in the BLOOD OF CHRIST!  Now, GO and TELL somebody where they, too, can find LIFE ... EVERLASTING LIFE IN JESUS!

... You may reply to this email with YOUR FAVORITE HYMN or SONG.  I will share it with "whosoever"...

Grace to you and yours ABUNDANTLY!
Have A Blessed Day and Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Recipe for Misery

Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

“...remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35  

Unhappiness comes from mirrors. Happiness comes from windows.

If you want to be miserable, then think about yourself first...what you want, what people are saying about you, what you ought to have done for you, how down you feel, how good you feel. Just focus on yourself.

Feeling good yet? If you are, then something is wrong. Selfishness and happiness just don’t go hand in hand. If you are thinking it is better to receive than to give, you’ll never be happy. You’ll never experience the blessing of giving that Jesus taught.

Hold out your hand and make a fist for at least one minute. Now, relax. Which feels better? Now imagine if your spirit is tight and how that will quench His work in your life.

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, March 24, 2014

Voices of Accusation

by Melissa Taylor
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)
Do you ever hear the whisper of condemnation? It hisses: you're not what you should be ... your past sins define you ... you'll never change.
Unfortunately I do. Self-condemnation is a default for me. If I let it, it can wipe out my confidence as a woman, wife and mom.
Thankfully, I'm just as familiar with God's truth as I am with Satan's lies. My heart has heard Jesus' gentle reminders of His love and goodness, like "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
Although I know this truth God speaks over me, I've learned it's up to me to respond correctly. If I don't keep my ears tuned to His voice and my mind set on His thoughts, I forget God's truths.
Condemning thoughts come back and drown out the confidence I have through Christ.
One morning I was struggling with self-condemning thoughts when I read these words written in my morning devotion: "Do not listen to voices of accusation for they are not from Me [God]."*
I opened my journal and responded from my heart:
Hello Lord, I often feel disappointed in my decisions and who I am and call myself names. But my negative thoughts aren't the only ones I hear. My feelings have been hurt by someone else's comments that cut me down and stole my confidence. Instead of feeling worthy, I feel like a loser. I hear You telling me not to listen to voices of accusation. Thank You for this reminder right when I needed it.
The devotion continued, "Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me."
Again, I reached out to God:
Lord, I spoke unkind words back to my friend. Thank You for gently reminding me to "pause before responding." You are so faithful to remind me of what You want from me.
If left to defend ourselves from self-condemnation or the condemnation of others, we'd be defeated every time. Thankfully, we have the greatest defender in God and His Word. His truths re-build the confidence that condemnation breaks down.
Our part is to know God's promises and believe and apply them! Staying saturated in His Word and taking time to listen to the Holy Spirit is the best way to overcome condemnation. We can supplement these through reading devotions, digging into books on our specific area of struggle, and participating in Bible studies. All these things help re-build our confidence that is in Christ.
As we take the time to listen to Him today, let's ask God to remind us that He is with us; He loves us, and His Word is true: "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." That means you and me!
Dear Lord, when I forget, please remind me that because of the cross and because You are my Savior, I am not condemned. Help me keep my eyes and thoughts on You. And to accept Your Word as truth so my confidence stays strong in You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Happy Monday,

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Going Solo

by Lynn Cowell
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
The toll of an emotionally draining week had reached its peak. Though I was trying to use various diversions to clear my mind, my thoughts were overpowering. All I wanted was to curl up in a ball and fall apart. Worry was winning.
My husband sensed the pain that was showing from my welling eyes. Like any good friend, he asked, "What's going on?"
Determined to keep my composure, I chose to fight my battle alone. "I'm okay" slid out before I caught my lie.
Minutes later he asked again, "What's wrong?" My resolve couldn't hold up any longer and I blubbered, "I just can't get past this anxiety." Greg listened as the thoughts swirling in my mind came out. After I emptied my heart, he shared a story from Scripture, which helped me override my stress with thankfulness and trust.
I am so glad the Lord preserved stories in the Bible of those who had issues as well. During this hard season I was in, Greg reminded me of Elijah. Like Elijah, sometimes when I struggle, I opt to struggle alone.
In 1 Kings 19:3, even after seeing God work miracles, Elijah was undone by a threat. A queen was trying to kill him and he decided the way out was to run.
We get a look into his thought process in 1 Kings 19:3-4, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'" (NIV)
I don't blame Elijah one bit for running when trouble hit. I have that instinct myself some days. Running to social media or a chocolate goodie when my emotions are a jumbled mess is the easiest way out—at least temporarily.
Where Elijah missed it, and I did too on my bad day, was when he chose to go solo.
Elijah had a servant who was traveling with him, but he left the servant behind. He went farther into the desert alone, where his emotions only turned darker.
Elijah and I both could have used the truth in Ecclesiastes 4, "Two are better than one ... if either of them falls down, one can help the other up." When we share our troubles with another godly friend, she can often help us to see what we cannot. Her different perspective opens a new way of thinking that can lead to hope and faith and away from despair.
When you add the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to that friendship, Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us our relationships become "... a cord of three strands... not quickly broken." Our pain, when shared, can be transformed to peace. Strength can take the place of sorrow.
I eased my stress that difficult week by sharing my worries with my husband. Thankfully he directed me to God's Word where I found hope and encouragement in the midst of my anxiety. Is there a burden you are carrying that would be lighter if you shared it with someone? Make a way today to allow them to help you handle your load.
Jesus, thank You that You have given us the gift of relationships. Give us the wisdom to know when and with whom to share our personal problems. Please strengthen us so we can help strengthen another. Amen.
Happy Sunday - One of Seven LORD'S Days Each Week

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

“The difference between Christianity and every other faith in the world is that all other religions are
about man trying to reach up to God. 

Christianity is about God reaching down to man.”
 When we think of religion, what comes to  mind—a set of rules, regulations and obligations, or a deep and intimate relationship with God?

Religion is information about our God, our Lord.  The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods:

Relationship with our Lord, our God.   The kind of intense bond that no outside force can break.   It's a deep-down peace we will never experience except through loving our God, our Lord.

Jesus practiced a relationship with His Father and then offered that to us. The Jews offered religion.  Walking softly in condemning the religion of the Jews as the religion the Jews practiced was the religion that God had given them. It wasn't religion itself that was the problem. It was something else, something that makes the offer of a relationship with God appealing in contrast to what seemed like the empty rigors of religion and ritual. Today when planting a seed in someone, seems this is a big drawback.  "No, it's not like that," we say, "not all those rules, all those do's and don'ts, all that religion. This is a relationship."  Christianity does have rules, it does have do's and don'ts. It is a religion. But it was never meant to be just information, and that's where this slogan touches on truth.   A man knows his wife well not just because he can rattle off a series of facts about her (even a stranger can do that), but because he's deeply acquainted with her person on a day to day basis. Yet even so, there have been periods in the history of the church when true knowledge of God has given way to mere information about Him.  We must have peace with God before we can have the peace of God, and there's a profound difference.

Yes, Christianity is a religion, but it's true religion. True religion produces right relationship to God which leads to right experience and right intimate relationship with God.

Happy Saturday,

Friday, March 21, 2014

But I Have a Right to Be Angry

by Tracie Miles
"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires." (James 1:19–20 NLT)
I had been lied to, betrayed, and hurt. I was angry and felt I had every right to be. Anger crushed my desire to forgive. Although I'd asked God to fill my heart with mercy, I kept a running mental list of justifications for my anger that overrode my empty prayers.
My internal dialogue was one big argument. One voice tried to convince me I was justified in remaining angry; another voice tried to persuade me that mercy was the right choice. For months, the loudest voice was the one that indulged my damaged emotions: Yes, I have a right to be angry. Anyone would agree.
Listening to the voice of bitterness and unforgiveness, I often lashed out with impatience and meanness. I could play the good Christian girl for short periods of time, but if something triggered my suppressed emotions, hostility and resentment catapulted to the surface.
Reading Scripture one morning, I sensed God inviting me to consider the direction my anger was taking me and the damage it was doing. As I read the words from James 1, I couldn't help but notice how it says "everyone" should be slow to speak and slow to anger. This truth from God's Word left no room for my excuses or righteous indignation, even though I felt like my anger was justified. And then a few verses later, I read this: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22).
From a worldly perspective, I knew I had every right to be angry. But from God's perspective, my anger only added to the sin of the situation. My refusal to extend the same mercy and forgiveness God had given me was preventing me from living out the gospel.
Through the words of James, God softened my heart. I acknowledged that although I said I'd forgiven this person with my words, I had not forgiven with my heart—and it was time to do so and move on.
In every area of life, including managing our most powerful emotions, God tells us to be quick to listen (to Him and others), slow to speak, and slow to become angry. As we apply these practices in our relationships, we become doers of His Word, not just hearers, and that leads to the righteousness God desires.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for harboring anger. Equip me with a supernatural ability to forgive those who have hurt me. Guard my heart when old emotions threaten to surface. Strip my heart of anger and replace it with joy. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Anger only worsens any situation, but selfless forgiveness brings freedom. We are all called to forgive even when wronged, just as God forgives us.
Whom have you been harboring anger toward or withholding forgiveness from? Have these feelings caused you to feel bitter?

Have A Great Weekend,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Open Door

Walk through His open doors, 
step completely through them 
with the confident strides of faith.
Stay put in His place and
don’t pine for something different,
thrive there and abide there.
It is His perfect place for you.

Have a Heavenly Day
God has provided an opened door into His appointed place for us.  That also means there is a door that God has closed to us that cannot be opened by us or anyone else.  There is no need for us to strive or push hard to try and open the door into God’s given place. He will open the right door for us at the right time, we are not strong enough to open any door that God wants shut to us, and we are not wise enough to know which door He wants to open.  His open door will bring us into a place of grace, a place of faith, and a place of dependency upon Him in all things. It is the best place, the good place, the safe place, the blessed place, the anointed place.
Once God has opened the door for us, we don't need to ever be anxious about trying to keep it open. He doesn’t want us to be in His appointed place and live with the worry that someone might steal it from us, destroy it, or ruin it. The enemy may try to scare us out of our place or discourage us with the thought that either our place is too small for us, we deserve something greater or that our place is too great for us and something we can’t handle.  People may try to intimidate, harass, mock, tempt us, or try to talk us out of our place, but we don't need to listen to the voices that want to keep us from abiding and thriving in God’s appointed place.  No matter what you do, don’t ignore your open door of opportunity. Don’t let procrastination or indifference steal your time, instead, seek God’s strength as you step forward It's such a comfort to know that our loving Heavenly Father keeps them open for us and will eventually welcome us all to our Heavenly Home.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In the Midst of Dirty Dishes

by Sharon Glasgow
"Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: ... whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4:9–11 ESV)
She and her husband had been missionaries for over sixty years and led countless people to Christ. Now she was in her eighties and still serving. My friend Sheli and I were honored to stay with her for a week to minister alongside her.
After traveling thirty hours to her home in Takamatsu, Japan, we arrived late in the evening. She ushered us into her kitchen for a hearty meal, then prayed for us before we all went to bed. When the sun was barely up the next morning, we feasted on an enormous breakfast in her tiny kitchen.
The kitchen was crowded, her appliances old and worn, dishes piled high in the sink from her lavish food preparation—yet the atmosphere felt entirely like home. As she and her husband read Scripture and encouraged us, tears welled up in my eyes, the love of Christ enveloped us; it overwhelmed me.
Immediately after breakfast, she began cooking again, this time for 100 women. She'd rented a banquet hall and invited friends, telling them an American would be speaking and there would be food. We cooked, set up tables for the luncheon, and then I was ushered to the front to speak. Her objective in hosting the event was to build a bridge in hopes that those who came for lunch would come back again for church on Sunday. Many did!
While driving home after the lunch, she told me she'd invited a large group to the house for dinner that night. I couldn't imagine how we could clean up the mess we'd left behind and simultaneously prepare another meal. How would we get it all done? She didn't seem concerned. Instead, she was fueled by the energy of what the Lord had done at the luncheon.
There have been times I've worried more about my kitchen than how I can serve others. I fret over the size and messiness. But I was inspired as I watched this woman who had no concerns about the dirty pots in her sink. She didn't let an unswept floor keep her from ministering. She set the table beautifully and welcomed her guests. She and her husband prayed and read Scripture. Hearts melted.
Years have passed since that week in Japan and I think of her whenever I have company. Over the course of her life, she has ministered to thousands in her home, and many have come to know Jesus there. Her ministry has nothing to do with a spotless kitchen. In fact, her kitchen was a mess. But whenever God opens a window of opportunity, she seizes it.
I want my service to be like that described by the apostle Peter, grounded "in the strength that God supplies." I want to long for people to know Jesus more than I long for the perfect kitchen.
God cares more about what's happening among the people in our kitchen than He cares about the state of it. My missionary friend taught me that it is possible to share God's love, demonstrate His character, and offer hospitality, even in the midst of dirty dishes.
Dear Lord, show me ways to serve through the resources You've given me. Help me care more about people than things like dirty dishes. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Have a Blessed Day,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


"Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no-one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning" (Jeremiah 9:4-5 NIV).
The life of an average Jew in the time of Jeremiah was so deteriorated and corrupted that it was difficult to trust a fellow Jew. Each one was doing what seemed right in his eyes. The political leaders had abandoned the living God for worthless gods. Even the religious leaders were not trustworthy as they were misleading the people with false prophecies. Isaiah depicted this dishonest situation thus, "So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice" (Isaiah 59:14-15 NIV). This situation made Jeremiah to warn the people to beware of their friends and not to trust any brother (Jeremiah 9:4-5).
Prophet Micah, who lived sometime before prophet Jeremiah, also had a similar warning. Hear him, "Do not trust a neighbour; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words. For a son dishonours his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies are the members of his own household" (Micah 7:5-6 NIV).
Are these warnings relevant today to us as they were to the people of Judah? Have honesty, truth and righteousness not been relegated to oblivion? Can we trust our friends, neighbors, co-workers, siblings and even our spouses today? Can my friends, siblings, neighbors, co-workers, as well as my spouse trust me?
These are thought-provoking questions in our present-day society that have deteriorated morally with all sorts of atrocities in the name of civilization, rationalization and liberalization.
However, "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24 NIV). This Friend can be trusted at all time even when all others have disappointed you. The friend is Jesus Christ (see John 15:13-15). While you may find it difficult or cautious to trust a friend, put your total trust in Jesus Christ. You will never regret you did.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday's Thought for Today

"Have some of your carefully created castles been washed away? Mine have. Several times along my life's journey, I had nowhere to turn except into my heavenly Father's arms. There I remained quiet, soaking up his love for as long as I needed. Then I saw his hand begin a new creation for my life, a new direction, a new service for him and his kingdom. Waves need not always destroy. We must allow our heavenly Father to use them to redirect our lives." - Jean Otto

Your Beloved?

by Henry Mahan

Every soul has a beloved; something or someone in which to glory, rejoice, and enjoy.

With some it is THE WORLD.
(its vanity, materialism, and honors) .

With others it is THE FLESH.
They live to entertain the flesh, to satisfy the flesh, and to pamper the flesh.

With others it is THE FAMILY.
Close and distant relatives, family trees, family reunions make up their past, present, and future.

With others it is RELIGION and works of righteousness.
Their religion is not a PERSON; it is a CAUSE to which they are devoted in hope of a suitable reward.

And with some it is SELF,
pure and simple; what can we do for me?

To a believer, it is CHRIST!
He worships, loves, rejoices, and glories in the Lord Jesus above all things.

Christ is my Beloved and I am His.

Christ; His fellowship, His love, and His approval, are preferred above people, possessions, pleasures, or pursuits. Could One so illustrious and supreme deserve any less?

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside You!" {Psalm 73:25}

Sunday, March 16, 2014

David, adulterer, "A man after God's own heart" WHY

David, adulterer, "A man after God's own heart" WHY

"There is none righteous, no not one" Rom 3:10. No one is perfect, he knew it and God knows it and so do we. If being perfect is a qualification for being used, we are all sunk.
Psalm 51 gives the answers.

He did not play the blame game, "For I acknowledge my transgressions" Ps 51:3. Remember Adam? He tried to lay the blame on Eve. "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat" Gen. 3:12.. Then Eve blamed the serpent, "The serpent beguiled  me and I did eat" 3:13. The all American game today is the blame game. STOP IT. "Judge yourself"  1 C or 11:31 "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" "Confess that sin" 1 John 1:9 and "forsake it" Pro 28:13. Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery and to you and me, "go and sin no more" don't do it again John 8:11.

You can be a man after God's own heart today. 

Follow David's example.  You can still be used of God as David and Peter, who denied the Lord, was used on the day of Pentecost.

Father, bless Your dear child who has stumbled and feels they cannot be used by You. Restore them and use them. In Jesus name.

Have a Blessed Sunday,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Cruel Death

[Jesus said]: "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."  --John 5:24

Early in Julius Caesar's political career, the people of Rome hated him so badly that he thought it best to leave his country. He sailed for the Aegean island of Rhodes, but on the way pirates attacked his ship and Caesar was captured.

The pirates demanded a ransom of 12,000 gold pieces, and Caesar's staff was sent to make the arrangements for payment. For almost 40 days, the pirates held Caesar captive.

He would jokingly tell them that he would someday capture and crucify them. The amused kidnappers dismissed his threats. But when the ransom was paid and Caesar was released, the first thing he did was gather his army together to pursue the pirates.

The pirates indeed were captured and crucified!

This was the Romans' attitude toward crucifixion. This cruel death was reserved only for the worst criminals. It was meant to show extreme contempt for the condemned. And the pain and humiliation experienced by someone crucified by the Romans was unmatched by any other.

They condemned and humiliated the person and name of Jesus thousands of years ago just as many people do today. And even though He died a lowly death, we as believers can rejoice in knowing that "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans

Jesus died for the sins of all--including those who beat Him and nailed Him to the cross. You may know of someone today who doesn't know Jesus. Will you be the one to tell them about the forgiveness He gives? Will you be the one who points them toward eternal life through Jesus?

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Ask the Lord to bring someone into your life who you can share the story of His death, burial, and resurrection, and the price He paid for their sins.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Difficult Times

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. -Isaiah 64:8

During the Great Depression, a good man lost his job, used up all his savings, and forfeited his home. His grief was multiplied by the sudden death of his wife just weeks later. The only thing he had left was his faith, and it had been weakened.

One day, the man walked about looking for work when he stopped to watch some men doing stonework on a church building. One of the men skillfully chiseled a triangular piece of rock that didn't seem to fit in the formation they were creating. So the man shouted to the artist, "Where are you going to put that?"

The man pointed toward the top of the building and said, "See that opening up there near the spire? That's where it goes. I'm shaping it down here so it will fit up there."

Tears filled the poor man's eyes as he walked away. The worker's words rang clear and spoke deeply to his heart giving new meaning to his difficult situation.

You may be reading this and going through a difficult time yourself right now. It may be something even too troubling to talk to anyone about. But you can know for certain "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Each blow of the hammer and chisel in your life may hurt.

But have faith. These difficulties are only temporary! Sometimes the most painful blows bring about the greatest inner strength. Keep praying and believing that the Master is shaping you down here so you will be fit up there.

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Ask the Lord to turn your tragedy into triumph, and strengthen your spirit when life painfully hammers you from all sides.

Have a Blessed & Happy Friday,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Little Girl's Dance

Lysa TerKeurst
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32 (NIV)
My touch has always comforted my youngest daughter, Brooke.
I remember running errands when she was a baby, knowing we should have been home an hour earlier for her nap. But also knowing there were things that had to get done, I pressed on, hoping for the best. She started getting fussy. Soon, whines and whimpers escalated into a full-blown meltdown.
Although I couldn't do much to comfort her while driving, I could reach my arm into the backseat and gently pat her leg. It took a few minutes, but eventually she settled down and reached out her tiny hand to hold mine.
A few years later, Brooke had a performance with her praise dance team from school. She loved getting on a stage, so I expected her to be full of smiles and giggles. But just a few minutes before the performance began, a very distraught Brooke made her way to the audience to find me.
With tears streaming down her cheeks, she explained that the teacher had moved her from the front row to the back row, and she didn't know the back row's part. I reassured her, "Honey, just get up there and watch the other girls for cues and follow in step. You know this dance. You'll be fine."
She sobbed back, "I won't be fine if I mess up, and I know I'm going to mess up."
That's when it occurred to me. She would need my touch to get through this. But we both knew it would be impossible for my arm to reach all the way up to the stage. So I quickly whispered, "Brooke, lock your eyes with mine, and Mommy will touch you with my smile. Don't look at anyone else. It doesn't matter if you mess up. What matters is that you keep your eyes on me the whole time. We'll do this together."
Quietly she asked, "The whole time, Mommy?"
"The whole time, Brooke," I replied as I watched my brave girl walk away to take her place.
Several times during the dance, Brooke fell out of step. She knew her steps weren't perfect, so her eyes brimmed with tears. However, the tears never fell. With her eyes perfectly locked on my smiling face, she danced.
My smile was not based on her performance. My smile was born out of an incredible love for this precious, courageous little girl. As she kept her attention focused solely on my smile and the touch of my gaze, it was as if the world slowly faded away and we were the only ones in the room.
This is the way God wants me to dance through life.
Though I can't physically see Him, my soul pictures Him so clearly. In my mind's eye He is there. The touch of His gaze wraps about me, comforts me, assures me, and makes the world seem strangely dim. As long as my gaze is locked on His, I dance and He smiles. The snickers and jeers of others fade away. Though I hear their razor-sharp intentions, they are unable to pierce my heart and distract my focus. Even my own stumblings don't cause the same feelings of defeat.
My steps so often betray the desire of my heart, but it is not my perfect performance that captures His attention. Rather, it is my complete dependence on Him that He notices.
He then whispers to my heart, hold on to Me and what I say about you. For My words are the truth of who you are and the essence of what you were created to be. I then imagine Him pausing as He adds, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
His truth frees me from the chains of doubt and insecurity. His truth frees me from feeling unable and inadequate to try and pursue God. His truth washes over me as I tentatively whisper, "I want to be a woman who says 'yes' to God."
And in that moment, with my eyes locked on His, I am.
Dear Lord, I want to keep my eyes on You as I dance through the highs and lows of my life. Direct my steps today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Have a Happy Thursday,