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Colossus_500
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Psalm 139


« Reply #425 on: June 21, 2010, 07:45:31 AM »

Superiority Complex
Key Passage: Acts Acts 11:1-18
Topic: Salvation; Holy Spirit; Pride/Humility
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"As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with[a]water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" (Acts 11:16-17 NIV)

I don't know about you, but sometimes I have a superiority complex. You know, when you start thinking you know better than someone else, that you're smarter, maybe even more spiritual. For whatever reason, you're the better person...maybe not in everything, but in at least one or two areas.

Well, we see a little of that attitude in Acts 11. Some believers saw themselves as just that much better because they were circumcised and ate only what was clean (both practices instituted by God in the Old Testament).

However, something had changed radically.

In Acts 10, God used a dramatic vision to instruct Peter to take the Gospel to a group of people who weren't circumcised and who ate what was unclean. But they were devout, God-fearing, praying, generous people. God shows Peter that the Good News of Jesus Christ is for all, and old restrictions shouldn't keep people from new life.

Peter witnessed this change as these Gentiles put their faith in Jesus and received the Holy Spirit. Now, as he makes his report in Acts 11, he answers this challenge of superiority with a humble reminder: "If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?" (Acts 11:17, ESV).

Who are we to stand in God's way when He wants to work? Who am I to think He can't save some people? What makes me so much better that I think the Holy Spirit won't work in people who aren't like me?

That's the big question, isn't it? Let's be honest, why should Jesus save us anyway? What entitles you or me to the Holy Spirit? We're just as unclean and unfaithful as anyone else.

But, as Peter said, the Good News is for all who believe--Jew and Gentile, clean and unclean. The same gift those early Christians received is the one you and I enjoy--the saving grace of Jesus and the daily power of the Holy Spirit. There's no room for superiority in that!
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« Reply #426 on: June 21, 2010, 07:48:51 AM »

God gets the glory, Ro.   Smiley  I'm just thankful He puts thinks likes on my heart to share from time to time.  Bless you, my friend.  Smiley
Newmom, bless you.  It's amazing how we begin to see and experience life when God is the owner of our perspective, isn't it?  Smiley 

Welcome home!  Smiley

Thanks.

Actually I find it profound, in a good way of course
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Psalm 139


« Reply #427 on: June 23, 2010, 06:02:37 AM »

No Matter What We Feel
By Robin Dugall
homeword.com

I'm the man who has seen trouble, trouble coming from the lash of God's anger. He took me by the hand and walked me into pitch-black darkness. Yes, he's given me the back of his hand over and over and over again. He turned me into a scarecrow of skin and bones then broke the bones. He hemmed me in, ganged up on me, poured on the trouble and hard times. He locked me up in deep darkness, like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.  ~Lamentations 3:1-6 (MSG)

In today’s Scripture passage, we read that Jeremiah (the author of Lamentations) feels broken and destroyed by God’s angry hand. To us, though we have all probably felt the same way at one time or another, it likely feels a little wrong -- even sinful -- to actually blame God. Still, in this instance, Jeremiah is unashamed to come before God and tell Him exactly how he feels:

Abandoned. Rejected. Alone. Grief. Loss. Abused. Angry. Frustrated. Bitter. Apathetic. Hopeless. Dirty. Depressed. Betrayed. Vengeful. Let down. Heartbroken. Enslaved. Pained. Ugly. Judged. Lost. Afraid.

Perhaps you are experiencing one of these emotions right now. Jeremiah provides us an important reminder that God isn’t intimidated or surprised when we come to Him with our hurting hearts. As followers of Jesus, we get used to putting on a happy face and skipping the natural processes of coping and dealing with our hurts. Remembering that God made our emotions and has experienced each one Himself can help us get through difficult situations. Knowing that our Creator can relate to our experiences reassures us that we are not alone. Further, Jesus tells us that we are blessed when we are going though sadness or mourning:

You’re blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. Matthew 5:3 (MSG)

God can fearlessly handle the tears, the screaming, and the groaning from our hearts. He’s big enough, He loves us, and He doesn’t let us go. The times when we are distressed, He comes the closest. He uses our difficult circumstances to grow and change our hearts and lives. In tough times, God gives us opportunities to see how big He really is. If we look closely in the midst of troubles, we can see that God is not finished writing our story. He’s not done with us yet. He’s using our circumstances to recreate our lives to make us stronger, deeper and more reliant upon Him.
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Psalm 139


« Reply #428 on: June 24, 2010, 07:54:33 AM »

you are a wonderful person.
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“Dis is whar i com from.” My friend, Avi, laughed deep like the roots of trees and continued in his thick Ethiopian accent. “See,” he said, “we ‘ad no shoes.” He laughed again. “Jesus tho. ‘e is the best. ‘e everything.”

He pressed his hand against his chest and his black dreadlocks danced like they were doorbeads barely veiling some secret party he was having inside of himself.

I never met anyone who was so wistful and contagious in his love for Jesus. which was surprising. because Avi had a life that was anything but wistful. He had grown up in Ethiopia and made an immigration to Israel with thousands of other oppressed families in the ‘80s.

He landed in Tel Aviv. Lived on the streets. Raised himself up that little ladder: a struggle for power mixed with drugs and money and all the stories he doesn’t like to tell anymore. He did pretty well…apparently. But what does ‘well’ mean when you get to the top and find the view rather disappointing. I knew about disappointing views.

I stayed up late hearing Avi’s story. He told me that he was meeting his sister the next day. A sister he hadn’t known existed until a couple days before. Every few minutes. he would look up and say “Jesus” like it was the name of some secret he was afraid he’d forget.

When I got up to leave, he told me “You. are a wonderful person.” He paused. “and messed up.” We both knew that he was reminding me. After all. Being messed up and being loved anyway is one of the best parts of what Jesus does.

“He knows how weak we are. But…” and what a great place for a contrasting conjunction. “The love of the Lord remains forever” (Psalm 103:14, 17).

Jesus loves us while we are nothing. and. he makes us something. That is very worth laughing about. deep. like the roots of trees.

Em
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« Reply #429 on: June 25, 2010, 10:34:53 AM »

Looking To You, Lord

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.  ~John 17:1-5 (NIV)

It's been a very reflective week for me.  I've been looking at the situations of my life, both provoked and unexpected.  My human instinct is to sulk, beat myself up over the things I've done wrong.  I tell myself that "I deserve" what's happening to me.  I brought it all on myself.  But, then I realized, "hey, I'm a sinner.  Of course I deserve any consequence of my actions!"  

I was listening to a song a short while ago on Godtube.com and saw a video by Whitney Houston, "I Look To You".  Now, anyone who knows about the pop music diva and all of the turmoil from her actions that have been displayed for the world to see should know that Whitney Houston has made mistakes.  Maybe it's just the conviction in what she sings in this song that I see her talking directly to God and asking forgiveness and guidance for her life.  As I watched and listened, I began to apply the very same conviction for my own life.  Then I thought to share my thoughts with others.

Originally, I was looking for a verse of scripture that speaks of God's children "looking up to Him".  I ran across John 17, where Jesus is praying to his father (God) that he would would be glorified by taking on the tasks of coming to earth and glorifying God in heaven.  His plea the moves to his disciples and for all believers.  I got emotional as I read Jesus' plea for the believers, and thought, "he's praying for me!"  I don't deserve it, but because I believe...because I accept Jesus as the Savior and that he is the only way to live in the Glory of God the Father, I will get to be with Him.

Father, if I only do one thing right in my life, may it be that I look to You.  --Amen

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« Reply #430 on: June 25, 2010, 10:45:02 AM »

Thanks Ro


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Psalm 139


« Reply #431 on: June 28, 2010, 06:46:40 AM »

Jealousy or Joy
Key Passage: Acts 13:44-52
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But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles"...And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:45-46,48, ESV)

Call it sour grapes; call it stubbornness; call it short-sightedness or even stupidity. It really comes back to jealousy.

As Paul preached in Antioch Pisidia, many people were drawn to the message of Jesus Christ. And they wanted to know more and more. As the crowds grew, so did the conflict. For the Jewish leaders in the town weren't happy with this new message, one they'd rejected.

To add insult to injury, this message was now given to the Gentiles. The Jews were jealous that God chose to work with people they considered as unclean, not worthy of God's attention. Like selfish children, they were angry God had taken what they'd turned down and given it to others.

For the Gentiles, this message was a matter of rejoicing. Salvation through Jesus Christ, new life under the power of the Holy Spirit, and hope for a future with God, was now theirs for the asking.

This Gospel brought meaning and purpose to their lives. And a new church grew in this community, even after Paul and Barnabas were driven out of town.

You know, sometimes we do that too. When we're not on good terms with God because of our disobedience or indifference and we see Him doing great things in someone else's life, so we get angry and jealous.

Instead, we ought to rejoice that God is at work, that a life is being changed. We need to make sure we're right with God in our heart and actions and then join in His work.
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« Reply #432 on: June 29, 2010, 07:19:27 AM »

Boldness & Division
Key Passage: Acts 14:1-7
Topic: Obedience/Discipleship; Evangelism; Speech/Words

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So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided (Acts 14:3-4, ESV).

Speaking boldly for the Lord is an awesome mission. It takes courage and confidence in the message of Jesus Christ. But beware--not everyone will be happy about it.

Paul and Barnabas had plenty of courage, confidence and boldness. They were eager, even driven to bring people the life-giving news that Jesus had died for their sins and had risen again. They spoke to Jews and Gentiles, in the synagogues and marketplaces, and many people believed.

Like Paul and Barnabas, we have this good news to deliver too. And we need to speak boldly. Your lifestyle may show that there's something's different about you, but you need words to explain what's different! Like Paul and Barnabas, we have the Holy Spirit to give us the words and the boldness. And we also have the Word of God to point the way.

But don't expect this to be a peaceful process. The message of Jesus Christ divides people. In Iconium, that division affected everyone: Jews, Gentiles, common people, government officials. The whole town was divided and eventually, Paul and Barnabas left as marked men.

This is just what Jesus said would happen. In Matthew 10, Jesus warned his followers, "Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake" (Matthew 10:17-18, ESV).

He said His message would split families, "Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake" (Matthew 10:21-22, ESV).

While we can now have peace with God, we won't always have peace with others. "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34, ESV).

Bold speaking brings the message of Jesus to people in need. But be ready for division and trouble too. Jesus told us it would; Paul and Barnabas show us it does.
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« Reply #433 on: June 30, 2010, 05:44:50 AM »

Please Sir, I Want Some More
By Elizabeth Cole
homeword.com

O taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8a

The classic musical Oliver! features a scene that has captured my heart. The young orphan Oliver has just come to the orphanage. It’s dinnertime and he’s been served very little to eat…and he’s hungry. He finishes what he’s been given, gets up and walks down the drab dining hall toward Mr. Bumble. The other orphans fall silent as they anxiously watch each step. Oliver sweetly lifts his bowl and asks, “Please, sir, I want some more.” Perhaps you recall the shock and disapproval that follow the request: Oh, the audacity, the impertinence, the presumption of the boy!

Now contrast that with the God we serve. We have a God who generously invites us to taste and see that He is good. Furthermore, I am convinced through Scripture that we have a God who – when we do taste and see how very good He is and when we do approach Him and say, “Please, sir, I want some more,” – smiles and holds out a big ol’ ladle-full and generously gives us more. He is, in fact, the God of More.

More of Himself and His goodness. More of His kindness, His mercy, His graciousness.

Imagine it. This very day, we approach our Father with confidence, lifting up our lives to Him and requesting, “Please sir, I want some more.” And then we receive and receive from His generous goodness, from His mercies that He assures us are new every single morning.

We have received not only eternal life, we’ve received the very presence of God’s Spirit in our lives. Over and over again, we receive His provision, His guidance, His strength, His comfort, His power…all of it expressions of His goodness.

Are you hungry this morning? Go ahead….ask for more!

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Psalm 139


« Reply #434 on: June 30, 2010, 05:47:34 AM »

I Need You More

I need you more, more than yesterday,
I need you more, more than words can say,
I need you more, than ever before,
I need you Lord, I need you Lord

I need you more, more than yesterday,
I need you more, more than words can say,
I need you more, than ever before,
I need you Lord, I need you Lord

More than the air I breath, more than the song I sing,
More than my next heartbeat...more than anything,
And Lord as time goes by, I'll be by your side,
'Cause I never want to go back to my old life

I need you more, more than yesterday,
I need you more, more than words can say,
I need you more, than ever before,
I need you Lord, I need you Lord
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Psalm 139


« Reply #435 on: July 05, 2010, 04:38:30 PM »

Authentic Christianity
By Jim Burns
homeword.com

We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.  ~1 Thessalonians 2:8


A Be authentic. Be yourself. There is no greater witness than a person who is open and vulnerable about his love for God and his struggles. I don't know about you, but I can't relate to perfect people. Yet there are loads of Christians running around today who want you to think they are perfect. People who act like they don't have problems are one of the major stumbling blocks to their friends and family becoming Christians. I like the bumper sticker that says, "Christians aren't perfect - they're just forgiven."

I think the old Skin Horse gave the Velveteen Rabbit some outstanding advice about being an authentic person. Maybe this advice is good for you, as well.

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs on his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."*
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Psalm 139


« Reply #436 on: July 06, 2010, 08:06:53 AM »

Please read my message after today's devotional message:

Some Night
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The first time I got drunk, I regained consciousness at the foot of a friend’s toilet, which was filled to the brim with my own (I think) vomit. Stumbling out of the bathroom, my head was hammering and I couldn’t see a thing–so I just threw myself on the first soft surface I could find and passed out for hours. It was the night before Easter, and the next day I had to sneak out of church to throw up again. I swore to myself, hovering over the church toilet, that I’d never get drunk again.
 
It was not a promise I kept.
 
In fact, it became a fairly regular routine over the next year or so. Get myself to some friend’s house for whatever party could be had, dump a few liters of alcohol into my stomach, throw it all up, pass out on a bed or couch or whatever till morning. You know, the good life. It all came to a head one night when I was drinking with about five other friends.
 
That night, my head was throbbing and my vision was jittery–but I couldn’t sleep. I thought about driving home, but was at least sober enough to realize that driving would be unwise. So, I just lay on the floor, using my sweater as a pillow, surrounded by unconscious kids.
 
A stream of pictures poured in front of my mind’s eye. Pictures of me leading my Bible study. Pictures of me going to classes at the Bible college I was attending. Pictures of me with my family. With my old youth group. Before God. And with that, my stomach started to get queasy again. I was, it occurred to me, a hypocrite. And with that came other labels. Disappointment. Tears flared. A failure.
 
“You do anything long enough to escape the habit of living,” David Ryan says, “until the escape becomes the habit.”
 
“When I am weak,” Paul tells the believers in 2 Corinthians, “then I am strong” (12:10).
 
I lay awake until morning. A buddy of mine stumbled out of an adjacent room and looked at me, blinking slowly. “Some night,” he said.
 
Some night is right.
 
Joe



What a great message and depiction of how even (I say, especially) Christians can fall short and miss the mark with following Christ's will for our lives.  About a month ago, I admitted to my wife that I had fallen back into looking at pornography (on my work computer no less).  This is after years of struggles to end the addiction.  Promise Keepers conferences, reading "Every Man's Battle", teaching the class "Every Young Man's Battle" for high school boys, internet filters, putting the computer in the family room (out in the open), working on the laptop only when my wife is present...As you can imagine, this cut my wife to the core, and she has all but shut me out completely.  She sees me as a hypocrite.  I agree 100%.  I am a hypocrite.  Where do I go from here?  Just as is mentioned in Joe's note:  "I am strong when I am weak".  I'm at a low point in my life.  I've lost something very precious to me...something I had to work extremely hard for...my wife's trust.  I may not ever regain that trust again, but I'm so thankful that I can look at myself through God's eyes.   Any other view would be deceiving.  I now have the task of proving to my wife that, though I'm not perfect, I am forgiven.  I hope she can forgive me.  I hope I can forgive myself.  

It's my prayer that whoever reads my accompanying message will either 1) Learn to look at yourself through God's lenses instead of your own or anyone else, or 2) help those that you have hurt to come to an understanding that..even with a professed and practicing faith, you will still fall short (miss the mark..aka...sin)

Colossus
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Psalm 139


« Reply #437 on: July 07, 2010, 05:31:21 AM »

Good News
By Mike DeVries
homeword.com

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"  ~ Mark 1:14-15


I’ve been thinking about the “Good News” that Jesus proclaimed. What is it? What makes this news so good to a world in need?

The Good News is the news that my past and my present are not just forgiven, but are made new again – as if it never happened. I am not who I was.

The Good News is the news that what I am going through is not the end of the story. God has the final word – not a diagnosis, a hurtful comment, an abuse, a label, or a broken relationship.

The Good News is that there truly is hope, even when I don’t feel like there is much.

The Good News is the news that God is invading the broken places of my life and beginning the process of making me whole again. He has not only “saved me.” He is also “saving me.”

The Good News is the news that God sees and knows.

The Good News is the news that He cares enough to act.

The Good News is the news that God is restoring and reconciling all things, including all things in heaven and on earth.

The Good News is the news that, in Jesus, heaven has begun to crash into earth.

The Good News is the news that I am invited to be a part of God’s restoration movement, to partner with Him in making all things new again.

The Good News is the news that someday I will see Him face-to-face:  My Creator, my Sustainer, my Breath and my Life.

I don’t know about you, but that’s good news to me.
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« Reply #438 on: July 12, 2010, 07:31:45 AM »

Healthy and Sick
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Do you know who Jesus can’t stand? Good people.   
 
Drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves, corrupt politicians–these people he’s okay with, but the “moral majority”–he doesn’t have any room for them.
 
We tend to talk about the Pharisees like they’re this entirely foreign people who we would have nothing in common with. I think it’s quite the opposite. The Pharisees weren’t the theological liberals. They were conservative, traditional, and upright. They fought hard to keep their lust under control. They were generous with their tithes, they volunteered tirelessly, they had programs for the poor in their community. They were good, wholesome people.
 
It’s easy to see why the Pharisees didn’t really dig Jesus. He hung out with whores. His disciples were a bunch of ragamuffins with attitude problems; he broke the ceremonial laws and had little respect for authority,
 
Way too much of what we call Christianity is just a system of rules for qualifying as a good, wholesome person. I’m not saying I’m any better. When Jesus calls out the Pharisees for being “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27) I hear him speaking to me.
 
At least drug addicts don’t justify their sinfulness. At least prostitutes don’t dress their best when they come to Jesus. At least thieves know that they don’t know the first thing about living a holy life. We are all helpless to our vices, addictions and sordid histories, but we who most vocally associate ourselves with Jesus are often the last ones to realize how much we need him.
 
I believe that God would rather have you be chemically dependent than self-righteously independent. Do you have to be morally destitute to be close to Jesus? No. But it might help.
 
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.  I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough” (Mark 2:17).
 
Sam

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« Reply #439 on: July 15, 2010, 06:49:00 AM »

Consistency
By Kelly McFadden
homeword.com

All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. ~Isaiah 40:6-8

A great thing about walking into any Target store is that they all look the same. The aisles, the checkout stands, the greeting cards, home goods, electronics departments all have a familiar look and set-up to them. It makes it really easy to navigate and get around. They are consistent, so I always know what to expect.

While oftentimes I like to spice things up a bit and do things differently, I appreciate certain things in life that basically remain the same. No matter where I travel in the US, all stop signs are red hexagons. So even if I am coming from the other direction and cannot see the words “stop,” I still know what is expected of the other driver coming my way. Anyone who drives knows the difference between a double yellow line and a dashed line. These common rules of the road help us drive safely.

When I lived in Nigeria, the roads were basically everyone for themselves. Lines didn’t matter and there was no guarantee that even if you had a green light someone wouldn’t come through the opposite red. It was chaos!

In terms of guiding our lives, there is truly only one thing we can rely on that will never change: the Word of God. There might be different versions, but all words point back to the same meaning. We can rely fully on a never-changing God. When things get crazy and unpredictable around us, when doubt starts to creep in, when there is controversy between individuals and even denominations, God’s Word remains unchanging, allowing us to rely on it for truth and direction.

The Scripture also compares us to the grass and flowers in the field, promising that we too will fade. Our lives here will fade and end, so the message is clear:  Cling to the Word of God and His promises so that you too will stand forever.
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« Reply #440 on: July 19, 2010, 05:28:44 AM »

The Moral of the Story
Key Passage: Acts 20:7-12
Topic: Christian Living
notreligion.com

And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. (Acts 20:9, ESV)

Did you read the whole passage for today's Devotion? Then what would you say is the lesson in these verses?

Maybe it's: If you're listening to a long sermon, don't sit by an open window especially if it's on the third floor and you're sleepy.

Or, if you are a speaker, how about, Limit your preaching to a specified duration?

The Bible doesn't indicate that either point is the reason this story was included. The man, the one who fell asleep and toppled from an open, third-story window wasn't condemned in the Bible nor was the apostle Paul who had preached past midnight.

In fact, the incident seemed only to create a brief interlude in Paul's talk. Paul took care of Eutychus and got back to the business at hand--speaking to the believers.

It sort of makes you think that the lesson could be that, as Christians, we can't let ourselves be slowed down from doing whatever the Spirit of God has asked us to do.

There will be occasions in our lives when we'll have to deal with something that sidetracks us for a time--grief, illness, some sort of disaster.

But once we've dealt with whatever slows us down--with God's help-- we need to get on with doing what God has assigned to us to do for Him, whatever that is.
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Psalm 139


« Reply #441 on: July 20, 2010, 08:29:40 AM »

OUR BATTLE AGAINST SIN
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"I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power."  Philippians 4:13 TLB
 

   Since I have begun walking closely with the Lord, and have made a commitment to follow Him wholeheartedly, I have been able to overcome many habitual sins and bad habits.  But there are some that remain and continue to trouble me.  I know that I will never reach perfection in this life, but I also know that God’s Word commands us to “aim for perfection” (2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV).  So it is my heartfelt desire to cooperate with the Lord’s plan to make me more like Christ every day. (2 Corinthians 3:18)  When I earnestly sought the Lord recently about my deep desire to be free from some of my lingering bad habits, He revealed some principles from Scripture to help and encourage me in this area, and I would like to share them with you.

   First, the Lord told me that we must “face” our sin.  Even as believers, you and I have a tendency to run from God when He’s trying to deal with us about something in our lives that no longer fits who we are as followers of Christ.  But this kind of attitude only hinders our spiritual growth, and limits God’s ability to bless us and use us for His highest purposes.  The Bible says: “The Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.  You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons.” (Hebrews 12:6-7 AMP)  When we allow the Lord to deal with us about our attitudes and conduct, we are well on our way to victory.  In the heat of battle, God once told His people:  “You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to FACE them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." (2 Chronicles 20:17 NIV)  Facing our sin is the first step to overcoming it.

   The second step is heartfelt repentance.  Repentance goes beyond simply confessing our sin to the Lord.  A good definition for repentance is, “A change of heart, which includes sorrow for sin and a determination to live a holy life.”  Very often, we are truly sorry for our sinful behavior, but we lack a sincere determination to leave it behind.  God wants to set us free, but He expects us to do our part.  And He usually requires us to show some good, old-fashioned backbone by taking a step or two away from our sin.   We may have to avoid certain people, places, or things in order to cooperate with God’s plan for our deliverance.  Very rarely are we able to overcome habitual sins without making a considerable sacrifice of some kind.  But it will be well worth it in the end, because this kind of true repentance prepares the way for God to work mightily on our behalf.  Scripture says:  “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.  And all mankind will see God’s salvation.” (Luke 3:4,6 NIV)  These are the words of John the Baptist, who preached that repentance for sins would reveal God’s glory and saving power.

   Lastly, we must rely on the presence and power of God’s Spirit.  Every time we try to overcome our sins, addictions, and bad habits without depending on the Spirit of God’s enabling power, we will fail.  Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) says:  “'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty.” The Living Bible translation says, “You will succeed because of My Spirit.” Our ultimate success lies in becoming more God-inside-minded, and learning to hear and heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis.  You and I can rejoice because the Lord’s will for us is total freedom from everything that would hinder us from fulfilling our God-given purpose and potential.  And He’s given every believer in Christ His Spirit to guide us and strengthen us with His own divine wisdom and power.  His Word says:  "Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image." (2 Corinthians 3:17,18 NLT)  You were created anew in Christ to be an overcomer.  Are you ready and willing to become all that He created you to be?
 
   Lord, today I renew my commitment to live for You, and to turn my back on sin.  Give me the strength and the resolve I need to face my sin, and to allow You to deal with me about it.  Move me to study and meditate on Your Word, and use it to correct, guide, and train me to live a holy life. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)  Thank You that as I follow Your plan for my transformation, I will experience the victory, success, and freedom that can only come from Christ!
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« Reply #442 on: August 11, 2010, 07:26:11 PM »

On Evil

"In the Bible, the serpent symbolizes evil, but according to cabbalists it can only reach certain sephiroth; beyond that, the highest region, formed of the three sephiroth Kether, Chokmah and Binah, is forbidden to it. What conclusion, then, can we draw from this statement regarding our inner life? Since we were created in the image of the universe, there is a realm within us too, where evil no longer finds favourable conditions for existence. In the sublime realms of our being and of the universe, there reign such light and such intensity of vibrations that whatever is not in harmony with this purity and light disintegrates.

Yes, evil has no right to exist in the sublime realms; it is repelled. It can only exist in the lower regions, where it roams around, wreaking havoc and tormenting humans, because in these lower layers of matter all the conditions are right for it. So, depending on which region you are in, you may or may not be reached by evil."
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« Reply #443 on: October 05, 2010, 07:18:26 PM »

On Perceptions of Life

"In the swamps and jungles, you'll see nothing but animals devouring one another. But if you go much higher, among the angelic hierarchies in heaven, all you will see are beings ceaselessly giving each other love and light. Yes, on high, there is love and light but, below, hostility and merciless combat. In the same way, there are people whose desires and concerns have sunk to such depths that they can do nothing but fight and devour each other. Then, they draw conclusions about life on earth, saying it's a dog-eat-dog world, where the law of the jungle rules. Yes, it's true so long as they remain down there. But if they make their thoughts and feelings pure and luminous, they will find love and light with each other. "
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Psalm 139


« Reply #444 on: November 16, 2010, 05:09:56 PM »

It's been a while since I've posted.  Praying that all is well with the Getbig clan.  Smiley - Colossus

UNGODLY PHILOSOPHIES
by J.M. Farro
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   “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”  Colossians 2:8 NLT

 

   A young man wrote me recently asking for some advice.  He said that he had given his life to Christ two years ago, and believed that he was saved, but he was having some serious doubts about his faith.  He was attending college, and he was taking a philosophy course whose instructor was an atheist, and who professed that Christianity was utter nonsense.  This teacher insisted that people only believed in God to help themselves cope with the trials of daily living, and to console themselves with the belief that they were going to heaven someday.  He didn’t believe a word of the Bible, and he didn’t believe God was real.  Thanks to this man’s worldly philosophy, his student was wavering in his faith.

   I gave this young believer some advice straight from the Word of God.  Scripture says: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)  It also says: "Don't let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men's thoughts and ideas, instead of on what Christ has said." (Colossians 2:8 TLB)  I told this young man that it was up to HIM to “guard” his heart, and to not allow others to “spoil” his faith.  God is willing to protect us and our faith, but we must partner with Him in the process.  When we are being influenced by ungodly people and their philosophies, it’s our responsibility as followers of Christ to remove ourselves from their influence.  We must seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance in the matter, determining to do whatever we have to in order to please Him.  The apostle Peter wrote: "Be careful!  Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.  Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.  Remember that Christians all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are." (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)  The devil can’t “devour” just anyone.  He has to search for believers who are weak and struggling in their faith, and who are receptive and vulnerable to his lies and deceptions.  Those of us who stand firm in our faith may have fleeting moments of doubt, but we will not let them take hold in ways that will open the door to destruction.

  Peter also wrote: “Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  (2 Peter 3:17-18 NIV)  Becoming mature in Christ, and getting to know Him better, is our best defense against ungodly people and philosophies.  Every time we read the Bible, or listen to good preaching and teaching--taking godly principles to heart, and applying them to our lives—we have the potential to grow and mature in our faith.  Then, as the apostle Paul says:  "We will no longer be immature like children.  We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.  We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth." (Ephesians 4:14 NLT)  Whenever I get the slightest inkling that I am wavering in my faith, the first thing I do is quote Scripture, either aloud or to myself, until my doubts evaporate.  That’s because it’s the truth of God’s Word that renews our minds to think like God, instead of like the world.  Paul wrote:  "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2 NASB)  Having a working knowledge of Scripture is a powerful defense against Satan and his attacks against our minds and hearts.

   Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples:  "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (John 14:27 AMP)  Notice that the Savior says that we should “stop allowing” ourselves to disturbed and unsettled.  As followers of Christ, we have been endued with supernatural power to resist and refuse wrong thinking and behavior, and to walk in the divine peace that is our inheritance in Christ.  Are you ready to take your stand against the ungodly philosophies of this world?

   Lord, thank You that You have equipped me with the Holy Spirit to resist thinking and acting like the world.  Remind me often to cast down arguments, theories, and reasonings—and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God—and to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 AMP)  I praise You for the victory and peace I will walk in as a result!
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« Reply #445 on: November 17, 2010, 01:07:10 PM »

Thanks Ro!
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Psalm 139


« Reply #446 on: November 26, 2010, 06:30:37 AM »

Today
By Mike DeVries
homeword.com

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:16-17

I’ve been thinking about this verse lately. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. Jesus lifts up the image of being childlike and says that, in fact, if we do not embrace the kingdom with a certain quality of a child, we will never enter it. The kingdom life will reside just outside of our grasp.

So I’ve been watching my kids lately to see if I can learn something about what Jesus was getting at. One observation I’ve had is this: Children live very present tense. They live in the here and now. I think there’s something we can learn here...

We as adults appear to be consumed with everything BUT the present. We often live either shackled to the past, or in fear of the future. On the one hand, too many live enslaved to some moment in the past and now every moment in the present is seen through the lens of the past. On the other hand, many also live in perpetual fear of the “what if” – worried about the things that might be, or might not be. So, in essence, we often live everywhere else but here, now, today.

Think about it. Have you ever seen a child worried about tomorrow? Have you ever seen a child live with regret over something in the past? I haven’t. Children have the amazing ability to be free, truly free, to live and breathe in the moment they have been given. What matters in the life of a child is the here and now, not tomorrow, not yesterday.

Jesus talked about this when He said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Apparently, central to living the kingdom kind of life and living in right relationship with God is to live presently, to live in the here and now.

So what about you? Is there anything that is taking up space in your head and heart? Is there some worry or anxiety that has you enslaved to anything but the present?

The good news is that Jesus invites us to come to Him with what enslaves us, whether it be past or future, and to find freedom and healing, so that like children we can live in the present – fully alive, fully awake to the here and now.
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Psalm 139


« Reply #447 on: June 29, 2011, 07:13:20 AM »

Knowing Who You Are
By Robin Dugall

I Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God… Romans 1:1

One of the things that I love about reading the letters of the Apostle Paul is that I get a chance to see someone who was very clear about his identity. There wasn’t much confusion in how Paul saw himself. There wasn’t a lack of clarity on how God has taken a hold of him and molded him into who he was. My experience tells me that many people are confused these days. We don’t know who we really are. We don’t understand the core of our identity. Below are some statements that might help you reclaim what God has done and is doing in your life. As you read the following, make it your own. They are already part of who you are! Know them and live them!

“I am a follower of Christ.” When the disciples were first called Christians, it was because they were “like Christ.” Their beliefs were worked out in the actions of their lives. They joined Jesus on a journey. Believe that God has called you to this journey as well…to a life-long process of being conformed to His image.

“I am a regular guy/gal.” Many of us struggle with thinking we are the center of the universe. The reality is that we are no different than any other follower of Christ. We experience the same joys and struggles as everyone else. There’s only one star in the Kingdom of God - and it’s not you or me. His name is Jesus.

“I am called to be a difference-maker in my world.” Jesus’ plan was to make His love real to people through us, His followers. The truth is, you can either influence or be influenced.

“I am a lover of life.” In light of eternity, we are given a small amount of time on this planet. Jesus said that He has come to give us life to the full. During our time here, live so as to finish the race, fighting the good fight, and keeping the faith.

“I am not finished…not even close.” Everyday, if we open our eyes, we can see the work of God in our lives. We are continually working out this gift that God has given us.  As Paul says, “he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it” (Philippians 1:6). Pray for more of Jesus…more of His love…more of His power in your life…more of His nature living in and through you.
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« Reply #448 on: November 22, 2011, 09:34:30 AM »

Just some song lyrics that mean a lot to me.....Happy Thanksgiving!!

Through The Fire - The Crabb Family

So many times I've questioned certain circumstances
Things I could not understand
Many times in trials, weakness blurs my vision
Then my frustration gets so out of hand
It's then I am reminded I've never been forsaken
I've never had to stand the test alone
As I look at all the victories the spirit rises up in me
And it's through the fire my weakness is made strong

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting
But he said help would always come in time
Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And he will take you through the fire again

I know within myself that I would surely perish
But if I trust the hand of God, He'll shield the flames again

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting
But he said help would always come in time
Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And he will take you through the fire again

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« Reply #449 on: November 21, 2012, 09:39:18 AM »

Daily Devotional
by Charles Stanley

The Benefits of Gratitude

Psalm 105:1-5

Thanking God glorifies and magnifies Him, but did you know doing this also benefits us? The Lord doesn't need our thanks, but we need to give it so we can become what He wants us to be: unselfish, encouraged, and confident.

Giving thanks...
Refocuses our attention: Life is filled with situations and distractions that keep us from seeing all that God has done for us. Instead of getting out of bed with the weight of the world on your shoulders, try refocusing on the Lord by thanking Him for His past provisions, guidance, and faithfulness.

Relieves anxiety: Since our fast-paced society has lots of pressure, expectations, and responsibilities, many people live in constant anxiety. But when we bring our concerns to the Lord with thanksgiving, the burden shifts to Him, and His peace comes to us (Phil. 4:6-7).

Refreshes our relationship: Gratitude keeps us from thinking that the Christian walk is all about us and our needs. Our fellowship with God is enhanced because we're focused on Him instead of ourselves.

Reinforces our faith: When we thank the Lord for His past faithfulness, our confidence in His present faithfulness soars.

Rejoices our spirit: Thanksgiving is the best way to dig ourselves out of the doldrums of discouragement.

Although gratitude is always beneficial, it's not always easy. When you're discouraged or overwhelmed, it's probably not on your radar to thank God. But I've learned from experience that shifting focus and thanking the Lord for all He's done is the fastest way to change one's attitude and reenergize.

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