Tag Archives: care

It’s Your Decision

 

 

Complete and Effective Decision About Sin

From: My Utmost For His Highest

04
10
2014

. . . our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin —Romans 6:6

Co-Crucifixion. Have you made the following decision about sin—that it must be completely killed in you? It takes a long time to come to the point of making this complete and effective decision about sin. It is, however, the greatest moment in your life once you decide that sin must die in you-not simply be restrained, suppressed, or counteracted, but crucified—just as Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world. No one can bring anyone else to this decision. We may be mentally and spiritually convinced, but what we need to do is actually make the decision that Paul urged us to do in this passage.

Pull yourself up, take some time alone with God, and make this important decision, saying, “Lord, identify me with Your death until I know that sin is dead in me.” Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.

This was not some divine future expectation on the part of Paul, but was a very radical and definite experience in his life. Are you prepared to let the Spirit of God search you until you know what the level and nature of sin is in your life— to see the very things that struggle against God’s Spirit in you? If so, will you then agree with God’s verdict on the nature of sin— that it should be identified with the death of Jesus? You cannot “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” (Romans 6:11) unless you have radically dealt with the issue of your will before God.

Have you entered into the glorious privilege of being crucified with Christ, until all that remains in your flesh and blood is His life? “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me . . .” (Galatians 2:20).

April 10

The Summer Will Come

“Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you” (Isa. 30:18).

Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it “the Emerald Isle”; and whenever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts; full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God. O Christian, do not thou be saying, “Where are the swallows gone? They are gone; they are dead.” They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by and by. Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah, no! though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon. Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah, no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers. And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He hath forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope; for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late.
–C. H. Spurgeon

***

“Oh, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain–
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

“When new leaves swell in the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And alders’ veins turn crimson–
And the birds go north again.

“Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain–
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

“‘Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over–
Why, the birds go north again.”

You’re in good hands

From: Our Daily Journey

2 Timothy 3:14-17
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you (2 Timothy 3:14).

Read Acts 1:1-2 and consider what Luke wrote about his gospel account.

How important is it for you to see the historic nature of Luke’s writings? What other reasons can you give for trusting in the accuracy and truthfulness of God’s Word?

Sometime back in the 1950s, the Allstate Insurance Company’s marketing group was struggling to come up with a slogan for the company’s first major national advertising campaign. As the team was ready to quit after an empty day of brainstorming, sales executive Davis Ellis remembered a reassuring comment his wife made to him months earlier when their child was sick in the hospital.

She told him, “The hospital said not to worry. We’re in good hands with the doctor.” It was then that one of the most memorable ad slogans ever was born: “You’re in good hands with Allstate.”

If I was given the task of advertising the New Testament book of Luke (one of the four narratives of the life of Jesus), I would go back to the phrase that inspired Allstate’s famous slogan: “You’re in good hands with the doctor.”

Why? Because it’s true in more ways than one. The author himself (Luke) was a beloved doctor (Colossians 4:14). Obviously, Dr. Luke was highly educated, but he was also a careful reporter who investigated the facts about Jesus from the very beginning (Luke 1:3).

Another important reason to trust the book of Luke is that the good doctor got his information from firsthand testimonies. Unlike other accounts not found in the Bible (that were written several decades after the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life were gone), Luke personally knew several of the key eyewitnesses—namely Paul and James the half-brother of Jesus.

Of course, we also recognize that Luke, along with all the human authors of the Bible, wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16).

So rest assured, readers of the book of Luke (and all of God’s Word!),you’re in good hands.

There Is One That Is Great

 

  • There is one who is Great: Jesus Christ the Lord.
  • April 9, 2014

    Will I Ever Accomplish Something Great?
    Leah DiPascal

    From: Crosswalk.com“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

  • Have you ever thought to yourself, “God could never use me”? I have … many times. I spent years watching from the sidelines as some of my closest friends accomplished great things. Rewarding careers. Successful families. Thriving ministries.

If only I were smarter. If I could just meet the right people. If I had a little more courage. Then surely God would use me.

What did others have that I didn’t? I loved God. He loved me. So why wasn’t I on the approved-to-be-used-by-God list? What was the problem? Would my big moment to shine ever come?

I was under the false impression that if God chose me to accomplish great things for Him, it would include an elaborate theme with plenty of fanfare. Boy, was I wrong.

Sure, God certainly knows how to manifest grand and elaborate: A snow capped mountain range. A sunrise bursting with color. A field of wildflowers in full bloom. He even gives people tremendous platforms to fulfill His wondrous plans. People whose names we all know by heart.

God also chooses people like you and me to do great things for His glory. But sometimes our assignments look very different than we think they should. Although the world tends to focus on famous people, high positions and big platforms, God looks at the intent of the heart.

While admiring the successful journeys of others and wondering why God wasn’t choosing me, I overlooked something important. He was using me — as His masterpiece — to accomplish good things that were already planned for me years ago (Ephesians 2:10).

While I was dreaming up grand ideas, God was waiting for a grateful heart.

While I was longing for elaborate platforms, God was looking for a humble spirit.

While I was dreaming of success, God was watching for a willingness of obedience.

A grateful heart when diapers needed changing and toys were left all over the floor. A humble spirit when dirty clothes sat in piles waiting to be washed and dinner needed to be prepared. A willingness of obedience when God whispered to my heart “Apologize first and say you’re sorry.”

Looking back over the years I can now see that some of my greatest accomplishments happened within the simple walls of my own home. Serving my family in messy ways and being stretched beyond what I thought was my breaking point.

Saying “yes” when I wanted to say “no.” Helping with last-minute homework assignments. Holding little hands during bedtime prayers.

There was no sea of spectators. No cheers from the crowd. No standing ovations. Only a simple family, living life one day at a time, trying to do what was right in God’s eyes.

What great things has God chosen for you to do? Remember, you are His masterpiece, a one-of-a-kind creation, created to fulfill important plans no one else can do.

Are your God-given assignments wrapped in baseball caps and sneakers?

Are your grand moments filled with princess tiaras and bedtime stories?

As you tirelessly serve your family and sometimes wonder if anyone notices, be assured that God does. He sees you as His greatest asset! Your willingness to serve your family brings Him great joy.

And when will our big moment come? When we get to shine?

I imagine it will be one glorious day when we humbly kneel before our Heavenly Father and He lovingly speaks our names saying, “Well done my faithful daughter. You have accomplished great things in My Name.”

Lord, help me to accomplish all the plans You’ve chosen for me. Give me wisdom and discernment to know what path You’ve laid out for me to follow. Thank you for creating me as Your masterpiece and may I delight in You as I serve my family well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Hometown Hero

From: Getmorestrength.org
 

“I heard the voice of many angels, numbering . . . ten thousand times ten thousand . . . “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” Revelation 5:11-12

 

 

Chicago Cubs fans are the most optimistic people in baseball. It’s been over a century since their last World Series victory, yet we still pack Wrigley Field hoping that our boys in blue will pull through for us.

One of our past heroes, first baseman Derrek Lee, was placed on the disabled list early one season—a disappointment for me as I settled into my seat for a home game against the crosstown rival White Sox. The game was tied in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs and the bases loaded with Cubs. You could feel the tension as the crowd waited to see if their Cubbies could capitalize on the moment. Then, unexpectedly, out of the dugout came none other than “D-Lee” to pinch hit. The crowd went wild, and best of all, he didn’t disappoint. He connected with a 3-1 pitch for a grand-slam, and the place erupted in cheers as Lee circled the bases. In the stadium that day were people from all walks of life—celebrities, corporate tycoons, cabdrivers—but distinctions disappeared as they hailed their hero.

That picture of celebration, multiplied by thousands, helps us understand the scene in Revelation 5:1-14. Circling the throne of Jesus are people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). But their differences are eclipsed in their united celebration of the One who is their focus—the Lamb of God. What a picture of worship! We were utterly without hope, lost in our sins, and unable to rescue ourselves. In that moment, Jesus came out of the dugout of our despair and, by His own blood, ensured victory over sin and death forever. No wonder the eternal song in heaven focuses on the worthiness of the Lamb who was slain. He is the ultimate hero and our eyes should be fixed on Him!

Ironically, in His own hometown Jesus was largely ignored by the crowd. I don’t want to be counted among them! For those of us focused on His ultimate work on the cross, our victory is sweet and the celebration is heartfelt.

There’s no comparison between Derek Lee emerging from the dugout and our champion Jesus who 2,000 years ago vacated an empty tomb to give you a part in His eternal victory over sin and death and hell!

Live to celebrate Jesus—our ultimate hometown hero!

April 9

Don’t Fret

“Do not begin to be anxious” (Phil. 4:6, PBV).

Not a few Christians live in a state of unbroken anxiety, and others fret and fume terribly. To be perfectly at peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life is a secret worth knowing. What is the use of worrying? It never made anybody strong; never helped anybody to do God’s will; never made a way of escape for anyone out of perplexity. Worry spoils lives which would otherwise be useful and beautiful. Restlessness, anxiety, and care are absolutely forbidden by our Lord, who said: “Take no thought,” that is, no anxious thought, “saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?” He does not mean that we are not to take forethought and that our life is to be without plan or method; but that we are not to worry about these things. People know you live in the realm of anxious care by the lines on your face, the tones of your voice, the minor key in your life, and the lack of joy in your spirit. Scale the heights of a life abandoned to God, then you will look down on the clouds beneath your feet.
–Rev. Darlow Sargeant

***

It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting. Can we gain anything by it? Do we not unfit ourselves for action, and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.

Oh, for grace to be quiet! Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God! The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. We may be sure that every word of His will stand, though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in. Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.

Trust God Who Never Fails

 

Don’t Fear; Trust God

 

(pictures of people being afraid)

Don’t fear, trust God.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. 

_____________________________________

Don’t Be Afraid

From: Academictips.org

 

Here we are, afraid of losing what we have all the time, holding on to it so tight that not a soul can touch it. We think by hiding it from the world, it’s hidden and it’s ours. Nothing is. Nothing ever will be. For, nothing ever was.

If you think there is anything that you have, that’s yours, be it money, a house, a job, or a girlfriend… it’s nothing but an illusion. It’ll all disappear… in one blow. One blow, my man.

Here we are, so insecure that we are afraid of re-starting our lives, so we just carry on trying to sort out the current mess. The thought that we should give it all up and just start all over – with nothing – might cross our minds some time, sure, but we get scared and we push away anything that scares us.

There is nothing I can ever achieve or gain that I cannot lose, in a matter of seconds. You have never gained enough to not be able to lose it all, in just a few minutes. What you think is yours, was never yours and will never be yours. Whatever you make here, you leave here. You came naked and you’re going to go back naked.

So what are you afraid of?

Let all be lost. Let them take away everything. As long as you have your heart beating strong, as long as you have your nostrils working fine, as long as the blood flows in your veins, you will live, you will breathe and you can get it all back… again and again. For, if you can do it once, you can damn well do it again. It’s just a game we play – Life.

By Rohit Wadhwaney

 

Taking the Initiative Against Depression

From: My Utmost For His Highest

02
17
2014

Arise and eat—1 Kings 19:5

The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression. 

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

Learn and Earn

From: Academictips.org

Chuan and Jing joined a wholesale company together just after graduation. Both worked very hard.

After several years, the boss promoted Jing to sales executive but Chuan remained a sales rep. One day Chuan could not take it anymore, tender resignation to the boss and complained the boss did not value hard working staff, but only promoted those who flattered him.

The boss knew that Chuan worked very hard for the years, but in order to help Chuan realize the difference between him and Jing, the boss asked Chuan to do the following. Go and find out anyone selling water melon in the market? Chuan returned and said yes. The boss asked how much per kg? Chuan went back to the market to ask and returned to inform boss the $12 per kg.

Boss told Chuan, I will ask Jing the same question? Jing went, returned and said, boss, only one person selling water melon. $12 per kg, $100 for 10 kg, he has inventory of 340 melons. On the table 58 melons, every melon weighs about 15 kg, bought from the South two days ago, they are fresh and red, good quality.

Chuan was very impressed and realized the difference between himself and Jing. He decided not to resign but to learn from Jing.

My dear friends, a more successful person is more observant, think more and understand in depth. For the same matter, a more successful person sees several years ahead, while you see only tomorrow. The difference between a year and a day is 365 times, how could you win?

Think! how far have you seen ahead in your life? How thoughtful in depth are you?

How the poor live

From: Academictips.org

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

Happy People’s Secret

 

Happy People’s Secret

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THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS

Author Unknown

A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said. “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.

The Lord led the holy man to two doors.

He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.

But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.

The Lord said, “You have seen Hell.

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The holy man said, “I don’t understand.”

“It is simple,” said the Lord. “It requires but one skill. You see they have learned the secret to happiness….. feed one another.”


Being an Example of His Message

From; My Utmost For His Highest

Preach the word! —2 Timothy 4:2

We are not saved only to be instruments for God, but to be His sons and daughters. He does not turn us into spiritual agents but into spiritual messengers, and the message must be a part of us. The Son of God was His own message— “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). As His disciples, our lives must be a holy example of the reality of our message. Even the natural heart of the unsaved will serve if called upon to do so, but it takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a holy example of God’s message.

There is a difference between giving a testimony and preaching. A preacher is someone who has received the call of God and is determined to use all his energy to proclaim God’s truth. God takes us beyond our own aspirations and ideas for our lives, and molds and shapes us for His purpose, just as He worked in the disciples’ lives after Pentecost. The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the incarnation of what they preached so that they would literally become God’s message in the flesh. “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8).

Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you. Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory.

You Are Worthy
Wendy Blight

From: Crosswalk.com

“Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son.” John 14:13 (The Voice, emphasis added)

A few years ago, I received the best birthday present ever. At first, it seemed liked the gift was a weekend with my friend. But God knew I needed something more, something deeper, something that would heal an ache in my heart and change me forever.

Lendy and I had been friends since college. We even worked together after graduation. So when my husband suggested a weekend getaway with her for my birthday, I was thrilled.

Through the years, I had admired Lendy’s relationship with God, longing for the faith she had. Lendy graciously mentored me as I grew in my faith until I moved away. So, being reunited with her sounded like just what I needed.

While on a walk, Lendy asked if she could pray over me. What a gift! Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Lendy had no idea how desperately I needed prayer. I hadn’t told her about the anxiety churning inside me. I’d been teaching Bible study for years, but recently feelings of unworthiness invaded my soul. Why did God call me? What qualifications did I have? I had no seminary degree. No formal Bible training at all. I was an attorney, for heaven’s sake!

Yet every week I stood and taught, sharing my concerns with no one, not even my husband. I feared the women in my class would lose confidence in me as their teacher if they knew the feelings of unworthiness harbored in my heart.

But God knew. He had heard the cry of my heart and responded in a most gracious and loving way.

After our walk, Lendy took me to a quiet spot and placed her hands on my shoulders and prayed. She prayed for my marriage and family. As she spoke of me as a teacher, she moved her hands from my shoulders to my head and anointed me with a fragrant oil she had brought. Her words poured over me like a healing balm:

“Wendy, you are worthy.”

Tears fell. She repeated the words again and again.

“You are worthy.”

More tears.

She cupped my face in her hands, looked intently in my eyes and declared one last time:

“You are worthy.”

God knew the ache in my heart, my desperate need to know I was worthy … and called by Him to teach His Word. God orchestrated that weekend so that someone I loved and trusted breathed life back into my ministry.

God brought His Word alive to me: Wendy, “whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son” (John 14:13, The Voice, emphasis added).

Since that day, I’ve been teaching and writing with greater confidence … trusting God with every message. God answered my prayer and breathed life back into my ministry so that as I study and teach His written Word, and share the hope found in Jesus, He receives glory.

Friend, you’re reading this devotional because God has heard the cry of your heart. He is speaking to you so that His Word will encourage you and speak into your life as it did mine.

God hears our cries, and He answers our prayers so that He will receive all the glory as we grow together in His Word and journey toward living “so that” lives.

Heavenly Father, thank You for hearing the cry of my heart. Thank You for answering that cry because You are faithful to Your Word. Help me hear and obey so that You will receive all glory and honor and praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Living “so that” is the theme of Wendy’s new book Living So That: Making Faith-filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy LifeClick here to preorder Living So That. Wendy will sign each book with a personalized Scripture verse for all books ordered by March 24.

Proverbs 31 Ministries will launch its next free 5-week Online Bible Study featuring Living So That on April 6. Join us as we search God’s Word to find perspective on daily living and help with wise decision making.

Reflect and Respond:
What is the cry of your heart? Have you asked God to answer that cry? If not, will you do that today? Write a prayer inviting Him to be at work in a longing, insecure or doubting place in your heart.

Power Verse:
Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV, emphasis added)

WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?

From: gatewaytoJesus

Clarence Schultz

Let’s see…I think it started when Madeline Murray O’Hare complained that she didn’t want any prayer in our schools, and we said, OK.

Then someone said you had better not read the Bible in school-the Bible that says Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he’s talking about, so we won’t spank them anymore.

Then someone said that teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning.

Then someone said, let’s let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won’t even have to tell their parents. And we said, that’s a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to “do it” anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the “fun” they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that’s another great idea.

And then some of our top elected officials said that it doesn’t matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn’t matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.

And then someone said let’s print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said we have no problem with that.

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And we said they’re entitled to their free speech.

And the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let’s record music that encourages homosexuality, rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it’s just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

Therefore, now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with… “we reap what we sow.”


 

(More Food For Thought follows these reflective questions.)

 

When I die where will I go?
What do I need to do to live forever?
Why do I believe what I do?
If what I believe isn’t true, would I want to know it?
Who has the answers?

 


daddy’s empty chair

– Author Unknown

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two  pillows.

An empty chair sat beside his bed.

The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were  expecting me,” he said.

“No, who are you?” said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, “I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up,”

“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

“I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day, four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest…’”

‘Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky, because He promised, ‘I will be with you always.’ Then just speak to Him in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’”

“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he die in peace?” the minister asked.

“Yes. When I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But, there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”

From: inspire21

empty chair

God’s Overpowering Purpose

 

 

God’s Overpowering Purpose

Simposious reminds everyone that God does the following great things for us:

God gives us power to advocate for others; to be fruitful; to reap a harvest; to grow; and to save sinners from loss.

 

God’s Overpowering Purpose

From: My Utmost For His Highest

I have appeared to you for this purpose . . .—Acts 26:16

The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. And Paul stated, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine.” And the Lord also says to us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go . . .” (John 15:16).When we are born again, if we are spiritual at all, we have visions of what Jesus wants us to be. It is important that I learn not to be “disobedient to the heavenly vision”—not to doubt that it can be attained. It is not enough to give mental assent to the fact that God has redeemed the world, nor even to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did a reality in my life. I must have the foundation of a personal relationship with Him. Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ.Acts 26:16 is tremendously compelling “. . . to make you a minister and a witness . . . .” There would be nothing there without a personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Inspirational stories about helping others 
From: Inspiratoinalstories.euA man was driving his car, when he saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road. He saw that she needed help. So he stopped his Pontiac near her Mercedes and got out.He smiled, while he was approaching her, still she was worried, as nobody had stopped for hours. Moreover, he did not look safe, as his appearance was so poor and shabby. He could see, how frightened she was, so he tried to calm her: „ I‘m here to help you, don‘t worry. My name is Bryan Anderson“.The tire was flat, so he had to crawl under the car. While changing the tire, he got dirty and his hands were hurt. 

When the job was done, she asked how much she owed him for his help. Bryan smiled. He said: „If you really want to pay me back, the next time you see someone, who needs help, give that person the needed assistance. And think of me“.

A the same evening, the lady stopped by a small cafe. That place looked dingy. Then she saw a waitress, nearly eight months pregnant, wiping her wet hear with a towel. The waitress had a sweet friendly smile, although she had spent on her feet the whole day.

The lady wondered, how someone, who has so little, can be so kind and giving to a strange. Then she remembered Bryan.

The lady had finished her meal and paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress went to get change and when she came back, the lady was gone. She left a note on the napkin: „You don‘t own me anything. Somebody once helped me, just like now I‘m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, do not let this chain of love end with you“. The waitress found four more one hundren bills under the napkin.

That night the waitress came home earlier. She was thinking about the lady and the money she left. She was wondering, how the lady could know, how much she and her husband needed it? Especially now, when the baby will soon arrive. She knew, that her husband worried about that, so she was glad to tell him good news. Then she kissed him and whispered „Now everything will be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson“.

 

Inspirational stories about kids 
From: Inspirationalstories.euA long time ago I worked as a volunteer at a hospital. There was a little girl, who suffered from a serious disease. The only chance for her recovery was a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, since he had experienced the same disease and had miraculously recovered. Thus he had the needed antibodies to struggle with this illness.So the doctor told about the situation to the boy and asked him, if he is willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitate only for a moment, then the little boy took a deep breath and said: „Yes, I will do this, if it will save her life“.During the transmission his sister was laying in bed next to him. The boy looked at her and smiled, but gradually his face became pale and his smile faded. He asked the doctor with a trembling voice: „Will I start to die right now?“ 

The little boy thought that he would have to give all his blood to save the life of his beloved sister.

A little girl was decorating a box with a gold wrapping paper to put it under the Christmas tree. Money was tight, so the girl‘s father punished her for wasting almost all roll of that expensive paper.

However, the next morning the girl brought the gift to her father. „This is for you, Daddy“ – she said. He opened a box and found it empty, so he became angry again. „Don‘t you know, that when you give someone a gift, it is supposed that there would be something inside it?“ – he said severely.

The little girl looked at her father with tears in her eyes. „Daddy, this box is not emply, I filled it with my kisses, all for you“.

The father was stunned. He felt so embarrassed that could just put his arms aroung his little daughter and beg for her forgiveness.

For many years of his life the man kept that golden box near his bed. Wherever he felt sad and downhearted he opened the box and thought of love that the little child had put into it.

Each of us have been given a present of unconditional love from our childrens, family, friends and God. It is the most precious possession that anyone could hold.

Inspirational stories about working hard 
From: Inspirationalstories.euGeorge was a driver and he spend so much time at his work, that he could hardly have a meal together with his wife and three children. In the evenings he attended classes, seeking to get knowledge, that one day would help him to find a better paying job.George‘s family often complained that he is not spending enough time with them, but his only answer was „I am doing all this for you, I work hard to provide my family with the best that I can“.Soon after George had passed his exams, he received a good job offer with a salary, which was significantly higher that he had before. So now George could provide his family with more expensive clothes, some luxury items or vacations in foreign countries. It was like a dream come true, but family still did not get enough attention from George, as he continued to work very hard and often he did not get to see his family for most of the week. 

Time passed and George‘s hard work paid off, he was promoted. He decided to relieve his wife from domestic works, so he hired a maid. He also decided that their flat is not big enough for their family and they need a more spacious one. Thus he needed to work even harder and, moreover, he continued his studies, so that he would be promoted again. George worked so hard, that sometimes he even had to spend his Sundays with his clients instead of his wife and children. And again, whenever family asked for his time and complained that they do not spend enough time together, he answered, that he was doing all this only for them.

Some time later George was promoted, so he could buy a spacious house with a beautiful view. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, George told his wife and kids, that now he decided not to take any studies and work not so hard, so that he could spend more time with his beloved family. The very next morning George did not wake up.

 

Guiding Us To Follow Jesus

From: American Bible Society

Acts 8:26-40 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

Introduction

Acts 8:26-40: An angel of the Lord commands Philip to go toward Gaza. Along the road he encounters an Ethiopian official who asks Philip to interpret a passage from the book of the prophet Isaiah. Philip tells the Ethiopian the Good News about Jesus and baptizes him. The Spirit of the Lord then carries Philip away, and he preaches the Good News in every town from Azotus to Caesarea.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 8:35

Then Philip began to speak; starting from this passage of scripture, he told him the Good News about Jesus.

Today’s Reading

26 An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get ready and go south to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. ” (This road is not used nowadays.) 27-28 So Philip got ready and went. Now an Ethiopian eunuch, who was an important official in charge of the treasury of the queen of Ethiopia, was on his way home. He had been to Jerusalem to worship God and was going back home in his carriage. As he rode along, he was reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to that carriage and stay close to it.” 30 Philip ran over and heard him reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. He asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 The official replied, “How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?” And he invited Philip to climb up and sit in the carriage with him. 32The passage of scripture which he was reading was this:“He was like a sheep that is taken to be slaughtered,like a lamb that makes no sound when its wool is cut off. He did not say a word.33 He was humiliated, and justice was denied him.No one will be able to tell about his descendants, because his life on earth has come to an end.” 34 The official asked Philip, “Tell me, of whom is the prophet saying this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak; starting from this passage of scripture, he told him the Good News about Jesus. 36 As they traveled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, “Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?” 38 The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The official did not see him again, but continued on his way, full of joy. 40 Philip found himself in Azotus; he went on to Caesarea, and on the way he preached the Good News in every town.

Reflect

Philip helps the Ethiopian official to understand the meaning of a Scripture passage. What books, people, or other resources do you turn to in order to help you understand Scripture?

Pray

Sovereign God open my eyes and my heart to the meaning of your Word for my life. May I seek your wisdom through the resources you give us and share my understanding of the Holy Scriptures with others. Amen.

God Gives Us Blessings

 

(pictures of people being blessed)

God Gives Us Blessings

The land which I do give them, even the children of Israel (Joshua 1:2).

God here speaks in the immediate present. It is not something He is going to do, but something He does do, this moment. So faith ever speaks. So God ever gives. So He is meeting you today, in the present moment. This is the test of faith. So long as you are waiting for a thing, hoping for it, looking for it, you are not believing. It may be hope, it may be earnest desire, but it is not faith; for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The command in regard to believing prayer is the present tense. “When ye pray, believe that ye receive the things that ye desire, and ye shall have them.” Have we come to that moment? Have we met God in His everlasting NOW?
–Joshua, by Simpson

True faith counts on God, and believes before it sees. Naturally, we want some evidence that our petition is granted before we believe; but when we walk by faith we need no other evidence than God’s Word. He has spoken, and according to our faith it shall be done unto us. We shall see because we have believed, and this faith sustains us in the most trying places, when everything around us seems to contradict God’s Word.

The Psalmist says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living” (Ps. 27:13). He did not see as yet the Lord’s answer to his prayers, but he believed to see; and this kept him from fainting.

If we have the faith that believes to see, it will keep us from growing discouraged. We shall “laugh at impossibilities,” we shall watch with delight to see how God is going to open up a path through the Red Sea when there is no human way out of our difficulty. It is just in such places of severe testing that our faith grows and strengthens.

Have you been waiting upon God, dear troubled one, during long nights and weary days, and have feared that you were forgotten? Nay, lift up your head, and begin to praise Him even now for the deliverance which is on its way to you.
–Life of Praise

Life, Death, God and Fear

The subject of fear is an interesting thing when we consider both life and God.  You see, I
don’t believe I’m afraid of dying and yet I know that as long as I am alive, I will resist death;
and perhaps even in my final moments I will not be able to reconcile myself to the
inevitability of dying in any time that I call NOW.  Instead, I suspect I will believe that it is
imminent and yet still in the future—always in the future. I think that is the optimistic frame
of mind that God gives to all humans and that death, coming as it does after years of
declining health, still “sneaks up” on us most of the time.

That brings me to Fear.  You see I am afraid of a lot of things—some of them involving a fear of a method of death but the main one just a fear of fear itself.  For instance, I enjoy the process of flying and viewing all the earth below me, but even though I deeply doubt that the exact plane I’m on will plummet to earth, I am afraid all the time I’m flying,  because I am afraid of the fear I would feel on the way down if that terrible thing were to happen.

While actually the abrupt jolting of my soul from my human body would be easier than the pain of a long, lingering illness, I just don’t want to face that particular fear—that knowing that the time for death is NOW.

I’m also afraid of roller coasters.  I think if I took a ride on one it is likely that I would come back to the starting place all in one piece as thousands of people do every year, but I would be so afraid.  So I don’t ride roller coasters.

The same goes for driving too fast.  Who wants to risk life and limb to get there faster?  I don’t want to see another car unexpectedly appear in front of me and know I am going to suffer the impact.  That scares me.

What does not scare me is going home to be with God.  I just want to go there by his gentle invitation; I don’t want to go crashing in heaven’s gate unexpectedly.

I don’t think God minds that I’m afraid of things that hold more elements of danger than day-to-day life usually engenders.  I think he wants me to hold my life dear and submit my soul to him only when he gives me that quiet call.

I’m not ashamed of being afraid of taking chances with my life; I would be ashamed if I wasn’t. I would be ashamed to not hold the wonderful life God gave me in the esteem this great gift deserves.

B. Killebrew

 

The History of “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” Song

The very first Christian song most children learn is “Jesus Loves Me.” If there were a best-seller hit list among the preschoolers, this very simple but precious song would have to be at the top of the charts. Yet few people know that “Jesus Loves Me” began life not as a song but as a part of one of 1860′s best-selling novels.

Anna Warner was well aware of the coming of the war between the states. She lived with her father and sister on Constitution Island. Their home was practically next door to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and from her front porch she constantly heard the rumors of war. Yet even in the face of uncertain times, every Sunday Anna taught Bible classes to the cadets. She realized that if the southern states made good on their threat to withdraw from the Union many of the boys she knew could be killed or wounded in the war that would follow. While it broke her heart to consider the dismal fate for those too young to have experienced the many blessings of life, she also fully comprehended the importance of leading each of them to Jesus now. With an urgency brought about by a nation on the brink of dividing, sharing Christ’s love became her mission in life.

Besides her teaching, the forty-year-old Anna also wrote. With her sister
Susan she had written several novels, using the pseudonym Amy Lothrop. In
1860 the sisters’ Say and Seal became the country’s best-selling work of
fiction. Written for the masses and the moment, not fueled by timeless
struggles or epic writing, the book would quickly pass from the public’s
fancy, lost with thousands of other period pieces of the time. Yet, thanks
to one very special scene on but a single page, the essence of the book and
of Anna’s faith would live for decades after Say and Seal and Anna herself
had been forgotten.

In one chapter a child lay dying. Nothing could be done to ease his pain or
give him a second chance at life. As his ultimate fate grew nearer, the
novel’s focal character, Mr. Linden, attempted to comfort the small boy.
Looking into the child’s eyes, he slowly recited a poem that began, “Jesus
loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

The words of the poem made the boy’s last moments of life much easier. These
simple lines also moved thousands of readers to tears. Hauntingly beautiful,
composed straight from Anna’s faithful heart, “Jesus Loves Me” quickly
sprang out of her book’s pages and became one of the most beloved poems of
the era. No one can even begin to calculate how many times it was said on
the battlefield, in the homes of children whose fathers were engaged in the
Civil War, from pulpits and in Sunday school classes, and even at the White
House itself. Ringing so clear and true, Anna’s sixteen short sentences had
touched the hearts of millions with verses meant only to calm the soul of a
dying fictional character.

One of the scores of readers who memorized the poem was William Bradbury. A
teacher of voice and organ, in 1854 Bradbury had formed a piano company with
Ferdinand Lighte and Henry Newton. Besides heading up his business, the
noted musician also continued a practice of setting his faith to music by
composing his own songs. By the beginning of the Civil War, Bradbury had
built his own music company to publish and distribute his works. It was
during the time when his music business was taking off that he first read
and fell in love with “Jesus Loves Me.”

Although an accomplished composer of what many think of as high-church
music–he had already lent his talents to such hymns as “Sweet Hour of
Prayer, …. He Leadeth Me,” and “On Christ the Solid Rock I
Stand”–Bradbury was moved in a much different fashion when he decided to
add a melody to Anna Warner’s poem. A lover of children’s voices, as well as
a proponent of music education in both school and church, Bradbury allowed
the child in his own heart to spring forth when writing the simple musical
notes for “Jesus Loves Me.” Then, to fully complete the work, he added the
following chorus:

Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible
tells me so.

The marriage of Waner’s words and Bradbury’s music was one of the most
beautiful gospel efforts of all time. Yet the song “Jesus Loves Me” might
have been as quickly forgotten as the novel Say and Seal if Bradbury’s music
company hadn’t published it. Through the publisher’s established
distribution network, the new children’s song quickly worked its way across
the North and South. In the face of the most horrible fighting this nation
had ever known, both sides were singing about a Savior who died, yet had
risen and still watched over everyone with equal love and compassion. It was
an ironic message for a very ironic time.

Almost a hundred and forty years after this song was first published, few
know of the writings of Anna Warner or recognize the name of William
Bradbury. But even though the writer and the composer have been forgotten,
everyone knows their song. Children and adults of all races and even
millions outside the Christian faith can sing “Jesus Loves Me.” How many
millions have clung to this message on lonely nights or rocked babies to
sleep while singing this song is unknown. But what can be most assuredly
stated is that “Jesus Loves Me” is the foundation on which many children not
only first come to know Christian music but also come to know the love and
sacrifice of the Lord who inspired it. And this message is what keeps them
singing the gospel throughout their lives.

Norma Lee Liles

 

God’s Word: Embracing Us in Love

Introduction

Matthew 18:1-14: Jesus instructs his followers about entering the Kingdom of heaven and about avoiding temptations to sin. Today’s reading concludes with the story of a shepherd who searches for a lost sheep to emphasize God’s vigilant love and care.

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 18:4

The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child.

Today’s Reading

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” 2 So Jesus called a child to come and stand in front of them, 3 and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. 4 The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. 5 And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me. 6 If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. 7 How terrible for the world that there are things that make people lose their faith! Such things will always happen—but how terrible for the one who causes them! 8 If your hand or your foot makes you lose your faith, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life without a hand or a foot than to keep both hands and both feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye makes you lose your faith, take it out and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life with only one eye than to keep both eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. 10 See that you don’t despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in heaven. 12 What do you think a man does who has one hundred sheep and one of them gets lost? He will leave the other ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go and look for the lost sheep. 13 When he finds it, I tell you, he feels far happier over this one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. 14 In just the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost.

Reflect

Children were considered a gift from God because they cared for older parents and carried on the family name when the parents died. Yet children had little power and were to obey their parents completely. Jesus used children as an example to show that being powerful is not the way to get into God’s kingdom; what God wants is obedience. What is your understanding of Jesus’ words that we are to humble ourselves and become like a child (verse 4)?

Don’t Fear; Trust God

 

(pictures of people being afraid)

Don’t fear, trust God.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. 

_____________________________________

Don’t Be Afraid

From: Academictips.org

 

Here we are, afraid of losing what we have all the time, holding on to it so tight that not a soul can touch it. We think by hiding it from the world, it’s hidden and it’s ours. Nothing is. Nothing ever will be. For, nothing ever was.

If you think there is anything that you have, that’s yours, be it money, a house, a job, or a girlfriend… it’s nothing but an illusion. It’ll all disappear… in one blow. One blow, my man.

Here we are, so insecure that we are afraid of re-starting our lives, so we just carry on trying to sort out the current mess. The thought that we should give it all up and just start all over – with nothing – might cross our minds some time, sure, but we get scared and we push away anything that scares us.

There is nothing I can ever achieve or gain that I cannot lose, in a matter of seconds. You have never gained enough to not be able to lose it all, in just a few minutes. What you think is yours, was never yours and will never be yours. Whatever you make here, you leave here. You came naked and you’re going to go back naked.

So what are you afraid of?

Let all be lost. Let them take away everything. As long as you have your heart beating strong, as long as you have your nostrils working fine, as long as the blood flows in your veins, you will live, you will breathe and you can get it all back… again and again. For, if you can do it once, you can damn well do it again. It’s just a game we play – Life.

By Rohit Wadhwaney

 

Taking the Initiative Against Depression

From: My Utmost For His Highest

02
17
2014

Arise and eat—1 Kings 19:5

The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

Learn and Earn

From: Academictips.org

Chuan and Jing joined a wholesale company together just after graduation. Both worked very hard.

After several years, the boss promoted Jing to sales executive but Chuan remained a sales rep. One day Chuan could not take it anymore, tender resignation to the boss and complained the boss did not value hard working staff, but only promoted those who flattered him.

The boss knew that Chuan worked very hard for the years, but in order to help Chuan realize the difference between him and Jing, the boss asked Chuan to do the following. Go and find out anyone selling water melon in the market? Chuan returned and said yes. The boss asked how much per kg? Chuan went back to the market to ask and returned to inform boss the $12 per kg.

Boss told Chuan, I will ask Jing the same question? Jing went, returned and said, boss, only one person selling water melon. $12 per kg, $100 for 10 kg, he has inventory of 340 melons. On the table 58 melons, every melon weighs about 15 kg, bought from the South two days ago, they are fresh and red, good quality.

Chuan was very impressed and realized the difference between himself and Jing. He decided not to resign but to learn from Jing.

My dear friends, a more successful person is more observant, think more and understand in depth. For the same matter, a more successful person sees several years ahead, while you see only tomorrow. The difference between a year and a day is 365 times, how could you win?

Think! how far have you seen ahead in your life? How thoughtful in depth are you?

How the poor live

From: Academictips.org

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

Spirituality Responsibility

 

(people giving aid to others)

 

“Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”

From: My Utmost For His Highest

None of us lives to himself . . . —Romans 14:7

Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “sit together in the heavenly places . . .” (Ephesians 2:6). “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:26). If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer. But you ask, “Who is sufficient to be able to live up to such a lofty standard?” “Our sufficiency is from God . . .” and God alone (2 Corinthians 3:5).

“You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the wordwitness. But it takes time, so be patient with yourself. Why has God left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this age or this life except for one purpose and one alone— to be used to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life of service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His inexpressibly wonderful salvation. Remember, it is quite possible for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him— “. . . lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

 

Fret not thyself (Psalms 37:1).

From: Streams In The Desert

Do not get into a perilous heat about things. If ever heat were justified, it was surely justified in the circumstances outlined in the Psalm. Evil-doers were moving about clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day. “Workers of iniquity” were climbing into the supreme places of power, and were tyrannizing their less fortunate brethren. Sinful men and women were stalking through the land in the pride of life and basking in the light and comfort of great prosperity, and good men were becoming heated and fretful.

“Fret not thyself.” Do not get unduly heated! Keep cool! Even in a good cause, fretfulness is not a wise help-meet. Fretting only heats the bearings; it does not generate the steam. It is no help to a train for the axles to get hot; their heat is only a hindrance. When the axles get heated, it is because of unnecessary friction; dry surfaces are grinding together, which ought to be kept in smooth co-operation by a delicate cushion of oil.

And is it not a suggestive fact that this word “fret” is closely akin to the word “friction,” and is an indication of absence of the anointing oil of the grace of God? In fretfulness, a little bit of grit gets into the bearings–some slight disappointment, some ingratitude, some discourtesy–and the smooth working of the life is checked. Friction begets heat; and with the heat, most dangerous conditions are created.

Do not let thy bearings get hot. Let the oil of the Lord keep thee cool, lest by reason of an unholy heat thou be reckoned among the evil-doers.
–The Silver Lining

Dear restless heart, be still; don’t fret and worry so;
God has a thousand ways His love and help to show;
Just trust, and trust, and trust, until His will you know.
Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile,
His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.
Dear restless heart, be brave; don’t moan and sorrow so,
He hath a meaning kind in chilly winds that blow;
Just hope, and hope, and hope, until you braver grow.
Dear restless heart, repose upon His breast this hour,
His grace is strength and life, His love is bloom and flower;
Just rest, and rest, and rest, within His tender power.
Dear restless heart, be still! Don’t struggle to be free;
God’s life is in your life, from Him you may not flee;
Just pray, and pray, and pray, till you have faith to see.

–Edith Willis Linn

 

When We Belong to Jesus
Renee Swope

From: Crosswalk.com

“‘For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected,’ says your God.” Isaiah 54:5-6 (NIV)

We had what felt like a storybook Christian romance. Mike was tall, dark and handsome. He had a successful business and he loved Jesus. But to top it all off, instead of asking me for a date, Mike asked if we could “court.”

Our lives were connected on so many levels. We lived on the same floor of the same apartment complex. We attended the same church. And we had several mutual friends. We loved when people told us we made a great couple, in life and in ministry.

Eventually we started praying about marriage and talked to our pastor. Not long after, Mike proposed.

But two weeks into our engagement he looked into my eyes and said: “I’ve made a horrible mistake. You are not the one God wants me to marry.”

I was devastated and wondered what I’d done to make God change His mind.

After counseling and walking through a painful process of forgiveness, I eventually recovered. Much to my surprise, Mike showed back up in my life and asked me to consider rebuilding our friendship.

I was shocked and hesitant. But I also wondered if God wanted to redeem our story. Eventually I gave Mike a second chance. We spent time with friends and took things slowly. But in time, the topic of marriage came up. He proposed again. And he dumped me again!

That time I got smart and kept the ring, holding it as collateral to get Mike to counseling with me. In our first session, the counselor explained that Mike had a fear of commitment. Having a name for it helped me feel better, but Mike felt embarrassed and ashamed.

One night I woke up with a deep sense of concern for him, so I drove to his apartment. Sitting in the parking lot, I felt compelled to get in his van and pray for him. Afterwards I opened my eyes and noticed his journal sitting on the console.

Though I shouldn’t have opened it, I turned to the entries he had written when he called off our engagement. I came face-to-face with why he didn’t want to marry. There were many things about me he wished were different.

After reading Mike’s journal, every time I stood in front of a mirror, doubt whispered: No man will ever want you. You’ll never be good enough.

Rejection. Betrayal. Abandonment. Our greatest fears can become reality. Maybe your father abandoned you, or your husband betrayed you. Maybe your best friend broke your trust, or your teenager has shut you out.

The deep pain from broken relationships can make us doubt our value. We begin to see ourselves as disposable. Easily replaced. Not good enough.

One morning, I woke up and felt the heavy weight of rejection. Opening my Bible, I read through the book of Isaiah and landed in chapter 54. There, God showed me He is my Maker, Husband and Redeemer – the One who bestows the honor and acceptance I long for.

As devastating as it was, I learned two life-changing lessons from the pain:

• I have to choose to separate myself, and my worth, from a man’s decision to want me or not.
• I have to hold others’ words and preferences up to God’s Word and choose which one I will rely on.

Although people’s preferences will change, God’s desire for us won’t. Others might not think we’re good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don’t desire us anymore, God most certainly does!

The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!

Lord, I want to know and rely on the love You have for me and live in Your love. Remind me each day that Your goodness makes me good enough! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Fear Of Transformation

 

 

Fear of Transformation 
From The Essene Book of Days by Danaan Parry

From: Inspirationalarchive.com

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty, and I know, in that place that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness going to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well known bar to move to the new one.

Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moment in time hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on the unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging onto that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.” It’s called transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing”, a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze-bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real too. But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast as unconsciously as possible. What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang- out” in the transition between trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening, in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.

The Telltale Heart

 From: Our Daily Bread
If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. —1 John 3:20

Recently I read about a private investigator in the US who would knock on a door, show his badge to whoever answered, and say, “I guess we don’t have to tell you why we’re here.” Many times, the person would look stunned and say, “How did you find out?” then go on to describe an undiscovered criminal act committed long ago. Writing inSmithsonian magazine, Ron Rosenbaum described the reaction as “an opening for the primal force of conscience, the telltale heart’s internal monologue.”

We all know things about ourselves that no one else knows—failures, faults, sins—that although confessed to God and forgiven by Him may come back to accuse us again and again. John, one of Jesus’ close followers, wrote about God’s love for us and the call to follow His commands, saying: “By this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:19-20).

Our confidence toward God grows out of His love and forgiveness in Christ, not our performance in life. “We know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (v.24).

God, who knows everything about us, is greater than our self-condemnation.

No condemnation now I dread,
I am my Lord’s and He is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine. —Wesley
The one who receives Christ will never receive God’s condemnation.

In the shadows

From: OurDailyJourney

John 20:1-11 
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in (John 20:11).

Read Job 42:5 and reflect on his words after he experienced God in his pain.

How can pain help us to know God better? How have you seen God work through someone’s suffering?

I know a couple who have just had their third miscarriage. In two of those painful losses, they’ve held a perfectly formed, lifeless little body in their hands. While there’s much light in this world—beauty, goodness, joy—there are also the shadows of sadness, evil, and suffering.

Sometimes we wonder where God is in the midst of our pain.

But look at the people to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. Mary Magdalene stood before a cold, empty tomb on Easter Sunday (John 20:11). She was weak with grief. The horror of witnessing the crucifixion of the innocent Man she loved was made worse by the apparent theft of His body from the grave (John 20:2).

Cleopas, walking along the Emmaus road with his friend, was disappointed and confused (Luke 24:13-32). The One he believed would liberate the Jews from their enemies had been crucified (Luke 24:21).

Peter, fishing with his friends, felt bewildered by all that had happened since Jesus’ crucifixion (John 21:1-3). He also felt ashamed. For he had declared that he would follow Jesus anywhere but ended up denying his Lord three times (John 18:17,25-27).

Thomas, sitting with the disciples, was filled with doubt—wondering if it was really true that Jesus would live again (John 20:24-25).

Mary, Cleopas, Peter, Thomas—all of them in the shadows. And that’swhere Jesus met them. Soon Mary and Cleopas saw Jesus with their own eyes and their grief and disappointment disappeared (Luke 24:30-32;John 20:12-16). Soon Peter saw Jesus and had his shame removed (John 21:7,15-19). Soon Thomas saw Jesus and had his doubts dispelled (John 20:26-28).

Life’s shadow moments can cause us to doubt God’s goodness or even His existence. Instead, may they draw us closer to Him.

A Neighbor on the Fence

 

Hope you will have a beautiful Sunday morning. Thank you for all your encouraging comments. Please continue to work with us to inspire people around the world.

Sincerely,

Simposious

The following is from: Our Daily Bread

 

A Neighbor On The Fence

 — by Anne Cetas
All who believed were together. —Acts 2:44

The fence around the side yard of our home was showing some wear and tear, and my husband, Carl, and I decided we needed to take it down before it fell down. It was pretty easy to disassemble, so we removed it quickly one afternoon. A few weeks later when Carl was raking the yard, a woman who was walking her dog stopped to give her opinion: “Your yard looks so much better without the fence. Besides, I don’t believe in fences.” She explained that she liked “community” and no barriers between people.

While there are some good reasons to have physical fences, isolating us from our neighbors is not one of them. So I understood our neighbor’s desire for the feeling of community. The church I attend has community groups that meet once a week to build relationships and to encourage one another in our journey with God. The early church gathered together daily in the temple (Acts 2:44,46). They became one in purpose and heart as they fellowshiped and prayed. If they struggled, they would have companions to lift them up (see Eccl. 4:10).

Connection to a community of believers is vital in our Christian walk. One way that God chooses to show His love to us is through relationships.

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love!
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above. —Fawcett
We all need Christian fellowship to build us up and hold us up.