Tag Archives: direction

Guidance Needed

 

Guidance Needed

When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. —John 16:13

 

St. Nicholas Church in Galway, Ireland, has both a long history and an active present. It’s the oldest church in Ireland, and it provides guidance in a very practical way. The church towers over the town, and its steeple is used by ships’ captains as a guide for navigating their way safely into Galway Bay. For centuries, this church has reliably pointed the way home for sailors.

We can all certainly identify with the need for guidance. In fact, Jesus addressed this very need during His Upper Room Discourse. He said that after His departure the Holy Spirit would play a crucial role in the lives of believers. As part of that role, Jesus promised, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

What a marvelous provision! In a world of confusion and fear, guidance is often needed. We can easily be misdirected by the culture around us or by the brokenness within us (1 John 2:15-17). God’s Spirit, however, is here to help, to direct, and to guide. How thankful we can be that the Spirit of truth has come to give us the guidance that we often so desperately need. Set your course by His life, and you will reach safe harbor.

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand. —Williams
The Spirit is a reliable guide in all of life’s seas.

all our lives

2 Corinthians 1:12-21
We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom (2 Corinthians 1:12).

Read Acts 23:1. What allowed Paul to speak with such confidence about his words and life?

How are your words and actions a representation of your faith in Jesus? What areas of your life do you need to open up to God’s influence? How will you do that?

In the early 1500s, Martin Luther said faith in Jesus justifies us. But he also stated that faith should permeate all areas of our lives, including business dealings. Two and a half centuries later, a young man named John Woolman took this to heart as he opened a tailor shop. Due to his commitment to Christian love, he chose not to purchase any cotton or dye supplies that had been produced by slaves. Then he would be able to say, with a clear conscience, that he had lived according to holiness and sincerity in all his dealings (2 Corinthians 1:12).

In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul defended his integrity among the Corinthians who were trying to undermine his authority by charging him with being insincere, deceptive, and exploitive in his dealings with them. He was forced to protect his character by highlighting several things about his conduct: (1) He related to the Corinthians with holiness and singleness of heart; (2) His conduct among the Corinthians was sincere—his words and actions could stand the closest scrutiny; (3) His conduct was not according to worldly wisdom—it was not self-serving (2 Corinthians 1:12). He related to the Corinthians according to God’s grace, expressing that he was dependent on His power for effectiveness (2 Corinthians 1:21). He wasn’t motivated by popularity or profit but by his genuine love for them. His faith permeated all of his dealings.

We should be careful to let the good news permeate our entire lives and influence everything we do. This may mean standing alone and risking profits in order to live in continuity with our Christian faith. When we talk and behave in a way that’s beyond criticism, we will draw attention to the truthfulness and the power of God’s message.

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Acts 13:36-52 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Embracing Us in Love

From: American Bible Society

Introduction

Acts 13:36-52: Paul and Barnabas are invited to return to the synagogue, and many Gentiles received their message with joy. Others, however, sought to expel them from their region.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 13:47

“This is the commandment that the Lord has given us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, so that all the world may be saved.’”

Today’s Reading

36 For David served God’s purposes in his own time, and then he died, was buried with his ancestors, and his body rotted in the grave. 37 But this did not happen to the one whom God raised from death. 38-39 All of you, my fellow Israelites, are to know for sure that it is through Jesus that the message about forgiveness of sins is preached to you; you are to know that everyone who believes in him is set free from all the sins from which the Law of Moses could not set you free. 40 Take care, then, so that what the prophets said may not happen to you:41 ‘Look, you scoffers! Be astonished and die!For what I am doing todayis something that you will not believe, even when someone explains it to you!’” 42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to come back the next Sabbath and tell them more about these things. 43 After the people had left the meeting, Paul and Barnabas were followed by many Jews and by many Gentiles who had been converted to Judaism. The apostles spoke to them and encouraged them to keep on living in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath nearly everyone in the town came to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; they disputed what Paul was saying and insulted him. 46 But Paul and Barnabas spoke out even more boldly: “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we will leave you and go to the Gentiles. 47 For this is the commandment that the Lord has given us:‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,so that all the world may be saved.’” 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the Lord’s message; and those who had been chosen for eternal life became believers. 49 The word of the Lord spread everywhere in that region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the leading men of the city and the Gentile women of high social standing who worshiped God. They started a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and threw them out of their region. 51 The apostles shook the dust off their feet in protest against them and went on to Iconium. 52 The believers in Antioch were full of joy and the Holy Spirit.

Reflect

How did Paul and his companions encourage the believers? Who opposed their message? What did Paul and Barnabas do? Has anyone ever challenged you about your faith? If so, how did you respond?

Pray

Lord Jesus, I want to be a light that leads others to you. Help me to be a witness for you and to proclaim boldly your message of love and salvation. Amen.

The Compelling Force of the Call

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! —1 Corinthians 9:16

Beware of refusing to hear the call of God. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact of his salvation. That, however, is not the same as the call to preach, but is merely an illustration which can be used in preaching. In this verse, Paul was referring to the stinging pains produced in him by the compelling force of the call to preach the gospel. Never try to apply what Paul said regarding the call to preach to those souls who are being called to God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved, because it is solely God’s sovereign work— “Look to Me, and be saved . . .” (Isaiah 45:22). Our Lord never requires the same conditions for discipleship that he requires for salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Christ. But discipleship has an option with it-”If anyone . . .” (Luke 14:26).

Paul’s words have to do with our being made servants of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us as broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated to the gospel” means being able to hear the call of God (Romans 1:1). Once someone begins to hear that call, a suffering worthy of the name of Christ is produced. Suddenly, every ambition, every desire of life, and every outlook is completely blotted out and extinguished. Only one thing remains— “. . .separated to the gospel. . . .” Woe be to the soul who tries to head in any other direction once that call has come to him. The Bible Training College exists so that each of you may know whether or not God has a man or woman here who truly cares about proclaiming His gospel and to see if God grips you for this purpose. Beware of competing calls once the call of God grips you.

Contact With God- Prayer

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Prayerful Inner-Searching

From: My Utmost for His Highest

May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless . . . —1 Thessalonians 5:23

“Your whole spirit . . . .” The great, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit is in the deep recesses of our being which we cannot reach. Read Psalm 139 . The psalmist implies— “O Lord, You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea. But, my God, my soul has horizons further away than those of early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature. You who are the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot discover, dreams I cannot realize. My God, search me.”

Do we believe that God can fortify and protect our thought processes far beyond where we can go? “. . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). If this verse means cleansing only on our conscious level, may God have mercy on us. The man who has been dulled by sin will say that he is not even conscious of it. But the cleansing from sin we experience will reach to the heights and depths of our spirit if we will “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). The same Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the life of our spirit. It is only when we are protected by God with the miraculous sacredness of the Holy Spirit that our spirit, soul, and body can be preserved in pure uprightness until the coming of Jesus-no longer condemned in God’s sight.

We should more frequently allow our minds to meditate on these great, massive truths of God.

26 guards

From: Inspire21.com

Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone and then just put it on a list and said, “I’ll pray for them later?”  Or, has anyone ever called you and said, “I need you to pray for me, I have this need?”  Read this story – may it change the way that you think about prayer and also the way you pray.  You will be blessed by this.

biking through the jungle— Author unknown

A missionary on furlough told this story while visiting his home church in Michigan. “While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point.

On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord.

I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident.

Two weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, “Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards. At this I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite. The young man pressed the point, however, and said, “No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.”

At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day this happened. The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who interrupted told him this story: “On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong, I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?”  The men who had met together to pray that day stood up.

The missionary wasn’t concerned with who they were, he was too busy counting how many men he saw. There were 26.

——

This story is an incredible example of how the Spirit of the Lord moves in mysterious ways. If you ever hear such prodding, go along with it.

Nothing is ever hurt by prayer except the gates of hell. I encourage you to share this story with as many people as you know. If we all take it to heart, we can turn this world toward God once again. As the above true story clearly illustrates, “with God, all things are possible” – and more importantly, how God hears and answers the prayers of the faithful.

After you read this, please pass it on and give God thanks for the beautiful gift of your faith, for the powerful gift of prayer, and for the many miracles He works in your own daily life.


8 year-old’s explanation of god

From: Inspire21.com

— By Danny Dutton
Written by an 8 year old from Chula Vista, CA, for his third grade homework assignment. The assignment was to explain God. I just wonder if any of us could do as well?

One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.

He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime.  God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this .

Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God.

Don’t skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can.

It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But… you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And this is what I know about God.

a lesson in faith – the charles blondin story

From: Inspire21.com

— Author unknown

The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

Blondin’s greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times… each time with a different daring feat – once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

A large crowd gathered and the buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oohed and Aahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across – one dangerous step after another – pushing a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes.

Then a one point, he asked for the participation of a volunteer. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd’s applause was louder than the roar of the falls!

Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?”

The crowd enthusiastically yelled, “Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!”

“Okay,” said Blondin, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow.”

As far as the Blondin story goes, no one did at the time!

This unique story illustrates a real life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd watched these daring feats. They said they believed. But… their actions proved they truly did not believe.

Similarly, it is one thing for us to say we believe in God. However, it’s true faith when we believe God and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.

—–

Note: In August of 1859, Blondin’s manager, Harry Colcord, did ride on Blondin’s back across the Falls.

 

Pathway to Hope

 

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Pathway to Hope

“Growing up I was a very shy person. I was very fortunate that God blessed me with artistic talent and athletic ability. It helped me have some outlets to excel, and meet some friends along the way.

Though I tried to to be the best I could so that people would like me, I always felt like a background person. Someone people liked to have around when they needed help because I was smart, reliable, caring. Many things came naturally to me, and I was a double edged sword. Great to have around for help, yet people didn’t think enough of me to be reliable for me. It truly sent me into a deep depression, but it seemed no one else noticed around me because I didn’t want people to know how bad I was feeling. The problem is that I didn’t have any “real” friends for far too long.

In 2012 I started changing the way I looked at things. I started thinking positive. Not worrying about what others thought of me. I started taking Pranic Healing classes, and began working to help others AND myself at the same time. Forgiveness was the first step in making the change. I had to forgive myself for thinking I wasn’t good enough to be important to others. I had to forgive others for not treating me the way I thought I deserved. Once I started getting past that I could move on.

A funny thing started happening…I moved into a new department at work. I met some really great people. It was like God was moving chess pieces into place for me. I now have good friends. My family started treating me with respect. I love my day job, and my artwork has been noticed and appreciated by many people.

Little did I know that I was being prepared for a new venture. In March of 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a month I had surgery and I am now halfway through my chemo treatments. Through all of this I have been so very fortunate to have such love and support from family, friends, coworkers and people from my past that I never knew I made an impression on.

It is a series of miracles that have happened to me in the midst of a terrible disease. I cannot tell you how many people have told me I have inspired them with my courage and strength! Little ol me who always thought I wasn’t important!

I want people to know that even when you don’t realize it, we touch people in ways we can never imagine, and it may become known to you when it is meant to, OR maybe not at all. The point is…always give your best to those around you. Be respectful, honest, hard working and caring. Don’t judge because we aren’t in anyone else’s shoes and they aren’t in ours. Just provide the help that you can, and it will all work out.

I’m so thankful everyday for all I have, and pray I keep getting the chance to pass it on to others. THAT IS MY HOPE!”

 

Pathway to Hope, From: www.values.com.

Corine

 

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A Sunday Message from Simposious by: Our Daily Bread

Corine

 — by Anne Cetas
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. —1 Peter 4:9
Bible in a Year:

A group of us were helping to put together packets of material at an Our Daily Bread event in Orlando last winter when Corine greeted us. It was mid-morning, and she was sure we must be hungry and thirsty. I told her we were “fine,” and she replied, “I know you’re fine, but you need something to eat.” A few minutes later she came back with cold water and snacks.

Throughout the 2 days we were there, Corine came by to check on us, bring us food or water, and take away our trash. On one occasion, I thanked her and said, “You have the gift of hospitality, don’t you, Corine!” She looked down and replied, “I don’t know. But you write the devotional articles, and I’ll clean up. And God will be glorified.”

Corine’s desire is to bring God glory by helping people. She definitely has the gift of hospitality and practices it well. God has graced each of His children with skills and abilities so that He can minister to others through us. You can find those gifts listed in Romans 12:4-13, 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, Ephesians 4:7-12, and 1 Peter 4:9-11.

The Lord has gifted us “that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11).

All Christians have been gifted
By grace from God above,
Equipped to build and strengthen
The church in faith and love. —Fitzhugh
You are one of a kind— designed to glorify God as only you can.

Warning Sign

 

 

Warning Sign

 — by Dennis Fisher
(Warning Sign, is from Our Daily Bread)

 

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. —Hebrews 3:12
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 10-12; Acts 19:1-20

On a sandy beach in Uruguay, giant concrete fingers partially submerged in sand reach up toward the sky. It is called the Monument to the Drowned. Locals just call it La Mano, “The Hand.” It was created by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal as a warning to swimmers about the danger of drowning. “The Hand” has become a tourist attraction, but its real purpose remains to remind swimmers about the perils of the sea.

The Word of God contains its own kind of warning signs. The book of Hebrews especially provides cautions about perils to the soul. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:12-13).

The context of the verse is a review of the unbelief and rebellion of Israel in the wilderness. Though this happened centuries before the book of Hebrews was written, the spiritual principle applies today. We are to exhort one another to resist the hardening of our hearts that comes with sin.

Warning signs are given to us for our safety. Praise God that He has given us protective warnings in His Word because of His great love for us.

Lord, thank You for the warnings in Your Word
that are intended to protect and preserve my life.
Help me to heed Your reproofs and instruction
that I may live a life that is pleasing to You.
God gives us loving warnings in His Word to protect and preserve us.

Navigating The Storm

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Navigating The Storm

 — by Dennis Fisher
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
He commands and raises the stormy wind, . . . and He brings them out of their distresses. —Psalm 107:25,28

“The ancient people of the nation of Axum (located on the Red Sea in modern Ethiopia) discovered that the stormy winds of the monsoon season could be harnessed by sail for speedy navigation. Rather than dreading the high winds and rains, they learned how to navigate their way through the storm.

Psalm 107 provides a wonderful word picture of how God allows storms to come our way, and then provides help for us to navigate through them. “He commands and raises the stormy wind, . . . and He brings them out of their distresses” (Ps. 107:25,28).

Trusting God for guidance in troubled times is a biblical theme. Hebrews 11 lists many who used their problems as an opportunity to exercise faith and to experience God’s grace, provision, and deliverance: “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, [and] out of weakness were made strong” (vv.33-34).

Stormy circumstances are inevitable. Although our first reaction may be to run from the problem, we can instead ask God to teach us how to trust Him to navigate us through the storm.

When life feels like a storm-tossed sea
With crashing waves of pain and grief,
Turn to the Lord and trust in Him,
He’ll give you peace and bring relief. —Sper
Better to go through the storm with Christ than to have smooth sailing without Him.”
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