Are You Lifeless?

April 8th, 2015

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plant - deadRecently someone gave me a lifeless houseplant they could no longer take care of.  I pulled off the dead leaves, watered it and nourished it with some plant food. After some consistent pampering, the plant came back to life.

This reminds me of the scripture verse found in Romans 6:11-12Romans 6:11-12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof:

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, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”

If I had just brought the plant home and left it unattended, its ultimate result would have been to die. I needed to do something.  I was successful in reviving it. Thus, it is symbolic of our walk with Christ. There is action required from us to die to sin.  It is because of His grace that we can remain alive in Him and not let sin reign in our life.

God is continually trying to make me into a usable vessel for Him but action is required on my part. Here is the plant one month later.


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The Unpaid Debt

March 24th, 2015

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When I was a teenager (which dates me quite a bit) there was a popular song entitled, “He Paid a Debit He Did Not Owe” by Ellis J. Crum. The essence of the lyrics was to share about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. He did this to save us and to bare our penalty before God. The punishment that we all deserved was paid in full by Christ’s death on the wooden tree. This act of grace affords us the opportunity to be free from the consequences of our sins.

jesus on crossAnother aspect of this song is that we owe a debt to God but there is no way we can ever repay it and neither does God expect any payment. The price was paid in full that first Easter so that we can live with Him eternally.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” I Peter 3:18 Christ’s ultimate purpose was to bring you to God. He is just waiting for us to come.

Following is a video of the song, “He Paid a Debt He Did Not Owe” sung by Conrad Fisher. Listen to the words and reflect on that great debt that was paid because He loves us so much.

He Paid a Debt

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Emergency Numbers

March 12th, 2015

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The eerie ambulancesound of a siren can be very disconcerting to us. It is our natural inclination to peek out the window to check what type of emergency vehicle is passing by. Although we are often apprehensive at the sound, we are glad there are those individuals who are willing to serve to meet our needs when a crisis situation arises.

What happens when a spiritual emergency happens? I found many lists of “Emergency Numbers” by unknown authors that will give us guidance when the need arises. As I was doing research on line for this particular listing, I found there were many more available situations with scripture verses pointing to the solution but I have highlighted just a few to share.

  1. When men fail you – Psalm 27
  2. When you have sinned – Psalm 51
  3. When you worry – Matthew 6:19-34Matthew 6:19-34
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also. 22 The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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  4. If people seem unkind – John 15
  5. When God seems far way – Psalm 139
  6. When your faith needs stirring – Hebrews 11
  7. When you need assurance – Romans 8:1-30Romans 8:1-30
    English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

    8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: 7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: 8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth? 25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; 27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: 30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

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  8. When you feel like you are in danger – Psalm 91
  9. When the world seems bigger than God – Psalm 90

I am thankful that God’s Word provides the remedy for many of life’s troubles and concerns. Let the Bible point the way to living the victorious life.

bible

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Church Absentee App

February 25th, 2015

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One of the most recent apps for a cell phone is one that a parent can download on their mobile device to track the school attendance of their college-age child. It alerts parents when a student skips class.

There are so many apps for the various brands of phones that it would be difficult to count them all. When I started doing research on the different ones available here are a few I came up with.

cell phone appsThe Sim Stapler allows us to satisfy the urge to press a stapler without wasting staples. This stapler simulation is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When the urge to staple strikes, a solution is at hand.

Rotary Dialer enables you to experience the days when calling phone numbers included a clicking sound as well as a long wait for the numbers eight, nine and zeros.

Did you know there is also an app for blowing out the candles on your birthday cake? Using the speaker opening at the bottom of certain phones as a makeshift fan, it allows you the ability to have assistance in this important part of a birthday celebration.

The above mentioned applications are unique but it made me wonder what would happen if your clergy or designated church representative had a “Church Attendance App” to track your attendance at your designated place of worship. How well would you do?

In like manner, we know that God does not have such an app but he is mindful of our commitment in attending our house of worship. Attendance is important because we are able to worship with other believers and be taught the Word for our spiritual growth. Some will argue that church attendance is not a requirement. That is true but a true Christian should have a desire to worship with a body of believers.

I don’t want to be on God’s checklist of absentees. Do you?

Hebrews 10:25Hebrews 10:25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting [one another]; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.

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admonishes “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

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The Church Mask

January 28th, 2015

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As you leave your residence on Sunday morning to go to your place of worship, do you take your church mask off the hook by the door and place it on your face? When you walk through the doors at church are you hoping those you encounter will believe you are righteous as you pass them by. Are you just pretending to be someone you are not? If so, you are living a lie.

mask

James 2:18James 2:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith.

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states “But someone will say, you have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

Does your life during the week mirror your actions and words while in church on Sunday? Are you confessing your belief in a risen Lord but those watching you would not be able to tell? Oftentimes you know the buzz words to use and the appropriate actions to display while at church or around your Christian friends but falter when that “church mask” is removed.

A little refocusing on living a Godly life and finding ways to bless others will eliminate the need to wear that mask. Throw it away now!

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The Reset Button

January 13th, 2015

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The new year has already begun. What a great time to set goals, re-evaluate priorities and make plans for the future. We embrace this yearly ritual because our mind is stimulated by the thought of starting over again. This symbolic process of hitting the “reset button” in our mind has value in that it helps in the process of renewing our commitment to creating a better year than the previous one.

As we mentally press the “reset button” we are attempting to return everything back to its original status. This is not possible but it can jumpstart our efforts to make the most of what lies ahead for us. Our reaction to an adverse situation is often the catalyst in determining its outcome.

Isaiah 43:18Isaiah 43:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

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– 19 NIV tell us “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Do not dwell on what happened last year. Change your focus. Start looking ahead. Seek a new vision in your life in the current year. With God’s help we can accomplish much for Him.

The Lord says

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One Size Fits All

December 3rd, 2014

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christmas packageA gift is something given willingly to someone without payment; a present. We are not forced to give to someone nor are we compelled to give anything back in return.

 II Corinthians 9:15 tells us to give thanks to God for His indescribable gift. What is that gift? Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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tell us “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Hence, eternal life is God’s gift to us.

Have you ever received a gift of clothing that did not fit? In that case, you are hopeful the person giving it to you has kept the receipt so it can be returned for the correct size.

God’s gift to us (eternal life) fits everyone no matter the size of your heart . Here is an admonition from Ephesians 3:16-18Ephesians 3:16-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

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: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Jesus Christ was born in a manger on that first Christmas day so that we might receive this free gift that is available for everyone through faith. It is the perfect gift that manifests itself through the love of Christ. Indeed, one size fits all!baby Jesus

May you have a Merry Christmas!

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Attitude of Gratitude

November 12th, 2014

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It seems the custom of expressing thanks is slowly diminishing. In recent years I have sent any number of gifts to individuals for weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc. and have not received any sort of thanks. Even though the idea of sitting down and writing out a thank you now seems to be obsolete, the idea of saying thanks should never become outdated.

I have seen recent posts on social networking sites of individuals listing on a daily basis things they are thankful for. It is amazing the uniqueness of these posts in expressing thankfulness. I am sure as a person sits down and begins to list those people and things they are thankful for, their hearts swell up with an “attitude of gratitude”. Oh, how blessed we are!

That would be my challenge to you. Although it is not necessary to post it on line, begin to make a list of everything you are grateful for. I am sure after you only have a few items on your list, you will begin to realize the magnitude of your blessings. As the old hymn states, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.”

Here is a link to the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” by Mia Padua

The scripture admonishes us to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:181 Thessalonians 5:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.

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happy thanksgiving

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Within the Covers

October 29th, 2014

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Ronald ReaganPresident Ronald Reagan once made a very profound statement, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” What a timely statement even for today.

It seems there is so much unrest in the world. Wars, rumors of wars, major global illnesses, disagreements on all types of social issues – and the list goes on. What should be my reaction to these?

A person recently told me she was conservative in her way of thinking. I responded that I didn’t know if I was conservative but rather I was “biblical”. She had a strange reaction but I told her that, since God’s Word is my measuring tool, the answer to all my decisions are found in the Bible.

Psalm 18:30Psalm 18:30
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 As for God, his way is perfect: The word of Jehovah is tried; He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him.

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NIV states, “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”  Since God’s Word is flawless, why would I look for the answers anywhere else? Some people try to make the Bible say what they want by making their own interpretation but as the lyrics of the old song goes, “if God says it, I believe it, and that settles it for me!” I am not going to change God’s Word to suit my own needs or so I will be socially accepted.

I am going to look “within the covers”!

Following are the lyrics to the song “God Said It and I Believe It” as sung by Del Delker.

God Said It and I Believe It

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The Piano Keys

October 15th, 2014

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The series of student books I am currently using to teach beginning piano lessons has a series of songs where the student plays only on the black keys. Although this is probably not the way I would start teaching a beginning student, I went along with the lessons as outlined. At the onset of learning piano, a person does not realize the importance of the black keys in making beautiful music and it is difficult to explain to a new student the concept of “flats” and “sharps” in a music selection.

Keyboard Keys Close UpTo me the white keys denotes the good things that happen in life and the black keys represents the bad. What would the piano be like with all white keys but no black ones? How would the music sound?

It is possible, as I stated above, to play a musical selection on all white keys or all black keys but oh the beautiful music that is generated when both are played together?

That is similar to our daily lives. We will encounter both the good and the bad. Learn to appreciate those delightful things but know that along your journey there will be those black keys that step in your path. In the end all things will work out.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28Romans 8:28
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

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