Do You Hear the Knocking?

July 23rd, 2014

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When I visited my grandmother’s house as a young child, I would notice a picture prominently placed on the wall of Jesus knocking on a door. When I asked her why Jesus was knocking on the door she told me that it was symbolic of Jesus knocking on the door of our heart wanting to come in.

Jesus KnockingShe explained the door has no handle on the outside and therefore can be only opened from within illustrating that we are free to keep the door of our heart locked, leaving Jesus on the doorstep or, if we choose, we are free to let Him into our lives. Jesus is gently knocking and will not impose Himself on anyone but rather leaving the choice up to us.

As a child, I thought that picture was so neat. Because I had accepted the Lord as my personal Savior at such a young age, I could not understand why anyone would not readily open the door to let Jesus in.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” Revelation 3:20Revelation 3:20
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20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

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This is God’s admonition to us to let Jesus in. Don’t leave him standing on the doorstep.

Do you hear Jesus knocking?

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A Gentle Whisper

July 9th, 2014

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“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” I Kings 19:11-12 NIV

In Chapter 19 Elijah fled for his life after the evil Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him because of his actions. Elijah had gone to Mt. Carmel where he out-dueled and embarrassed the prophets of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Elijah had taunted them as their gods failed to light a sacrificial fire. Elijah became depressed over being a hunted man. He had gone from a very high point to feeling he was the only one left who believes in the Lord. He wanted to lie down and die but the Lord gave him food and sent him to Mt. Horeb. The Lord sent the wind, earthquake and fire but in the end spoke to him in a whisper.

All of us enjoy the thrill of a great religious victory in our life. We expect and receive great things from God. After this time of high excitement, however, we are sometimes at our weakest point and become depressed as Elijah did. It is in those moments of feeling defeated that we are wanting to hear from God in a very special way. His speaking may even be through another person but; as the scripture expresses, it is sometimes in a gentle whisper or a gentle word.

God is always with us. He has many ways in which He intervenes in our lives. If we listen, God may be speaking to us through a gentle whisper or in another distinctive way.

Would we recognize His voice if he calls?

The following video expresses some unique ways God may speak to us. The song is, “Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Please click on the link to enjoy.

Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds

 

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Come As You Are

June 18th, 2014

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invitation“Come as you are” is a phrase we hear quite often. Frequently an invitation to a party will indicate that it is acceptable to come casually dressed without any pretense of impressing anyone.

Although these exact words are not found in the Bible, the Bible is full of scriptures that imply the essence of this message. One of the most notable of verses is John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What an exciting invitation that is.

The above passage of scripture is a direct call to anyone to come to God for salvation even though we are undeserving. It is through the grace of God that we are saved and not through our works. His only requirement is that we confess our sins and receive His forgiveness and submit to Him in obedience.

“Come as you are” does not mean that you can live any way you want.  “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8James 4:8
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8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

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What have you done that is so bad that God will not accept you? Nothing! He is just waiting for you to “come as you are”. After all, God already knows everything about you!

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A Father’s Role

June 4th, 2014

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father and childA father has a powerful influence on his children simply by displaying his character and the virtues he wants to encourage in his children. He should consciously demonstrate them daily. A father should also practice what he preaches.

The Bible says a lot about the importance of being a father and shaping the lives of your children.  There are many scriptures to show the way to being a model earthly father.

Our heavenly Father displays the qualities of a model father. Some of the attributes are listed along with the scripture reference.

He loves me – John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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He care for me – Matthew 6:26Matthew 6:26
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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?

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He forgives me – Psalm 103:12Psalm 103:12
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12 As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

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He is compassionate – Psalm 103:4-5Psalm 103:4-5
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4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy desire with good things, So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle.

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He is giving – Romans 8:32Romans 8:32
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32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

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He is understanding – Psalm 139:1-2Psalm 139:1-2
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For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. 139 1 O Jehovah, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off.

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He is accepting – Psalm 139:1-6Psalm 139:1-6
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For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. 139 1 O Jehovah, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, And art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, But, lo, O Jehovah, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, And laid thy hand upon me. 6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain unto it.

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He satisfies – Psalm 107:9Psalm 107:9
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9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, And the hungry soul he filleth with good.

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He persistently pursue me – Luke 19:10Luke 19:10
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10 For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

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He is reason – Isaiah 1:18Isaiah 1:18
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18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

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He pardons – Psalm 103:3Psalm 103:3
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3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases;

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He heals – Isaiah 53:5Isaiah 53:5
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5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

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He redeems – Job 19:25Job 19:25
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25 But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth, And at last he will stand up upon the earth:

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He is loving-kindness – Psalm 86:15Psalm 86:15
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15 But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.

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He renews – Isaiah 40:31Isaiah 40:31
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31 but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.

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He is righteous – Jeremiah 9:23-24Jeremiah 9:23-24
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23 Thus saith Jehovah, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; 24 but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth me, that I am Jehovah who exerciseth lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith Jehovah.

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He is gracious – Ephesians 1:7-8Ephesians 1:7-8
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7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

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He is sovereign – Psalm 103:19Psalm 103:19
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19 Jehovah hath established his throne in the heavens; And his kingdom ruleth over all.

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I am thankful for my heavenly Father and the love and care He shows for me on a daily basis.

Wishing every father a Happy Father’s Day.

 

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Don’t Be a Stat

May 21st, 2014

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On a recent trip across the state of Kansas we noticed flashing signs strategically placed on the Interstate. The sign read, “Don’t be a stat. Texting and driving can kill.” Ironically, we were not distracted by texting but distracted by trying to read the sign. I think the signs kind of defeated their own purpose. How could we keep our eyes on the road if we were trying to read what the sign said?

We also really confused our GPS because we changed the route from that which was originally mapped out for us. When Matilda (a name we lovingly call our GPS) felt we had ignored her directions and were going the wrong way she would emphatically say, “Make a U-turn.” No matter if we were on a busy highway or in the middle of a frontage road she would insist that we turn around. That always made us chuckle out loud.

signs - several directionsThat is similar to how some of us are in our spiritual walk. Do we get easily distracted in our ministries or do we give up completely because we are not accomplishing all that we set out to do or do not know which path to take next?

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  Proverbs 4:25-27Proverbs 4:25-27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

25 Let thine eyes look right on, And let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Make level the path of thy feet, And let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: Remove thy foot from evil.

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Detour signWe must focus on the goal. Looking straight ahead helps us avoid roadblocks placed in our path. When we get off track we have to re-route ourselves so we can start going in the right direction again.

Do we focus on Christ and what he tells us to do? Are we determined to accomplish all we can for Him following the path set out before us?

Christ should be our goal. Don’t be a statistic!

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The Whisper of the Leaves

May 6th, 2014

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Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Proverbs 1:8Proverbs 1:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother:

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Our mothers are very important to us. Even though you may not be around your mother on a daily basis, her little voice is constantly in your head and heart. She is always with you.

I found this wonderful description of a mother and her impact on her child’s life. It is from an unknown source.

wb051390“Your mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street. She’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well. She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow; she is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter. She’s the place you came from, the first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing one earth can separate you – not time, not space . . . not even death.”

My mother has passed away but I feel her influence on my life in everything I say and do. She was gracious and God fearing. Even though she had a physical handicap which limited her mobility, she was an active participant in teaching me to live a Christian life.

Yes, she is the whisper of the leaves as I walk along life’s journey

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“Spiritual” Hearing Aid

April 30th, 2014

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How many times have you been talking to a family member, friend or acquaintance and really did not feel they were listening to you? I have experienced that many times.  I am sure I have been guilty of doing that to someone else also. How many times is God talking to us and we either ignore what He is telling us or just don’t hear His voice.

A hearing aid is an electroacoustic device which is designed to amplify sound for the wearer, usually with the aim of making speech more intelligible, and to correct impaired hearing. Sometimes we have selective hearing when it comes to hearing God’s voice. It makes me wonder if we either have our “spiritual” hearing aids turned off or need to replace the battery.

person hearingAre we quick to dismiss God’s voice and pretend we did not hear his direction? Or, do we readily play the “are you talking to me” game? Can’t you ask someone else or I don’t think I am qualified. If God calls us to do it, he will equip us.

“Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” Isaiah 55:3Isaiah 55:3
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3 Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

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Our goal should be to give ear and listen to what God is instructing us to do. Change the battery in your “spiritual” hearing aid, if needed,  and make sure it is in the “on” position.

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The Easter Formula

April 15th, 2014

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Even though I survived years of Math classes in school, I never really enjoyed them. I especially hated those classes where you had to find some unknown number in an equation or put some real life problems into equations and solve them.

I have recently seen an equation of 3 nails + 1 cross = 4giveness. This appears on T-shirts, bumper stickers, ornaments and jewelry, just to name a few. I believe there is even a Facebook page.  I am so glad I know that this equation was solved many years ago by Christ’s death on the cross. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16John 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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(NIV)

jesus on crossChrist’s crucifixion was a slow and painful execution on a wooden cross where He was left to hang until he died. Those three nails, one in each hand/wrist and one through both feet were made of heavy, probably square, iron material, 7-9 inches long. What a painful experience. Hallelujah, He did it all for us!

The 3 nails plus the 1 cross allowed us to be forgiven. Let’s reflect on the price Christ paid that we could have forgiveness of our sins. The Easter formula was a love expressed beyond any other.

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What I Learned from the Robin

April 2nd, 2014

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Last spring, I put a wreath on a post on my front porch. It is made out of twigs and artificial flowers. I can view the porch from the office where I do my computer work for my home business but cannot see that particular post. I noticed one robin kept coming back and forth to the area around that spot. I thought she must be looking for a place to make her nest. She was . . . in that wreath. Since we exit the house through the garage, I did not notice what she was up to for quite a few days.

Below is a picture of that wreath. If you are having trouble spotting the nest since it blends in so well, it is located on the right side of the wreath as it hangs on the post.

bird nest 1

Okay, so this year I thought I would outsmart her. Instead of putting the wreath on the post, I put it on the front door. She did not make a nest in it but was proceeding to take out some of the twigs to use in making a home for her little ones in another location. As I opened the front door there would be twig remnants on the door jamb. What do I do now, I thought? You guessed right. I took the wreath down and it is sitting in my garage!

Thus, the robin has taught me a valuable lesson which is to use what you have. She was persistent in coming back to gather the twigs to complete the task at hand. God has given us varying talents and we should do our best to utilize them to build up the kingdom of God.

Matthew 25:14-18Matthew 25:14-18
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14 For it is as when a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Straightway he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and made other five talents. 17 In like manner he also that received the two gained other two. 18 But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

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“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

Jesus also gives us an example when he fed the five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two fish. He used the resources He had to perform this miracle.

By the way, I will probably have to wait a little longer before I can put that particular wreath out on my front porch again.

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Candid Camera

March 18th, 2014

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camera2This may date me but I remember the old television show called “Candid Camera®”. It was a program where unsuspecting people were placed in confusing, impossible, embarrassing, ridiculous, and hilarious situations, while their reactions were recorded on a hidden camera. It was a lot of fun to watch but I often thought about how those people felt once they were told by the program host that their reactions was caught on camera for all the viewers to see.

It is easy now for the actions of a person to be captured via a cell phone camera or the use of hidden cameras placed on buildings, houses or streets.camera1

Recently I had a gentlemen working at a grocery store approach me and tell me “I appreciate how you are advertising God by the T-shirts you wear. That is a great testimony”. The shirts he was mentioning were ones with the name of our church on the back and a Godly message on the front. I politely thanked him and asked him if he attended church and he said he did.

I had no idea the man even noticed me as I picked out my produce at the store. Wow, I did not know I was on “candid camera”. I realized then that I have a responsibility to always represent God at all times – even at the grocery store.

Your life is your message to the world. Are you exemplifying Godly behavior in all your interactions with others? If not, you may not be advertising God effectively.

 

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