Archive for the ‘Mixed Bag’ Category

A Gentle Whisper

Wednesday, 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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Don’t Be a Stat

Wednesday, 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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God’s Love Notes

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

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Jeremiah 31:3Jeremiah 31:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

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states, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” This verse lets us know that God’s love for us never ends and lasts forever.

be mineOne of my favorite things to receive and give during the Valentine’s Day holiday is conversation hearts. They include words on them that a person would say to their sweetheart. Did you know that God leaves us some little thoughts through the use of “Gods Conversation Hearts” as found in the Bible.

They include: BE MINE – 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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; ALL MINE – John 10:27-30John 10:27-30
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.

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; TRUE LOVE – Jeremiah 31:3Jeremiah 31:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

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(as shared above); LOVE ME – Luke 10:27Luke 10:27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.

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; I’M SURE – John 14:1-3John 14:1-3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 1 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

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; SWEET TALK – Psalm 119:103Psalm 119:103
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

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; BE GOOD – John 14:15John 14:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.

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and FAX ME – Jeremiah 33:3Jeremiah 33:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things, and difficult, which thou knowest not.

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As you look up these verses, think about the ways in which God shows His love for you.  You are special to Him! He loves you more than any other person will ever love you. This Valentine’s Day enjoy a box of conversation hearts and reflect on the fact that God leaves you love notes in His Word.

Please take time to watch the video “The Love of God” by Mercy Me. It shares these encouraging words that the love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.

Click on link to watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjj2kZ1qoqw

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“Pity” Party to “Praise” Party

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

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crying_tears_tn

Have you ever had a pity party? There are times in all of our lives when we think no one cares and feel all alone as we face troubles or challenges.

The word trouble means different things: bodily affliction, sorrow and failure or disappointment. Part of feeling sorry for ourselves is how we handle the trouble that comes our way.

How do we handle trouble? It is not what happens to us, but what happens in us that defines who we are. It is not the trouble that comes to us, but our attitude toward the trouble. Self-pity and resentment are not very Godly behaviors to display.

James 1:2James 1:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations;

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& 3 tells us “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” It is extremely difficult to be joyful during our times of testing or during a difficult situation, but that is what we are encouraged to do.

How does God help us? God enables us to triumph over our troubles. The Christian way is to transform our trouble into triumph. Our suffering can be transformed into a blessing. According to Psalm 46:1Psalm 46:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

46 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah; set to Alamoth. A Song. 1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

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, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” God can make us into something useful. Let’s be triumphant over our troubles and give praise to God.

What kind of party do you want? “Pity” or “Praise”!

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Being an Encourager

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

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Guest blog by Rev. Richard Fisher

There are so many events in life that are discouraging. Some people do not like to listen to the news because they hear all the negative news such as earth quakes, tornadoes, floods, wars and the list goes on.  Then there are  things in our lives that are discouraging such as inflation, death of a loved one, etc. There are many people who are discouragers in life but few encouragers.

ladies talkingA young girl was taking a typing class in high school some years ago. She had tiny hands but wanted to learn to type. Her typing teacher told her she would not be able to type because her hands were too small and her fingers were too short. While this was discouraging, she persevered and mastered typing.  She went on to become an executive assistant and plays the piano.

The world needs a word of encouragement!  Ephesians 4:29Ephesians 4:29
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.

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states, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I strive to apply this passage but miss the mark sometimes.  Speaking words that build up people should be our goal. It’s easy to tear down but to build up takes special care and work.  You can see your words ministering to people. What a blessing to both you and the other person.

zipped mouthOne person has said, “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Are you an encourager?

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Spiritual Diagnosis

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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computerWhat is the first thing we do when we have an illness? Many of us check out our lengthy list of symptoms on one of the numerous medical websites. Although these sites are good, sometimes we feel worse after having done so.  It is easy to misdiagnose ourselves with a rare disease/illness after reading all the various descriptions of numerous afflictions.

If our symptoms persist, we eventually agree to be seen by a physician. Most generally our condition is not nearly as serious as we think after diagnosing ourselves from what we read or hear from others.doctor

Do we need to have a spiritual checkup? Galatians 5:19-21Galatians 5:19-21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

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states “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  God’s Word is clear that anyone who participates in any ungodly behavior will not be a part of His kingdom.

What is the cure?  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-25Galatians 5:22-25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. 25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.

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Jesus ChristThus, we see Jesus is the only cure for our sinful behavior. This behavior ultimately leads to spiritual death. Look to Him because He is the remedy for your spiritual illness. Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory.

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points the way: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I hope you start feeling better soon!

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Take Off Your Shoes

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

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“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. Acts 7:33Acts 7:33
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

33 And the Lord said unto him, Loose the shoes from thy feet: for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

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NIV

shoes2To put off the shoes or sandals, was an act of reverence. The ancients were not permitted to enter a temple or holy place with their shoes on.

Holy ground represents the sacredness of a place because of the presence of God. We should enter the sanctuary (the place set apart for divine worship), not only with reverence in our hearts but with a willingness to learn about Him and demonstrate our love and devotion to Him.

What are we doing when we enter God’s sanctuary? Are we incessantly chatting, eating, chomping gum, texting on our cell phone or disengaged in worship? Are we conscious of the fact we are on holy ground?

No matter the type of worship of our particular denomination, the most important thing is to WORSHIP! True worship is that which originates from deep down in the heart. Cast aside all those hindrances that keep you from glorifying the Savior.

It’s time to take off your shoes. You are standing on holy ground!

Please take the time to listen to a video of Sandi Patty singing, “Holy Ground”. Please follow the link below.

http://youtu.be/7yMNHd5BsZ0

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God’s Image

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

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Malachi 3:3Malachi 3:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteousness.

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states, “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”

What is the process of refining silver? A silversmith holds a piece of silver over the fire and lets it heat up. He will hold it in the middle of the fire where the flames are the hottest. The fire burns away all the impurities.

The silversmith keeps a watchful eye on the silver the whole time he is refining it because, if it is left too long in the flames, it will be destroyed. The most remarkable thing of the process is that the silversmith knows it is fully refined when he can see his image in the silver.

TrophiesGod’s purifying process is difficult sometimes. Do you believe He is holding you in a real “hot spot”? Do you feel the heat of the fire? Is He burning away the impurities of your life? It is encouraging to know, though, He has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you. With God purifying and refining you, you will be a better person in the end. Others will see Christ in you.

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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

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According to Wikipedia® “the comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.  A person’s personality can be described by his or her comfort zones. Highly successful persons may routinely step outside their comfort zones, to accomplish what they wish. A comfort zone is a type of mental conditioning that causes a person to create and operate mental boundaries. Such boundaries create an unfounded sense of security.”

“To step outside their comfort zone, a person must experiment with new and different behaviors, and then experience the new and different responses that occur within their environment.”

I think of one particular person in the Bible who dared to step out of his “comfort zone”. That was Abraham.

Genesis 12:1-4Genesis 12:1-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 1 Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: 2 and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing; 3 and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

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states, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran”.

stepsBy faith Abraham took that first step out of his “comfort zone” and the Lord blessed him and made him famous. This obedience to God’s command led to Abraham being the father of a great nation. His age, possessions, family obligations or afflictions did not hinder him from doing God’s will.

Is God asking you to step out of your “comfort zone”? What is God asking you to do? Where is God asking you to go? What is God asking you to say? If you step out in faith, God will show you the way and provide the resources. Even a baby step can be the beginning of something great in your life. What stepping stones are in your way? After all, your security is in Christ!

stepping stones

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Foot in Your Mouth

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

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Words are an important part of our daily lives. Words have lots of power. Words can tear down or build up. Words can encourage or discourage.

Proverbs 13:3Proverbs 13:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 He that guardeth his mouth keepeth his life; But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

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NAS states, “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”

Indeed, well-chosen words are a blessing. What about the not so well-chosen words? Are there times when you put your “foot in your mouth”? What would God’s reaction be to you standing on one foot with the other foot crammed in your mouth? Your foot sure is not very tasty, is it? Neither are you able to take those words back once they are uttered. Also, it is difficult to stand in that one-legged position for very long!

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29Ephesians 4:29
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.

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. Do we like to participate in unwholesome talk through gossip or verbally belittling someone? Is this helpful in building others up? No, we should only utter those words that are uplifting, encouraging and positive. What would someone think if they listened to what we say?

Our goal should be to become more conscious of our words.

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