Discouragement

Life's Challenges: Pointless or Pointillism?Premium Content

When I was in high school, my saintly art teacher tried her best to give us rural hooligans some culture. The jury is still out on the results. But, in the study of different styles and artists, we learned about pointillism. The definition reads as follows:

A late 19th-century style of painting in which a picture is constructed from dots of pure color that blend, at a distance, into recognizable shapes and various color tones.

The artist, George Seurat is one such artist who incorporated pointillism. His famous work, "Sunday Afternoon On the Island Of La Grande Jatte," has made its way into popular culture, as well as into the Art Institute of Chicago.

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How is it working for you? Is Jesus not enough?Premium Content

How is it working for you?

Is Jesus not enough? Does what He accomplished on Calvary fall short? Can we add anything to our salvation? Can we study enough to figure a strategic path to wholeness? Does doctrinal purity overcome sin and fleshly appetites? Does the Magnificent Love of God fall short in wooing us into pure inner motives? Is the Great Grace of Jesus a 'nice' and 'sweet' ideology? God forbid!

"Because helping people control their flesh through human effort and adherence to rules is not only a thankless but never ending task, most leaders employ any strategy that promises even a measure of success. Guilt, shame, condemnation, and threats in God's name are presented by the enemy as viable options. The church has swallowed this lie hook, line and sinker!" (Pg. 106 Pure Grace: The Life Changing Power of Uncontaminated Grace)

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When Your Church Disappoints You

Recently someone commented, “Church causes more problems than it solves.”

It’s not a new notion. Churches have had issues since they were established more than two thousand years ago. Many of Paul’s letters specifically address some dysfunctional church activity.

The basic problem with church is it consists of people, and we tend to be fairly messed up. Church would be a great place if it weren’t for all those people.

I’ll bet Jesus had a similar thought. This world would be a cool place if it weren’t for all these messed-up people.

The Gospel According to JesusPremium Content

The Message of Jesus’ Love
The Message of the Kingdom of God
The Message of the Church and Body of Jesus Christ
The Message of the Ages and the Revelation of Father
The Message of Holy Spirit through the Word and the Believer!

The supreme wonder of the gospel is its present realization of life - life of such unfathomable and enduring quality that it cannot fade for all eternity. World religions may claim to have the answers to the present misery of the individual, but what does it profit a man to achieve harmony with nature yet lose his soul? Jesus offers eternal life now. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." John 11:25, 26 God bless you. ~Reinhard Bonnke.

The Gospel imparts a hope that is beyond sin, judgment and fear of exposure or death! You will never exhaust the vast ocean of God's love. You will be forever discovering greater lengths, widths, depths, and heights of His love.

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Hitting Bottom - A Neely O'Hara Moment: "God-d-d-d-d!!!" Premium Content

I recently watched the cult classic, "Valley of the Dolls," the chick film based on Jacqueline Suzanne's legendary book. The film took the 1960's by storm for its dish-y look at starlets in Hollywood as they deal with fame, sex and drugs.

One of its lead characters, Neely O'Hara, played by Patty Duke, indeed, travels down a rocky, highly dramatic and addicted road of stardom and self-destruction. It's drama queen chick film at its epic best!

And, at the end of the wild ride, Neely suffers the damage done to her acting career, via her drug addiction. She is reduced to being in an alley, at night, screaming, "God-d-d-d-d!"

Yeah. I believe one calls this "hitting bottom."

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How to Control Your BehaviorPremium Content

You can't!!! Do yourself a favor; quit trying! And stop acquiescing to other's attempts at controlling what you "do?" or "don't?" do! Yes, I'm referring to all authority figures in your life. There is no one in your life (including yourself) that has the power to change your behavior or even your (quote-unquote) "want to?"!

Christianity (Authentic or the fake Political Christendom) is not behavior modification.
Even if they were compatible; behavior modification does not change behavior-it only gives the behavioral theorists' something to do-keep bureaucratic statistics. However they manipulate the stats; have they/you checked with the individuals who are yet struggling that they pronounced changed? I have and it's rather troubling!

Helping people control their fleshly appetites through human effort and adherence to rules is not only thankless but a never-ending task. Religious leaders tend to employ any strategy that promises even a measure of success, whether it is guilt, shame, condemnation, or threats in God's name as viable options.

Let's look at what God's Word has to say about behavioral modification:

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Meal Planning: Avoiding Spiritual EmptinessPremium Content

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
Isaiah 55:1-3, NKJV

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Wandering in the Wilderness? Keep a Proper Perspective

We all wander in the wilderness to some extent. No one on earth has "arrived." Anxieties, fears, worries, depression, pain afflict us all.

Just because someone is saved does not mean that bad things no longer happen or that we cease to be confused at times. The difference is Who we choose to carry us when we can no longer carry ourselves.

We all have a choice to make. Are you going to be the Lord of your own life and insist on going it alone? Will you look to other people, places and things to carry you? (This is
idolatry). Or will you look to God?

Need Strength? Our Sure Resource!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble! Psalm 46:1

God intended Himself to be the great fountain of supply to His creatures. All are to be dependent on Him--and to look for their supplies from Him. Just so, the believer is to apply to God for all. Ample provision is made--but it is only in Jesus. Promises are given--but they are to be fulfilled by Jesus. He possesses all fullness, and as such He presents Himself to us as His needy dependent creatures--and says, "Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other!" Isaiah 45:22

This is the business of faith and prayer--to look to Jesus, and apply to Jesus for all that we need. Let us consider these words as spoken unto us every day--as calling us away from dependence on the creature, and as directing us how to act under all circumstances. It is Jesus who speaks. Jesus, as God. Jesus, as the Savior. Jesus, full of sympathy and power. Let us therefore listen to--and act upon His Word.

Getting My Eyes Off of Myself

A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NRSV

We visited a church with our kids on Sunday. The pastor, in trying to make a point about honesty, addressed the dynamic that occurs when friends meet together: "How are you?" "I'm fine." He concluded that often the "I'm fine" is actually a lie because we aren't fine.

But are we?

As Christians should we have any opportunity for griping or complaining, moaning or groaning? Or are we actually stating a truth when we say "I'm fine," a truth that perhaps we really don't embrace but which is a truth nonetheless? Paul wrote:

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