Archive for July, 2013

Thus Think, and Smoke Tobacco

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

This Indian weed now wither’d quite,
‘Tho’ green at noon, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The pipe so lily-like and weak,
Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.
Thou art ev’n such,
Gone with a touch.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Then thou behold’st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And when the pipe grows foul within,
Think on thy soul defil’d with sin;
For then the fire,
It does require.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

And seest the ashes cast away;
Then to thyself thou mayest say
That to the dust
Return thou must.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.


Was this small plant for thee cut down?
So was the plant of great renown;
Which mercy sends
For nobler ends.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

Doth juice medicinal proceed
>From such a naughty foreign weed?
Then what’s the pow’r
Of Jesse’s flow’r?
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The promise, like the pipe, inlays,
And by the mouth of faith conveys
What virtue flows
From Sharon’s rose.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

In vain th’ unlighted pipe you blow;
Your pains in inward means are so,
‘Till heav’nly fire
Thy heart inspire.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

The smoke, like burning incense tow’rs
So should a praying heart of yours,
With ardent cries,
Surmount the skies.
Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

~ A Puritan Poem by Ralph Erskine

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Are You Tempted to Complain?

Monday, July 8th, 2013

“Why should any living man complain?” Lamentations 3:39

Occasionally, I am tempted to complain of my hard lot–and think myself harshly dealt with. Ingratitude rises and works in my heart. This always makes me wretched. I then find it profitable to look down into Hell–and realize its horrors and agonies as my just deservings.

If anyone ever deserved to go to Hell–I did!

If justice was ever honored in a sinner’s damnation–it would have been in mine!

If anyone was ever saved by grace alone–I am the man!

Shall I then, who deserve to be in Hell–but am not;
shall I, who am an heir of Heavenly glory–though no one ever deserved it less;
shall I, because of a few trials, troubles, and disappointments, or because I have rather a heavy cross to carry–
shall I dare to murmur, or fret, or complain, or think myself harshly dealt with?

Shocking inconsistency!

What are my present pains or sufferings–compared with the Hell that I deserve!

All the afflictions that I am called to endure here on earth–cannot be compared with only twenty-four hours in Hell! And yet my desert is, not to be in Hell for a few hours–but forever! Surely every lost soul, every damned spirit–will be ready to upbraid me–if I complain of my present lot! What base gratitude–if I do not praise the Lord with joyful lips, for His rich, free, and sovereign grace!

O my soul, whenever I am tempted to complain of my difficult lot–think of my deservings! Think of what would have been my eternal doom–if God had not saved me by His sovereign grace!

Yes, I do find that looking down into Hell . . .
silences my complaints,
awakens my gratitude, and
humbles me in the dust before my God!

~ James Smith, “ANTIDOTES!” 1858

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Who Will You Serve Today?

Friday, July 5th, 2013
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NKJV.)

Our nation, as well as people around the world, grieves the loss of 19 brave firefighters, members of a highly trained “hotshot” unit that willingly went into the most dangerous places to fight the worst fires. This time the fire won.

Heartbreaking. But a lesson well learned for all. Few of us will ever find ourselves in such a precarious position as those brave firefighters, but we will all find ourselves in a last-moment-of-life situation, whether we are aware of it at the time or not. As the saying goes, “No one gets out of here alive.” Regardless of how well trained or equipped we might be to face the world’s dangers, one day we will breathe our last and stand before the King of Kings, the righteous Judge of the universe. Will we be prepared?

The Book of Joshua gives us wise advice: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” None of us is promised tomorrow. We have only today—perhaps only this hour or moment—to make a choice that will impact us for eternity. Regardless of what anyone else chose, Joshua declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua was making this strong leadership declaration to people who had been deeply influenced by the false gods of their enemies. He wanted them to leave those false gods behind and make a wholehearted committed to follow only after the true God.

Most of us aren’t caught up in worshipping the false gods of pagan religions, but we are easily distracted by idolatry to materialism, power, relationships, and other pursuits. We may say with our mouths that we follow the true God, but do our hearts and lives confirm that declaration? If not, may we choose today to announce, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” And may we pray that the leaders of our nations (both in politics and in the Church) will do the same!

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Copyright 2009-2013 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 30 books.

“Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World”

“Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today”

She also writes novels:

Deliver Me From Evil, (finalist for the Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award) and Special Delivery.
No Greater Love, More than Conquerors

The author can be reached at:

My newest release, My Son John, is now available in most e-book versions, including Kindle:

If you liked Mitford, you’ll LOVE Bloomfield! Check it out:

Have You Been Set Free?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Have you thought about what Christ has set us free from?

July 4 is a few days away, and many of us Americans will focus on the celebration of our independence and the freedom we have in America.

However, all of us Christians in the world can celebrate our eternal freedom in Christ. He has set us free from guilt, sin, Satan, separation from God, and eternal death.

Paul knew the Jewish people had been slaves to Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. In Jesus’ time, many were slaves to Rome.

When the Galatians weren’t Christians, they were burdened by the yoke of slavery to false gods.

Some of the early Jewish Christians tried to impose the yoke of legalism and Jewish traditions on the new Gentile Christians.

In our day, the emphasis on climbing the corporate ladder and wealth deprives some people of their freedom in Christ. If I’m not careful, I can get caught up in work and perfectionism. What about you?

To avoid the yoke of slavery, we are to “Stand firm.” If we don’t, the devil can deceive us, and we can become slaves to sin again.

One form of deception is to believe our good works will set us free. That belief tells God we don’t think what Jesus did on the cross was enough, and we need to help him.

Dear God, thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, who set me free. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to stand firm and not be burdened again by the yoke of slavery?

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Copyright 2010-2013, Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
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