Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Truth: Learning what is Right

Monday, January 30th, 2017

A Facebook flashback brings us today’s word-of-the-week…

TRUTH

My cousin got one of those “Facebook memories” on her timeline last week.

She was reminded that three years ago she was emphasizing the importance of always telling the truth with her then four-year-old daughter. Seems like a simple, straightforward concept, right?

So after one particular heart-to-heart, the young philosopher got that look that said there was something spinning around in her brain.

“Mom, Jesus always told the truth, didn’t He?”

“Of course He did, sweetie.”

“Mom, didn’t they kill Jesus because He told the truth?”

Learning what’s right is tough enough.

Age four is pretty young to understand the courage required to do the right thing.

So is age sixty-four.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Saying a Blessing, Old Fashioned?

Friday, January 27th, 2017

A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, “That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat.”

The farmer answered that with him it was customary — but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

“Ah, then,” said the gentleman, “they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?”

“My pigs!” the farmer answered.

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Be Thankful in All Circumstances

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

One day, Johann Tauler of Strosbourg met a peasant and greeted him, “God give you a good day, my friend!”

The peasant answered briskly, “I thank God that I never have a bad day!”

Tauler, astonished, kept silent for a moment. Tauler then added, “God give you a happy life, my friend.”

The peasant replied composedly, “I thank God that I am never unhappy!”

“Never unhappy!” cried Tauler bewildered, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” came the reply, “When it is sunshine — I thank God; and when it rains — I thank God. When I have plenty — I thank God; and when I am hungry — I thank God. Since God’s will is my will, and whatever pleases God pleases me — I am never unhappy.

Tauler looked upon him with awe. “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am a king!” said the peasant.

“A king?” Tauler asked, “Where is your kingdom?”

The peasant smiled and whispered softly, “In my heart!”

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow — are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips — so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

J.C. Pittman, 1917

What is Truly Important?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Over the triple doorways of a European Cathedral, there are three inscriptions spanning the splendid arches.

Over one is carved a beautiful wreath of roses, and underneath is the lettering:
“All which pleases us — is but for a moment.”

Over the other arch is sculptured a cross, and there are the words:
“All which troubles us — is but for a moment.”

But on the great central entrance to the main aisle, is the inscription:
“That alone is important, which is eternal.”

If we always realize these three truths, we would not let small things trouble us; nor would we be so much interested in the passing pageants of the hour. We would live, as we do not now — for the permanent and the eternal.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:18

J.C. Pittman, 1917

Godly Exercise

Monday, January 16th, 2017

“He delighteth not in the strength of the horse:
he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him,
in those that hope in his mercy.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem;
praise thy God, O Zion.” Psalm 147: 10-12 KJV

When Jesus says that He takes pleasure in those that fear Him, He is not saying that He wants us to be afraid of Him. Webster’s Dictionary gives us an excellent definition of what fear means in this Scripture verse. One of the definitions for the word fear that applies to this verse in the dictionary is “to have a reverential awe of.” We shouldn’t be afraid of Him. We should treat Him with the respect, honor and dignity that He deserves.

We read in 1 Timothy 4: 8 “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” There are people who spend hours doing exercises at home and even go to the gym and to health clubs to get exercise. Yet, these same people might spend twenty or thirty minutes a day reading their Bibles. How this must hurt the heart of our loving Heavenly Father.

It is true that we are to take care of our bodies, but if we put physical exercise before godly exercise, then our exercises have become a god to us. Parents think nothing about spending a lot of money to train their children for the Olympics or on uniforms and equipment for different sports activities; however some of these same parents won’t give money to their children so that their children can serve Jesus as a missionary or evangelist.

It is time that we get our priorities in order. How much money are you spending on sports activities for your children and how much money are you spending on things that will help your children for all eternity? Are you teaching your children that godly exercise is more important than physical exercise? You may tell them that godly exercise is more important but if they see you spending a lot of time doing exercises at home and then going to the gym and health clubs to exercise, they are not going to believe you. Let’s set a godly example for our children.

Copyright by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

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You Can’t Finish if You Never Begin

Friday, January 13th, 2017

The sermon topic was “Finish Well” and that’s important, but you can’t finish if you never begin.

Seems like lots of folks are afraid to begin. Some wait to figure out their true calling. Some wait for someone else to tell them what to do. Some wait for permission. Some wait for a sign from God. As I listened to the sermon about crossing the finish line with integrity, I couldn’t help wondering how many folks in the audience were still in the starting blocks.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

5 Steps in Satan’s Plan to Defeat You

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Many people have many plans for your life. You likely have plans of your own. But have you ever stopped and thought about what the difference between God’s will and yours or the devil’ will would be for your life? I am going to talk about what the devil would have you do and believe. Open your heart because you are about to learn how to avoid Satan defeating you.

There are 5 steps in Satan’s plan to defeat you: doubt, discouragement, diversion, defeat and delay. One by one, they lead you down into a miry pit that you can only get out of by the hand of God who loves us and wants only the best for us. And I have no doubt in my mind that each one of us will go through this process once, maybe even more, times in our lives. After all, we are human and we are quite capable of falling. We are not infallible like God. Just read what the Bible says and be hopeful.

The first step in Satan’s plan to defeat you is DOUBT. Doubt makes you questions God’s Word and His goodness for and toward you. To doubt means to disbelieve and to mistrust. In this case it means to disbelieve God and to mistrust Him. And yet we have no reason for doing either with Him. He has never let His children down.

After doubt comes DISCOURAGEMENT. Discouragement makes you look at your problems instead of staying focused on God and His goodness in your life. Discouragement can easily be overcome, but for some it can lead to detrimental emotional problems like depression. We need to fight, through the power of prayer, this discouragement that Satan attacks us with. God would never do anything to cause us doubt or discouragement. So don’t let Satan get even a slippery grasp on your life. That’s all he needs to bring you spiraling down.

Discouragement will lead you to DIVERSION. This means that the wrong things in life suddenly become attractive and you crave them more than what is right. This is the dangerous step. Once you are into sinful patterns, it is hard to break them. The old saying says that Old habits die hard. Once something becomes a habit, it is very difficult to overcome and get out of.

Once Satan has you into his diversions, he then leads you to DEFEAT. This makes you feel like a failure. It can hurt so bad that some people give up on even trying to get out of a situation. Satan’s grasp is so strong that you just can’t bear to even try for anything good anymore. Defeat is not for God’s children. The victory is already won for the believer and if we just focus on the words “It is finished,” the battle is over, what a difference we would see in our churches.

And finally, once you feel you are defeated you are lead into DELAY. You put off doing something – usually something good so that it never gets done. In this case, you put off calling on God so your life never gets straightened around.

If you are feeling or experiencing ANY of the above 5 steps in your life, I suggest you call a/your pastor and get some spiritual guidance. Better to feel a little awkwardness now than to completely turn around the path to your eternity.

This battle plan that Satan has for all living persons was first set in motion with Adam and Eve. Satan placed doubt in Eve’s mind about what God had said. When she learned she could be like God, she was discouraged with what she had and wanted more. All of a sudden that tree and its fruit looked pretty good – she fell for the diversion. When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, they felt shame and defeat. They knew Satan had gotten the better of them and they had saddened God’s heart. And when God did approach them, the delayed in answering because they knew what they had done was wrong. Rather than coming forward and saying sorry to God, they both made excuses, blaming someone or something else for their actions. This was the delay process.

And now, thanks to them, we all have to deal with these five steps. Some may have to go through all five of them in order to finally see the light. Some may only go through 1 or 2 or 3 before they realize what’s happening.

Don’t despair. God won’t leave you there. All you need to do is lift your eyes Heavenward and reach up with your hand and God will take it and lift you up, cleanse you and give you a brand new start.

We don’t need to stay stuck in the mire and mud of our sins. God knows we are human and He is fully willing to give us a helping hand. All we have to do is reach out and ask. Don’t let Satan get the victory because God has already won the entire spiritual war. Keep focused on the Lord in your heart and you won’t stumble into Satan’s battle ground.

By Sheri Liegh Adams, copyright Sheri Liegh Adams, all rights reserved

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Resolutions and Priorities: Seeking and Finding

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

I chuckled when I read an email from Barnes & Noble on January 3. It listed three diet books for the New Year at 20% or more off. On the news on TV, one of the newscasters talked about his new book on losing weight.

Some people need to lose weight for health reasons, but not everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.

Some friends told me they wouldn’t make a New Year’s resolution because they probably wouldn’t keep it after two or three weeks.

A lady in my exercise class said the first two or three weeks in January the exercise classes are packed. Then they go back to their normal size.

My New Year’s resolution is not based on diet and exercise. Instead it is based on Jeremiah 29:13. I want to seek the Lord with all my heart and find him. I pray that resolution will become stronger with each passing month.

My citizenship is in heaven, and I’m going to spend eternity with my heavenly Father. I might as well get to know him now.

How will I seek him and find him? I’ll spend more time in prayer and daily Bible study. I’ll review more Bible verses on a regular basis and join the women’s Bible study group that resumes this month.

Praise & worship will become a daily practice. As I work at the computer, that music will fill me with the presence and power of the Lord. I will sing to the LORD and praise him as long as I live.

Will you join me in 2017 to seek the Lord with all your heart?

Dear God, help me seek you with all my heart. Amen.

Application:  What will you do this week to seek and find the Lord?

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Copyright 2010-2012, Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVCAll 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
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Christmas and Recovery

Monday, December 19th, 2016

This is an important time of year for Christians and I think it is especially so for recovering people. Let us look at some scripture:

Matthew 1: 20-23
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The name JESUS means “God is salvation” or “Savior”; the one who saves people from their sins. Jesus is the Greek form of the Jewish name Joshua, and Joshua means “Jehovah is salvation.”

Emmanuel means “God with us” or “God is with us.” Jesus Christ was given by God to us to rescue us from our unmanageable lives, to forgive our sins and to bind up our wounds.

William Barclay put it this way:

“Jesus was not so much The Man born to be King as The Man born
to be Saviour. He came to this world, not for his own sake, but for
men and for our salvation…..

“Jesus is the one person who can tell us what God is like, add what God means us to be. In him alone we see what God is and what man ought to be. Before Jesus came men had only vague and shadowy, and often quite wrong, ideas about God; they could only at best guess and grope; but Jesus could say, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’ (John 14:9).

In Jesus we see the love, the compassion, the mercy, the seeking heart, the purity of God as nowhere else in all this world. With the coming of Jesus the time of guessing is gone, and the time of certainty is come. Before Jesus came men did not really know what goodness was. In Jesus alone we see true manhood, true goodness, true obedience to the will of God. Jesus came to tell us the truth about God and the truth about ourselves.”

This Christmas season celebrate the birth of Christ in this world 2,000 years ago. Celebrate the fact that Jesus lives in you and through you each and every day. Celebrate your own rebirth by baptism of the Holy Spirit. And celebrate by sharing the love of God and the peace of Jesus with those around you.

~ * ~
Copyright by S. O. Brennan
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
S. O. Brennan is the Director of
Christians in Recovery and the author of the
Christians in Recovery Workbook & Meeting Guide
Christians in Recovery Devotional Journal
and editor of
Morning Exercises – Daily Devotional
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Christmas: Why The Foundation Matters

Monday, December 5th, 2016

wexnerAppearances can deceive.

We’re deluged with slick media campaigns aimed at promoting a message that places a shiny cover on something that might be a bit less spiffy when the lights are turned off. I reached back a couple of years for these thoughts.

A while back I watched one of those DIY shows. A young woman purchased a cute, completely refurbished bungalow. After a few months the surface restorations began to crumble because the previous owner merely covered over serious, costly-to-repair problems.

As a first-time owner, she was overwhelmed and tempted to walk away. But the house had a solid foundation and structure. Experienced professionals peeled away the shiny appearance, exposed the systemic issues, and repaired them properly.

The show reminded me of a story. An architect visited the Wexner Art Center at Ohio State University. The building design reflects a post-modern view of reality. Pillars support nothing. Staircases go nowhere. The idea is that there’s no pattern—to the building or to life.

As the guide explained the designer’s vision, the architect asked, “I wonder if they designed the foundation the same way.”

“Of course not,” replied the guide, “the building would collapse.”

Exactly.

Maybe Christmas is a bit like that. As we get lost in the lights and tinsel, the gifts and expectations, we forget that appearances can deceive.

Maybe we decide the whole thing’s a sham. It’s all wrapping paper and commercialism, and when you strip those away there’s nothing worthwhile. So we toss aside the whole notion and walk away.

Maybe we decide it’s only what we see. Maybe Christmas means nothing more than shiny toys and parties. Maybe it’s all pillars supporting nothing and stairs going nowhere, with no pattern or meaning, so we just give in to “Happy Holidays.”

Or…

Maybe, like the builders, we learn to see the structure and the foundation.

Takes discipline because, let’s be honest, foundations aren’t all that sexy. Nobody walks into a really cool house and says, “Wow, that floor looks really stable.”

It’s nice to paint the walls. It’s just a good idea to make sure they’re solid and waterproof first.

There’s nothing wrong with a silly, whimsical, aesthetically challenging building, either. It’s fun to walk around and point and wonder. But I’m not going inside unless the foundation designer knew what He was doing.

I like the lights and the music. The shopping and crazy commercialism—I pretty much ditched that a long time ago.

But the Jesus part—the foundation—I want to see that more clearly.

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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com