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Posts Tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’

We all know the verse… we’ve heard it so many times.  But…. are we really letting the meaning sink into our hearts and living it out?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34 


Seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness!  This is where we often miss the mark…. we seek everything else first, THEN see if there’s time left over for Jesus. However, the Bible tells us this just won’t do…. not anymore than it would for us. Jesus should come first for us and everything else come in at second. After all, that’s what He gave us when He lived a sinless life for us then was willing to die so we could be forgiven for our sins. He put us and our needs first. 

We are called His bride and surely a bride wouldn’t look at her groom and think… “Yeah, I’ll get to you later… first I need to watch this tv show.”  Or think, “Yeah maybe after I work then I’ll try to see if I feel like spending some time with you.”   No, a bride would never do this to her groom that she loves.  So, why is it that we think it’s okay to do this with Jesus Christ, our Savior?   This is something that is so NOT okay.  Yet it happens all over the world every single day by millions, billions, of people that, if asked, would claim that they are a Christian and love Jesus.  That just should not be so.

Jesus lived a perfect life and died FOR US.  Surely, we can give Him attention and seek Him first in our daily lives.

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Did you know that sin breaks God’s heart?  Jesus dying for our sins did not make sin acceptable to God.  Actually, continuing in known sin, like it’s nothing – not a big deal, after having accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and accepting His death and blood on the cross as payment for your sins, is like stomping all over His cross and saying it was worth little, maybe even nothing to you.

 

You may say, “But D… it’s just so hard on me cause I love to (insert watch that tv show, listen to that music, read that kind of book, talk like that and so on…)______________!!!!!  I just don’t know if I can quit!!!”   God’s Word says differently.  We’re told in 1 Corinthians 10:13  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.  ❤

 

Choosing your sin over the Lord Jesus breaks His heart.  It’s really that simple.  Jesus Himself tells us in John 14:15 “If you love Me, obey my commandments.”   And in 1 John 5:21 we’re warned – “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”  Choose Him instead of the world’s sin.  Choose life.

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Backsliding.  We’ve all heard the term.  The dictionary defines it as: to relapse into bad habits, sinful behavior, or undesirable activities.

Bad habits, sinful behavior, undesirable activities….  doesn’t sound so bad really, does it?

The Bible, however, has a different attitude towards it.  Hebrews 2:1-3 tells us that backsliding is indeed VERY SERIOUS and not to be taken lightly, in the least.

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?  Hebrews 2:1-3

In 2 Peter2:20,21 it’s addressed this way – If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 

I don’t know about you, but these two verses alone give me such a different view of “backsliding” and a good healthy respect for how truly serious backsliding really is.

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I feel so at peace for the first time in my life.  For as long as I can remember I’ve felt this inner unease.  I couldn’t have explained it or come anywhere close to having anyone understand how I was feeling.  I’m not sure I would’ve had the words to use to truly express what was going on inside me; my mind, heart, soul.  Such conflict.  Confusion.  A battle.

I searched and searched for an answer to it all and kept coming up short.   No way to end the war going on inside of me.  At least, none that I could see.

I realized that I was trying to find a fix to the issue on my own and that, quite simply, it was impossible.  Wasn’t going to happen.  I needed help.

So, who or what might help?  I tried all sorts of various things.  None worked.  Nothing.  I tried talking to lots of different people from friends and family to even doctors.   Help me?  Quiet all of it down, please?   They couldn’t.   Tried, sure.   But they couldn’t help me.

Why does it take us so long to find wisdom?  He makes it so easy to find, yet we still look everywhere else first so very often.

I figured it out.  No doubt He helped by shoving me in the right direction.

Prayer.

My Bible.

All I ever needed was Him.

He created me; knit me in my mother’s womb.

He knows me because I am His.  All His.

I wasted so much time.   Time that I’m not sure was even mine to waste, but I know He’ll take care of it.

I found Him, and there is where I found all the answers.  It was always there.

He is always there for us when we’re ready to find Him.

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Praise the LORD!

I will thank the LORD with all my heart as I meet with his godly people.

How amazing are the deeds of the LORD! 

All who delight in him should ponder them.

Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.

His righteousness never fails.

He causes us to remember his wonderful works.

How gracious and merciful is or LORD!

He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant.

He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations.

All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy.

They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.

He has paid a full ransom for his people. 

He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.

What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!

Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom.  

All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.

Praise him forever! 

Psalm 111

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Below is a post from Facebook by a friend and pastor that I know.  He speaks the truth in such an easy to understand and plain way that I felt the desperate need to share this with all of you too.  

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This is long but the Lord told me to post this today… so I am doing so. This comes after listening to Cornelius Lindsey‘s message again last night and a long night of just hearing God share some things with me. This is for many of you… likely even most who will take the time to read it.

The most heralded message to the Christian believer today is on having faith. Many churches preach it constantly… turn on Christian Television and preacher after preacher is telling you how to increase that faith. There are books we purchase and read… read the Bible a little bit more, listen to some more preaching, give more money, just jump out there and give as they build up your emotions with great sounding words and promises of crazy increases. The music plays a happy song or that Hammond organ plays just the right rift and folks start really feeling it! The problem is… none of that stuff is what grows and truth be told… most of the mess called faith today is rejected by God.

We expend and are taught to expend much of our faith on material things often with the mindset of a child that as parents we scold because everything thing to them is “MINE, MINE, MINE!” Want a new car… have enough faith! That bigger house you dream of… have enough faith! Looking for that perfect man or woman… sow that seed of faith! Your kids and Uncle Bob are on the path to hell… sow that salvation seed into this ministry and God has to honor that seed! So much silliness out there being taught and so many buy into the mess because let’s be honest… it appeals to our greedy little foul hearts. We have made it about gain with studying… gain with giving… gain with about everything else except the gain Scripture speaks of and that is GODLINESS with CONTENTMENT is GREAT GAIN.

Great gain isn’t that fancy car, bigger house, or large holdings in bank accounts. Great gain is being godly with contentment meaning… He is enough and I am content be it with little or be it with much. Anything else (and I am saying this regardless of the fact that many of you follow this mess) is FALSE teaching… heresy.

True faith comes from having an intimate relationship with God. When we look at Scripture and the men like , Abraham, … A man of great faith and great wealth. Then we look at other men of that same great faith like Elijah… yet there is nothing that leads anyone to believe or assume that he had very much at all wealth wise. These were men that Scripture says… “they walked with God.” Always walking with Him… Elijah we know as a man that prayed diligently. Constantly seeing things through truly spiritual eyes. Wealth wasn’t the gauge of their great faith… it was their relationship with God. All those spoke of in Hebrews 11… even those wandering around in caves who were destitute, poor, and without but yet still they refused to forsake their Savior.

Think of the disciples… men who decided that they would follow Jesus. They saw miracle after miracle and yet when the wind blew and the boat started to rock and roll… WAKE UP JESUS they cried! He wakes up and then tells them… your faith is so small. I can hear their minds too… “WHAT! We follow you don’t we? Everywhere You go we’re right there with you!” But then look at what they said when the storm ceases… “what manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him? They knew Jesus… but they still didn’t KNOW Him. Ministering right along side of Jesus… blind seeing, deaf hearing, lame walking, leprosy disappearing, feeding thousands on very little… and they still didn’t know really who Jesus was. Is it any different with most of us today?

We don’t know Him because we still don’t get what Jesus was telling us in Luke 14. “If you want to be My disciple then you must love Me more than mom, dad, wife, kids, even your own self. Get rid of your possessions (because be real… you possess them because at the end of the day they possess you) and come… follow Me. ”

When you love someone it is almost impossible for someone to drag you away from that someone’s presence. You share everything with them in your life… telling them all about you… your ambitions, dreams, desires. You bend those things, even giving them up just to find a common ground with that person so that your goals and the others goal can work alongside each other so that you can share the rest of your life with this person. The thought of them never being around again causes your brain to malfunction, your stomach is tied in knots and your knees get weak. You give up time with even close friends and family whom you have a love for but not a love like this! You want your friends in your life because you enjoy them and the fun that you have with them… but when it comes to my baby… those guys can’t interfere. Mom… dad… I love you guys but listen! This one is special! He/She is the one!

Let the reality of that set in because in reality… Jesus said, “listen… you have to love me even more than that.”

Who is always on your mind? How often do we go through life without His presence and truth is… we don’t even really miss it that much? Husband… Wife… remember when you first fell in love? Think of all the crazy things you would use as an excuse just to spend another little bit of time with them. Think of when you went to work and pined away much of the day anxiously waiting for work time to be done so you could see that beautiful face again and just be there in his/her presence. Even when away, you spend countless minutes… even hours talking on the phone and you don’t even like talking on the phone that much. You already talked about everything there was to talk about so now… you aren’t talking that much but in a weird way… you are at least electronically together.

Remembering all that… is that how you really are with Jesus?

You want to grow your faith then grow your relationship with Jesus. Prayer, study, worship… all of those are important in this relationship with Him and if you truly desire more of Him then there is no way you will not do those things. But don’t forget that it also includes Him constantly being on your mind… close to your heart… waiting on Him…. longing for just another little bit of private and intimate time alone with Him… even if He’s not talking to you… That presence alone is enough. His desires now trump your desires… You will do anything you can do to please Him no matter the personal cost to you. It is not any longer about seeking more for you… it is about godliness, content with what you have. That is great gain because the gain is that intimate relationship with a Savior who will never leave you nor forsake you.

*Posted on Facebook by Pastor Ken Smith

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Learning to Fly – shared from Godvine.  I loved this and wanted to share it with all of you! images (2)

My neighbor has a number of mature spruce trees in his back yard and every year a family of magpies nests in one of them. We are blessed that our back yard often becomes the place for magpie flight school.

The young birds work their way to the end of a branch, and sit there squawking for a while. Mother magpie is never far away, encouraging the young ones to try again. A nest of magpies can make a lot of noise when it is time to learn to fly.

After working up enough nerve and making a suitable amount of noise the young birds jump, spread their wings and drop to the ground. Squawking some more, they eventually jump up from branch to branch to climb back up the tree, and repeat the process.

The young one goes back to the end of the branch, makes enough noise to work up its nerve and tries it again.

Sometime during the process, they actually get airborne and soar a bit. The first time they soar, it frightens them and they land quickly, unsure of what just happened. Eventually though, they get the idea and fly and soar at will.

As Christians we are often like those young magpies, we stay near the nest and make a lot of noise. Sometimes we take a brief leap, then make a lot of noise over the attempt and head for home.

Other times we actually get to fly a bit, and it surprises and frightens us. We knew it was possible, but we didn’t really think it could happen to us and we stop in disbelief.

Now and then though, we get the idea and actually begin to do what we are called to do and fly. To soar, empowered by Holy Spirit. We begin to become the people of God that we are called to be. Other people see us soaring and the sight turns their mind towards God.

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Each of us is called to work in different ministries. Each of us is at a different point in our faith walk.

Perhaps you haven’t yet broken out of the egg or left the nest. Perhaps you are standing on the edge of the branch squawking in excitement and fear preparing to jump. Maybe you have just soared and it surprised you. Perhaps you are like the mother magpie, knowing you can soar and that it is your duty to encourage others.

Where ever you are in your walk, know that we are called to soar and are empowered to soar, all for the glory of God.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Do not grow tired of the attempt — know that the Father has prepared a ministry for you to excel at; to soar and bring Him glory. May you find that ministry and soar in His presence, as He intended, according to his plan. God bless.

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Whenever I run across a book that really speaks to me, I like to share it with others.  Living the Life God Has Planned – A Guide to Knowing God’s Will by Bill Thrasher and Joseph M. Stowell III is one of those books.

I actually got it for only $0.99 on my Kindle Fire recently and I would have to say that it’s been the best $0.99 I’ve spent in a long time!  It would’ve been well worth the regular Kindle price of $7.19!

The reviews on Amazon.com will tell you all about it and how valuable it could be to add to your Kindle, hardback, or paperback library.

Here are a few of those reviews:

More Christians struggle with the will of God than any other spiritual concern.  Bill Thrasher provides an excellent guide to discernment in decision making for daily living.  Comprehensive, realistic and biblical.  You can’t afford to miss this one!
-Howard G. Hendricks, Distinguished Professor, Chairman, Center for Christian Leadership, Dallas Theological Seminary

Another book on living in the will of God?  Yes, but this one is different, for its focus is on the Person of God as the center of our lives and the answer to all our questions and needs.  Good theology.  Good exposition.  Good Illustrations.
-Charles C. Ryrie, Author and Scholar

Books about the will of God abound, but this one is especially helpful.  It teaches you that knowing the character of God is the basis for understanding and enjoying the will of God.  No clever formulas or simplistic procedures in these pages–just solid practical truth from Scripture, truth that transforms life.
-Warren W. Wiersbe, Author and Conference Speaker

Not only have I been reading, enjoying, and learning so very much, but also we’re using this for our family Bible study.  My husband and I take turns reading from it aloud with the three of our children still at home.  Whenever there’s a Scripture verse given, we all use our own Bibles and look the verse(s) up and the kids will take turns reading those.  We also stop to explain and discuss what we’re reading and learning.  It’s a great book to do this family style of study with and no matter what the age, God’s Word is getting in.

I really love it and am so thankful to the Lord for bringing this one to my attention.  I had been praying about wanting to know more about God’s will for my own life when I ran across this gem.

If any of you decide to give it a try, I’d love to get your comments on it!  🙂

Keep on gently speaking!

** I was in no way paid, or even given a book for this “review” – I just really love it that much and wanted to share it with others.

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Coming in March: An online study based on The History Channel’s miniseries, “The Bible”.

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The following is a post from a friend of mine on Facebook (Pastor Ken Smith). To me, it’s about God’s incredible power and how He knows exactly how the story needs to go, if only we’ll follow Him.

In Kroger I was meandering around the bakery working my way to the back of the store. Heard whistling an old song I haven’t heard in years coming from the aisle over… Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! I then started to sing.. not stupid loud but in a normal tone.. Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.

Then an old black man walks around the corner and he stops whistling and we just sing…

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

THIS IS MY STORY!!!! …..

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

THIS IS MY STORY!!!! THIS IS MY SONG! PRAISING MY SAVIOR ALL THE DAY LONG!

By the end we had most the folks in Kroger over by the bakery and deli. When done I simply told them… If you don’t know God, seek Him. He will let you find him. I hugged the old black man who had tears running down his face. Come to find out… he just buried his mamma who was 97 a few days ago. She had them sing that song at her funeral and it was stuck in his head. He used to be all about God but life, business success, well known,… all that sort of got in the way and God was now far away from his life. A while later, standing in the produce section… that old man found that blessed assurance now Jesus is his.

Look y’all… there is no recipe for witnessing to another about our Savior. Many times you just go where it goes. An old man whistling… a song being sung… even though it an odd place for that to happen… the kingdom grows by one. You don’t have to be fearless… it can be a scary thing. You just have to be willing to overcome the fear and open your mouth at any time. God still does strange things in very strange ways. I really didn’t even want anything in Kroger… just went in looking. Wasn’t a revelation… no voice of God saying go into Kroger… to be honest I wasn’t even particularly looking for the opportunity. He knew though… He knew.

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