Friday, February 29, 2008
Bible (hope you guessed that one:) KJV is still my favorite, although I also like the Holman translation.
Secrets of the Secret Place - Bob Sorge
Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren (even though I've read some disturbing things about Rick Warren lately, I'm not throwing out this book. I learned a LOT from this book!)
WHY? Trusting God When You Don't Understand - Anne Graham Lotz
Lessons I Learned in the Dark - Jennifer Rothschild
All of Max Lucado's Books
All of Billie Cash's Books
Facing the Giants
We Are Marshall
The Ultimate Gift
(all of these are family friendly and AWESOME movies)
Now this will be a VERY limited list for there are MANY! Some that are particularly meaningful to me right now are:
I'll Praise You in this Storm - Lifesong
In Christ Alone - Travis Cottrell version
Amazing Grace - My Chains are Gone
I Will Lift My Eyes - Bebo Norman
Held - Natalie Grant
You Never Let Go - Matt Redman
Written in Red - ??
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
In yesterday's newspaper I read some statements that the two of you have recently made and I fear that you have been misinformed. As I am sure that neither of you would want to mislead the American people, I felt it was my duty as a citizen to see that you received the TRUTH.
In the New York Times, William Kristol quoted you, Mrs. Obama, as saying "Barack knows that at some level there's a hole in our souls". Now so far you are right on track, but then he quotes you at another time with this variation to that statement "Obama is the only person in this race who understands that, that before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation." Herein lies the problem.
You see, Mrs. Obama, you are absolutely right that there is a hole in the soul of man. More accurately, there is a void in the heart of everyone who is born....a God-shaped void. Man is incapable of filling that hole. No, Mr. Obama, not even you can "fix our souls"! That is something only God can do.
Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Obama, you have bought into the lie of our culture that says it's all about MAN. But let me tell you what our creator, God, has to say about that :
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made [not man] and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together as a heap; he lays up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him [not of Obama]. For HE spoke and it was done [don't think you can top that, sir]; he commanded and it stood fast. " Psalm 33:6-9 (KJV)
Now this next part is very important because the Psalmist is trying to get your attention and give you a warning. I hope you will listen (and you might want to also pass this on to your good friend, Oprah):
"The Lord HIMSELF brings the counsel of the heathen to nought; he makes the devices of the people to none effect. The counsel of the Lord stands FOREVER, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. BLESSED IS THE NATION WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD [no matter who is president] and the people whom He has chosen for his own inheritance." Psalm 33 10-12 (KJV)
"Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him [not those who campaign or vote for Obama], upon them who hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death [He alone has control over our souls] and to keep them alive...Our soul waits for the Lord; HE is our help [not Obama...or any other candidate for that matter] and our shield. For our heart shall trust in Him because we have trusted in His holy name." Psalm 33: 18-21(KJV)
You see, Mr. Obama, you may be the leading Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States. You may be running a slick campaign and charming millions of people with your promises of "change", but be clear about one thing, YOU CANNOT FIX THE SOULS OF MAN! Only God can do that. No amount of money or prestige or charisma can do that. No matter how educated you are, no matter how polished you are, no matter who you know or how much influence you may wield, God is the ONLY one who can fix a man's soul.
Since you were apparently deceived about this, it stands to reason that you have not allowed HIM to fix YOUR soul. But He loves you and He desires to do that. He died for you both, Mr. and Mrs. Obama, and He offers you both the gift of eternal life....no strings attached. I hope that you will give your hearts to Him today and allow HIM to fill that hole in your souls. He is, after all, the only One who can.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
"Rejoice IN THE LORD, O ye righteous; for praise is comely for the upright." Psalm 33:1
"Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope IN THEE." Psalm 33:22
As I read these statements this morning, I was struck by the first one "Be glad IN THE LORD".
Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of circumstances in which we are anything BUT glad. Yet this verse tells us HOW to be glad. We are to be glad IN THE LORD.
As I continued to read, I also read we are to rejoice IN THE LORD and to hope IN THE LORD.
This does not tell us to be glad in our circumstances. Rather it encourages us that in the midst of our problems, our sorrows, our overwhelming circumstances, we are to be glad IN THE LORD. IN HIM we have everything we need. IN HIM we can put our complete trust and confidence. IN HIM we can lay our burdens down. IN HIM we can rest in His complete sovereignty and faithfulness.
As long as we keep our focus on our problems, on our troubles, on ourselves, we can't see HIM. But when we are centered IN HIM; when our focus is ON HIM; when we recognize it's not about US, but about HIM, then we can release it all TO HIM and understand that IN HIM is the best place in the world to be.
Our problems may not disappear, but we will be IN HIM and IN HIM we can do anything! Today, whatever you are facing....even if your heart is breaking, even if your world is crashing around you, look up and see the face of the ONE who loves you more than anything else in the world and see the ONE in whom you can be glad! And remember this:
Monday, February 25, 2008
R. A. Torrey wrote " The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came...Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory."
Are you facing any battles this week? If so, I urge you to go to your knees and spend time with the Lord. Then go to Camp David and seek out encouragement and "ammunition" to help you fight your battles. God has given us much in the book of Psalms to help us. Here are a few of my favorites:
"Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16: 11
"Keep me as the apple of thy eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings". Psalm 17: 8
"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler and the horn of my salvation and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies." Psalm 18: 1-3
"He sent from above, he took me and drew me out of many waters, He delivered me from my strong enemy and from them which hated me for they were too strong for me. They [hindered] me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay." Psalm 18: 16-18
"For thou will light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." Psalm 18: 28
"Thou art he that took me out of the womb; thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb, thou art MY God from my mother's belly. Be not far from me for trouble is near, for there is none to help." Psalm 22: 9-11
"Turn thee unto me and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. O bring thou me out of my distresses." Psalm 25: 16-17
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Hear, O Lord when I cry with my voice; have mercy also upon me and answer me. I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait I say on the Lord!"Psalm 27 (selected verses)
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth and with my song will I praise Him" Psalm 28:7
"Weeping endures for a night, but JOY cometh in the morning!" Psalm 30: 5b
(All verses are King James Version)
When a verse in Psalms or anywhere in scripture for that matter, especially speaks to you or when God gives you a verse that helps you through a time of adversity, write the date out beside it and maybe a note. Each time you read through your Bible, you will be reminded of how God used that verse to bring encouragement, hope and comfort; how He spoke to you or helped you. It will reinforce your faith and remind you once again how faithful our God ALWAYS is!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I was listening to Bellevue Baptist Church this morning and Pastor Steve Gaines was preaching on Jeremiah 17. He began reading about the heart "The SIN of Judah is written with an iron stylus. With a diamond point it is engraved on the tablet of their hearts....Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind, who makes flesh his strength and turns his heart from the Lord." (vs. 1 and 5 Holman CSB) That made me think of Oprah and the New Age course that she is promoting which I wrote about last week. Oprah and her cohorts would have us believe that what is in us is good and that the 'secret' of happiness lies within US.
I went back to the article I referenced in that earlier blog and began to research it a little further. I would like to share with you what I found. I hope that you find it as disturbing as I did. I apologize for its length, but I pray you will take the time to read it.
What is "Rethinking"?
"True perception is the means by which the world is saved from sin,for sin does not exist. And it is this that true perception sees."
--A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers (Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992) p. 85
In his November 9 Herescope article entitled, "'Oprah and Friends' To Teach Course on New Age Christ," former New Age follower Warren Smith warned that a false Christ teaches a Course in Miracles using the methods of "mind training" and "thought reversal."This "mind training and "thought reversal" sounded an awful lot like "rethinking."
Curious about what this might mean, we began to investigate the concept of "rethinking" itself. We began with what has been called "the New Age Bible" -- A Course in Miracles. As we thumbed through A Course in Miracles, we noticed that it physically resembles a Bible. It is printed on fine-quality paper and is divided into chapters and verses. There is a hefty Concordance of 1106 pages that contains references to these "verses." It is very seductive, in that it uses biblical terms and phrases repeatedly.
But intermixed throughout is pure New Age occultism. It would be mind-boggling to try to take every statement and dissect it. Which is perhaps the point.The most astonishing feature of this "bible" is its obvious dedication to the re-orientation of people's thought processes; i.e., "rethinking." It is a structured step-by-step psycho-spiritual training program that teaches people how to "re-think." Each lesson builds upon the previous lesson, in a methodical deconstruction of old patterns of thinking.
An early lesson acknowledges that "you fear the destruction of your thought system" (Text, p. 51). But this Course is a systematic and patterned reconstruction of the mind based on new ways of seeing, perceiving and thinking. The word "mind" and its derivatives is covered by nine large pages with 3 columns of small type in the Concordance. The term "perception" and its derivatives covers 3 pages.The Preface states that the Course "makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. " "Perception" is said to be "based on interpretation, not on facts" (p. x). By the end of the curricula what is called "true perception" is said to be the "one correction possible for false perception," not "knowledge" (Manual for Teachers, p. 85).
Rational thought, which has been systematically demolished throughout the Course, is thereby discarded.The word "still" is used frequently in the sense of meditation and contemplation -- as in "be still." This is so that the participant can hear "God's voice" and be open to new "truth" from the "Internal Teacher, Who will direct all subsequent learning as He sees fit" (Concordance, p. 887-889 and Preface, p. ix-x). The Course is filled with vacuous chants that must be rehearsed over and over. And once the brain has been emptied, it can thus be filled with heretical mantras such as "My salvation comes from me" or "My holiness is my salvation" (Workbook for Students, pp. 119 & 60).
A stunning example of shutting down the brain in preparation for receiving new teachings can be found on page 52 of the Text, where the student is first told to "Be still and know that I am God" before accepting the new theology "The journey to the cross should be the last 'useless journey.'"
Warren Smith recorded his experiences with these very verses from the Course in his book Reinventing Jesus Christ: In our New Age meditations we would often meditate on and contemplate certain passages of Scripture. At an Edgar Cayce conference I once attended, we began each day by meditating on Psalm 46:10—“Be still, and know that I am God.” Looking back on that experience now, I realize why that particular verse of Psalm 46 was used by so many New Age groups for contemplation. The spirit world was only too willing to take something God was saying about Himself and translate it into something that the New Age was saying about man. It was very clever.We were being “still” and we were quoting Scripture, but we were continually affirming that we were God by emphasizing the “I” and repeating the phrase “I am God” over and over again. We were “going within” to the “God within”—“Be still” and know that “I” am God. In our unguarded state of “being still” we were not being taught that God was God. We were being taught that we were God.
The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles also used Psalm 46:10 to teach this New Age concept. We were to “be still” and to “know” that we were “God.” This false Jesus actually used the “Be still” verse to preface his false teaching that “the journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.’” Our New Age journey was around the cross not through the cross. We were being taught by A Course in Miracles and our other New Age teachings that if we were “being still,” and if we “knew” that we were God, then we didn’t need the cross and we didn’t need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We could save ourselves by “being still” and “awakening” to the inner “self-realization” that we were God.
A Course in Miracles lesson number 70 is “My salvation comes from me.” (Chapter 5 Update, subsection "Be Still")Another example of emptying the brain in the Course is a lesson entitled "My thoughts do not mean anything" where the student is put through a "correction process" after "repeating an earlier statement that your mind is blank." This is called a "prerequisite for vision."Close your eyes for these exercises, and introduce them by repeating the idea for today quite slowly to yourself. Then add:
This Idea will help to release me from all that I now believe. (Workbook, p. 16-17)
It is no wonder that Robert Schuller can sponsor a Rethink Conference at his Crystal Cathedral and invite big names from the evangelical world to attend. Just what is intended by this "rethink" agenda? Are evangelicals supposed to "rethink" traditional Christianity? There can be no doubt. And when ex-New Agers like Warren Smith recognize the same patterns, processes and personnel, then there should especially be widespread concern.In fact, Smith details Robert Schuller's connections to A Course in Miracles in Chapter 9 of his book Deceived on Purpose, in which he began by stating that in 1985 "members of Schuller's staff were facilitating Course in Miracles groups at the Crystal Cathedral" (p. 94). The rest of the chapter is a fascinating firsthand account of Schuller's two decades of flirtations with the Course.The promo for the Rethink Conference states that "Dr. Robert Schuller was one of the original 'out-of-the box' thinkers when it comes to church." The question comes to mind - just how far outside of the box will this rethinking go? If the Course in Miracles is any indication, thinking out-of-the-box means thinking outside of the Bible.
The Truth:"Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding." (Proverbs 9:6)
posted by Discernment Research Group @ 11/14/2007 10:18:00 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008
2. If you worry, you didn't pray. If you prayed, don't worry.
3. As a child of God, prayer is kinda like calling home every day.
4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
6. Do the math. Count your blessings.
7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
8. Dear God: I have a problem. It's me.
9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
10. Laugh every day - it's like inner jogging.
11. The most important things in your homes are the people.
12. Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.
13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in.
14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
16. We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast so enjoy your precious moments.
17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it; otherwise it's just hearsay.
18. It is all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
19. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.
20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.
Leave gentle fingerprints on the soul of another for the angels to read.
I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
As you will see in the following video, God truly WAS right there on the Union campus. This video is a reminder to all of us that God is ALWAYS in the midst of our storms. Enough said.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
According to a Word Press blog entitled Simplicity in Christ "on 11/09/07 Herescope posted an article by former New Age follower Warren Smith entitled Oprah and Friends to Teach Course on New Age Christ. In that article Smith presented significant concerns about Oprah & Friends teaching this New Age Course in Miracles. Many years ago he was a devoted student of A Course in Miracles and he discovered that the teachings of the Course - supposedly “new revelation” channeled from “Jesus” - were diametrically opposed to the teachings of the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. He came to understand that the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles was one of the false christs that the real Jesus warned His followers to watch out for:
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:3-5)"
In addition, Oprah has also given great credence to the new age book THE SECRET**, by Rhonda Byrne. Again, quoting from the aforementioned blog:
Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret, is a disciple of a couple named Jerry and Esther Hicks. In the Acknowledgements of The Secret, Byrne thanked the Hicks and the teachings of Abraham. Abraham is a group of spirit guides that Esther Hicks channels for guidance on spiritual issues…
The Secret is pure undisguised metaphysics and is the total manifestation of what the apostle Paul describes as seducing spirits (Abraham) and doctrines of devils (The Secret)…
The premise of this is that we all have a divine essence within us [the Word/Faith god-man, ed.], and we just need to get in touch with it. In other words, as panentheists teach, God is in all of creation, including all human beings, and once a person becomes aware of this, there are no limits to what he can achieve.
In the following video, Oprah says that she sang the song “I Surrender All”. Her surrender to the “savior”, part of The Secret, was what propelled her into starring in the movie “The Color Purple”. The “savior” Oprah is referring to is not Jesus Christ. She does not believe that Jesus is the Way to God — The Secret is what works for her.
“The Secret” is rooted in the biggest lie “you shall be as gods”, uttered by satan himself in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5). Seducing spirits, lovers of self, doctrines of demons, winds of doctrine - all those are described in the Bible as a portend of the last days, the days before Jesus’ imminent return. Be aware of the times as Jesus admonished in Mark 13 - watch and pray.
New Age was very popular during the 70's and 80's and then you didn't hear much about it for a while. But it is making a comeback and being more readily accepted and embraced than ever before. It is crucial that as believers we be aware of this false doctrine, especially when popular talk show hosts and other celebrities such as Oprah are making it sound so believable to those who are unaware of its dangers. I used to teach a lot about the New Age when it went around the first time. The scary thing about it was that it was not something you could tie up in a neat little package and say THIS is New Age. It comes in many different forms and many different packages. It is a lie from pit of Hell and many are being deceived. As believers we must know that TRUTH so that we will not be misled and so we can help those...such as our children, our grandchildren, our friends, our co-workers....who may be easily led astray.
**Dr. Henry Cloud, co-author of the renowned Boundaries series, has written a Christian alternative to this book, entitled The Secret Things of God: Unlocking the Treasures Reserved for You, Howard Books/2007.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Normal is a beautiful thing...an absolutely WONDERFUL thing!
Now I know that you must be thinking I've lost my mind or it's so early that I must not have had my first cup of coffee yet. No, I'm as sane as I get. But I've been doing a lot of thinking about normal lately. And I've come to the conclusion that NORMAL is more wonderful than we have given it credit for before.
Normal is so often given the dubious distinction of being "same old, same old", "boring", "blah", or "ho-hum". Now don't misunderstand, I love a little excitement in my life once in a while just as much as everyone else. A great vacation, a wedding, a new baby, a job promotion, a new house....all are reasons to celebrate and be excited. But.....normal days are not to be overlooked or passed off as worthless. They are to be treasured.
There are many today who would give ANYTHING to rewind their tape and go BACK to normality as they once knew it.
Take for instance, Susan. Susan has been battling cancer since last July. She has gone through the misery of surgery and chemo. There has not been a day in recent months that she has not been in pain...often very SEVERE pain. I can tell you she'd give anything for a plain, old, ordinary day of the past....a NORMAL day.
Then there is Ray. Ray is coming up on the 3rd anniversary of his accident which changed his life and the life of his family forever. Ray is now in a wheelchair. Although he has made magnificent improvement since that fateful day 3 years ago, his life and the life of his family is far from normal as they once knew. They, too, would love to rewind the tape and go back to life as it was prior to March 1, 2005.
Paula was enjoying a NORMAL day just a few months ago....out for her morning walk as many of us do, probably talking to the Lord, if I know Paula, when her life was forever altered in ways that she would have never dreamed. She was hit by a car and as a result has lost a leg and suffered other injuries that damaged her hip. She has been in rehab for months just trying to get the strength to move herself from wheelchair to bed or chair. Walking is to be tackled later as the healing comes. But NORMAL, as she once knew it, is gone.
Now I'm not trying to be morbid. I'm just saying there is a lot to be said for NORMAL days. Days of doing laundry, going to work, driving the kids to school, preparing meals, raking leaves, and walking the dog. If you can go about your daily tasks today, if you are NOT in pain, if you can function on your own without assistance, if you can see the sunshine today, hear the birds singing, if you can feel the embrace of someone you love.....THANK GOD FOR NORMAL!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
When I am discouraged, lonely, afraid, anxious, worried, or don't know which way to turn, I turn to the book of Psalms. It is my FAVORITE book of the Bible!! Beth Moore has recently written a Bible study on Psalms which our women's ministry will begin the end of this month. I can't tell you how EXCITED I am!!!!!!!!!!!
Several times lately I've referred my friends to "Camp David". I don' t think there is anywhere in the Bible that you can "park" and be comforted and encouraged and uplifted, quite like Camp David.
I'd like to share some of my favorite passages with you.
Psalm 1 - In this Psalm David contrasts a godly person with an ungodly person. There is a progression of sin as defined in verse 1....walking, standing and sitting (I wrote about this on September 16, 2007) Then there is the one who plants his life in the Lord, putting down deep roots, producing much fruit and being successful. Such simple directions for LIFE!
Psalm 3:3 God is the "lifter up of my head". I just picture Him with his finger beneath my chin, tilting my face up to look into His eyes of love, saying gently to me "Child....it is ok. I'm here."
Psalm 6: 2 "Have mercy on me O Lord, for I am weak". How often I've cried out to Him in those very words. That is why I love David so much. He expresses my feelings perfectly. It is almost as if he has written exactly what I am feeling. So personal!
Psalm 7:9, 16 I have a note that I wrote out beside this verse in March of 2003. It reads "Saddam". Enough said.
Psalm 13: 6 "I will sing unto the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me!" BOUNTIFULLY!!!! God does not skimp on His goodness to us.
These are just a few of the verses that God has used to comfort and encourage me. If you have never spent time at Camp David, I urge you to pay it a visit. God will meet you there and will deal BOUNTIFULLY with you !!!!!!!! More tomorrow.....
Monday, February 11, 2008
DECISIONS! DECISIONS! DECISIONS!
Have you ever given any thought to how many choices and decisions you make in one day? A lot! Just think about the choices you have already made just today. It's 8:00 am as I write this and already I had to CHOOSE whether to get up this morning or stay in bed. I had to CHOOSE whether to check my email first or have my quiet time with the Lord. I had to CHOOSE whether I would have coffee or juice. I had to CHOOSE whether to sit down and write this blog or go exercise. On and on it will go throughout my day.
Now we generally don't give too much thought to those "everyday" choices we make. It's almost as if we do them by rote. But, then there are the choices we will make that will affect our day in a greater way. How will we spend our time? Where will we go? How will we spend our money?
Who or what influences the decisions you make? Do you just sort of make them "off the cuff"? Or are you like my husband...do you contemplate, study, contemplate, ask questions, contemplate and contemplate some more? Where does God come into play with the decisions you make or does He? Do you pray over your decisions? Do you go to His Word and seek His wisdom?
Many times our choices are instantaneous. Like how we CHOOSE to respond to someone who is rude to us or who gets in our way. Have you ever encountered a rude sales clerk or one who just didn't have a clue? I confess those are two situations that can make my blood boil. And then I have a CHOICE to make. I can let them have it and be equally as rude or lose my cool OR I can CHOOSE to lavish grace.
Some would say that those people deserve it. Others would argue that they respond by just "doing what comes naturally" or might even say "I couldn't help myself". PLEASE!!!! Those are nothing less than pitiful excuses! We DO have a choice in how we respond.
We can CHOOSE to be rude or we can CHOOSE to lavish grace.
We can CHOOSE to lash out or we can CHOOSE to lavish grace.
We can CHOOSE to lose our temper or we can CHOOSE to keep it in check and lavish grace.
We can CHOOSE to put someone in their place with harsh words or we can CHOOSE to be kind and lavish grace.
We can CHOOSE to see the worst in a situation or we can CHOOSE to look for the good.
We can CHOOSE to see all the beauty God has placed around us or we can CHOOSE to see the one lone weed in the center.
We can CHOOSE to live in the past or we can CHOOSE to rejoice in TODAY...the day we have before us.
We can CHOOSE to hold a grudge, be bitter and not forgive or we can CHOOSE to forgive and move on.
For me, I want my life to count for Jesus Christ. I want to be the very fragrance of Christ to those I come in contact with. I want to be a light in a dark place. I cannot do that in my own strength. But, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I must abide in Him. I must hide his word in my heart so I don't sin against Him. I must be conscious at every turn that Satan is waiting like a hungry lion seeking whom He may devour...to steal, to kill and to destroy. I will not always succeed. I will fail and I will fall. But God will forgive when I ask. He will pick me up and put me back on my feet and encourage me to keep going on this journey.
Today I CHOOSE to live in the light of the Cross with Jesus holding my hand and lighting my way. What about you??????
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Storms tore through the state of Tennessee, as well as other southern states, last night with a fury seldom seen in this area. It was such a tremendous storm that the National Weather Center issued more than just tornado warnings....they issued a TORNADO EMERGENCY ALERT. Now if you don't think that will get your attention, think again!
This storm had been brewing and heading this way for days and as it got nearer and nearer, the more ominous it appeared to be. Weather forecasters pre-empted broadcasting at 4:00 pm and did not go off the air til near midnight.
The skies had been growing darker and darker all day and as the storm drew closer, the winds picked up. Just last week, we had experienced high winds, with gusts up to 70 mph which downed trees and powerlines throughout the area. So the prospect of high winds, tornados, extremely large hail and heavy rains was cause for great fear.
Our son and his wife were unable to get service on their phones except for texting, so they texted to check on us and to let us know they were ok. What a relief! Their home sits high on a hill and we had heard reports of tornados in their area. Our daughter kept calling and calling them and FINALLY was able....miraculously...to get through. He sent word to us and his wife's family by her that they were fine.
Sometimes, however, the storms come unexpectedly without warning. Those knock us off our feet, turn our world upside down and leave us reeling in the aftermath. Yet we still need the same resources. We need people to pray. We need arms to wrap around us and encourage us with kind words and prayers. We need practical needs met...meals prepared, children cared for, groceries bought and houses cleaned. We need daily encouragement through phone calls, emails and cards.
Most of all, we need God to hold us close, to assure us of HIS presence and to know that He is in control, that He will see us through the storm. Thankfully, He promises just that!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
BIBLE MEDITATION:“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” Revelation 1:18
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:I went to see Lenin’s tomb when I was in Moscow. He is sealed in a crystal case. You can see his waxen face and his trimmed beard, and on that tomb these words are written: “He was the greatest leader of all peoples of all countries of all times. He was the lord of the new humanity. He was the savior of the world.” Do you notice it’s all past tense? He was.
Jesus is alive. He is the great I AM. It is an encounter with the living Christ that makes the difference in our lives. We serve a Savior who is alive and listening to our every prayer. He is bottling every tear and rejoicing with every victory.
ACTION POINT:Thank God for His plan of love that sent His Son to die for you. Praise Him that Jesus lives forevermore!
Christ Jesus lives today.
Mr. Ackley’s answer to this searching question, ultimately prompted the writing of this popular gospel hymn, He Lives.
The composer answered his inquirer:
Mr. Ackley’s forthright, emphatic answer, together with his subsequent successful effort to win the man for Christ, flowered forth into song and crystallized into a convincing sermon in hymn on He Lives!
So he sat down at the piano and voiced that conclusion in song. He says, The thought of His ever-living presence brought the music promptly and easily.
Friday, February 1, 2008
I had my first real brush with how politicians play both sides of the fence back 10 or 15 years ago. The county school board was about to launch a sex education program in our local schools which promoted "Safe Sex". As parents, we were horrified, knowing that there is no such animal. We did not want this false message taught to our children, so ensued a tough battle to convince them to offer an abstinence based curriculum instead.
We worked tirelessly, trying to garner the support of each board member. We wrote letters, signed petitions, made speeches, and sought out those in high places that we thought could lend weight to our campaign. One particular state legislator from our area seemed very friendly and very much FOR what we were doing. "Just let me know what I can do to help you", he said. I told him he could show up at the county meeting in which parents were going to be allowed to address the Board. That was where we were going to make our BIG push and we needed as much clout on our side as possible. He assured me he'd be there.
The night came and each of us on the program stood before hundreds and spoke about things I NEVER dreamed I'd be discussing in mixed company. But I felt compelled to do so for the sake of not only MY children but for all the kids in our county and for our future grandchildren as well. Finally, it came time for this gentleman to speak. He rose and courteously addressed the members of the Board, calling many of them by name and recanting other times he had worked with them or had dealings with them. Then he gave reference to our issue and said the words I will never forget:
"Madam Chairman, I've listened to these fine folks and I just want to say to you that some of my friends are for you and some of my friends are against you and I'm for my friends."
I felt like someone had hit me in the stomach with a two-by-four! I was never so dumbfounded in my life, and never quite so angry as I was that night. That, my friends, was a true politician!
I read today of another true politician. His name was Nebuchadnezzar and he was the king of Babylon. The nation of Israel had been taken into captivity and King Neb had taken some of the finest young men from Judah and groomed them to serve him. One of those was Daniel. Daniel was God's man and God used him to accomplish HIS purposes. One day King Neb had a dream and none of his seers and magicians could tell him what his dream was nor what its interpretation was. They kept saying "Tell us the dream and we'll interpret it for you, but if you don't tell us the dream, how can you expect us to tell you what it means." (Daniel 2: 46) But that is precisely what the king wanted them to do. None of them could and they were all about to be executed when Daniel came on the scene. He told the king his dream and the interpretation of it. The king was so happy that he fell at Daniel's feet and proclaimed," Your God is indeed God of gods, Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries since you were able to reveal this mystery." (Daniel 2:47)
Now you would think that after such a bold statement that King Neb would have embraced Daniel's God and put an end to worshipping false gods. Unfortunately, that is NOT what happened. But.... God was not finished with old Neb. A couple of years later he had another dream. This was a very troubling dream. Again, Daniel was able to interpret it for the king. And immediately upon his interpretation, the dream began to come true. "He was driven away from his people. He ate grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky until his hair grew like eagles' [feathers] and his nails like bird's [claws]" (Daniel 4: 33)
I think God FINALLY got old Neb's attention this time for in verse 34 it tell us "But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. THEN I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever.....Now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and glorify the King of Heaven because all His works are true and His ways are just. And he is able to humble those who walk in pride." (Daniel 4: 34-37)
Maybe we need to pray that God would put a few of our politicians out to pasture to eat grass like a cow for a few years. Then maybe, just maybe, they'd come back and be ready to honor Him and lead this country back to Him!!!