Monday, December 22, 2008

The Morning Watch

He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened my ear. - Isaiah 50:4-5

"Each day has 1,440 minutes. Do you value your relationship with God enough to spend a few of those minutes with Him? He wants to spend them with you.

As you consider your plans for the day ahead, organize your life around this simple principle: God first. When you place your Creator where He belongs-at the very center of your day and of your life-the rest of your priorities will fall into place.

Each new day is a gift from God, and if you're wise, you'll spend a few quiet moments each morning thanking the Giver. It's the best way to start the day."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Purposeful Living

"God made everything with a place and purpose." - Proverbs 16:4
Life is best lived on purpose, not by accident-the sooner we discover what God intends for us to do with our lives, the better. But the search to find meaning and purpose is seldom easy. Sometimes we wander aimlessly in a wilderness of our own making. And sometimes we must try-and fail-many times before we discover our life's work.
Mother Teresa said, "We are all pencils in the hand of God." And author Willa Cather noted, "This is happiness: to be dissolved in something complete and great." How true.
Today is a wonderful day to dissolve yourself in something important. You can do it-and if you get busy, you will.

Monday, November 24, 2008

God's Lessons

Proverbs 1:7
" Start with God-the first step in learning is bowing down to God."

When it comes to life's lessons, we can learn them the easy way, or we can learn them the hard way. The easy way can be summed up as follows: when God teaches us a lesson, we learn it-the first time. Unfortunately, too many of us catch on much more slowly than that.

When we resist God's instruction, He continues to teach us, whether we like it or not. Our challenge, then, is to discern God's lessons from the experiences of everyday life. Hopefully, we learn those lessons sooner rather than later-because the sooner we do, the sooner the Heavenly Father can move on to the next lesson, and the next, and the next...

"True learning can take place at every age of life, and it doesn't have to be in the curriculum plan."
-Suzanne Dale Ezell-

Monday, November 10, 2008

Closer to You, Lord

Proverbs 3:11-12

Early in his life, John Donne, one of England's great poets, was known for his controversial poetry and satarical criticism of religious denominations. However, Donne did not remain antagonistic toward God.
After joining the Church of England and marrying Ann Moore, Donne experienced immense suffering. He and Anne lost five of their 12 children and lived in despondent poverty. Donne continually struggled with depression and physical affliction. One would think that the suffering would have driven Donne farther from God.
However, the exact opposite is true. During this time, Donne studied God's ways with fervor. Donne wrote: "Batter my heart, three person'd God; for you/ As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend.../Take me to you, imprison me, for I / Except you enthrall me, never shall be free."
Donne understood that all his trials brought him closer to God. As Proverbs 3:12 says, "Whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights."
If you are suffering greatly, do not think that God has abandoned you. Rather, like Donne, God is making your life into a sweet sonnet. Donne was not only one of England's great poets, but also one of its greatest preachers. God is making something phenomenal of your life too. As W.L. Watkinson wrote, "The rarest souls have been tested with high pressures and temperatures, but Heaven will not desert them."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God's Best For Your Life

Proverbs 3:5-10

This verse is a godly compass for your life. It does not make any difference who you are, what you do, where you live, or what your vocation is-this concise, trustworthy compass will help you find God's best for your life.
  • The first point of this spiritual compass is centered upon your trusting God (Prov. 3:5).

    Friend, here is the most important key to finding God's best for you: You must have faith in the Lord God for every area of your life. He is Omniscient (knows all things), Omnipotent (all powerful), and He loves you perfectly, which means that He can and will arrange every circumstance of your life to work out for your best if you'll trust Him with all your heart. It all begins with centering your trust in Him.

  • The second point of this spiritual compass helps you understand God's 3 requirements for you (Prov.3:5-7).

    1. You are to rely upon God only-and not upon your own wisdom or understanding. You see, there are some things that you will never be able to understand with your limited knowledge. Therefore, you must rely upon God's profound wisdom for your life.

    2. You are to respect Him as your God. You should stand in awe before Him, worship Him, and obey Him. Friend, if you do not respect and honor God, you cannot expect to be wise. You see, wisdom starts with fearing Him (Prov.9:10). He is the only one who has the authority to govern every area of your life.

    3. You are to reject evil. Everyone face evil at one point or another, and you are going to be tempted to sin. God will not eliminate your temptations, trials, heartaches, burdens, or defeats. Rather, you must trust Him to help you flee from all evil.

  • The third point of this spiritual compass is everything that God promises (Prov.3:6-10).

    1. God will make your path straight. In other words, God will guide you and make your life easier. That doesn't mean you won't have any obstacles along the way; rather, it means that God will either remove them or enable you to overcome them.

    2. God will bring health to your body. Now, not everyone who is sick is living in sin. However, most of us would admit that sometimes we disobey God by using our body unwisely-and that often results in sickness. Therefore, trust His clear guidance to lead you to better health.

    3. God will bless you with plenty. You must obey Him in every area of your life-even with your finances. God is your source, and He wants to bless you with plenty. However, first you must honor Him with what you have.

    Friend, if you want your life to be the very best it can be, you must put your full trust in God, you must honor Him as your Lord, and you must obey Him in every area of your life. That is what godly living is all about-the heart of living life at its best. And as you put your full trust in Him with all your heart-you can anticipate God's direction, better health, and financial blessing. So trust Him; He has the answer to your every need.

Friday, October 24, 2008

MATTHEW: Leaving It All Behind

Matthew 9:9-12

After years of counting out coins, writing out customs receipts, and collecting Roman taxes from his Jewish countrymen, Matthew finally heard an offer he could not refuse. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and he left all, rose up, and followed Him" (Luke 5:28).

Matthew left everything (see Matt.9:9). The taxes. The extorted excess. The receipts. He left it all-except, praise God, his gift of accurate record-keeping!

Before his conversion, his name had been Levi, the son of Alphaeus (see Mark 2:14). But after he came to Christ, he received a new name, Matthew ("Gift of the Lord"). When Luke and Mark refer to Matthew, they call him Levi. But in Matthew 10:3, he refers to himself as "Matthew the tax collector"-a pointed reminder of a past he had given up.

What "old life" did you leave behind in order to fully follow the Son of God?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Intimacy With God

God's highest priority for our lives determines the impact of our lives.

Genesis 1:26

One of the greatest needs is to know that we are loved. Each one of us has to feel certain, deep down in our heart, that someone loves us, cares for us, and has our best interests at heart.

That is how God designed us. He wants us to know that He loves every one of us with a passionate intensity too deep for words.

God created human beings with fellowship in mind-first with Himself and then with others. But we cannot fully love one another until we have ourselves experienced the love of God. We experience His love when we willingly surrender to His call to be our Savior, Lord, and Friend.

There are at least 3 reasons God seeks our surrender:
  1. He loves us and desires our fellowship and worship. - So long as we hold something back from God, we cannot know Him completely or fully experience His love. When we surrender to Him, we get all of Him.
  2. He wants our service for Him to be effective and fruitful. - The more we know and love Jesus, the more effective our service will be. The closer we draw to God, the more impact our lives will have. The more energetically we nurture our relationship with the Lord, the greater the positive mark we will leave behind.
  3. He waits for the freedom to bless us. - God is omnipotent, but He will not violate His own principles. He draws us to Himself so we can experience His love and forgiveness. He asks for our willing surrender so that He can give us the best blessings He has to offer.

    So why do we resist? With all this in mind, why does anyone resist surrendering to God? Pride is the key reason most people resist surrender. They think they know better than God and that they can handle their life better than He can, so they keep Him at arm's distance.

    Others do not surrender because they fear what God will do (or not do) for them. They think that if they give Him control, He'll make them do exactly what will make them most miserable.

    Still others refuse to surrender to Christ because they believe Satan's lie, which tells them that God is judgemental and will punish them for their mistakes.

    All of this is completely false! God always has our best in mind. He will refuse us no good thing when we gladly submit to His will (see Rom.8:32). He tells us, "I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope". (Jer.29:11)

    It only makes sense to surrender to God, because when we do, we grow close to Him-His highest priority for us-and we begin to have an impact on our world.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ABRAHAM: The Man of Endurance

Genesis 21:1-3

Call Abraham not only a man of faith (see Gal. 3:9), but a man of endurance. The starting gun sounded when God promised Abraham a son in his old age, and Abraham "believed in the Lord" (Gen. 15:5,6). But a year came and went, and no child arrived.

Abraham kept running. Two years flashed by, and still no child. Still Abraham kept running. Despite a stumble at mid-race (Gen.16), Abraham kept running. For 25 years he kept running, until at last, at age 100, he and his wife, age 99, had a son (Gen.21:1-3).

Why the long wait? Apparently, God wanted Abraham (and us)! to learn the connection between waiting, trust, and hope (Ps.33:20). And that hope, the apostle Paul reminds us, prompts us to wait on God "with perseverance" (Rom.8:25).

Even if that means running the longest marathon of our life.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Admirable Quality of Kindness

Proverbs 3:1-4

What does it mean to bind kindness around our neck and write it on the table of our heart? It means that kindness should be a deep, central part of our life. Unfortunately, kindness doesn't automatically become one of our characteristics when we accept Christ as our Savior. We have to work at it-we must deliberately take responsibility for our actions and attitudes towards others, and choose to act compassionately toward others. So what are some things we should do to develop kindness?
  • First, we should realize that even though we don't immediately become kind at salvation, we do have the potential to exhibit kindness because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit develops the quality of kindness in us (see Gal.5:22).
  • Second, we must eliminate those characteristics, actions, and attitudes within us that stops us from being loving, tenderhearted, and useful. We cannot be selfish. Rather, we must lay aside the characteristics that do not fit who we are as believers in order for kindness to flow out of our life (see Eph. 4:31-32).
  • Third, we must focus on the needs of other people. As long as we are focused on ourselves-our needs, wants, desires, and plans-we are not going to be very kind. Yet, when we focus on others, we will become sensitive to who they are and what they need in life (see Col. 3:12-13).
  • Fourth, we must ask God to teach us to be kind. We must look to God to make us sensitive to the situations that need a special touch of kindness and to express His kindness through us. We do so with the hope that people will be attracted to Jesus Christ as their Savior (see Matt. 5:16).
  • Fifth, if we want to learn to be kind, we must practice kindness. Every day, we should ask the Lord, "Father, please show me at least one person I can be kind to today". We should look for opportunities to be kind and praise God whenever we find them, knowing that God is working through us whenever we show kindness to others.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How Can We Become a More Obedient Child of God?

Genesis 12:1
Obedience is a major characteristic of a person who is mighty in spirit. Generally speaking, obedience characterized the faith of Abraham from his first encounter with God until his death.
  1. All obedience begins with faith in the sovereignty of God.

    If we fail to believe in God's sovereignty, we will find it difficult to obey Him. Abraham based his relationship with God on his confidence that God would do what he had promised (see Rom. 4:20, 21). Until we study and meditate on God's Word, we will never learn to trust Him. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and responding in confident trust (see Rom. 10:17).
  2. We grow in obedience by waiting for God's timing.

    God is very time conscious-not in terms of minutes and seconds, but in regard to our acting in obedience according to His schedule. Throughout the Scriptures, we find Him moving in "the fullness of time" (see Gal. 4:4). He is neither early nor late. Ever.
  3. We continue to grow in obedience by refusing to subject God's plan to "common sense" or the reasoning of the world.

    Some things that God requires look rediculous from a human perspective. God told Abraham he would have a son through whom He would bless the entire world. Yet He allowed Abraham's obedience to be severely tested-first by requiring him to wait nearly a quarter of a century before providing the promised provision, and later by requiring him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. When God saw the obedience of Abraham's heart, He provided a ram in Isaac's place.
  4. The final step: prompt obedience.

    If you long to obey god, you will not hesitate when He tells you to do something. Many times we fail to obey God because we fear the consequences. Yet He never requires us to do anything outside His will for our lives. Our responsibility is to obey; God's responsibility is to take care of the consequences of our obedience.

    Our sensitivity to God's will increases as we obey Him. Along the way, He provides glimpses of the blessings waiting for us. God always blesses obedience. You can trust Him, obey Him, and be blessed. or you can disobey Him and spend the rest of your life wondering what He would have done had you obeyed Him. Once you glimpse the blessings of obedience, however, the consequences no longer matter.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Can You Rid Yourself of Guilt?

Matthew 5:23, 24
Consider several key steps required to be free from guilt, all under the banner of forgiveness.
  1. Admit to the sin that created your guilt. Repent of your sin to God. If you have sinned against another person, confess to that person. Also, in facing your sin, make certain that it is a sin before God. The "sin" you think you have committed may have been merely a mistake or error or someone else's sin. On the other hand, remember that our society is quick to accept some sinful behaviors as normal. The Bible presents very clear picture of what is sin and isn't. If you have any doubt about whether you have sinned, consult the Scriptures. When you confess to God or a person that you have sinned, don't try to justify what you did. Simply state your sin or error. Then ask God or that person to forgive you.
  2. Make amends. If you have wronged another person, don't try to substitute a request for forgiveness by doing kind deeds for that person. This same principle holds for your relationship with God-don't try to substitute works for genuine forgiveness.
    In seeking to make amends for a wrong committed against another person, you may be wise to ask the person what he or she would consider fair payment for the hurt or injury, or you may want to offer satisfaction of some type. The best repayment may be a genuine change in your life (which may involve counseling or professional help or therapy.)
    Ask God to give you wisdom in identifying appropriate amends. Also ask Him to give you the courage and the fortitude to follow through on your commitment to the offended person.
  3. Accept forgiveness. If you have sinned against God and have repented, you can be assured that He has forgiven you. His Word promises that He will pardon you-and God always keeps His Word. If you have sinned against another person and he forgives you, accept his words of forgiveness at face value. Don't try to second-guess his sincerity or motives.
    What happens if you confess a sin against another person and the person refuses to forgive you? That person bears the responsibility for failing to forgive; you don't. You have done what the Lord requires of you, and you stand clear before the Lord.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How The Holy Spirit Guides Us

John 16:13

The Bible promises that the Holy Spirit will guide us, with an emphasis on the word "guide". Jesus doesn't promise that the Holy Spirit will control us. He doesn't promise that He will drive us. He doesn't say that the Holy Spirit will force us to do anything. He says He will guide us.

At times I wish the Holy Spirit would control me-when I feel tempted, or when it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I need to study, but everything in me wants to grab my camera and head for the mountains. Life would be much easier (and I would be much more enjoyable person) if the Holy Spirit would just reach out and take control of me. But that is not the case.

He is our guide, not our controller. At no point do we lose our ability to choose to follow His leading. Consequently, we are always responsible for our words and actions.
The Holy Spirit guides believers into truth; that makes His guidance trustworthy. The Holy Spirit helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply okay.

As the details of everyday living barrage you, the Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you that extra, on-the-spot sense of discernment you need to make both big and small decisions. And as you develop greater sensitivity to His guidance, you will worry much less about the decisions you make.

The Holy Spirit never speaks on His own. Like Christ, this Person of the Trinity willingly submits to the authority of the Father. Everything He communicates to us directly from the Father. Jesus said, "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you the things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:13, 14). The Holy Spirit is God's mouthpiece to believers.

When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. After all, where does the Holy Spirit reside? In you and in me! Since He has direct access to our minds, emotions, and consciences, He is the perfect candidate for communicating God's will to us.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Clear Conscience

Acts 24:16

When you're tempted to do the wrong thing, do you listen to your conscience or do you just ignore it and keep going? Although sometimes it will seem as through people are acting without a conscience-we all have one. Our conscience is a gift of God that we should care for and give great attention to because it is given to us for our own protection.

Every day we face decisions that involve our conscience, and it sends up red flags when we're about to do something wrong. When our conscience speaks and we ignore it, it's like taking a knife and dulling the edges. It becomes ineffective. If we disregard it enough, we'll make a shipwreck of our life (see 1 Tim.1:18-20)-which means that we will have a disaster of a Christian life.

That's when we are most vulnerable to false doctrines and sin, and it's why people throughout the centuries have worshipped all kind of things. What's happened is their belief system has disappeared. In order to quiet their conscience, they've changed the way they think. They've deliberately chosen to exchange the truth of God for a lie (see Rom.1:21-25). However, no one is going to get away with that. God will allow their heart to be given over to darkness. Whoever violates the laws of God will suffer the consequences.

Is it safe, then, to let our conscience be our guide? Not really. It all depends upon how our conscience has been programmed. Has it been programmed with the Word of God? When the Word of God becomes the grid of truth that protects our conscience, then we know we can respond in the right way. This is because the Holy Spirit enables us to understand the truth and will guide us to do the right thing.

However, understand that the Holy Spirit isn't your conscience. Every person has a conscience-that's why there are people who know right from wrong, even though they aren't Christians. Yet only those who've received Jesus as their Savior have the Holy Spirit. The holy Spirit works in conjunction with our conscience and works to strengthen us and teach us the truth.

We know we can dull our conscience, but the good news is that we can also make it stronger. Paul said, "I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men" (Acts 24:16). How do we do that? We program ourselves with the absolute truth of the God's Word. God's way is the best way-it's the only way to find happiness, peace, joy, and eternal security. We have to have His Word and His Spirit as our defense.

Are you going to take heed of your conscience? Are you going to listen to what God is saying to you? Or are you going to do everything your way?

Your conscience is a gift of God to protect you, so you should take good care of it. therefore, get in the Word of God. Obey the leading of the Spirit. Make sure that you program your grid system based on God's truth ;). And strengthen your conscience by seeking God. Then you, too, will have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Effectively Tackling a Prayer Burden

Nehemiah 1:4-6
When Nehemiah heard that his people lived in great distress and reproach, that the walls of Jerusalem lay in ruins, and that the gates of the city remained burned and broken, he responded with prayer:
"I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days...And I said: "I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night" (Neh.1:4-6).
Nehemiah was experiencing a prayer burden. A prayer burden can be defined as a strong motivation to pray for others and to carry the needs of others before God in prayer until God responds.
The Bible has a great deal to say about burdens. We are to bear one another's burdens (see Gal.6:2). We are to go the second mile in helping another person (see Matt.5:41). Much of our ability to bear natural burdens is derived from developing our ability to carry spiritual burdens in prayer.
A sense of spiritual weight usually accompanies a prayer burden-a heaviness of heart, a drag on one's emotions, a spirit of mourning, or a feeling of restlessness that we can't seem to shift ourselves away from a problem or need that has come to our attention.
God does not act in many situations because we do not pray. God waits for either the co-instigator of the negative situation to cry out to Him for forgiveness, or for the victim of the negative situation to cry out to Him for mercy. Then He will act.
If you feel burdened to pray for another person, God desires to act on that person's behalf. he places the burden to pray on your heart, and He moves through the opening. As you pray, you can get in on the blessing that God has for that person through an answered prayer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Does It Mean To Wait Before the Lord?

Psalm 62:5-8
Perhaps the greatest key to spiritual growth is spending time alone with the Lord. This means taking the time to speak with God about whatever is on your heart-and, even more importantly, allowing Him to speak to you.
In Psalm 62:5, King David wrote, "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him." Perhaps that is why David was known as a man after God's own heart. To win that kind of reputation, David first needed to know the mind and heart of God so that he might be and do what the Lord desired for him. David sought to know God. He frequently "inquired" of the Lord. He spent time in the Lord's presence, singing to the Lord from the depths of his heart. In 2 Samuel 7:18 we read, "King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said, 'Who I am, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?'"
What did it mean for David to sit before the Lord? It means that he spent time alone in the presence of the Lord, communicating with the Lord from the deepest part of his soul, asking questions of God, and listening quietly for the Lord's answers.
Jesus frequently sought time apart with His heavenly Father. Time with the Father provided Him with a source of comfort and strength. Jesus also sought time alone with His disciples so that He might teach them and they might find spiritual refreshment (see Luke 9:10).
We are wise if we choose to spend time alone with God, in a place without distractions or interruptions, for a period sufficient for us to relax completely and focus our attention fully upon the Lord and His word. We must be willing to wait in the Lord's presence until we receive God's directives of His words of comfort.
Why don't many of us desire to spend time alone with God? The foremost reason is that we don't feel sure of our relationship with God and, therefore, we feel afraid of God. However, as David admonished, "Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." (Ps.62:8).
But those who are born again spiritually have a Father-child relationship with the Lord. Our heavenly Father loves us unconditionally and deals with us tenderly and patiently. The more we learn what He's really like, the more we see Him as Jesus saw Him, the more we will long to spend time alone with Him-and the more we will know the fullness of His grace.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How Can You Overcome Anxiety?

Matthew 6:25-34

God did not design you to be anxious or nervous. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the crowds, " Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'...Therefore do not worry about tomorrow" (Matt. 6:31, 34).

All of us have worried about the basics of life. When we reduce most of our anxities to their lowest terms, we discover they involve fundamental things; where we live, what food we buy, what clothes to wear, what friends we have, what others think about us. In all these concerns, the issue of believers in Jesus Christ comes down to trust.

Do you believe that you are in charge of your life? Or do you acknowledge that God directs and provides? Your answer has everything to do with your anxiety level.

Have you ever watched a mouse running inside a wheel? The faster he runs, the faster the wheel moves-but he doesn't make the slightest progress. He does not even have the sense to get off the wheel.

That is what anxiety does to you. You run faster and faster, trying harder and harder to meet the demands or prevent disaster-and still you do not have control over your circumstances. So when something does not go quite right, your frustration level continues to mount.

There is a way off the wheel, however. God created you. He knows your deepest needs (see Ps. 68:19). He longs for you to end the anxiety cycle and let Him lead (see Matt. 11:28). I Peter 5:6-7 says, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." The word "casting" is related to the Greek verb used in Luke 19:35, when on Palm Sunday the people of Jerusalem threw their garments onto a colt for Jesus to ride. The word describes the same motion: a deliberate action of setting something down and leaving it there.

Jesus wants you to throw your cares on Him and leave them there. You depend on Him for life itself; and you acknowledge this reliant relationship by saying, "Here Jesus. Take my problems. You have the answers! I trust You to show me what to do and to take care of the consequences."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How To Handle Nagging Doubts?

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan loves to use fear and doubt against believers. He knows if he can get you to question God, then maybe you will give up and abandon His will for your life. Feelings of fear often precede feelings of doubt and uncertainty. If left unattended, these runaway emotions can cause you to stop trusting God and His ability to provide for you.

A first step to defuse doubts is to determine its origin. Begin by asking yourself if your feelings of doubt have a legitimate basis. Many times we struggle with thoughts and feelings that have no validity.

Second, reading God's word is a great way to combat fear and doubt. A daily reading program such as the one you're reading right now will show you many ways to handle doubt. The book of Psalms highlights many personal battles over emotions such as fear, doubt, loneliness, and discouragement. David and others made a conscious decision to trust the Lord through tremendously difficult circumstances and found that God never once failed them.

Prayer is also essential in fighting fear and doubt. In essence, prayer is faith in action. When we pray, regardless of whether we feel like it, we make a statement of faith. We pray because we see God as the solution to what we face. If you are facing a difficult situation, don't be slow in asking God to show you the best way to handle it. If your level of trust seems so low, don't worry. God is wise and kind. He wants to teach you more about Himself, not frighten you away. Your faith will increase as you get to know Him better.

Even if you don't have the emotional strength to trust God, you can still begin. God will be your strength. A.B. Simpson often told those who found themselves in a difficult spot, "When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming for Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary."

Always be honest with God; He knows it all anyway. Honesty breaks the pattern of doubt. The last thing Satan wants you to do is to go to God in prayer and tell Him you feel doubtful. He knows that God loves you with an eternal love and that if you come to Him for help, He will give you all the assistance you need.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Noah: Obedient and Dry

Genesis 6:22

Nothing indicated an approaching storm. Still, since Noah believed in God, he prepared for the downpour God promised. His friends must have mocked him, but he built an ark (Gen. 6).

Obedience is the cornerstone to our faith in God. While Noah's obedience led to God's blessing and reward, the disobedience of his contemporaries led to their destruction. At the time of the flood, the physical salvation of mankind fell to Noah and his willingness to be used by God.
The ark merely foreshadowed the eternal salvation from sin that is ours through Jesus Christ. Just as Noah's faith saved him and his family, so our faith saves us today. As we are told in Ephesians 2:8-9, "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast."
Building the ark did not bring Noah any closer to the Lord-but his obedience and faith in God did. And it kept him safe and dry.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Importance of Forgiving Others

Mark 11:25-26

All of us at some point, have to deal with the issue of unforgiveness. When we allow a bitter spirit to lodge in our souls, where it grows and festers, it becomes both painful and destructive. Unforgiveness lies at the root of many of the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual problems we see today.

The apostle Paul wrote, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:31-32). When Paul spoke of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking, he was describing the ugly manifestations of a "spirit of unforgiveness."

A spirit of unfogiveness goes beyond a temporary unwillingness to forgive, the period between the time a person gets hurt and the time he forgives the one who hurt him. A spirit of unforgiveness develops when the one hurt chooses to remain in that unforgiving state.

People who develop this nasty spirit often say, "I just don't think I could ever forgive that." They make the statement when they feel they have been treated in such an unjust, unfair, harmful way that they simply can't let go of the pain.

We are all going to be hurt, Every one of us has been hurt, are hurting now, or are going to be hurt by somebody. The only way we can insulate ourselves against being hurt is to completely remove ourselves from the possibility of love. To risk love is to risk hurt.

Hurt is unavoidable, but we can deal with hurt. No pain is too deep or too wdidespread to lie beyond the power of God's forgiveness, working in and through us. Unforgiveness is a choice we make with the will- and it's a devastatingly bad choice, not only for the relationship, not only for the cause of Christ, but also for the one who refuses to forgive.

We shouldn't forget that it was our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, who ended a story on the necessity of forgiveness with these words: "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the tortures until he should pay all that was due to him. So my Heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" (Matt. 18:34-35).

Friday, February 29, 2008

There was a Parting of the Red Sea

Chariot Wheels found at the bottom of the Red Sea -- See pictures below and the route.



You will be surprised to see proof of Pharaoh's chariot and bones of horses and men found in the Red Sea. Evidence of the crossing of the Red Sea .. Pharaoh's drowned army.


Confirmation of the actual Exodus route has come from divers finding coral-encrusted bones and chariot remains in the Gulf of Aqaba. ONE of the most dramatic records of Divine intervention in history is the account of the Hebrews' exodus from Egypt.

The subsequent drowning of the entire Egyptian army in the Red Sea was not an insignificant event, and confirmation of this event is compelling evidence that the Biblical narrative is truly authentic. Over the years, many divers have searched the Gulf of Suez in vain for artifacts to verify the Biblical account. But carefully following the Biblical and historical records of the Exodus brings you to Nuweiba, a large beach in the Gulf of Aqaba , as Ron Wyatt discovered in 1978.
Repeated dives in depths ranging from 60 to 200 feet deep (18m to 60m), over a stretch of almost 2.5 km, has shown that the chariot parts are scattered across the sea bed. Artifacts found include wheels, chariot bodies, as well as human and horse bones. Divers have located on the Saudi coastline opposite Nuweiba as well.
Since 1987, Ron Wyatt found three four-spoke gilded chariot wheels. Coral does not grow on gold, hence the shape has remained very distinct, although the wood inside the gold veneer has disintegrated making them too fragile to move.


The hope for future expeditions is to explore the deeper waters with remote cameras or mini-subs. (ABOVE GILDED CHARIOT WHEEL - Mute witness to the miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea by the Hebrews 3,500 years ago. Found with a metal detector. Coral-encrusted chariot wheel, filmed off the Saudi coastline, matches chariot wheels found in Tutankhamen's tomb.


Mineralized bone, one of many found at the crossing site (above center). This one tested by the Department of Osteology at Stockholm University, was found to be a human femur, from the right leg of a 165-170cm tall man. It is essentially 'fossilized, ' i.e., replaced by minerals and coral, hence cannot be dated by radiocarbon methods, although this specimen was obviously from antiquity. Chariot wheel and axle covered with coral and up-ended. Exodus 14:25 'And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily...' Solomon's memorial pillars.
When Ron Wyatt first visited Nuweiba in 1978, he found a Phoenician style column lying in the water. Unfortunately the inscriptions had been eroded away, hence the column's importance was not understood until 1984 when a second granite column was found on the Saudi coastline opposite -- identical to the first, except on this one the inscription was still intact!

In Phoenician letters (Archaic Hebrew), it contained the words: Mizraim (Egypt ); Solomon; Edom ; death; Pharaoh; Moses; and Yahweh, indicating that King Solomon had set up these columns as a memorial to the miracle of the crossing of the sea. Saudi Arabia does not admit tourists, and perhaps fearing unauthorized visitors, the Saudi Authorities have since removed this column, and replaced it with a flag marker where it once stood.


How deep is the water? The Gulf of Aqaba is very deep, in places over a mile (1,600m) deep. Even with the sea dried up, walking across would be difficult due to the steep grade down the sides. But there is one spot where if the water were removed, it would be an easy descent for people and animals. This is the line between Nuweiba and the opposite shore in Saudi Arabia.


Depth-sounding expeditions have revealed a smooth, gentle slope descending from Nuweiba out into the Gulf. This shows up almost like a pathway on depth-recording equipment, confirming its Biblical description, '...a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters.' (Isaiah 43:16)
The Bible writers frequently refer to the miracle of the Red Sea crossing, for it was an event which finds no equal in history. The Hebrew prophets describe the sea at the crossing site as '...the waters of the great deep...the depths of the sea...' (Isaiah 51:10)
Knowing the exact spot to which the Bible writers were referring, what is the depth there? The distance between Nuweiba and where artifacts have been found on Saudi coast is about 18km (11 miles).



Along this line, the deepest point is about 800m (2,600 feet). No wonder that Inspired writers of the Bible described it as the mighty waters. And no wonder that not a single Egyptian survived when the water collapsed in upon them. ( Above right NUWEIBABEACH- the spot where the crossing began).

DAVID: The Joy of Forgiveness

Psalm 32:1-11

Psalm 32 is David's confession of his sin with Bathsheba. He wrote it after his encounter with the prophet Nathan, and probably after he had spent time alone with God in prayer and repentance.

If we were to give this psalm a title, a good one would be The Joy of Forgiveness. David writes; "Blessed is he whose transgressions is forgiven, whose sin is covered." "How blessed" can be translated, "How happy!"

Sin blocks our fellowship with the Lord. It also keeps us from experiencing God's goodness.David could not enjoy the sweetness of God's presence so long as he had not repented of his sin.

When you find yourself discouraged because you have repeated a certain sin, turn to God in prayer. Ask Him to apply His forgiveness to your life and receive His mercy. He loves you and wants to enjoy your fellowship once again.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How Do You Keep Your Focus on God and Not on the Obstacles in Your Life?

Numbers 14:8-9

When we perceive a threat to our well being or an obstacle standing between us and our goals, we often fear that the overall plan for our lives is in serious jeopardy.

In those times, we need to remember the promises of God.

When the Israelite spies set out on a reconaissance mission to assess the land of Canaan, they had no idea what they would encounter. It was a great honor to be chosen by Moses for such an assignment and Moses selected the top leader from each of the 12 tribes for the job.

Yet all their training and leadership experience did not prepare them for something so overwhelming. Who had ever heard of a grape cluster so huge that it had to be carried on a pole lifted by two men? Who could possibly be prepared for Canaanite warriors so massive they dwarfed the best of Israel's army? It is no wonder these spies felt a whirling mix of emotions as they headed back to their commander-in-chief to give a full report.

You can imagine the scene. Moses and Aaron (Moses' brother) gathered the people to hear the news. The spies confirmed that the Promised Land was indeed everything God said it was-but they focused on what they saw as the obstacles to their taking the land, namely the giants who lived there. They gave an accurate report, but they failed to give the whole story. Only Joshua and Caleb spoke the truth.

These faithful men recounted what they had seen and then reiterated, in their own words, the promises of God that had brought them to his point: "If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.' Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them" (Num. 14:8-9). Joshua and Caleb lived to see the Promised Land, but only because they focused on the goal God had laid out for them and not on the obstacles standing in the way.

The blessings God has in store for you are just as rich! Never allow shortsighted vision-especially one focused on obstacles-to block the far-reaching plan of the Lord.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What To Do In Times of Adversity?

Psalms 31:13-15

Part of life is facing adversity, even the kind of adversity that challenges our faith. King David provides us some great advice when it comes to facing times of adversity.

As part of his final blessing to his son Solomon, David said to him, "You will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed" (I Chr.22:13).

That's good advice for us today too. it's still true that obedience always bring blessing. Time and again in the Law of Moses, we find the word keep. The children of Israel were commanded to keep the feasts, to keep the law and commandments, to keep the Sabbath day holy, to keep their oaths to God, to keep themselves from evil. Moses said to the children of Israel as he led them into a covenant relationship with God, "Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do" (Deut. 29:9).

To keep means to hold fast and to cherish at the same time. When adversity strikes, that should be our mind-set: above all else, we need to hold fast to the Lord and to cherish our relationship with Him. Rather than blame God or turn from God,we need to turn to God and rely on His help. Keeping God's laws in the face of adversity actually leads us toward prosperity-a better state of being.

When adversity hits, those around you may criticize you for clinging to faith or reaffirming your belief that God is a good and benevolent heavenly Father. They may mock you or scorn you. Don't feel dismayed if that happens. Continue to keep God's word and remain faithful in your relationship with the Lord. Remember what David said: "I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "you are my God." My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies" (Ps. 31:13-15).

Ask the Lord to give you courage to withstand the hurtful comments of others and to be able to give a bold witness about God's power and presence even in your time of trouble.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Celebrating Others

Do you delight in the victories of others? You should. Each day offers opportunities to encourage others and to praise their good works. When you do so, you spread seeds of joy and happiness.

Too often, we allow ourselves to become so overwhelmed by the demands of daily life that we forget to "talk happiness" to our family members and friends.

Life is a team sport, and all of us need occasional parts on the back from our teammates. So be cheerful, with a smile on your face and encouraging words on your lips. By blessing others, you'll also bless yourself. And when you do, God smiles.

Proverbs 3:27 (NLT)

"Do not withold good from those who deserve it."


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Should I Tithe When I am Struggling Financially?

Mark 8:34-36

From a human perspective, the Bible is a book of paradoxes. It says, for example, that if we really want to have life, we must first lose it (Matt. 10:39). If we want to understand the authority, we must first become a servant (Matt 20:26-27). If we want to get ahead in life, we must first humble ourselves (I Peter 5:6).
And giving to God is the first step toward financial freedom.

"Wow," you say. "How can I give God anything when I can't even pay my bills? Doesn't God expect me to take care of my debts first?"

At first glance, such a response sounds reasonable. The problem is, it's not God's response. He insists that if we don't give, then we are robbing Him-and we will end up in worse financial shape than ever.

We should always keep in mind that God gives us this tenth in the first place. It never is ours: "All things come from You, and of Your own we have given You" (I Chr. 29:14). The tithe is our way to renew God's blessing in our lives. It is always for our increase.

God's promises have been tried and proven. This includes the promises regarding tithing, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse," the Lord tells us. And then He adds, "Try Me now in this" (Mal. 3:10).

God invites us to try Him, to prove His wisdom, to test His truth. What a bold challenge! Will we take it up? If we do, He promises to open the "windows of heaven" and pour out blessing for you until it overflows (Mal. 3:10).

The challenge involves a tithe-a tenth of your income. That may frighten you; but remember, since God owns it all, He is asking only for a penny back out of every dime. He doesn't need the money; He simply wants us to discover the rewards of obedience.

Giving is God's supernatural means of priming the pump of divine supply. We initiate it by faith, not reason. Giving to God is the prerequisite for enjoying true financial freedom.

If you feel afraid to give a tenth of your income, then at least start somewhere. When you start to give and realize the wisdom of God's economic plan, it won't be long until you will be giving a tenth of your income-or even more.


Friday, February 8, 2008

The Wisdom to Be Grateful


If you find yourself regularly attending gripe sessions or pity parties, ask yourself: What am I not doing to improve my situation?

It's time to cease all self-pity and get busy. On the canvas of life, it's never too late to paint a beautiful picture. :)

Philippians 2:14-15 (NCV)
"Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be innocent and without any wrong."


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tithing and Giving


In Malachi 3:8-12, God clearly teaches us that we are to give Him a tithe, which is 10% (the word tithe is based on the number ten in Hebrew.) God has set forth very specific directives about what He expects us to give back to Him.

People normally made offerings for speific reasons-to meet a special need, for example, or thanksgiving for a special blessing. The children of Israel gave such a generous offering at the time they built the tabernacle that Moses actually had to tell them to stop giving (Exodus 35:4; 36:7)!

The tithe is given to God from our increase and for our increase. It is the way we open the door of our finances to give and then to receive God's blessing. When we give the first 10th of our earnings back to God, we return to Him what was His in the first place, and what He asks us to give Him so that He might give us even more.

The Lord is very specific in the way we are to give our tithes and offerings:

First, we are to bring them into a storehouse. Generally, that meant His tabernacle or temple in the Old Testament, and the church in the New testament. We are to give our tithes whenever we regularly worship the Lord-not a mere charitable work, but to a work that bears the Lord's name.

Second, we are to make our gifts on a regular basis. Paul advised the Corinthians, "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come." (I Cor. 16:2).

Third, we are to make our gifts joyfully. People who give grudgingly, solely from a sense of duty, do not truly open up their lives to God's prosperity. (2 Cor. 9:7-8). The joy in our hearts about giving is a direct expression of our trust in God to meet our needs.


Monday, February 4, 2008

How Can I Get to Really Know God?


Did you know that God wants to show you more of Himself every day? He does. He wants a living, vibrant relationship with you.

Psalm 27:8 says, "When you said, "Seek My face, my heart said to You, Your face Lord, I will seek."

Are you seeking after God with all your strength? Does your time with the Lord revitalizes you, or does it feel more like a ritualistic experience?

To Better Know God:
  • You must come to Him honestly. - Confessing your sins and inviting Jesus Christ into your heart requires you to be vulnerable-yet it is the best decision anyone can ever make.
  • You must understand your reliance upon Him. - You must come to the point where you understand that God is your only source of comfort and power.
  • You must become interested in what interests Him. - Ask the Lord to restore your longing for Him, and for the things that most concern Him.
  • You must know His word. - By reading the Bible, you open your heart to Him. He has given you the Holy Spirit to help you interpret His Word, and He wants you to meditate on it so you can apply it to your life.
  • You must observe His characteristics and ways. - Read the promises that God makes in His word. Ask Him to remind you of how He has already worked in your life.
  • You must accept His invitations and follow His commands. - God is constantly inviting you to walk with Him. Give the Lord total control of your decisions, your time, your talents, and your possessions.

Your knowledge of God grows as you increasingly recognize His love for you. God delights in your joyful praise and worship of Him.

As you get to know God on deeper levels, your ability to trust and obey Him will increase. You will find your life's fulfillment when you come to know and exalt the Lord of all creation.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Relationships Built Upon Honesty

"Honesty is the best policy, but it is not always the easiest policy. Sometimes, the truth hurts, and sometimes it's tough to be a woman of integrity. Tough, but essential.
Integrity is built slowly over a lifetime. It's the sum of every right decision and every honest word. it is forged on the anvil of honorable work and polished by the twin virtues of honesty and fairness. Integrity is a precious thing - difficult to build but easy to tear down. We must make certain that we weave integrity into the fabric of our lives, beginning now and ending never.
According to Catherine Marshall, an author, "the single most important element in any human relationship is honesty - with oneself, with God, and with others." Wise women agree.

Ephesians 4:25 (ICB)

Tell each other the truth because we all belong to each other.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

How Adversity Reveals Our Level of Faith

"When hardships come our way, do we respond, "God, I trust You to bring me through this"? Or do we tend to say, I'm doomed, and there's nothing anybody can do"?

God once sent a storm on the Sea of Galilee to teach Jesus' desciples a lesson on faith. Jesus had said to His men, "Let us cross over to the other side." (Mark 4:35), and they should have taken His statement as a sure sign that He expected a safe trip. But when a terrible wind storm threatened the boat, they panicked. The terrified desciples asked Jesus, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"

How many times have we said the same thing? "Don't You care, Lord that this is happening to me? Don't You love me enough, Lord to do something about this hardship?"

Jesus rebuked the wind, and immediately a great calm settled on the lake. Then He turned to His desciples and said, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" (Mark 4:40)

God has given to each one of us a measure of faith (see Rom 12:3), and He expects us to use it to overcome our fear.Fear always accompanies adversity; in fact, a degree of fear is what makes something an adversity instead of just another experience. Fear causes us to project the very worst that can happen-that we will never recover, that all hope is lost, that we will never again enjoy some treasured thing.

Faith tells the opposite story. Faith says that God is in control and that all things work together for our good (see Rom.8:28).Faith says that we will recover and that our final state will be better than anything we have experienced so far.

Allow adversity to call your faith to action rather than into question. Adversity reveals areas in which you need to act in faith and not fear. When hard times come, say to yourself, "Now is the time to use my faith in a new way." The more you use your faith, the greater it grows. "


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Excitement Is Contagious

Are you familiar with Mary Kay Cosmetics? It was named after Mary Kay Ash.

In the year 1963 and she was in her mid-forties. She took her savings, started her own business selling cosmetics the hard way-door to door, one customer at a time. The business grew because of her ability to enlist the enthusiastic support of an energetic sales force. Today, that business still ranks among the leaders in the cosmetics industry. Her advice? "A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one."

So, the next time opportunity knocks on your door, open it with enthusiasm. Excitement is contagious. But if you want to change the world, the first person you must inspire is yourself.

Ephesians 6:7 (NCV)Photobucket
"Do your work with enthusiasm. Work as if you were serving the Lord, not as if you were serving only men and women."


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Trusting His Guidance


God promises to guide us if we will let Him. Our job is to let Him. But sometimes, we're tempted to do otherwise. We're tempted to go along with the crowd; other times, we're tempted to do things our way, not God's way. When we feel those temptations, we need to resist them. We need to ask ourselves what we will allow to guide is through the coming day. Or will we allow God to lead the way?
The answer should be obvious. We should let God be our guide. When we entrust the future to Him, God gives us the strength to meet any challenges and the courage to face any trial.
Isaiah 50:4-5 (NCV)
"Every morning He wakes me. He teaches me to listen like a student. The Lord God helps me learn."
Walk in the daylight of God's will because then you will be safe; you will not stumble.

-Anne Graham Lotz-

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.
During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's companythreatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.
"She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder. Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?"
Good afternoon, can I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her.
"I....I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.
"For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary," asked the shop clerk, "or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving 'Special?'. Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong." Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement foryou.
"Then the door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, "Hi, Barbara...let me get your order." She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped; there were no flowers.
"Want this in a box?" asked the clerk.
Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke?
Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.
"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again." She said as she gently tapped her chest.
"Uh," stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uh....she just left with no flowers!"
"Right, said the clerk, "I cut off the flowers. That's the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."
"Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!", exclaimed Sandra.
"Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to bethankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery.
"That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk, "and for the first time in my life, had just spent the holidays alone. I had nochildren, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel."
"So what did you do?" asked Sandra.
"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for good things in life and never to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort.
"You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.
"Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God.
"Just then someone else walked in the shop. "Hey, Phil!" shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.
"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?"
"No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from "thorny" times, andthat was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and givethanks for what that problem taught us.
"As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"
"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too...fresh."
"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns.
"Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out.
"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."
"Thank you. What do I owe you?"
"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.
"It read: My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.
"Praise Him for your roses, thank Him for your thorns

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

True Peace of Mind



When you feel like "walking in the dark" where do you look to discover which way to go? What do you trust? Whom do you trust?

Here are some scriptures we can turn to:

Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your on understanding."
John 14:1
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me."

Romans 15:13
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Trust doesn't depend on our sensory perceptions for validation. Trust isn't about positive feelings - it's about childlike faith.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Faith or Fear?


Being a busy person, you know from experience that life is not always easy. But even when you don't understand why the world unfolds as it does, never lose faith in God's ability through you to make a difference in that little corner of the world you call home.

Faith can and should be the hallmark of a well-lived life. Take it from Helen Keller's advice which says: "Faith is a spiritual spotlight that illuminates the path."


So, the next time you find yourself facing a fear-provoking situation, ask yourself which is stronger: your faith or your fear. Whatever your challenges, whatever your questions, whatever mountain you climb, God is there. He will help you work things out. Your job is to keep the faith until He does.

Psalms 121:8 (NIV)
"The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in, from this forth and forever."


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hugs of Encouragement

Will you be hugging people today? Will you be giving smiles, a kind word, or a pat in the back? How many times today will you demonstrate - by your words and your actions - that you are caring person?

You might find it easier to share kind words and heartfelt hugs when you feel happy and secure. But when you are discouraged or tired, it may seem dificult to encourage someone (including yourself.)

According to Anna Quindlen, "Love is not leisure, it is work." So, those days when the dog bites or the bee stings, you should be quick to do the "work" rquired to give-and receive-love. After all, the world still needs the hugs it can get...especially yours.

Hebrews 10:24
...and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Peace To Those Far And Near


Let's begin the day with a beautiful scripture from Acts 4:32. "All the believers were in one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." This is the message of sharing among believers.

A one great and true fellowship is becoming one regardless of race, color, status, background and possessions. There are no differences or barriers.

Peace comes in us when we have that spiritual companionship and shared passion for the same Savior. Whether we are on the other side of the globe, sharing God's words and inspirations, we would feel at home...and at peace.

Meditations on Bringing Peace To Those Far and Near:

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace. who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" - ISAIAH 52:7

"Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the Lord. - ISAIAH 57:19

"Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." - EPHESIANS 6:14-15

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Victory In Jesus


When trials, troubles, persecutions, disaster or attacks come, don't give in to fear. God will supply the strength you need to overcome in your adversity.

We are an overcomer because of Jesus Christ. "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Sone of God" ( 1 John 5:5); and, "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

"As the Holy Spirit leads us into a deepening awareness of Jesus' lordship over all of life's experiences-no matter how confusing, difficult, or painful our circumstances may become-our thoughts and feelings find a reliable shelter under the covering of Christ's unfailing love and protective authority." - Debra Evans

Praise God!