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Saturday, July 30, 2011

There Is

The writing below truly encouraged me and I wanted to share it on my blog.  Since I am away on a three-week holiday, there is very little quiet time or access for me to write.  Please know that I am extremely anxious to get back to my blog postings and will do so by mid-August. 
 
May God bless and keep you, and may you find answers for every situation in your life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
For every hectic work day there is a quiet rest...

For every painful experience there is a healing touch...

For every negative feeling there is an abiding joy...

For every disappointment there is a certain hope...

For every turbulent storm there is a sure foundation...

For every doubting thought there is a calm assurance...

For every hurtful action there is a forgiving love.
In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
-Roy Lessin

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Being Still in God's Presence

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

By nature, I am somewhat of a loner and enjoy being by myself at times, but generally not for long.  Just a little space is needed and then I am good to go! 
But, one does not have to be a loner to desire and implement a quiet time with God. Even though I am surrounded by a wonderful family and precious friends, spending time alone with God is something that I crave.  The closer my relationship with Him becomes, the more I want to listen and learn from Him--to read His Word, talk to Him and learn how better to live for Him as I serve Him each day.  Quietly sitting in God’s presence brings so much peace and comfort.  He created each of us for relationship with Him.  Just imagine how much He loves for His children to come into His presence and sit quietly asking Him to speak to us and lead us.
There is no doubt that the “busyness” and other distractions of our world today pulls us away from being still before the Lord—of really listening for Him to speak to us through His Word, through prayer, through others, and even through nature.  So many of us are too busy to “stop and smell the roses.”  When was the last time you looked at the beauty that is all around you?  It was created by a loving God for your enjoyment.  If you take the time to look around, you will see His handiwork in every direction.
This week, let’s all strive to “be still” and listen more so that our heavenly Father will be able to renew us and guide our steps as we follow Jesus Christ.  If you do not have a regular time to be alone with God, please begin doing so.  You will not regret it in the least. Let His calming presence wash over your soul like cool water on a hot summer day.  Be still before Him. Breathe in His peace.  He waits for you.  He longs for you.  He will never disappoint you. 
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act.” Psalm 37:7a (NLT)
"Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes! I Samuel 12:16 (NIV)
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”  Mark 1:35 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Self-Doubt: You Can Overcome It

"But Lord,' Gideon asked, 'how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'" Judges 6:15 (NIV)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Like Gideon, many of us have doubts about what we can accomplish for the Lord.  It is easy to come up with varying excuses instead of being an active participant in where God is leading us and what He wants to do in and through us.  Self-doubt will hold us back from being all that God wants us to be. For many years, I struggled with that very thing, having little confidence that God could use me in any way. I found excuses, just as Gideon did. Eventually, over time and through various experiences, God brought me to the realization that there is nothing I am capable of doing on my own, but that with Christ living in me, I can accomplish much.  One of my favorite scriptures Philippians 4:13 says the following: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  (NIV)  He is my strength!  And yours!!
How then can we rid ourselves of doubting our usefulness to the Kingdom of God?  By focusing on what God thinks about us, instead of what we think about ourselves. Day by day, as we communicate with God through prayer and the study of His Word, God will help us overcome our doubts and fears.  It is He who goes before us, carving out the path we should take.  Our job is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and give direction.  We will then have the knowledge and assurance that we are not alone in our walk of faith and that God does have a plan for us as we reach out to others and strive to do His will.  We are called to be the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus Christ as we live out our faith. Remember, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He will give each of us the confidence that we need for a productive day of serving Him.

Songs

"When God Ran" and "My Redeemer Lives" - two songs posted below that reminds us that we are never too lost to be saved because our Redeemer lives!!   Be blesed by these songs.

When God Ran

MY REDEEMER LIVES - NICOLE C MULLEN VIDEO WITH LYRICS

Monday, July 18, 2011

Invitation

“The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
An invitation has been extended for me to share my inspirational writings on Facebook with the members and friends of Strickland Crossing Church of God.  I count this an honor, for I have known your pastor and some of your members since I was a child. Please know that as I begin sharing these articles that I have written, I do so humbly and only for the purpose of glorifying God and encouraging others. 
Over the years, God has accomplished a great work in my life and much of it has been through my attendance to the “University of Hard Knocks.”  Through my own life experiences, some not the easiest or the best for me, I have come to trust God to see me through difficult times, to help me stay on a straighter course, and to give me joy and peace no matter what my circumstances.   I realize so much now—that I am nothing without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; that I am just an old sinner saved by grace; and that His grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  I wish that I could sit down and tell each of you what faith in Jesus Christ means to me, but since that is not possible, please hear my heart as you read my words.  I believe that the Holy Spirit has given me these words for such a time as this—a time where there are so many hurting people who need a word of encouragement and who need Jesus Christ to fill the emptiness inside their hearts. 
I will begin by sharing a poem that I did not write, but one that my sweet sister, Peggy, sent to me in 1978 when I was having some medical issues and life looked bleak and uncertain to me.  This poem, called "The Rest of Victory” has encouraged me so many times.  Over the years, I have shared it with countless folks who were going through tough times.  Please be encouraged by it today.
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless each of you and may His love, joy, peace, and comfort live deep inside your hearts.  This is my prayer for you, for I love you and pray for the work that the Lord is doing in your midst.   May God richly bless and keep each of you.   
 In Him,
 Carolyn McDaniel Canizales
The Rest of Victory

There is nothing…..
no circumstance,
no trouble,
no testing---
that can ever touch me until, first of all,
it has gone past God
and past Christ,
right through to me.

If it has come that far,
it has come with a great purpose,
which I may not understand
at the moment
but as I refuse to become panicky,
as I lift my eyes up to Him
and accept it as coming from His Throne
for some great purpose of blessing
to my own heart,

No sorrow will disturb me,
No trial will ever disarm me,
No circumstance will cause me to fret,
for I shall rest in the JOY
of what my Lord is.
That is THE REST OF VICTORY.

Written by Alan Redpath

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Life Is a Passing Thing


Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  Matthew 24:35 (NIV)
Recently, I asked my sister, Peggy, for permission to share some of her poems on my blog.  She did not hesitate to give that permission.  Like me, Peggy, believes that the inspiration for her writing comes from God.  Please enjoy this poem and take its meaning to heart--that life truly is a passing thing.  Only what's done for Jesus Christ will last.  May God bless each of you today.

Life Is a Passing Thing
By Peggy Pfleider

The grace and beauty of a bird in flight,
The dainty flutter of a butterfly’s wings,
Makes me happy enough to sing.
Enjoy them now;
It’s a passing thing.

Life is like this, so live it for Christ,
Enjoy it now,
It’s a passing thing.

The breeze that blows on a summer night;
Enjoy it now,
 It’s a passing thing.

The beauty of a sunset,
The wonder of sunrise,
Enjoy it now,
It’s a passing thing.

Life is like this
So live it for Christ
Life is a passing thing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Prayer

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 (NIV)
As I begin this article on prayer, I do so with a strong and unwavering belief in its power.  I have been both an observer and a recipient of answered prayer countless times in my life.  If God did not hear and answer prayer, there would simply be too many unexplainable times of “coincidences” in my life and the lives of others, so I do not ascribe to that belief in the least. 
What is prayer?
One line of a song entitled, “Faith Unlocks the Door”, written by Samuel T. Scott and Robert L. Sands says the following, “Prayer is the key to heaven but faith unlocks the door.” Each of us has the incredible privilege of approaching the God of the Universe by faith and with a firm assurance that He will hear us, commune with us, and act in our best interest.  Therefore, prayer is the act of communicating with God.  We can only do this because Jesus Christ has opened the way.
Why is prayer necessary?
In Luke 11:9, Jesus says the following: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.”   In this scripture, we see three important truths:
We cannot get, until we ask.  We must come before God with humble hearts and make our requests known to Him, even though He already knows what we need.  However, God is not some big Santa Claus in the sky.  He will only do what is in our best interest.  Sometimes we may ask God for certain things and years later find ourselves thanking Him for not giving us what we had asked for.  He sees the big picture and we don’t.   
We cannot find, until we seek.  Seeking God in prayer gives us the assurance that we have a heavenly Father who loves us and cares about every detail of our lives. Through prayer, we are freed from the anxiety and fear of what tomorrow may bring.  Seeking God in prayer unlocks the door to moments of finding that He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. 
We cannot enter into fellowship with God until we knock on the door to His heart.   In Romans 10:13, we are told the following: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” God is eagerly waiting to hear from us.  However, He will never force Himself upon us.  We are given two choices—to believe or not believe.  If we choose to believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that He (Jesus) died for our sins, and if we make the choice by faith to accept Him as our Savior and Lord, we are then able to enjoy the freedom to enter into God’s presence and experience prayer, praise, and worship with our heavenly Father.  
What benefits do we derive from prayer?
Through prayer we experience comfort, peace, and a deeper trust in God.  Because we are human, there are times when we tend to grow anxious if we don’t see instant results to our prayers. While we prefer a quick response, God has His own timetable that is spiritual and consistent with what is best for us. Who better to determine how and when to act on our behalf than our heavenly Father? 
Scripture provides comfort during times when we feel that God has forgotten our prayers. Isaiah 49:16 states, “See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Just as God was telling the Israelites that He had not forgotten them, how comforting to know that He remembers us and hears us when we pray. 
God hears our prayers of desperation.  Someone once said that the most sincere prayer offered up to God is the following: “Help me!”  Short, to the point, and desperate!  Surely God loves these kinds of prayers, for it is then when we are stripped of our pride and begin to develop the desire to rely more on Him and less on ourselves.
The Holy Spirit goes to God on our behalf when we can’t.  When we cannot find the words to pray, Romans 8:26 assures us of the following: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” NIV 
How Can We Pray? 
We can pray anytime, anyplace. While it is good to set aside a quiet place and specific time to pray, God is available to us at all times.  Our prayers do not have to be formal recitations.  We need only to come before God with an honest and open heart.  He will listen and act on our behalf in His timing—which by the way is never late!   
One Method of Prayer
How often do we go to God in prayer, only asking for our needs?  I have found that the ACTS method of prayer as shown in the acrostic below, gives me the opportunity to adore, confess, express thankfulness, and bring my requests to God. 
A = Adoration - give adoration to God as your Creator; praise Him for His omnipotence and His omnipresence;
C = Confess – confess specific sins and ask for God’s forgiveness;
T = Thanksgiving – be specific in naming what you are thankful for;
S = Supplication - bring your needs and the needs of others to God.   
There are many people who are in desperate need of our prayers. What a great privilege and responsibility we have to make prayer a top priority in our daily lives. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Independence Day

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."  Psalm 33:12 (NIV)

In a few days, Americans all around the country will be celebrating Independence Day.  For most of us there will be neighborhood parades, back yard barbecues, and picnics with family and friends.  
This time of celebration also brings forth great patriotism in our country and reminds us how truly blessed we are as a nation.  Even with our economic problems and disagreements on how to solve these issues, we are still a great nation made up of many hardworking and decent people. May we never forget that the freedom we enjoy today has been paid for over the years by men and women who have fought to keep our country free.  We owe such a debt of gratitude to these brave men and women.
The words to the song that I have posted below speak of liberation for the citizen as well as liberation for the soul.  America has always been a beacon of hope for those wanting to have a better life.  The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of that hope.  In the Bible, Jesus speaks these words in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Therefore, as the Statue of Liberty liberates the citizen, all who choose to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, following Him at all cost, will gain a soul that is liberated.  Because of the Cross we are set free to live a life of faith and trust in someone and something much bigger than ourselves.  Because we have been liberated by the Cross, we are assured of an eternal home that is waiting for us when we leave this world.
On this July 4th, please take a moment to thank God for His blessings upon this country and ask that He continue to "stand beside us and guide us, through the night with the light from above." (Words from the song, "God Bless America.")
May God bless America, may America bless God, and may we not forget Him on this Independence Day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Statue of Liberty - Ivan Parker, Kim Hopper, Dean Hopper

My Psalm of God's Mercy

In February 2009, the discussion leader of my BSF Bible Study class suggested that each participant write a Psalm at some point during the coming week.  We could formulate this Psalm in any way we chose, as long as it was a personal conversation with God, expressing our love and thankfulness to Him.  Below is the Psalm that I wrote. It is my desire to share it with you, my blog readers.  You are the first to read it, as it has been sitting among my study materials for over two years.  As does all of my writing, these words came straight from my heart out of gratefulness for what God has done for me through His Son, Jesus Christ—my Lord and Savior.
Psalm of God’s Mercy
LORD, Your love and mercy surround me!
Each day my strength comes from You!
I call on You and You hear my plea,
I speak Your name and You bring life to me.
My hope is in You.

You are my God; there is no other!
I will trust You all of my days.
My lips will continually praise You.
Because of Your great love and mercy
I shall ever praise You.

You dwell continually in my heart and mind.
Your praise is on my lips and in my heart.
How I praise You for Your mercy and forgiveness!
How I praise You for Your grace, guidance, and joy!
How I praise You for Your love!

Throughout the day, my thoughts turn to Your love for me;
It is a love that You gave me when least deserved;
It is a personal love like no other.
It is a love made possible by Your son, Jesus.
It is a love You gave freely to all who will receive.

Jesus, You are the light of the world,
In whom there is no darkness.
Jesus, You are the hope of the world,
In You there is eternal life.
Jesus, You are the Light of my life.