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Sunday, November 27, 2011

In God We Trust

You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I’ve ever heard this twist on the story. I liked the meaning and want to share it with my blog readers. Gives you something to think about…..  The unknown author writes:

"Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.

The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so she was enjoying herself immensely.

As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment.

Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value. A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see.. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this? ‘Look at it,’ he said. ‘Read what it says.’ She read the words ‘ United States of America .’ ‘No, not that; read further.’ ‘One cent?’ ‘No, keep reading..’ ‘In God we Trust?’ ‘Yes!’ ‘And… ?’

He explained, ‘And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him. Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as my response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful! ‘

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, ‘In God We Trust,’ and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.

It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient.."

God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes."  Psalm 118:9

Prayer:  Father God, it is in You that we place our hope and our trust. Help us to take the time to acknowledge that You alone are Sovereign and that it is You who bestows countless blessings upon us.  Thank you for those blessings and for the comfort you provide in times of trial or sorrow. Thank You for Your patience with us, for we are so undeserving of it, or Your great love. Thank You for Jesus Christ who bore our sins so that we might have freedom and eternal life.  Help us this week to look to You in every aspect of our life.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.
 


Natalie Grant - Your great name w/ lyrics

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Into His Care

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."  Psalm 91:1

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

There is no safer or more peaceful place to be than resting and relying on our Heavenly Father to meet us at the point of our need.   His wisdom, guidance, and care will ensure that we have all of His resources available to us at any time.  Reading and studying His Word gives strength, hope, trust, belief, and assurance that we are not alone. 

This week, why not place your cares on Jesus, the one who died for all mankind so that we might have freedom from sin and those things that are not in His best plan for us. The living water that He offers far outweighs anything the world has to offer us. 


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we love you.  We place our lives into Your hands.  Your plan for us is so much better than anything we can imagine.  Give us a total trust in You to fulfill Your perfect plan for our lives.  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

God Never Turns Us Away

"Thomas came with doubts. Did Christ turn him away?

Moses had his reservations. Did God tell him to go home?

Job had his struggles. Did God avoid him?

Paul had his hard times. Did God abandon him?

No. God never turns away the sincere heart. Tough questions don't stump God. He invites our probing.

Mark it down. God never turns away the honest seeker. Go to God with your questions. You may not find all the answers, but in finding God, you know the One who does." ~ Walking with the Savior, Max Lucado

I have always enjoyed Max Lucado's writing.  His books have a way of getting to the heart of what the Christian life is all about.  He gives such a clear picture of who God is and what His purposes are for His children. Based on sound Biblical teaching, Max shows his reading audience how to apply Godly principles to their lives. The result is a strengthened relationship in their walk of faith in Jesus Christ. 

This I know from experience:

1. God knows your heart.
2. He will never abandon you.  
3. He will give peace when you seek Him with all of your heart. 
4. Nothing is too difficult for Him. 
5. He sent Jesus to seek and save the lost. 
6. He is not willing that anyone should perish.

Listed below are some scriptures that encourage me to believe and know without any doubt that God loves me with an everlasting love; that His love is not conditional; that I belong to Jesus, and because I do He will never leave me nor forsake me; that He will give me strength when I face personal trials; and that He will always listen to my heart's cry for those I love who are lost.  I am praying that you, my readers, will find safety and wonderful rest in the gentle Shepherd's arms today.  There is no greater place to be. 

"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."  John 6:37

"And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day."  John 6:39

"For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him."  John 17:2

"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."  John 10:28

Prayer:  Father, God.  We are so thankful for Your unconditional love.  Thank You for loving us so much that You are not willing to see anyone perish.  Thank You for never turning Your back on any person who seeks You with an honest and sincere heart.  Help us to honor You all the days of our lives.  We love You and praise You.  It is in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord that I pray this prayer.  Amen.



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Children

"When you demonstrate love to your children, they gain a proper perspective of God. They learn to view the Lord as being a God of love and not wrath."
Quote from The Daily Way.


Children and grandchildren are our most precious assets.  The above statement seems extremely accurate to me.  Words that are spoken in harshness will often cause irreparable damage.  Those on the receiving end of a critical spirited person are left deeply wounded.  It is impossible to be a godly role model and give clear vision of who God is when one speaks out of anger. I pray that all reading this will stop and think before they speak.  May the words they say be pleasing to the Lord and not damaging to the recipient.  There is already enough brokenness in this world. 

Prayer: Father God, help each one of us to think before we speak.  Give us kind and life building words to say, or help us to say nothing at all.   May we model the gentleness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Good Points to Remember

The most important things in your house are the people.
As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.
God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.
There is no key to happiness.  The door is always open.
Silence is often misinterpreted but never misquoted.
Do the math…count your blessings!
Faith is the ability to not panic.
If you worry, you didn’t pray……if you pray, don’t worry.
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
Dear God, I have a problem and it’s ME!
When we get tangled up in our problems God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
Author Unknown

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jesus - The Answer to Our Peace and Happiness


When I am afraid, He is my shield!
When I am worried, He is my solution!
When I am happy, He is my song!
When I smile, He is my reflection!

The above statements were on my Facebook wall today and I wanted to share them, along with some corresponding scripture.  Whether today is a happy and worry-free day for you, or a day where you are feeling alone and discouraged, may you be comforted to know that by turning your focus to Jesus, He will bring you out of the depths of the despair that you are currently experiencing.  Why will He do this?  The answer is simple--because of His great love for you.  Jesus will walk beside you through every storm you face.  He is the One who will turn your dark days into joyful ones and give you a song in your heart.  Because of the love that He gives, none of us have reason to fear or worry, but every reason to be happy and joyful.  Today, focus on Him and His love for you.  Find scripture in God's Word that will strengthen and help you.  Go to God in prayer and throw yourself at His feet.  I know that He will meet you there because He has been there for me so many times. 

May you be blessed today.  May you be happy, joyful, and worry-free as you turn your eyes upon Jesus.  By doing this, the things of life will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. 

FEAR
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine."  Isaiah 43:1

WORRY
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"  Matthew 6: 25-27

HAPPY
"But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful."  Psalm 68:3

"A happy face makes the heart cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."  Proverbs 15:13

REFLECTION
"As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man."

Prayer:  Father, God, please help each person reading this blog today to turn their eyes upon Jesus; to look into His face and realize that He loves them beyond measure; that He wants to take their sorrows, worries, burdens and anxieties away and replace them with His unconditional love and perfect peace.  May they find joy in knowing that they are safe in the gentle Shepherd's arms now and forevermore.  This I pray in the precious name of the One who died for all sinners, so that they might have eternal life by believing on His name...the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Note:  All scripture taken from New International Version Bible.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quote

"As we've seen, everything that grieves the Holy Spirit involves how we treat one another. But we need to add an important truth to that understanding; if you have bitterness in any area of your life, you have poison in your system. Bitterness poisons you emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically."  Quote from Robert Morris' book entitled, The God I Never Knew

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Blue Jeans Welcome!"

 “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.  Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?  “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? Now you have insulted the poor. James 2: 1-6
“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment!” James 2:12
While passing a local church today, I noticed that the church’s marquis sign read: “Blue Jeans Welcome!”  Of course, the sign is letting people know that they are welcome to attend that particular church in an informal clothing style if they wish.  It is a “Come Just as You Are” to Jesus message similar to the song by Kathy Triccoli that I posted below this article.
Today, many churches (including my own) are changing to a more informal style of conducting services. These noticeable changes, which seem to be at the heart of much discussion and sadly, much division among church members are as follows:  

        1.  Style of music.  Incorporation of more contemporary praise and worship songs and less of the more traditional hymns.
        2.   Less emphasis on what type of clothing a person wears. Many churches are reaching out to people who would be reluctant and uncomfortable to attend for reasons of not meeting the “standards” of the church dress code.
Right off the bat, I will let the readers know that I am in the group of people who learned the  traditional hymns of the church, and still know most of them by memory.  These hymns continue to bless me in so many ways. Their words have deep meaning to my soul.  There is no question in my mind that the writers of the old hymns were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit.  But, at the same time, I am blessed by the upbeat and lively contemporary praise and worship songs.  I see and feel a freedom to praise and worship Jesus with these songs, and to me that gives merit to them.  A great number of these songs have a melody added to words straight from scripture, and with that said, we could safely say that they are also divinely inspired. 
At a young age, I was also taught that I should “dress up” for church.  My best dress was always starched and ironed for Sunday church services. This was my upbringing and I carried these habits into adulthood.  It is with gratitude to my parents that I was taught to recognize Sunday as a special day – the Lord’s Day.  However, today there are many young adults who were not taught the same practices as my parents taught me.  Consequently, they are not teaching their children these practices, either.  Because of this, we now find many un-churched young families living in our communities. 
While I will always believe that we should give our best to God and be respectful and worshipful in His house, I feel that perhaps Satan is enjoying the shift of focus to the controversies over the style of music we sing and the type of clothing we wear. Our churches are riddled with these issues and it is easy to see how the real purpose of the church is being hindered.  So, I ask myself these questions: 
What would Jesus be wearing if He were here among us in human form today?
Would Jesus care about the outer shell or would He be looking deeper into our hearts to see if we possess an honest and wholehearted desire to enter into worship? 
Would Jesus be looking to see if we came to church with an excitement to abide in His presence, regardless of the style of song we sing or the way others are dressed? 
Would Jesus be sitting on a soft church pew in a coat and tie, or would He be dressed down in order to relate to the poor man on the street, or the lowly and downtrodden, or the young man or woman who says there is no God and needs the love and patience that only Jesus could give?  Would Jesus be available to meet that young man or woman right where they are today?
Based on His own words found in scripture, there is no doubt that Jesus would be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49) seeking to save the lost wherever that took Him; to bind up the wounded, bring sight to the blind, and heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18). Jesus would help those with physical, emotional, and more importantly, spiritual needs.  Jesus met people where they were. He ate with sinners (see Matthew 9:10-12 below) and approached the Samaritan woman at the well whose reputation was less than stellar (see John:10-14 below).  During that particular encounter Jesus told this woman about the living water He offered that would leave her never thirsting again. 

Today, Jesus still meets people at the point of their need.  Jesus’ own disciples were uneducated and none were who “we” would have selected to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.  Jesus chose them so that they would bear witness to the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through them, so that God, not they, would receive the glory.  God’s Word bears witness to the fact that He can take the lowest of sinners, or the least educated among us and turn their lives around, making them bold witnesses to the power and saving grace of Jesus Christ.   
For many people my age and older, these changes in church tradition are a very serious issue.  Some cannot adjust to it, and that’s okay.  What is right for one individual is not necessarily right for someone else.  Others are able to go forward and pray that God will help them to be productive members of a changing church.  The last scenario is where I find myself. I am thankful to be adjusting and learning to appreciate the differences in both styles of worship.
I do not believe that we will sing hymns or contemporary praise and worship songs in heaven.  Dear friends, it is going to be so much better than that. Our feeble minds cannot imagine what it will be like.  All I know is that we will be praising Jesus and whatever form of music that takes is okay with me! 
I write this article today because I am burdened by this controversy within our churches and within our families.  My prayer is that we will always keep our eyes focused on the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ; that we will be good role models for our children, grandchildren, and all young people; that we will lay aside OUR preferences for the desire to come back the true heart of worship.  Only God can bring us to that point through the work of the Holy Spirit within us.  God is so much bigger than our preferences.  It’s neither hymns nor contemporary songs that will make us true worshipers, nor is it our clothing preferences, but I believe the answer is found deep within each of our hearts. My prayer is that each of us will allow God to strip away our preferences in exchange for an overfilling of the living water that Jesus offered the Samaritan women at the well.  Then, as a church, we will be able to meet in one accord to worship and adore the Lord our God.  This is where I want my focus to lie.  How about you?

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-12
“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:10-14

Prayer:  Father God, please help us to strive for harmony within our churches and our families over this controversy or any others that might arise.  We belong to You.  We are not our own.  We have been bought with the price of  the precious blood of Jesus.  Help us to be obedient children so that we might radiate Your love to others.  Help us not to miss what You want to do in our lives for Your glory.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.
All scripture taken from New International Version.

Come Just as You Are