Friday, September 21, 2018

Make a Wish

Make a Wish
Make a wish …

No, I’m not suggesting that you wish on a star. Nor am I inferring it’s time to wish after blowing out flickering birthday cake candles.

Instead, I speak of a great concern for the lost.

“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe." Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?" "I wish before God," replied Paul, "that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am—except for these chains." (Acts 26:27-29 HCS)

The Apostle Paul was persistent and passionate in his witness. He was not twisting the king’s arm but he was trying to persuade him to place his trust in the resurrected Christ. Paul was wishing but his hope rested in God. He had a burden for the lost, both Jew and Gentile. PamFord Davis

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation! (Romans 10:1 HCS)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Making Excuses

“[God] said, 'I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you; when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12, NRSV)

Making Excuses
If you have the time I would highly recommend that you read the surrounding passages of our chosen verse for the day (Exodus 3:7-12). It always helps to put a verse in its context.

I don't know about you, but I have flaws, lots of them. Far too often I discover something new that I am unable to do well. My usual response is to spend much of my free time being a bit of a couch potato. I just sit there and watch TV or read a book. It's safe there. I can't fail doing these things unless I drift off into slumber for a while. At times I will use my weakness in an area as an excuse not to take any action. That way it's easier to say, “I tried; but I am unable to do that because ______________.”

When reading through the Scriptures it's clear to see that many people back then made excuses as well; and Moses is no exception. When the Israelites were being oppressed and God wanted Moses to lead them out of Egypt, what did Moses do? He protested, he made excuses, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” The excuse Moses made seems to be a bit of an echo of the kind of excuses I make at times. “I'm suppose to do _______? I can't do that. I have way too many flaws for that. You should ask someone else more effective.” But just as God reassured Moses, he also reassures us: “I will be with you.”

Often times we allow our minds to only focus on our flaws or shortcomings. So, we think we are not smart enough, or that we don't have enough talent, or that our speech or communication is not dignified enough. But God doesn't need to make us “smarter” or more “talented” or more “dignified” in speech. Instead, when He calls us to something He simply promises to be with us, to remain with us, and in actuality that is all we need. Jeffrey Hagan

Dear Lord God, we pray in the name of your Son that you would continue to be with us giving us all that we need to carry out your will in the area or areas that you have called us to. Help us to remove our focus off of our flaws and onto your promises so that we can boldly and faithfully accomplish the work that you have set aside for us to carry out. Amen.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Majority Rules

Majority Rules
We live in a society that likes to see things run by the opinion of the majority. That only seems fair; right? It may seem logical to settle questions that way; but it is not a fool proof plan.

As churches most vote among the church members about issues that effect us all. Any pastor or committee chairman is thrilled to get a unanimous vote of approval to their motion! What happens if they get 51% approval and their motion passes? The leadership may decide to drop the suggestion for the current time, and seek the Lord for guidance.

At one time King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were forming battle plans against a common enemy. Ahab sought the advice of 400 prophets to determine if they should attack. It was a unanimous decision! “Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the King." (1 Kings 22:6b NKJ).

Ahab had intentionally left out the opinion of Micaiah the prophet. He didn’t make it a practice to just tell the king what he wanted to hear. He spoke a message of “Thus saith the Lord!” As the story developed Micaiah was also brought in for consultation. After a final word that Israel would be scattered, “the bottom line” was revealed. A lying Spirit was put in the mouths of the prophets to entice the king (1 Kings 22: 13-22)! The majority was dead wrong!

When we face important decisions we need to trust God, not only the opinion of others (Proverbs 3:5-6). He will direct our steps! PamFord Davis

Friday, August 31, 2018

Making Known God's Manifold Wisdom

"His [God's] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:10-11

Making Known God's Manifold Wisdom
Later in Ephesians we are told that, "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).

These two verses give us only a glimpse into the heavenly realms. There is another glimpse in the first couple of chapters of Job where we witness two conversations between God and Satan. But Job was never aware of these conversations.

Often it is like that with us. We are unaware of what is going on in the heavenly realms and yet the way we live our lives makes a statement to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies. They want to know if we are going to live according to God’s priorities, his agenda, and his timetable.

We make known the manifold wisdom of God, by the daily choices we make. The choice to not take offense, to be forgiving, to do the loving thing, rather than what’s convenient. Also the choices we make when we watch entertainment, make decisions about our finances, and the way we spend our time. All these choices have an impact because they reveal our faith and our priorities.

What a great encouragement to know our choices make a difference in the heavenlies and that God's purposes are being realized. Susan Barnes

Friday, August 24, 2018

Making Changes

Making Changes
Women have repeatedly used the excuse for a change of mind; it’s a woman’s prerogative.

That explains why it takes many women so long to choose what to wear. Additional mind changes involve hair color and the mind boggling date night decisions. Asking her which movie she to wants to see and a restaurant choice might push her to the limit.

In reality, we all change our minds. God changes hearts.

And oh how crucial that He makes those changes.

“The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 HCS)

We face critical heart issues.

“For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person." (Mark 7:21-23 HCS)

We are in competent hands. PamFord Davis


Friday, August 17, 2018

Making Plans

Making Plans
How often have you decided that you just had to do or have something only to realize after you have done it or bought it that you made a mistake and that if you had taken just a little while longer and maybe listened to those around you who had already tried it or owned it you could have saved yourself a lot of time, money or suffering. I was reading this week in the book of Isaiah when I came across this passage that has been on my mind ever since. It is found in Isaiah 30:1;
1 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; (ESV) 

When I first read it I began to think about all the choices I have made personally that have ended with if not bad results questionable ones at the least. I have looked at them thinking what could I have done differently that would have added benefit to my life and the lives of those around me and now I can tell you I was consulting the wrong source for guidance in my decision making process. In Luke 14:28 the words of Jesus are recorded: 
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (ESV) 

We often think about what it will cost us when we are making plans. It's vacation time and everyone I know is preparing to go and do something this summer. One of the key issues that they will be thinking about is how much money do they have to do it with. It is for most people the deciding factor for what they will do and where they will go. However, I have a question what if there was a better source available to us by which to make decisions and it allowed us to enquire of the creator what he desired for us. Luckily we have such a resource as this.We read in John 14 about a promise from Jesus that we all need to look at and understand. 
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, John 14:15-16 (ESV)

When Jesus ascended into heaven he provided us with a Helper, and it is not just any helper. He has all the wisdom, power, understanding and glory of God and dwells within every believer in Christ Jesus. The real question is are we listening to Him when we make our plans and I mean not just long term but even this morning have you asked God what He desires for you to do today or have you already established your plan. It’s easy to get up and think over all that we might have to get done today but is any of it really what God has created you for. You see that is one of the reasons so many people are unhappy in their lives they are pursuing their plans and not God’s not to say that were you are and what you’re doing is not part of His plan for your life but are you doing it in a fashion that brings Him glory or is it all about you? 

One last point as you are planning the future Jesus provided a warning in Luke 12:13-21: 
16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (ESV) 

Not to say that having possessions is bad; trust me I have more than I will ever use. However the making of plans that are self-centered and without consultation from the Holy Spirit will leave us wondering why in the end. I pray that as you start today you take a few minutes to ask the Helper for guidance about your day. Pick up your Bible and dust it off; get to know the Creator better so you can see His will for your life and begin walking in the Light of His Word. Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, August 10, 2018

Making a Difference

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. (Colossians 3:17)

Making a Difference
Some time ago, my husband and I toured the Ink & Blood exhibit when it came to our city. As far as the title goes, “ink” stands for the ink used to print Bibles; “blood” stands for the blood shed so common people can have a Bible translated into their own language.

The exhibits were filled with ancient Bibles and artifacts, including fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found in 11 caves at a site called Qumran between 1947 and 1956. Needless to say, for anyone who appreciates the Word of God, it was indeed amazing.

As we sat waiting to see another demonstration, I was caught up in the wonder of what I had seen. Tears filled my eyes as I thought of the sacrifices men such as John Wyclif, William Tyndale and Miles Cloverdale made, risking death all for the sake of someone like me to have my own Bible. Mine has given me comfort over the years, so I gave God thanks for those men who made a difference to me personally.

William Tyndale lost his life making sure there was an English translation of the Bible for the common people. Tyndale saw a true need for people to have a Bible in a language they could understand. He was imprisoned for 500 days before he was choked to death and then burned at the stake.

At the time of John Wyclif, it was illegal for Scriptures to be spoken in what they called “the vile language called English.” If anyone was suspected of even having a Wyclif Bible, they were hunted down and burned ... along with their Bible.

The things I saw had a great impact on me because it made me realize even more that there is a need to do something to make a difference in our society. I was inspired to not sit back and do nothing while lives go unchanged and became even more determined to make a difference no matter where I am or what I am doing.

We can make a difference in some way or another. Every single one of us has a calling from God and we can use whatever He has gifted us with to be of help to someone, somewhere. No matter what we do, no matter how irrelevant we may think it is, we can make a difference.

The Apostle Paul made a tremendous difference and sacrificed greatly. I’m reminded of a particular passage from 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 which verifies his sufferings all for the cause of Jesus Christ and for the sake of the early Christians. Paul said he had been in prison, flogged, beaten, stoned and shipwrecked. He said he had been in danger, had gone without sleep, had known hunger and thirst, had been cold and also without clothing. Even though Paul suffered all of these hardships, he continued to have a tremendous burden for all of the churches of God of his day. In fact, he wrote some of his greatest letters from prison and in chains!

James 4:14 tells us life is a vapor, that it appears for a short time and then vanishes away. In other words, our lives pass by very fast. One night, I was looking up into the sky watching large fluffy clouds move quickly across the sky. Right before my eyes they suddenly dispersed and were no longer visible. That is what we are like, we’re here one day and then suddenly we must go back to the dust from where we came.

It is my hope that you will be encouraged to go and speak words of encouragement to someone. Send someone a beautiful card just because. Or, touch someone in a way that only you can. Whatever you feel God leading you to do, do it with all your heart and as unto Him. (Col. 3:17) I can tell you that you will be blessed more than you can imagine as you make a difference.  Excerpt from article by Danna Appleby

Father, I thank You because of the ministries you call us to. I know that what we do for You is important no matter how insignificant we feel it is. I pray You will bless and help us to do Your divine will when we feel the nudge from the Spirit. Lord, calm every fear that would hold us back from moving forward and pursuing the calling of God on our lives. Touch us Lord and help us to always trust in You as we strive to make a difference in the world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Next Time

Next Time
We all have these two wonderful words that we hang on to in disappointing times, such as when we fail, or when it storms on our camping trip, when we lose a game, or we’ve missed out on seeing a friend or family member. Perhaps as Christians we hope for a next time to share the love of Jesus Christ with a wandering soul.  Perhaps we hope for a next time to make a solid decision to give and surrender our own lives to Jesus. “Next time…” gives us hope, and something to look forward to. The wonderful thing about it is that we (often, but not always) get many “next times,” another chance, another opportunity.

As Christians, we breathe in and out our faith of the most glorious next-time that there will ever be. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will return as King of all Kings, the Sovereign Lord, “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). What a glorious day, opening the door for believers’ eternity! Philippians 2:11(NKJ) proclaims that “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Jesus says in Revelation 22:20, “Surely, I am coming quickly!” And after this next time, there will be no more next-times. No extensions or grace-periods. Believers that eagerly awaited for this next time will live eternally with Him. Those who reject the love of God through Jesus will be eternally separated from all hope of any next times.

Ignite and re-ignite your faith and hope. Keep your heart and actions pressing on for this glorious next-time!

Come, Lord Jesus! Come! Katy Foster

Friday, July 27, 2018

Mail Order Bride

Mail Order Matchmaking
Do you know anyone who uses on line dating services? We prefer to think matches are “made in heaven;” but some in desperation result to “.com!” Earlier outlets included “Lonely Hearts Clubs” or newspaper personal columns.

Match making goes back farther than we can prove; but the father of Leah, Jacob’s first wife, used deception to find her a man! (Genesis 29:16-28). Today she would likely be referred to as “a plain Jane;” with slim chances to “land a man.” The wedding night for Jacob and Leah goes beyond the worst “blind date” surprises! Seeing her in the camouflage of a bridal veil Jacob suffered from “night blindness;” and he had an eye opener the following morning!

I find interesting the old stories of “mail order brides.” People corresponding by mail learned little about their prospective mate; but they took the risk and arranged their marriage. Many things brought them together, including a deep desire for companionship. I’m sure the U.S. postal system offered no guarantees! The mail order arrangement brought perfect strangers together to form the binding covenant of marriage. 

The Bible gives another vivid example of such blind trust. “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1Peter 1:8-9 NAS).” 

As His bride we receive all the benefits and honor of taking His name as ours. It is recorded and on file in heaven! PamFord Davis

Friday, July 20, 2018

Maintaining His Intent

Maintaining His Intent
Years ago while working at a do-it-yourself warehouse my manager summarized his expectations of me and it went like this: ‘in everything you do here in this business you should always maintain my intent.’

What he meant was this. He was the manager and I was a supervisor on his payroll. It was important that I understood what his goals and expectations were for the company and even when he wasn’t in the building, I was to be maintaining his expectations.

Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘when the cats away the mice will play?’ All too often in business the second the manager or the head honcho steps out of sight everything runs differently, and not always better.

Jesus faced this same issue when he explained to His disciples that He would only be with them a little while longer but He left them with clear expectations.

My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:33-35 NIV)

As Christians we all too often become complacent and don’t always maintain His intent, yet this is our responsibility! Just because Jesus isn’t physically sitting at your lunch table or in your office, does not mean that we should slack on our responsibility! We were commissioned to love one another just as He loved us, and this my friends, is how people will know we are His disciples!

Regardless of what we have been called to do! Regardless of our job or our education, we must maintain His intent! If we are going to be so bold to wear the title of Christian, then we must be bold enough to love! We must know Him well enough to know His expectations! We must know what His Word says and follow it accordingly! Jounda LaMance

Lord so often we fail to maintain your intent! We have done a lot of talking and preaching and failed somewhat in the doing! Lord, you made it very clear what you expect from us, help us to know you in such a way that we do not have to second-guess what you expect! Help us Lord to love one another – just as you loved us! 

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