Friday, November 16, 2018

Manifesting the works of God

Manifesting the works of God
In John 9:1-7, Jesus’ disciples wanted to know whose fault it was that this man was unable to see. Instead of trying to help them find someone to blame, Jesus had them take a different look at the situation. He told them that through this man’s affliction, the works of God were going to be manifested.

Too often we face challenges, or see others who are facing challenges, and wonder who is to blame for the situation. Maybe we ask God, “Why does this person have to go through this?” Perhaps we wonder, “What bad thing did this person do to end up with this challenge?” Or we might wonder if that person is suffering because of someone else’s faults and failings. Instead of looking for someone or something to blame, we should take to heart what Jesus told his disciples here: “This is a situation where the works of God can be manifested.”

Challenges, trials, difficulties, and tough times of life are something that we will all encounter. When you’re experiencing things you can’t change or don’t understand, take those problems to God and seek to have his works manifested through your challenges. He won’t fail you.

“Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3)

Lord, as we face the challenges of life, please help us to remember that as we allow you to manifest yourself through them, others can be blessed and drawn to you. Misti Chancellor

Friday, November 9, 2018

Manufactured Blessings

Manufactured Blessings
Have you ever thought about your blessings and where they come from? Some blessings are manufactured and some come from God. Now I know you’re wondering how blessings can be manufactured. Let me share what God has been teaching me. 

So what are those manufactured blessings? Far too often they come in the form of material things and things that we think will bring us happiness. We are a nation of people that has abundance and we have an abundance of activities. We have so much we now build storage facilities to keep our stuff in that we don’t have room for in our homes.

I am reminded of this story found in Luke 12:16-19, “Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’

We buy bigger homes and we still have leftovers. We have a lot of stuff. Our lives are full of activities too. We are so busy running here and there and doing this and doing that. Some years ago it was reported Americans were taking the fewest vacations in four decades. We are too busy to go on vacation. Now I am not opposed to material things. I have some myself and I am guilty of being too busy. These are what I call manufactured blessings. Blessings we created through our own doing. 

Now these are not bad things, but if you stop and really think about it we did not do these things on our own. God gives us new breath every day. God allows us to experience life once more when we get up. Now I don’t believe God causes death or brings on bad things, but I do believe He knows how many days we are to live on this earth.

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)

I think each day when we rise we should stop and pause and say thank you to our creator for another day of life. I think we should thank him for surviving in this crazy world another day.

I am afraid for too many of us we have the mindset that it’s all about what I accomplish and we don’t give God a second thought. You may not agree with me, but who chose you to be born in the family you were born in or even the country that you were born in? God planted us where he wanted us. We could easily have been born in a country where there is no hot water, luxuries, or opportunities. Instead he placed us where we could have those things, yet often times we never go to church and give Him back a portion or say thank you. 

I am very aware of the blessings God has given me. Every time I get in the shower and the hot water is the perfect temperature and it runs down my body I feel blessed. I think about those who cannot take a hot bath. I have to make an effort to do this. It’s not something that comes natural. I have to make myself aware of the blessings God has given me. If I don’t make myself aware of who has given me those blessings then I won’t ever offer a word of thanks. I can get smug and think it is all about me when in reality it isn’t. 

God has blessed us in so many ways. He has blessed us in giving us his love and grace when so many times we don’t deserve it. He has blessed us with a mind that can work, hands that can function and feet that can carry us to work or wherever. I am afraid we are a nation of people with an overabundance of things and activities and an under of abundance when it comes to acknowledging who God is in our lives and lack of appreciation and gratefulness.

We are moving into a time when we think about harvesting this month and next month thanksgiving. When it comes to harvesting are you reaping blessings that come from God or are you reaping manufactured blessings? Do you offer thanks for those blessings or do you just carry on each day not giving a thought about those blessings? It takes an effort to think about how blessed we are and where those blessings come from. I challenge you today to make the effort to give thanks and then to make an effort to have a relationship with the one who has blessed you.

Dear God, I do thank you for each breath I take, each hot shower I am able to have and for the many little blessings that you give me each day that I often take for granted or miss. Thank you for reminding me I can fall into the same trap as the rich man who had to build bigger barns. May I never take blessings for granted and may I remember it is you who sends us showers of blessings. Amen

Becky Brown

Friday, November 2, 2018

Mandatory Evacuation

Mandatory Evacuation
Life in the Sunshine State is not always paradise. Even there, residents have to face the reality of nature. In this case, that means the strong possibility of hurricanes. Their power and destruction is deeply embedded in personal memories.

Our family evacuated before the impending arrival of Hurricane Opal. We took warnings very seriously. A hurricane can level structures and devastate entire communities. We took no chances; we made our evacuation plans.

When leaving, we had to make rapid decisions. What would we take? What should we leave behind?  We are often unaware of the grip possessions have on us. At the approach of a hurricane, priorities become clearer.

The Florida Department of Transportation & Walton County Emergency Management worked hand-in-hand. Evacuation routes were clearly marked. Locals and tourists needed to only follow instructions and evacuate to a safer location. 

In the spiritual realm, a force more powerful than a hurricane is lurking …

Evil forces and temptations are growing and gaining strength as they approach our homes, communities, states and nations. Do we see the coming destruction?  God freely gave us His evacuation route! He made a way of escape.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV)

A reminder, hurricanes are named alphabetically.

Our way of escape is J E S U S, the Alpha and the Omega, A-Z! PamFord Davis

Friday, October 26, 2018

Making History

Making History
One of the most well-known and recited Bible verses during Christmas time is Luke 2:11 (NKJV)  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. 

There’s an interesting verse that ties to this one in II Samuel 2:1: It happened after this that David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?”  And the LORD said to him, “Go up… to Hebron.”

David asked God where he should take his family and live.  He did not lean on his own understanding by settling for the Mediterranean coastal life.  Nor did David seek out peace in mountain-living.  He sought God first.  Soon after settling in Hebron, David would conquer Jerusalem, and build the City of David.  If David had made his decisions on his own, our Christmas verse would today include nothing about a city that David rebuilt.  However, David sought God first, and made history.

It’s amazing how surrendering all to God our Father places everything on course, in God’s will, in His perfect plan.  We may not see how our children finally surrender their lives to Jesus, or how our decision with work impacts so many other people, or how our daily tasks and decisions, placed in God’s hands, unfold His mighty, glorious plans.  God encourages us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.  I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8)  Thank You, Father!

Seeking God first in everything is more divine and monumental in building God’s kingdom than we may be able to understand.  Inquire of God.  Seek HIM first. —Katy Foster

Friday, October 19, 2018

Make Mine a la Mode

Make Mine a la Mode
“Make mine apple pie `a la Mode!” Separately, both the apple pie and vanilla ice cream is good, but together they are very good. I feel like I am getting an extra special treat. Why not splurge? The opportunity does not arise often and I will rise to the occasion.

God rewards us when we seize each opportunity to pray. “Make mine prayer `a la Mode!”

Any good pie begins with a crust foundation, prayer starts on the foundation of faith; God hears and answers prayer. The pie filling is a perfect blend of apples, sugar and cinnamon.

We fill our prayers with praise, confession, thanksgiving and requests. I have used the easy reminder in the acronym A-C-T-S.

  • Adoration
  • Confession
  • Thanksgiving 
  • Supplication

Scoops or dollops of ice cream sit atop the apple pie. I top off prayers with portions of God’s word and pray In the name of Jesus, God’s Son.(1 John 5:14) PamFord Davis

Friday, October 12, 2018

Making Amends

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. (John 21: 7 NRSV)

Making Amends
Here is the man who had betrayed his Savior three times just days before. Here is the man who had carried the heavy weight of that betrayal and had probably felt deep conviction, sadness and confusion, but was now eager to make amends for his wrongdoing.

This story, in which Jesus appears to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberius, reveals a different Simon Peter. His enthusiasm to be with his Lord erupts into a hasty decision to jump from the boat and swim to shore. With no hesitation he is ready for reconciliation. Ready to be united with Jesus, so that they may be one. And Jesus waits to receive him.

Perhaps sin has kept us from Christ; from being reunited with him. Hesitate no longer. Jesus stood patiently waiting on the seashore as Simon Peter crossed the threshold of pain and conviction to be accepted and forgiven by his Savior. Christ waits for us to take make the same move and be reconciled with him. His arms are open wide. Like Simon Peter, can we too be willing and eager to make amends? To come back to that place with Christ where there is deep consolation and joy. Jennifer Woodley

Father, I have sinned and ask for your forgiveness. Help me to remain in you, to be one with you. Thank you in Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Make Believe and Reality

Make Believe and Reality
I like fairy-tales; they allow young and old to stretch their imaginations.

Yet, I know there is a vast difference between make believe and reality. Fiction and non-fiction are decidedly different. There is not a real fairy godmother waving a magic wand and granting wishes.

To many, Esther is one of their favorite books in the Old Testament. It is a true story with drama, intrigue, love, conspiracy, and a beautiful woman’s bravery. The king did not wave a magic wand over his realm. He extended a golden scepter of grace to his beloved.

Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king. (Esther 8:4 KJV)

Approaching the king uninvited was punishable by death. In grace, he granted Queen Esther’s entrance and urgent requests that followed. It also served as a word picture of God’s amazing grace. PamFord Davis

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Lucky Charms

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him. Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that you are wearing, and bring them to me." So all the people took off their earrings and brought them. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." (Exodus 32:1-2 NIV)

Lucky Charms
Beautiful One, has God been so long in coming down the mountain to meet with you? Have you become bored in your endeavors and with each passing day, your growing more impatient and discontented? What have you been playing with to ease your confusion? What charms have you fashioned that you're hoping will bring you comfort and fulfillment?

The cereal Lucky Charms was created in 1963. An advertising company employed by General Mills suggested marketing the new cereal around the idea of charm bracelets. The saying that we associate the cereal with is;"It's magically delicious."

Great concept, good advertising. But the truth is, there is nothing magical about them. Lucky Charms, is nothing more than just wheat and oats with pretty colors of sugar in them.

When Israel was delivered out of Egypt by God, they were then led to a desert. God had prepared a Promised Land for them, but before He would allow them entry, He took careful steps to route them through a desert.The desert would prepare them for their destiny. Furthermore, God appointed a leader, Moses, who would lead, guide and instruct them on the ways of the Lord.

But Israel was stubborn, not a trusting people. Maybe being in bondage, abused and mistreated for 400 years had taken it's toll. Let's face it, that's a long time to keep taking punches. It's kind of hard to trust anyone, when you've been hurt. Repeatedly, day after day.

As God brought Israel out of their oppression, He displayed mighty works on their behalf. Just imagine for a moment what it must have felt like to have been crying out for help and finally, help shows up and does exceedingly more than they could think, ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Beautiful One, have you witnessed God move on your behalf? Do you remember the excitement and hope it gave you? To not only know in your mind that God "IS," but to know it in your very heart. There is nothing like it, absolutely nothing can compare to the awakening of the eyes of our heart.

But then, do you also know what it is to come out of something with great power and then be led into an isolated, dry, even dirty place? The days are all the same, it's hot, tempers flare and unbelief slithers.

While Moses went up a mountain to meet with the Lord, the people were left to themselves. The signs that magically appeared on their behalf were no longer in front of them. All they could see was a dry, dusty, desert. Because they weren't familiar with the Lord, when He wasn't directly in front of them, they quickly forgot him.

Beautiful One, are we any different? Have pleas and prayers met with silence? Have your circumstances discouraged you? Do you feel like you are wandering? Nothing new, hope waning, fear winning?

You are not alone.

People from the beginning of time until the end of it, will all encounter the "Desert Dilemma." Every one of us will have to walk through this valley. It is a reality none of likes, maybe we don't agree but at some point, we will have to confront the dry, barren places within our souls. We will have to confront the unbelief that we have hid in our hearts and the charms of deceitfulness we wear on our person.

Beautiful One, when we encounter the "Desert Dilemma," let's remember what Israel forgot. It was the LORD God who delivered us from Egypt, not some trinket we have fashioned to suit us. It was God who brought us through. Not our jobs, titles, our looks, friends, or family. Drugs and alcohol won't deliver you, but God will. Having someone new won't bring you completion, your desert won't magically disappear with someone who is magically delicious ...

God is the only filler to any void we are suffering. Maybe He has taken longer than you'd like, hold on, bear down, wait it out, for surely He's coming!

Beautiful One, God knows our desert. He gets it. He even knows the things we don't, and yet, He beckons us daily to come up higher. Luck has nothing to do with it, leave the charms alone, they might sparkle and shine but in the end, all they can do is sit there and rot. Come to him, cry out to him, scream if you have to. He loves you and longs to help you. He is willing, He is able and He is the Lord your God!

Beautiful One, just believe, not in something that will magically disappear, but in the One who brought you up out of Egypt ... Shannon Heiden

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.


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