Friday, May 20, 2016

Jesus Lights Our Way

“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NAS)

Jesus Lights Our Way
Just at dusk one evening, I found myself sitting quietly outdoors on the patio. It didn’t seem like an ordinary evening…the already dingy gray skies were quickly filling with black clouds. Seemed ominous. My mind was filled with questions and my spirit was seeking assurance from the Lord about a major challenge in my life.

Gazing into the dark sky, I prayed for a sign that God was indeed with me and that the outcome of my challenge would bring Him glory. Suddenly the dazzling light from a single star burst through the black clouds. Tears of wonder and gratitude fell. The God of the universe had orchestrated nature to calm my anxious heart! His light pierced the darkness and entered my life, bringing peace and hope, and illuminating my path ahead.

Jesus’ proclamation in John 8:12 is a promise … we shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. That promise also has a condition…to follow Him. The first step is always ours and it is very clear in James 4:8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Draw near. Follow Jesus. He will illuminate your path, dispel the darkness surrounding you, and bring to you peace and hope as you step forward in the light of life! Karen Pourbabaee

Friday, May 13, 2016

Jesus the Refugee

Jesus the Refugee
In our tumultuous and chaotic world, there are more refugees than ever before. Very few would become a refugee by choice, but sometimes war and famine, persecution and poverty force their hand. In Australia, a large amount of money has been spent trying to protect our borders from those who want to come here uninvited. Hopefully, we can find a way to separate the opportunists from the genuine cases without losing our compassion. Refugees are people like us. They just want a safe and secure place to live – something we so easily take for granted.

Did you realize that Jesus spent much of the first five years of His life on earth as a refugee in Egypt. At the time of His birth, King Herod was a despot ruler, who was determined to crush any threats to his throne. When the wise men from the east turned up at his Jerusalem palace looking for a new born king, Herod became very troubled. Determined to nip this threat in the bud, Herod encouraged the wise men to go and find the child – under the guise that he too wanted to worship Him. After being warned in a dream, Joseph took the baby Jesus and His mother and escaped to Egypt. The family lived as refugees for a few years until news of Herod’s death meant it was safe to return. In Jesus, we have someone who knows first hand just how tough life can be. His words of hope, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, have the authority of someone who understands.

Give a thought for the refugees and other displaced people around the world; for those amongst us who’ve been displace by unemployment, sickness, abuse and life’s hard knocks – it’s not always their fault. Look for opportunities to lend a hand, spread some hope, and make a difference. Make room in your budget to support one of the many charities that are struggling to make a difference in these tough economic times. Mark Trodd

Friday, May 6, 2016

It's Not Over

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked. (John 11:32-34 NIV)

It's Not Over
Beautiful One, No matter what you are facing today, no matter what it looks like or how long you have struggled, know this; “IT’S NOT OVER!”

There are times in our lives that we will come face to face with pain. I’m talking about real pain, the kind of pain that you don’t ever think you will recover from, pain that grips your heart and confuses your mind, the kind of pain that makes you question everyone and everything, including yourself and God.

Pain comes in many forms; it doesn’t favor any one person, gender, race, or social group. The truth is; if there is air in your lungs and you are on this earth, you will be confronted by pain. Some of us have known more pain than others, some of us have more to overcome than others but in the end, does it really matter? Pain is pain and when it grips your very soul, it can be the most paralyzing, overwhelming, hopeless feeling one could experience.

I may not know your name, I may not know exactly what you’ve been through, but the Father told me to tell you—“It’s Not Over!”

You might be in the place where the odds are against you, the battle may have worn you out, the enemy might be doing a victory dance, but—“It’s Not Over!”

Beautiful One, the above verse gives us more than we realize about the heart of God and about pain.

The Bible says that when Mary reached the place where Jesus was she fell down and cried out “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Here is what she was really saying; “Lord, where were you, why didn’t you do anything, how come you let this happen?” Mary was immobilized by her pain and her disappointment was obvious; where was God when she needed him?

Have you ever asked God that question? Have you ever been in so much pain, hoping the Lord would show up and save the day only to be disappointed and the outcome you feared came upon you?

Beautiful One, no one likes to admit their doubt and disappointment with the Lord, no one, but in order to grasp the full measure of God, we need to be real for a moment, pain and confusing times do come as we walk with the Lord, they just do, for His ways are not our ways and every way to a mans heart seems right, but it is the purpose of the Lord that prevails.

The conflict is part of the plan, God is not upset that we question Him, God understands our struggles, and through the pain and tears, He always shows us things we knew not of and He always comes through, in the end, when we look back, we find, He was right there.

Pain blinds the eye and pierces the heart and if we are not honest with where we’re at, we will unknowingly view life through the lens of pain and it will effect what we believe God to be.

When Jesus saw Mary’s tears, when He heard her subtle disbelief and disappointment, He didn’t scold her, or walk away from her, He became deeply troubled in His own Spirit and He asked her “where have you laid him?”

What Christ was saying to her was; “ take me to the place you stopped believing in ME”, Christ told Mary then and is beckoning YOU now, " show ME the tomb you buried your hopes and dreams of something better in, take me to that place in your life that destroyed you and you silently gave up, take me to the place that you accepted as dead and allow me to breathe life into it again.”

Beautiful One, tough times never last BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO!

God sees your tears and hears your cry, when YOU hurt, HE hurts, HE weeps when YOU weep, but HE remembers what we tend to forget, and that is; the situation you are facing, the pain you are in will not end up for your destruction, BUT for the Glory of God.

Beautiful One, Mary was just like us, she was a believer, she loved the Lord but adversity and pain came knocking on her door and when she cried out for help and when it didn’t come the way she wanted it to, her pain magnified, she questioned everything she knew and she voiced it to her Lord, she was real, she didn’t hide and act like she was ok, she questioned God and God met her right where she was at, in her pain and HE did exceedingly, abundantly, more than she had asked, thought or imagined He would do.

At the end of her story—Christ came through!

And He will do the same for YOU …

Pain is hard, it hurts, it wounds us in ways we never imagined possible but in the end, God will work it together for our good and for His Glory.

Beautiful One Hold On, Just Believe because He is never early, He is never late, HE is always right on time ...

And ... It’s Not Over! Shannon Heiden

Friday, April 29, 2016

Jesus Cares

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

Jesus Cares
Are you facing circumstances that seem hopeless? Most Christians experience discouragement at some point in their lives. Maybe you have prayed night and day about a problem, and it has only gotten worse. Maybe years have passed, and your prayers are still unanswered. Maybe you are going through a difficult time, and you feel that no one understands or cares. Be assured that Jesus cares, and you’re not alone, for He is with you. When you come to the end of your strength, you’ll find God’s grace to strengthen and sustain you. Trust Jesus, and He will see you through. 

Now let me ask you to look back over your life for a moment. Think about the trials you’ve faced and how God brought you through them. Remember when you were sick, and God healed you. Remember when your bank account was low, and God supplied your needs. Remember when He comforted and sustained you through a time of loss. Throughout all your troubles, He has never left you nor will He ever leave you. Keep praying, keep trusting, and keep believing. You are His precious child, and He will never stop being faithful. Susan Ferguson

Heavenly Father, pour out Your strength on those who are discouraged or weary. Touch them with Your love and give them Your peace. Assure them of Your faithfulness that will continue throughout their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Is Your Soul a Well Watered Garden?

Is Your Soul a Well-Watered Garden?
Millions world-wide share in my efforts to create a luscious flowering garden, a place of beauty and serenity to while away the summer hours. The most important ingredient for a garden’s sustenance is water. Without it, the beauty of summer fades, leaving a sun-scorched land. Lifeless. Dry. Thirsty.

The theme of water flows through the pages of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation. There are actually 722 references to water in the Bible, making it an important theme. In the creation account of Genesis, water brought life to all the living creatures in the sea. Then and now, God provided water as a necessity for sustaining life. 

However, God did not merely generate water for the survival of our physical life, but also extended His tender care for our souls by sending Jesus, called the “fountain of living waters” in Jeremiah 2:13. God’s “living water” will nourish us through the driest times and weariest days. His provision of water is evidence of His grace and His eternal love for us. 

When we find ourselves in a dry, barren land and weariness has set in, let us pray like the psalmist David did in Psalm 63:2: “…for You my soul thirsts. Like a land parched, lifeless, and without water.” Whether we call out in abundance or in the deserts of life, Jesus, the living water, will deliver life to our souls and bring into being a beautiful well watered garden for all to enjoy. Karen Pourbabaee

Friday, April 15, 2016

Is Our Heartache in Vain?

A righteous man may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalms 34:19 NIV)

Is Our Heartache in Vain?
Can’t figure out why things have turned out the way they have? Searching for answers all around while racking your brain for some sort of understanding? Does this sound familiar? 

Just in case you don't know or may have forgotten nothing happens in this life by accident, chance or coincidence. We know this because everything that has taken and will take place from birth to death has already been spoken of by God (all things have been predestined according to the PLAN of God-Ephesians 1:11 NIV). So it's safe to say that your heartache didn't just fall into your lap because you're unlucky.

Heartache is wonderful and beautiful! Now I know that you're probably saying "WHAT" and how in the world can despair be viewed as wonderful much less beautiful? Well it can be! Living through heartache creates an increase in prosperity (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). Now do you see the beauty? I sure hope so. 

If your heart is hurting count it all joy (James 1:2 NIV) because your heartache isn't in vain. Shandha Woodard

Friday, April 8, 2016

Crossroads

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' (Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)

Crossroads
The crossroads of life, isn't it funny that we always seem to find ourselves standing at a crossroad? I suppose it could better be said; that we always find ourselves standing before choices. What choice do I make, will it work out for me, how do I know if it is God's will, what is the best way? How do I know when I am using wisdom or maybe how often do I even make a choice and not even inquire at all?

What I love about this scripture is that it tells us that at some point in our lives we will be standing before a crossroad; a choice. But it doesn't just say to stand there, the Holy Spirit is careful to tell us to stand and look. So often we are just standing, standing but stagnant, sometimes we are paralyzed, and other times we are just oblivious to where we are at. 

What I love in this verse is that it reminds us to pay attention; take personal inventory, look, be alert and sober, assess where we are at, then it tells us to ask where the good way is. Stand, look and ask, it sounds so simple but rarely ever is. 

It is so easy to stand but sway, to look but not see and to ask but not expect an answer. How many times have we come upon the crossroads of life and never even saw them as roads at all? Maybe we saw them as big dirthills and were blinded by fear, maybe we were distracted by the flood of defeat that runs right through it, maybe we see every obstacle as a stumbling block instead of seeing every stumbling block as a footstool to bring us closer than we were before.. Maybe were so accustomed to walking by sight that faith never has a say.

Overall I think it is all part of the growing process, how will we learn to stand if we never knew what it is to fall? how will we learn to walk if we didnt at first learn how to crawl? 

What I love about the Lord is that He knows that the crossroads will come, He knows how sometimes we will choose the wrong way, He knows that even every wrong path will ultimately lead to the right one. I felt the Spirit of the Lord whisper to me that when the way is good, it's good, but when the way is bad, it's still good. For all things work together for the good of those who are the called and chosen according to His purpose. 

Why do we feel we need to have lightning flash and a thunderous shout from heaven telling us what to do? Are we really trusting that 'many are the plans of a mans heart but the purpose of Lord is what really will remain?" Is the Lord truly ordering our steps, or are we? 

If the Lord instructs us to look and ask, can it really be as simple as asking and then walking? 

To trust doesn't mean we know everything, why should we trust in something if we already know what is? No,trusting is not knowing all the details, trusting is; standing in the what if's and still pressing on, trusting that if a heart is truly seeking Him, that even if we veer off to the right when we should've gone left that God is bigger than our miscalculation. 

I'm sensing that someone needs to know, it's ok, relax, He is in control, He has you covered, you do hear his voice and you will get to where you need to be, in fact you are already on your way, just trust, He really is ordering your steps and the 'NO'S" that you have been faced with are really God's YES, don't you realize that ordering and closing doors is more important than opening them? 

God only needs to open but one door at the right time, but until your appointed time comes, He has to close every other door in order to get you to the right one. 

Just hold on, your standing at the crossroads right now, look, then ask for the ancient path and go, walk in it and when your soul finds rest a.k.a- the peace of God, you will know that the road and the good way you've been looking for, you've been traveling on all along. Shannon Heiden

Friday, April 1, 2016

Forgiven and Restored

First published @ Heart of Conversation
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." (John 21:17 NIV)

Jesus and PeterWith so little time available at hand to do so many things, I am frequently left with not much time to engage in conversation with my friends and family members. This, I know, is not good or helpful in caring for others and in bringing others to Christ.

A heart to heart conversation is so important when it comes to expressing care, and although there are many ways of communicating across a message today, nothing beats a personal conversation with another. This is because a conversation face to face requires presence, and presence means taking time to communicate with each other. We may be able to get connected with someone via phone call, email, instant messaging or social network, but we cannot read the other person's state of mind unless we are engaged in conversation face to face.

In the Bible, we read about what the apostle Peter did after he denied Jesus three times. He was deeply grieved (Luke 22:56-62), and it was not long before he went back to his former trade as a fisherman (John 21:1). When Jesus appeared at the shore, however, Peter was quick to jump into the water and get to shore to meet Him (John 21:7). After the disciples had finished eating breakfast of bread and fish, Jesus conversed with Simon Peter (John 21:15-17 NIV).

"Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

The third time He said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"
He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

The conversation between Jesus and Peter shows the kind of heart to heart talk that engages one to become stirred up from within, leading to repentance, forgiveness and restoration. It is the kind of conversation we can engage in to lead others to Christ—a conversation for action. If we genuinely care for someone, we will want to spend time and engage in conversation with that person.

In bringing others to the Lord, therefore, let us find time to converse with others and tell them how we feel and what the Lord has done for us. It is through such witness, the sharing of thoughts and feelings, that people will know we are speaking from our hearts, not just telling them about Jesus in order to group them into the Christian faith. Like Simon Peter who responded to the Lord in confessing his love, let us also express the love we have for others by speaking from our hearts that they may desire to know more about Christ and His love. In similar ways, we can also nurture the young in faith—the lambs and sheep—by feeding and taking care of them, while at the same time restore the backslidden by redirecting them back to the right path.

Thank You, dear Lord, for showing us how we should engage in conversation to restore a soul. Grant us Lord the wisdom and sensitivity to the leading of Your Holy Spirit in knowing how we should converse with another. Forgive us Lord for the many times we fail to spend time with our friends and family to engage in heart to heart conversations. Create in us Lord the desire to care for Your sheep, the ones that have been saved and the ones that have yet to be saved. Renew us Lord in Your love, and restore to us the burning desire to be fishers of men, not just to group the unsaved into the fold, but also to feed the saved in helping them grow in spiritual maturity.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is Salt on your Easter Grocery List?

Is Salt on your Easter Grocery List?
The Easter bunnies, chicks and eggs have begun to multiply on the store shelves creating a pastel rainbow in the aisles and giving us hope that Spring is around the corner. And as you prepare your grocery list for Easter dinner, don’t forget the salt!

While I try to eat healthy and not have too much salt in my diet, I know my spiritual life should be filled with salt. And there’s no better time to remind myself to be filled with “salt” than at Easter time when we celebrate the triumphant victory that Jesus had over death when He raised to life after three days in the tomb just as He promised. Salt is an important mineral with lasting effects and is essential to good health in proper quantities. So as “salt”, Jesus wants me to make a difference in the world. Just like salt gives food flavor, I need to be the “salt of the earth” and let my good works and witness always direct people to Him.

So as you set the salt on your table for Easter dinner, may it remind you of your Christian life and your call to be “salt of the earth.” While I try not to add too much salt to my food, my prayer is that my spirit remains properly filled with “salt” so that my spiritual life is seasoned and pleasing to the Lord. As we celebrate this Easter season, let’s also celebrate the new life the Lord Jesus gave us when He became our Savior, and renew our dedicated efforts to make a difference and share the good news of Easter all year-around to those lives we touch. Nancy Quinn

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
Mark 9:50 “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
Luke 14:34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned.”
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Blessed Easter 2016

Have a Blessed Easter 2016!

Christ is Risen

and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

1 Corinthians 15:17 (NAS)


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