Friday, November 25, 2011

God's Rest

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4 KJV)

God's RestAre we ever weary of working hard, of disappointments, of struggling from day to day? If so, we need rest.

We look to SELF—we can't find it there. We look to FAMILY AND FRIENDS—they're in need of rest too. We look to the WORLD—they offer a temporary fix.

TRUE REST is found in GOD ALONE. Apart from Him, the soul is like the troubled sea driven to and fro.

Do we know that rest is important? Even the Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, set the example for us and rested from His works (Genesis 2:2-3).

If only we would set aside the day that God commanded us to rest physically, how our weary souls would be refreshed and renewed.

God did not promise a life without problems, but He did promise to give us rest through them.

And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." (Exodus 33:14).

  • Rest from burdens (Matthew 11:28)
  • Rest from fears (Matthew 10:31)
  • Rest from worry (Matthew 6:31-32)
  • Rest from enemies (Luke 10:19)
  • Rest from sickness (Matthew 8:17)
  • Rest from trouble (Psalm 46:1)
  • Rest from heartache (John 14:27)
  • Eternal rest (Revelation 21:4)

Believers, the promises of rest are ours. Do not think, because difficulties are before us, that the promises will fail. God is faithful to every promise. Let us, therefore, rely on His Word, submit to His will, trust in His perfect work and find rest for our weary souls in Him. Patricia Bankhead

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgving!
Happy Thanksgiving!
give thanks in all circumstances; for this
is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) ~

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blogging for God

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20 NAS)

BloggingWhen I first started a blog, it was not because I wanted to, but because I was assigned by my editor to write an article on blogging for an education magazine. Blogging was relatively new then—at least for the adults—and I was to interview several people to find out their thoughts on blogging.

Many of those I interviewed agreed that writing and publishing web pages had never been so easy before blogging took center stage. The task of web authoring which was previously only for the tech-savvy, today is no longer difficult even for a beginner.

"Just knowing the basics of using a mouse to navigate on a web page is all that is needed to use blogs," said a high school teacher. "The rest is a matter of trying things out."

A number of people gave their reason for blogging as wanting to make friends who share similar interests, while some said they blog to de-stress or fight for a cause.

"I blog because people can get to know me," said one. "I have met so many new people through blogging—nice people who have no ill intentions, do not pressure me into meeting them or go out with them. [They] … read my stuff and e-mail me words of encouragement, share with me their personal experiences, and offer me friendship with no strings attached."

Almost all who were interviewed agreed that as a medium, blogging is convenient and efficient in recording thoughts and feelings; a way to express one's joy and peace, share problems and issues, and participate in intellectual exchange.

"[Blogging] helps a lot if I feel burdened by something and need to offload it," said the high school teacher. "I find I work more efficiently after I’ve set myself back in focus and be on task."

What about negative aspects of blogging?

"Of course, we run the risk of facing ridicule and criticism from people posting their comments," said an ardent blogger. "But we can deal with it."

I agree with the interviewees. Like the high school teacher, I frequently offload my burdens writing on my blog. Many people get to know me and my innermost thoughts because I blog. My life is an open book, found within the pages of my devotional writings. Blogging is my way of serving God and His people, a medium of choice to reach out to the masses in the world. I am a missionary at heart without the travel. With my Christian blog linked to the social media communities like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, every blog entry I post gets to reach out to the masses and the targeted people for the Lord.

Of course, once in a while, I would receive some argumentative or negative comments at my blog. But by the grace of God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the wisdom of our Lord, those were dealt with without quarrel or hurtful feelings.

What about the rest of us? What do we do with our blogs? Do we turn them into avenues by which we serve God, His people, and the people who are yet unsaved? The Great Commission calls for us to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). What better way for us to reach the masses than by blogging and sharing our thoughts, testimonies, devotionals, and other Christian writings, to make disciples and win souls into the Kingdom of God?

Join therefore with others in following my example and be imitators of me. Observe the things you have learned, received, and heard from me or seen in me, and in those who serve the Lord. Practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (1 Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 3:17; 4:9).

Thank You, dear Lord, for giving us blogs to share our thoughts, testimonies, devotionals, and other Christian writings, to win souls for the Kingdom and make disciples of all the nations. Grant us wisdom Lord to know how to fully utilize online tools, such as blogs, to offload our burdens, and let people know us in ways that draw them to You.

Friday, November 11, 2011

God-incidences: The Lord is My Shepherd

Computer MouseToday was not a good day.

Have you ever tried to control a computer without a mouse? Not easy.

I took yet another deep breath, looked at the clock, and then out the window to see if the IT guy was here yet. After seeing an empty driveway, my eyes blurred into the blinds. My inner voice breathed, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."

Mmmm, yes, a comforting thought indeed. I had no idea why that verse came unbidden so strong and so loud in my thoughts, but my frenzied mind was able to connect it to my situation.

I had been thinking all day about last night's message: what we need before we can rebuild. One was to understand that God engineers our circumstances.

The Holy Spirit doesn't need my help to fix anything. My best move is to step back, be silent and listen, and absorb. Pastor C. spent a good bit of time emphasizing the "be silent and listen" part.

I've been a secretary since the days of DOS when a mouse was just an idea in some young geek's imagination, so I'm able to do most everything without one, and can work much faster without having to stop my fingers and move my hand from the keyboard. (I call myself the Keyboard Queen.) Still, I could NOT figure out how to get inside a Publisher text box.

Ok, so God engineered this circumstance. I had depleted my knowledge and ability bank, I had called for help; I had done all I could do. (God doesn't want us to be sluggards; He wants us to use the gifts and talents He gave us.) Now I need to get out of His way and let the circumstance unfold.

When I stepped back, and listened, I was able to recall the many things I could finish that didn't involved that particular task. The IT Guy showed up exactly when he was scheduled to, he found out what was wrong and fixed it. The phones were amazingly quiet the remaining 40 minutes, and I was able to complete most of my work.

This evening, after a long, much needed quiet time with God, I checked my email. My mini-devotion verse was this:

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." —Psalm 23:1 (NIV)

The prayer contains the following petition:

"Please help me hear your voice above the confusing distractions around me."


Godincidence. Catrina Bradley

Friday, November 4, 2011

Keywords for Life

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 23:13 NAS)

Searching KeywordsWhen we search for information on the Web, all we need to do is to enter the keywords in the search box of the search engine, and click the ‘Search’ button. That is simple enough, and if we have chosen the right keywords for the search, a list of related links would appear. If we have not chosen the right keywords, however, we would be returned with irrelevant or unrelated information.

Many business owners know the importance of keywords, how they can help search engines find their websites. This is why businesses, especially those relying on their websites to generate leads, are willing to spend time and resources on search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a technique that uses keywords research to find the words people use when searching for information on the Web, in order to make one’s own website rank high on search engines. Such a research can be time consuming, but if done correctly, it can bring in the desired traffic and customers to the site by simply adding the targeted keywords in the web pages.

Like keywords researching, many people today seek and search hard to find things to fulfill their lives and satisfy their souls. Sadly, however, many of them search for the wrong things and go to the wrong places to find what they think can appease their inner cravings and desires. Some search for ways to get themselves rich by gaining material things. Others seek for fulfillment in pleasure through eating, drinking, making merry (Ecclesiastes 8:15; Luke 12:19-20), and engaging in online activities that claim to offer self gratification.

All these pursuits are vanity and striving after wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14), for what good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul (Matthew 16:26)? All the things in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, are not from the Father, but from the world (1 John 2:16). Should we then waste our time storing up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19)?

Let us learn a few things from the way we use the search engine. We know we need to enter the right keywords to find what we want. Similarly, in searching for fulfillment and satisfaction, we need to enter through the right gate to find the road that leads to life (Matthew 7:13). If we receive irrelevant or unrelated information because we fail to enter the right keywords, we should also expect to receive bombardment in our lives that can lead to destruction if we do not enter the right way. Small and narrow is the way that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:14).

Like the SEO which seeks out the keywords people use to lead them to find the related links, God has also taken the lead in choosing us to follow Him (John 12:32; 15:16; Ephesians 1:4). All we need to do, therefore, is to seek Him—not other things—and we will find Him, when we search for Him with all our hearts (Jeremiah 23:13). Instead of letting our flesh set its desires against the Spirit, let us not do the things we please, for the flesh and the Spirit are in opposition to one another Galatians 5:16).

Forgive us dear Lord for sometimes seeking that which are not from the Father—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. We know in our hearts Lord that there is no fulfillment or satisfaction we can derive from earth. Only in You, O God, can we truly live meaningful lives and be satisfied. Draw us to You Lord, and lead us when we are searching for the right direction. Keep us focus on You so we may not fall prey to the temptations of this world. Renew and guide us, Holy Spirit, so that we will not carry out the desires of our flesh, but enter through the right gate and walk on the road that leads to life.