Friday, October 13, 2017

Living Room Light

Living Room Light
Aint love grand? That special someone comes into view and lights up the room. To others he or she may go unnoticed but you see a spotlight falling upon your beloved and breathlessly await the rapture of falling into loving arms. They not only briefly light up a room; your significant other lights up your life.

The Lord dispels darkness from spiritually blinded eyes and hearts draped in darkness of despair. “For you will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness (Psalm 18: 28 NKJ).” Lord, open my eyes; light up the living room. A dark cloud hovered over Job; he lamented over loss of light.

“Oh, that I were as in months past, As in the days when God watched over me; When His lamp shone upon my head, And when by His light I walked through darkness (Job 29:2-3 KJV).” Job endured through suffering and once more God lit a lamp and removed spiritual blindness. “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You (Job 42:5 NKJ).”

I hunger for the sight of my loving God. Will I mystically enlighten foreboding darkness through mind over matter or through positive thinking over negativity? No, God’s word envelops light. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light o my path (Psalm 119:105 NKJ).” God keeps his lamp burning and lights my path from here to his everlasting arms! —PamFord Davis

Friday, October 6, 2017

Living in the Valley

Living in the Valley
People say that life is all about climbing the mountain, or life is full of peaks and valleys. Well, in a sense it is. Trials and things we must work through or overcome; tests to teach us who we belong to and depend on. On a short side note, I believe that when God tests us, He is not trying us to see what we are made of-He already knows. I believe the trials come so we can see for ourselves what we are made of, to strengthen our faith and our resolve.

Most people seem to believe the mountain top is the achievement, and the valleys are low points in life, and they want to stay on the mountain top once they arrive. Have you seen the top of a mountain? With the ice, cold wind, and thin air, life is not sustainable. Sure, stay and enjoy the view for a while, but you must come back down to the valley to survive. The valley is where you grow and harvest what you need for the next trip up the mountain. I think that’s where all the hard work is … The grind of everyday life; the preparation for the trip.

Romans 5:3-5 “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Without suffering, there would be no need for the Comforter.

Climbing mountains are only temporary excursions in our life here. We must learn to live in the valleys. Mark Miller

Friday, September 29, 2017

Living in Exile

Living in Exile
Do we ever consider that today there are those who live in exile from the will and hope of God because they fail to see and understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You see as much as we might love this world we live in; scripture tells us that since Adam’s fall the whole world groans in anticipation of being set free once again. Just as each of us as Christians do (Romans 8:19-22 NLT). I look forward to that day every morning when I rise and every evening when I go to sleep. Yet as I wait along with you I have come to realize we live in exile from the place we long to be.

In 1 Peter 1: 1-2 we read a greeting that while addressed to certain cities and regions applies to each of us today. Peter states;

1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. 1 Peter 1:1-2 (NLT)

Today we are living in a world that sees what we believe as Christians as more and more foreign to what the world holds as truth. We are foreigners in a country and a world that once held many of the same beliefs and was founded on the same principles outlined in God’s Word. Yet today there is a movement to forget that and move away from it and establish a world based on man’s ethics and ideas. So when we as Christian believers hold fast to God’s word we find ourselves mocked and ignored often seen as ignorant and intolerant of others.

The same was true of those Peter wrote to; many were dispersed and came to live in these places but many more were converted and began to change the communities in which they lived. The truth is the church flourishes under persecution and the more the world tries to exile it from the public the more growth it sees in the lives of people.

I just want to challenge you today to hold fast and know that to walk in the light of God’s Word through a real relationship with Jesus Christ will bring you one day into the place God has created for you and me. The exile will be over and one day He will welcome us home. —Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 22, 2017

Living for Tomorrow

Living for Tomorrow
At one point in my life I was an alcoholic. I was surrounded by individuals who required drinking as part of the organization and if you did not drink you were quickly replaced because there was a lack of trust in you as an individual. It was so bad that one time, we got in trouble for alcohol related issues and fifteen people had to start AA. Yes I was one of the lucky ones who got to experience that. Now I have no fight with individuals who drink; I personally believe that a little wine or moonshine at the right times provides medicinal relief for certain ailments, Paul even instructs Timothy to take some for his stomach problems. The reason I shared that was this morning I was studying and as I was reading Proverb 31:4-7 (ESV) it is advice from King Lemuel’s mother and it reads,
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

You know throughout scripture; starting in the Old Testament with Daniel in Daniel 7 that we will rein and rule over all the earth. Again Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:2 and Jesus in Mathew 19:28 that one day we will rule alongside of Him. We will be judges and rulers over the entire world even judging the angels.

You might wonder what the point of this is. It’s not to bash someone who drinks but it’s to point out a simple fact that I have recently come to understand. If you desire certain things in your life you have to live and act like you really want it. Case in point I desire to serve as a chaplain and I need to lose weight to do that; but to be honest I need to lose weight, whether I ever get to serve as a chaplain or not. The bottom line is I must live the life I desire in preparation for the life that is yet to come. I hope that makes sense.

It’s not just about drinking or tobacco or any other point you might want to argue over that someone might call or consider a sin, but every area of our Christian walk. Do we want to see God move in our worship services? Than do we worship Him in our private time? Do we want to see Him answer our prayers and bring healing to the sick? Than do we pray without ceasing? Do we believe He can provide for our every need or do we work ourselves to death trying to provide for our wants?

I ask you today, are you drinking in the world trying to satisfy your flesh; thinking you have reached your greatest potential or are you willing to slow down and focus on God and follow after His leadership allowing Him to prepare you for the best that He has to offer?

Have a blessed day as you walk in the light of His Word. —Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 15, 2017

Living for the Cause of God

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Living for the Cause of God
Nothing in this world can change the plans that God has for us. Our life, best interest, and destiny are in His control. Our complete trust in this truth and full submission will yield blessings which are far beyond our imagination and human potential.

Our primary life purpose is not to just earn money and have a good life. It is not about worldly matters, trying to care for ourselves or create the perfect social image. The plans of God are great for us, He has assigned us the position of a co-heir with Christ and empowered us as ambassadors of the gospel. This life is about wholly trusting and serving the Lord while leading the lost to the eternal safety we have already found.  It is about giving Him praise and trusting Him for all our needs and wants. When we do the Lord’s will, we do not toil. His grace strengthens us to complete our mission. 

For those who trust and submit wholly to His plan, He faithfully clears the way throughout their journey, leading them to level ground. He uses them to be a blessing, to influence people with His word and to bring souls closer to Him. He establishes the work of their hands and freely gives them the wishes of their heart. He walks beside them scattering blessings and fulfilling their needs and wants by His grace.

Oh, what a wonderful Lord who promises to reward the heart’s desire of the faithful! Trust and faithfully obey to see His miracles happen in your life today. Deepika Emmanuel Sagar

Friday, September 8, 2017

Living Free Comes at a Cost

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV)

Living Free Comes at a Cost
Paul understood something that I think we often forget; he was not saved for his own benefit but to serve God. You see he was zealous for God before he met Jesus. When Jesus brought him to his knees he finally really understood what God had been preparing him for. All the years of training and serving in and around the temple learning all the scriptures, the zeal for God and the determination to serve him was all in preparation for the future.

That is us today as Christians. God has brought us to this place with our wide variety of experiences so that when people we meet have a need we are prepared to witness to them about the difference a life in Christ can make.

Paul never really forgot what he had been saved from or the purpose he had been given. He did learn though to reach the lost he would have to continue living and working among them. Yes he gathered with those who were saved and taught them but he never forgot those who were once just like him and needed to hear the good news.

Verse 21 makes a statement that we must apply; we are as born again believers no longer under the law of God but we are called to live under the law of Christ. Christ gave us two clear commandments that were to love God with all your heart and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. How many of us are able to say we can live under those two laws?

Paul lived a life loving people and he did it by becoming involved with them no matter what situation they were in. Can we as Christians today say that we love God and others enough to go were the needs are?

I pray you have a truly blessed day as you walk in the light of God’s Word. Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 1, 2017

Live From Your Calling

... I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians 4:1 NIV)

Live From Your Calling
Before Paul urged the Ephesians to live a life worthy of their calling he spent three chapters explaining "the calling" that God has placed on our lives:

Paul pointed out that through Christ:

  • we are saints (1:1);
  • we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (1:3);
  • we are chosen in Christ (1:4);
  • we were predestined to be adopted as God's son (1:5);
  • we have been redeemed and forgiven (1:7);
  • we are recipients of his lavish grace (1:8);
  • we have been made alive (2:5);
  • we have been raised up and seated with Christ (2:6);
  • we are God's workmanship (2:10);
  • we have direct access to God (2:18);
  • we are fellow citizens of God's family (2:19);
  • and we may approach God with boldness (3:12).

Paul knew it would be in response to knowing and believing all that Christ had done for them that the Ephesians would be able to live a life worthy of their calling.

The same is true for us today. It is only as we live by faith, believing what God says about us is true, that we are enabled to live effective Christian lives. Susan Barnes

Friday, August 25, 2017

Living by the Watch

Living by the Watch
Watch ... watch your weight, watch your calories, watch your temper, watch your back, watch your time. Hmm, it seems that we are very alert people. We do not allow anything to sneak up on us unawares. We diligently use caution and attempt to take control over all things at all times. A night watchman is in the midst of people living by the watch.

Christ commands me to watch. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good-man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 24:43-44 KJV)

Jesus will return; He is coming. I am compelled to take heed, watch and pray. “Take ye heed, watch and pray for ye know not when the time is." (Mark 13:33 KJV) Clock watching will be a waste of time; no man knows the day or hour of the Master’s arrival. The sign’s of His coming are many; I will watch the sky and anticipate meeting Him in the clouds! PamFord Davis

Friday, August 18, 2017

Living by Lamplight

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 NAS)

Living by Lamplight
Lamps in Jesus’ time were small bowl-like clay vessels using olive oil as fuel. A burning wick inserted into the oil illuminated a small room. Lamps allow one to see even in darkness and protect from lurking danger. Hebrew families left lamps burning through the night to ward off prowlers. In our modern age, homeowners light their home’s exterior and leave lamps on at night for the same reason … protection.

Psalm 119 teaches that God’s Word is our lamp, the source of all Truth. There you can find answers to every question, solutions to each dilemma. God’s Word used properly produces light, the light of Truth, to illuminate our path AND keep us safe on our journey. However, God’s lamp requires the oil of the Holy Spirit to produce the intended result. When we approach His Word, we must invoke the Holy Spirit to come and produce the needed light, for both the lamp and the oil work together to give us light.

Let us dust off our lamps and pour in the oil. 2 Peter 1:19 emphasizes the preeminence of the Word: “... we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” God’s lamp shines with Truth, brightens our path, and protects us along the way. It is a sure guide. Don’t live in fear, doubt, or ignorance. Walk in God’s light and gather faith, peace, and wisdom. You were created to live by lamplight. Karen Pourbabaee

Friday, August 11, 2017

Live In Love

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)

Live in Love
The New Testament reduces the laws of the Old Testament to one overriding rule: love. If you want to know what true love is, you only need to study God's behavior toward you. God is generous, forbearing, kind, faithful, supportive, nurturing, forgiving, and just. He is everything you want and need.

You exist in God and know God through your own acts of love in the world. He is in the face of everyone you reach out to, no matter from what station in life he or she might come. His love is in your gentle word to a friend in pain, in the simple work of making a home for your family, and in the kindness you show a stranger. When you live in love, you become more and more like God. Faith Daniels

God, fill my heart with love for you and for those whose lives I touch each day. Thank you for first loving me and showing me how to love others. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Live Like a Favored Child

"Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate." (Luke 15:22-23 NIV)

Live Like a Favored Child
The fact that Jesus would die so we could be forgiven is an astounding act of love on God's part, but sometimes we overlook the fact that God then places us in the position of being a favored son or daughter.

This is seen so clearly in the story of the prodigal son. The son would have been happy to have become one of his father's hired men (v. 19). This is reasonable, considering he had prematurely demanded his inheritance, and then wasted it living an unacceptable lifestyle. The son figured the best he could hope for was to gain employment with his father. But the father doesn't just forgive him, he restores him to the position of a favored son.

So often as Christians we act like God's hired men. We know that God has forgiven us, but now we seem to think we have to work in order to be acceptable to God.

The Bible tells us we are not God's hired workmen or women but rather we are his "dearly loved children" (Ephesians 5:1) not because of anything we have done, but simply because God chose to put us in that position.

So let's accept that the robe, the ring and the sandals are really for us, and live like God's favored children, celebrating his amazing grace. Susan Barnes

Friday, July 28, 2017

Living Proof

Living Proof
I was just standing at my sink washing dishes when the thought occurred to me that about 20 years ago, I had completely turned my back on God and was running as hard as I could the other direction. Had it not been for God's grace and my best friend's obedience to Him, I don't believe I would be alive today.

Not only am I living proof of God's patience, forgiveness, love, grace, mercy and redemption, but also of His bountiful blessings to those who love and trust Him. Ephesians 1:7 says, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
God's grace abounds. Look at this:

    "Main Entry: abound
    Definition: exist in abundance

    Synonyms: be alive with, be all over the place, be knee deep in, be no end to, be plentiful, be thick with, be up to one's ears in, crawl with, crowd, flourish, flow, have a full plate, infest, overflow, proliferate, swarm, swell, teem, thrive" (from Thesaurus.com).

We are alive with God's grace, knee deep and up to our ears in it, there is no end to it. It is plentiful and thick. It crowds and flourishes, flows and overflows. WOW!! How great is our Father's love for us!!

I said all of that to say this ... if you are running from God: STOP!! He will not stop pursuing you, so you might as well give up and surrender. He loves You so much and just wants the very best for you. Not only will he heal your mind, heart and soul, but He will bless you beyond measure.

If God is telling you to do something: OBEY! Someone's soul may depend on your obedience to Him!

You may not like what I have to say right now ... but I am being obedient to the One who loves me with an unconditional, everlasting love. He has given me the gift of salvation and blessed me with so many things that I cannot count them all. I can never do enough to repay the debt I owe Him, but I will serve and obey Him as long as I live on this earth. Then I will worship Him for eternity when I see Him face to face.

I pray this gets to the person it needs to get to, but even if it didn't, it reminded me of how blessed I am to have everything that I have right now!! Teresa Schultz

Friday, July 21, 2017

Living in God

He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him. (Luke 20:38 NAS)

Living in God
God was living before the “beginning”, lives today, and will live forever. He will still be living after the last grain of sand pours out of the hour glass of eternity. Jesus was with and within God throughout all yesterdays, is with and within Him today, and will be with and within Him for ever more. The Holy Spirit who is our daily guide has been alive and well through all ages, times, and seasons.

God in His various personas has always lived and never died. All of His creation has always existed in one form or another. You and I and all of mankind have been with God forever. When our time on earth ends, we will not die but simply continue living in God.

Abraham first became aware of our Creator: He realized that there is no other God beside the all powerful and loving One. Abraham still lives in God. Moses who spoke with God in the burning bush and atop Mt Sinai still lives in God. Jesus who died on the cross and rose on the third day still lives in God. You and I also live in God and will forever more. God is the God of the living, with death and resurrection being the proof. Arthur Hill

Father, live in us and help us to live in you. Amen.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Listening for the Bell

Listening for the Bell
Clock watching is futile and frustrating; I cannot rush time in my anticipation for an activity to end, or for one to begin. As a young child, and into my teens, I frequently turned my attention to huge clocks hanging on classroom walls. At the beginning of class, it seemed that I had such a long time before I would be allowed to leave. Yet, I remember most the regularity of craning my neck to watch the second hand move at a snail’s pace just before class dismissal. As if an athlete involved in stiff competition, I wanted the clock to run out. I listened for the bell.

“My time has almost run out. Very soon now, I will be on my way to heaven. I have fought long and hard for my Lord, and through it all I have kept true to him. And now the time has come for me to stop fighting and rest. In heaven a crown is waiting for me which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And not just to me, but to all those whose lives show that they are eagerly looking forward to his coming back again (2 Timothy 4:6b-8 Living Bible).” Class is dismissed!
PamFord Davis

Friday, July 7, 2017

Live Stress-free

Take my yoke upon you … For my yoke is easy. And my burden is light. (Mathew 11:29-30 NIV)

Live Stress Free
The instructions and responsibilities God gives you are not burdensome at all. 1 John 5:3 says His commandments are not grievous. He’ll never ask you to do something that’s beyond your ability. All He asks is that you trust in His Word and act your faith. That’s how simple the kingdom life is; you don’t have to toil.

Think about it: All the sins you ever committed were automatically blotted out by the blood of Christ! As numerous and terrible as they were, all you had to do was to confess with your mouth the Lordship of Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you became a new creation (Romans 10:9). You became righteous in an instant, and were translated into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Now, you have dominion over Satan and the cohorts of darkness; glory to God!

If it was that simple for you to receive salvation and have eternal life imparted to your spirit, then you have to agree that life in the kingdom is that way too. All you have to do is receive and appropriate for yourself all the wonderful blessings of salvation: wholeness, preservation, health, peace, deliverance, safety, security, victory, success, and prosperity! All these and more are included in the salvation package!

The Word "Lord" doesn’t only mean boss; it also means bread-provider, protector and caretaker. So when you declare that Jesus is Lord of your life, you’re saying His your bread-provider, Protector, Caretaker and the One who has responsibility over your life. It’s that easy. Don’t think it’s too simple to be true. Live without stress today and always. Godlove Njut Tabi

Precious Father, I thank you for your goodness and the opportunity you’ve given me to bask in your blessings and live the good life you’ve freely made available to me in Christ. I lay all burdens at your feet, and choose the stress-free life! Thank you for taking charge of my family, health, finances and all that concerns me; I live in absolute joy today, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Misinformed Decisions

So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them. (Joshua 9:14-15 NAS)

Wrong Decisions
Have you ever committed yourself to someone or something without seeking the blessing of God and then regret later, especially after finding out there is a catch to it? Regrettably, hidden agendas, deception and scams are common these days, and such are often accompanied by consequences you and I have to bear for the decisions we make, sometimes for the rest of our lives.

When the Gibeonites deceived Joshua and the men of Israel into making a covenant with them, it was without the counsel of the Lord before Joshua entered into agreement with them. The consequence of that agreement was a burden Israel had to carry for a very long time. Years later, when King Saul breached the agreement and had some of the Gibeonites killed, the consequence Israel had to suffer was a famine for three years before King David found out the cause from the Lord. An atonement was then made by David with the Gibeonites to hand over seven children of Saul to be hanged (Exodus 34:12; Joshua 9:14-20; 2 Samuel 21:1-14 NAS).

Despite the consequence for an unwise decision made without seeking the counsel of God, the Scriptures did not record in any place that God was displeased with Joshua or the leaders of Israel for the mistake. It was recorded, however, that Israel suffered when the covenant was breached.

As followers of the Lord, it is always good when making ‘big’ decisions, not to rush into it, even if we are hard-pressed for time. Where a contractual agreement is required, we need to be very careful to read and understand the terms, lest it becomes a snare. Right from the start of any planning to close a deal or to commence a project, let us have the Lord in mind to seek His counsel, leading and guidance. Even if we fail to make the right decision, rest assured God still loves us. He is not out to punish us. Be prepared, nevertheless, to fulfill our end of the agreement. Edmond Ng

Place in our heart, dear Lord, to always remember You in our planning and making decisions. Lead and guide us in all we do. Prompt us and give us a nudge way before we make any unwise decision so that Your child need not have to bear the scars and suffer the rippling effects of grave consequence.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Little Things in Life

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:2-4 NIV)

Little Things in Life
Reading the reports of the unusual weather in Iraq, I was reminded of a similar experience when I was growing up in Galveston, Texas. You may remember that it snowed in Iraq for the first time in most people's recent memory, going back even as far as eight decades! Without turning our attention to any possible prophetic analysis, I wanted to look at the “little things of life.”

When I was in elementary school, perhaps the third of fourth grade (way too much time has passed to be sure), while sitting in class and looking outside on a cold January day, it began to snow. For those of you who live in the colder climates, that wouldn't seem so unusual. However, for Galveston that was a jaw-dropper! Class was immediately dismissed so that we could go outside and experience the “snowstorm.” Of course it didn't last long, but it was quite an experience.

Today, living in a climate where it does snow a few times each year, I must admit I only think about how bad the roads will be and the difficulty of getting to and from work. In fact, I find that is true with many of the little things of life that are so easy to take for granted. A beautiful sunset. A child's smile. A delicious meal. A restful night's sleep. An encouraging word. All of these and more are such wonderful gifts. Our jobs, relationships, birth, sickness and death, these get our attention. That's not surprising. These are the things that affect us on a deep level. They can often be life threatening or life changing. However, it's how we handle the little things in life that help us deal with the big things.

You can find lots of inspiration and guidance from the "little things" that make up your life. And, they add up. Try to live life aware of your moments. Be involved in the little things and watch your life change. Don Emmitte

Friday, June 16, 2017

Singing Over Me

On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, ‘Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. (Zephaniah 3:16-17 NLT)

Singing Over Me
Just reread these two verses one more time. It is a wonderful picture from God’s word of His great love for us. There is also an incredible promise found in these words.

What is God saying to us? Cheer up, don’t be afraid! Why should we ‘cheer up ... don’t be afraid’; because our Lord has arrived and is living not only among us but with in us! When we really understand that God Himself lives within us we don’t need to be afraid or dismayed. All powerful, all knowing God, the Creator of everything has chosen to make His home with you; that is an awesome reality when we really consider it!

I love the promise in this section “with his love, he will calm all your fears.” I often amaze myself at how afraid I can allow myself to get; but when I ponder those nine words I am blown away. It’s really simple, yet somehow the fact that God’s love calms my fears seems to escape me at just the wrong time. Yet His love is perfect, complete, steady, and huge enough to relax me and take away all my anxieties and fears. There isn’t any reason for me to ever allow fear to consume me as long as I remember God’s love!

The next part of this section is mind boggling. I have such a low opinion of who I am; but here I am told that my Savior actually SINGS over me. I am certainly not a gifted singer, but I love singing; I especially enjoying singing when I feel happy. The fact that God sings about me, because of me, just leaves me amazed.

Oh to comprehend God’s great love for us. To get that revelation knowledge of His thoughts towards His children brings with it an incredible power and change in the heart of His people.

He LOVES you! His love isn’t because of who you are, who you know, how rich you are; His love isn’t based on how good you have been. He loves you because He created you, because Jesus died for you, He loves you because He is love.  Tracy Finney

Friday, June 9, 2017

Light the Fire

Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (1 Kings 18:38 KJV)

Light the Fire
I have heard the CEO of a media consulting company use the example of Mohammed Bouazizi as an example in allegory of what it takes to get noticed on social media. Not that this sad and tragic death of a young man in the small north African country of Tunisia was done for the sake of social media publicity, but that it is events like this that spark hugely massive interest and attention. Other famous tweets include hard fought reelection results, celebrity deaths, and challenges from pop stars. It is amazing the things that we are either willing to set on fire or describe as recently ignited in order to garner mass attention.

This greatly interests me as this speaks volumes of rich understanding in the heart of Elijah when you pause and consider exactly what was involved in the challenge that he openly offered to the priests of Baal. It is the miracle that I personally like to refer to as not the day that God turned water into wine, but when He turned water into kerosene. Granted, this is probably not strictly accurate nor is it relevant in the sense that even kerosene still needs a spark to ignite. The real miracle here is that no matter how urgent the need to visibly demonstrate the specific presence of a hearing, seeing, and living God; Elijah lays everything at God’s feet and waits for His answer. We know this not only by the fact that Elijah did not light the sacrifice, but made it the sole condition of the entire demonstration. Furthermore, he did everything he could to illustrate that his sacrifice was not worth being lit.

Similar to the peace that Noah had in knowing that it was God’s hand that closed the door on the ark and not his (see Genesis 7:16). A knowledge that whoever was left out and whatever last minute animal may be missing, that God was able to make that judgment call. So, Elijah thoroughly understood that although he had a great task to work through in getting the scene set, it would be God who has to reach down and take the actions that He wills. There was no attempt to take credit for what God did, and there was no attempt to generate a man made demonstration that had an appearance of God’s power. Elijah did the work required of him in gathering a situation together that would allow God’s name to be glorified, allow people the opportunity to make a very necessary individual choice, and show himself to be the least worthy of any possible ensuing glory.

As Elijah’s knee bowed to ask God to make Himself known, he effectively illustrated the most powerful tweet that can ever be sent in God’s kingdom. He let God light the fire and never even managed to construct something flammable in the process. The greatest fire that we can ever light is to say in complete surrender within our own hearts, Lord let thy will be done in such a way that others may know you! Jeff Beneze

Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. (1 Kings 18:37 KJV)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane
It was 8:05 p.m. Memorial Day evening. I was on the freeway with two of my five kids – the oldest and the youngest. The oldest was listening to his iPod. The youngest was indignantly watching cars go by her window, announcing with much emotion, “Speeder. Speeeeder. Definitely a speeder! Mom, do motorcycles have to go the speed limit too, or do they get a free pass?”

I laughed. “No free passes. Motorcycles have to obey the speed limit too.”

“Double speeder!? Pause. “Mom?”

“Yeah, Honey?”

“Why is everyone in such a hurry? Can’t they just slow down? Where are they all going in such a rush? And where are the police?”

Good questions. Where are we all going in such a hurry? Why do we feel the need to rush from one thing to the next without regard for the speed limit, our health, our safety, or our lives? Living at such a frantic pace, we fail to live in the moment. We miss the laughter, beauty and joy in our midst, trading them for stress and frustration, anxiety and anger. We forge ahead consumed with the destination, completely missing the journey. In a sense, we’re taking God’s precious gift of time and life and telling Him it isn’t what we want, that we don’t have the time. Ouch.

A few weeks ago, I was on the back of a Harley riding through Alaska. The mountains rose 50 feet from one side of the road, and the ocean inlet fell away 100 feet from the other. An eagle soared overhead. Snow capped the peaks and descended into valleys. Glacial ice fields chilled the air. Ice bergs floated in the bay. As we rode through this wild, untamed country, I felt closer to God than I had in months, and Megan’s questions resurfaced in my mind. Why are we in such a hurry? Where are we going in such a rush, and why do we think it’s OK to break the law to get there faster? Why do we wait and hope and plan for tomorrow or next week or next year to slow down and enjoy our lives? Life isn’t awaiting us at a destination, it’s happening right here, right now, and we’re missing it.

“Lord,” I prayed, “I’m in Alaska, on the back of a Harley, behind the man I love most in this world, and I don’t want to miss a single minute. Teach me to slow down and experience the immensity of who You are. Teach me to be fully present in every moment; to savor this precious, priceless gift of time and life you’ve given me. Teach me to laugh easily, love abundantly, and to be content no matter where I am, for I’m beginning to understand that the only way to taste and see just how good You are is to slow down and experience life as You created it to be: Life lived abundantly, richly, deeply in the slow lane, where we find purpose and meaning and joy in every moment along the way.” Cindee Snider Re

Friday, May 26, 2017

Life and Death Promises that are True

Death and life are in the power of the tongue … (Proverbs 18:21 NKJ)

Life and Death Promises that are True
The words we speak are very powerful. They can effect our environment, they can alter our surroundings.

In Genesis we are told we are made in God’s image. How did God create? “In the beginning God said …” Everything we came into existence because of God’s word. He spoke creation into being. Just like God had the power to speak the whole of creation into existence, likewise He created us in His image and with that has come a “power” in our words.

This verse from Proverbs tells us we have the power of life and death in our words. We can choose to speak uplifting, edifying, life-giving words to those in our lives. Or we can tear down and beat others in with what we speak.

I have experienced both realities in my own life. Many times, when I’ve been anxious or stressed, I have resorted to speaking words of death my family. “Hurry up, get that math problem done. Are you stupid?” All these words I have spoken in my selfish flesh nature have effected those receiving them; not only that but they have effected me too. I hate every time I speak something to bring sadness or sorrow to not only someone I love, but anyone.

On the other hand, I have witnessed the difference when I speak words of life into those around me. “Wow, you’ve done a great job!” or “Let me see if I can help you with that problem.” These kind words causes the recipients face to light up. They produce a feeling in their heart of love and acceptance. They also make me feel really good inside knowing I am not wearing down someone’s emotions, but rather sowing seeds of peace, love, and joy! I have also seen how just a few simple kind words to strangers makes their day!

Today, remember you have the power of life and death in the words you choose to speak. Marriages, relationships, and working environments can and have been changed by simply changing the words we say to those around us. Today, let’s choose to speak the words that God would have us say, let’s choose to build up others! Let’s speak words of life!

Meditate on the things of God! Tracy Finney

Friday, May 19, 2017

Letting Love In

Letting Love In
“You’ve got to let people love you!” I had seen the young man at work before but I didn’t know him, and I didn’t think he knew me. Yet his words, spoken with such tenderness, slipped past my pride and my anger. But what did they mean? As a teenager I thought I had correctly concluded that people didn’t care about anyone but themselves, and I was purposely living an isolated existence. But was it possible that I was actually the source of my problem, not other people?

Looking back, I believe God sent that message to me, through a stranger, to unlock the door of the internal prison I had built. Those words broke me down, just enough to set me free. And even though I still walk back into that cell from time to time, due to a poor attitude or poor choices, God is always there to gently guide me out again.

How is it we forget that we are loved and sometimes choose to isolate ourselves, or do other self-destructive behaviors? Don’t we think we’re worthy of love? Isn’t that why Jesus died on the cross? Michael Mann
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Friday, May 12, 2017

Listening

Listening
I went to bed worrying about something on the news last night and a lack of information. I awoke to hear the worst news about what I had feared when I went to bed. Two people who had influenced the lives of my family are no longer with us today and many questions are yet to be answered. I ask you be in prayer for this situation and to lift it and the family up in prayer.

I have been asked how do people without faith handle certain situations like the loss of a loved one and to be honest I have no answer to that question. But I do know that how we as Christians respond makes a difference in the people we minister to during these times. The directions we receive from scripture are found in the book of James.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20 NIV)

To me it is pretty straight forward God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason so we could listen more and talk less. That is the advice we are given as Christians who are coming along the side non-believers and believers in a time of loss of loved ones or any other struggle they might be facing in life.

As Christians our best response is not to quote scripture or tell them it is all right but to sit quietly doing whatever is asked of us. From my own experience you will not remember what people say unless you are offended by it or it is totally stupid. But you will remember those people who were by your side through it all. Not judging you or the situation but providing to you the love, grace and mercy of God as it has been measured out to them from Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

I challenge you today to live your life listening first. You might be surprised what you hear that makes your response different than it would have been originally. Have a Blessed day as you walk in the light of the God’s Word. Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, May 5, 2017

Let's Hang On

Let's Hang On
I need encouragement; we all do. It’s easy to become discouraged when fighting daily routine battles or facing new challenges. The stress or monotony of a job can wear us down, and opposition from within or outside our comfort zone leads to burnout.

I find it much easier to start some chores than to finish. I grumble in my spirit like a selfish child on a long road trip. Am I there yet? I’m tempted to quit or at least walk away until a more convenient time.

Gospel writers recognized our need to hear words of encouragement. “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith (Galatians 6:9-10 HCS).” Hang in there! PamFord Davis

Friday, April 28, 2017

Let My Heart Be Broken

Let My Heart Be Broken
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God,” wrote Mother Teresa in the flyleaf of her Bible. Her words have challenged me for years.

When I first read them, I thought of world hunger, corrupt governments, AIDS orphans, terrorism, and disease, but my view has broadened to include my neighbors who have recently experienced divorce, my mother-in-law’s loneliness, the frustration of a friend struggling with her wayward child, the weariness of a mom who patiently, tenderly cares for her special needs child, the hopelessness of another caught in addiction.

Sometimes I feel helpless in the midst of all this brokenness.

Saturday afternoon, I received a call from a neighbor disabled by Parkinson’s Disease. She’d recently had a mastectomy, and called to tell me her husband, her primary caregiver, had just had surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor. My heart broke. I offered meals and scheduled a work day to help keep up with their yard. It’s a short term solution. They need so much more help than we can give.

That evening, a friend called, pouring out her heart over a loved one’s struggle with addiction. “How do you help someone who doesn’t want help?” my friend sobbed. I don’t know. I only know that God is bigger than brain tumors and breast cancer and Parkinson’s, bigger than addiction and AIDs, bigger than our limited ability to help, and any solutions we can offer.

We want so often in our fast-food, drive-thru, easy-answer, instant-gratification culture to diagnose a problem and find an immediate solution. Sometimes, however, there are no easy answers, no quick solutions.

As I sat across the table from a friend recently, I thought, “She’s so strong. She tries to find the humor in what she’s going through, but her eyes speak what her words don’t.” It reminded me of the last lines of a poem I wrote in college entitled, Veiled Expressions: “Vermeer captures only what he sees,/And then her soul/Bleeds through to stain/Her likeness on his canvas.” My friend’s soul bled through her strong fa├žade, and broke my heart.

Perhaps it isn’t always what we can do, but how much we can love. Perhaps it’s more about walking with others through the pain than finding a solution for the pain. Perhaps it’s just our presence that soothes some of their brokenness. Perhaps that’s what keeps us from building another Tower of Babel. If we could solve all the problems, we wouldn’t need God. We would be God. Cindee Snider Re

Father, keep us humble and mindful of who we are. Remind us that we don’t need to have all the answers, for You do. There is nothing we experience that You do not know completely. There is nothing that is out of Your control. Teach us to accept our finite limitations, and to rely on You, and You alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Let's Get Away From It All

Let's Get Away From It All
Do you ever have the desire to be totally spontaneous? Grab the keys and cry out, let’s get away from it all! A change of scenery might be just what the doctor ordered. Statistics show that people who take vacations regularly live longer. The abbreviated R&R for those on active military duty is seen as crucial. Rest and relaxation recharges our batteries and renews our strength.

It is not a new concept. Jesus, the Son of Man often found strength in solitude, yet He never felt alone. He met his Father in prayer. He shared the importance of those times with his apostles. “After the apostles returned to Jesus, they told him everything they had done and taught. But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest. They left in a boat for a place where they could be alone (Mark 6:30-32 CEV).” Don’t feel guilty to leave your work behind. You will do your best following some rest! PamFord Davis

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Blessed Easter 2017

Have a Blessed Easter!

Blessed Easter 2017

And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; 
you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, 
who has been crucified. He has risen; 
He is not here; behold, here is the 
place where they laid Him.

~ Mark 16:6 (NAS) ~

Friday, April 14, 2017

What Happened at the Cross


Copyright © 2014 New Creation Church, Singapore

What Happened at the Cross

Watch the video.

The Unexpected Cross

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26 NABRE)

The Unexpected Cross
Our Lord had just been crowned amidst the chaos of political fears. The cacophony of voices added to the intensity of the time. Emotions were high. Our Lord’s heart was downcast, blood riveting down his face. Could He bear another moment of this agony? Out of the corner of His eye came help, in human form at that. Simon of Cyrene came face-to-face with an unexpected cross. He looked upon this weakened body, struggling to stand. Quivering hands reached toward him. In those eyes he saw Love. And as he hoisted the cross beams on his shoulders, it was Love he followed. Christ was before him as he walked the Way of the Cross.

Simon became the only human to literally carry the cross of Jesus. Angels were near, but a man was chosen. That day, Simon became our model, the personification of our Christian walk. Carrying the cross became the mark of an authentic follower of Christ. Jesus previously told potential followers in Mark 8:34, "Whoever wishes to come after Me, must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me."

Watch for Jesus in the crowds, in the chaos of life. Don’t be surprised by the arrival of the cross. It’s accompanied by the glow of Love within His eyes. Receive it. Endure it. Become a model for our time, an authentic follower of Christ, walking behind Jesus along our way. Karen Pourbabaee

Lord, help me to take up my cross and follow You. Amen.

Good Friday 2017

Remember Good Friday ...


Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, 
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 

Romans 5:1 (NAS)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Let's Fix Our Eyes on Jesus

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:2a NIV)

Let's Fix Our Eyes on Jesus
When I was in the work force I dealt with many customer inquiries over the phone. Often when I had finished dealing with the inquiry I would struggle to remember what I was doing before the interruption.

This also happened when I became a mother. In the middle of doing the cleaning, a child would need my attention. When I had dealt with the child I would look around the house asking myself, "Now, where was I up to?"

A similar thing happens in the Christian life. We commit ourselves to read a particular daily devotional or to pray through a prayer calendar or to a more disciplined Christian lifestyle. Then something interrupts us. We get behind in our daily devotions or we're unable to remember who we were praying for or just plain forget where we're up to. We seem unable to catch up or to return to it with the same vigor and often feel a sense of guilt.

What are we to do? We cannot plan for the interruptions, but we can remember "to fix our eyes on Jesus." Sometimes in my life God has allowed interruptions to make me realize that my commitment to him is more important than a commitment to a particular Christian discipline — no matter how beneficial that discipline might be. By fixing our attention on Jesus, interruptions will still come, but we don't need to feel guilty about getting behind because we know he is Lord, even Lord of interruptions. Susan Barnes

Friday, March 31, 2017

Let's Get Hitched

Let's Get Hitched
We wait so long for spring; it finally arrives and before we can embrace it, summer is testing its wings. Children will be tossing aside books and spending carefree hours at the closest pool, lake or beach. June will once again prove to be a favorite month for brides. Committed couples will be exchanging vows with looks of love. Rice is sure to fall into bridesmaids’ coiffures, as tears fill mother’s eyes.

Did it begin on a cold winter night with an awkward proposal? Let’s get hitched! The words may not be queens English, but the thought is accurate. God, in His sovereignty yokes, joins them together as husband and wife. They officially tie the knot! Will it hold?

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV)

Stars get in our eyes and not only cloud our vision, but also judgment. Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit urged Christians to have our strongest bonds within the body of Christ. The hitching post is the cross of Calvary. PamFord Davis

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