Friday, December 28, 2018

New Heart, New Year

New Heart, New Year
We read in Ezekiel 36:25-27 of a wonderful promise that each of us can take and hold onto if we desire to see our lives changed and it starts by allowing God to change us from the inside out.

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27 (ESV)

I love this passage of scripture because it explains to me one thing that apart from God I will never really get where I am going. You see He was talking to Israeli about being redeemed from all of their failings and He has promised you and me the same things if we will submit to His will for our lives.

What we see here is that when we chose the path that leads to God he begins a work in us that cleans us up. Not that you or I have to have everything right before we come to him we just have to take the steps in the right direction and he will begin that work. That comes through the conviction of our sins and the repentance of our heart. It is God who strengthens us to put aside those things that are keeping us out of His will no matter what it might be. He has promised to cleanse us and bring us closer to Himself.

Then God shows Ezekiel that the problem is not that we are just unclean but our hearts are hard as stone and this keeps us from continuing on the path that he has set before us. We are unable to enjoy what he has given us because we are dry inside. There is a difference between the words rock and stone within scripture. We call Jesus the rock of our salvation this is something permanent that will with stand everything that comes against it. While a stone is something much smaller that is often used by man. Sometimes it was used to honor God when altars were built but most often you see it used to destroy men and women as they are stoned to death for sins against God. So for us to try to follow after God with something that is man-made will never work it requires we allow Him to give us a heart transplant. This is the only real way for us to grow closer to Him.

He has also promised us something else in these passages a source of power to stay the course. He has promised to provide you with a new Spirit and that Spirit will help us stay on the path that he has called us to. It will give you strength in times of weakness. It provides direction when we are lost. It strengthens us when the load gets heavy and He guides us in our interactions with others. This new heart and spirit that have been promised; you will receive as you walk with God on the path he has chosen for you in the New Year.

One last point and verse I want to share with you today. When we have accepted this New Heart and Spirit God has promised us something in verse 28;

28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:28 (ESV)

God has something prepared for us that is greater than anything we can imagine. It requires though that we start traveling in the right direction and that we submit to His will in our lives so that we will be blessed and be a blessing to others.

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Blessed Christmas 2018

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, 
glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (NAS)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Manger Bed

Manger Bed
Parents desire the very best for their newborn child, desiring to make them feel comfortable and secure. Babies are so small; they can sleep almost anywhere when they are newborns. A standard crib is nice, but not a necessity. Often they sleep in a cradle, bassinet or portable crib next to the parent’s bed. The baby gets the attention it needs for frequent feeding and diaper changes; and it is convenient for mom and dad.

Mary and Joseph wanted the best for Jesus; but circumstances prevented that from happening. If he arrived in their hometown Joseph could have constructed a beautiful cradle in his carpenter’s shop. Mary and her Mother might weave beautiful delicate coverings for a padded foundation. Such luxuries were not to be.

Mary gave birth in a stable and necessity led them to choose a manger for Jesus baby bed. A manger is a feeding trough for horses or cattle. It is not a piece of fine furniture; but it is probably constructed to last. I’m not sure if Mary found time to clean it out well and place clean hay inside, or if Joseph tenderly handled the preparation. She would have brought some essential clothing articles and coverings. The needs of the Son of God were met. He who feeds the souls of hungering worshipers lay securely in the place animals found nourishment. A manger held a King. PamFord Davis

Friday, December 14, 2018

Me and My Big Mouth

Me and My Big Mouth
Whatever we believe in our heart and possess with our mouth, will eventually become ours. We are the prophets of our own lives. This is called self-fulfilling prophecy. We can manifest something by believing that it is going to happen. There are two ways we believe something will happen. We believe true faith (What we want), and through fear (What we don’t want that we believe will happen).

If we say something long enough, it would eventually happen: Job 22:28 - “You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways”. Both Faith and fear can result in self fulfilling prophecy. Both make us focus on issues. We always invite into our lives, whatever we focus on. Our focus creates our desire. We always think about what we focus on.

Our focus usually becomes our thoughts, while our thoughts become what we talk about. What we talk about usually become our actions. When we repeat our actions a few times it usually becomes our habits, whether good or bad. Habits can be developed by repeating something daily, for 21 days.

Self-fulfilling prophecy can be good or bad, depending on what we are predicting. There is great power in what we say. Words can make or break a person, let us use our words to manifest what we want, and not what we don’t want: Proverbs 18:21 - “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Let us shape our life with words that will manifest into abundant living, and not words that would drag us down. Our mouth is connected to our heart, and whatever gets to our mouth, will eventually get to our heart. And whatever gets to our heart, will eventually come out of our mouth: Romans 10:8a - “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”

11 Points About Possessing Our Possession:

When we feel weak, we must confess strength. God is our strength, and he is never weak: Joel 3:10b - “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.

When we confess the word of God to our life struggles, we will become a stronger person. An example of such scriptures is: Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

When we are broke, we must remind ourselves, who our God is: Philippians 4:19 - “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

When we’re not well, we must keep confessing the good health His Word promise us: Isaiah 53:5 - “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

We must learn to re-condition ourselves, with positive words and reject the negative confessions: Isaiah 50:4 - “The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.”

We can use our mouth to create our victory: Mark 11:23 - “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”

We have the same divine nature as God. He created everything with his Word. We can call things into existence like him: Romans 4:17 - “who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;”

Our words are alive. We must use our mouth to give life to only what we want, and not what we don’t want: John 6:63b - “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

We must avoid negative talking, even in jest, we must learn to speak only words that build us up: Matthew 15:18 – “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

Just because other people don’t believe our dreams, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t come true. We must not quit, if what we are confessing take time to manifest. It will manifest: Proverbs 23:9 - “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

God uses the waiting time to strengthen us, so that we are not overwhelmed, when we receive what we are asking for: Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Henrietta Elegunde

Friday, December 7, 2018

Me First

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." (Matthew 20:20-21 NIV)

Me First
James and John’s mother asked Jesus if they might be given places of honor at his right and left. After the indignation and jealousy erupts among [the disciples], Jesus simply states the principle: To be great one must learn to serve others.

I recently read a wonderful little story that describes how many of us think in regard to this position of service. It seems a mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. "If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.'" Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"

It is easy for us to imagine someone else serving us isn’t it? However, the real test of discipleship is our willingness to serve others. Isn’t it strange how often we fail to recognize that this is the first step to greatness?

It is said that during the American Revolution a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. Their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, "Sir, I am a corporal!" The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers. The job done, he turned to the corporal and said, "Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again." It was none other than George Washington.

What kind of servant can you be today? Don Emmitte

Friday, November 30, 2018

Mandatory Transfer

Mandatory Transfer
Commuters may not be fortunate enough to find a direct trip to their place of employment. Ticket agents map out the best route and explain where they will need to make proper connections. Split second timing is observed; passengers transfer from one bus or fast rail train and clock in at the job right on time.

God has arranged for our mandatory transfer from one kingdom to another. “He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians1:13-14 NRS) He does not depend us to rescue ourselves and make the critical transfer. We simply accept his forgiveness and follow him to Jesus' kingdom! PamFord Davis

Friday, November 23, 2018

A Time for Reflection and Giving Thanks

A Time for Reflection and Giving Thanks
November, what a wonderful month! Fall is a time for us to stop and see God’s beauty in the world around us. It’s a time to be with family, to have fellowship with one another, a time to laugh and a time to make memories. It’s a time to stop and reflect on our blessings for the year and to give thanks to God for all He has given us. Even if our loved one isn’t with us we can still thank God for those memories we have and thank Him for the time spent with the one who meant so much to us. It is a time of reflection and a time for thanks.

As I reflect on the month of November lots of things come to mind; football games, lots of food, sharing, birthdays, and even death. As I take time to give thanks, I find my blessings are so bountiful. I sometimes feel like God has blessed me more than I deserve. I have health, a wonderful family, beautiful grandchildren, a home, a car, and the list goes on and on. I also thank the Lord everyday for my Church family. My church, as well as another church, has played an important part of my life and for that I am blessed.

In the dictionary thanks is described as “an expression of gratitude”. Gratitude is explained as “an appreciation for favors received”. The dictionary explains favor as “a kind act, a small gift or token”. We could go on and on, but to get to the point, being thankful means appreciating what people has done for you or given to you. Most of the time in church we are asked to stop and give “Thanks” for our blessings. One of the first responses always seems to be our family, our home, etc. Somewhere down the list we finally get around to mentioning God and what He has done, but for most people He is not on the top of the list.

Since November is a time of reflecting, I think we should stop and reflect on what God has done for us. If you are reading this then you are alive. We each should be thankful for the time we have here on earth. We are never promised tomorrow, so we should live life each day to its fullest and be thankful at the end of the day. If you are reading this then you are blessed with eyesight; even though it may not be what it was a year ago we should be thankful for the eyesight we do have.

Another favor we have received from God that we didn’t deserve, or ask for was the giving of God’s son, Jesus for our sins. God gave each of us a token of His love by sending His only Son to this earth to die for us. When He died on the cross we became new creatures, our sins were not only washed away, but God forgot about them. This Thanksgiving look around your table; look at your family and friends. If God asked you to sacrifice one of your family members just as He did could you do it? Which one of the family members would you be willing to give up?

As you ponder this remember one thing, the one you choose will not be a sacrifice for just your family, but for all of humankind. That includes prostitutes, murders, the guy at work who you don’t get along with, the people you don’t know, the thugs sitting in jail, or your next door neighbor. It will be a sacrifice for everyone. The sad part of it is even though you offer your relative for a sacrifice not everyone will accept the free gift. Now how does that make you feel? Even though God offered His Son as a sacrifice to wipe away every sin committed there are people who still don’t know Him or won’t accept Him.

There is not one of us that would be willing to make that sacrifice, but God did. He did it for you and me and everyone else.

This Thanksgiving as we are once again asked to stop and give “Thanks” let us thank God for His ultimate gift of life and His forgiveness of our sins. November is a time for reflection and thanks. Let each of us take a few minutes and reflect and give thanks to God “for His goodness” to us.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him”. John 3:16-17

Dear Lord, as we sit around the table looking at our family and friends we know in our hearts we can't sacrifice them. We aren't willing to let them die a death for people we don't know or for those who we don't think deserve life. Yet, God that is what You did. You sent Your only Son to die for each of us. Not only for us but for those who we don't know, those who we judge as not deserving Your love. You died to wash away the sins we have committed and those we will commit. You died so we might have life; live eternally. All You ask in return is our love and to love unconditionally those You have put in out midst. You ask us to forgive and be forgiven. You give so much to us, yet You ask for so little. We thank You for Your Son, our family and friends. We thank You for the blessings You pour out on us each day. We honor You with our lives and our love. We lift Your name in Praise and Thanksgiving for all You do for us. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Becky Brown

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Blessed Thanksgiving 2018

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 118:1 NAS)

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.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Majority Rules

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Making Known God's Manifold Wisdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Making Changes

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

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

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

And oh how crucial that He makes those changes.

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

We face critical heart issues.

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

We are in competent hands. PamFord Davis

Friday, August 17, 2018

Making Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Making a Difference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

Next Time

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

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

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

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

Come, Lord Jesus! Come! Katy Foster

Friday, July 27, 2018

Mail Order Bride

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

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

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

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

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