The Vine and the Branches…How to Survive the Day…

John 15:5-8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
The Vine and the Branches…How to Survive the Day….

A question for you this morning. Do you see yourself as requiring nourishment to survive the day? And typically the days are evil or offer the opportunity to be so. Of course our mind immediately moves to food when you here such a question. But, did you know there are more than one vital piece of nourishment needed to sustain us throughout our day in our world? The body and nourishment is easy and natural for us to focus on. I eat and hopefully it is some foods that are nourishing as well as good tasting. Then there is the other vital nourishment, the spiritual side of us. Scripture gives us the picture of ‘born again’ believers being the branches requiring nourishment from the vine (God) to survive and more importantly to please God with our lives. We choose daily which level of physical and spiritual nourishment will support us throughout the day. Which level did you start with this morning? Did you have a spiritual breakfast before going into the world?
Broad rivers and streams produce fertility, and abundance in the land. Places near broad rivers are remarkable for the variety of their plants and their plentiful harvests. God is all this to his Church. Having God she has abundance. What can she ask for that he will not give her? What want can she mention which he will not supply? “In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things.” Want ye the bread of life? It drops like manna from the sky. Want ye refreshing streams? The rock follows you, and that Rock is Christ. If you suffer any want it is your own fault; if you are straitened you are not straitened in him, but in your own bowels. Broad rivers and streams also point to commerce. Our glorious Lord is to us a place of heavenly merchandise. Through our Redeemer we have commerce with the past; the wealth of Calvary, the treasures of the covenant, the riches of the ancient days of election, the stores of eternity, all come to us down the broad stream of our gracious Lord. We have commerce, too, with the future. What galleys, laden to the water’s edge, come to us from the millennium! What visions we have of the days of heaven upon earth! Through our glorious Lord we have commerce with angels; communion with the bright spirits washed in blood, who sing before the throne; nay, better still, we have fellowship with the Infinite One. Broad rivers and streams are specially intended to set forth the idea of security. Rivers were of old a defense. Oh! beloved, what a defense is God to his Church! The devil cannot cross this broad river of God. How he wishes he could turn the current, but fear not, for God abides immutably the same. Satan may worry, but he cannot destroy us; no galley with oars shall invade our river, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.

(–C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Devotion for 11/24/09).

John 15:1-4 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

Are You a Veteran of the Real War…

Are You a Veteran of the real war….?

Eph 6:12,13a “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God…”

Our country went through declared and undeclared wars that many did not and still do not either agree with or understand. Wars such as WW1, WW2, Vietnam conflict, Korean conflict, Gulf war, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Some were never declared wars so they were fought without using all the means at our disposal to end them. None the less hundreds of thousands of military men and women blindly obeyed for the benefit of their country and many have lost their lives for our country.

These brave men and women fought the fight willingly taking it by faith that it was their duty and obligation. They did not read the constitution and then decide to enlist. Most blindly enlisted and for the most part did what were told to do. Men and women put their lives on the line and lost their lives.

Were you one of them who served? Did you fight a war without even understanding it? Think of it, people putting their lives on the line for something called country and duty. Why is it so easy to accept the demands of a nation while ignoring the offer of a Savior?

Some of it has to do with the cold war that is on for souls. The enemy has many blinded into believing his doctrines.  The battle cry of the rulers of darkness controlling this world is to get people to believe that church affiliation and their life style if good enough and will give them the opportunity to get to heaven. Then satan plants doubts like having us believe that hell is not real. Or he gets them believing in self and materialism as their purpose for the years we spend on this earth which becomes our religion.

2 Corinthians 4:3,4 “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

The good news is that the constitution that will never change, the Bible, holds the truth and is as relevant today as it was the day it was put on paper and is available to all. It alone gives us the answer to life and all the vital questions for how to live it and where our eternity will be.

James 4:14 “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

The good news and battle cry of Jesus is that heaven is for real. Our average life span on this earth is 75-80 years. How short that is compared to eternity. And the good news says that His soldiers will spend eternity with Him in heaven, our future home. Yes, most whom take up Jesus cause will suffer, and some will even die for their Savior.

2 Timothy 3:12-15 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus proclaims that He came to earth, lived the only sinless life ever lived because He was and is God, died for our sins, was buried and rose the third day. Today, Jesus sits at the right hand of the throne of God and makes intercession for sinners such as those of us who will accept His sacrifice for our sins and deny our ability to attain it through any other means. He is our Supreme Commander. No church, no person, no saint can do that for us.

We must simply believe and blindly obey like good soldiers. It’s called faith. Is it really easier to trust a military recruiter than Jesus?  Only a small minority, according to scripture, will trust in Jesus. How sad!

The Gospel is great news for the veteran and for everyone else. All can be a veteran of God’s war. Unfortunately most are not. The cold war for the souls of men, women and children continues today. As a believer, will you allow satan to win the war for souls because you are not willing to leave your comfort zone and tell someone about Jesus??????

Some day each of us will stand in front of our Supreme Commander, Jesus. Oh, to be a veteran of the real cold war and to hear; ‘well done, thy good and faithful servant’.

Rom 14:11-12 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God.  So, then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

And most importantly are you a member of God’s army???????????????????

It’s not to late to enlist!!!!

Here is how to enlist!

Jesus said; John 14:6 ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Father except through Me.’

 Romans 10:13 ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”

Pure truth from God’s word that no adversary can delete. The end of the battle has already been determined.  I’ve read the book, the Bible, and it says!

The Good news…

JESUS AND HIS ARMY WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CHRISTian Bumper Stickers and Signs…

James 1:5,6a “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God, Who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith…”

CHRISTian Bumper Stickers and Signs

Be Fishers of Men…. You fish, He catches & Cleans ’em.
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A clean conscience makes a soft pillow.
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A family altar can alter a family.
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A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.
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Are you wrinkled with burden? Come on into Church for a faith lift!
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Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
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Do your best and then sleep in peace. God is Awake.
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Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.
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Don’t wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.
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Exercise daily. Walk with the Lord!
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Fear knocked. Faith answered. No one was there
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For all you do, His blood’s for you!
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Forbidden fruits create many jams.
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Give God what’s right, not what’s left!
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Give Satan an inch and he’ll be a ruler.
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God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
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God doesn’t want shares of your life; He wants controlling interest!
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God grades on the cross, not the curve.
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God loves everyone, but probably prefers “fruits of the spirit” over “religious nuts”!
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God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
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Having truth decay? Brush up on your Bible!
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He who angers you controls you!
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He who is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
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He who kneels before God can stand before anyone!
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If God is your Co-pilot – Swap seats!
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In the sentence of life the Devil may be a comma, but
DO NOT let him be the PERIOD!
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Kindness is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
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Man’s way leads to a hopeless end! God’s way leads to an endless hope!
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Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.
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Never give the devil a ride! He will always want to drive!
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Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it.
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Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
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“Pray” is a four letter word that you can say anywhere except in a public school.
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Prayer -Don’t give God instructions – just report for duty!
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Read The Bible…It Will Scare The Hell Out Of You!
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The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.
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The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.
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This Church is “Prayer Conditioned”!
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To be almost saved is to be totally lost.
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Wal-Mart isn’t the only saving place!
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WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning!
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Watch your step carefully! Everyone else does!
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We don’t change the message, the message changes us.
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We set the sail; God makes the wind.
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We’re too blessed to be depressed.
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When God ordains, He sustains.
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Wisdom has two parts: 1) Having a lot to say. 2) Not saying it.
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Worry is the darkroom in which “negatives” are developed.
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You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Who is Jesus…

Who Is Jesus?

This one question will determine my Eternal Life depending on what I believe about Jesus and what was His mission while on this earth. While it is hard to believe there are many who do not recognize that Jesus is God and was God and man while on this earth. As with any question of this importance I believe there is only one place to find the answer. The answer does not reside with the teachings of men, but it resides with God’s truths as presented to us. Those truths are found in the Bible (2 Tim 3:16,17, 2 Peter 1:20,21) and are protected by God so that anyone seeking God’s truths will have them (Mat 5:18, Mal 3:36). So, let’s look at just a few of God’s truths about His Son, Jesus;

  • Did Jesus claim to be God and equal to God the Father?
  • John 10:30, John 17:11,21, John 14:7,9
  • What does God say; John 8:21-59, Isa 43:10,11
  • 1 Tim 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.”
  • Was Jesus just another great man or was and is He God Eternal.
  • Gen 1:26 says God created man “in Our image” so we see there is more than one Person making up One God.
  • Jesus said He was there as a Person of God during the first creation. (John 17:5, Col 1:15-17, John 1:10, 11, John 8:58, Phil 1:6)
  • The Bible proclaims that all are sinners and a Perfect Sacrifice with no blemishes is needed for forgiveness. Sin is that blemish and causes our broken relationship with God. No sinner and his or her deeds or church can be that Sacrifice. Was Jesus a sinner? Only God existing in man could avoid the temptations of this world to sin.
  • 2 Cor 5:21 Jesus, as God incarnate, was tempted as we are but did not sin. If He sinned, then He could not die for my sins as the Perfect Sacrifice needed for the forgiveness of sins.
  • Scripture alone gives us the answers to Eternal Life.
  • Romans 3:10-23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:13
  • Acts 4:12, 16:31
  • Titus 3:5
  • John 11:25, 14:6

With this topic being vital to not only your Eternal destiny but to those around you that you love, be sure to be cautious of the teachings of men (Col2:8). You do not need to be a theologian for God to give you His truths (Luke 18:17). Scripture alone offers us an answer. Look at all of scripture not just one disputed verse. I pray you will come to know the same Jesus as I know. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One!

1 John 5:9-13” If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.  He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

 

One other important item is ONLY GOD IS TO BE WORSHIPPED. When men would fall to worship an angel, the angel (Rev 19:10) told them not to do so because ONLY GOD IS TO BE WORSHIPPED. Notice in scripture Jesus readily accepts worship (Matt 4:10, 14:33, Heb 1:6 and others) because He is a part of God Who is 3 persons in one. A concept our minds cannot understand but if God says it then it must be correct and taken by faith (Heb11:6).

 

The most important question of all is; are you trusting in Jesus and Jesus alone for your eternal destiny?

  • John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
  • John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Discipline, Yes or No…

Discipline, Yes or No…

First it is very important to recognize that discipline is for both the children and adults. I grew up in an age that started the revolt against disciplining a child with the thought process that it would hinder their mental, emotional and creativity development. So, the big question would be is discipline a directive of God or one from mankind to maintain a level of control that an individual desires. And of course, if it ok, then what is the frame of mind needed so that it is simply not one of anger.

How do you react when you are disciplined by God? Or do we even recognize when God is disciplining us. Our world would teach us that disciple is wrong and even unlawful. Can that possibly be true. Most importantly remember who is the god, small g, that pushes logic that differs from our One True God (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”)

As with all topics in life the Bible holds the answer. The scriptures we have are as relevant today as they were when God first introduced them through Godly men and their life experiences (II Tim 3:16, 7& II Pet 1:20,21) a couple of thousand years ago. The scriptures hold absolute truths. The enemy would have you believe that the scriptures are history books and not life changing truths sent from God. Or that down through the ages some truths change. But fortunately for us God’s truths are never changing (Mat 5:18, Malachi 3:6) and are life changing if we allow them to be. Yes, I know there are many who do not believe in discipline, but God does. Listen to what He says about discipline for children and for adults;

 Heb 12:4-8 “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.’ It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom His father does not discipline.”

 Proverbs 15:10 “Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die.”

Proverbs 3:11 “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,”

 Proverbs 5:23 “For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.”

 Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

 Proverbs 22:15 “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.”

 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”

No discipline from God means you are not one of His sons or daughters…

Hebrews 12:9 “But if you are without discipline of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons”

The discipline of God can draw you to Him to be saved or if already saved it is a part of the spiritual maturing process, so we can grow spiritually and glorify His name.

Discipline while biblical must happen out of love and not out of anger.

Hebrews 12:6 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

If we will but allow it to teach us……

Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Directions for Living Your Life…

All of us need improvement in our lives. Check out the following to see which will piece of advice best meets your needs.

James 1:2,3 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is
like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself,

goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. “

Directions for Living Your Life…

  1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
    2. Memorize your favorite verse(s) of scripture.
    3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want. Check things out with scripture and run from those that do not line up with God’s word.
    4. When you say, “I love you”, mean it.
    5. When you say, “I’m sorry”, look the person in the eye and also mean it.
    6. Believe in Jesus and be a part of His work on this earth before He returns a 2nd time.
    7. Believe in love God’s way.
    8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams.
    9. Love deeply and passionately and do it unconditionally as God does.
    10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling. Not even fighting may be the best solution. Listen much more than talking.
    11. Don’t judge people by their relatives or your values. Or by what you perceive their motives to be. If scripture does clearly ID that it is wrong, maybe you are the one with the log in your eye.
    12. Talk slowly. Listen long…………..
    13. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and
    ask, “Why do you want to know?” or simply be silent. Lying is never ok.
    14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risks.
    15. Call your Mom (and your dad) today. Oh, don’t forget the Grandparents, now that I am one! And maybe twice a day for them, they need it!
    16. Remember as you look into the mirror that Jesus will always love you.
    17. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
    18. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.
    19. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
    20. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. And do not be afraid to say you were wrong.
    21. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
    22. Marry the one you love to talk to and is a friend. As you get older,
    the conversational skills will be as important as any other.
    23. Spend much time alone with God so He can direct your path and do it first thing in the morning.
    24. REMEMBER, God’s values do not change over time. His absolutes are for eternity. Only the wisdom of this world changes.
    25. Silence is frequently the best answer.
    26. Read more books and watch less TV. Especially read The Book that God has authored, the Bible.
    27. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll get to enjoy it a second time.
    28. Trust in God and lean not upon your own understanding.
    29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
    30. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past. Don’t go to bed angry.
    31. Don’t read between the lines it almost always is wrong.
    32. Share your faith. It’s a way to achieve immortality and help someone else to do the same.
    33. Be gentle with all.
    34. Pray from the heart and not with repetition. There’s immeasurable power in it.
    35. Never interrupt.
    36. Mind your own business.
    37. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
    38. If you make a lot of money, put it to use as God intends by helping
    others while you are on this earth. Make sure God gets the first fruits and not the last or leftovers.
    39. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes exactly the way God has planned it.
    40. Learn the rules, then keep them. The rules are written in the Book (Bible).
    41. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
    42. Judge your success by what you willingly gave up in order to get it.
    43. Remember that your character is how the world judges you.
    44. Remember that what you did with the knowledge of Jesus as your
    Savior is how God the Father will judge you. John 3:3, 14:6

Now how do you look in the mirror?

James 1:5,6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

The Most Beautiful Flower…

I Samuel 16:7b “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 The Most Beautiful Flower

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, “Look what I found!”

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn – not enough rain, or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose
And declared with overacted surprise,
It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful, too.

That’s why I picked it; here, it’s for you.”
The weed before me was dying or dead.

Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.

So, I reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need.”
but instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it mid-air without reason or plan.

It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was almost blind.
I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.

“You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he’d had on my day.
I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.

How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he’d been blessed with true sight.
Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.

And for all those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that’s mine.
And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose.

And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand,
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.
Fear God and keep His commandments, For this
is the whole duty of mankind. ”