Bitterness and Jealousy will Destroy…

Heb 12:15 “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;

lest any root of bitterness, springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”

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Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man
was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help
drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only
window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked
for hours on end.  They spoke of their wives and families, their homes,
their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had
been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the
window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his
room-mate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where
his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color
of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model
boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of
the rainbow.  Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of
the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man
on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the
picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a
parade passing by.  Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he
could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed
it with descriptive words.

Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the
other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while
he himself never got to see anything? It didn’t seem fair.  At first
thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed
seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him
sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should
be by that window – that thought, and only that thought now controlled
his life.

Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window
began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man
watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped
for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never
moved never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse
running in.  In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped,
along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only
silence, deathly silence.

The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their
baths.  When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window,
she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be
moved next to the window.  The nurse was happy to make the switch, and
after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully,
he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside.
Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly
turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate
who had described such wonderful things outside this window.  The nurse
responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She
said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

The sins of jealousy and anger are deadly and left unconfessed they fester and destroy a person.

Psalm 137:7b, 8, 9 “…do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret; it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.”

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The Blessing in “No”…

Isa 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.”

 THE BLESSING IN “NO”

I asked God to take away my pride.
God said “No”.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said “No”.
Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said “No”.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn’t granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said “No”.
I give you blessings, happiness and contentment are up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said “No”.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said “No”.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said “No”.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said… Ahhhh, finally you have the idea!

___________________________________________________________

What if,
GOD couldn’t take the time to bless us today because we couldn’t take the
time to thank HIM yesterday?

What if,
GOD decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we didn’t follow HIM today?

What if,
We never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when GOD sent the rain?

What if,
GOD didn’t walk with us today because we failed to recognize it as His day?

What if,
GOD took away His message because we failed to listen to the messenger?

What if,
GOD didn’t send His only begotten Son because He wanted us to be
prepared to pay the price for sin?

What if,
The door of the church was closed because we did not open the door of our heart?

What if,
GOD stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others?

What if,
GOD would not hear us today because we would not listen to Him yesterday?

What if,
GOD answered our prayers the way we answer His call to service?

What if,
GOD met our needs the way we give Him our lives???

What if, we fail to understand the meaning of this message?
Philip. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Holy Alphabet…

James 1:2a “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials”

Notice it is not “if” but it is “when”. Why do you think that would be?

 ABC’s

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame

Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know

Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee

Move out of “Camp Complaining”
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone

Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To “thank” is a command

Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We’ll run the race with gratitude
Exalting God most high

Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but…
Zion waits in glory…where none are ever sad!

“I AM Too blessed to be stressed!”

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the
distance between your knees and the floor.

1 Thes. 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

James 1:2,3 “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various
trials; Knowing this, that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Does your Life have Purpose…

Matthew 4:19 “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

To what purpose are you called?
To what purpose are you working towards?

Does your Life have Purpose…

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.
They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said,
“Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold,
silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving
and everyone would see the beauty.”

Then the second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I
will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of
the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my
hull.”

Finally the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest
and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the
hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and
how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time
and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true,
a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree
he said, “This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to
sell the wood to a carpenter” … and he began cutting it down. The tree
was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a
treasure chest.

At the second tree a woodsman said, “This looks like a strong
tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard “The second tree was
happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship. When
the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because
he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of
the woodsmen said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree so I’ll
take this one”, and he cut it down.”

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into
a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with
hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut
and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship
and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large
pieces and left alone in the dark. The years went by, and the trees
forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and women came to the barn. She gave birth
and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from
the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the
baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the
importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure
of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from
the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they
were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it
was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man,
and he stood and said “Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the
tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat. Finally,
someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets
as the people mocked the man who was carrying it.

When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and
raised in the air to die at the top of a hill.
When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to
stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible,
because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be
going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place
your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got
what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always
know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our
ways, but His ways are always best.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

Matthew 4:18-22 “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee,
saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his
brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he
saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of
men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren,
James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with
Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”

Just look at me…

Just look at me!

In a world preaching self, self, self what does our Lord have to say?  God does want us to feel good about ourselves but it is not because we are something great. It is because we have accepted His Son as our Savior and His purpose for our lives and accepted that we can only do it by His strength. Now that is big time different than what our world teaches.

You are something special when you have Jesus. By yourself you are not!!!

By yourself you are…

Isa 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing and all of our righteousness are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away.”

Let Jesus lift you up instead of trying to lift yourself up|||

Rom 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”

Remember it’s His timing and by His methods that we can become strong!!! And of course you must know and have accepted Jesus as your Savior. Not depending on your deeds, church or any other activity for your salvation. Then Jesus can begin a work in you. So why is that so contrary to what we feel?

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. “

Start by…

Acts 16:30b, 31 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

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

And then…

I Pet 5:6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Humor and the Atheist…

Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”

Humor and the Atheist…

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the “accident of evolution” had created.

What majestic trees!

What powerful rivers!

What beautiful animals!” he said to himself.

As he walked alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. As he turned to look, he saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him.

He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw the bear closing in on him. He tried to run even faster, so scared that tears were coming to his eyes. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pumping frantically as he tried to run even faster, but he tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up and saw the bear right on top of him raising his paw to kill him.

At that instant he cried out “God, please help!”

Just then, time stopped… The bear froze; the forest was silent; the river even stopped moving.  A bright light shone upon the man, and a voice came out of the sky saying…

 

“You deny my existence all of these years; teach others I don’t exist; even credit my creation to a cosmic accident, and now do you desire me to help you out of this predicament?

Am I to count you as a believer?”

 

The atheist, ever so proud, looked into the light and said… “It would be rather hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but could you make the bear a Christian?”
“Very well,” said the voice.

 

As the light went out, the river ran, and the sounds of the forest continued, the bear put his paw down. The bear then brought both paws together… bowed his head and said… “Lord, I thank you for this food, which I am about to receive.”

 

Yes, we all know that animals are neither believers or unbelievers but for the

sake of some good humor it works.

 

An interesting truth is that inside of us all is a yearning for God. The atheist is just more open about his rebellion. Most attend a church but never serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!

The question to ask is, where do I stand???

 

Mat 16:13-16 “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Rev 20:15 “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

 

Gen 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” 


Gen 2:7 “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made”

Silence can be Deadly…

Romans 10: 13,14a”For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord  shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? …”

Silence can be Deadly!

There are people near us who are going down spiritually. Some are dead spiritually
because they don’t know the Savior and some are hurting and are having trouble reaching
out to their Savior. Are you able and willing to help them this morning? Of course it may
require that you look for those needing help and it will require your time and love.

Once you realize the ultimate reason why you are where you are, your everyday
activities will never be everyday again. Consider the example of the young woman from
the Word of God in 2 Kings 5:2-3. It’s the story of a young Jewish girl who has been
taken captive by the Syrians and forced to become a servant girl in the home of a Syrian
military commander. She’s clearly a victim of unfair circumstances beyond her control.
She’s in a situation that had to be lonely, she’s ripped from her home, forced to live in
another country, and we can be pretty sure she’s in a place she doesn’t want to be. But
none of that makes her forget why she is where she is. In the course of her everyday
chores, she has the opportunity to save a life – and she does.

Her master, General Naaman, has developed leprosy. He’ll die from it unless he
can find a cure which, humanly, does not exist. But the Bible tells us, “She said to her
mistress,’ If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure
him of his leprosy.'” She realizes she is in a unique position to save this man’s life
because she knows the dying person and she knows the only one who can save him.
If you belong to Jesus Christ, that is exactly the position God has put us in with the
people we go to school with, the people we work with, the people we live close to, the
people we recreate with, the people in our family.

When we go where we go each day to do what we do, we go on an eternal
rescue mission! Jesus put us there for a reason. So, how are we doing? Every day,
we are there to show by our life the difference Jesus makes and to capture every
God-given opportunity to tell them how they can belong to Him. And suddenly our
everyday takes on eternal significance.

That Syrian commander didn’t die because someone who worked for him
cared enough to tell him how he could live. Imagine if that girl had been too shy
or too scared to speak up about the answer she knew. Her silence would have been
his death sentence. And so it is for the people near us who don’t know Jesus. Our
silence could mean their death sentence, because we know the Jesus who is their
only hope. They don’t know Him, but they do know us. And, humanly speaking, we
are their best chance – maybe their only chance – of ever belonging to Jesus, of ever
being in heaven.

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Romans 10:13-15 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Each of us has the responsibility (Mat 28:19, 20) and the power (Phil 4:13) to share the gospel.