Stay the course, Fight the good fight…

I Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith…”

Stay the course….A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into
the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ — or –whatever
mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with
the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the
trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told
them what had happened…and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the
old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his
neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back…a thought
struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of
dirt landed on his back…HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up…shake it off
and step up…shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the
old mule fought “panic” and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING
UP!

You’re right! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted,
STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him… All because of the manner in which he
handled his adversity. HEY THAT’S LIFE!

If we face our problems and respond to them positively and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity… THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! As our Lord states in Romans 8:28, all things truly can work together for good in our lives when we are focused on Him instead of ourselves.

Remember that FORGIVENESS–FAITH–PRAYER–PRAISE and HOPE all are
excellent ways to “SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP” out of the wells in which
we find ourselves!

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Simply put; Stay the Course and Fight the Fight for the Glory of Jesus Name!!!!!!

Jesus is coming to Earth again…

Jesus is Coming to Earth Again!!!

Jesus came the first time as the Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind. Anyone trusting in Him and His sacrifice for their sins will spend eternity with Him. Most expected Him to come the first time as a ruling King and rescue the Jewish nation from the slavery and control of Rome. His first coming was recorded in…

Mat 2:1, 2, 11 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down AND WORSHIPPED HIM.”

Did you know that Jesus is coming AGAIN as a Lion from the tribe of Judah|||||?

Dan 12:2-4 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine, like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

All of mankind must choose between Jesus and eternity with Him or… Some to everlasting death (hell) and some to everlasting life with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So, how do I make sure that I am with Jesus for eternity and not doomed to everlasting punishment?

Acts 16:31 “So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Note scripture does not say to add any trust in your Church, your good deeds, your wealth or any other work you do to be saved and spend eternity with Jesus. So, which Judgment Seat will you be at when Jesus returns? If you are not 100% sure of where you will spend eternity now is the time to find out.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Titus 3:5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Everyone placing their faith for where they will spend eternity into something. How about your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers……..? What are you placing your faith in? 

Romans 10:14 “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?

And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?

And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”

A CHRISTmas Moment…

Luke 12:15 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and
beware of covetousness: for a man’s life does not consist
in the abundance of the things which he possesses.”

A CHRISTmas Moment….

Getting mauled at the mall, getting paralyzed in traffic,
overheating your credit card. Christmas can sure make
you tired of shopping. Especially if you can’t find what
you’re looking for.  It’s a feeling that’s not unique to
Christmas – many of us are tired of shopping for what will
fill the hole in our heart.

We look for it one relationship after another, one
conquest after another, one experience after another.
There’s this persistent whisper in our heart – “Something’s
missing.” Actually, the something is Someone. That first
Christmas, the wise men’s long search ended when, as
the Bible says, “They bowed down and worshiped Jesus.”
(Matthew 2:11) That’s where your search will end, too.

The Bible says we were “created by Christ and for Christ”
(Colossians 1:16) – which means the hole in your heart is there
until you have Christ. No amount of buying and receiving will fill it.

It took Jesus’ awful persecution and death on the cross to
pay for the sin that’s separated us from God. But now His
love, His peace, His meaning for your life is within your
reach – if you’ll just, “Call upon the Lord for forgiveness.”

You’ve shopped long enough. Come on home.

Acts 16:31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and you shall be saved, and your house.”

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.”

God becomes a man…

God becomes a man…

The CHRISTmas Geese…

There was once a man who didn’t believe in the incarnation or
the spiritual meaning of Christmas, and was skeptical about God. He
and his family lived in a farm community.
His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children
in her faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her faith and
mocked her religious observance of Christmas.

One snowy Christmas Eve she was taking the kids to the Christmas
Eve service at church. She pleaded with him to come, but he firmly
refused. He ridiculed the idea of the incarnation of Christ and dismissed
it as nonsense. ” Why would God lower himself and become a human
like us?! It’s such a ridiculous story!” he said. So she and the children
left for church while he stayed home.

After they left, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned
into a blizzard. As he looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding
snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then
he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window. And
another thump. He looked outside but couldn’t see. So he ventured
outside to see.

In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a
flock of geese! They were apparently flying to look for a warmer
area down south, but got caught in the snow storm.

The snow had become too blinding and violent for the geese
to fly or see their way. They were lost and stranded on his farm,
with no food or shelter.

They just fluttered their wings and flew around in circles
around the field blindly and aimlessly. He had compassion for
them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself,” The barn
would be a great place for them to stay! It’s warm and safe; surely
they could spend the night and wait out the storm.”

So he walked over to the barn and opened the barn doors for
them. He waited, watching them hoping they would notice the
open barn and go inside. But they just fluttered around aimlessly
and didn’t notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.
He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just
moved away from him out of fear. He went into the house and
came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread
trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo
them, run after them, and chase them toward the barn. They
only got scared and scattered into every direction except
toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the
barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter.

Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, “Why don’t they
follow me? Can’t they see this is the only place where they
can survive the storm! How can I possibly get them into the
one place to save them?” He thought for a moment and
realized that they just won’t follow a human. He said to
himself,” How can I possibly save them? The only way
would be for me to become like those geese.
If only I could become like one of them! Then I could
save them! They would follow me and I would lead them
to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words that he
just said reverberated back to himself in his mind:” If only
I could become like one of them–then I could save them. “
He thought about his words, and remembered what he
said to his wife:” Why would God want to be like us?
That’s so ridiculous! ” Something clicked in his mind as
he put these two together. It was like a revelation, and he
began to understand the incarnation.

We were like the geese– blind, gone astray, perishing.
God became like us so He could show us the way and make
a way available to save us. That is the meaning of Christmas,
he realized in his heart.

As the winds and blinding snow abated, his heart
became quiet and pondered this thought. He understood
what Christmas was all about. He knew why Christ
had come. Suddenly years of doubt and disbelief were
shattered, as he humbly and tearfully bowed down in the
snow, and embraced the true meaning of Christmas.

“The Geese “
– Author Unknown-

Luke 2:8-11 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living
out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And
behold, the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of
the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the
angel said unto them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For there is
born to you this day in the city of David,
A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD!”

The CHRISTmas Pageant…

John 3:16a “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”

The CHRISTmas Pageant…

My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn’t been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.

God answered my prayers with a yes and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son.

The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter.  My husband thought we’d been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old. I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, “If you pray for rain make sure you carry an umbrella.”

I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn’t want to disappoint Him. I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding…when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs.

When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess. In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn’t keep my promise to be a perfect mother – didn’t even come close…I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God. I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to “wash up” Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his “last wife.”

My proudest moment came during the children’s Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, “We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.” But he was nervous and said, “The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes.” My four-year-old “Mary” said, “That’s not ‘wrinkled clothes,’ silly. That’s dirty, rotten clothes.”

A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.

I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, “Mama-mama.”

Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, “We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur.” The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

“I’ve never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one,” laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes.

“For the rest of my life, I’ll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur.”

“My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing,” I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.

Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.

Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.

Had no army, yet kings feared Him.

He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.

He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

Feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us.

GOD BLESS AND HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS

John 3:16-18 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Waiting on God…

Acts 9:6 “Get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do”

Where is your life right now? Are you content? Where do you see
yourself in five years? It is interesting to note that God awaits our stepping into the water before …

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that

cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them

that diligently seek him.”

Waiting on God

How do you find God’s will? Is it something you just stumble
across one day, like a one-dollar bill in the parking lot? Does it come
in the middle of the night, awakening you the next morning with a fresh
sense of purpose and direction? Is it something that God forces into our being?

Or is it something deeper-a process of ongoing “baby steps” that lead to ultimate fulfillment?

In our fast-paced society, answers can’t seem to come fast
enough. Too often, however, we forget that God operates on a different
timetable than we do. When it comes to seeking God’s will, we want to
know everything at once. We expect His entire plan for our lives to be
brought to us on a silver platter. Yet God sees far beyond our need for
immediate resolution.

If God began by showing us where we would end up, we would
likely do our best to get there as quickly as possible, with little
consideration of His timing. Think about it this way: if you were given
instruction to travel from Miami to Seattle, from one corner of the
United States to the other, how would you go about doing it? Some might
take the scenic drive through the mountains, others might stick to the
coast and the waterways, and some might opt for the quick flight over
everything. The point is-we all would go about traveling from Miami to
Seattle in different ways.

Never aware of what lies ahead, we may fly right into a
turbulent storm, suffer from car trouble on a deserted highway, or lose
our way altogether. But God sees the storms ahead of us; He can steer us
in the right direction and away from the pitfalls of self-effort. Often,
He may simply ask us to take two small steps and wait on further
instructions. And often He may direct us into the storm. It’s that principle of storms building character and spiritual maturity. Discovering God’s will doesn’t happen overnight.

Following Saul’s Damascus Road experience in Acts 9, God did not
say, “Saul, I am going to make you the greatest missionary for the
Christian faith in the history of mankind.” Instead, He simply told Saul
to travel to Damascus and “it will be told you what you must do” (Acts
9:6). From there, the Lord led Paul from city to city and country to
country, using him every step of the way to spread the gospel through
the world. Day by day, God will guide us and direct us on the path we
must take.

Now we may ask, “What if I mess up? What if I get off track?”
Fortunately, God is a God of second chances. Moses ran from God; David
strayed away from the Lord on many occasions; Peter denied Christ. God
is fully aware of our human nature-He knows we will make mistakes. His
will for our lives is not a one-shot opportunity. But if we do get off
track, we must simply re-focus our attention on Him, rather than our
circumstances.

Ultimately, if we are in tune with God, we can trust that He
will reveal His plan for our lives. Not only does this involve praying
and asking God for direction, but, also, listening to Him and meditating
on His Word. “Be still,” the Lord tells us, “and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV). It’s hard to listen to God and know His will if we
are constantly doing the talking. That is why it is so important to
listen to Him and meditate on Scripture.

Where is your life right now? Are you content? Where do you see
yourself in five years? Today, begin asking God what He would have you
do next. Listen to Him, understanding that answers may not come at once.
Ask for patience and wait quietly. Through His grace, you can
confidently walk in the will of God.

* * * *

From In Touch Ministries

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

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this
world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may
prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

This one becomes more relevant daily as our world picks up speed and not in a healthily spiritual direction!!!

Gen 2:1, 2 “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”

Please Slow Me Down, Lord…

Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding in my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the
singing streams that live in my memory.

Teach me the art of taking minute vacations –
of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to smile at a child,
to read a few lines from the good book.

Slow me down, Lord,
and inspire me to send my roots deep
into the soil of your enduring values,
that I may grow closer to you.

Remind them each day that the race is not always to the swift;
that there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Let me look upward to the towering oak and know that it grew
great and strong because it grew slowly and well by your design.

Phil 4:6, 7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplications, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace that passes all understanding shall keep your heart and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.”