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.”

God knows ALL…

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest.

Who knows All

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…                                                       God knows how hard you have tried.

When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…God has counted your tears.

If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…God is waiting with you.

When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…God is by your side.

When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…God has a solution.

When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated…God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope…God has sustained you.

When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for…God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…God has smiled upon you.

When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…God has opened your eyes and called you by name.

When you realize life is for eternity and only Jesus can save you…God awaits your calling upon His Son to save you.

Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing…GOD KNOWS ALL!

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am
gently and lowly of heart, and you will find rest unto your soul.”

Be NOT Conformed to this World

2 Cor. 5:21 “For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Be Not Conformed to This World

Our culture is riddled with a poisonous spirit of entitlement. We always think we deserve more. We’re disappointed with our family, neighbors, church, the waitress, the sales clerk, the government and the department of motor vehicles. Ultimately we’re disappointed with God. He hasn’t given us everything we want and think we deserve.

What madness! If only we could see our situation clearly–even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gives us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us eternal life with Him if we will accept it by grace through faith. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a “bad day” in perspective, doesn’t it?

Christians in the Sudan and many other countries around the world–who’ve suffered unspeakably for their faith–are deeply grateful for God’s daily blessings. But us? We whine and pout with the “I deserve more” and “Why me” mentalities.

Thankfulness should draw a clear line between us and a Christless world. If the same spirit of entitlement and ingratitude that characterizes our culture characterizes us, what do we have to offer? We have become the salt that has lost its seasoning power and may be good for nothing. Ouch! God is sovereign in the affairs of mankind which must be our attitude toward all issues. The results of sin are the only ones that God did not design and even those results God can use to teach and train us if we allow Him to.

To know if you have it you need but check out your attitude of gratitude. Are you thankful for even the things that appear to be catastrophic in your life? If they are not a result of sin then I brought them on by myself. God can never tempt or author sin. Don’t get captured by the attitude of the world or the opinion page of the local newspaper. Scripture teaches that we are to count ALL things or situations in our lives as joy and that God is sovereign in the affairs of mankind.

If I grasp that I deserve hell, I’ll be filled with gratitude not only for God’s huge blessings–including my redemption and home in heaven–but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks and the unspeakable joy of the trials that bring spiritual growth. And my whole focus would change. Because Christ allowed Himself to be crushed under the weight of my sin, I’ll enjoy forever a clear mind and perfect body. Never believe anything about yourself or God that makes His grace to you seem anything less than astonishing. Because that’s exactly what it is.

Portions from; Randy Alcorn, “The Grace and Truth Paradox,” Multnomah Publishers 2003, pp. 33-35

The rest of the story….

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

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

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.”

Roots of Faith in the U.S.A…

II Chronicles 7:14a “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves…”

Roots of Faith in the USA…

Did you know that 52 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence
were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? The other three all believed in
the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and in His personal intervention.

It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society. Immediately
after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress
voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of scripture for the people of this nation.

Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is
still remembered for his words, “Give me liberty or give me death.” But in
current textbooks the context of these words is deleted. Here is what he
actually said: “An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left
us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that
presides over the destinies of nations. The battle Sir, is not to the strong
alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others
may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.”

These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. Was Patrick Henry a
Christian? You be the judge. The following year, 1776, he wrote this: “It
cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was
founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have
been afforded freedom of worship here.”

Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his
well-worn Bible: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the
doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be
rallied to the unity of our Creator “He was also the chairman of the
American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most
important role.

On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, “The highest glory of the American
Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of
civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this
truth when he wrote, “The foundations of our society and our government rest
so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support
them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in
our country.”

In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: “The Congress of
the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used
for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold
until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the “Schoolmaster
of the Nation.” Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: “The Christian
religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on
the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its
doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no
source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred
Scriptures. For all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology.”

Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly
Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In
the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students
seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the
scriptures: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed
to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and
Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus
Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral
principles of the Ten Commandments.”

James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States,
said this: “We have staked the whole future of our new nation not upon the
power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our
political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern
ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

Today, we are asking God to bless America. But, how can He bless a Nation that has
departed so far from Him? Prior to September 11, He was not welcome in
America and is still unwelcome in all of our public schools.

Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks.
Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country’s
Christian roots. We must not let it be removed from our minds.

“I tremble for my country when I recall that God is just, and that His
justice will not sleep forever.”
— Thomas Jefferson

II Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Eph 6:12-13 “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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The Faith of our America’s Founders…

2 Chron. 7:14a “If my people…”

The Faith of America’s Founders…

Founding Faith!

In this difficult time for our country it does us well to remember and build on the faith of our founding fathers! Note how they were not afraid to reference Jesus as their source of strength!!
How about us? When is the last time we gave credit to Jesus for something in our lives and the unsaved world heard us?

George Washington, father of our country, first president of the United States said;

“Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ.” “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” “Of all the habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” (From his farewell speech, 1796).

Patrick Henry, American Revolutionary leader:
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians: not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Benjamin Franklin, At the Constitutional Convention of 1787:
“I have lived long, Sir, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. . . . My views . . . are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruption’s of Christianity, I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.”

Prayer that opened the first Continental Congress in September, 1774:

“My soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in his salvation. . . .
Awake and rise to my defense” Contend for me, my God and Lord” (Psalm 35:9, 23)

John Adams, on that prayer;

“Who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine interposition and aid? It was enough . . . to melt a heart of stone. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm
to be read that day.”

George Washington:

“Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. . . Daily frames me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.”

Alexander Hamilton, signer of the Constitution:

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy.”

So, how important is it that I vote on who takes office and on what promise or principles do I base my vote on? Material or moral promises? You decide. That is one of the blessings we have in America. We can decide…..

2 Chron. 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Eph 6:12-13 “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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

It is all about your Perspective…

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”

It is all about your Perspective…

A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the
weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made
her daily trek to the elementary school.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with
thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that
her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she
herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child.

Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword,
would cut through the sky. Full of concern, the mother quickly got into
her car and drove along the route to her child’s school.

As she did so she saw her little girl walking along, but at each
flash of lightning, the child would stop, look and smile. Another and
another followed quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking at
the streak of light and smiling.

Finally, the mother called her over to the car and asked, “What
are you doing?” The child answered, “God just keeps taking pictures of me.”

“And a little child shall lead them…”

That story is a great lead in for truths from God’s word. It reminds us that

God desires pure and unquestioning faith for us to first be ‘born again’ and then

to please Him during our walk as CHRISTians. The faith like little children display.

Here is the test. For that need you have this morning, what or Who are you trusting to fill it?

Luke 18:17 “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

 

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.

 

Hebrews 10:38 “But my righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrinks back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.”

Obeying God…

Mat 16:24, 25 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Gen 6:22 “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did”

Obeying God…

Has there ever been a time in your life when you submitted to the Holy Spirit toward a lifetime of obedience to God?

The life of obedience is a life of following Christ. Once you commit your life to be one of obedience, you will still face choices to obey or disobey.

You will not always choose correctly, and you will not be without sin.

However, once you make the commitment to a lifetime of obedience, God will take that commitment and bend your heart in His direction.

Obedience, then, becomes a normal way in which you and I respond to the circumstances of life. Obedience becomes not merely a decision, but a lifestyle.

In Genesis 6, we read about God’s call for Noah to construct the ark. Yet

Noah’s compliance with that particular decision is not how Noah embodied obedience. It’s why we remember him, but Noah had already committed his life to walking with God. Verse 9 tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”

Therefore, when Noah was presented with the decision to obey God and build an ark when rain was not just unexpected but literally foreign to the people and the terrain, he obeyed. Noah obeyed because he had, at some previous point, committed his life to be one of obedience unto his Lord.

Seven principles for learning to live a lifestyle of obedience include:

1) Learn to wait upon the Lord in prayer. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything until God directs you-usually through a multitude of means, including His Word, the church, circumstances, and prayer.

2) Develop a love for the Word of God. This is God’s primary tool of speaking to us. As we learn to meditate on the Word of God, we will learn the ways of God.

3) Obeying God oftentimes means going against human reasoning. If we wait until we understand, we’ll never be obedient to God. He will never lead us in opposition to His Word, but He will sometimes lead us in opposition to our definition of common sense.

4) Realize that God will sometimes cause us to walk in the dark. He will sometimes call us to walk in a direction where we cannot see a clear path.

We can pray and argue all we want, but God will not always show us where we are going; He simply commands and waits for us to submit.

5) We must learn to expect struggles. Plainly, some things God will ask us to do; we just don’t want to do them. Sometimes we don’t want to obey because we’re afraid of failure. Understand that God never requires something of us that isn’t for our best and for His glory.

6) Realize that there’s no substitute for obedience.

7) Learn to leave all the consequences of our obedience to God.

The issue hasn’t changed with time. The issue is this: Is Jesus Christ worthy of your obedience, and has there ever come a time in your life where you said, “Lord, from this moment on, as a way of life or lifestyle, I choose to obey You no matter what”?

** Read the key passages and answer the questions below.

  1. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15) What does God say are the rewards of obedience and the consequences of disobedience?
  2. (Genesis 12:1-3) Which one of the above principles applies to Abraham’s call from God?
  3. (1 Samuel 15:1-29) What does Samuel tell Saul that he did wrong?

What was the consequence of Saul’s action? What do you learn about God in this passage?

  1. As you read this, what did God bring to your mind in regards to something He is calling you to do?
  2. If you have not done it before, take this time to commit to God in prayer your desire to obey Him fully. If you do not have this desire, be honest. Ask Him to place it in your heart.

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.”