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.”

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A Quiz. Can you name them…

Luke 23:46 “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice,
He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit’.”

A Quiz. Can you name them…

Here’s something to think about.

Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

Name the last three Heisman trophy winners.

Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

Name five people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

*************

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier?

The lesson?

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most
credentials, the most money, or the most awards.
They are the ones that care. 🙂

There is One who paid for your unworthiness because of your sins with His life and created the words, I Love You this much!!!! Can you name Him!

Luke 23:46 “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice,
He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit’.”

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down one’s
life for his friends.”

You say to God – I can’t do that…

II Cor 12:9a ”And He said unto me, my grace is sufficient for you…”

You say to God- I Can’t Do That
===================================

Unfortunately when God calls us to service we find many reasons why we cannot do that. It does not fit my strengths; I do not know enough knowledge, so and so is more suited for that task, and on and on. And of course, my sin is or was too great. The great names in the Bible all had moments of sin and lack of confidense in their lives. So the next time you feel like GOD can’t use you because of your sins, just remember…

Noah had one drink to many
Abraham and Sarah initially had weak faith and thought they were too old to have children
Isaac was known to daydream
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused and cast away by his family
Moses had a faith and confidence problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rehab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy thought they were too young for God to use them
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah had suicidal thoughts for a moment in his life
Jonah tried to run from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt and lost his family and his health
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything but the right thing
The Samaritan woman was divorced
Zaccheus was too small to see over the crowd
Paul was too religious to listen to the truth
Timothy struggled with confidence

AND

Lazarus was dead!

What do you have that’s worse than that?
So no more excuses!

God can use you to your full potential.
Besides you aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.

II Cor 12:9, 10 “And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: or when I am weak, then am I strong.”

 

The key to serving Jesus is to remember where the source of power and forgiveness comes from!

 

Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It Requires Faith to…

It Requires Faith to…. 

Faith is an interesting and vital word in scripture and frequently misunderstood by both our world and by “born again” CHRISTians. It plays a vital role first for my salvation and then takes on an equally important role after I am saved (born again) in how I apply it to my service for Jesus.

For salvation;

Eph 2:8, 9 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 For Serving the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Jesus;

Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just (born again) shall live by faith: but if any man drawback, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

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.”

Faith requires me to believe and/or step out and perform a deed when I cannot see the One asking me to do so or I cannot see the obstacles or expected results. My flesh would have those things be visible to me before I commit to action. The results of my faith is to be totally based on the will of our heavenly Father for my life and not on my personal preferences! That means stepping into the raging waters of life if we are convinced it is God’s will for us and then also accepting the consequences of those actions even when they are not pleasant to my flesh.

So why is it that many results of my actions that I consider to be for God are much different than I would plan or desire? Many times we wonder if our faith is inadequate because the answers to our prayers do not line up with our fleshly desires. And some preachers who do not line up with scripture proclaim that results we do not like are based on weak faith. It is very importantly to remember the following when we think that way;

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

TRUE FAITH

A friend… said, “You were healed by faith.” “Oh, no,” I said, “I was healed by Christ.” What is the difference? There is a great difference. There came a time when even faith seemed to come between me and Jesus. I thought I should have to work up the faith, so I labored to get the faith. At last I thought I had it; that if I put my whole weight upon it, it would hold. I said, when I thought I had got the faith, “Heal me.” I was trusting in myself, in my own heart, in my own faith. I was asking the Lord to do something for me because of something in me, not because of something in Him.

–A.B. Simpson

So, this morning if you are convinced that God would have you to perform a certain task go ahead and step into the waters. The rewards are eternal……………

Who is Training our Children…

Eph 6:4a “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger…” 

Who is Training our Children!

The man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5 year old son waiting for him at the door.

“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man.

“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business!  What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.

“If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed.  Looking up, he said,
“Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious.  “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed.  Think about why you’re being so selfish. I work long, hard hours every day and don’t have time for such childish games.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money.  After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son.  Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn’t ask for money very often.  The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep son?” he asked.

“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man.  “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, beaming.  “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled.  Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills.  The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.  The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

“Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the
father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy
replied.

“Daddy, I have $20.00 now.  Can I buy an hour of your time?”

***** Share sometime today with someone special.  ******

Always leave loved ones with loving words.

Eph 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring
them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Prov 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

A Silent Sermon…

Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more,
as you see the day approaching.”

A Silent Sermon

A member of a certain church, who previously had been
attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks,
the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The
pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.
Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him,
led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave
silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning
logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully
picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the
hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone
ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow
and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word
had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at
his watch and realized it was time to leave, he slowly stood up,
picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of
the fire.

Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth
of the burning coals around it. As the pastor reached the door to
leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you
so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall
be back in church next Sunday.”

Mat 18:12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one
of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the
mountain to seek the one that is straying?”

Hitting the Self-Destruct Button…

Mat 7:1, 2  “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Hitting the Self-Destruct Button

It seems we are constantly battling the temptation to judge.  If we aren’t trying to refrain from judging someone else, it is usually because we are judging ourselves.  Most of us would deny being judgmental and it is absolutely true that we do not want to be. However, if we are being honest with ourselves, we often are guilty of comparing ourselves to other people.  We compare our jobs, clothing and, oh yes, our body types.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  So true!  It’s as if we are hitting a self-destruct button every time we compare ourselves to others because the outcome will never be good!  One of two outcomes occur when we compare ourselves to others.  The first possible outcome is that we instill a false sense of joy.  We have a temporary high due to the false sense that we are better than someone else.  In reality, we are simply having a better hair day or we spent more time being high-maintenance that day.  The other possible outcome is that we feel down on ourselves and actually begin to resent the person who we are feeling jealous of.

It’s so much easier to focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves rather than focusing on the things that we do like (if we will admit we actually like something about ourselves).  We all have good qualities and we all have areas that could use some improvement.  Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”  Yep, we have all been there…. we have all “judged a fish for its ability to climb a tree” or allowed our feelings to be decided by judgmental comparison.

Are you ready to expose all the shame and guilt you experience when you don’t focus on the wonderful God-given qualities you have and instead compare yourself to those around you?  Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”  We can begin to let go of comparison when we expose our weaknesses to God and admit the mistakes we make.  Saying, “God, I am a mess, forgive me for putting my focus on who I’m not instead of who you made me to be.” Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, better known as Plumb, co-wrote and recorded “Lord I’m Ready Now.”  Read the lyrics slowly and let them sink in….

 

“Lord I’m Ready Now”- Plumb

I just let go
And I feel exposed
But it’s so beautiful
Cuz this is who I am
I’ve been such a mess
But now I can’t care less
I could bleed to death

Oh Lord I’m ready now
All the walls are down
Time is running out
And I wanna make this count
I ran away from you
And did what I wanted to
But I don’t wanna let you down
Oh Lord I’m ready now
Lord I’m ready now

You called my name
I turned away
But now I
Am listening
I was so caught up
In who I’m not
Can you please forgive me?

The bottom line is…Comparison is dangerous!!!  Comparison can cause resentment, pride and ruin relationships.  Most importantly, comparison is a sin.  God is pretty simple and blunt when he says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  (Mathew 7:1)

Challenge:  Instead of comparing yourself to others today, thank God for three qualities He gave you (make sure one of them is a physical characteristic).  Also, give three people, who you may feel a little sting of jealousy towards, a compliment.  Focusing on our positive qualities and appreciating the positive qualities of others can change the way we see ourselves and the way we view others.  Don’t hit the self-destruct button today. Instead, choose to lift up those around you and be thankful for the beautiful person God has made you!

One final thought. There is One who you should keep your eyes and pattern your life after. Can you guess Who He is? And yes, if you do He will change your life.

Hebrews 12:1, 2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”