Choose you this Day…

Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.”

Choose you this Day…

When many folks use their kitchen sink, they may notice this little
contraption attached to the faucet. It’s called a water filter. Before
the water arrives in your glass or container, it has to pass through
that filter. Or we drink water from our refrigerator door which is also
filtered. Or we pay for water in the bottle that is filtered. We hate
surprises in our H2O.  When replacing one of those filters we are amazed
at the particles that we would never knowingly drink.  The filter
screened out of our drinking water this layer of dirty stuff. We didn’t
even want to think about that going into my body. Let’s hear it for
filters!

Did you know that a lot of people spiritually drink dirt. They do it
mentally by letting a lot of things that are spiritually and morally
impure pour right into their soul as unfiltered input. And if you belong
to Jesus Christ, the dirt is rushing into what the Bible describes as
the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). That temple is
you. God literally lives in those who are ‘born again’. And dirty stuff
should never defile His temple. And of course don’t forget the lie the
enemy fills us with that it is ok for the adults to view or listen to
certain programs as long as we protect the children. Why would we
protect our children and knowingly allow filth into our lives?

God clearly commands us to filter what’s coming into our lives and
He never says to just filter it for the children. Actually the opposite
is true. We as the adult parent teachers need to filter the things going
into our minds so we can be the example we are supposed to be to the
children. They are very good at picking up both our good and bad
(sinful) habits.  Too often we do not have a spiritual filter for what we
see and hear. Or we have a pretty wide screen on that filter; one porous
enough to let in a lot that has no place in a heart or a mind that’s
owned by Jesus and inhabited by the Holy Spirit of God.

The following example was given by Ron Hutchcraft. Sometimes it
takes a child to show us “sophisticated” adults how we should be living.
The other day, the teacher was a five-year-old, our grandson, who was
watching a whole new crop of kids’ shows. Captain Kangaroo and Mister
Rogers are long gone; and yes, Big Bird is still flying around Sesame
Street. But now I’m learning about Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, a
tomato named Bob, a cucumber named Larry, a fish named Nemo. Our
grandson, of course, has a few favorites he likes to watch. There’s one
he watches almost every day. But the other day, he walked over to the
television and did something he does not do with this program that he
likes a lot. He turned it off in the middle of the show. The story was
starting to involve some ghost and witch stuff. When Daddy asked our
grandson why he had turned off one of his favorites, he just said, “It
was a bad one, daddy.” The radar of a five-year-old boy in whom Jesus
lives and had been trained by Godly parents. He knew that no matter how
much he liked the show, no matter how many shows they have where there’s nothing bad, when it is bad, it isn’t for him. That’s a model for a
Jesus-follower of any age. But all too often, we watch portrayed, or we
read about, or we listen to something that is part of the very sin that
Jesus died for.

One of the problems with eliminating filth programming is that it
needs to be replaced with something clean and spiritually wholesome to
be lasting. Unless you replace the filth programming you will eventually
become bore or disillusioned and return to them. If you replace them
with clean and wholesome programming your mind will be renewed as
scripture says with Godly themes versus sinful themes. It up to us to
make the choice.

Josh 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

II Cor 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

The Twelve Thank-You Notes of CHRISTmas…

Remember the one gift that has eternal meaning in our lives.

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 life everlasting.’

Now for some humor for your day!

THE TWELVE THANK-YOU NOTES OF CHRISTMAS…

Dec 25

My dearest darling Edward,

What a wonderful surprise has just greeted me! That sweet partridge, in that lovely little pear-tree; what an enchanting, romantic, poetic present!

Bless you, and thank you.

Your deeply loving

Emily

Dec 26

Beloved Edward,

The two turtle-doves arrived this morning, and are cooing away in the pear-tree as I write.

I’m so touched and grateful!

With undying love, as always,

Emily

Dec 27

My darling Edward,

You do think of the most original presents! Who ever thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It’s a pity we have no chicken coops, but I expect we’ll find some. Anyway, thank you so much; they’re lovely.

Your devoted Emily

Dec 28

Dearest Edward,

What a surprise! Four calling birds arrived this morning.

They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly–they make telephoning almost impossible–but I expect they’ll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I’m very grateful, of course I am.

Love from Emily

Dec 29

Dearest Edward,

The mailman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly! A really lovely present! Lovelier, in a way, than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I’m afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mother says she wants to use the rings to “wring” their necks. Mother has such a sense of humor. This time she’s only joking, I think, but I do know what she means. Still, I love the rings.

Bless you,

Emily

Dec 30

Dear Edward,

Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door this morning, it certainly wasn’t six socking great geese laying eggs all over the porch. Frankly, I rather hoped that you had stopped sending me birds. We have no room for them, and they’ve already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but let’s call a halt, shall we?

Love, Emily

Dec 31

Edward,

I thought I said NO MORE BIRDS. This morning I woke up to find no more than seven swans, all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I’d rather not think what’s happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds, to say nothing of what they leave behind them, so please, please, stop!

Your Emily

Jan 1

Frankly, I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight milkmaids? And their cows! Is this some kind of a joke? If so, I’m afraid I don’t find it very amusing.

Jan 2

Emily

Look here, Edward,

This has gone far enough. You say you’re sending me nine ladies dancing.

All I can say is, judging from the way they dance, they’re certainly not ladies. If you value our friendship, which I do (less and less), kindly stop this ridiculous behavior at once!

Emily

Jan 3

As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are prancing up and down all over what used to be the garden, before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it. Meanwhile the neighbors are trying to have us evicted.

I shall never speak to you again.

Emily

Jan 4

This is the last straw! You know I detest bagpipes!

The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse, and a man from the council has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mother has been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance.

I hope you’re satisfied.

Sir, Jan 5

Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to inform you that with the arrival on her premises at 7:30 this morning of the entire percussion section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and several of their friends, she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent you importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

  1. Creep

Attorney at law

CHRISTmas Greetings

Remember the one gift that has eternal meaning in our lives.

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 life everlasting.’

Godly Discipline…

Hebrews 12:11-13a “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet…”

Godly Discipline

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

THINK ABOUT THIS
For two years, scientists sequestered themselves in an artificial environment called Biosphere 2. Inside their self-sustaining community, the Biospherians created a number of mini-environments, including a desert, rain forest, even an ocean. Nearly every weather condition could be simulated except one, wind.

Over time, the effects of their windless environment became apparent. A number of acacia trees bent over and even snapped. Without the stress of wind to strengthen the wood, the trunks grew weak and could not hold up their own weight. Though our culture shuns hardship, we would do well to remember that God uses it for our good that we may share in his holiness”.

Jay Akkerman

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers’ temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. “

Proverbs 13:24 “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

The Road to Success…

Hebrews 12:2a “Looking unto Jesus…”

The Road to Success

The road to success is not Straight.
There is a curve called Failure.

A loop called Confusion,
Speed bumps called Friends,

Red lights called Enemies,
Caution lights called Family,

You will have flats along the way,

But, if you have a spare called Determination,
An engine called Perseverance,
Insurance called Faith,
A driver called Jesus,
You will make it to a place called Success!

In spite of our unworthiness

Romans 3:10 “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

Hebrews 12:2 “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 is set
down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Ecc 12:13, 14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

Adversity, a Tool for Spiritual Growth

Romans 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation develops patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Adversity, a Tool for Spiritual Growth

Can adversity in my life come from God? How should I view that adversity? Or is adversity in my life simply a result of fleshly or spiritual issues that I have and if I were spiritually stronger these things would never happen to me? These questions are asked by Christians of all maturity levels.

Some church organizations focus on the “Health, Wealth and Prosperity” theme and that adversity has no place in the life of a Christian. Is that true? Those churches teach that God would have you to be healthy and wealthy with never a hint of adversity in your life. That teaching is attractive to our fleshly emotions. If you are experiencing adversity their answer is that it is because you are weak in faith. They say if you just come to their church, support the programs, join in with the emotional message that God lift you up physically and materially. Many get deceived by this because it offers what the flesh wants. And the flesh always wants only what is best for it.

II Tim 4:3,4 “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.”

So, how does God view adversity and our spiritual development? Our answer as with all questions in life is right there in the Book. There are many examples in scripture that help us understand how God views this topic and the depth of His love for us. Our obvious best example is our Savior Jesus. He came to display unconditional love while doing the will of the Father. We will never have to experience the depth of pain that Jesus experienced for us. If we are looking for our own will to be done it is easy to fall into the Health, Wealth and Prosperity trap.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

We could also look at the lives of Noah, Jonah, Moses, Job, David, Joseph, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Rehab, Ruth, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Mary and on and on. What we see are individuals that were molded by the circumstances that God sent into their lives. Those circumstances were simply not a result of their weak faith and fortunately they never viewed them like that. God loved them as He loves us and wanted the best for their lives. The question was what was best for their lives to bring glory of God and not to provide comfort for self. Each of those mentioned above experienced adversity and out of it came growth and more importantly God was pleased and glorified. That growth occurred only after they got to the place in their lives where they said, your will be done and not mine. None were blessed or avoided adversity simply because of strong faith. Their spiritual maturity grew as they presented themselves to God as living sacrifices to perform His will through their lives.

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

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

For me when I accept adversity as being from God the benefits are spiritual growth. When I reject trials as being from God the result is frustration, heartache and even tears. I have memorized II Cor 12:9 to help me in those times of adversity. It reminds me that God is in control and wants to lift up His name by His work in my life. WOW, you cannot have anything more than that if you are looking for purpose in your life.

In II Corinthians 12 Paul first viewed his “thorn” as a limiting handicap. After requesting that God remove it multiple times he received the answer. It was no. By the way, no and wait are answers to prayer. He evaluated the answer and came up with the spiritually correct answer. God had a purpose for the thorn and he was much better off accepting it than ignoring or complaining about it. After coming to the true perspective, he regarded it as a heavenly advantage. Pains and problems come into our lives and if viewed properly are tools reminding us of God’s all-sufficient grace.

Whatever your “thorn” today, remembers—His grace IS sufficient and it is available right now!!!!!!!

II Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

A Change of Perspective…

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.”

A Change of Perspective

1. The best way to get even is to forget…
2. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death…
3. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts…
4. Some folks wear their halos much too tight…
5. Some marriages are made in heaven, but they ALL have to be maintained on earth…
6. Unless you can create the WHOLE universe in 5 days, then perhaps giving “advice” to God isn’t such a good idea!
7. Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up…
8. Standing in the middle of the road is dangerous. You will get knocked down by the traffic from both ways.
9. Words are windows to the heart.
10. A skeptic is a person who when he sees the handwriting on the wall claims it’s a forgery.
11. It isn’t difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill just add a little dirt.
12. A successful marriage isn’t finding the right person- It’s BEING the right person.
13. The mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground.
14. Too many people offer God prayers, with claw marks all over them.
15. The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few people can hold it.
16. To forgive is to set the prisoner free, and then discover the prisoner was you.
17. You have to wonder about humans, they think God is dead and Elvis is alive!
18. It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
19. You’ll notice that a turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.                                                                                                                                                     20. And last but not least-God gave the angels wings, and He gave humans CHOCOLATE.

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

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.”