Ice Cream for the Soul…

Luke 6:27-29 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who
curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use
you. To him who strikes you on one cheek, offer the
other also. And from him who takes away your cloak,
do not withhold your tunic either.”

Ice Cream for the Soul
Author unknown

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My
six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed
our heads he said, God is good. God is great. Thank you
for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets
us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all!
Amen!”

Along with the laughter from the other customers
nearby I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with
this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray.
Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!” Hearing this, my
son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong? Is
God mad at me?”

As I held him and assured him that he had done a
terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an
elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my
son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a
great prayer.” “Really?” my son asked “Cross my heart.” Then
in theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose
remark had started this whole thing), “Too bad she never
asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the
soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my kid’s ice cream at the end of
the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did
something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up
his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in
front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here,
this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes
and my soul is good already.”

The End

Mat 6:6, 7 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

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Real Faith to Live by…

John 2:23-25 “Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”

Real Faith to Live By….
There were those who followed Jesus around, waiting to see the miracles. Think of the excitement this must have caused. So they followed him, because they were looking for the rush, the thrill of being close to the action. Jesus knew their hearts. They believed he was
a miracle worker, maybe a prophet. They did not, however, believe he was the Messiah.
It is quite possible that these people, who followed Jesus to see the next miracle, were also some of those who later shouted, crucify him. How could that happen? How could people go from followers to haters? They simply could not accept his claim that he was and is the Son of God.

How can faith be that deficient or weak? Faith is deficient when we rest it solely on our experience of Jesus, and not based on who Jesus is and what He did for us. Stated in another way, when we trust Jesus based on what He can do for us, or based on some miracle that He might have done for us, rather than based on the fact that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins then our faith is at risk of becoming like the world. Show me and then I will believe. The book of Daniel provides one of the most potent examples of men whose faith did not waiver, even under severe pressure:
Dan 3:16-18”Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'”
This is a great passage that shows men who believed that God was God, regardless of what might happen to them personally. God was still God, even if they were consumed in the fire. Jesus is still looking for those who would believe in him for who he is – the Christ, the Son of God. And follow Him regardless of the outcome. Our ways and thoughts truly are not God’s ways and thoughts as noted in Isaiah 55:8 so we dare not think that we know what is best for our
lives and for God’s Kingdom.

How is your faith and your acceptance of God’s will for your life this morning?

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

A Still Small Voice… are you Listening…

Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…”

Still Small Voice…. are you listening….

Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of
long-distance communication, a young man applied for a
job as a Morse Code operator.

Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the
office address that was listed. When he arrived, he
entered a large, busy office filled with noise and
clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the
background.

A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job
applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were
summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled
out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants
in the waiting area.

After a few minutes, the young man stood up,
crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and
walked right in.

Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering
what was going on. They muttered among themselves that
they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the
young man who went into the office made a mistake and
would be disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted
the young man out of the office and said to the other
applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming,
but the job has just been filled.”

The other applicants began grumbling to each other,
and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand.
He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance
to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time
you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out
the following message in Morse Code: “If you understand this
message, then come right in. The job is yours.” None of
you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”

We live in a world that is full of activity and
clatter, like that office. People are distracted and unable
to hear the still, small voice of God as He speaks via His
creation, from His Scriptures, or in your life via trials, discipline and                                                                                              of course via the life example of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Are you tuned in to God’s message? Can you be still and know that

He is God. Do you believe God when He says, “This is my Son,

whom I love . . . Listen to Him!”

Author Unknown

Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
My voice AND OPENS the door, I will come in to him and dine
with him, and he with Me.”

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Truth and Faith to Live by…

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Truth and Faith to Live by…

A boy was sitting on a park bench, with one hand resting on an
open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. “Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! God is great!” he yelled, without worrying whether anyone
heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some
studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the
ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the
boy about the source of his joy.

“Hey,” asked the boy, in return, with a bright laugh, “don’t you
have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up
the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right
through the middle.”

The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy,
and began to try to open his eyes to the “realities” of the miracles of
the Bible.

“That can all be very easily explained. Modern science has
shown that the Red Sea, in that area, was only 10-inches deep at that
time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across.”

The boy looked surprised. His eyes wandered from the man back
to the Bible, laying open in his lap. The man, content that he had
enlightened a poor, naive, young person to the finer points of
scientific insight, turned to go.

Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice
and praise louder than before, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is SO
great!” The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.

“Wow!” exclaimed the boy happily, “God is greater than I
thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the

Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in only 10-inches of water!”

Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man  draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Eph 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.”

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.”

Government and my vote…

Government and my vote!

A good reminder!   Pray for all men.  Especially in another election year.

I Tim 2:1,2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Submit & Pray for those in Government. Regardless of whether you voted for them or not.  It may be even more important when they have values that do not line up with what we know to be God’s values!

Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

When is the last time you prayed for those in authority whether you agree with them or not? If we don’t agree with all of their policies it is not an easy thing to do but it sure changes your focus and attitude towards them. Maybe that nasty politician is a sinner like me and needs the same salvation that God’s grace gave to me!

Try praying for them and see if your heart is not changed  ………not your values but your heart attitude! And remember God is in sovereign. So those in office cannot do anything that God does not either direct or allow.

The end result will be the 2nd coming of Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Thes 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Are you Spiritually Dead or Alive…

Rev 3:1 ““And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

“Are you Spiritually Dead!”

In the book of Revelation or Apocalypse our Lord first tells us about 7 Churches in the first 3 chapters.  God is talking about those professing to be Christians. Remember as you read this that in the Bible the Church refers to the people and not a specific denomination.

I would like us to focus on one of those churches today. That is the church of Sardis mentioned in Chapter 3:1-6. The first 4 Churches mentioned had some level of commendation from God and had rebuke and challenge for what they needed to change to please God. Sardis is the only church with no commendation. They appeared to be religious to the world around them but God told them they were spiritually dead. So, what does it mean to be spiritually dead?  First you must be ‘born again’ to be spiritually alive and to be a member of Jesus Church. If you are depending on the Church you belong to you may be in trouble because no denomination is ever mentioned in scripture as being the only one and true church. So hopefully in your past at some time you have recognized you are a sinner in need of a Saviour and you have asked Jesus to save you from the eternal penalty for those sins. So, how can we know if we are spiritually dead or alive?

Let’s look at 8 questions or ways to evaluate our lives to make sure we are not spiritually dead.

  1. Do I have a lack of willingness to receive correction?
    1. Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction
    2. Where to find correction. II Tim 3:16,17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”
  2. You boast, ‘I only listen to God and not to men!’
    1. II Pet 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    2. We are to obey the spiritual leaders of our churches and those in government who provide direction that does not contradict scripture.
      1. Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
      2. Heb 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
    3. Are you inclined to watch others and point out their mistakes?
      1. Fault finding is not a fruit of the Spirit but a demon spirit. It is the same spirit that satan had.
        1. Isa 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      2. The following are examples of ‘born again’ believers who made the mistake of focusing on others vs. their ministry for Jesus but to their credit corrected the problem.
        1. John 21:21, 22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
        2. Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
      3. Do you feel you are appointed to fix other people?
        1. You are not God’s Sherriff.
        2. Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
      4. Do you feel you are closer to God than other people? Pharisees feel that way and their lives reflect it.
        1. Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
        2. Satan had the same issue. Isa 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      5. Do you demand recognition for what you do for the Kingdom of God?
        1. See question #5 verses about the Pharisees. They demanded the same.
        2. Knowledge of who God is does not alone set us on the right spiritual coarse. Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
        3. Our purpose in life should be to; I Cor 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
      6. Is your prayer life mechanical or do you really feel that you are communicating with and listening to God?
        1. God wants our heart relationship with Him and it is not based on the quantity of our prayers. Mat 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
      7. Do I have a critical spirit when I see the workings of the Holy Spirit? If you are not sure be careful not to condemn another brother or sister. It may be the Holy Spirit at work!
        1. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who sought out Jesus. He did not condemn the work of Jesus and Holy Spirit because it did not line up with his spiritual thinking and religious teachings. Read John chapter 3.
        2. No Holy Spirit in our lives equals…. Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

So, how did your life stack up? Honesty is vital if we are to change. And if we are honest there is not a one of us who does not need to improve on one of those points.

If you are a ‘born again’ believer and some of these questions challenged you there remains hope from our Lord.

Rev 3:11-13 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘

An autopsy of the Sardis church suggests they were not killed by outside sources. They chose the way they went as do we. Outside sources or our worlds values are opposite God’s values for the most part but it is our choice as to which one we will follow and so was it for Sardis.

Joshua 24:14,15 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 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.”

God’s directive and our choice!

Heb 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jump into the Water…You must be ‘Born Again’

John 3”3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Jump into the water…You must be ‘Born Again’

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be
an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from
his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much
attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he
attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and
the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by.

The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he
turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his
arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body, was in
the shape of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally
asked God to save him from his sins and come into his life.

As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned
the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs.

How faithful are you in telling your friends about the most
important Person in your life? Remember your witness will take place
through His strength and not yours. But it must start on our end with a
submissive heart.

Mat 4:19 “And He said to them, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

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

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”