Get In the Game

 

 

 

 

4343e2cf834f61f67bcc780a39547ac3encouragementPhilippians 3:13,14

Have you been hesitating in the bleachers because of past failures or regrets. Do you fear “stepping up to the plate” so to speak. Then read this encouraging verses from God’s Word that Paul wrote. I promise they will encourage you to begin to step down from the bleachers and join the fray. Remember you will not have to go it alone. Your best friend, helper, and confidant will be there by your side cheering you on!

“This one thing I do ( all God requires of you is to take that first step) “forgetting those things which are behind,(set down that suitcase full of regrets and failures that are holding you back) and reaching forth unto those things which are before. (Don’t live a “rearview mirror” life focus on the road ahead),

“I press toward the mark—–.”

 

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THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS HOME

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There is an old hymn written by Jessie B. Pounds that has been haunting me lately after an encounter with a man who believed he could commune with God and yet he knew little about Jesus. This man believed that there is a God because he is a physician and knowing the marvels of the human body he knew that there had to be a God. So he prayed often to God not knowing anything about God. He didn’t know the way to God is The Cross.

Here are a couple of verses of Jessie Pounds hymn—

“I MUST NEEDS GO HOME BY THE WAY OF THE CROSS,

THERE IS NO OTHER WAY BUT THIS;

I CAN NEVER GET SIGHT OF THE GATES OF LIGHT,

IF THE WAY OF THE CROSS I MISS.

I MUST NEEDS GO ON IN THE BLOOD SPRINKLED WAY,

THE PATH THAT MY SAVIOR TROD,

IF I EVER CLIMB TO THE HEIGHTS SUBLIME,

WHERE THE SOUL IS AT HOME WITH GOD.

THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS HOME,

THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS HOME;

IT IS SWEET TO KNOW AS I ONWARD GO ,

THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS HOME.

hereiamlord

CLING TO THE CROSS

In the news recently the story is told of a dear elderly lady and her grown grandson ;who started out for church on a very rainy Sunday morning. As they traveled further towards their destination they perceived that the waters around them were rising at an alarming rate.

Soon their vehicle was over taken by an angry swirl of muddy water that began to pull them forward. Her grandson was able to exit the car and as he came around to her door he noticed a large red wooden cross stuck in the ground nearby. He banged on the frightened woman’s window and coaxed her out of the car. He led her by the hand to the cross and firmly placed her hands upon it.

The deep muddy water swirled around their knees as they clung desperately to the wooden cross. They watched as the swelling floods carried their car away. Still the cross they clung to held firm. It was their only hope of not being swept away to certain death. They clung for five hours waiting for rescue.

The rescuers finally arrived and grandmother and grandson were safely transported away in a boat, As they looked back they saw the cross begin to move and then silently slip away.

This brings to mind our need to “cling to the cross.” The cross is our hope of salvation from the tide of sin and evil that would catch us up and sweep us into the waiting mouth of hell.

Jesus gave His life’s blood in sacrifice for your sin and mine on the cross. Since then this symbol of Roman cruelty has become the symbol of hope for millions of people who have come to it to have their sins washed away and to obtain new life in Him. He is “the way, the truth, and the life no man cometh to the Father (God)  but by Him.” John 14:6 He is the only way . The cross is the only way.

Are you overwhelmed with life’s problems today?

Are you held captive by some sin?

Have you lost all hope that your life can be better?

Are you fearful of what the future holds? Are you short on resources and long on worry?

Come to The Cross and cling.

Give your life and heart to the one who died on that cross for you. He will open wide His arms and welcome you in. He will save you from sin and give you new life and a hope for the future. Others you have turned to for help and comfort may have proved undependable but unlike them He will never leave you. He will walk with you through life’s trials. He will give you safety and strength. When your life here on earth is over; He will welcome you through Heaven’s gates into an eternity of peace, love, acceptance and comfort.

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THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD :)

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Are their “voices” in your head? 

I know what you are saying? Only “crazy” people hear voices in their head.

I read about a Professor that asked his class if they ever talked to themselves. They shook their heads. Of course not that ‘s crazy to talk to oneself isn’t it?

Then he asked “How many of you just asked yourself if you talk to yourself?”

You get the jist–we all have a dialogue running through our minds daily and sometimes nightly when we can’t seem to fall asleep.

And our inner dialogue is often affected by the voices we hear from the outside. In this hyper technological age we are inundated with literally hundreds of voices a day. Just think of all those commercials that interrupt the radio program you are listening to or the TV show you are watching. Constant chatter. On Facebook, on Twitter someone always has an opinion on something.

So our saying today—“Money says earn me.” think of those commercials again –brand new cars that will make you King or Queen of the hill, gadgets that will make your life easier, exotic and fascinating cruises and lifestyles. It is all available to you if you just have the MONEY.

It seems ironic that on each monetary denomination is written–“In God We Trust” hmmmmm I wonder—-

“Time says ‘Follow me'”  Well we really have no choice do we? But I guess this is meant to convey the idea that we seem to always be driven to be aware of how much time we have and how much more we’d like to have. We all want to spend our time “wisely.” So we make up all kinds of schedules to fit everything in and then forget the most important thing –“Be still and know that I am God.” Time urges us to get up and get out there and get busy when God says,”Dear child you have all the time you need. So don’t stress. Stop and linger in my presence for a while.”

The Future—–it stretches out before us–the vast unknown—-we may dread it, but more often, especially when we are young, we look forward to good things happening. We know also, that for that to happen, we have to put forth effort in the present. That may mean working harder and longer hours at our jobs; but neglecting our home and family. It may mean that we spend so much time looking forward that we miss what is happening in the here and now.  We make goals for ourselves and we stretch towards them but are we “stretching toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus” that Paul talks about.

“But God simply says,’Remember Me I will give you everything.”

I take this to say God will give us everything——we need.

David said that he had never seen the righteous begging bread. Jesus talked of how God feeds and provides for the birds. God encourages us, “Put me first and give a tithe of your earnings and I will give it back to you abundantly. ”

God has your life and mine planned. We have enough time to accomplish what He plans for our lives when we use it wisely. Jesus, when he was on earth, did not fret and worry about getting to his next sermon or his next destination because He knew that His Father God had given Him just the right amount of time to complete the course He had planned for His life here on this planet.

When we stop fretting and worrying about, or struggling to look to the future; and place our plans, hopes ,and dreams in His capable hands then trust HIm to guide us in the way which He would have us to go—- then we can relax and realize that whatever happens ;He will be there. If our plans don’t go the way we’d hoped then we have confidence that God has a better plan, a just right plan, for us. If the unexpected happens He knows all about it and no problem is too big for Him to handle.

God desires for you and me to live in the moment and rest in Him. Put Him first in our lives and everything else will come together in it’s own time. God Bless:) And Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

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SOW THE SEED

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A farmer goes out to sow his seed in the ground not knowing what harvest will come. The one thing that is certain is that one seed will produce more than one. From that seed will grow more. For instance a stalk of corn grows several ears.

We, as believers in Christ, are to be seed sowers. In farming the farmer may cast his seed into dry and parched soil with trepidation. What if his labor is in vain? Will the harvest be plenty or few?

It would be a foolish farmer indeed who would look out over his plowed fields,, and for fear of not reaping the great harvest he hopes for, decides to not plant.

So many times we hesitate to sow the seed of God’s Word because we fear. We fear how it will be received if at all. We fear that our feeble attempt to plant one seed will be futile. If you are a writer you know this well. Does it matter if I write today? What will it accomplish? Will the words I write have some success or will they all have to be thrown out and rewritten again and again.

But turning to the Spiritual realm the importance of sowing just that one seed everyday will one day reap a harvest. How do I know that? Because God promises that if we are faithful to Him in giving out His Word along our daily path there will be a reward.

“My beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. for as much as ye know that your laborer is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58

“And let us not be weary in well doing : for in due season, we shall reap, —IF WE FAINT NOT.” Galatians 6:9

When the farmer sows his seed he does not see immediate results. The long growing season must take place before the results of his labor become apparent.

As you go out into the world day after day sharing a smile or a helping hand. As you hand someone a Bible tract or maybe you just simply pray in your heart for someone you see that God lays on your heart to pray for. You most likely will not know on this side of eternity the result of any of these actions on your part. But you can be assured that service for God will never go unrewarded.

“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall  prosper, either this or that, or whether they shall both be alike good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

SOW MORNING AND EVENING.

SOW EARLY AND LATE.

SOW YOUNG AND OLD.

IN SUNSHINE AND IN CLOUDS. ECC. 11:4

WHEN discouraged remember the PARABLE OF THE SOWER. MATTHEW 13:19 AND LEAVE THE RESULTS TO GOD. HE HAS A REWARD FOR THOSE THAT ARE FAITHFUL TO SOW THE SEED OF HIS WORD AND HIS LOVE IN THE FIELD WHICH HE HAS GIVEN THEM.

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ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO BECAME EXTRAORDINARY

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Do you feel too ordinary for God to use? 

Well if you check out the Gospels you will find that that is just what God did. He used ordinary people to forward His gospel and to complete His will for mankind.

Today I want to focus on three of those ordinary people. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Mary and Martha graciously opened their home to Jesus.

Martha lived in the town of Bethany and she excitedly invited Jesus to come to her home for a meal. This first time we meet Martha she is industriously preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples.Luke 10:38-42 Obviously homemaking, cooking, and hospitality were some of her characteristics. She was not a great teacher or prophet. She was a simple home owner that invited Jesus into her home in order to serve Him a meal that He no doubt needed.

Martha’s sister Mary lived with her and, when Jesus entered their home, she quickly sat down before Him to drink in all His Words.  Martha is busy with meal preparation; which is quickly becoming an overwhelming process. Her frustration comes out when she approaches Jesus in verse 40 and asks Jesus to admonish her sister to come and help her.

Jesus next words are probably words most people familiar with the Bible can quote. “Martha, Martha, thou  art careful and troubled about many things.” Jesus could see into Martha’s heart and He knew that her frustration welled up from many worries deep in her heart.

From these Scriptures we gather that Mary was the more ‘noble” one as she sat at Jesus feet drinking in every word but if we look over into John 11:20-27  Martha again and we see a woman who, in spite of her busyness was a good listener as well. In these verse she displays a deep understanding of Jesus’s Words and of Who He Is.

Martha was an ordinary house wife that invited an extraordinary visitor into her home that changed her life for all eternity to come.

In John 12 the focus again turns to Mary when she brings out a pound of ointment of spikenard and anoints Jesus feet using her long thick luxurious hair as a towel. In other references in the Gospel she is referred to as a sinful woman whom God had forgiven much. Other people came to Jesus feet to have their needs met but on this day Mary comes to Jesus feet to worship HIm in gratefulness for the burden of sin that was lifted from her. She also seems to know that His time of his death and sacrifice for all mankind was at hand.

Mary was an ordinary woman living a worldly life but then Jesus came into her life and she was extraordinarily changed forever.

Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha and in the account in John 12 he is seated at the table with Jesus. This is no small thing since some time before he had been dead and now he by Jesus power he was alive and well.

We are not told much about Lazarus’s life. We only learn of him when he becomes ill and the sisters beg for Jesus to come and heal him. The only thing we know about him was that he was dead but Jesus resurrected him from the grave and he was now alive.

Lazarus was an ordinary man that had an extraordinary experience. Because of this he that was dead lived again. He reminds us of all of the ordinary sinners over the centuries that have believed on Jesus and had their inner man(woman)that was dead in trespasses and sins resurrected unto new life in Him.

Maybe you feel today like you are just an ordinary person. But if you have believed upon Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and Savior of your life you are no longer “ordinary’. God has a purpose and plan for you and I promise you it will be extraordinary. Not in the way the world deems extraordinary perhaps but in a much deeper and more meaningful way.

After all Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were just ordinary people until Jesus stepped through the doorway of their abode.

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YOU ARE A GEMSTONE!

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“YE ALSO AS LIVELY STONES, ARE BUILT UP A SPIRITUAL HOUSE, AN HOLY PRIESTHOOD TO OFFER UP SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES , ACCEPTABLE TO GOD BY JESUS CHRIST.” I PETER 2:5

When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we become part of the body of Christ. In the verse above we are compared to LIVING STONES that make up the unseen temple of God. He is the cornerstone upon which we (the building of Christ) are built.

I am thinking today of how in our lives as believers we as LIVING STONES  we are shaped and polished to fit into the place that God has for each of us to reside in “His living temple.”

This process is not always what we expect and it is not always comfortable but in end it brings great results as we shine as a beautiful precious stone of His creation.

Here is what a gem cutter will do to a stone that he decides is worthy of being made into a beautiful creation:

1. He positions the rough stone ( which aptly describes the new believer) on a holder and holds the stone against the edge of a revolving saw to trim off undesirable material. It never fails but just as a new believer is awash in the fresh excitement of his salvation that a time of ‘cutting off of undesirable material” begins.  It is painful but needful. Just like a wise and loving parent will mold and shape the character of his child so will our heavenly Father begin the refining process.

2. The gem cutter selects a shaping wheel and applies an abrasive compound  then holds the stone against it to further shape and grind facets. Now after having some of that undesirable material has been, shall we say, painfully removed. Now begins a slow abrasive process of producing facets in the gem that will make it shimmer and shine. Have you ever held a gem stone up to the light and marveled at those beautiful facets? They didn’t just happened they were designed and planned and sanded into those sparkling facets. Have you ever wondered ,”Why am I going through this trial or affliction? The Great Gem Cutter is sanding you to make you beautiful.

3. Now the gem cutter examines the stone for accuracy by using a magnifying glass ( have you felt like your life has been under a magnifying glass lately?} Now the gem cutter polishes the stone using a felt or canvas covered polishing wheel with polishing compounds.

When we offer up our life into His eternal, loving, and wise hands. He receives it joyfully. Excited about what we are to become in Him. He has many blessings and answers to prayer to generously give us but He will also begin to shape us into the “living stone” that is beautiful for Him.

He takes a life into His omnipotent and skilled hands and begins a work from the rough stone something beautiful will slowly emerge.

He knows just how to cut the stone to bring out the most beauty.

He knows how many facets are needed. Perhaps it is a facet of suffering, a facet of pain, a facet of  disappointment, a facet of loss. Along with facets of joy and blessing and answered prayer.

He will craft the stone of our life with His wise and loving hand until it becomes a work of art.

No stone can shape itself. To be shaped by the mighty Hand of God is a privilege and a gift.

The gem cutter has the very best plan in mind for the gem he is working.

No matter what you are going through today be comforted by the fact that His mighty hand is holding you and shaping you for something better, something wonderful, and something beautiful.

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THE LIGHT

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If you have trusted Christ as your Savior you are—-“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar(set apart) people; that ye should show forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but now the people of God–” I Peter 2:9,10a

You are Spiritual Light bearers into a world of spiritual darkness. “Ye are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. v. 16

Let the Light that is in you shine forth today to those around you. Share the gospel message.
“Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season—–” II Timothy 4:2 In other words no matter how you feel. No matter how your day is going don’t forget to share the good news of the Gospel wherever you go. Always be ready for that opportunity to encourage, witness or share a Bible tract with someone you meet along the way.

SHINE SOME LIGHT INTO THEIR DARKNESS:)

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