Articles for June 2013

Faith Comes By Hearing

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bible-85815_1920_ResizedRomans 10:17-18 (NKJV) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
What are you listening to? If you’re not getting the word into you every day, you’re not putting the right thoughts into your heart and spirit?
Are you a sports nut or a movie-aholic. Do you sit by the television for hours at a time or listen to popular music on the radio until it’s coming out of your ears?   It’s not wrong to listen, watch, etc. in moderation, but you must balance it.
As a Christian, the Word should be the most important thing that you let be absorbed into your life. It should be your source of faith and rule of conduct.
If you have not faith to be healed, to be successful, to be blessed, to be loved, to be free from fear, maybe you’re not spending enough time in the word of God.
Take a look at your day. How much time do you spend in the word? How can you develop your faith if you are not hearing the word?

Be Angry And Sin Not

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Ephesians 4:26-27(NKJV) 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
face-73401_1920_ResizedHave you ever been angry with someone so that it effects your relationship to the point that you don’t speak to them for years? Or done something in your anger that you’re sorry for?
God’s instruction about anger is to save you from being overwhelmed with wrath. Anger only eats at you and makes you bitter inside. You also give the devil a foothold to cause more havoc in your life.
Also, with bitterness, you are not an effective witness for Christ. You are not exemplifying the fruits of the Spirit. You are harming yourself in many ways.
Forgive the way you want God to forgive you. God doesn’t bring your past mistakes up to you. He forgives and forgets. Forgetting doesn’t mean that you don’t remember … our minds don’t work that way … it means that you don’t keep bringing it up to the person that wronged you.
Anger is an emotion, but it’s also a choice. You can choose to stay angry or let it go. In not letting the sun go down upon your wrath, you are making a decision to forgive.
For your sake and others do not let anger fester.

Redemption & Forgiveness

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Before we read the below scripture, let’s look at the word redemption:
Some definitions of Redeem: (Merriam-Webster) a. to buy back, repurchase.  b. to get or win back.
cross-106416_1920_ResizeEphesians 1:7 (KJV) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Wow!  Did you just read the scripture above?  Can you imagine anyone, after knowing all the sins you’ll ever commit in your entire lifetime, redeeming you by shedding his own blood and dying for your sake?
That’s huge!
Not only does Christ buy us back, through him our sins are forgiven. That means we are no longer subject to the punishment for our sins … past, present or future.  Jesus has already dealt with that and taken the punishment on himself.
So, if we fall & commit a sin, the remedy for forgiveness is already in place:
1John 1:9 (KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Redemption is for those who have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior.  If you’re not saved, you can still be saved by confessing that you are a sinner, asking for forgiveness, accepting that Jesus died on the cross and rose again and asking him into your life.
Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, so that you to can be redeemed.
Blessings.

Flesh vs. Spirit

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Okay, so are you having lustful thoughts about another person … maybe a friend, an acquaintance or even an authority figure in your life?  Or maybe you have a problem with lying.  Maybe you have an issue with forgiving someone who wronged you.  Well it all stems from the fact that your flesh is warring with your spirit.
When you were Born Again you became a new and received a new spirit.  2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
But the flesh was not made new.  So how can we control our flesh? One way is through fasting, but the major component is the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 (KJV) 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.
Your body will follow your mind.  You have to renew the mind because there is evil out there at every turn. Romans 7:21-23 (KJV) 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
We can’t do it alone, but with Christ we can do all things.  We renew our mind by reading the word.  Get the word into your heart and mind. Philippians 4:8 (KJV) 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.  Romans 10:17 (KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Psalm 119:11 (KJV) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Being A Person Of Good Character

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clause-67401 copyScenario 1

So you’re on a diet and you go to the supermarket and pick up groceries for the week and you try to pass the cookie aisle, but they’re calling to you.  You say to yourself, “what’s one cookie going to hurt?” and you put them in your cart.  Several aisles later you feel guilty and decide that you’re not going to get them after all.  Oh, but you don’t feel like walking back 3 or 4 aisles.  ‘I’ll just place it here by the aspirin; someone who works here will see it and put it back where it belongs,’ you convince yourself.

Scenario 2

You’re in the office and your children need school supplies, but why should you have to pay for them when your office has plenty of what you’ll need?  You decide that you’ll only take the bare minimum, so you only take two of everything (pencils, pens, notebooks and tape).  There, you think, no one will miss them.  They have plenty of everything.

Scenario 3

You say you really love your spouse and you tell them that all the time, but you are sleeping with another person behind their back.

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So what’s the problem?  It’s just a few things I’m taking; they can afford it, or I’m not taking anything, just leaving it out of place or I just need something that my spouse isn’t giving me.

The problem is that you’re not living a lifestyle that honors God.  You are acting out of the character that God wants for you.  Even if, to you, it’s just a small infraction, it’s still not the right thing to do.

Philippians 1:27 (NIV) Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.

It’s what you do when people aren’t looking that speaks about your character.



Pride Turned Inside

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Pride Turned Inside

silhouette-68957_1920_ResizedWhy is it that depression can take over in a millisecond? We don’t get our way or someone doesn’t pay us the attention we think we deserve and our reservoir of self-esteem takes a nosedive.
How is it that we can have Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and still have low self-esteem?  Are we not doing something right?  It might be that people made fun of you when you were a kid or even as an adult and made you feel low, but you have to try to get over that.  Climb out of that pit that you want to hide in.
I’ve heard it said that low self-esteem is pride turned inward.  Well I guess thinking about yourself all the time is pride no matter if you are puffed up by the attention or disappointed from lack of it. So how can we get over the pride that turns inward (depression, low self esteem)? 
Here are some Bible verses that may help:
 

 

Genesis 1:27 (ESV) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Luke 12:7 (ESV) Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Philippians 4:13 (ESV) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Psalm 139:14 (ESV) I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Those are just a few verses.  Encourage yourself.  Look up more verses and make them a part of you. Meditate on them and try to remember how much God loves you.  After all, you don’t send your son to die for someone who is not worth it.
John 3:16-17 (ESV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

 

Storms and Comfort

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Storms and Comfort
texas-79940_1920_Cropped_ResizedAs I sat and listened to the Thunderstorm today, a warm comforting feeling swelled up inside me, very contrary to the fear and dread others feel at the mere mention of the word Thunder.  That’s because my mother didn’t treat a storm as something to be feared.  She made it a fun and wondrous event for my siblings and me.  She would help us drape sheets over the chairs and create a make-shift tent, bring us hot chocolate and cookies or juice.  We had a great time.
I always felt safe and protected through the storm and the feeling has lasted all these years later.  I wish everyone could  have that feeling.
In fact everyone can.  If you put your trust in Jesus he will see you through any storm:
Mark 4:35-39 (NIV) 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

The “i” in Pride

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people-40096_ResizedThe “i” in Pride
Why is it so hard to swallow pride?
Do we always have to be right?
What is it about us that can’t let something go?
We rehearse our defiance in our heads,
Playing out how we will get our way,
Why do we let things fester instead of keeping the peace?
We consider ourselves more than others.
Pride goes before destruction … isn’t that how it goes?
So if we know that, why can’t we let pride go?
Perhaps because it’s not within our power,
Perhaps we are once again depending on the “i” in pride,
Instead of humbling ourselves and depending on God.
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 Hear are some helpful verses that might help us to give up pride:
1 Peter 5:6 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
James 4:6 (ESV) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
 Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) If my people who are called by my name 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.

Grateful for…

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Recently I broke my foot and though most people would look on this as a sorrowful thing, I can only feel joy and gratefulness.
Don’t get me wrong, I will be elated when I can walk on my own two feet again and wouldn’t wish that anyone should find themselves without the use of a limb, but it has done a world of good for my outlook on life. 
Now, I no longer take any part of the body for granted.  For without the eyes how will one see and without the ears how will one hear?  How will I hold the ones dear to me without my hands and how will I breathe without the nose and lungs?
silhouettes-78013_1920_ResizedAs with the material body, so is the body of Christ.  We are all given our gifts talents and abilities and all have a part to play.  When we don’t use that which God freely gave us, we become like a body that is missing a part that makes it function to its full potential. 
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one and we are one in them.  Let us not be ungrateful and keep our gifts to ourselves, instead let us bless the body of Christ by being the best we can be, leaving not one behind, but encouraging each other to do good to the building up the body of Christ.

Cold Wind

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Cold Wind
(Written by Joyce P. Fields)

key-west-86025_1920_ResizedCold winds blow indoors too,
In the minds and attitudes of people,
They infect us until we’re cold inside,
Then the cold wind blows from us to our friends and neighbors.

It’s like a virus, taking over everything it meets,
What if anything can stop it?
It eats away at our souls,
Like a cancer, it permeates our lives.
It makes us the very disease we’ve been trying so hard to fight.

And then out of nowhere, someone with enough strength to fight,
Comes into our lives, gets into the battle and destroys the disease.

It was so easy.  Why didn’t we see it?
All it took was a smile.