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THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONALS Empty Re: THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONALS

Post  Admin on Wed 18 Sep 2019, 10:01 pm

Each of us has a beauty that longs to be revealed and released. It is you at your best! - Max Lucado
__________________________________________________

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL

WAITING IN MOAB
 
Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in
his salvation.  For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain and
Moab shall be trampled down in his place.  God will spread out his hands
in the midst of it.  Isaiah 25:9-11
 
From it's very beginning, the land of Moab was cursed. Moab was born to Lot and his daughter; incest was the foundation of their history.  As the nation grew stronger, they became more evil.  They practiced sorcery, open adultery, incest, and prostitution.  They even threw any unwanted children into the fire. 
When Moab is spoken of metaphorically in scripture, it refers to any place where evil reigns and God is dishonored.
 
As a nation, we are residing in Moab.  We are waiting for the Lord's salvation.  He is the One who will bring down the pride of His enemies, stripping them of the very things they are proud of. He will break their power and disable their ability to sin.  He will destroy all their fortresses.  While we wait, we have great hope in the promises of a God who preserves his people until the day of deliverance.
 
‘Living in Moab' can also describe the personal existence of many of God's children.  Maybe you are one of them.  Moab may represent your home.  You co-exist with unbelievers who are resistant to the very idea of Christ Jesus.  Sin and idolatry are at the center of your loved one's life.  They sin boldly without the slightest wince. The closer you get to Jesus, the more friction you feel in your 'Moab'.
 
If any of us trace back the history of our Moab-like existence, we discover bad foundations.  Just as the people of the Moabites began with an act of incest, our Moab began with seeds of unrighteousness.  Unless the very foundations are examined and sins acknowledged, Moab cannot be saved.
 
The land of Moab can characterize a nation, a home, a business, and even a church.  Every living entity has a beginning; a righteous or unrighteous inception.  Many try to invoke God's blessing on their Titanic.  They are painting and redecorating their sinking ship and prayers for blessing are an affront to a holy God.
 
Could God save the likes of a Moabite?  Oh yes.  Look at Ruth.  A daughter of Moab left her homeland and turned her face toward Yahweh to humbly follow Him.  From her line, came our Savior.          
 
If you dwell with Moabites and God has not delivered you out of their hand, be joyful in Hope, yet humble.  Pray for their salvation.  One of them could be a 'Ruth'.  And when there is blatant sin, ask God for the strength to speak the words of Jesus. He set for us an example ~ for He modeled ministry against the backdrop of Jewish religiosity and the Roman Empire. 

…..as seen in Daughters of Promise by way of Kim Quiggle (cheer316kim@sc.rr.com) and “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)

____________________________________________________________________


SURVEYING THE CRISIS OF WORSHIP
 
There is a crisis of worship in our land. People are staying away from church in droves. One survey indicated that the two chief reasons people drop out of church are that it is boring and irrelevant.
 
If people find worship boring and irrelevant, it can only mean they have no sense of the presence of God in it. When we study the act of worship in Scripture and church history, we discover a variety of human responses to the sense of the presence of God. Some
people tremble in terror, falling with their faces to the ground; others weep in mourning; some are exuberant in joy; still others are reduced to a pensive silence. Though the responses differ, one reaction we never find is boredom. It is impossible to be bored in
the presence of God (if you know that He is there).
 
Neither is it possible for a sentient creature to find his or her encounter with God a matter of irrelevance. Nothing—and no one—is more relevant to human existence than the living God.
 
Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God.
 
Do you find worship boring and irrelevant? If so, pray for a renewed sense of God's presence.
 
For Further Study:
 
Psalms 95:6: "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker."
 
Psalm 34:1: "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
 
Psalm 50:23: "Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God."
 
…..as seen in In the Presence of God by way of Cup O’Cheer (cheer316kim@sc.rr.com) and “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONALS Empty 10 Ways to Respond to a Loved One Exhibiting Signs of Depression

Post  Admin on Fri 13 Sep 2019, 11:11 am

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/10-ways-to-respond-to-a-loved-one-exhibiting-signs-of-depression.html?
10 Ways to Respond to a Loved One Exhibiting Signs of Depression
Carrie Lowrance
Crosswalk Contributor
10 Ways to Respond to a Loved One Exhibiting Signs of Depression
“And now my life seeps away. Depression haunts my days.” Job 30:16 (NLT)

One of the hardest things to do is watch a loved one who is exhibiting signs of depression. You know something is wrong, but you don’t know what it is. You try to remember if they told you about any situations or relationships that may have caused the issue, but you can’t come up with anything. It’s hard to know what to do or what to say. You don’t want to say the wrong thing, but you don’t always know what the right thing is either. This is especially true if they either don’t acknowledge it or don’t want to talk about it. Sometimes our loved ones do acknowledge it and push us away.

So, what are some good ways to respond to a person with depression?


1. Ask if they want to talk about it.

Start by asking your loved one if they want to talk about it. If they say “No.” then let it rest. They may get agitated or defensive but don’t take it personally. Giving them some space will be the best thing for them and eventually, they may come and talk to you.

If they do choose to talk to you, sit down with them and give them your undivided attention. Look them in the eyes so they know that you are listening to every word they say.


2. Tell them they are not alone.

Let your loved one know that they are not alone. Depression can be isolating and many people feel they have to handle it on their own. They feel like others will not understand or make light of their situation. By telling them they are not alone, it lets them know that they have your support.

3. Ask if they would like a hug.
Slide 3 of 10
Sometimes hugs are like a balm to the soul. They have healing powers that words sometimes don’t. The simplest act of physical touch-hugs, hand holding, etc can make a world of difference and enhance your loved one’s security in their relationship with you. Don't underestimate the power of something so simple.


4. Don’t ask why.

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but here is why I say this. I have a friend who suffers from depression. One of the things he appreciates most about me is that I never ask why he is depressed. I never push or ask a lot of questions. I let him know that I am sorry he is feeling this way and that I am here for him when he needs me. If he chooses, he can come to me and explain why he is feeling the way he is. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. And that is okay. However, not asking why keeps the lines of our communication open.


5. Remind them that they have worth and value.

Remind your loved one of their worth and how much not only you love them but Jesus loves them as well. Remind them that you see more than the depression they are going through, you see them as Jesus does, for we have great worth to him. Let your loved one know how valuable they are to you, those around them, and Jesus. Let them know the ways they bring value to the world and to the relationships around them. Tell them they are priceless.

“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold … but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19). 

(And if God was willing to pay the highest price in the universe to redeem them, then they are truly of infinite value.)

6. Remind them that they are important.
Slide 6 of 10
Tell your loved one how important they are. Reflect on the ways they are important to those around them and in their community. For example, if they were not a great leader at their company or a committed volunteer at the animal shelter, it wouldn’t be the same because of their unique contribution to society everyday. Tell them how important they are to you too.


7. Ask them how you can best help them.

Sometimes it’s easy for us just to assume what people need. Ask your loved one how you can best help them and listen closely. The answer you may hear may be hard to swallow (“I just want to be alone.” or “I don’t want to talk to anyone.”) but try to respect their needs as much as you can.

8. Tell them they are loved.

I often will tell my friends who suffer depression that they are loved more than they could ever comprehend. I also remind them that I can still see the best in them even if they can’t in this particular time and place. They also know that there is nothing they could ever do to push me away. I strive to love them like Jesus loves me.


9. Help them find resources.
If your loved one has decided that they need help, offer to assist them with finding the right resources. There is a chance they may be feeling too bad to do it themselves. Remember that the fact that they have come to this realization in the first place is a good step in them getting better. You may even want to offer to go with them and take the first step for support.


10. Pray.
Depression can be a delicate thing. Watching your loved one suffer is so hard, and yet, it is easy to still be at a loss. Are you still struggling with not knowing what to say or what to do? You can pray right now.

Dear Lord,
You know my heart is breaking for my loved one and you see the pain they are going through. You know that I want to help but I am at a loss as to what to do. Please help me in this situation with my loved one. Please give me the wisdom and discernment to hear your voice as to what I should say or do. Soften my heart so that I can empathize with them and give them the best comfort possible. Please help them to see my questions and reminders as a way of showing how much I care for them and not to be overbearing. If they need help finding resources, please bring them to my attention in such a way that I will know they came from you. If it is your will that I accompany my loved one to their first doctor’s or counseling appointment, please help my loved one to open up to me. I pray for peace, comfort, wisdom and healing for all parties involved. In your name I pray. Amen.

Carrie Lowrance is a freelance writer and author. She has been featured on Huffington Post, Bon Bon Break, The Penny Hoarder, Parentmap, etc. She is also the author of three books of poetry and one children’s book, Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green). She writes her own child care blog at www.freelancebylowrance.com.
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 Sep 2019, 1:34 pm

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL
 
FROM START TO FINISH
 
“God’s Word is a lamp to my feet, a light for my path.” (Psalm 119: 105)
 
“I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways. I will delight
in Your principles and not forget Your Word.” (Psalm 119:15,16)
 
“Forever O’ Lord, Your Word stands firm in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89)
 
“This Good News was promised long ago by God through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.’(Romans 1:2)
 
One of the best gifts God has given to us is the ability to read; and along with that gift, He has given us His written Word, the Bible. Inside this wonderful volume, we find sixty-six books, all written under the inspiration of God over a period of several hundred years. The Bible from start to finish points us to Jesus Christ, God’s precious Son.
 
Jesus, himself, when speaking to two disheartened disciples enroute to Emmaus, said, “Wasn’t it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering His time of glory? Then Jesus quoted passages from the writings of Moses and all the prophets explaining what all the scriptures said about Himself.” (Luke 24:26,27)
 
Some people feel the Old Testament is irrelevant. That is far from the case. In it, God talks about creation. He explains how everything was perfect and how He made man in His own image, breathing life into him, and giving him the job of caring for the world. The Word, Jesus, was present at creation: “Christ is the One through whom God created everything in heaven and on earth.” - Col. 1:16
 
Not long after, one disobedient act by the first two people created occurred, bringing sin to the world. God spoke to the enticer saying, “From now on, you and the woman will be enemies and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head and you will strike His heel.”(Genesis 3:15) A Messiah would come and the enemy would be crushed.
 
Many prophets foretold the coming of this special One: “Unto us a Son is born, unto us a child is given and the government will be upon His shoulder and He will be called wonderful, counselor, mighty God everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.(Isaiah :9) Other prophecies spoke of His virgin birth, His humiliation, His crucifixion and resurrection.
 
Many of the Psalms speak of the Christ who was to come: “My God, My God. Why have you forsaken Me?”(Psalm 22) “Your throne O’ God is forever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom, You love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore Your God has anointed you with oil of gladness more than Your
companions. (Psalm 45:6, 7) Several others speak of the Lord’s ministry and His position as the chief cornerstone of God’s church.
 
The New Testament gives the fulfillment of many prophecies foretold in the Old. We read of the Messiah who did come, His many teachings, His death and resurrection. The Bible ends with these words spoken by Jesus: “I am the Alpha and the Omega – the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”(Rev. 22:13)
 
From beginning to the end, God’s Word is relevant. Dig in and enjoy the read!
 
…..Pat Earl (brian.earl@sympatico.ca) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Sep 2019, 9:17 pm

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL

I’LL GIVE YOU TIME TO GO NUMB
 
I had a dental appointment this week and after the inevitable injection before a little drilling the technician said while leaving the room, "I’ll give you a little time to go numb." Of course this brought up the question, “How much time does it take to go numb?”
 
What comes to mind in a religious sense; is how much time does it take to harden your heart? How much time does it take before you feel no sense of guilt when you no longer look to God for guidance, let alone worship him?
 
I know so many people who at one time had a love for God and a love for his church; then unexpectedly it seems that they are no longer interested. They lost their joy; the joy of gathering with others; to worship the God of the universe. Sometimes I hear comments such as: "Going to church just doesn't excite me anymore,"  "I can worship as well at home," or "I find God on the lake or golf course."
 
How long does it take for someone to go numb? Going numb is when you have a lack of feeling. Could it be the responsibility of the people or place you have been worshiping? Possibly it is, but more than likely it is a change in your own heart that has taken place. Could you be going numb? Maybe you are already there!
 
The church at Ephesus was a shining light for God before the people of the world. They have a whole book of the bible devoted to the church there, most of it positive. Yet, in Revelation 2:4-5 we read a message from God for them. He says, "But I have this against you, that you left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works again; or else I come to you, and will move your candlestick out of its place, unless you repent and return to loving me and putting me first."
 
How did that happen? How could this God loving, Mission supporting, Evangelist church forget God? When did they go numb? The answer is, One day at a time… one thought at a time…one action at a time and before they knew it they no longer felt what they had before for God and His church.
 
How about you, how are you doing?
 
…..Kim Quiggle (cheer316kim@sc.rr.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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Post  Admin on Wed 26 Jun 2019, 10:44 am

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL
 
Abundant Life
 
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher in Ecclesiastes 1:2b unless
we “fear God and keep his commandments.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13b. (NIV)
 
And Jesus, the Good Shepherd, says, “I am come that they might have
life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10: 10 (KJV)
 
The wisdom of Ecclesiastes makes it clear that Solomon, the likely author, found everything in life meaningless without God. He found that going his own way in accomplishing works or seeking pleasure or courting wisdom was worthless unless he obeyed the word of God and kept His commandments. Living selfishly or immorally outside of God’s directions for the good life ruins self-worth and takes the joy out of what God meant to give us for a joyful, abundant life.
 
Accomplishments and hard won achievements bless us if we work for the right reasons and with God’s guidance. Works done for power or selfish ends, for pride or the praise of the world become a form of vanity.
 
Gain that brings the meeting of genuine needs is a blessing. Amassing more than we need for the sake of possessing and controlling and manipulating ultimately brings sorrow and emptiness. Things or riches are no substitute for the blessing of God.
 
Love of others and love of one special spouse can bring us endless joy if we remember the advice of Scripture. Love outside of Christian marriage or without proper regard for the needs of others can bring sorrow and loneliness, with a sense of being incomplete or worthless and empty.
 
The list could go on, but the truth clearly emerges. The abundant life comes for each of us when we obey God and live within Bible guidelines. This blunt conclusion may seem inhuman and harsh to some, but those immersed in trying to live the Christian life find joy and fulfillment and the blessing of God.
 
A recent movie shown at church entitled “The Song” was a modern day rendering of Ecclesiastes that made these truths very clear. While the movie was hard to watch during some parts, it made the inevitable truths of Scripture very evident through the example of the musician who sinned and repented. 
 
While Jesus came to free us from slavery to sin and from self-righteous practice of God’s law without agape love, the Spirit brings truth and the conviction of sin. The Spirit brings the guidance and strength of the law lived with love.
 
…..Mary-Ellen Grisham (meginrose@gmail.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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Post  Admin on Wed 19 Jun 2019, 11:03 pm

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL
 
QUOTES ON MISSION WORK
 
Many of us cannot reach the mission fields on our feet, but we can reach them on our knees.
 
We will never bring all the world into Christ until we bring Christ into all the world.
 
God’s standards for missions:
    Those of God
    With the Word of God
    In the Spirit of God
    For the glory of God.
 
We’ll have no faith in the mission before us unless we have faith in the Master behind us.
 
Every heart without Christ is a mission field, and every heart with Christ is a missionary.
 
We’ll never get others to obey the great commands until we obey the great commission!
 
We cannot expect the world to react to the Word, till we act on it!
 
We’ll never get excited over sowing the seed, till we get excited over seeing the need!”
 
We can’t make Christ mean anything to others, till we make Him mean everything to us!
 
Let’s not jeeringly say, “Look what the world is coming to,” but joyfully say, “Look what has come to the world!”
 
We will make more conversions, when we have more convictions!
 
We’ll never get others to see the joy of claiming Christ, till we get ourselves to see the joy of proclaiming Christ!
 
We’ll never be challenged by seeing through our task, till we recognize the challenge of seeing our task through!
 
We’ll never really consider the lost, till we stop considering the cost.
 
We’ll quit trying to save money, only when we really start trying to save men!
 
We’ll be in a better position to help, when we are in a better disposition to help!
 
We won’t have to pay the penalty in the reaping, if we are willing to pay the price in the sowing!
 
…..Cup O'Cheer (cheer316@sc.rr.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)


A Song of Joy
 
There are times when we feel that we are not as close to God as we could be. Perhaps stress, anger, troubled circumstances, fear, or busy schedules make us feel that we are not staying as open to the guidance of God and His Word as we should be. We may even feel a little alienated or estranged from fellow Christians and not quite in sync with worship. 
 
We realize from reading God’s Word that many Bible people experienced these times of trial, doubt, or testing, with the accompanying feelings of loneliness and separation. Some were tested and gave in to sin. Many hesitated in doing God’s will. Names that come readily to mind are Moses (who didn’t like public speaking), David (who let his desires take control for a time), Jonah (who was a little picky about where he wanted to preach), and even Elijah (who after major victories still hid-out and despaired of life). Job, ever faithful to God, is still tried and tested as are Jesus’ disciples, Peter most notably perhaps.
 
Sometimes we grieve deeply because of recurring “triggers” in our lives that make us fall short. These aggravations and sore points conquer us again and again. With prayer and Bible reading, we can get wise to ourselves and begin to re-structure typical behavior responses so that lashing out can give way to a more controlled response or disciplined behavior.
 
Some, however, become so dissatisfied with their behavior that they think of themselves as unworthy and go so far as to pull away from regular worship and try to replace church and Christian fellowship with a variety of unsatisfying substitutes that only make them feel worse. In this way, they take themselves from the spiritual nourishment that could remedy their life situation and from the caring relationships that could supply comfort.
 
Even in all these circumstances, if we stop to consider carefully, we know that God, through Jesus, understands all these human situations and concerns. Through Jesus, he has confronted all these conflicts, trials, and temptations, and through Jesus, we can still triumph in our daily walk.
 
We can first of all begin by being thankful that God knows and understands and continues reaching toward us with love. We can be thankful for Bible truth and caring friends who keep reaching to us with guidance, wisdom, and love. We can be thankful for our church family and for caring pastors who love their people and live their lives
in steady concern and fellowship, never removing themselves from ordinary life but participating fully with love and kindness.
 
And as we run back to God, he runs to us. The outpouring of joy that envelops us as we realize that nothing can separate us from the love of God, through Christ Jesus, becomes our biggest source of thanksgiving… and praise.
 
And in the stillness of inner peace, we find our true being and purpose in praising the Lord and in loving and serving others. We are ready to sing our song of joy and thanksgiving to our Lord.
 
…..Mary-Ellen Grisham (sonsong@charter.net) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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Post  Admin on Wed 12 Jun 2019, 2:08 pm

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL
 
Forty-nine years ago (July 20, 1969), two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon.
 
But, what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it. I'm talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it in Guideposts magazine.
 
The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life; and, knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt that he should mark the occasion somehow. He asked his minister to help him and so the minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine. Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth's orbit and onto the surface of the moon. He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement:
 
    “This is the LM (Lunar Module) pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” 
 
He then ended radio communication, and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion.
 
Here is his account of what happened:
 
"In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the scripture: 'I am the vine, you are the branches Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit ... Apart from me you can do nothing.'
 
"I had intended to read my communion passage back to Earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew's reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly."
 
"I ate the tiny toast and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon and the very first food eaten there were the communion elements."
 
"And, of course, it's interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon - and who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the "Love that moves the Sun and other stars."
 
How many of you knew this? Too bad this type of news doesn't travel as fast as the bad does.
 
Share with others you know.
 
The nicest place to be is in someone's thoughts, the safest place to be is in someone's prayers, and the very best place to be is in the hands of God.
 
…..Shared by a member of the “Christian Voices” family by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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Post  Admin on Fri 24 May 2019, 2:14 pm

BE ALERT
 
Watch! Be alert! For you don't know when the time is coming. (Mark 13:33 (HCSB))
 
Thoughts! Anyone who is a seasoned hunter knows to always be alert, watching for your quarry. We learn a skill like this through our mistakes. On one particular archery elk hunt, I thought I was doing my best--moving slowly and watching intently for movement or the shape or color of an elk through the trees. But what I didn't do was to notice the huge bull elk bedded down behind a log just 20 yards in front of me. Of course, he spooked and I never even got an arrow knocked for a shot.
 
Jesus instructs us to be watching for signs of His return, well-grounded in our relationship with Him, and knowing what His Word says about the end times. I pray that you and I will be alert and ready with anticipation for the day He comes again!!! Maybe today!!!

 …..Cup O'Cheer (cheer316@sc.rr.com) by way of “Christian Voices’ (christianvoices@att.net)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?
 
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24–25
 
A funny thing about very small children is that when they are hungry, they can't say they are hungry. Nor can they feed themselves. So they just start crying, and you are trying to figure out what the problem is. Then you realize they are just hungry. A lot of times new believers just need to be fed. They need to be given the Word of God.
 
When children start to eat, they obviously start with nursing or a bottle. Then they move on to baby food. Then they move on to little bits of food. You don't give a child a porterhouse steak to begin with. A child needs help in being nurtured.
 
The same is true of new believers. We need to help them as they are starting to dig into the Word of God. That means sitting down with them, reading the Bible with them, and explaining it to them.
 
And let me tell you something: This is a fringe benefit. As you watch a new believer discover God's Word for the first time, you will rediscover it for yourself. Sometimes we have heard things so many times that we start to take them for granted. Oh, yeah . . . yeah . . . yeah . . . I have heard about that. Oh, yeah . . . I know the definition of justification. Oh, yeah . . . I know all about forgiveness. Oh, yeah . . . I know about the Rapture and the Second Coming. I know all of this stuff.
 
They don't. And when you tell them about it, they are saying, "What? Are you kidding me?"
 
New believers will energize you as you stabilize them. Discipling others - that is our job as followers of Jesus Christ.
 
…..Cup O'Cheer (cheer316@sc.rr.com) by way of “Christian Voices’ (christianvoices@att.net)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
No Unfinished Works of Grace
I have not had the opportunity to travel much, but several years ago my dad won a trip to Italy through his business and he asked me to go along. A highlight of the trip was visiting Florence, the great city of the Renaissance.
 
One afternoon out of curiosity I went to a museum where the some works of Michelangelo were displayed. As we viewed the half-finished sculpture of St. Matthew the tour guide explained that this unfinished work was a prime example of Michelangelo’s philosophy of art. He believed that in a stone there was a figure or statue waiting to be released.

The work of the artist was to free the statue from the stone. The statute was so lifelike that I thought any minute St. Matthew might just step out of that huge stone. As I looked at the half-finished statute, I could see that the artist had begun to free the statue but had not been able to complete it. The tour guide went on to explain that Michelangelo had numerous works he never finished.
 
As I thought about God’s work in us, I realized that God has begun a work in us to conform us to the image of Christ. However, unlike Michelangelo, God does not stop working in our lives until he finishes what he intends to accomplish. According to Philippians 1:6, God will finish what He has started. Ultimately, God has no unfinished works of grace.
 
                              "Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun
               a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)
 
……Dr. Ron Meeks, Blue Mountain College by way of The Daily Encourager (third_wall@comcast.net) and “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
 
GIVE THANKS!

Greg Anderson, in "Living Life on Purpose" tells a story about a man whose wife had left him. He was completely depressed. He had lost faith in himself, in other people, in God - he found no joy in living. One rainy morning this man went to a small neighborhood restaurant for breakfast.
Although several people were at the diner, no one was speaking to anyone else. Our miserable friend hunched over the counter, stirring his coffee with a spoon.
In one of the small booths along the window was a young mother with a little girl. They had just been served their food when the little girl broke the sad silence by almost shouting, "Momma, why don't we say our prayers here?"

The waitress who had just served their breakfast turned around and said, "Sure, honey, we can pray here. Will you say the prayer for us?" And she turned and looked at the rest of the people in the restaurant and said, "Bow your heads."

Surprisingly, one by one, the heads went down. The little girl then bowed her head, folded her hands, and said, "God is great, God is good, and we thank him for our food. Amen."

That prayer changed the entire atmosphere. People began to talk with one another. The waitress said, "We should do that every morning."

"All of a sudden," said our friend, "my whole frame of mind started to improve. From that little girl's example, I started to thank God for all that I did have and stopped majoring in all that I didn't have. I started to be grateful."

"In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
(1 Thes. 5:18)
 
…..The Daily Encourager (third_wall@comcast.net) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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Post  Admin on Wed 17 Apr 2019, 11:28 am

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL
 
CIRCLES OF LOVE
 
It was over 20 years ago. I was holding my baby son in my arms while my two other children played under a big tree in the front yard of an old house. The house was also a local food bank, and I was watching my children while my wife went in. I had been laid off work for a long time, and we were out of food. I tried to laugh as my children chased each other around the tree, but my heart was too heavy. Despair hung around me like a cloud. All I could feel was fear. Finally my wife came out holding a large bag of food, and we smiled at each other. Thanks to the kindness of others our children would not go hungry that night.
 
It was yesterday. I found myself outside the doors of another food bank. Thanks to the kindness of a kindred spirit, I had some extra money in my wallet and a longing to share this gift with others. I went to the local grocery store and bought what I could with what I had. Then I carried in the bags of food to help restock the food bank's sparse shelves. The people there thanked me several times, but I felt a little embarrassed as I accepted their gratitude. I was, after all, only completing a circle of kindness that began over twenty years ago.
 
This world is full of circles of love. Every smile we share, thing we give, and act of kindness we do flows out from us to touch others. Then it continues on going from heart to heart and soul to soul until it circles the world and returns to us again. I was just happy to take my place in one of those circles yesterday and to pass on the loving-kindness that had been shared with me.
 
Don't be afraid to take your own place in these circles of love. A kind word, a caring smile, a gentle touch, a helping hand, or a simple act of charity can change another's life and this world as well. Circle all of your days with love then. Love will warm your heart. Love will bring you joy. Love will spiral you to Heaven and always lead you back to God.
 
……Joseph J. Mazzella (joemazzella@frontier.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
_________________________________________________________________________________________
 
THE JARS
The preacher placed two identical jars on the table next to the pulpit. He quoted I Samuel 16:7 -

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
He explained, "These jars came from the same factory, were made of the same materials, and can hold the same amount. But they are different."  Then he upset one of the jars and it oozed out honey. He turned over the other jar and vinegar spilled out.

"When a jar is upset, whatever is in it comes out. Until the jars were upset, they looked alike. The difference lay within, and could not be seen. When they were upset, their contents were revealed. Until we are upset, we put on a good front. But when we are upset, we reveal our innermost thoughts and attitudes, for "out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). 

What if someone tipped you over today? What would flow out? Would you reveal the "honey" of grace and patience, or the "vinegar" of anger and sarcasm?
 
…..The Daily Encourager (dlangerfeld@harrisburgbaptist.org) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
______________________________________________________________________________________
 
On Eagle's Wings
 
This afternoon as I sat on our front porch enjoying the October sunshine, my gaze was drawn upward toward the blue sky. High above the trees, two birds were flying. As I watched the movement of their wings, I detected a definite difference. The smaller of the two flapped its wings quickly, over and over again. Movement required a lot of work on the part of the bird. The larger bird soared upward with the greatest of ease, gliding on air currents, moving quickly and effortlessly to its destination.
 
As Christians travelling through life, we often resemble one bird or the other. For some of us the journey is arduous. We believe the Bible, but we also believe that we have to work hard to be good, to be kind, to obey God's commandments, to please our Heavenly Father. From morning until night, we flap our wings and at the end of the day fall into bed exhausted, disappointed with our slow progress.
 
Others move through life wrapped in an aura of peace and joy. Pausing, listening, flapping, gliding, drawn toward their destination by a still small voice they have learned to heed. When the winds of trouble blow, and the storms of life come their way, they take shelter until it’s safe to soar once more.
 
What is it that makes the difference? Both love the Lord. Both desire to follow and be the people God desires them to be. The answer can be found in Isaiah 40:31 -
 
“Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.
They will fly high on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary
They will walk and not faint.”
 
Waiting is the key. Abiding in Jesus. Letting Him work in and through us. Resting and being renewed. This requires faith and trust. Faith to believe that God has a plan and He will never lead us astray. Trust to allow our Sovereign Lord to work out His purposes in our lives, knowing that whatever happens will in the end be for our good and His glory. Just as one bird relied on air currents, allowing it to soar into the blue, we too, relying on God, can travel life's journey on wings of eagles. We can run and not grow weary. We can walk and not faint.
 
……© Pat Earl (brian.earl@sympatico.ca) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
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Post  Admin on Fri 15 Feb 2019, 1:49 am

THOUGHT PROVOKING - INSPIRATIONAL

A CHILDLIKE AMAZEMENT
    
Matthew 18:3 "And He said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become
    like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'"

When my daughter was four years old, we read about young Samuel. While discussing this story, my daughter showed me the excited faith God calls us to maintain. Perhaps her faith could teach us all...

As a young boy, Samuel was ministering with an old priest named Eli. One night God called to Samuel, but Samuel thought it was Eli's voice. Eli said he didn't call and told Samuel to go back to bed. After God called a few more times, Samuel realized who was calling and Answered: "Speak, for Your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10). God then gave Samuel a message - but the message was all about Eli.

My daughter asked, "Why did God speak to Samuel if the message was really to Eli?" We talked about how we must be ready and willing to hear God. I said Eli may have had some problems or distractions in his life which kept him from hearing God, so God spoke His message through a child. I said little kids (like her) can often hear God better than older people (like me).

"But, I don't hear God talk to me," she said, with a little disappointment in her voice. I explained how God doesn't usually speak so we can hear Him with our ears; rather, His Spirit speaks to our heart and we hear Him as we listen to our heart. Her little eyes widened, "Like today when I was going to sit on one of the baby toys - Jesus told my heart I was too big and shouldn't do it so I listened to what He said."
I encouraged her that this is exactly how God speaks to us, we just need to learn how to listen and then obey. My daughter thought for a moment and then slowly shook her head in amazement: "Wow! That's sooooo cool!!"

Heavenly Father, I pray that Your Word never becomes just an interesting collection of stories. You created us, loved us, and will one day call us Home to be with You for all eternity - and Father, that's sooooo cool!! Help us to come into Your presence with a thankful and loving heart. Strengthen our faith every day and allow us to continually look on You and Your wonders with a childlike amazement.

Have a Christ Centered Day!

….. By Steve Troxel, God's Daily Word Ministries, www.gdwm.org) Edited] by way of Cup O’Cheer (cheer316@sc.rr.com) and “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
________________________________________________________
         
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but
          to those of us being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18)

The message of the cross is the power of God. 

2000 years ago, God decided it was time to build a bridge and show His beloved creations the way home. But sinful man could not approach a holy God without the covering of blood from a sacrifice. It was time to make the final sacrifice. 

God knew that we needed help. As we drifted farther and farther from His heart, God knew that we needed a Savior who could how us God’s character, and who would save us from the sin that threatened to cut us off from eternity with God.

And so God the Father sent His son. The Son that was present at the creation of the world. The Son that was not created, but created all things. The Son who sits at the right hand of the Father, equal in majesty and power. 

Jesus was sent into a world that was looking for someone else. Oh yes, the people of God were waiting for a Savior. Only they wanted a warrior, someone big and flamboyant.   

But this was not to be. Jesus was a man with dusty feet, a ragged band of followers, and no bed to rest His head at night, no powerful earthly kings to protect His interests.   

Was this Israel’s long-awaited savior? This man preached about loving enemies, forgiving those who offend you, esteeming others as better than yourself. His words proclaimed a way of life that was foreign to the people’s ears. They must have thought, “If we don’t defend ourselves, and protect our rights, then who will?” 

You see, these people had been oppressed. They knew they needed a savior. But not this kind of man.

But oh, what a man this was.   

In His Name demons fled, dead men came alive, blind people saw, lame people walked. 
In His Name water was turned into wine and people’s secrets were revealed
In His Name darkness fled because it could not bear the light.

This was no ordinary man. This was God in the flesh. Jesus told them so but they didn’t believe. 

Many people considered Jesus and His words foolish. They scoffed at Him. Surely Jesus didn’t know the God they knew – the God they had created in their minds. After all, this Jesus spoke as if all people had sinned and the religious people of the day were certain they were above reproach. 

And then the final blow was dealt to confirm their suspicions. Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested. He didn’t defend Himself when accusations were heaped on Him.   
If He were truly God, they thought, He would not have allowed Himself to be convicted by the authority of man. The God they thought they knew would never have allowed Himself to be humiliated, whipped, beaten, ridiculed and then nailed to a cross. The God they thought they knew would never have been held to that cross by three pitiful nails. 

Now here’s the most amazing part of all. Those nails didn’t hold Jesus to that cross. At any time God could have sent angels down to whisk His beloved Son away … away from the pain and heartbreak that he suffered. No, Jesus was held on that cross by His love for you and me. Jesus was the only one who could do it, and He did it for us.

That’s the message of the cross – that you and I can be reconciled with God eternally through Christ’s sacrifice! It’s a free gift from a loving God. Will you accept
God’s gift today?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to save me from my sins.  Thank you that you loved me enough to send a perfect sacrifice, so that we could live together eternally. I confess that I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I ask you to come into my heart, and I commit to following Jesus as my personal Lord and s sacrifice. 
 
Have you accepted Christ as both your Savior and the Lord of your life? If not, make today the day to invite Jesus into your heart and life.

…..as seen in Growthtrac ] by way of Cup O’Cheer (cheer316@sc.rr.com) and “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)
___________________________________________________________________________

Where Angels Walk

"Every morning when I got off the commuter train, I'd pass this homeless man on my way to work," Bonnie relates. "I've never gotten involved with people like this because I have mixed feelings---would my donation buy drugs for them, or enable them to stay helpless?

"Perhaps! Yet, Bonnie seemed drawn to this particular vagrant. She found herself asking a different question: What would Jesus have her do?

Gradually Bonnie made eye contact with this man. Brief conversations followed. His name was Phil, he told her, and he had been on the streets about a year. Beyond that, he would not elaborate. Sometimes Bonnie's only connection with Phil was a smile, and a cheery greeting. At other times, she'd bring him a sandwich, or give him some coins. "The people at my office teased me unmercifully," she says. "They felt I was a "soft touch," and hopelessly gullible." But she kept on; somehow it just seemed right.

One day, however, Phil was not at his usual post. Weeks passed, and he didn't return. Bonnie was concerned, but the merchants and police officers along her route didn't know what had happened to him. Gradually, she forgot too...

..Until one morning when, as she passed the corner, someone called her name. She turned around. Coming toward her was Phil! But not the same disheveled beggar she had befriended over a year ago. No, this Phil was clean-shaven, clear-eyed, wearing a suit and a smile. "Phil!" she gasped, "what happened to you?"

"You did, Bonnie." He was standing in front of her now, and she could hardly believe the change in him.

"Me? I didn't..."

"Oh, but you did. You, and two men who work together on the next block. For that whole year I lived on the streets, you three were the only ones who saw me a person. You looked at me, and talked to me. One day I asked myself: if there are three people in the world who believe in me, why can't I believe in me? So I went into rehab, and here I am."
He had a job, he explained, and wouldn't be downtown any more. So he had come to his old corner one last time, to see if he could locate the three who had changed his life. "I found the men yesterday," Phil explained. "I was just waiting for you."

"Whatever you do to the least of My children, you do to Me."  Bonnie could hardly see Phil through the tears in her eyes. But she knew now the Source of that unusual urge to "get involved, if only in a small way. How glad she was that she had obeyed!

…..Joan Webster Anderson (joanwanderson.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (christianvoices@att.net)


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