DADDY….June 19, 2015

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

Sunday is Father’s Day, and this is a tribute to my dad.  He’s been gone for 18 years now, but I remember his instruction and advice. I still hear his voice at times; encouraging me…admonishing me…advising me.  I am grateful for a loving father who ‘trained’ me up in the ways of the Lord!  Leaving that to your children, is more important than riches!  Thanks Daddy!   I Love you!

It’s true…I don’t come often

To this quiet and lonely place;

For I know you are not here…

I cannot see your face.

I can’t see your eyes light up,

Or hear your laughter resound;

For your eyes are shut, and your body’s cold

Deep, beneath this dark, hard ground.

In memories dear, that I hold close

To my ever beating heart,

You’re always here…you’re never far,

It’s like we’re not apart!

Regrets in life?  I’ve had a few

…but the worst of those would be,

That I never let you really know

How much you meant to me!

You did without, so that I could have…

You sacrificed it all!

I broke your heart so many times…

But you forgave my fall!

You never held a thing against me…

You loved me to the end…

You were my dad.  You were my rock.

At times, my ONLY friend!

Now that you’re gone, and I’m alone,

Your life lessons, I value more.

When confused and unsure…

I hear you whisper, softly from Heaven’s shore!

You gently cause me to recall

Those things I learned as a child.

They keep me on the straight and narrow…

They keep me from going wild.

In this earthly life, you were all the things

That a daddy ought to be!

You pointed the way to the Father above…

A clear picture you painted for me.

For my Heavenly Father sent His only son,

To suffer upon a tree.

He shed His blood, and forgave my offenses…

He died, so that I could be free!

He holds nothing against me…

He’ll love me to the end;

He’ll always be my Father,

My Rock…my truest Friend!

When I’m confused and so unsure

Of which way I should turn…

He whispers from the shores of Heaven…

Makes me remember what I’ve learned.

You’re in a better place now dad…

I’ve been left here, without you.

But save a place for me daddy…

For someday, I’ll come to you!

I’ll put my arms around your neck,

As we both stand in awe of OUR Father;

We’ll touch His nail-scarred hands,

And fall on our knees together.

We’ll bow before the King of ALL Kings…

And worship HIM…always…forever!

By:  Anita Mondragon June 2010

BbEucrOCMAA4ntv

WHEN WE GIVE OUR LIVES TO GOD…. June 18, 2015

“I BESEECH (beg) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”    Romans 12:1

When we give our lives to God, He opens our eyes, and we begin to see a whole new world.  We see love, joy, peace, happiness, and grace.

Sometimes, we will also see sadness, pain and danger.  It is in these times, that we must have faith and God will give us the strength to be able to pull ourselves out and away from these things…and strength to come back to Him.

When we have faith…it makes us remember that He is by our side and HE will NEVER leave!

By:  Nicole Shapiro

EZEKIEL June 17, 2015

Read:  Ezekiel 47: 1-12

The prophet speaks of a time in the future wherein the Dead Sea becomes fresh water.  Sometime in the future, there will be a river that flows from the Temple of God.   It shall flow all the way and empty into the Dead Sea.  There will be lush vegetation on its banks.  Fruit trees will grow on both banks (verse 12).  Because this river empties into the Dead Sea, it will cause the Sea to become fresh water.

These verses speak to me, as do many passages in the Bible, of the authority, and accuracy of Scripture.  It speaks to us about a body of water, known to us as a specific and known place in the world, in this case, a sea, changing its salinity.

This passage is a great example of the believability of Scripture.  Everyone has heard of the Dead Sea in the north of Israel…if not in geography class, then certainly at the mall kiosks!  Not only does this passage mention a specific place…unchallenged, and undeniable, it mentions its salinity.  It is a well-known, and undeniable fact that the Dead Sea is known for its high salt content.  Just ask anyone who has been to Israel; they’ll tell you how you can float easily on the water there, and how there is a conspicuous lack of vegetation nearby.  Apparently, the “Dead” Sea has been that way for a long time!

Other religious and historical books speak of intriguing and compelling places in their stories, but the places simply cannot be found on Earth with any certainty.  The book of Mormon speaks of elephants living in the wild of North America, for example.  To date, there has been no paleontological or archeological evidence for this supposition, whatsoever.

This mention of the Dead Sea in Ezekiel, is very specific, even making a reference to the streams surrounding the Dead Sea, which will remain salty, while the Sea itself will be fresh.

The Bible will never cease to amaze me with its certain, specific, and detailed truth!  I thank God that He has given us this road map for our lives that we can believe in with great certainty!

By:  Anna Leavitt

RESENTMENT, REGRET, AND FORGIVENESS June 16, 2015

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but this one thing I do:  FORGETTING what lies behind, and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”             Philippians 3:13-14

“Resentment is the cocaine of the emotions…like cocaine, it demands increasingly large and more frequent dosages.  There is a dangerous point at which anger ceases to be an emotion and becomes a driving force.  A person bent on revenge moves unknowingly further and further away from being able to forgive…”

“Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner.  Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist.  Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter.  And mercy is the choice that can set them all free.” –Max Lucado ( from The Applause of Heaven)

********************************************************************************

Don’t let resentment and regret trap you in the past…it will only hold you back!

Forgive, and keep your eyes on JESUS!  Press on to the prize He has waiting for you!

By:  Terry Shapiro

I’M A PRINCESS! June 15, 2015

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs:  heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…”  Romans 8:16-17

“Listen my beloved brethren.  Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to them that love him?”  James 2:5

Dirty.  Tainted.  Unwanted.  Unloved.  Unworthy.  A street eurchin.  A cast off.  These words describe how I view myself at times.

I found Jesus when I was seventeen…or rather, He’d found me!  Still, years later, I see myself as an orphan.  I hear a voice that says I’m still in that ugly place, wandering the streets, homeless, fatherless, aimless, with no direction…with no one who cares for my soul.

Yes!  I’m saved…but if I listen to that voice too long, demonic spirits hound me, and I find myself believing these things.  Does that make them true?  Quite the contrary!

I’ve been adopted into the family of God.  He is my father now…the King of all Kings!  So, that makes me a princess!  I know this to be truth…so why do I continue to listen to another voice?

A few years back, on one particular day, I was in ‘the mully-grubs’, listening to that demonic voice.  My son Joel, who was three years old at the time, for some strange reason, kept asking me the same question for four days in a row; “Are you a princess mom?”  Too distracted to hear God’s voice, He had to speak through a child!  On the fourth day, I finally realized the question was from God.  It was rhetorical.

With tears of joy welling up in my eyes, I cupped my son’s face in my hands and said:  “You know what son?  I AM a princess!”  With a surprised and puzzled look on his face, he asked,  “Really? …Who’s your dad?”  “God is my Father!  The King of all Kings!  I AM a princess!” I answered.  It was like a new revelation!

Satan wants to take our joy; he wants to convince us that we are worthless.  He wants us to forget WHO we belong to…forget that the joy of the Lord is our strength, for therein, lies the power to defeat him.

Like Cinderella, clothed in rags of filth, Jesus found me.  He dried my tears, dressed me in robes of righteousness, and took me for his bride.  He made me a princess!

I will be seated at the greatest feast, ever given…arriving on the wings of angels.  I can Dance before His throne for all eternity; for there is no clock in Heaven that will strike 12 midnight, making all things return to rags. I won’t have to worry about losing my glass slipper, and waiting for my prince to find me…HE already has.  I will sing undying praises to Him forever, for He rescued me from darkness!

DO YOU WANT YOUR JOY BACK?

Then, JUST REMEMBER WHO YOUR DADDY IS!

By:  Anita Mondragon June 2011

Get Ready – Message Notes of Sunday June 14

Jesus The Prophet
Deuteronomy 18:18 (NLT)

I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

1 John 4:1-3 (MSG)

4 My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers (pseudo-prophetace) loose in the world.

2-3 Here’s how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ—the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person—comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God. This is the spirit of antichrist that you heard was coming. Well, here it is, sooner than we thought!

 

Miracles Prove Nothing
Matthew 24:24-25, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.”

Prophets Don’t Even Know

2 Peter 1:20 (NIV)

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.

21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Get Ready

Luke 12:35-40 (NLT)

35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

39 “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

Be Eagerly Waiting

Hebrews 9:28 (TLB)

28 so also Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and he will come again, but not to deal again with our sins.

This time he will come bringing salvation to all those who are eagerly and patiently waiting for him.

Revalation 16:15

Remember that Christ says, “When I come, it will surprise you like a thief! But God will bless you, if you are awake and ready. Then you won’t have to walk around naked and be ashamed.”

Get Going
Mark 16:15 (NLT)

15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
1 Cor. 15:33
Don’t fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you. 34 Be sensible and stop sinning. You should be embarrassed that some people still don’t know about God.

Nurture

We are called not to just go to Church or be the Church but we are called to nurture the church.

Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)

Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

1 Corinthians 14:3-4 (NIV)

3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.

Ephesians 2:19-22  (MSG)

19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

1 Thessalonians 5  (NLT)

Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.

4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.  5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. 7 Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. 8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

9 For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Paul’s Final Advice

12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.

14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.

Paul’s Final Greetings

23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

25 Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss.

27 I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.

I HAVE… June 13, 2015

“I rise in the hope of your glory to be transformed in the strength of your love.”  Psalms 103:6-8

I have a hope so strong in my heart and in my soul, for joy and peace.  In the hardest of times, I put my trust in God alone!

I know that His love will never fail; in every situation, God will be there.

I have faith and believe there is not a thing in my life or in death that will ever take me away from the grace and love He has given me.

In sickness and pain, in fear and heartache, God reigns.  He is greater than any other, and I will ALWAYS believe in Him!

By:  Nicole Shapiro

THE SENSE GOD GAVE A GOOSE… June 12,2015

“Come, let’s worship him and bow down.  Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us, because he is our God and we are the people he takes care of and the sheep that he tends.”  Psalm 95:6-7

My husband bought me a patio swing for Mothers Day!  I usually go out and sit in the fresh morning air and have my coffee right after he leaves for work.  I love this time of the day!…The sun is just waking up from a long night’s rest, the air is crisp and clean, and the world is alive with the sound of birds singing praises to the Lord. Beautiful!

One morning, this past week, as I sat there taking it all in, a wonderful thing happened.  Just as the sun peeked over the horizon in glorious hues, a dove that lives in a near-by tree began to coo.  It sounded like it was saying: “OOO OOO OOO…(Lord thank you!)…OOO OOO OOO…(Your Words true!)…OOO OOO OOO…(Just look!…See?…) …OOO OOO OOO…(You love me!”)

I felt suddenly ashamed and very put out with myself, for in that whole time I’d sat there, I never once thanked God for all the love He shows me! That bird had more sense in his tiny little head, than I did!

He sings out his ‘thanks’, every morning…I know…I hear him!  He says, “Thanks for a peaceful nights rest.  Thanks for keeping me safe from predators.  Thanks for moving upon the hearts of folks, like this lady here, sitting in the swing, to put food out for me every day so I won’t starve.  Thanks for another day…another chance to praise you, oh God, my creator!  Thank you for another opportunity to be able to say,Thank you for who you are!”

If you’ve every burned the midnight oil, and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning…you know that even while the world sleeps, the heavens and earth continue to praise the Creator.  The moon shines in all of her glory, casting her silver light; the stars glimmer and twinkle in the black velvet, and crickets, and tree frogs hum a lullabye.

I know God never sleeps, or slumbers…He never gets tired; but I do believe that sometimes He sits in His flower garden, with a big glass of iced sweet tea, and enjoys the things He sees and hears…just like me when I sit on my swing!

As I sat there pondering on these things, an old hymn came to mind.  It was one of my dad’s favorite songs.  The chorus says:  “He love me!  He loves me!  He loves me, this I KNOW!  He gave Himself…and died for me because  He loves me so!”  I’m not even sure who wrote that song, or if I have a legal right to post it in this blog, but we all need to be reminded that Jesus loves us all so much!  And, we need to thank Him everyday for the wonderful love and mercy He shows us!

There’s and old saying: …”He ain’t got the sense God gave a goose!”  Well, I’m here to testify that sometimes…most times, geese, as well as the rest of God’s creation have more sense than we humans do!

Let’s be thankful and openly…unashamedly, PRAISE our Creator, our Savior, and our God for all He does for us!

By:  Anita Mondragon June 2015

TAKE HIS HAND June 11, 2015

” Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause, like the noonday sun.”  Psalms 37:4-6

“When Jesus says He will keep you safe…He means it.  Hell will have to get through Him to get to you.  Jesus is able to protect you.  When He says He will get you home, He WILL get you home!” -Max Lucado

****************************************************************************

The Lord is able to guide…His promises cover every imaginable situation…

Take the hand He stretches out!

By:  Nicole Shapiro

PITY PARTY? … OR… HAPPY HOUR! June 10, 2015

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and ran from evil.” Job 1:1

We all know the story of Job…how he was tested, and found to be pure in the eyes of God.

What some of you may not know, is that according to most Bible scholars, Job’s trials went on for about ten years!

The interesting thing we see in the account of Job, is this:  As long as Job listened to ungodly counsel and advice from friends, and even his wife, as long as he sat in the ash heap and lamented his situation…his trials prevailed.

When he finally called on God, and demanded an answer…he began to thrive in his thrashing; and God turned things around for him.  At the end of the book of Job, verse 12 says this:  “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” .

In everyday life, we make choices as to how we respond to our dilemma;  So…here are some questions for you to consider:

WILL YOU…

Placate your passivity…OR…Develop your destiny?

Lament your losses…OR…Celebrate your successes?

Grovel in your grief…OR…Flourish in your failures?

Prolong your pain…OR…Prevail over your problems?

WILL YOU…

Travail in your trials…OR…Prosper under pressure?

Drown in your despair…OR…Thrive in your thrashing?

Forfeit your victory…OR…Triumph in your trials?

Cry in your catastrophe…OR Prevail over your pit?

WILL YOU…

Surrender  to defeat…OR…Vanquish your anxieties?

Allow anxious thoughts to overcome you…OR…Let peace reign?

Cry over your circumstance…OR…Define your destiny?

Suffer in your situation…OR…Slay the stronghold?

THE CHOICE IS OURS!  But remember this:  “God INHABITS the praises of His people!”

By:  Mike Mondragon June 2015