RED LIGHTS, STOP SIGNS, AND TRAINS…

“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7a KJV

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What the above verse is saying, is this; If you believe something in your heart long enough, that is what you will become.  If you don’t believe me…try this:  The next time you’re stuck in traffic, instead of getting angry and losing your patience, try to look at the situation in a different perspective.  This could be God, giving you a chance to slow down!  You know…you seem to hit every red light there is…or the guy in front of you takes forever at the Stop Sign…or there’s a train…a LONG train crossing.  I think God sends red lights, stop signs, and trains to make us slow down.  He wants us to “Stop and smell the roses,” like the old saying goes!

Or how about losing a loved one.  How do we handle that one?  Some of us realize that they have gone on to a better place if they knew the Lord.  Others of us become bitter about their passing.  Some can’t get over the loss, and grief eats them up.

How about when we are going through a tough time?  How do we deal with the situation?  Do we fret and worry?  Do we cry and complain?  Or, do we trust God, and KNOW that HE will come through for us?

We’ve all heard the short story about the half glass full of water.  It’s all in the perspective of how we see it.  Is it half empty?  Or, is it half full?

The way you perceive things will change your whole outlook, and either make your life joyous, and full…or sad and empty.

I want to lead a joyous life…how about you?

Anita

I JUST WANT TO SAY, “THANK YOU LORD!”

“Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.”-Isaiah 65:24

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  1. The other day, I blogged about being unable to sleep because I had too much on my mind.  I had been praying about a certain thing, and it seemed to remain ‘unresolved’ for a long time…well…in my mind it was a long time!  It really had only been two weeks! LOL!  I guess my impatience was showing.

Anyway, it has all been resolved, and solved!  My husband got the job he applied for!  It was a real blessing…close to home (no more 2 hour drives everyday!), better pay, better benefits…it is awesome…GOD IS AWESOME!  He knows what we need, and when we need it!

So…I just want to say “Thanks, Lord!  Thanks for always being my provider, my refuge, my strength!  Thanks for saving me in the eternity to come…and in the ‘here and now’ of this life!  Every moment you are with me, and I praise YOU!”

THANKS!

Anita

ADAM-and-EVE EXPERIENCES

Here’s a good one from our own Lee Pierce.  I’ve had many of these same questions…but I think this post should clear things up!  Enjoy!-anita

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I was thinking the other day about a book written awhile back entitled “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People.” Many times I’ve heard individuals bring up that book in the context of arguing that: how can there even be a God if He lets bad things happen to good people. And they often take the thought further and posit: there can’t be a God when you look around and see all the war, hate, crime, natural disasters and suffering taking place. They then often conclude the thought process by saying something like, “If there is a God and He allows all of that to happen, I don’t want any part of Him!”

But bad things do happen to good people. My first thought in reaction to that fact is this: so why wouldn’t they; why are we surprised. Many of the “bad” things that happen to good people are due to the bad things perpetrated by other people. An exception might be disease but even that is the result of God’s “good” creation (as He originally formed it) struggling (groaning) under the burden of sin found throughout creation, due to us and our sins.

We naturally—in our sin nature—gravitate to sin and sinful things. Sin seems to come quite naturally to us. Believe me, I’m not happy that this is the case but, at the same time, I can’t deny the fact. I sin all the time and I would believe that you do too!

But our God does not sin. There’s a great passage in Habakkuk that speaks to what we’re talking about here.  In Habakkuk 1:13 the prophet says, “Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil, and [cannot] look on wickedness with favor.” Habakkuk goes on to question the Lord as to why He allows these bad things to happen to His people. But God does not initiate sin or sinful acts; we do that quite well all by ourselves! Yet God can take our sinful acts and make beautiful results out of them. In my own life, I’ve made many poor (sinful) choices that God managed to turn into very positive outcomes to His glory!

So Habakkuk has a clear answer for how we should conduct ourselves as sin pervades around us: Live by faith (Hab 2:4b). And I love the conclusion of the book of Habakkuk. Even as he waits for the “day of distress” (Hab 3:16) he is able to “exult in the Lord” (Hab 3:18) and rejoice in Him. The prophet says God gives him feet like hinds (deer) feet and makes him walk “…on my high places.” (3:19)

But there was more to my musing on this subject. Why did there even have to be sin in the first place? Couldn’t God have just created us and the earth without any sin? He could have, of course, but that sounds a lot like Heaven. And clearly, God didn’t want to create us as a bunch of automatons, maybe with latex-like “skin” and a computer-like brain all pre-programmed to act in prescribed ways to any circumstance. Rather, He gave us a heart and soul and allowed us the ability to exercise free will. And, as was clear in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve (just like every one of the rest of us would do) made a choice to do exactly what God told them not to do. And I can guarantee you, I’ve had my share of Adam-and-Eve experiences, often with very bad consequences. So, we have the ability to always choose from multiple choices but with a pronounced proclivity to make the bad (sinful) choice. And, so we live. And, thus, we need a savior. Thanks be to God He has provided One.

By: Lee Pierce

A POWERFUL SERMON…FROM A LITTLE MAN

A couple of months back, we were on our way to church.  Traffic was horrible…almost bumper to bumper, so it was easy for me to read the bumper stickers on the  cars in front of us.  One was plastered with New Age messages, urging its readers to “Worship the Goddess.”  As we finally were able to pass this car, I noticed that the driver was a lady much older than myself.  I was thinking…and as is often the case, my mouth went into gear before assessing the weight of my words.   I said aloud, “That lady’s older than I am!  You’d think she’d have some sense by now!  What a stupid lady!”

My eight year old son was sitting in the back seat, taking it all in.  I believe God must have tapped him on the shoulder, for suddenly, he became a knowledgeable orator. He only spoke fifteen words in his sermonette to me…but they had an enormous impact!  He said, “Well mom, I think you were probably a stupid person before you found Jesus too!”

END OF SERMON.  WOW!

That shut me up!  There was no altar call given there, in the car…but my heart was stirred, and I confessed my sin of judging someone.  He was right!  Maybe she’d never heard of the saving power of Jesus!  I immediately admitted to him that I was wrong, and that I should be praying for her instead of judging her.

I guess I said all of that, to say this:  We must be careful of the things we say…especially in front of our children.  They are learning as they listen to us.  They follow our example, no matter if it’s good, or bad!  I don’t want my son to be judgmental of others.  I want him to be compassionate and learn to share his faith in Jesus!

All I can say is, “Lord, forgive me!  Help me be a better example…to my children, and to the world! …Oh yeah…and thanks for that BIG sermon from my little man!”

Anita

 

TWO GARDENS…

Here’s a thought for today.  If you really think about what is being said…take a deep look, you will realize that there is a choice that each of us must make…not just for the day…but for each moment.  Take a look at the following quote from Max Lucado.

“The Bible is the story of two gardens:  Eden and Gethsemane.  In the first garden, Adam took a fall…in the second garden, JESUS took a stand!”

As we think on this today, we need to ask ourselves…”Will I take a fall today and follow Satan’s devices and pitfalls?  Or will I follow Jesus, no matter how hard things get, and take a stand?

It’s your choice…what will you do?

Anita

WHY SETTLE FOR, “WHAT IF?”

The following is from our own, Jon Roark.  Get a cup of coffee, and get comfortable when you read this.  These are great truths to be reminded of, first thing in the morning!  They will make your day go a lot easier!  Enjoy!-anita

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“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

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I’m struck by something in this verse. It is that God cares for me. I’m thinking about Psalm 8 when I say that:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,     human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels     and crowned them with glory and honor.  You made them rulers over the works of your hands;     you put everything under their feet.”

What am I, that He cares for me? What are any of us, wayward, wicked and willful as we are, that God would stoop from Heaven and deign to notice? I am amazed at all the little ways in which God shows himself in my life. This past week I had a certification test that I really needed to pass; it was important to my employer and to me. I felt unprepared as I took it and before I started I said a little prayer – “Lord, I don’t feel prepared and I don’t deserve your intervention on my behalf but I really need to pass this test and I’d appreciate it if you would help.” As it so happened, I did pass. I got a 70 (passing is 67) so I couldn’t brag but I passed. I could  recount other examples too – people that have come to the Lord, a tank of gas on a lonely New Mexico highway that lasted about fifty miles more than it had any right to, a wedding ring that was found under the seat of a truck, the day before the truck was sold.

The answer to ‘why’ He cares for us is ‘because we trust in Him.’ If I didn’t know God then I wouldn’t even think to pray – with predictable results. I have run out of gas on that same stretch of highway in New Mexico, at 9PM, with the nearest town ten miles away. That’s a long way to walk (but God still intervened – ask me about it sometime). The point is that the unbeliever has his own resources and that is it. When he runs out run out then he is left with nothing. However, the believer has all of God’s resources (“All that belongs to the Father is mine.” John 16:15 Since we are adopted children we get the same things) and, not only that, but he actually has more the weaker he gets! (“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9) So, the weaker I am, in any situation, the more ready God is to flex his muscle on my behalf.

The keystone to this is trust. Trust implies relationship; the better you know someone, the more you trust them. As I grow in my knowledge of God, my relationship with him, I find myself doing less and trusting more. Doing less useless stuff like worrying, brooding, beating myself up for being dumb, plotting, playing the ‘what if’ game. Instead I try to hand those things to God so I can get on with what in front of me which is usually all I can handle; I let God figure out tomorrow (‘Each day has enough trouble of its own’ Matthew 6:34). Somehow God always gets it done. It’s in that place of trust and caring that I find refuge and experience the goodness of God. Of course, I still worry, brood, beat myself up and so on but I often just stop and remember that God handles that stuff so much better than I can. He does and I see it and each time I do, we go a little deeper.

By:  Jon Roark

 

SAFELY THROUGH ANOTHER NIGHT…

When I reached in the Promise Box this morning, I guess God thought I needed a double whammy…I picked up two promises, instead of one.  I had a pretty sleepless night.  Went to bed at 10:30, and was still awake at 3:00.  I laid there trying to figure out if it was something I had eaten, watched on TV, or was just plain worried about; nothing came to mind.  I was just WIDE AWAKE.  I guess that’s why God gave me two promises this morning.  They reassured me…hope they do the same for you! -anita

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“…Behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places where ever you go.”   Gen. 28:15

“Yesterday He helped me, today I’ll praise His name; because I know tomorrow, He’ll help me just the same.” -Unknown

“The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom.”  II Tim. 4:18

“My way in life which Thou shalt choose, I know will be the best; and through the trust I have in Thee, my heart will find its rest.” -Unknown

Anita

 

I WILL…

Here is the promise I drew for today.  When I read it, it was both a relief, and a slight worry.  See…I always pray before I draw a promise, asking God to give me just what I need for today.  Notice the three “I WILL” statements given in the verse!

It’s a blessing to know He will be with me, strengthen me, and help me.  But, the first part of the verse says, “Fear not…”, which tells me I may be in for a ride today!

Truth is…everyday brings both good and bad…that’s the nature of life.  But, we must remember the first words of the verse…

FEAR NOT…

Then look at the end… “I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”  God is with us!  The ONE that holds the universe in the palm of His hand says he will uphold us.  Wow!  What a blessing to know we are secure in God’s hand!

Here’s the promise:

Isaiah 41:10King James Version (KJV)

10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

“God has given you His promise, that He hears and answers prayer: 

He will heed your supplication, If you cast on Him your care!” -Unknown

BELIEVE IT!

Anita

 

KIND HEARTS…

Galatians 5:22-23New King James Version (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

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Let’s talk for a moment about the fruit of kindness.

Have you ever known someone who is kind?  Not just kind at times…but their heart is kind and gentle…ALWAYS!

They are always thinking of others and their well-being.

In traffic, if someone cuts in front of them, there are no expletives.  They don’t mind.

They forgive easily; they keep no record of wrong doings.  When apologies are made to them, they don’t ask for all the details…the date of the indiscretion…they only hear the “sorry” and see the repentant heart.

They recognize the plight of others.

In the grocery store, they offer the elderly gentleman their space in the checkout lane, realizing his frailness.

They don’t pry into the business of others…they don’t gossip…they pray.

When they pick up their trash can from the street on trash day, they also pick up their neighbor’s.

They check on their neighbor’s welfare.

They offer their seat to a pregnant women on the bus.

Their heart breaks when they see the homeless…the drug addicts…the alcoholics…the prostitutes.

They don’t pass judgment…they remember their own failings.

Their heart is quietly kind.

They expect nothing in return for their kindness.

Kindness is a picture of Jesus.  How many times has He forgiven our transgressions?  When He sees us struggle…He intercedes to the Father for us…He prays for us.  He put us first.  Max Lucado puts it this way: “Your place in heaven was more important to Christ than His place in heaven, so He gave up His so you could have yours.”

If we KNOW HIM…we are to be like Him.  Who could you treat with kindness today?

Anita

 

FOR US ALL…

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for US ALL, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things””  Romans 8:32

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I love the above verse!  JESUS DIED FOR THE WHOLE WORLD!  He is not willing that any should perish.  He said, “Whosoever will, may come and drink of the Water of Life”…His salvation is free to ALL!

There are verses in the Bible that talk about being chosen by God…but you must read them in the context in which they are written!  God DID predestinate certain folks to come to Him, but it was done through foreknowledge.  It says in Romans 8:29-31New King James Version (NKJV):

29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

So, what those verses say in plain English is this:  God never said, who could and who couldn’t come to Him. In fact, He said, “Whosoever will, (anyone who wants to be saved, CAN be saved); but He KNEW who would and who wouldn’t…so He could choose according to His foreknowledge.

JESUS DIED FOR ALL OF HIS CREATION.  IT’S YOUR CHOICE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT.

He’s standing with arms opened wide…waiting for you to come.  Don’t ignore Him…He wants to save you!

Anita