MORE MINSTER C.J. PRAYERS…

I found this on Fat Beggars School of Prophets blog site.  If you go to his site, you can find more of CJ’s prayers to read.  I tried to copy/past them to this blog, but was unable to do so.  You should check it out! I’m sure God smiles when He reads her prayers to Him!  They are indeed precious!  Take a look….  -anita

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Agent X said this:

I didn’t think to share CJ’s prayers on the blog, but she gave me one at our worship assembly about a month ago.  It just so happened that on that day, I was carrying a handwritten copy of the Magnificat which I was memorizing.  When CJ gave me her prayer, I reached in my pocket and gave her mine!  We traded prayers like kids trading baseball cards…

I figure this explains why we received a bundle of prayers from her here at Fat Beggars yesterday (however, I am still puzzled over how we received them).

Here is a scan of the one she gave me.  Precious.

Minster C. J.

This is a voice you won’t likely hear anywhere else.

CHISEL & STONE

Chisel & Stone

 

Stroke by stroke,
The chisel and hammer knock off more shards of the gem.
Soon, a shape begins to emerge.

Not all at once, mind you.
But in baby steps:
One loss at a time…
One month at a time…
One more doctor visit at a time.

“No, no! This sculpture looks all wrong.
She should have a pregnant belly…
She will be prettier and perfect that way.
This carving is just confusing and full of pain.”

I jump to the conclusion
That the end result of this chiseling
Will be a sculpture that speaks
Of sickness and sadness.

And then I hear my God whisper “No
He sees that the finished carving of this gem
Will be a woman who reflects
The Most Beautiful Person in all creation-

The Man of Sorrows, familiar with suffering.
He let go of more than I can fathom
To step down to be made in human likeness.
Jesus.
I want to be more like Him.

The next step I take,
The next doctor’s office I walk into,
The next strike of the chisel,
I’ll remember the ultimate goal of this carving.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

HOW DOES GOD COMMUNICATE?

Here’s a good one from Lee.  -Enjoy!-anita

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HOW DOES GOD COMMUNICATE?

I was thinking during my prayer time the other day about the relationship of God the Father and Jesus His Son. One of the thoughts that occurred to me was to ask myself the question: how does Jesus communicate with His Father? I don’t know why I get thoughts like these—in the big picture, it doesn’t really matter how Father and Son communicate I suppose. But, for whatever reason, the thought stayed with me and I continue to ponder it.

Bible readers probably know that God spoke/communicated with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and also know that, during the period when the Tower of Babel was being built, the Bible says “everyone on earth spoke the same language….” [Gen 11:1-9]

We know from various scholars of biblical times that there were three main languages in Israel around the time when Jesus was present there: Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew. Based on what I see at the blog on Zondervan’s web site (publisher of Christian and other religious books) [zondervanacademic.com], all three were spoken but most of the common people spoke in Aramaic. Hebrew was more reserved for religious documents, while Greek was spoken more in certain regions or people-groups (as was Latin) but was rejected by many early Jews because of the Hellenistic influence that came with it.

Given that Jesus was concerned to communicate well and educate those around Him, it’s likely He spoke all three languages depending upon the audience. We know from Luke 4:16-30 that He could read and speak Hebrew (the probable language in which that scroll was written). But most of the common people to whom He regularly ministered most probably spoke only in Aramaic (Zondervan’s web site says this regarding literacy in 1st century Palestine: Most scholars propose literacy rates ranging from 10 per-cent on the high end… to less than 3 per-cent on the low end. Even if these figures are low estimates, it’s still likely a majority of people could not read and write, and thus did not know Hebrew.

So, in most cases, with most people, Jesus probably spoke Aramaic. But, when He communicates with His Father, does He speak in Hebrew…or Aramaic…or in some other way? I almost feel foolish asking the question and further, submitting this article to the church’s blog for publication. It’s probably not a topic foremost on most people’s mind. And certainly doesn’t affect any aspect of our walk with the Lord. So why does the question stay in my mind and why share this somewhat insignificant topic with you?

I guess my answer is that I like to think about Jesus in human terms when I pray (while still being fully aware of His divinity). It makes Him more real to me, more personal, more like a friend I can talk to whenever I want to do so. So I wonder about things like how Jesus talks to the other members of the Holy Trinity. Do they have a special language? Do they communicate via telepathy? Because they are three persons but one divine essence, maybe they really have no need to “talk” in the way that we do as humans.

Things like this intrigue me greatly and I honestly look forward to a time in glory that I can sit with Jesus at His feet and ask all the questions that well up within me so often. He is just so incredible, so much God and bigger than life, yet so aware of me and all my little foibles (not to mention my sin) and I believe He still loves me. I believe that with all my heart! I hope you know my Friend, Jesus.

Lee Pierce

My husband gave the sermon yesterday at church.  It was about peace…a thing that in this day and age is scarce!  But take a look at what he had to say…you’ll be glad you did! -anita

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God wants to give you peace today. He’s waiting to take your fears, your worries and your cares…and all because He loves you!

If you’re not sure of how to do this…take a look at the following Scriptures.

1ST Peter 5-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6–7)

That’s certainly easy enough: prayer + thankfulness = peace. Go through the steps, get to peace. Then why doesn’t the formula work? When I am anxious I pray, but my mind keeps drifting back to the anxious circumstance, and before I know it I am trying to solve the prob…you’ll be glad youlem. After again confessing my distractibility, I get back to praying, only to have the cycle continue. Thinking I might do better at thanksgiving, I write out a thanks list, but the list rarely dislodges my anxiety, and for good reason. No matter how long the list, there is no guarantee that I will be spared my most recent doomsday scenarios.

ow what? I just tried one of the classic passages on anxiety and it didn’t work.

A-ha, there is a clue. I was looking for a pill. I visited God-my-pharmacist and asked what to take for my anxiety. That’s not the way Scripture works. I should have noticed it when I reduced the passage to a formula. Scripture, instead, is about the triune God. It is about knowing and trusting a person, and our formulas can actually turn us away from that person and cause us to rely on a series of steps.

So go back to the passage and look for the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).

 

 

The Lord is near

Commands such as “do not be anxious” typically come after the reason why we don’t have to be anxious. In this case, the reason was slipped into the preceding verse: “The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5).

That changes everything. The emphasis is not on how we pray. It is on the God who has come close, who hears, and who is with us. The only thing that could separate us from His love and presence are our sins, and they have been washed away by Jesus’ blood.

Isn’t it true that the presence of another person in our frightful situations can lessen our fears? Fear doesn’t want a series of impersonal steps; it wants a person. Walk in an unknown dark place by yourself and you are afraid. Hold someone’s hand while you are in that dark place and fears ebb. If we are comforted by the presence of a mere human being, who might be less strong and brave than ourselves, how much more will we be comforted by the sworn presence of the reigning Christ?

This is the path toward peace and comfort. Meditate on Immanuel, which means “God with Us.” Remember how the Spirit of Jesus has been given to us (John 14:27). He is not limited by a physical body that confines Him to one place and one person at a time. He is with all God’s people all the time.

Immanuel will give us manna

But what will He do when He is with us? Will He give us the money we need? Will He zap the person who wants to do us harm? Will He keep the kids from all accidents? We have a pretty good idea that the answer to these questions is “not always.” We know that bad things happen to God’s people. So what difference does God’s presence mean when, although He is the Almighty God, He doesn’t always use His power in the way we would like? We feel like we are left where we started — trusting in some steps that we hope will make us feel more peace. There must be more that God says.

And there is more. First, we should understand that when God says He is present (or hears, sees, remembers), He is saying that He is doing something. He is never a passive bystander. Second, what He is doing is this: He gives us what we need when we need it (Matt. 6:19–34). In the New Testament He says that He will give us the grace we need, and that grace is part of a tradition that began with the appearance of manna for the needy Israelites. In times of trouble, God promises to give us the manna that we need.

He even spells out how this will happen (Ex. 16). There are times when we will feel like destitute wanderers in the wilderness with little hope of food and water. God will then give us manna at the time we need it. He won’t give us so much that we will have enough for tomorrow because then we would just start trusting in the manna rather than trusting Immanuel.

God makes a promise. He will give you manna — or grace — when you need it, but not before. That means you will be anxious if you forecast the future because you are making your prediction based on the manna you have left over from today, and there is none. What you don’t factor into your prediction is that you will receive fresh grace when you need it.

That should sound familiar. Think of the times you dreaded an upcoming event and it was not as bad as you anticipated. You were given manna when you needed it. Think of the times when you were surprised by something especially difficult. Though painful, you received grace to endure with faith.

We will have hardships in life, of that there is no doubt. Scripture does not offer a kingdom that spares us from pain. The King does promise, however, that He will be with us in every trial and will give us all the manna we need so that we can know Him better, trust Him, live for Him, and be increasingly transformed to look more like Jesus no matter what the wilderness of life might throw at us. In other words, He will give us the best of gifts when we need help. Manna was pointing forward to something much better (Deut. 8:2–3); it was pointing to the Bread of Life who would satisfy our hunger in such a way that we wouldn’t always feel hungry two hours later. Manna was pointing to Jesus and what we are given in His death and resurrection.

Do you notice any hope stirring? The opposite of anxiety is hope. Anxiety predicts that manna will not come. Hope predicts that God will be with us and give us something better than manna. Where does peace fit in? Peace is the companion of hope.

Humility is the path

Hope and peace don’t come without a fight. God is pleased to work hope and peace in us surely but gradually. They come as we meditate, feed on Scripture, feed on Christ, and keep calling out for manna and grace. The kingdom of God advances through weakness and dependence on the King, not through quick and bloodless victories. If you are feeling a bit weak, you are probably on the right path.

Essential to this battle with fear and anxiety is the gift of humility. It fits perfectly, doesn’t it? In our anxiety we are usually concerned about things we love. We want control. We want to take matters into our own hands to protect our future, but we are finding that it is impossible to manage all possible contingencies. We want to protect our kingdom. Find anxiety and you often find that your agenda is more important to you than God’s. You might find that you adopt your own interpretation of God’s world rather than submit to God’s clear words about His power, love, and care.

Here is how the apostle Peter makes the link between humility and anxiety:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

He is asking us to do just one thing — humble ourselves before the Lord. Humility is expressed by casting our anxieties on the mighty and trustworthy one.

When a child’s fears are not assuaged by a parent’s attempts at comfort, the child is essentially saying either that the monster under the bed is stronger than the parent, or the parent doesn’t really care about the child’s best interests. The child’s fear shows his or her lack of trust or confidence in the parent. Humility, in contrast, hears the voice of the parent and believes that the parent can be trusted, even when the evidence suggests that circumstances are out of control. Humility says, “I believe you more than I believe my eyes or my imagination.” Humility is submissive.

This means that mere information and knowledge will not bring peace. Even more, we must respond to what we hear with humility and trust.

Pursue peace for God’s Glory

There are steps toward peace, but they are a little different than the steps we take in following a recipe. These steps are all personal. Know the God who comes near, expect the better manna, and walk before him in humility. Don’t give up on the pursuit of peace. Peace will make you feel better, which is a good thing, but there is something greater at stake. In a world where true peace seems impossible, we want to be ambassadors who say that real peace is available to us only in the Prince of Peace. This, indeed, will bring glory to God.

Michael Mondragon

 

MAY YOUR PRAISE ALWAYS BE ON MY LIPS!

The following lyrics are from one of my favorite songs.  I was reminded of it early this morning as I tended my garden.  The sun was just coming up- turning the sky a hue of coral.   The birds were singing their praise to God, the air was brisk, and the flowers raised their heads towards heaven as the trees’ rustling leaves whispered “Good morning!” to their Creator.  My favorite time of day!  -anita

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“His mercies are new every morning…” -Lamentations 3:22-24

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AND HIS PRAISE GOES ON…

The moon is high and the sunset fades
The lullabies have all been sung
We’re tuckin’ in another day
And stars appear now one by one

But the stillness moves and the silence yields
And not a single beat is lost
You can hear the chorus in the fields
Taking up where we left off

And Your praise goes on, rising to Your throne
Where You guard us while we dream
Past the stars they fly, Your praises fill the sky
‘Til You wake us with the dawn

And Your praise goes on
Now bring your warmth, O morning sun
Chase the stars and the moon away
And wake us with your brightest song

And add our voice to your refrain
Now rise up everything that lives!
Flap your wings and leap for joy!
Oh forest lift your arms and sway!

Clap your hands you ocean waves!
And Your praise goes on, rising to Your throne
Where You bless our toil and play
Through the clouds they rise, Your praises fill the skies

‘Til the setting of the sun
And Your praise goes on
And when my final breath You lend
I’ll thank You for the life You gave

But that won’t mean the praises end
‘Cause I won’t be silenced by the grave!
And Your praise goes on
I’ll be runnin’ to Your throne

With every nation, tribe and tongue
To Your arms I’ll fly
I’ll gaze into Your eyes
Then I’ll know as I am known

And Your praise goes on
And Your praise goes on
And Your praise goes on

Written by Chris Rice, Christopher M. Rice • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

DON’T JUST DO IT…DO IT AFRAID!!

Sorry there was no blog post yesterday.  It was Joe’s first day of school, and things were pretty hectic around here! 🙂

First of all, the school is some distance from where we live, and the bus service won’t be available for another week…so I had to take him, and pick him up.  Due to miscalculations of how much time it would take in comparison with traffic, I ended up being in the car for 4 1/2 hours yesterday between coming and going!  Needless to say, I didn’t get much else done; hence…no post.

Today was better-at least time wise this morning-thank the Lord!

I drew this from my Promise Box when I arrived back home from dropping him off at school.

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid.” -Isaiah 12:2

As many of you know, I have a little sign on my refrigerator that says: “DO IT AFRAID!”  

Let me tell you…I did it afraid yesterday! I have not been behind the wheel of a car for over four years, due to an accident that happened.  But yesterday, I had no other choice but to trust God, …and try not to be afraid!  There was no one else to take my son to school-so I had to get behind the wheel, and let God do the driving…and He did!

There used to be an old saying…”Just do it!”  But I added a little more to that phrase.  I say: …”Don’t just do it…trust God…and then do it afraid!”

Here’s the poem that was with the promise:

“In God, I put my trust, I neither doubt nor fear, for man can never harm with God my Helper near!” -Unknown

Amen to that!  Like it says in Phillipians 4:13…”I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”  So can you! So, trust God…and then DO IT AFRAID!

Anita

REASSURANCE…JUST FOR TODAY!

Well…it’s happened again! I don’t know ‘why’ I get so surprised…this is not a new occurence!  Let me explain…

Tomorrow will be Joe’s first day of school.  He’s been home-schooled for the last 5 years. I began teaching him at the age of 4…but tomorrow he will go to a public school for the first time.  I have to admit…I’m a little worried.  I want him to ‘fit in’ socially, but at the same time, I want him to ‘stand out’ and be extraordinary…not ordinary.  I tell him that all the time…”Don’t be common…don’t be ordinary.  Be extraordinary…be different!”

The stress of it all finally hit me this morning.  As I reached for a promise from God in my box of Promises, I really didn’t know what to ask Him for.  So…that’s exactly what I told Him as my fingers touched the box so full of His goodness.  I said, “Lord…I need something today, and I’m not even sure just ‘what’ it is that I need to calm my spirit… but you do!  Please give me the reassurance I need – just for today….”

I kept trying to pick just one promise…but it was like they were all stuck together – until I grabbed them and took them from the box.  There were four (4) in my hand!  Here’s what they all said, and this is the exact order they came in.  Take a look…

  • “For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world…even our faith. -1 John 5:4

“Go to the depths of God’s promise, and claim whatsoever you will; The blessing of God will not fail you, His Word He will surely fulfill.” -Unknown

  • “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. -2 Timothy 2:15

“Since I must fight if I would reign; increase my courage, Lord!  I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by Your Word.”  -Unknown

  • “I will bless the Lord at all times:  His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” – Psalm 34:1

“Where the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!” – Old hymn

  • “Wherefore, also take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  – Eph. 6:13

“The foe is stern and eager, the fight is fierce and long.  But He has made us mighty, and stronger than the strong.” -Unknown

If you’re struggling today…give it to God.  Tell Him exactly how you feel; then go to His Word…let Him direct you and give you the reassurance you need…just for today!

Anita

When We Forgive And Don’t Forget

As you read the following…I want you to ponder on its truth.  The blog below is from Hard Times Ministries.  This really resonates with me, because I have personally had some folks say to me, “I forgive you…but I’m not going to forget…”  I myself have tried to forgive some of the horrendous wrongs done to me in my lifetime…in fact, I thought I had forgiven the perpetrators , and forgotten their acts of cruelty against me; but then something comes up and that hurt, anger, resentment, and bitterness surfaces…and I know I still have not forgiven nor forgotten – not the way Jesus has done for me!  Take a look…I bet you’re right there with me…. anita

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The idea of tossing sin into the Sea of Forgetfulness is a comforting concept.  While I’m not sure who came up with this idiom, it’s a good one and more or less based on:

 Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Or another passage (and many others in the Bible)

Hebrews 8:12

For I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sins no more.

This is the type of response we have come to know about and from our Lord, Jesus and our Heavenly Father.  When we confess our sins, we desire for them to be washed away, gone forever, never to be brought up again.

Yet, in common practice most of us are as such:  “Okay, I will forgive him, but I will not forget.”
Statements like that generate problems and yes, I know how very human it is to feel that way.  However, forgiving and not forgiving ferments deep bitter feelings.

 

Jesus said:

Mark 11:25

25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Now here is where we have to get real. Our hearts, our feelings are to become as God and we are to forgive the same as we want God to forgive us.  This is not possible without forgetting.

I will admit this is next to impossible, nonetheless this is a commandment of Jesus.  It is a truism and there is no escape from that.

Of course, if someone stole something from you, it is hard to trust that person again.  If one committed murder to someone in your family, who would want that murderer to live next to you?  And this is the reality.

Jesus offers us forgiveness for far greater crimes against his Father in Heaven and we are to do the same.

Common sense explains that some sins against you take time to get over.  Any person who has gone through a divorce realizes this.  In fact, I dare say most all sins against us take time, and in that process we should strive to be like Christ and Christ minded.

The truth of all of this:  is this easy?  Is this even possible?

None of this is possible on earthly terms.  Yet, Jesus said all was possible with God.  Resultantly, then, we are to strive in that direction, knowing we haven’t arrived on that plain of goodness, of purity reaching the Mark of our Savior, the Christ.

However, I affirm and attest that if we are comfortable with forgiving and not forgetting, we are in fact failing to obey the words of Christ. So when we pray, let us throw all the sin, theirs and ours into that great body of water we call the sea of forgetfulness.  In that way we are one more step in serving our Master, Jesus the Christ.

T. F. Thompson

WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE!!

Our pastor’s daughter got married this past weekend!  It was a joyous occasion!  Folks from all over the country came to attend.

The ceremony was a little different than usual, but I must admit, I really enjoyed the way the whole ceremony honored God!  They had the guests join in singing hymns and praise to God, and there was a sermon – explaining the reasons for marriage.  It was really refreshing to me as a senior, seeing young people honor God in this fashion!

Afterwards, we all headed over to the place where the reception was being held. Beautiful place to gather your loved ones!

As I sat and observed the crowd there in the dinner hall, I realized that I KNEW very few folks in attendance.  Most, as I mentioned before, were from out-of-town, and complete strangers to me; however, everyone seemed to be comfortable-engaging in conversation and happy with those around them.

The food was great, the fellowship was wonderful, and laughter rang out the whole time we were there.  It was a joyous time!

I had to wonder…is this what the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be like?  People from every nation, tribe and tongue will be there if they have made Jesus their Savior.  I will never have known them before THAT DAY…but we will all be in one accord and purpose… there…sitting together at the table as the Bride of Christ, anxious to honor the Bride Groom…JESUS, and thank Him for His wonderful grace!

There will be no racial tension…no difference of social status, color or language; we will all be in unity!  It won’t matter what part of earth we came from, if we were CEO’s or janitors, men or women, rich or poor, lived in mansions or was homeless…we will be equal in the eyes of our Bride Groom- Jesus.  God is no respecter of persons!  If we’ve been washed in the Blood of Jesus, we are all welcome to sit at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

Like the old songs says…”What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see!  When I look upon His face…know the power of unchanging grace….  When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the Promised Land…What a day…Glorious day that will be!”

I can’t seem to find my hymnal, and google won’t help me in this particular search, so I’m unsure of who wrote this…and hope I remembered all the words right 🙂  But this song truly explains what a wonderful day that will be!

WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE!

Anita

THINGS ABOVE…

Here’s one from the blog site called, Wilderness Joy.  Great reminder to think on things above….  Take a look! -anita

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“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator
as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Mansions copy

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the
infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake
I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage,
so that I could gain Christ Philippians 3 v 8
Is all the money of a millionaire of enormous value?
The value of knowing Christ our Lord is far greater.
Are silver and gold to be highly sort after?
The excellence of the love of Jesus is a treasure more precious .
Are earthly possessions, large mansions and expensive cars
to be highly prized?
They are as dust on a shelf when compared with the magnificence
of our Lord and King.
Therefore we seek the riches which are above and having found
the incomparable treasure of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus our Lord we look to Him.
I think these words written by John Piper sum up why we
are exhorted to ‘seek those things which are above’ (Col 3 v1)
“I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves.
I start to fit in. I start to love what others love.
I start to call earth “home.”
Before you know it, I am calling luxuries “needs”
and using my money just the way unbelievers do.
I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing.
Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind.
I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace.
I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first
to what man can do, not what God can do.”

Wilderness Joy