What Is Church?


IMG_0117I have taken this message from The Daily Bread. It is an excellent message, written by John Stuart. Thank you, John, for your uplifting visionary words.

Luke 13:18-19 – Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.” (NIV)

I find it amazing to think that Christianity is actually the world’s largest faith. About one-third of our planet’s population is connected to Christ, and each year, that number is growing all over the earth. Beginning on a hillside in Galilee two thousand years ago with just a couple of hundred followers, Christ’s ministry has expanded and increased throughout the centuries. In every nation on this planet, there is a Christian community. The gospel has been preached in every corner on earth. The mustard seed of God’s kingdom, which was planted so long ago, now has people of every nation living in its branches. There are currently more Christians on earth than at any other time in humankind’s history. Christ’s life, work, and ministry continue to grow. It is a faith that cannot be stopped; it is a teaching that cannot be curtailed.

Churches are springing up everywhere. Old buildings may be closing, but new fellowships of faith are being planted. Christ’s mission never stops, and despite what western media or anti-religious groups express about the decline of Christianity, the numbers across the world prove them to be false prophets. Western Christianity is being transformed, and a rebirth of faith is being experienced. The church changes as each century comes and goes, but one thing remains constant: Christ’s people are growing numerically and spiritually across this planet in every generation.

Sometimes, we western Christians get downhearted about declining congregational numbers and moral standards of society. We get hung up on finances and money instead of being inspired by faith and mission. All that we are negatively experiencing are the birth pangs of a new twenty-first-century church. Christ will not let His people down; Christ will not let His mission die.

So let’s rejoice, because throughout the earth, more people will be brought closer to Christ today and give their hearts to His kingdom.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your work on earth continues each day, and new souls are saved for Your kingdom. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your great commission. Help us to reach out to other people in charitable and cheerful ways, so that they may also be drawn closer to You. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

How Will I Know?


Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (NKJV)

The media has shown over the years, people who have predicted the end of the world. We’re still here to proclaim them as eccentric. It is sad, because they affect the integrity of the truth of the Bible. Believers in Christ are not fooled. In fact, the Bible is clear – we will not know the time or date of the end of the world. So why would anyone, with wisdom, fool themselves and try to delude others by declaring that they do? We are to choose to have faith in God and believe in Jesus Christ as His son and our risen Savior.

Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. (NKJV)

The Bible gives us clear direction on this. In Matthew 24:4-7
And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (NKJV)

We are called to trust in, and believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Faith is to trust the words of the Bible. They are God-breathed. They are not of man. Yet, thousands still choose to follow their own passions. Many choose another God. Time will tell whether we have chosen wisely. For some the end will be a time of celebration, while for others it will prove to be a time of great mourning. The sad fact is that by then it will be too late to change direction.

Matthew 24:29-30 Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (NKJV)

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My devotionals can be read on:
http://www.devotionalchristian.com
http://www.underthecoverofprayer.com
http://www.presbycan.org (search – daily devotionals)

It’s a Cold, Cold Day


It’s a cold, cold day, here today. Snow squalls are continually driving a path through the area, and brutally cold temperatures are the order of the day. Unforgiving weather, is what I call it. Exposure to these elements for too, long, would mean you would be dealing with frostbite, as well as certain death, if exposed for too long.

The world is filled with deadly conditions too. Abortion. Rape. Abuse. Deception. Theft. Prostitution. Human trafficking. Child labor. The list can almost be endless.

Billy Graham, aged 93, and still a man of God, with Godly values, prays for our human frailties and I print his prayer here, for all who would like to pray it for themselves and our earthly world and governments.

Billy Graham’s Prayer

THIS MAN SURE HAS A GOOD VIEW OF WHAT’S HAPPENING NOT ONLY TO THE U.S. BUT ALSO TO OUR WORLD!

‘Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable… We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from sin and Set us free. Amen!’

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My Devotionals can be read at:
http://www.devotionalchristian.com
http://www.underthecoverofprayer.com
http://www.presbycan.com/daily devotionals

Where is the Love?


IMG_0117

The world can be a cold and hostile place. It is not for the faint of heart and yet, here we are living our lives in the best way we can and, at this time of year, sharing our love and gifts without exemption.

How wonderful the world would be if each day were this way. We get up, get showered (bathed), dressed and fed, hoping that our day will be a good one. There is no guarantee and yet, as Christians we do have the assurance of an inner strength that is unavailable without reaching out to our God, who loves unconditionally.

The Bible is God’s words……..and it gives us clear direction and support……..it is a blueprint for living the right way. Of course, God is invisible – but He is not absent, because He gives us His spirit once we trust Him with our lives.

Colossians 2:5 For though I am absent in the flesh (you cannot see Me), yet I am with you in spirit (in your heart), rejoicing to see your good order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. (NKJV)

These words give me strength and comfort at all times; I agree, it is hard to trust in the wisdom of a person unseen, and yet I believe the contents of the Bible. The advice contained within its pages reassure me at all times, because the words are wise and mean me no harm. They set me upon solid ground in thought, word and deed – and I like that.

May my God of all that is good and kind and loving, bless your celebrations of Christ’s birthday and beyond.

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Prayer Works………


The power of prayer can work miracles in our lives. Big miracles or small miracles, any or all can come our way if we pray for God’s will into our lives.

I have personally experienced some wonderful blessings myself, by trusting in God’s perfect will for my life.

Not sure what to pray or how to pray? Here are two powerful prayers that can build faith as well as provide much comfort.

For New Direction ……

The Prayer of Jabez

“Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

The Lord’s Prayer (for all our needs)

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen! Matthew 6:9b-13

Blessings to you,

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Facing our Pain


Yesterday, I addressed the fathers in our earthly lives. Today, I make mention of our own possible shortcomings.

We all face difficult situations that involve the people we love. In some of these situations the wise course of action may not be clear. We may feel a heavy burden to act but have no idea what to do.

Sometimes, we are powerless, because of our stations in life. We may be in a situation where other people have power over us. We may feel that we are trapped by the demands of others and that there is no way to please them all. It’s a double bind; to please one is to disappoint another. Sometimes when we feel stuck and frustrated with our relations, we look for a measure of control by escaping through our addictive behaviors.

Genesis 16:9-11 Hagar is a picture of powerlessness. She had no rights. As a girl, she was a slave to Sarai and Abram. When Sarai proved unable to have children, Hagar was chosen to be a surrogate. How demoralizing! She became pregnant but then Sarai was so jealous that she beat Hagar, so much so, that she ran away. All alone in the wilderness, she was met by an angel who gave her an amazing message. ‘Return to your mistress and submit to her authority and I will give you more descendants than you can count’. The angel then said, ‘You are now pregnant with a son. You are to name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard about your misery’. (The Life Recovery Bible).

When we are caught in no-win situations, it is tempting to run away through our addictive/compulsive escape hatches. At times like these God is there, and He is listening to our woes. We need to express our pain to God instead of just trying to escape it. He hears our cries and is willing to give us hope for the fuuture.

Jeremiah 29:11-

“For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you” says the Lord. “Iwill end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land”.

I too, have found the comfort that this verse offers. Many times I have wanted to run from circumstances or situations, but we are only reassured of safe change when by recognizing how helpless we are against our weaknesses we choose to entrust God with our lives. We must put ourselves into His powerful loving hands. Realizing that God loves us no matter what! No matter how we have lived! No matter what we have done!

Prayer: Dear Lord God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I need help. I believe in You and that Jesus is Your Son. I believe that He came and died to pay the penalty for the sins I have committed. I ask You to forgive me, and to give me the gift of eternal life You promised. Come into my life and cause me to be born again. Amen!

—passages taken from The Life Recovery Bible.

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Author of Eleanor’s Story, A Stolen Childhood

Focus!


Matthew 6:6  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  (NKJV)

When you pray, do you ever find yourself being inundated with other thoughts and a myriad of distractions around you?  I do, I have to confess. 

During my bible and prayer time recently, I found my focus drawn to activity in the garden.  I was trying to say the Lord’s Prayer, but I kept interjecting my own thoughts into it.  It was so persistent that I decided I would write down my attempts.  Here it is.

Our Father who art in heaven.  Uh-oh, here comes a pesky squirrel.

Hallowed be Thy Name.  I wonder did you spill the feeder yesterday, to get to the seed?

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.  You’re very fortunate you are quicker on your feet than me.

Give us this day our daily bread.  Even the squirrel!

And forgive us our trespasses   Even those of us who plot against Your squirrels.

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  Gotta be the squirrels!

And lead us not into temptation,  I plot to hurt it, but would not

But deliver us from evil.  It is one of your creations too.

For Thine is the Kingdom  And it belongs to you just as much as I do.

The Power and the Glory  I  give up!  I’ll continue to watch – but not during my bible time.  Sorry, Abba!

Forever and ever, Amen

See what I mean?  Wasn’t that pitiful?  Reading it, I was ashamed of my poor effort and my lack of focus.  My focus should have been on God and His Prayer – not on the squirrel in the garden.  

Prayer:  Abba, I thank You that you are tolerant of my weaknesses and foibles.  Forgive me when my attention is taken from You.  Direct me to focus on You and You alone, for You are more than worthy.  Amen.

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Why GOOD Friday?


GOOD FRIDAY mourning!

Good Friday!

I began my day thinking why is today called Good Friday?  After all Jesus was crucified this day, so long ago?

I researched and came up with this as an answer.  I admit to posting the information on FB and www.devotionalchristian.com, and now here.  If I was curious then perhaps somebody else might be asking that question too – so here is what I found out (actually I knew the answer, but this is so much more detailed and may answer your question in a way you understand).

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (NKJV)

“Good Friday” is certainly not the only thing we could call this day. In Latin countries, it is called “Holy Friday.” In Germany, it is called “Mourning Friday” or “Friday of Mourning.” Norway refers to it as “Long Friday” (a reference to the length of the day’s services). The Orthodox Churches call it “Holy Friday” and “Great Friday.”

All of these names are instructive and understandable. So how did it come to be called “Good Friday” in English-speaking lands? The reality is that we do not know for sure. After scouring the internet and other sources, there appear to be three plausible alternatives.

1. An archaic meaning of “good” is something akin to “holy.” Thus, it used to mean “Holy Friday.”

2. It was recognized that the evils of that day lead to the greatest good, the salvation of mankind. Thus, despite the bad, the day was truly good.

3. An archaic meaning of “good” is “God,” just as “good-bye” means “God be with you.” Thus, it used to mean “God’s Friday.”

Each of these alternatives is apt and instructive. But perhaps the one most relevant to our culture and times is the middle one. Despite the evil of that day, God evoked the greatest good from it. But by good we do not mean happy or a time of celebration per se. As stated well by Chris Armstrong in Christianity Today:

Of course, the church has always understood that the day commemorated on Good Friday was anything but happy. Sadness, mourning, fasting, and prayer have been its focus since the early centuries of the church. A fourth-century church manual, the Apostolic Constitutions, called Good Friday a “day of mourning, not a day of festive Joy.” Ambrose, the fourth-century archbishop who befriended the notorious sinner Augustine of Hippo before his conversion, called it the “day of bitterness on which we fast.”

Many Christians have historically kept their churches unlit or draped in dark cloths. Processions of penitents have walked in black robes or carried black-robed statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary. And worshippers have walked the “Stations of the Cross,” praying and singing their way past 14 images representing Jesus’ steps along the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha.

Yet, despite—indeed because of—its sadness, Good Friday is truly good. Its sorrow is a godly sorrow. It is like the sadness of the Corinthians who wept over the sharp letter from their dear teacher, Paul, convicted of the sin in their midst. Hearing of their distress, Paul said, “My joy was greater than ever.” Why? Because such godly sorrow “brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Cor. 7:10).

For me, the day is a somber, reflective one. I focus on all that Jesus gave up and suffered for his Church. The humiliation, pain, and death are a sacrifice on our behalf. Today, we appreciate the price of that sacrifice. At the same time, however, we should not forget the great good that Jesus’ sacrifice effected. After all, Resurrection Sunday is on the way.

Taken from http://christiancadre.blogspot.ca
https://pepeprays.wordpress.com

Easter Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ!  He is Risen, we will proclaim and we will be joyful and celebrate!

Anyway!


Anyway!  the word can sound like a negative response, or justification for a wrong action or spoken word.

I (try my best to) live by the biblical laws of the Lord’s Ten Commandments, and some time ago, I’d had some unexpected challenges and I had been questioning myself.  How could I react in a positive manner?The truth was, I was angry and in need of much grace within myself; nevertheless, I wanted to overcome that negativity.  Checking my emails, I found a friend had sent me a link to Dr. Kent Keith’s, ‘Paradoxical Commandments’  and his presentation helped me to put things into perspective -perhaps, they’ll help you today in someway too – so with permission granted me by Dr. Kent Keith, here they are for you – remember to always try to Do Your Best, in all you do.

THE PARADOXICAL COMMANDMENTS

 By Kent M. Keith

  

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

 2.   If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior   motives. Do good anyway.

3.  If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

4.  The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

5.  Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

6.  The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

7.  People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

8.  What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

9.  People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent M. Keith as part of his book, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, published in 1968 by Harvard Student Agencies, Cambridge, Massachusetts. More information is available at http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/.

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My Blinking Coffee Maker


A New Day

A New Day Dawning

My coffee maker is winking at me! Honestly: on and off, on and off goes the little red light. It’s actually telling me that the machine needs cleaning, but what it isn’t recognizing is that I have cleaned it — I removed every removable part that I can find; I removed the filter mechanism and replaced the filter, and then cleaned it some more just to be sure. But the blinking red light still winks at me! What is its problem? What have I missed? Every nook and cranny has been dealt with that I can see, but it chooses not to take any notice — and so-o-o, day in, day out, whenever I make coffee, the machine winks at me. I even tried to hide the light with a black marker — a big, black, permanent marker that I thought I could use to daub onto the little red light and mask it — well, that didn’t work! No way was it going to be hidden. I think I’d miss it now — I’ve become quite used to its presence.

Psalm 51:1-2 – Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (NKJV)

When God sees the need for us to be cleaned, His light, the Holy Spirit, convicts us that unnecessary sediment is present in our spirits and hearts, the remainder of all the wrongs we have committed. He pursues us continually in many ways. He puts His people in our path to get our attention, to speak to us, and help us to recognize where improvement is needed. He reminds us continually through His Word — if in fact we are actually checking the interior of the Book. He will keep reappearing in many forms, reminding us that it is time for change.

Yet, how many times we try to mask Him so that we can go on doing what we are doing — things that we know He would not approve of. It’s as if we are picking up a big, black marker and trying to obliterate Him from the eyes of our hearts and spirits. We do that in vain because His light will not be blocked, however hard we try to make it happen. He will continue to pursue each one of us and make us aware of His disciplines and His way. His light will be ever present until we take notice and attend to what needs correction.

John 12:46-48 – I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (NKJV)

Those who have received Christ need periodic cleanings, but others need to confess their sins and receive Christ’s forgiveness for the very first time. Only when we choose to conform and repent and call upon God in the name of Jesus to help us and accept us and change us from the inside out can we begin to understand what a difference His cleansing in our lives will make. It is a feeling beyond any other and cannot be adequately described by mere words — we’ve got to try it ourselves. Many years ago, He called me to change and to follow Him. Thankfully, He took over, and I had no control over the powerful spirit of love that wrapped itself around me. He walked me to the prayer rail of my (then) church, where I gave my life to Him. I have rejoiced in that action ever since. You can do it too!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. I know that I have done wrong things in the past and I am sorry. I am willing, with Your help, to turn away from my sins and turn to You. I believe, Jesus, that You died for me and rose again for me. Please come into my life and change me and show me Your ways, right now. Amen.