Prayer

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Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you for your promises, that are always “yes” and “Amen”, to your glory. Thank you for your love, which is shed abroad in my heart, and for the shed blood of Jesus, for your Holy Spirit who leads and guides into all truth. Who comforts and encourages us. Who convicts of sin and convinces of righteousness. Thank you for your grace and mercy, and your joy (which is my strength). Help me to treat others as you would, to help and encourage. To esteem others more highly than myself. To not grow weary in well doing, but to persevere and press on in doing good. Strengthen my feeble knees, and fan the flames in my heart. Help me to be bold in my testimony, in my profession of faith. Help me to be humble and teachable. I choose to run the race with patience, not turning to the right or the left, but to fix my face like flint, to keep my eyes on the prize (Jesus), and to stand against all the works of the evil one. I choose to not only defend myself and those around me from the enemy, but to be on the offensive, to attack, to go into the enemies camp and take back what he has stolen. I choose to put off the former ways of the world and my flesh and to put on the robes of righteousness that you gave me through the death and resurrection of your son. I take on life and health and a sound mind. I accept and receive all the blessings you have prepared for me, before the foundation of the world. I choose you, Jesus, again, as my Lord and King. I choose the Kingdom of love and light, and renounce the kingdom of lies and darkness. I choose you, Lord, as my Father, because you first chose me. I thank you for coming humbly to this earth, to experience what we do, as a man. For giving up the your kingly robes and crown, for taking up the role of a servant. I thank you that after fulfilling all that was needful to purchase my redemption, you took back your crown and rule and reign as my King.

Need An Attitude Adjustment?

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We tend to think of an attitude as a bad thing. We commonly hear parents of teenagers saying things like “he has an attitude”. But we can have a positive attitude or a negative attitude. We can have an attitude of gratitude or a complaining attitude. We can have an attitude that changes the world for the better or one that will change it for the worse.

Many things can affect our attitude… but only if we let them. Because, truthfully, our attitude is our choice. We may not be able to control everything that happens around us, or even to us, but we can control how we react to those things. We might even start out with a good attitude, only to find that it has gone sour somewhere along the way. How can we rightly judge our attitude? It’s always easy to see someone else’s, no always so easy to determine our own.

Matthew 12:34 says, “For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” A great place to start is to listen to what you are saying and before we can speak it out it goes through our heads first. So our thoughts are even more important, but usually it is easier to listen to our mouths as a starting point. Are you a “negative Nelly”? Are you quick to find fault in others, yourself, with your job, your finances…the weather? When discussions come up about changes, a new project or plans for the future, are you the one saying, “it will never work.”

Our attitude also affects our service to God. Over the years, I have seen many people (including myself) who have committed to serve in some way, greeting, ushering, or maybe working in the nursery, wanting to help out and be a part of the family, only to hear them speak negatively about it down the road. It started with the comments (or thoughts) of “I’d like to stay home today, but I have to usher again,” Next comes the “I greeted three times this month, can’t someone else ever do it”, and before you know it they become dissatisfied with almost everything. Those comments are red flags for an attitude adjustment. When serving becomes your only reason for attending church, instead of a genuine love for God, His word, and fellowship, you’re in trouble. If we don’t get our attitude right, soon we will be dropping out of serving, feeling burnt out and resentful, feeling like we don’t have a reason to go to church anymore. I’ve seen individuals and whole families fall victim to this bad attitude. Serving God, in any capacity is an honor, not a duty, obligation or a drudgery. The motivation has to be love.

It can be the same at your job. If you are working just for a paycheck, your attitude can quickly go south. You’ll think the hours are too long, the pay isn’t enough, your boss is selfish and the other workers are lazy. God hasn’t put you in that job just to provide for you financially, but so that you can be a light and show the love of Christ. Be a blessing to your employer. Set an example, work hard,(Christians should be the best workers in any job). Otherwise you will start to join in the complaints, maybe even become disrespectful to your supervisors or boss. This attitude doesn’t glorify God and eventually you will quit or get fired, or worse yet, just live a grouchy unthankful life.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23). Sounds pretty simple. We should help others, at church and in our personal lives. Make hats and mittens for the homeless and don’t complain about the cost of yarn or shipping (that one is for me). Serve in the church , joyfully, gratefully, knowing that you are blessing others and pleasing god. Be that city on a hill at your job, light the way to Jesus.

What Qualifies Us?

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What can we do in ourselves to become worthy? What work can we do to justify His love and favor? What is it that makes us deserving of our call, gifts and talents?

There is only one thing that can ever give us worth, favor, love and make us sure of our callings-surrendering to Jesus. we have to throw up our hands and say, “Lord, It’s not in me alone, I can’t do it. All my righteousness is just dirty rags. All my attempts, in my own strength, is just wood, hay and stubble. I need you.”

He alone makes us right with God. He alone gives us worth. Because He first loved up. Because He created us with a plan for our future, our calling is sure. It’s His plan, His finished work, His redemption, that makes us successful in our calling. He doesn’t make mistakes-ever. If He called you-He’ll equip you and you are the right person for the job.

It seems, more and more, as we draw closer to the final curtain, that there are two mindsets. One is that as long as we look like a Christian and talk like a Christian, we can “play church” without any kind of real commitment to Christ. Without investing in our relationship with Him, fellow believers or those who need our help. The other mind set seems to be a lack of security in our calling. A belief that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, etc. to do what God asks or to fulfill our call. Time is too short for either of these ungodly thoughts.

We have to stop playing games. We need to do what God has called His church to do. Use those gifts and talents to further His kingdom. We need to admit our need for Him and the authority He has given us. It’s time to recognize that it isn’t anything we can do that qualifies us. It is Him. Period. It is His love, strength, forgiveness, and redemption. He made us worthy. Our worth is in Him.

God sees us as worthy because of the work of Jesus. God looks at us with love and pride. Then He looks at those who don’t know Him with love and compassion. He longs for them-those lost sheep. Our jobs are to stop looking at ourselves, negatively or too highly, and look at them. See their need for a savior. If we are so caught up in our own inadequacies and failings, we won’t ever step out and help those that are lost and dying. If we look on them with contempt, we won’t reach out, we will leave them in the dark and never bring them into the light.

No, my flesh is not worthy. But my spirit is His and my souls is being redeemed. If God can use murderers, adulterers, harlots, stubborn-uneducated fisherman, tax-collectors, liars and even a donkey, He can (and will) use me. If I let Him. No more excuses! This isn’t a “dress rehearsal”, this is the real deal. Get your focus off yourself and fix your eyes on Jesus. He’ll bypass your faults and our greatest so-called-strengths, and He’ll use us to save a lost and dying world. Pretty awesome isn’t it?

Book Review for “The Other Jesus”- Christian Non-fiction

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1479233102/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_img_sol_0

I was given a copy of “The Other Jesus” by the author in exchange for an honest review. Dave Campbell makes some wonderful observations on how we see Jesus, where we get our idea’s from and some changes we have to make in our thinking. He lines that all up with what the Bible says about Jesus and how we have imagined Jesus wrongly.Though I didn’t agree with everything 100% (can we ever), I did find this a very insightful. Dave has an easy writing style and this was a joy to read. Where some non-fiction, even inspirational, can be dry, this one was not. I give it a solid 4 stars. I will be reading more from this author.

Perfection

Matthew 5:48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect [that is, grow into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity].

God see’s the end from the beginning. He can see the finish line, the finished product. He sees His children as perfect. As the Master Potter-He designed you just the way He wanted you. The whole time with the picture in His mind of what you will be when you are complete and mature.

But there is work to be done. Molding. Shaping. Kneading. Glazing. Firing. All to get us to the finished, expected end, a vessel of honor. The Master Potter never makes all of His vessels the same. He isn’t a mass-market-producer. He hand crafts each one individually. Some of us may have similar gifts and talents, similar calls on our lives, but we each have a special, individual personality that God uses in a unique way for his purpose. We can’t judge ourselves by what we see in others. We can’t think we are worse (or better) than anyone else. The Master Potter made you the way He saw fit.

God looks at me and sees the finished design. To Him, I have already made it through the fire, without cracking or breaking, with no flaws or blemishes, perfectly formed and beautiful. I may see my flaws, my mistakes and struggles. Or maybe I didn’t let the Potter finish the job, jumping out of the fire, trying to fashion myself in the image of what I want to be, or worse yet, how others see me. I have to place myself, willingly, in His hands, asking Him, “What do you want me to do,” and “Who do you want me to be.” Sometimes we have to start all from scratch and ask Him, “How do you see me,” and if we aren’t even close, ask Him to start over and re-make us again. It’s like looking at a blueprint before the foundation is even laid.

I am being perfected, through trials, test and just plain living. As I stand on His word and build a relationship with Him, connect with other believers and join a church family, I am growing and maturing. Those rough edges are being smoothed over just like river rocks.

I am being perfected by being patient and persevering. One pastor recently put it this way, “Persistence destroys resistance.” Refusing to back down or give up. I can’t grow weary in well doing. I press towards the mark. I run (or walk, sometimes plod) towards the finish line. Like Paul, I will win the prize! God’s strength keeps me going. His joy sustains me. His promises give me hope. There is Light at the end of the tunnel.

I haven’t arrived yet-but I am on my way!

“But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” James 1:4

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8

Which Do You Choose?

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I recently watched an old version of Shakespeare’s, “The Merchant of Venice.”
I love the symbolism of the three chests. Whoever chooses the right one wins the hand of the fair maiden.

First there is the Gold chest! Shining and glittering with promise of wealth and riches. The inscription on this chest reads,
“Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire.”

Chest two is silver. It still has some shine, maybe not the glitter. It reads,
“Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves.”

The third chest is a simple lead chest. Not worth much, no shine, no glitter, only the inscription,
“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.”

The first chest seems to promise much. But is what we desire always what’s best for us? The answer is no! If you were to choose this one your answer would be,
“All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold,
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.”
If you chose this one, you will quickly realize the mistake. What you thought was worth it, just isn’t. Sin has pleasure, but only for a season.

So maybe we can fare better with the silver chest. Getting what we deserve. Do you want what you deserve? I certainly don’t. Thank God I don’t have to. No choosing of this chest for me. I deserve punishment. But if you think you deserve fame and fortune and all of that, go ahead…
Inside you will find,
“The fire seven times tried this:
Seven times tried that judgment is,
That did never choose amiss.
Some there be that shadows kiss;
Such have but a shadow’s bliss:
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver’d o’er; and so was this.
If you chose this one, you will realize how foolish it is to put yourself above others, to seek only your own advancement and comfort.

Of course, we are so much wiser than the foolish suitor’s. We choose the third chest, and rightly so. We hazard all, or gamble all, or give all, for true love! We see inside,
“You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair and choose as true!
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new,
If you be well pleased with this”

We choose by not looking at the outside, but trusting on what is inside. We aren’t seeking to gratify or glorify ourselves. We are seeking love. True love asks for sacrifice, not greed or self-seeking. Jesus chose chest three- to win your heart. Aren’t you glad.
And won’t you hazard all for Him?

Book Review for “Throw Yourself a Party” non-fiction

Throw yourself a party by Dave Duell is a book for everyone.
” How do you react when things don’t go your way?
What do you do when everything seems to go wrong?
In this insightful book, you will learn biblical principles for dealing with difficult situations. As you discover these living truths from God’s Word, you will be refreshed in your spirit and set on a new course of victory over life’s challenges.
Go ahead – throw yourself a party! ”

I have had the privilege of hearing Dave in person and his writing style is as easy as his speaking style. If you are in a hard place, this book is for you! If you’re not, read it and prepare!
Very encouraging, uplifting and inspirational! I give this book 5+ stars. Recommended for pre-teens and up.
You can find the book here. http://www.fmin.org/store/index.php?detail=65&site_id=6
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