LEN’S LINES — A Little Religion On A Positive Note

By Len Granger

Here on our small farm, we have a flock of chickens consisting of 20 hens and a very protective rooster. The legs on this rooster are strong and have two inch spikes which he knows how to use. When the weather was nice, before the rains, we would let the chickens out in the back yard to explore and gather insects. When I would feed them twice a day, the hens would run to meet me as I went to the chicken house.

The rooster on a recent day decided I was getting too much attention, so he attack me. As I tried to kicked him away, he spiked my left leg and my pants did not protect me. A large varicose vain over the lower part of my left leg bleed from the wound for some time. I cleaned and bandaged the wound and a few days later it was healed.

When I went to my Christian doctor for a foot problem and as he treated the foot, I showed him that the large varicose vain on that leg was gone. After I told him the story of how the chicken attacked me, he said that will make a great story. He mentioned his fellow doctors will enjoy hearing how the Lord healed your leg from a chicken attack and it did not even cost a dime.

We see in the Bible where David writes in Psalm 6:2, ” Have mercy on me. O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.” Yes, Our Lord heals us in mysterious ways. Let us put our Hope, Trust, and Faith in our gracious and loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as only he can heal our physical body here on the earth. For the child of God, He gives us a Spiritual Body, at the end of this age on the day of resurrection. Our Spiritual Body we will have for eternity and will not be in combat with roosters on the rampage.

Trust we will all be in the church of our choice this Sunday worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God Bless America

No Copyright. Website TipTopWebsite.com/LensLines
Christian Newspaper Writer in California
Granger339@aol.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITERS

Considering the Heavens

- by Richard McCaw

As a young man, I considered carefully the exquisite design of the human body. What would life be without hands and feet? When I learned that the muscles of the heart contract down on the contained blood 60 to 70 times a minute, night and day, year in and year out,throughout my whole lifetime, I could not believe that it was all an accident.

My eyes were wonderful cameras. The pupil of my eye dilates and contracts according to the amount of light needed for vision. Every camera comes with a light meter in order to adjust the camera to the light rays. My eye has its own built-in light meter. Did the parts just come together by mere chance? Hardly so! From a very early age, whenever I gazed into the clear blue sky and at the beautiful mountains and hills of my native land, or watched the waves of the Caribbean sea as they crashed upon the shores, awe and amazement overwhelmed me. I thought, “What would life be without beauty?” Thank God, He gave me eyes to appreciate His wonderful creation.

As I contemplated these things I asked myself questions. “Is there not a cause? Could so vast and wonderful a universe have originated itself?” Scientists and philosophers agree that something cannot appear from absolute nothingness. Any opposing conclusion violates a basic scientific principle: causality! Without this first law, science is impossible! The Psalmist David wrote: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained , what is man, that You are mindful of him?”(Psalm 8:3 NKJ) Richard has been an evangelist, pastor and musician for over 40 years, ministering to teens and young adults. Contact

What CHRISTmas Is ~

Originally posted on CHRISTian ~ poetry by deborah ann:

~ CHRISTian poetry by deborah ann ~Salvation to All- IBible Verse

CHRISTmas . . .

. . . is joy immeasurable,
the perfect gift of love . . .
it’s serenity and harmony
God’s grace sent from above

It’s forever life changing,
it makes all things new
it’s freeing and liberating
it restores and renews.

It’s hope for the future,
the wiping away of tears
it’s strong and powerful
the remedy,  for all fears.

It brings inner healing,
it’s like a refreshing rain
it soothes and eases
it’s the cure, for all pain.

It brings forgiveness,
deliverance from sin
it provides the only way
to have true peace within.

It’s comforting and calming,
the end  to worldly strife
it’s cleansing and purifying
it brings everlasting life.

It’s love immeasurable,
it’s heavenly elation
for the birth of Christ Jesus . . .
brings eternal salvation!

~~~~~~~~~~

Titus 2:11

“For the grace of God
that bringeth salvation
hath appeared to all men,”

King James Version
by Public Domain

Copyright 2014
Deborah Ann Belka

View original

By blackeybaptistchurch Posted in Faith

‘Christ gave us the Keys’

key

Photo by Marian Trinidad@creationswap

By: David Robinson

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: Revelation 1:11.
Fear not; I am the first and the last: Revelation 1:17 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:18
Anytime repeats himself it is worth reading again and again.. so allow me to glean some pearls of wisdom for you today.
Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, he is the start of every sentence and the full stop, when he speaks hell shudders and heaven applauds, when he utters a word it is filled with so much power the whole universe stands to attention and says ‘yes sir’ and the earth quivers on its axis waiting for a command.
He is the first and the last, no one could ever make such a claim, he was before beginning as we know it and he will be after the end as we expect it, what a glorious thought for all who believe on his name.
As the Alpha he is the same yesterday, that means that unlike me he can go back into the filth of my yesterday and clean it up, he can visit the shanty town of my sinful past, drop in on illicit conversations and acts and wipe the slate clean through his blood.
As the Omega he can walk through the courts of my today’s and ensure that every sinful thought, every sinful act is washed, thoroughly washed by the power of his blood and the might of his grace.
He is the ‘go-between’ with my heavenly Father, the days man who ever makes intercessions for us ensuring that every sinful act, every foolish mistake, every idle word will be abolished from the books that are being written in heavens court.
As the Omega he is forever; forever cleansing us in his blood (1 John 1: 6-10), forever forgiving us, and forever encouraging us to dwell in the Holy place of His Spirit.
And so know this for certain your past is cleaned up, our present is being washed daily, and our tomorrows are secure because he has made us complete in Christ (And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Colossians 2:10)
Thank God that he is who he says he is for if my past had to be dealt with I am doomed for there are things back there even I cannot face, thank God I do not have to keep my salvation for it is kept for me by his power (1 Peter 1;5)
Now that I have set the scene please, let me show you a truth that brings freedom from today’s problems and tomorrows fears;
‘I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death’ Revelation 1:18
The devil does not have the keys Christ does!! He has the keys to every hell bred sickness and disease, he has the keys to every prison we find ourselves in, he has the keys to all of life’s hellish experiences however they are caused.
He has them because he earned them, for he too was touched with our pain, our sorrow, anxiety and depression intimately, he knows fear, rejection, sorrow, imprisonment, darkness, anguish, grief, loneliness and death, he has been touched with the feelings of all our infirmities.
That why he has the keys in his hand, he has them because he walked through every hell -bred trial, every temptation, everything cess pit of sin you and I will ever crawl through,
That’s why sin has no dominion over a believer; Christ has the key;
That’s why sickness and disease have no power over them that believe; Christ has the key;
That’s why hell has no power over any believer; Christ has the keys;
That’s why the devil himself has no power over any believer; Christ has the Key;
That’s why death has no power over any believer that’s why there is no sting and no victory for the grave; Christ has the key over death.
Guess what Christ did with the keys? he gave them to the church; yes you and I….
‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ Matthew 16:19
That’s the power he gave each one of us who believe; a key to heal the sick and cleanse the lepers, a key to cast out devils, to gain wealth, keys to make the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.
Keys to bring deliverance to the captives and liberty to them that are bruised, praise the Lord he has entrusted each one of us with the key to open the prison doors and to set the captives free.
Each of us have the key to freedom in our heart, its called the gift of faith in Christ, the God kind of faith that moves mountains (Mark 11:22 as well as tomb stones, its time to take a final leap of faith, to trust in the Alpha and Omega for he alone will get the glory;
Its time for each of us who are called by his name and cleansed in his blood to live in the liberty wherein Christ has made us free; Galatians 5:1 for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Makes you think doesn’t it?

David Robinson

THE PLEASURE OF THANKSGIVING

Thanks & Giving

Photo Art by Jeff Boriss@creationswap

Based on Psa. 145
By Pastor Glenn Pease

The legend is told of the servant whose master left him a bag of blessings when he died. The bag will always be full said the master if you remember the four magic words. The servant went off so delighted as he partook of the blessings of the bag. But finally he came to the point where the bag was nearly empty. He had taken his blessings for granted so long he had forgotten the words that would refill it. He anxiously sought for advice. One said, “maybe the magic words are I wish I had.” So he started shouting, ” I wish I had, I wish I had as much as all my neighbors have of health and wealth and such.” But his bag had no more blessings than before. So he sought for other advice. “Perhaps” said another, “the magic words are give me some more.” So he tried, “Give me some more, give me some more, Oh, fill my bag of blessings up as full as it was before.” But the bag remained empty.

He was sad as he sat by the road eating his last piece of bread. A poor waif of a child came up to him and begged for a part of his bread. He forgot his own need and gave the lad his bread. The boy said, “I thank Thee.” “That’s it” the servant shouted as he leaped to his feet. Those are the magic words. “I thank Thee Lord.”
And so he recited, “I thank Thee Lord, I thank Thee Lord once more, for all the blessings in my bag, O Lord how great a store.” When he looked down the bag was full once more.

This legend is based on a Biblical principle which says, a grateful heart is the key to receiving things for which to be grateful. I thank Thee Lord are indeed four magic words that filled the bag of life with more and more of God’s blessings. David knew this, and that is why the praises of God were so perpetually flowing from his pen. His Psalms are-

packed with praises,
loaded with lauding,
thick with thanksgiving,
bursting with blessing,
exploding with exaltation.

The fact that God includes so many of David’s Psalms of praise and thanksgiving in His Word tells us that God loves to be thanked and appreciated, just as much as we do, and probably even more, for He always has good reason to deserve it. Ingratitude wounds his heart as it does ours when our love is taken for granted. Every good and perfect gift comes down with love from the Father above, and, therefore, there should be a thanksgiving flow ever rising from below. David helps us keep the flow going by means of his Psalms. Psa. 145 is the last one ascribed to David. It is his crown jewel of praise. The ancient Hebrews declared it one of the keys to happiness to read this song of thanksgiving three times a day. Catching the spirit of this song is guaranteed to keep your bag of blessings full. Let’s look at the four pleasures that David deals with in this great hymn of praise.

I. THE ETERNAL PLEASURE OF THANKSGIVING. v. 1

David emphasizes that he will praise God forever and ever. In verse 13 he acknowledges that God’s Kingdom is everlasting. Praises of the king will last as long as the king, which means, thanksgiving is forever. Not all values of this life are eternal. Faith will become sight, hope will become reality, but love will go on for eternity, and with it will go the grateful heart.

There is much we develop in this life that will not survive death, and much that will burn up in judgment, as wood hay and stubble. But one thing that will never die is the grateful heart. We talk about living with eternity values in view. Here is one way to do it: Develop a heart filled with thanksgiving, for that part of you will live forever. We go to Rev. 7:12 and we hear this song before the throne of God- “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever.” Songs by the thousands come and go, but songs of praise and thanksgiving will always be number one on God’s hit parade. When you are into thanksgiving, you are investing in a value that will never lose its worth. Gold and jewels may lose their value when the streets and walls of the heavenly city are made of them, but thanksgiving will always be precious.

We are never finished with thanksgiving. The day of Thanksgiving comes and goes, like all others, but the grateful heart is to be a perpetual part of our every day life. All other holidays involve thanksgiving. On Christmas we thank God for His greatest gift-His Son. On Easter we thank God for raising His Son, and thereby opening the door to eternal life for all who trust in Him. On every patriotic holiday we thank God for His providential guidance in our nation that has led to all our freedoms and blessings. Everything that is a celebration calls for thanksgiving. Other values are seasonal, but thanksgiving is perpetual, and is to characterize the Christian life for time and eternity.

The healthy heart is a thankful heart. When you begin to take God’s grace for granted, and cease to thank Him for His mercy, you are developing a sickness of the soul. You are losing the eternal perspective, and letting the negative of time blind you to that which is yours as a child of God. I have read of a number of soldiers whose lives were saved by another soldier, and they remember this event with an annual gift of thanksgiving. How much more ought we to give thanks to our Savior who saved us not just for time, but for eternity.

Heartfelt praise and adoration,
Savior, thus to Thee we give;
For thy life’s humiliation,
For thy death, whereby we live.
All the grief thou wert enduring,
All the bliss thou wert securing:
Evermore the theme shall be
Of thanksgiving, Lord, to Thee. Author unknown

We only taste now of the glory that Christ prepares for us in eternity, but even the taste is worthy of praise that never ceases. We can never over do it, and thank God to much for his grace. Johnston G. Patrick wrote, “To say thank you to God is good; to know that we shall never be able to thank Him enough is better.” “Though our mouths were full of song as the sea,” runs a memorable passage in the Hebrew Morning Service, “and our tongues of exaltation as the multitude of its waves, and our lips of praise as the wide-extended firmament; though our eyes shown with light like the sun and the moon, and our hands were spread forth like the eagles of heaven, and our feet were swift as hinds, we should still be unable to thank Thee and to bless Thy name, O Lord our God and God of fathers, for one thousandth or one ten-thousandth part of the bounties which Thou hast bestowed upon our fathers and upon us.” If Jews can say that, how much more is it true for those of us who have God’s best in Christ?

Chesterton was right when he said, “It is the highest and holiest of the paradoxes that the man who really knows he cannot pay his debt will be forever paying it.” For ever and ever the redeemed will be offering up to God the sacrifice of praise, for thanksgiving is eternal. Secondly we see-

II. THE EVERYDAY PLEASURE OF THANKSGIVING v.2

This sounds like quite a let down from the eternal, but it is not, it is a direct result of the eternal. If God has given us that which lasts forever, and for which we will praise Him forever, we should also be grateful for the lesser gifts that make this earthly life a more pleasant journey. The everyday and the eternal are linked in this verse, and they are linked in life because the God we thank is both eternal and everyday.

During the London Blitz the children were all sent into the country to ensure that there would be a future generation. One little girl ended her bedtime prayer with this plea: “And please dear God, take good care of yourself, for if anything happens to you, we are sunk.” That was her way of saying what the Bible says, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” It is true, without God we are sunk, and therefore, thanksgiving is for everyday as well as forever. Thank God for God Himself, and do it daily, and not just for daily bread.

Everyday is full of wonders to those atuned to the working of God, but most of us live often on the level of the mundane, and everyday is full of the commonplace and routine. Happy is that person who can thank God daily for the common blessings of life. There are so many that we can’t even think of them. Let me share a few that someone with a sense of humor put together. These may stimulate your mind to an awareness of just how innumerable our blessings are.

“1. Arn’t you thankful that grass doesn’t grow up though the snow making winter mowing as well as shoveling a responsibility.
2. Arn’t you thankful that teenagers will eventually have children who become teenagers.
3. Arn’t you thankful that the space for messages on T-shirts and bumpers is limited.
4. Arn’t you thankful that women whose husbands take them for granted don’t all scream at the same time.
5. Arn’t you thankful that hugs and kisses don’t cause cancer, or even add weight.
6. Arn’t you thankful that stereos, radios, and TV’s can be turned off.
7. Last but not least, arn’t you thankful that you are not a turkey.”

The last one may be debatable for some, but these few examples published in Christianity Today reveal that a list could be endless of all we have to be grateful for in everyday life.

David did not live a sheltered life. He had enormous family problems, and colossal government messes, but he never lost sight of the joy of everyday living.
He could say amen to the modern poet Ralph Cushman who wrote,

Thank God I’m alive!
That the skies are blue,
That a new day dawns
For me and for you.

The sunlight glistens
On field and on tree,
And the house wren sings
To his mate and to me.
The whole world glows
With a heavenly glee!

I know there are heart-aches,
A world full of strife,
But thank God, O thank God
Thank God just for life.

Do we need to be rescued from a burning building, or from a watery grave to be thankful? Do we need the spectacular to cause us to look up and praise God, or can we see enough in every ordinary day to motivate us to thanksgiving? Someone said, “He who is rarely clean is not a clean man, and he who is rarely thankful is not a thankful man.” The ideal is to be, like David, and be thankful everyday.

Helmet Thielicke, the great German preacher and scholar, wrote about his experience in Germany during World War II. “Previously, when I came into my study where all my books are gathered I use to think, all of this is my scholarship and my wisdom, it all belongs to me….But when the bombs came and all around us the houses collapsed I began to think differently: You can’t take it so for granted that all this belongs to you. It can all be taken away from you, it has only been given and entrusted to you. So I found myself giving thanks for everyday I could still have my treasures.” May God help us to be thankful for the everyday things that we could lose any day. Thirdly, look at-

III. THE EVOLVING PLEASURE OF THANKSGIVING. v. 4

The thankful heart looks ahead to eternity, and it looks around at everyday, but it would not be complete if it did not look back to the past, and to the heritage that has evolved from generation to generation. David says one generation passes on to another the marvelous and mighty works of God. This becomes a well from which we can draw the water of endless praise.

All that we call blessings did not begin with us. These blessings have a history, and thank God, that history is passed on to us so we can praise God for His wonderful deeds of the past that have made the present so full of the pleasant. As Americans we have a heritage that surpasses most who have ever lived. The first Presidential
Proclamation of thanksgiving was by President Washington in 1789, in honor of the new constitution. Thanksgiving for Americans has ever since been partially patriotic. Christians have recognized the hand of God in the history of our land from the beginning.

Christians were leaders in the founding and forming of our nation. Several of the original thirteen colonies were founded by great Christian men. Roger Williams, the Baptist, founded Rhode Island for religious freedom. William Penn, the Quaker, founded Pennsylvania as a kingdom where Christian principles would reign. Peter Marshall and David Manuel have written the book, The Light And The Glory. In it they show the constant providence of God in the history of America. It is fascinating, and becomes a basis for perpetual thanksgiving.

It is of interest to note that David in this Psalm, in verse 15, refers to God as the giver of food. Food on thanksgiving has been linked closely in the history of America. The Pilgrims went through some terrible times, but when they got the help of the Indians they were able to raise good crops, and Gov. Bradford declared a day of thanksgiving. The Indian, Massosoit, was invited, but he brought 90 other with him. The Pilgrims were in despair fearing they could not feed such a crowd, and still have a supply to get them through the winter. But fortunately, they did not come empty handed. They brought five dressed deer, and over a dozen fat wild turkeys. They showed the Pilgrims how to roast corn kernels until they popped, and so they had popcorn for their thanksgiving.

In turn, the Pilgrims introduced the Indians to blueberry, apple, and cherry pie. From this beginning food and thanksgiving have gone hand in hand, for good and abundant food is the most concrete evidence of the blessing of God on a nation.

The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were down to their last hand full of meal in the barrel, and Governor Winthrop called for a day of fasting, but that day became a day of feasting, for the ship Lyon arrived from England with a cargo of wheat, meal, peas, oatmeal, beef, pork, cheese, butter, and casks of lemon juice. This deliverance was seen as the providence of God, and the fast day was changed to a thanksgiving, for God had chosen to save the colony.

On and on the stories go of how God came to the rescue and blest the progress of our nation. The result is a heritage of thanksgiving that has evolved from generation to generation. It is no accident that thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. Christmas and Easter and New Year and other holidays are universal, but thanksgiving is American, for few nations in history, outside of Israel, have a heritage so full of the providence of God. The average man in America lives on a higher level than the king did in David’s day. Thank God for the heritage that has evolved from generation to generation. Fourth we look at-

IV. THE ESCAPE PLEASURE OF THANKSGIVING. v. 17, 20.

David stresses that God hears the cry of those who fear Him, and He saves them. He watches over those who love Him. This is a great part of our heritage, and also a part of our contemporary experience. Because of God’s providence in our nation, and in our lives, we have escaped so much that we might have suffered. We are saved from so much of the hell of time as well as the hell of eternity. We have been spared the unstable governments of so much of the world where they never know from month to month who is running the country. We are spared from the oppression of governments where the people are slaves to tyrants.

We miss so much of life’s evil and tragedy due to famine and plague. We have the blessing of wisdom and knowledge in the realm of medicine. All of this is the direct result of God’s providence. Some historians say North America was settled by men seeking God, and South America was settle by men seeking gold. You can see by the nature of the governments, and the prosperity of the people, which goal was the wisest. Thank God we live in a culture where men have always thanked God. There is nothing we have done to deserve the blessings of being born in our culture. It is all of grace, and the things we avoid because of it, are as endless as the things we enjoy.
Thomas Higginson wrote,

And easy thing, O Power Divine,
To thank Thee for these gifts of Thine,
For summer’s sunshine, winter’s snow,
For hearts that kindle, thoughts that glow.
But when shall I attain to this–
To thank Thee for the things I miss?

Start looking at the world, and all its suffering, and compare your battles, and you will realize that even if you have it rough, you are ranked among the blessed. We don’t miss at all, of course, for sin and its consequences touch everyone. Not even God can escape that. He suffers also because of a world that gropes in darkness and will not grasp the light. But he is grateful for those who do respond to His grace and escape so much unnecessary suffering. Thank God we have escaped a thousand flaming arrows of the evil one. Thank God that we can know Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is knowing Him, and becoming a part of the family of God by trusting Him that makes thanksgiving an everlasting, everyday, evolving, and escaping experience.

18 Things To Get Rid Of To Be Happy

Tulip

Photo by Peter Epler@creationswap

by Jeffrey Hagan
Introduction:
Everyone, believer or non-believer, wants to achieve happiness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy as long as it is not our end all goal. Other than not having a relationship with Christ, the biggest thing that holds us back from accomplishing our dreams is, unfortunately, ourselves. We put limitations on ourselves every day, whether consciously or subconsciously. There are several practical things we can do to overcome these restraints.

“Life can either be something you embrace or something you hide from.” Stop making things more complicated than they actually are and just start living your life. It would be so much easier and more enjoyable if we would learn to just release certain unnecessary and unbiblical limitations.

Let’s look at some of the things you need to let go of on your journey to becoming a happier person. I am fully aware of the biblical difference between happiness and true joy, so please don’t criticize this work before you begin reading it. My purpose is to simply offer basic instructions for better living. So, with that in mind, things you need to let go of are:

1. The Approval of Others

When it really boils down to it, who cares what other people think? If you are happy with the decisions you have made, and you have sought God’s will along the way, then whose business is that but you and God’s? Imagine how much you could accomplish if you stopped letting other people’s opinions dictate the way you live your life. You do you, don’t let them do you. Pray, obey and study the Word, and from there take the actions you discover that might improve your life.

Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (ESV).

2. Anger, Bitterness and Resentment

Anger will eat away at you from the inside. Learn how to forgive those who may have wronged you. This isn’t about dismissing the other persons harmful actions; it is about easing the pain that it caused inside of you. Remember that whoever you let anger you controls you. Forgiveness and letting go can actually lead you down the road of healing and peace.

Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV).

3. Negative Body Image

This is a big one in the culture we find ourselves living in. Only one person’s opinion should matter to you when it comes to your body and that is you. There is nobody out there who can determine what a “correct” body type is. If you are comfortable with yourself, and you are healthy, then that should be all that matters. Do not let others make you feel that you are less than beautiful because if you believe you are, then you are.

Ephesians 2:10a, “For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” (ESV).

Genesis 1:27, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NLT).

4. Finding a Perfect Partner

There is no such thing as a perfect partner, so go ahead and throw your checklist in the garbage. In life, often times what keeps us from moving forward is looking at the perfect image of a partner that we create in our minds. Find the right person for you: one that you can pour all of your heart into, one you feel comfortable being yourself with. The sooner you realize there is no one perfect person out there for you, the better of you will be. The following is not a bible verse as has been the pattern so far, but I believe the words are appropriate for our purposes on this point.

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you
will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at
least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits
to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him
and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote
poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but
he will give you a part of him that he knows you could
break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t ex-
pect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile
when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you
mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when
there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t ex-
ist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you
(emphasis mine).” – Bob Marley

5. A Perfect Life

Just like there is no perfect partner, there is also no perfect life to be had (this side of heaven). Life is what you put into it, so if you are not willing to do your part and put forth effort, you will probably find yourself unhappy or even miserable. The choices you make will directly influence the life you live. It is up to you to create the best possible world for yourself while here on this earth. However, make sure you keep your eyes focused on the eternal.

John 16:33b, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).

6. You are Going to be Rich

Too many people live their lives with the dangling hope that they will one day be rich. While this is achieved only by a minority of the population, it is not something that can happen without hard work and dedication. Stop letting money be your only, or main, motivator. Find a career you are passionate about and do your best. Be content with what it brings you. Turn off your thoughts of winning the lottery each week and you won’t be let down each week. Again, focus on the eternal.

Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (NIV, emphasis mine).

Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (NIV).

7. Thoughts of Your Ex

Your ex is your ex for a reason. If you are going to think of him or her at all, try and focus only on the lessons the experience taught you. Do not linger on any old feelings as they will only keep you from being happy with someone else in the future. This applies to ex spouses as well as ex boyfriends and girlfriends. Of course God “hates” divorce, but if reconciliation is impossible and the relationship has ended, then this advice is important to follow.

Philippians 3:13b, “…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and striving forward to what lies ahead,” (ESV).

8. Stubbornness and Pride

I know it’s hard to admit, but sometimes you are wrong. Other people have just as much of a chance as you do in coming up with a correct answer, so stop being stubborn and just accept it. The less stubborn you are, the more open you will be to learning new things. Think of all that could be uncovered to you if you started listening to the opinions of others and stopped focusing only on your own. Stubbornness springs out from pride, and nobody wants to be around a prideful person.

Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (ESV).

Jeremiah 7:24, “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward not forward” (NIV).

9. Procrastination

Stop thinking you will finally get to whatever needs doing “tomorrow.” Live life in the present, and get your tasks done when they need to be done. Manage your time the best that you possibly can. This decreases, and can even eliminate, worry and stress by getting things out of the way as soon as possible. By doing so you give yourself more free time to enjoy the things you like doing.

Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done” (LB).

Proverbs 13:4, “Lazy people want much but get little while the diligent are prospering” (LB).

10. Baggage

All of us have been hurt by someone we loved. Bringing any of those negative feelings into future relationships will only prove to be destructive. No two people are the same, so it is unfair to hold a future friend accountable for how someone other than them has hurt you. Try to start each new relationship with a clean slate.

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us throw off everything that hinders…” (NIV).

11. Negativity

What you put out will come back to you, so change your negative thinking right away. Whether we realize it or not we have so much to be grateful for. Just take time to reflect on those things and appreciate them. Numerous possibilities exist in the mind of someone who is positive.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things” (NIV).

12. Being Judgmental

Why do people feel the need to continually worry about what is going on in other people’s lives? If we spent as much time worrying about our own actions as we do worrying about the actions of others, our lives would be much more meaningful. You have no idea what is going on in another person’s life, or in their mind or heart, so who are you to pass judgment on the way they act?

Matthew 7:1-2, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging” (MSG).

Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (NIV).

13. Jealousy or Envy

Happiness is not having what you want; it is wanting what you have. Stop being jealous of others and start appreciating what you have. This is the heart of the Tenth Commandment, “Do not covet.” Everyone’s life is unique; you have certain things to offer that others do not. When we act in a jealous way, all we do is bring negative feelings into our lives. There is absolutely nothing positive to be gained from acting this way.

James 3:16, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (ESV).
Exodus 20:17a, “You shall not covet you neighbors house. You shall not covet your neighbors wife…[or anything else]” (NIV).

14. Insecurity

For the most part, happy people tend to have very high levels of self-esteem. They accept who they are and own it every day. They give off an heir of confidence and send out a positive vibe. There is really no reason to be insecure in life. If there are things you are self-conscious about, go out and do what you can to change them. Only you, with the help of the Holy Spirit, have the ability to create the best you possible.

Ephesians 6:10a, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (ESV).

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (ESV).

15. Depending on Others for Your Happiness

Ultimately, the only person (human) you can truly count on is yourself. Do not make the mistake a lot of people do and place your happiness in the hands of others. A relationship is not going to fulfill the void if you are unable to make yourself happy. You need to achieve happiness and contentment on your own before you can find others to share it with. This is absolutely necessary to becoming self-sufficient. There is, of course, One who you can lean on for help in finding happiness.

Proverbs 15:13, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrows of the heart the spirit is crushed” (ESV, emphasis mine).

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him [Christ] who strengthens me” (ESV).

16. The Past

Stop living in the past! There is nothing to be gained if you swim in the lake of mistakes you have made. Take past mistakes as lessons learned, and move on. You cannot completely move on to a better future if you keep looking behind you. Things happened, and that’s all there is to it. At times life can bite; move past it.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away; behold the new has come” (ESV).

Isaiah 43:18, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing;” (ESV).

17. Control

Sometimes you just need to let life flow along the way it was meant to. You cannot spend your life stressing out about things that are beyond your control. Try to relax and let things happen naturally. Embrace the unknown as this is where surprise, growth and learning reside. Let yourself be excited by unknown occurrences, and enjoy the excitement they bring. Life, and the world, are under the Lord’s providential care, not yours.

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (ESV).

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, who you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price…” (ESV, emphasis mine).

18. Expectations

Managing your expectations is a major key to happiness. If you let go of expectations, then you cannot be disappointed. Do not expect any particular results from any given situation. Go into things with an open mind. This will allow you to give it your full attention without the pressure of living up to any preconceived ideas.

Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (ESV).

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (NASB).

Summary

True and complete joy can be found only in the Lord, but there is nothing wrong with taking steps to try and make one’s life happier.

This list may seem simplistic, but as I am sure you know, trying to live out these steps is very difficult in this fallen world. Do what you can to be happy, but never lose your eternal focus and your absolute dependence on Christ.

Five Key Elements to Triumph Over Disappointments

 

block stacked trial 2

Artwork by Brendan Sceroler@creationswap

 

by Ann Stewart

Have you ever been disappointed about the outcome of something that you had anticipated with joy? That happened to me yesterday. Once you are expecting a sure thing that had been promised, and it falls far from the mark, disappointment can enter the heart.

Despite initial disappointment, I expressed gratitude. It was a total act of kindness on the part of the giver that had come from the heart.

In the wee hours of the morning, however, emotionally charged negative thoughts have a tendency to bombard the barely conscious mind. I was practically in tears by the time I got up. Then, suddenly, as soon as I meditated on the Word, I heard: Where is your focus? You can choose to put your eyes either on the Giver or on the giver! Wow! Instantly my focus shifted and thanked God.

You know that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and to be thankful for all things. But, when negative thoughts are allowed to rule your mind, they have the power to eventually lead to resentment, depression and unforgiveness.

Beware of the enemy of your soul! He comes to steal, kill and destroy. He aims to rob you of your joy, gratitude and peace. Be wise to his tactics! He will always focus on the negatives in your life and manipulate your feelings.

The Word, on the other hand, says that God looks at the hearts of both the giver and receiver. The giver has free will to recant on a promise. You may not know the emotional or financial turmoil that my have precipitated the change of heart. As well, the Lord may use a disappointment as a test of character for you. “For unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required.” (Luke 12: 48)

Therefore, do not put your focus on your needs or how others treat you. Instead, keep your heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving toward Him, and He will supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4: 19)

The Lord rewards those who diligently seek him. and without faith it is impossible to please Him. Therefore, by looking down on your circumstances you are self-centred instead of trusting God to bless you beyond what you can ask or think.

Disappointments will always be part of life. How you react to them determines your faith to rely on God for all your needs.

The way to combat disappointment is to turn off negative, hurtful self-destructive thoughts. This is really not as hard as it seems. It takes practice and diligence to replace them with God thoughts.

The five key elements to turn your disappointments into triumphs are:

1. Recognize the author of the negative thoughts as the father of lies

2. Stop thinking and speaking hurtful thoughts over yourself. They have the power to rob you of your peace, health and … most of all, your close personal relationship with your Lord

3. Start praising the Lord. This is your most efficient weapon. It causes the devil to flee, your heart to sing, and your gaze to look upward. Praise Him for His goodness and just because of Who He is!

4. Give thanks with a grateful heart for all the benefits He has already given you, not the least of which is your salvation.

5. Quote God’s Promises out loud over your situation, write some of them down and post them everywhere you can see them.

Believe me, it works! Nothing is worth the loss of your joy and peace!

Ann Stewart is author of With Wings As Eagles, http://with-wings-as-eagles.com and writes articles to inspire and encourage you to fulfill the purpose God has for your life. http://www.lifealteringwords.com

Believe

Originally posted on The Devotion Cafe':

Hebrews 11:1 says’ Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

One of the hardest things for us is to believe in God. It’s not that we don’t know how to believe for we know all to well how to believe, and I am going to show you that you know how to.

freedomFor instance you believe in family, children, friends, love, humanity and so forth. We all believe in something right? Now let me ask you this, how much effort does it take you to believe in what you believe in? In all honesty it doesn’t take much effort to believe.

Then why do we struggle with believing in God? We lack the faith to trust him, sure we all have past and part of our past disappointments have hinder us and now we have trust issues. But when you believe in…

View original 100 more words

By blackeybaptistchurch Posted in Faith

PUT YOUR TRUST IN GOD

Leap of Faith

Photo Art by by Antonio Toney@creationswap

By Sue Darling
1 Peter 5: 6-7
Humble yourself 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.
As we grow more spiritually we find that God puts us in circumstances to learn to trust Him in new areas that we have never been before. Each time we may be terribly afraid. Bowing down to Him our wills and our circumstances to God is an act of faith. The problem with many of us is that we like to be in control. But God wants to teach us to trust Him entirely. His ways aren’t our ways. Only when we completely hand over our reigns and trust Him, will we be free of fear and peace will reign in us instead. God may be trying to teach us to let go of our dependence on the things of this world. He wants to bring you and I much closer to Himself. Where religion is no longer just theory, but something we practice in His Spirit. We all need practise in letting go and completely trust Him in all things. If He never allow trials to come to us, we will never grow and may become lukewarm instead, which God detest more than anything. We must yearn for His Kingdom with all our hearts. We are working for eternity. Our trials on earth may seem to last a long time but in truth it will pass. What is important to us now, will not be important in the future, especially when we arrive in heaven. And if we rely on God to help us through life He will give us the strength, the courage and all that we need to endure our trials, so that He will be glorified and our sacrifice will save many souls, and we will definitely become more and more Christ like in all we do, think or say.

I believe that Christian don’t often think just how powerful their prayers can be, so they pray for small things and only for people they know.  I believe in praying big because I know God wants to do great things through us.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

GO, STAND, AND SPEAK

Stand Up

Photo by: by Jared Rarick@creationswap

By Jeffrey Hagan

by Rev. Jeff Hagan, DCE, DMin

Acts 5:17-33, especially verse 20: “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Introduction:

This story is pretty basic, yet it is profound as well. It speaks of deliverance and revival, of true courage and high goals, of world-changers on fire for Jesus. In the early days of the church, revival fires were torching up all over Jerusalem. I’m talking real revival, not the cheap imitation we read and hear of today. Thousands of people were putting their faith in the Nazarene carpenter and the number of disciples was multiplying. No area of the city was immune. The streets, markets, schools, and homes were alive with the latest news. In Acts 4, the high priest called for an emergency meeting of the Sanhedrin (the Sanhedrin was Israel’s seventy highest ranking religious politicians). The Sanhedrin was like a combination of a Senate and a Supreme Court. They gathered together somewhere in the temple complex, set up in a semi-circle configuration with the high priest, Annas, acting as moderator. Annas despised the church. Peter and John were commanded not to preach. But, in chapter 5, we find them preaching anyway, and it was becoming clearer with each passing day that Christianity was not just some fad, but it was a permanent faith. In a flash of intense anger, Annas sent the temple police to arrest all twelve of the disciples and to lock them in the common prison. A jail like this, in a city such as Jerusalem, would have been disgustingly filthy. The clinking of chains and the cries of woa echoing in the dark, damp atmosphere. But, all of the sudden, the chains released from their wrists, the angel of the Lord opened the door, and the disciples escaped. The disciples were delivered from their cell because God is in the delivering business. He delivers from “sadness, sorrow, and sin.” He can deliver you from “addictions and afflictions.” And he can deliver you from your guilt and shame:

— “Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you” (Deuteronomy 23:14, ESV).

— “He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you” (Job 5:19, ESV).

— “The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him” (Psalm 37:40, ESV).

— “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15, ESV).

— “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one” (Luke 11:4b, NKJV).

Charles Wesley once said, “My chains fell off! My heart was free! I rose, went forth, and followed Thee!” So, what are we to do once we have been delivered? What are our instructions? The angels words in our main verse today are short and sweet: “Go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

1. GO. “Go” was one of Jesus’ favorite words. Just as a side note, it’s kind of interesting that Go are the first two letters of the world “gospel.” Anyway, Jesus told the missionaries in Matthew 10 to GO to the lost sheep of Israel. He told the disciples of John to GO tell him what they had seen and heard. He told the man delivered from a demon to GO home and tell all of what he (Christ) had done. He told the seventy in Luke to GO as lambs among wolves. He told the wedding servants to GO out an invite others to the banquet. He told those at the tomb to GO with the news of his resurrection. He tells us to GO into all the world. Where specifically might Jesus be calling you to go with the gospel?

2. STAND. Here is another popular New Testament word. “Stand” is used approximately 47 times in the New Testament. We are given instruction to stand firm in the faith, stand against the plans of the devil, stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has set us free, stand girded with truth, stand fast in one spirit. The angel was virtually saying, “Stand with your feet planted firm, your shoulders back, your head held high, and your chest out. Don’t be intimidated, but take a stand.”

3. SPEAK. We clearly live in a time of never before seen communications technology. It’s improving and modernizing almost daily. However, the most effective way to spread the gospel is face to face. It is most effective when we share God’s plan of redemption one colleague to another, one youth group member to another, one housewife to another, one bowler to another, etc. Have you witnessed to anyone recently? If you have, do you do so regularly?

Conclusion:

This group of rag tag misfits, these twelve escaped convicts, went along walking and leaping and praising God through the early morning streets of Jerusalem. As the sun came up, they were right back in the temple preaching Jesus Christ crucified and risen. They were arrested and beaten and whipped for doing so, but nothing was going to stop them. Do you have anything you need to be delivered from? Maybe addiction? Lust? Fear? Remeber that Jesus is the great Deliverer and he waits for you to come to him to be delivered. Once you are delivered then what? That’s when you “go, stand and speak” to the people the saving gospel message. Share with others that God is more than able to deliver them as well.

Rev. Jeff Hagan, DCE, DMin, (ThD)

Founder and President of True Grace Ministries and Theological Institute. http://www.truegraceinstitute.webs.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>