Looking for the Bad

By: Steve Countryman

It is an easy task looking for the bad.  Most of the time it’s so obvious that it seems to jump right out at you.  Looking for the bad ties so conveniently to complaining and murmuring.  One feeds off of the other.  The more you find the more you complain and the more you complain the more you find.  We all do it to some degree while some have made it into an art!

The habit of looking for the bad is as common as how most supervisors operate.  In fact their jobs could easily be summed up by how well they find the bad.  It’s called managing by exception but it should be called managing by expectation.  It is when your boss or supervisor comes around and points out ALL of the problems, failures and causes that they find.  Usually they neglect to point out any positive, good ideas, successes and achievements.  They’re expecting to only find the bad so that is all that they look for.  Having been a store manager it was expected of me to do the same.

How sad that after a day of surviving the criticisms at work that coming home finds you doing the same to your family.  It is everywhere and hard to escape from.  It becomes part of your life and your daily routine.  The effects can easily permeate all areas of your life.  Putting you in a bad mood, adding to a bad attitude, wanting to fight or argue, having a “short fuse” easily upset, grumpiness, irritability, depression, anxiety and a host of other random emotions running amok.

It comes down to the old phrase of “If you look for the bad you will surely find it”.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  So often when you get caught up in looking for the bad the good and God’s blessings are overlooked, ignored, blown off and disregarded.  That’s when the poison of finding the bad and complaining mix together to destroy your peace and joy.

God rescued and delivered the Israelites out of their bondage in Egypt.  Not only did God do this after performing huge miracles but parted the Red Sea to secure their escape.  All three million plus Jews left Egypt totally healed from ALL sickness and disease.  Not one lame person was found among them.

God loved and cared for His people the Israelites by feeding them, protecting them, guiding them, keeping them in perfect health and kept their clothes and sandals from wearing out for forty years.  The goodness of God’s blessings surrounded them but they chose to ignore them and took God for granted.  With all that God did and provided for them every day instead of thanking and praising God they complained and murmured against Him and His blessings.

It takes a conscious effort to look for the good, to find God’s blessings.  Yes, by practicing you can make it into a daily habit.  Just start thanking God for ALL of the blessings in your life and you will find more of His blessings to be thankful for.  It reminds me of the old saying that went something like “I used to complain about the pain in my arms ‘til I saw a man without arms”.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

If the saying is true that “if you look for the bad you will surly find it” then it is also true that “if you look for the good you will surely find it”!  God gives us reason upon reason to bless and praise Him every day.  Just look around and you too will surly find God’s blessings!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS

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A Faithful Spiller

By: Steve Countryman

The best way for me to explain what having the Holy Spirit in you is like is to compare Him to a river. A river moves in a constant direction. Unlike a pond a river is not stagnant and does not pool. It is made of fresh water from rain runoff and snow melt from higher elevations. It takes rough stones and turns them into smooth river stones over time. The rougher the stone the more time needed to smooth it over.

Most people want an infilling of the Holy Spirit but don’t share Him with anyone else. Instead they end up collecting Him and keeping Him in their pond. The problem with that is that over time the pond becomes stale and stagnant. That leads to the formation of bacteria forming pond scum. What once was life altering Holy Spirit in you is now worthless, powerless and ineffective pond scum. The Holy Spirit in-filling has since departed.

For the Holy Spirit to stay and thrive takes willingness on the believer’s part to create an environment of cooperation, courage and faith. The Holy Spirit needs to move just as a river is only a river if it moves. It is in the moving of the Holy Spirit that His power is displayed and manifested. You are the rough stone in the river bed. The Holy Spirit changes you from glory to glory by changing your likes and dislikes, your old bad habits into new helpful habits. He knocks off your rough edges and smoothes you over which allows the Holy Spirit to flow over and around you more easily.

The river has tremendous power. Just trying to stand against the flow of the river can prove to be more than just a challenge. I have tried to walk across a shallow stream less than a foot deep and have the fast moving water almost knock me off of my feet. Any deeper and I would be in the water flow.

Rivers have unique characteristics about them. They can change property boundaries when they change the flow direction of land they past by. They can be extremely dangerous if they fill up and run over their banks. Add higher volumes of water and the flow rate and speed increases. Next anything in their path is ripped up by their roots or foundations and carried off. All obstacles are quickly removed from their previous spots. Nothing can stand very long against a powerful raging river!

Like 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

A powerful river is what having the Holy Spirit in you is like but you must ask the Lord to be filled with Holy Spirit. Contrary to what some Christians think, being filled with the Holy Spirit didn’t die off in the bible. It is for ALL Christians who receive the Holy Spirit to experience and enjoy. Acts 2:1-4 1”When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Acts 4:31”After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Notice that in Acts chapter 2 they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit initially but here in Acts 4 they were ALL filled again! This means that once isn’t enough and we need to be RE-FILLED. That is the plan and will of God for us to be spillers of His Holy Spirit so that we can be re-filled and spill again.

It takes courage and faith to allow the Holy Spirit to fill you, saturate you, engulf you and permeate every part of your life! To allow Him to flow and move in you, with you, for you, to you and through you. Now you are a faithful spiller everywhere you go for the mighty Holy Spirit dwells and moves through you!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS

Christian Ambassadors Have Diplomatic Immunity

For sin will have no “dominion” over you, since you are “not under law” but under graceRom 6:14 ESV

Virtually all Christians agree we are saved by grace through faith alone. Yet there is a long-standing debate about the meaning of the phrase “not under law” found in many verses. (Rom 3:19Rom 6:14-151 Cor 9:20-21Gal 3:23-25Gal 5:18Gal 4:5Gal 4:21Acts 13:39). Some argue that the law is done away with for Christians while others argue that the law still applies. While many think these two groups will never agree, could it be that the actual truth is right in their midst? I believe the following allegory can help.

The Ambassador

When an ambassador represents their country and its leader in a foreign land, it is a well-known fact that they are NOT under the dominion or authority of the law of the foreign host. The laws of the host country exist as always to protect the population from each other’s fallen nature, but ambassadors have diplomatic immunity assigned to them.

“The purpose of these privileges and immunities is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient and effective performance of their official missions on behalf of their governments.”  http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/150546.pdf

This undeserved favor is not based on their person and covers the ambassador all the way from jay walking to murder. It is assigned by their home country solely due to the position they hold. Diplomatic immunity is reciprocal between countries and thus both countries benefit. This immunity means that if they do break the law, they cannot be criminally prosecuted by their host country. No matter what the crime, the worst thing that happens is deportation. This immunity is provided to give the ambassador “safe passage’ so they can perform their mission in the host country.

Learn how this correlates with a Christians Ambassador’s position by finishing this short study HERE. 

Contact Michael

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Endless Winters

Karen Pourbabaee

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NAS

Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen any squirrels scurrying about lately. A blanket of new snow covered the barren earth. It was six degrees, and I was burrowed in for a few days. As I peered out the window, the landscape punctuated by towering trees devoid of green. No visible outward signs of life. Plenty of time to deepen the roots of hope.

“Lord, warm my spirit in this winter’s cold.”

By experience, I know that someday spring will burst forth. Shoots of delicate green will sprout from drab brown limbs. The birds will return and warble their whimsical tunes. And the deep roots of my hope will bloom into something beautiful.

“Lord, help me remember the sights and sounds of spring in the silence of winter.”

Nature has its seasons, and so do we. Some seasons just feel like endless winters, like this frigid day in early January. Seasons of illness, financial problems, relationship challenges, losses of all kinds. Shall we wither and die, or grow strong roots?

“Lord, I shall remember that seasons change. Until then, ‘I shall be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its seasons. (Psalm 1:3) I will proudly spread my naked limbs, reaching heavenward, in praise of You. My roots are tunneling deep into the soil below, and I feel the pressing of tender buds, these inward signs of life. So I will not wither and die, but in due season, I will bloom for Your glory. It will soon be the appointed time. Farewell winter, my friend.”

Contact Karen and find her books and articles HERE.

A Faithful Spiller

By: Steve Countryman

The best way for me to explain what having the Holy Spirit in you is like is to compare Him to a river. A river moves in a constant direction. Unlike a pond a river is not stagnant and does not pool. It is made of fresh water from rain runoff and snow melt from higher elevations. It takes rough stones and turns them into smooth river stones over time. The rougher the stone the more time needed to smooth it over.

Most people want an infilling of the Holy Spirit but don’t share Him with anyone else. Instead they end up collecting Him and keeping Him in their pond. The problem with that is that over time the pond becomes stale and stagnant. That leads to the formation of bacteria forming pond scum. What once was life altering Holy Spirit in you is now worthless, powerless and ineffective pond scum. The Holy Spirit in-filling has since departed.

For the Holy Spirit to stay and thrive takes willingness on the believer’s part to create an environment of cooperation, courage and faith. The Holy Spirit needs to move just as a river is only a river if it moves. It is in the moving of the Holy Spirit that His power is displayed and manifested. You are the rough stone in the river bed. The Holy Spirit changes you from glory to glory by changing your likes and dislikes, your old bad habits into new helpful habits. He knocks off your rough edges and smoothes you over which allows the Holy Spirit to flow over and around you more easily.

The river has tremendous power. Just trying to stand against the flow of the river can prove to be more than just a challenge. I have tried to walk across a shallow stream less than a foot deep and have the fast moving water almost knock me off of my feet. Any deeper and I would be in the water flow.

Rivers have unique characteristics about them. They can change property boundaries when they change the flow direction of land they past by. They can be extremely dangerous if they fill up and run over their banks. Add higher volumes of water and the flow rate and speed increases. Next anything in their path is ripped up by their roots or foundations and carried off. All obstacles are quickly removed from their previous spots. Nothing can stand very long against a powerful raging river!

Like 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

A powerful river is what having the Holy Spirit in you is like but you must ask the Lord to be filled with Holy Spirit. Contrary to what some Christians think, being filled with the Holy Spirit didn’t die off in the bible. It is for ALL Christians who receive the Holy Spirit to experience and enjoy. Acts 2:1-4 1”When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Acts 4:31”After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Notice that in Acts chapter 2 they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit initially but here in Acts 4 they were ALL filled again! This means that once isn’t enough and we need to be RE-FILLED. That is the plan and will of God for us to be spillers of His Holy Spirit so that we can be re-filled and spill again.

It takes courage and faith to allow the Holy Spirit to fill you, saturate you, engulf you and permeate every part of your life! To allow Him to flow and move in you, with you, for you, to you and through you. Now you are a faithful spiller everywhere you go for the mighty Holy Spirit dwells and moves through you!

 

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS


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Read more articles by Steve Countryman  

Rise Up And Make Your Life Count

by Dr. Henderson Ward  

The world has a way of making you feel useless, denying you your worth, underestimating your value, and if you permit it, if you do not assert yourself, you too will end up believing that your life does not matter, and it does not count. The corporate world sees you as a nameless consumer, only useful to buy their products, the politicians see you as invisible until election time, and even the government sees you merely as someone to cough up taxes and give support to them when they require.

For much of the world’s unhappy existence, women of all races were made to feel useless or of limited worth because of the system ingrained at that time, a system known as patriarchy. Under this system, women were regarded mostly as a liability, of little worth, and did not count. Literally.

Even after 4,000 years since Adam, when Jesus Christ was born, at a time when the world had entered a new and enlightened age, and an age known theologically as the Dispensation of Grace, women were still not counted. In the biblical parable of Jesus increasing five loaves and two fishes to feed thousands, here is how the Bible put the numbers, “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” (Matthew 14: 20-21)

From the time Christopher Columbus discovered the new world in 1492, and Europeans invaded/conquered/colonized (take your pick) those foreign lands, the world has plunged deeper into its efforts of devaluing humanity. It was Christopher Columbus, and his ilk, that introduced the Atlantic slave trade, and with it all the degradation for which it is notorious.

Even before columbus’ time, a huge swathe of humanity had divided the world into lords and serfs, with the serfs being of little value, of almost no worth, except as fodder for the ambitions of the lord of the manor. The Atlantic slave trade ushered in a barbaric system of brutality that was not seen before, where blacks were, by virtue of their colour, abused and enslaved and deprived of all rights and made to feel worthless, and did not count for anything save as a minor piece of property belonging to the slave owner.

Following on from Columbus, Europeans spread across the world spreading their terror to all across the globe, and in the process devaluing human worth, and making the subjected people feel they did not count, that their lives did not matter.

In Africa, this devaluation took the form of plunder, conquest, and subjugation, that left the natives powerless in their own lands, and feeling they did not count. In Asia and South America the ruthless exploitation and subjugation continued apace, and the natives were pummelled into submission, and made to feel they did not count. In some territories, for example the United States of America and Australia, the locals were generally wiped out, some would say that genocide was practiced, all in an effort to conquer, and to make people feel they did not count, they did not matter, they were worthless.

We will not use up valuable space, and time, to document the systems across the globe that make people feel that they do not count, that they are of little worth, that they are marginalized. The systems are there, in politics, in finance, in social systems everywhere, and sometimes, alas, even in religion.

It is without a doubt true, that some people think that they are somebody only if they can push others around, control other people’s lives, intimidate those with whom they come into contact, and generally exert any power they have to elevate themselves and belittle others in the process.

In the days of Apartheid in South Africa, the peoples of colour, referred to by the Boers as “non-whites”, experienced systematic devaluation of their worth on a daily basis. A typical example of this treatment was when the government threw the natives off their fertile land because the government wanted to give the land to their white farmers. The victims were given poor land, far removed from the whites, and told that was theirs, and they were given title to the poor land.

Many years later, when the victims had built their homes, and worked their arid plots to make a not-too-good living, one of the victims discovered a gold nugget. You can guess what happened next. Yes, the people were told that they were illegally occupying the land, pushed off their land yet again, and given more barren land somewhere else.

Everywhere in the world, wherever human society exists, the dominant spirit is the spirit of evil, and at its worse, it identifies itself by its efforts to crush humanity. It does not matter if we are thinking Hitler and the Jews, Stalin and the Labour Camps, Pol Pot and the “killing fields”, Australia and the Aboriginals, Muslims and suicide bombings, or America’s Deep South and the Jim Crow laws, it is all motivated by the same profound, malign substance; the spirit of evil.

When the first king of Israel, King Saul, who was deadly envious of David, wanted to do David harm, the Bible described what possessed and motivated him, “And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin.” (1 Samuel 19:9-10). “The evil spirit from the Lord” was just a Jewish way of saying that God permitted the evil spirit to possess Saul, and nothing more.

In the most famous prayer in the world, the only prayer Jesus Christ taught his disciples, a prayer popularly known as the Lord’s Prayer, some famous words are contained, “but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13)

The form may differ, the activities are often unrelated, but evil in all its manifestations and its motivating agent – the spirit of evil – are inextricably linked to the systems and activities of this world. To really understand this, is to grasp the methodology of how we, as believers, are to position ourselves to make our life count.

You CANNOT make your life count when you are a willing, compliant participant in the systems and activities of this world.

For good reason, Satan who is very smart in these matters, and understands this predicament very well, after all his offers had failed, made Jesus a very powerful, final offer: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” ( Matthew 4:8-9). Notice what Satan offered Jesus, “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” , and Jesus refused the offer.

Remember, in his High Priestly prayer, what Jesus asked of God, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:15-16)

The Apostle Paul was in full agreement with this, and he encouraged believers with words like these, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

So how are we, as believers, to make our life count? Really make it count.

We should consider becoming an agent of godly change. A lot of change is happening in the world, and it’s not godly. Too often believers allow themselves to become invisible, taken for granted, afraid to make waves, reluctant to get their hands dirty in the fight for righteousness. Jesus made a whip and chased the thieves out of the temple. John the Baptist told the king to his face that he was wrong. And Nathan told King David to his face that he was the culprit. Our life will not count until WE make it count for something, regardless of the cost.

We should consider making sacrificial giving a way of life. It is easy when we have plenty of money, or we have enough and to spare, to give to that vagrant a little something. But if by giving we have to do without, then that is a very different matter. When we practice sacrificial giving, a practice that is richly filled with the spirit of Christ, it helps not only to lift our spirits and bolster our self esteem, but also let us join forces with other believers to take the fight to the enemy. Satan weeps when he sees us making sacrifices to assist others.

We should consider taking risks for God’s kingdom. In this context, it means doing things that may not please your circle of friends, or your family, but makes a difference. Many believers in their prayers often repeat the Lord’s prayer, and in the Lord’s prayer you will find these words, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth”, and yet many believers hesitate, or refuse, to help to bring this about. It’s like inviting someone from a different social class, or someone of a different colour, with whom you would never associate, to a family lunch. It’s like seeing a poor child from a poor neighbourhood walking home and offering to give that child a lift. It’s like greeting that badly dressed stranger at the back of the church, giving him a warm handshake, and saying, “Good to see you, please come again.” These are the kinds of things that shows grace, and make your life really count.

Making your life count is about taking control of your life, moving it to a higher level, of displaying an attitude that says to the world, “My life may not be worth much to you, but it is mine, God gave it to me, and I intend to live it to please Him. With God’s help I intend to fight evil, let my light shine where I am, do the best I can to fight evil, and make my life count for God.” To this, believers everywhere will gladly say AMEN.

Enough said.

Books by this author you may wish to read.

THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1 – Five tough facts to be faced
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004YX5NSI

STAND UP TO THE DEVIL  (e-book)
Volume 1 – You must first identify him
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005BQVLSS

BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006OF3SD6

ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002X78D16

ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book)

http://tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60799-630-9

 

Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2017

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com

God will Supply

By Shelia Mills

After a good night’s sleep, I awoke feeling “out of sorts.” Yet, I could not readily identify the cause of my mood. The day before had been fairly uneventful, so I was more than a bit puzzled as to my anxious state of mind. However, during my Bible study time, God used Philippians 4:19 to speak quietly to my heart:

“I will supply your need when you give up your want.”

OUCH! Immediately I understood what I wanted and what I needed were in opposition to each other. God’s conviction came over me as I realized I had been trying to play Him in my situation. His truth was hard-hitting (and well deserved, I might add): “Darling child of Mine, I don’t need your help or opinions. I need your cooperation and obedience.”

Many people spend their lives seeking to satisfy a list of wants instead of turning to God and allowing Him to supply what is lacking. Are you seeking your own solution or turning to God for the necessary supplies that will get you through whatever you might be facing today?

Sheila Mills (c) 2016. Sheila is an author, musician and speaker who lives in Kentucky. She is the author of “Beauty in the Brokenness” Bible study, based on the woman at the well’s encounter with Jesus in John, chapter 4. Several of her song lyrics have been published in poetry books.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS