Committment

Changing the Conversation (Please read this!)

people of the presence

@creationswap/jeffbrown

By Norm Cannada

When I think of the First Century church, my mind immediately jumps to the story in Acts 2 where the church — about 120 men and women at the time — are gathered together in one place focused on the resurrection of Jesus and the call to tell others.  The Holy Spirit takes control of the meeting and God comes forth in a mighty way.  I imagine people from the city peering into the windows, trying to get a glimpse of what was happening.

No one is peering in the windows in the church today, and they haven’t for a long time.   Most people in my inner city community in Charleston, WV are not just unchurched —they don’t give the church any thought. They say they do not believe the church has anything relevant to say to them.
In many homes throughout America, the name “Jesus” is not heard in a typical week unless someone hits themselves with a hammer or stumps their toe.  We are raising a generation of children who have little or no knowledge of who Jesus is and how much He loves them.
It is my heart to see Christians work to “Change the Conversation” with the people we see in our communities.  There are many ways to share the love of Jesus in everyday life.  One of my favorite ministries is as simple as eating out in a restaurant.  I learned from conversations with waiters and waitresses that the one shift people do not like to work is the Sunday lunch shift.  They say the people are rude and do not tip well.  When I first heard that, it broke my heart.
I was especially sensitive to this because I had seen the effects of Christians who were rude to waiters and waitresses.  We had a team of volunteers come to West Virginia from North Carolina for a long weekend of ministry.  After a busy day, the team went out to a local restaurant.  The service was not very good and one woman on the mission team began complaining about the waitress to the management.  Her complaints eventually led to the waitress being fired.  Before the team left, the woman who had complained went to the waitress and continued to complain, saying the waitress did not do her job well.  She then pulled out one of my business cards and, instead of a tip, handed it to her and said, “you need to talk to this man.  You need to change.”
It turned out the waitress lived just blocks from my house and she came to see me the next day.  But, she didn’t want my help.  She was angry and hurt.  Nothing I said to her then, or in the years to come, could convince her that I, or anyone else, cared about her.  The damage was already done.
So, we began praying for waiters and waitresses to let them know God loves them, making sure that we act in a way that matched our words.  Anytime anyone went out to eat, they were to order their meal and then say to the waiter or waitress, “We are going to pray over our meal.  Is there anything we can pray for you about?  They were also to be friendly, tip well and not complain about anything.  I reminded people they were not there for the service.  They were there to serve the Lord.

This simple act has changed lives.  Yes, some said they didn’t have any prayer needs, but often the requests led to a good exchange about faith.  I have also seen wait staff sit down at the table, share needs and ask if we would pray right then in their presence.
On December 7, 2010, 10 churches participated in a “Change the Conversation” event.  People from the 10 churches were assigned to eat at one of six Mexican restaurants in the area.  They were asked to do three things — ask the waiter or waitress for prayer needs and pray for them by name, be friendly and tip well (at least 20 percent).  There was a tip given to the kitchen staff and another tip was given to the waiter or waitress.  Each group of people was given specially made Christmas Cards, written in Spanish, to give along with the tip.  The cards explained the reason for Christmas and offered the name and phone number of the man who led the Hispanic ministry.  By the end of the night, our Hispanic Ministry leader had received a call from a man who was overwhelmed by the love of the people who prayed for him.  They met the next day.

________________________

About the Author:
Norm Cannada has worked as a newspaper editor and writer as well as an inner cty pastor and church planter.   He lives in Charleston, WV.

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

7 Pictures Of The Word

Tools

@creationswap/nickschmidz

By Pastor QT Nyathi

Pictures are powerful. From still photos to motion pictures, they paint gripping images in our minds. God’s word is likened to many things in the Bible. Here are seven loaded metaphors of the Holy Scriptures.

Picture #1: Water

Husbands love your wives…that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word…
Ephesians 5:25-26

Ahandinwater

@creationswap/russellmartin

In the

Bible water for washing represents the word while drinking water represents the Holy Spirit.

The word of God is a powerful detergent that removes every stubborn stain of sin from our lives, thus ensuring that we become sparkling clean.

When was the last time you refreshed your weary soul by standing under the shower of God’s word?

Jump into the Jacuzzi of jets of heavenly water by allowing the word to massage your battered spirit, soul, and body. Don’t let a day go by without taking a bath; if you skip your bathing time you’ll soon offend many by emitting an unpleasant odour.

There is a freshness that only those that bath consistently exude.

The water of the word plays a vital role in our sanctification process making us more like Jesus in our character, conversation, and conduct.

Picture #2: Lamp

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

Candles

@creationswap/lauraV

With the bright lamp of God’s word in our hands, we don’t stumble over things in life.

God’s precepts are a reliable guide in the maze of life. As long as we hold fast to the lamp, confusion will be dispelled from our lives.

It’s interesting to note that a lamp doesn’t show you too far ahead; you always have to carry it with you in order to benefit from its illumination.

Since light travels in a straight line a word-filled life ensures that we live straight lives (as opposed to crooked lives) not straying from the narrow path of the kingdom.

With our lives crammed full of the light of the word we are the most switched on people on the planet.

Picture #3: Fire

Is not my word like as a fire says the Lord?
Jeremiah 23:29a

Flames of Passion

@creationswap/ Natanis Davidsen

Fire had five main purposes in the ancient world.

It was used to cook food, provide warmth, scare off wild animals, for smelting in tool making, and as a purifier in mining.

When we come to the Lord we are raw and have to allow the heat of the word to cook us and make us edible to the hungry world.

The word also warms us up our lives making people love to be around us. As part of the melting process the word softens our hearts thus allowing the Holy Spirit to shape us into the image of Christ.

Wild animals or demons are scared of fire; so the bigger the fire the more secure we become. Finally the word as fire turns up the heat in our lives and removes all the dross leaving us as pure gold.

Allow the fire of the word to complete its cleansing work in your life.

Don’t move an inch, no matter how intense the heat gets if you want to reap the five-fold benefits of the word as fire.

Picture #4: Hammer

Is not my word like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
Jeremiah 23:29b

Old Hammer Stock Photo

A hammer is power tool used for driving nails, hitting hard materials and breaking tough substances.

God’s word breaks our hard or callous hearts, giving us a soft heart of flesh that God can easily touch and shape.

A heart that has been hammered by the word is moved by the needs of the community.

It also breaks our rigid attitudes, prejudices and stereotypes leaving us with the all-embracing mind of Christ.

The hammer gives the enemy a severe pounding tearing him to pieces; no wonder why he fears the twelve pound hammer of the word.

Jesus hammered the devil into submission with the word when he tempted Him three times in the wilderness.

Use the hammer for heavy duty tasks in your life.

Picture #5: Food

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.
Jeremiah 15:16a

Wheat

@creationswap/ colette varanouskas

Just as natural food sustains us, so does the word which is our spiritual food. Without it we live weak and ineffective lives.

Once we stop eating the word we die spiritually.

Under the broad category of foods the word is also likened to honey (Psalm 119v103), meat (Hebrews 5v12-14) and milk (1 Peter 2v2) showing us that it offers all the variety of nutrients needed for us to live healthy lives.

Word-eaters are balanced people not given to extremes.

Isn’t it amazing that one of the last things people on death row are allowed to do is to have a sumptuous meal of their choice?

Why?

There is nothing that releases joy and happiness like a good plate of food- the idea is to allow the person to experience joy one last time.

People’s faces light up and they chat nonstop when they are having food at home or at their favourite restaurant.

If natural food does all this, how much more spiritual food?

Take sumptuous bites of heavenly food and enjoy at your leisure.

Picture #6: Sword

And take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17b

Heart With Sword Stock Photo

A sword is a lethal weapon that pierces through the enemy’s defence lines.

The word is the sword of the spirit world.

The sword was the Roman soldier’s primary weapon without which he could not dare step into the battlefield. A soldier without a sword was a toothless and useless civilian.

A modern day equivalent would be to have a soldier face the enemy without a gun-it’s unthinkable.

Similarly a believer without the word in his heart cannot hurt the enemy in any way.

As a soldier of Jesus Christ wield your sword always thrusting it deep into the enemy’s vital organs. It’s instructive that a sword is a very personal weapon; no one can carry your sword for you, you have to carry it yourself.

No one can take the word and use it on your behalf all the time, you have to bear that responsibility yourself.

Strike the enemy with your sword again and again until it cleaves to your hand like Eleazar the son of Dodo; that way you will win many great victories for the Lord. (2 Samuel 23v10)

Picture #7: Seed

Now the parable is this; the seed is the word of God.
Luke 8:11

Life after Death

@creationswap/Natanis Davidsen

Oh the amazing power of a single seed.

One seed can produce a forest.

A single seed can produce countless edible fruits. One small seed can grow into a big tree. In short a seed speaks of great productivity.

God’s holy word results in productivity in every area of a believer’s life. Note however, that a seed only works its magic when it is sown.

A seed in your lap or pocket won’t do you any good until it is sown.

Sow the word by applying it in every area of your life. If you do so you will reap a massive harvest that will amaze many.

While a natural seed rots, the supernatural seed of the word is incorruptible and will always germinate and produce results no matter how long it stays on the ground.

So don’t be discouraged if you have been sowing precious seed and it seems as if nothing is happening.

Your seed will eventually pierce the ground because supernatural seed never fails.

All these amazing pictures can be summed up this way; the word is everything in the life of a serious believer.

So whatever you do child of God get into the word, you’ll reap the benefits and your progress will be obvious to all.

Become a word-addict.

If you do, you will become a fascinating movie of God’s goodness in the world.

Pastor QT is a published author, copywriter and speaker. His sincerity, wit and candid style have endeared him to many hearts. His book DELIVERANCE UNPACKED has been warmly received globally. He conducts spicy marriage and singles seminars with his feisty wife Bonani.

Email:pastorqt@gmail.com

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

Jesus Died for You…What are you doing for Him?

JesusTribe

@creationswap/ryanharmon

 

By: Arlene Price

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (New International Version (NIV))

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

If someone told you today that tomorrow they will die so that you might be saved what would you do for them, what would you say to them? Meditate on this and really imagine how you would respond.

Jesus did this very thing for you already; he died on the cross so that you may be saved. Are you waking up each morning and thanking him? Are you asking him each and every day “What can I do today Lord to serve you?” Is going to church your only sense of obligation for such a great sacrifice? Why would you not put God first in your life? Christians are Christians because they put Him first – that is what a Christian must do. Have a grateful heart, pray continuously – not just when there is a need or emergency – praise his name throughout the day for all you have, forgive quickly and often. Serve your church – it is the house of God.

Philippians 2:12-13 (New International Version (NIV))

Do Everything without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Everyday adopt the attitude that firmly says “I will do something spiritually meaningful today.” Do you think you have not talent, no skills, nothing to offer? God has given you all you need to give back to him.  Do you often ask yourself “How can I help my church?” You should be doing this each and every day; it’s you real “job” on earth once you are a Christian. If you ask your church if they need your help, what will they say? I can tell you it’s a resounding “Yes!” No matter what you think you can do or can’t do you can always do something. Whether it’s one large project or little things every day, you have what God needs and he is asking you to use your gifts. So close your eyes and ask the question: “God, what would you have me do for you today?” then LISTEN…the answer is sometimes instant and other times it will suddenly hit you during a conversation, a car ride, or numerous other activities you could be doing and you will “know” what you can do. Here are things God says you can do for Him and his church:

I can …

…write spiritual poems, essays, articles, stories.

…paint a picture for the enjoyment of the lonely or to raise money for charity.

…make house repairs for those unable to do for themselves.

…put together a gift basket or care package for the needy.

…give my testimony; someone needs to hear it today.

…help my neighbor, my friend, a family member, a co-worker with a problem.

…cook a meal, a desert, a casserole for someone in need.

…hold the hand of dying child or elder and let them know I care.

…read the bible to someone blind.

…invite a friend or neighbor to church.

…take someone outdoors who is unable to walk and let them enjoy beauty of the day.

…sing a song for the Lord. I can praise his name aloud.

…assist with church activities: take photos, make video of church events and sermons, submit items to our website and/or newsletter, help with an event, make phone calls, talk to the community, decorate, draw, play an instrument, join the choir, teach, volunteer my time wherever needed. The list is endless…

I can develop into a real Christian today by praying, studying my bible, asking questions of those who can help me grow.

I can do all things through Christ today.

I can serve…

I will serve…

I am serving the Lord.

EVERYONE CAN DO SOMETHING

Any of the things above or something you know will help. There are no excuses when it comes to serving the church and serving the Lord. There are no excuses to wait until tomorrow; there are no reasons not to do your part – no other obligation in you your life means more than your service. When you become a Christian you must let Christ live within you and guide you, if you try  to do it alone or are only on Sunday Christian, you will get off track and things will start going wrong in your life fast. Let Him show you the way. Believe in yourself because you are a child of Christ and through him you CAN NOT FAIL. Do not live life for your desires or for the world; it’s about HIM and his sacrifice for YOU. Do all these things in His name and you will receive so much joy and you will live in wonderment at your many blessings. You will go to bed satisfied — knowing that today you have served the Lord first.

Galatians 5:24  (New International Version (NIV))

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

How to know what you must do?

Step 1: Pray for guidance

Step 2: Meditate on those things you enjoy or are good at doing. LISTEN for the answer.

Step 3: Go forward and take action asking God to go before you and make your way smooth.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 every day.

Why wait another minute? Get busy with God’s work now. He made the ultimate sacrifice for you by giving his Son to die upon the cross for your sins. There is no sacrifice you could make of your time that could be greater than what has been done for you. As a Christian you put away worldly things and put Christ at the center. His will is now your will, not the other way around. Wake up! Take up the cross and do the work you were called to do.

Galatians 2:20 (New International Version (NIV))

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Arlene Price©2013, All Rights Reserved

Names Have Been Changed to Declare the Righteous

Background art:@creationswap/wagnerdanial Typesetting:Arlene Price

Background art:@creationswap/wagnerdanial Typesetting:Arlene Price

By Abby Kelly

“I love everything about her life!”

The barista’s comment startled me as I left Starbucks. I knew she was talking about me. We had just been giggling together, discussing our dogs and exchanging first names.

I almost turned around said, “No you don’t! You don’t know anything about my life!” But instead, I just smiled to myself and walked into the sunshine. I think I know what she loves about my life, it’s what she can see. I pray she can see that God has blessed me with joy and a peace beyond understanding.

It hasn’t always been this way. I used to spot a girl across the room and wish to trade her places. I used to pray each night that God would just kill me because I didn’t want to do my life anymore. In the midst of a 15 year battle with anorexia and a troubled marriage, it seemed as if my life couldn’t get any worse. I even feared that my loved ones had given up on me after pouring thousands of dollars into my treatment, only to still see a starving, depressed woman.

Looking into my heart, I hated what I saw. I perceived my identity as intrinsically linked to my long list of failures.

Maybe Jacob did, too. The Biblical character of Genesis lived up to his given name, “Deceiver”. In fact, when God asked him in chapter 32, “What is your name?” Jacob was forced to reply, “I am Deceiver.”

At that point in Jacob’s life, he believed the end was near. In mere hours, he would be face-to-face with a man who once wanted to kill him. Already, Jacob had a long list of mistakes to feel guilty for. I wonder if Jacob hated who he had become.

But God is in the business of changing identities. Over and over throughout the Bible, when God did a massive work in someone’s life, He also changed their name, giving them a new identity, a new way to refer to themselves, a new way to see themselves and a new way to present themselves to the world.

For Jacob, God told him, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”

Another definition of the name Israel is, “Prince of God”.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, our identity changes too, when we accept Jesus as our salvation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Isaiah 62 tells us that God changes our name to reflect the new identity that we receive when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus for us and the gift of His righteousness to us.

“The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.”

As I sank into a chair on the patio at Starbucks, the sun’s afternoon rays painted my feet a soft yellow, then shadows encroached and swept me into the early evening hours. I smiled again. I love who I am. I love the one who gave me His identity in Christ, and I dearly love the name, Jesus.

I am a Christian blogger and freelance writer living in Georgia. My husband is an Army officer, so our frequent moves pepper my writing with a wide variety of experiences and observations.

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

Soft Crosses

photo:@creationswap/mattgruber

photo:@creationswap/mattgruber

By louis gander

I’m under the leaves of tall coconut trees,
(on trunks that are warped in a curve).
They rustle up high in the oft windy sky.
Enjoying the shade, I observe…

…the Heavens above that are filled so with love
and grace only God can bestow –
from free virgin birth for the people on earth.
I ask, “Have I failed Him so?”

Am I like the leaves that everyone sees,
that wave to and fro in the wind,
drawing attention as if I’m important?
Could that, my dear friends, be a sin?

His sheep, under wool, must be fully faithful –
not warped as the coconut trees.
How is it fitting if I am still sitting –
not helping the poor “least of these”?

How disconcerted am I that Christ suffered?
I hold my small cross close to me.
Genteel, I’m living, but what am I giving?
Are soft crosses not meant to be?

Oh, should I be stunned if my cross isn’t cushioned?
I’m carefree- and comforts I seek!
Is love, au contraire, to this cross that I bear
as others are hungry and weak?

Our God sits above and He fills us with love.
We’re blessed with His soft, gentle breeze –
on tropical islands with soft, idle hands,
enjoying a lifetime of ease.

I’m under the leaves of tall coconut trees,
(on trunks that are warped in a curve).
They rustle up high in the oft windy sky.
Enjoying the shade, I observe…

——–

Matthew 6:24 (KJV)
“No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Copyright 2004-2013 louis gander ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
http://www.ganderpoems.org/
Written 9-27-13 by louis gander. FREE to print and use, but only with copyright information included – NOT for resale. Thank You!

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

Living Under the Influence

Radical Living

artwork@creationswap/willwallace

By Steve Countryman

Driving under the influence means that your ability to operate and maneuver a motor vehicle is greatly impaired.  Those who try believe a lie and are deceiving themselves.  Trying to drive while under the influence will cause you trouble.  It will hurt you, those around you and those close to you.  It will bring destruction, destroying your life, your job, your finances, your family, your friends and perfect strangers who get in your way.

Living under the influence refers to those things that influence your daily life and decisions either good or bad.  The sinner lives under the influence of the ruler of this world, Satan.  All decisions the sinner makes are affected, one way or another, by the influence of sin and temptation.  Even when it seems to be a worthy cause or good intentions there always seems to be a hidden reason for the decision.  For example expecting something in return for doing a good deed if only recognition.  Or being deceived into thinking that by doing good deeds they will qualify to enter into heaven.  Driving drunk or high is an indicator that the person could have an addiction problem and is living under the influence of the kingdom of darkness.

Even Christians live under the influence of this world to some degree because we live here surrounded by sinful influences daily.  It is when you allow those influences into your thinking that trouble begins.  Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Allowing the little things is where it starts.  Your friends start complaining about their job, their spouse, their sickness, their finances you name it and the next thing you know you are doing the same thing.  Seemed harmless enough just blowing off steam right?  Wrong!  Your words carry power and by confessing with your mouth your complaints you are pronouncing curses over yourself and your situation.  Take your concerns to the Lord not to your friends.

Fear, doubt and worry are all opposites of faith in your God which leads to complaining and murmuring that leads to poor decisions, more curses and more trouble!  It shows a lack of trust in God’s ability to provide for you and is contrary to being a child of the Most High God.  You must choose to put on the mind of Christ daily and ask God for wisdom.  James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But you say you don’t have enough faith Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   Being a Christian is not an honorary title but requires commitment and dedication to God and His Word.  You have to spend time with God daily and develop an intimate walk to know Him better.  Spending time with God and in His Word will build your faith.  Like anything else you only get out of it what you put into to it, like what is means to be a child of the Most High God as revealed in your daily walk.

You can’t have the victory in your life trying to survive on the prayers of others.  You can’t have the victory over your problems, troubles and fears by going to church every once in a while.  You can’t have the victory if you can’t forgive others who have sinned against you, your family or your friends.  You can’t have the victory by going on the words of a preacher and not read the Word of God yourself.  You can’t have the victory by listening to the advice of this world and ignoring what God’s Word says.  You can’t have the victory if you don’t know who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you.  You can’t have the victory in your life without faith in your God.  Faith is the bridge that joins the known of this world to the unknown of God’s kingdom.

Being a Christian is more than wearing a cross around your neck.  Being a Christian is more than being a Sunday pew sitter.  Being a Christian is more than carrying a Bible.  Being a Christian is more than having a Christian bumper sticker.  Being a Christian is more than being just a survivor, more than an over-comer, more than a warrior and more than a conquer.  Being a Christian means that your life brings glory to God.  Being a Christian means that you are a child of the Most High God and you represent His kingdom everywhere you go.  You proclaim His goodness in your life instead of complaining to others.  Your decisions, actions and words all reflect His influence in your life as you conduct yourself daily with the mind of Christ.  By doing this you bring glory to your God.

It is His will that is manifested in you, with you, to you, for you and through you.  It is His will that you are healed and in good health.  It is His will that you prosper as your soul prospers.  It is His will that you walk in ALL power and authority of heaven.  It is His will that all spiritual blessings and spiritual gifts are made available to you.  It is His will that you have abundant prosperity in every part of your life.  Think about it, how does it reflect on God for one of His children to be sickly, complaining, grumpy, sinful, hateful or destitute?  Where is the glory of God in that person’s life?  How do they bring God glory?  What kind of testimony is that?  We are God’s witnesses and He is our testimony.  “If I can only hang on until Jesus comes back” is a defeated shameless statement that too many Christians use.  Where is their victory and how do they bring glory to God?

The fullness of Christ lives and dwells in us at the time of salvation.  We Christians spend years grasping what that all entails.  We have what no other powerful men and women of God had in the Old Testament.  When God worked through them the Word said that the Spirit of the Lord came upon them.  Because of the finished work of the cross of Jesus we have the Spirit of the Lord in us always!  That is why His Word says that the latter house will be greater than the former house.  And why Jesus said that we would do greater things than He did.  We are the latter house!  Knowing who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you is found through faith.  The fullness of Christ is made known through your faith.  It is through faith that you are able to do all things through Christ who strengthens you.  It is through faith that you walk being led by the Holy Spirit.  It is through faith that your salvation is made possible.  It is because of your faith that God is pleased with you.  And it is by studying the Word of God that your faith is founded, perfected, put into action and grows strong.  By faith the influence of God’s kingdom is manifested in your life daily.  Living under the influence of God’s Word, commands and love will impact your surroundings and those around you everywhere you go!  The time is ripe!!

About the Author:
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

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

You Have a Voice

By Deborah Brunt
You are the ones chosen by God,” says 1 Peter 2:9 (MSG), “chosen to be  God’s instruments  and speak out for him.”

Reading these words, you may inwardly cry, “I want that! Pick me!” – or you may think you’d rather pass. If you’re clamoring for opportunities to speak, you probably have a strong dose of one of the speaking gifts. If the words, “speak out,” frighten you or just don’t seem to apply to you, your strongest giftings may lie somewhere else. Don’t run from Peter’s announcement because you assume it’s not for you.

Speaking gift or not, you have a voice. Be blessed to use it.

In a symphony, every instrument has a unique voice. The trumpet blasts. The drum beats. The silvery-sounding flute, the raucous saxophone, the mellow strings – all speak in a different way.

Elijah had a prophetic voice. He played trumpet. He played well because he put in the time to learn. He watched the conductor. He followed the score. When the instruments sang in chorus, Elijah blended. When the flutes were up, he waited and watched. When another trumpet had a solo, he didn’t try to steal the show. When his turn came, he didn’t hold back. With grace and clarity, he sounded each note.

When you joined God’s family through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you joined the symphony. He himself is training us, individually and together, “until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son” (Eph. 4:13 MSG).

You have an instrument. You have a voice. Be blessed to stay before God as he teaches you. Be blessed to play your part.

If your voice is prophetic, be blessed with tempering to speak in love.

If you’re an exhorter, be blessed with backbone to speak the truth.

If you’re a teacher, be blessed not to settle for mechanical excellence but rather to play from your heart.

If your bent is mercy, God designed you for improv. So go ahead and let that sax sing. Play the unwritten notes – but stick to the God-breathed notes that beautifully interweave with all the other sounds.

If you’re a leader, remember: God is the conductor. You play percussion. You sound the beat, but always by following the conductor’s hands.

Servant, you may not produce a flashy sound, but it’s foundational, like the bass. Find your voice.

Giver, ah how well you play the strings – the violin strings, the purse strings. Use your voice, not to manipulate, but to release songs of life.

Tap, tap, tap. The conductor has stepped to the podium. Whatever your gifting, it’s time to stop looking around, thinking someone else will speak. Sit straight in your chair. Raise the instrument God has given you – and follow his lead. As one voice in a symphony he is creating, with skill and with gusto, contribute your part.

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you” (1 Peter 2:9 MSG).

Be blessed to speak boldly, in your unique voice.
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About the Author:
Adapted from “The Elijah Blessing: An Undivided Heart,” (c) 2012 Deborah P. Brunt. All rights reserved.

Deborah Brunt explores key truths for living life. The author of eight books and more than 1,500 published articles, she writes courageously, prophetically, redemptively. Visit her at http://www.keytruths.com and at http://keytruthsblog.wordpress.com.

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

Your Word (Poem)

bible

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By louis gander

Why can’t I write one poem, Lord,
that gathers people ’round,
that opens eyes and opens hearts
to all Your truths I’ve found –
among the pages of Your Book,
which tells me how to live –
which tells life’s truths, both good and bad –
and how I should forgive.

Why can’t I write one poem, Lord,
that brings the people ’round,
and opens hearts so they forgive
so that Your peace is found –
Your peace of dulcet harmony
which flows from day to day,
which brings us closer to Your Word –
and shows us how to pray.

Why can’t I write one poem, Lord,
that calls all wicked, wild,
the selfish men, bad women too –
and every sinful child –
who desecrate Your garden, Lord,
who desecrate Your laws,
who desecrate Your truth and love…
and then wait for applause.

Why can’t I write one poem, Lord,
that brings the people ’round,
so they’d forgive the other folks
and hopefully be found –
sitting on the many pews
inside these hallowed halls,
inside our humble churches where –
a still, small voice still calls.

Lord, You are so much greater than
my sorted words can brag,
coming from this shaky hand
attached to this old rag.
But maybe this reminder here
can make us humbly look –
at not a bunch of rhyming words,
but rather at Your Book.

Copyright 2004-2013 louis gander ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
http://www.ganderpoems.org/
Written 9-15-13 by louis gander.   FREE to print and use, but only with copyright information included – NOT for resale.  Thank You!

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Grandma’s Christian Spirit – A love story

mamalDales

By: Arlene Price

My grandmother, Mattie LouAngela Dales-Mullins, is the most spiritual person I have ever known. She has been such a blessing to so many people with her iron-glad faith and gentle loving nature. Today she’s in a nursing home, but even there she is touching the lives of those around her daily. She has forgotten many names, even those of some family members – but she remembers the name Jesus Christ  – and she makes sure that anyone around her will remember his name also.

If you meet my grandmother, you get God’s message loud and clear! She’s bold in her faith. She’s small and frail these days, but when God moves her she is big, strong and powerful. She astonishes people with her enthusiasm and undying love for Jesus. My brother is a preacher and he was speaking with another preacher who visited the nursing home to give a sermon, he said that he went there to preach, but he ended up getting preached to my a little old lady in a wheel chair. Of course, it was our grandma!

Many people remark that it is “unfair” for our grandmother to have to be put in a home, since she is such a good Christian and lived such a faith-filled life. I understand the sentiment, as part of her family, we want her at home more than anyone else. But, let me assure you that God has her exactly where she is needed at this time. There is not a nurse, doctor, family member or visitor who has not heard the word of God when they are in close proximity to her when the Spirit comes alive within her. She is placed where she is for the purpose of touching the lives of others, to teach them what true, pure faith is all about, and share the love of Christ. Some of those people may never have been in a church, but when they encounter my grandmother in the Spirit, they learn of Christ.

She is a living testament that God has a purpose for us all, whether we choose to see it or not – the purpose is there. When you see a woman so weak she can barely lift a spoon, suddenly become radiant in Christ, raise her hands and clap them even as they tremble – and shout her praises to the Lord – there is no doubt that Christ lives through her! So, it’s not “unfair” that she is where she is and it is no accident – it’s His desire, His plan, His purpose. We have no idea how many people she has touched, has inspired, or how many have been or will be led to Christ through the messages that she spreads from her wheelchair or bedside. Always remember His ways are not our ways. Logic doesn’t work when God has a plan – that’s why they call unexplained events “miracles”; they defy all logic and reasoning.

Please don’t waste time in pity for my grandmother; she is truly blessed in spirit, and she is crowned with righteousness – she has more than many of us may ever have on this earth. She has endured many troubles, she kept God by her side, she loves Him above all else, and she has blessed this family with that same love. From her story, learn the lesson God teaches us about faith and start doing all you can to build your own faith to make sure that one day, no matter where you are, you become someone’s blessing too. Be bold in your faith, walk and talk with God daily, share His love with those around you, always know He will get you through whatever you may face in life, and you will live life with the same Christian Spirit my grandmother lives. As my grandmother would say “How sweet is His name! How precious is our sweet Jesus, children! I love Him so much!”

From all of your grandchildren “We love you Grandma Mattie!”

Author: Arlene Price copyright©2013 – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Think About This And Marvel

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Photo@creationswap/susanheimuth

By Dr. Henderson Ward

Bible students everywhere know about the miracles of Jesus Christ, and because these miracles are so marvellous and unrepeatable we memorialize them and can recall nearly all of them from memory. Ask any Bible student about Jesus’ first miracle and that is just too easy. And what about Jesus’ greatest miracle? Walking on water, or perhaps feeding the five thousand. Debatable, for we all have our favourite miracle. But probably the greatest miracle of them all is one few of us even think about, and it has to do with the Apostle Paul.

Jesus Christ assembled his disciples at the commencement of his ministry when he was about 30 years old. Out of his disciples he chose 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4) whom he taught daily for about three and one half years until his crucifixion at Calvary. For about three and one half years these 12 Apostles were intensely tutored day and night until they knew all the doctrines of Heaven. Jesus taught them everything until their knowledge was both comprehensive and complete.

This teaching was important because the Church of Jesus Christ was to be built on the foundation of Jesus and the Apostles: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:19-20)

Jesus Christ was five years old when the Apostle Paul was born and Paul was approximately 27 1/2 years old when Jesus was crucified.

There is no biblical evidence that Paul had any contact with Jesus during his earthly ministry. What we know is that Paul was a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5), born to a Jewish family in Tarsus, modern day Southern Turkey (Acts 21:39) and was thoroughly and highly educated in all aspects of Judaism by the scholar Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).

Paul knew nothing of Christian theology, had no contact with Christian scholars, never went to any Christian centre of learning or debated with others the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Paul was completely clueless as to what Jesus Christ taught but he had a passion for The Law and Judaism.

After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension the Apostles became bold, and indeed fearless, and preached Christ openly, and assertively, and Jews were being converted regularly (Acts 2:47).

The Jewish Authorities saw Christianity as a challenge to Judaism and began a campaign of relentless persecution against Christians (Acts 8:1) and Paul (at the time still called Saul) became an aggressive leader of one such group (Acts 8:3)

It was at this juncture that something truly remarkable occurred. On his way to persecute the Christians at Damascus in the Roman Province of Syria, Jesus appeared to him, and he was converted. We do not know precisely what was said but Paul seemed to be under conviction (Acts 9:4-5) and without argument or fanfare accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord, “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:6)

Now here is the most amazing thing. When Paul was converted and led by the hand in a state of  blindness to Damascus, which said town was overseen by the Arabian King Aretas, (2 Corinthians 11:32), he did not ask for nor did he see any of the Jerusalem leaders of the church. He did not contact Peter, who was the leader of the Church, he did not contact James, who was the head of the Jerusalem Church, and he did not contact any of the other Apostles. Here are his own words:

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” (Galatians 1:15-17)

Paul went to see Peter three years after his conversion. This is something very special for Paul was preaching both in Arabia and mostly in Damascus for three years before he met any of the Apostles. And yet when he did meet them they accepted him as an Apostle and on equal footing with them; “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. .” (Galatians 1:18)

Think about this very carefully and see how awesome this truly is. The Apostle Paul was converted, had no contact with the other Apostles and yet preached the identical doctrines that Jesus Christ taught the 12 Apostles during his ministry of three and one half years.

Paul and the Apostles were preaching and teaching the identical doctrines of Jesus Christ to such an extent that when there arose a dispute in Damascus (Acts 1:15) and it led to a conference at Jerusalem, the conclusion and mandate from the council was, “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” (Acts 15:29)

Paul and the Jerusalem Council were united on the doctrines of Jesus Christ and the things that the Council felt should be emphasised were not disputed by the Apostle Paul. So how come Paul was so magnificently clued up and be ready to defend all aspects of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ having never been taught them by human agency?

The answer is truly amazing and many people do not realize it.

The full Gospel was taught to Paul PERSONALLY by Jesus Christ.

No, not by some mental spark of spiritual enlightenment, nor by the Holy Spirit in his customary role as Revealer of truth (John 16:13) but by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)

That Jesus Christ personally taught Paul by personal revelation is summed up quite well by John Gill in his Bible Commentary on Galatians 1:12:

“…meaning, not through Christ being revealed to him by the Father, as in Galatians 1:16 though it is a sense not to be overlooked; but by Christ, the revealer of it to him; and regards either the time of his rapture into the third heaven, when he heard words not to be uttered; or rather since that is not so certain when it was, the time of his conversion, when Christ personally appeared unto him, and made him a minister of his Gospel; and immediately from himself, without the interposition, or use of any man, or means, gave him such light into it, and such a furniture of mind for the preaching of it, that he directly, as soon as ever he was baptized, set about the ministration of it, to the admiration of the saints, and confusion of the enemies of Christ.”

It is truly marvellous how God is so very faithful to his word for the Bible tells us this with respect to Moses, “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Exodus 4:11-12)

Just as with Moses who was rather tongue-tied, and the Apostle Paul, who was not eloquent like Apollos (Acts 18:24) God is able to equip all those who are called and make them effective servants in his ministry. God calls the most unlikely people, often in ways that are mind-boggling to us and transforms them in ways that are delightful. So however you are called, remember that you need to be productive. We have no excuses and there is much to be done.

God is still doing great things and as believers we just have to think about this and marvel.

Enough said.
_____
Books by this author (non-fiction except indicated otherwise)
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THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1  Five tough facts to be faced
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STAND UP TO THE DEVIL  (e-book)
Volume 1  You must first identify him
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BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
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ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)
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ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book)
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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 2013
email drhendersonward@yahoo.com

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