CHRISTIAN SPIRIT

Your Baggage

By Steve Countryman

All of your cares, troubles, problems, addictions, worries, character traits, past sins, flaws, faults, failures, grudges, unforgiveness, offenses, health issues and financial woes are all part of your baggage.  Just like baggage you carry it with you everywhere you go.  Most people are known by their baggage.  Though we all try to conceal our baggage the best we can by putting on our best face, our baggage always cones to the surface sooner or later.

Your baggage is your burdens that you bare.  They are always before you and you cannot escape them.  Satan uses them against you to trap you and keep your attention on them.  Always reminding you of your past mistakes and failures.  He loves to wear you down with them. But you don’t have to bare them alone.  You don’t have to allow them to define who you are.  They are only part of your past and now are part of your testimony!  Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Even with all of your baggage it never scares God off.  God doesn’t ask you to take care of your baggage so He can love you.  He loves you with all of your baggage.  In fact God wants to take all of your baggage and help you fix them.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  Romans 6:13 “Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield (surrendering) yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.”

God’s love is so powerful that not only does He love you baggage and all and wants to be involved in your daily lives but wants to take care of your baggage too!  It is a matter of trust.  Do you trust God enough to surrender all of your baggage over to Him?  Do you think that the God of all creation knows something about fixing problems?  Can you submit and commit your baggage all over to Him?  Can you surrender, commit and submit your life over to your creator?  Surrender to God’s will, Word and ways.  Commit your baggage into His hands and trust God enough to leave them there.  Quit going back and picking them up again trying to fix them by yourself.  Leave them with the Master.  It amazes me that God wants my baggage and has plans to bless me besides.  Wow, I’m blown away!  Thank you Lord for loving me so!!

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!!

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Are You Persuaded?

All You Need is Love

artwork:@creationswap/CK

Inspired by Rev 7:9-12

 – by R. Marie Thompson

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 NKJ

This passage of scripture reminds me that no matter what, God loves me! It also reminds me of how much I love Him! My favorite words, “I am persuaded.” I am persuaded that I am a conqueror in times of tribulation because I know that He loves me and He is with me! I am persuaded that I am a conqueror when I am distressed because I know that He loves me and He will help see me through! I am persuaded that I am more than a conqueror during persecution for His name sake because I know that He loves me and that He honors those who honor Him! I am persuaded that I am a conqueror in times of famine and nakedness because I know that He loves me and ‘He knows what I have need of’ which means He will provide for all my needs. I am persuaded that I am a conqueror in times of peril because I know that He loves me, He is my sword, ‘my shield and my buckler.’

There is nothing that can separate us from His love for us. It is constant and ever present. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His love for us, His creation, never changes. His love is the lifeline that sees us through and it is the one thing that we can always count on! His love for us is more powerful than death, life, angels, principalities, powers, heights, depths, or any created thing.

I too, am persuaded that nothing can separate us from His love and so – me and my house, we will LOVE the Lord!

R. Marie Thompson is a Youth Pastor from New Hampshire who has a love for God and a passion for sharing His Word. Contact

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The Valley of His Perfect Love

Honduras Mountain Side

@creationswap/carloslemma

I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, Therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live…(Psalm 116:1-2 KJV)

It’s natural for issues to crop up during one’s lifetime, to be fair; it wouldn’t be life without spending time in the valley. It’s all part of growing in the Lord and being a faithful follower of Christ. We can grow in adversity, and get closer to God in the process. It’s how we handle the cards in our hands that’s key to our optimal health and overall growth.

It’s how we purpose our lives in accordance to His will and not ours. It’s how we handle the stress that will ultimately define our faith and course of action. We must wait upon the Lord.

He’s watching and knows our situation. He’s waiting for our growth in Him. He wants us to learn before He brings about a solution. Sometimes, long delays are part of God’s overall plan…and part of His agenda on a larger scale. These delays don’t destroy us but fulfill God’s purpose, thereby making us stronger in Christ.

We need God. His timing is perfect, ours imperfect. His way is superior, ours inferior. We need to be patient and wait. We’ll gain insight and the fortitude in which to grow as we listen, and wait. We’ll reap the rewards of such diligence and loving obedience in due time. Above all, be still and know that He is God… (Psalm 46:10 KJV)

Lord, help us to be patient and to seek Your face for all things. In Jesus name, Amen.

Today’s writer is in love with God. She has been happily married to her best friend for over thirty years and they have one son. She has written over fourteen books. Contact

Accentuate the Positive

Growing In Grace

@creationswap/beccalee

Inspired by Rev 7:9-12

by Sheldon Bass

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT )

Ever notice how powerful our thought life is? For example, dwelling upon the wrongs someone has perpetrated against me tends to produce bitterness and strife, anger and resentment within. These resulting negative emotions, eventually are manifested in my words and actions. They lead to sin. Or if I allow myself to become irritated by the inappropriate attire of others (perhaps at church), a judgmental attitude develops. This will cut off the blessings of a pure heart that God intends for me.

In a sin cursed world, there’s an abundance of negative things to ponder. However, there’s also good things as listed in this verse. Directing our thoughts toward the wholesome and good, sows unto a beautiful harvest of joy and peace. Searching out the positive in people, places and circumstances births within us the happy and healthy virtues of godliness.

We can displace the negative, by filling up on the positive, resulting in an out pouring of praise to God for all of His goodness. And we reap the bountiful stores of wisdom, happiness and better health. Searching out the silver linings and rainbows, obscured by a dark world, and thoughtfully dwelling upon them, returns rich dividends to our lives.

Perhaps you remember a song from years ago that said, “Accentuate the positive.” Christian, shine on for Jesus!

Sheldon Bass is a Minister and Writ er, published in various Christian magazines and creates content for three web-sites. Watch for his devotional book coming soon: “Forty Days on the Mountain”. Contact

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Dear Lord, Give Me Wisdom (poem)

Wisdom: mastering the obvious

@creationswap/paulcarlson

By Cinda Carter

Dear Lord, Give me wisdom
In making my decisions
Help remind me to pray
To think about what I am going to say.

Sometimes without thinking I jump in with both feet
Only because I did not pray and think
I didn’t think of the consequences it would bring
I was eager to serve without Your leading.

You are truly merciful and You do forgive
Though the damage is done You will bring
What Satan meant for evil, and turn it around for good
These things will eventually be understood.

If I would just take the time to pray
And listen to what God has to say
I could avoid so many mistakes
As prayer prevents them taking place.

So, my prayer is, Dear Lord,
Help me to listen to You and be in accord.
One with the Holy Spirit knowing Your will, I pray,
Dear Lord, Give me wisdom, so You can have Your way.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  James 1:5  KJV

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The Lighthouse

Lighthouse and Palm Tree

@creationswap/paulbudde

 

By louis gander

What draws the eye to the lighthouse?
Oh say, what could it be?
Now how could a light on a mighty ‘Rock’
forgive lost souls at sea?
There are no ropes to pull them in,
no maps of where to go –
and we hear cries from crashing waves –
under the beacon’s glow.

Relentlessly, the wind blows –
the noise, as a million drums!
The angry sea will swallow scores,
as the weak in faith succumb.
Through rain and hail and deadly fog,
sins weather strangely mixed –
a faint, but ‘Guiding Light’ shines through –
if eyes are firmly fixed.

The lighthouse sounds its fog horn,
proclaiming Christ is King.
Our voices chime in harmony
as we rejoice and sing!
We find all comfort in the ‘Rock’
as the faithful lighthouse calls.
It’s then that storms surrender and,
receding darkness falls,

What draws the eye to the lighthouse?
Oh say, what could it be?
How can a Man on an old rugged cross,
help souls still lost at sea?
Secure in the ‘Rock’, we understand –
as the beacon lights the sky.
And as long as we see the halo –
forgive. “They know not why.”

And tell them –
tell them if you dare!
Tell them when they’re troubled.
Tell them with a prayer.
Tell them Christ is waiting.
Tell them God is fair.
Tell them Jesus loves them.
Tell them if you care.
Tell them God still loves the world.
Now go, and gospel share.
_________________________________
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!

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The Lord is Good

Romans 8:28

@creationswap/kevincarden

By Jerry Ousley

Sometimes we love the praise of man don’t we?  Those pats on the back and all those “at-a-boys” can really make us feel good.  Often it can be the very reason we do good things; we desire the compliments of others.  Let me illustrate with something that happened just recently to me.

Part of the ministry of Spirit Bread is sending Bibles into various African nations.  Many of these nations use English as a second language and a good number of the people speak it fluently.  Several other people contribute regularly to this ministry because they see the need and benefit of getting a Bible into the hands of someone else.  Once they begin to read and understand who can tell how many more they will lead into the Kingdom?  It is a wonderful, though very costly ministry.  Of course Bibles in the United States are relatively cheap if you don’t go with the expensive bindings and so forth.  But the expensive part is the shipping.  On the average, it costs around $5.00 for the Bible but it takes another $8.00 to ship it.  So it costs an average of $14.00 each to send these Bibles overseas.

The other day we went to the Post Office with seventeen packages going to different ministries who distribute Bibles to their people.  These are often small church groups or evangelistic ministries who cannot afford to purchase Bibles for their people and because of their small size are overlooked by the larger organizations who give away Bibles.  That’s where we come in.  We seek out (but more often we are sought out) those in need of Bibles.  We have a backlog of groups needing Bibles that dates back as much as a year.  As we get the money to purchase and ship Bibles we work on that list.  Anyway, we had received enough money to ship 112 Bibles.  The cost was over $900.00 just for the shipping.  The lady taking care of me at the Post Office commented on “what a good thing we were doing.”  Sometimes I’m not good with compliments.  She actually had said, “What a good thing your church is doing.”  Of course, right now we aren’t pastors of a congregation but minister through writing both on the Internet and books.  So I blurted out, “It’s not a church but we are doing it individually.”  That impressed her even more.

Now, my intentions weren’t to give all the praise to me, but that’s the way it came out.  After I left and returned home I got to thinking about the situation.  I thought of the other people who give to help with this service and frankly, I couldn’t do it without them.  I had cut them out all together and had taken all the credit.

This resulted in yet another occurrence of me sucking on toes as I sat there, realizing what I had done, with my big foot in my mouth.  The only thing I could do was to swallow my pride (being careful not to swallow my toes) and call the lady at the Post Office and explain that I wasn’t in this service alone, but that several other people were helping with the costs and supplying Bibles.  I had to make the call, and I did.  So was I really good?  Actually, not; I had taken a good thing and robbed others of their portion of that praise.  I did make it right, but I should have made it right the first time.

We aren’t as good as we think we are.  We’ve been talking about how God can cause the earth to quake merely by His presence and how that He can be a fierce God.  It is to illustrate the awesomeness of His power.  But the thought in Amos is concluded by saying, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” (Amos 1:7).  Even though God is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, and always present, He is also good, and each and every day that we live proves that.  Often we are disobedient, or we rob God of the glory by taking the credit ourselves.  Yet He is good; He is our strong and mighty fortress when we get into trouble, and He will remind us when we do wrong.  It may mean that we have to swallow our pride and risk embarrassment to make it right, but He will give us that opportunity.

Despite our disobedience, regardless our labor for recognition by man, still He knows those who really trust Him.  We may look like we trust God on the outside but only God knows what is truly in our hearts.  He knows why we do the things we do and He knows our motives and attitudes.  That’s a good thing because we can never pull the wool over God’s eyes, and because He knows we can be certain that He will always be there for us, forgiving us when we mess up because He really does know our hearts.  Do we really trust God?  In light of how good He is, we should

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jerry D. Ousley is the Author of five books, “Soul Challenge”, “Soul Journey” “Ordeal” “The Spirit Bread Daily Devotional” and his first novel “The Shoe Tree.”  Find out more by visiting www.spiritbread.com
or email us at jousley@spiritbread.com

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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