"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
The proof that I have been through crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a decided likeness to Him.
The incoming of the Spirit of Jesus into me readjusts my personal life to God.
The resurrection of Jesus has given Him authority to impart the life of God to me, and my experimental life must be constructed on the basis of His life.
I can have the resurrection life of Jesus now,
I’m so thankful to have a family full of devoted Christians. I am a third generation Nazarene, my grandparents passed on a beautiful legacy of faith. When I think of all I’m thankful for my cup runneth over! Today’s devotional came from my cousin Sheryl. I hope you enjoy this beautiful poem.
ALWAYS GIVING THANKS TO GOD THE FATHER FOR EVERYTHING, IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
( EPHESIANS 5:20 )
DRINKING FROM MY SAUCER
I've never made a fortune
And it’s probably too late now,
But I don't worry about that much
I'm happy anyhow.
And as I go along life's way
I'm reaping better than I sow.
I'm drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!
Haven't got a lot of riches
And sometimes the going's tough,
But I've got loving ones around me
And that makes me rich enough.
I thank God for His blessings
And the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!
Oh, I remember times when things went wrong
And my faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke
And sun peeped through again.
So Lord, help me not to gripe
About the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!
If God gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough,
I'll not ask for other blessings
I'm already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy
To help others bear their loads,
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!
Therefore; THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS WONDERFUL GIFT. For through Him all blessings flow indeed.
(2 CORINTHIANS 9:15)
This Thanksgiving season I am drinking from my saucer, how about you?
Advent: The Thrill of Hope
John 1:14, John 14:1-3, Revelation 22:12-13, 17, 20 (NIV)
November 28, 2021
Main Point: This Advent season gives us hope.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… in this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Eph. 5:25, 28)
Today is a very special day for me. Sixteen years ago Amber and I were married. It’s been a thrilling adventure, and I know what you’re thinking: How did he end up with her?! Don’t worry. I’m still asking the same question. There is something I’ve learned over the years; something I occasionally need to be reminded of. It’s the truth that is found in this passage of scripture.
I don’t think many of us would argue that it is difficult to love ourselves. We do what makes us happy. We eat our favorite foods. We pick the most comfortable spot to watch our favorite shows. Loving ourselves is easy. We say we love our spouses and other people, but if we aren’t careful, an all-about-me mindset can creep in and take over.
What if we put just as much energy and effort into loving our spouses? The love we’re called to extend gives up the comfortable chair and the remote. True love gives preference to the other’s favorites—their food, their shows, their happiness. This kind of love says, “You are the most important thing in the world to me—even more important than me.
Something special happens when this kind of love is central in a marriage. Love that is given away returns in a greater portion, wrapped in respect from a spouse who feels loved and valued.
I can’t claim to be an expert at this. I still need to be reminded of it regularly. So today, let me challenge you with the words of Jesus, “love, as you love yourself.”
Hail the Holidays
Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas Celebrations loom. As we look back on 2021 we certainly can say, “Thanks be to God! “ We have faced new adversities and challenges and realize we have been up to the task of negotiating them successfully.
While we have discovered that adversity does not bend to our desires or demands, we have also discovered God’s grace is sufficient for whatever comes our way. Because of those victories of past challenges we can say with the Psalmist, “Praise the Lord. Praise Him in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.”
As we edge toward the dawning of a new year, let us keep in mind that the God of yesterday is also the God of tomorrow. His grace was sufficient, is sufficient, and will be sufficient! Thanks be to God!
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers.” Phil. 4:6-7, The Living Bible
Have you noticed that God reveals Himself in the most interesting ways? Recently, for a major event, a friend needed to get a painting from an artist in Wichita, and time was quickly running out. I knew that my son was going to be in Wichita that weekend and my friend asked him to pick it up for her. Now Wichita is a fairly big city, but when Jared googled the artist, it turns out she was just around the corner from where he was spending the night. What a coincidence!
Several months ago, Jared wanted to meet a person to whom I was ministering, so he went with me to see her. And what do you know – it turns out her husband was one of his employees. How weird is that?
William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury in the early 1900’s, is quoted as saying, “When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.” I am convinced that God is intimately involved in the lives of His people. He cares about a painting that is needed ASAP, and He knows everybody in the whole wide world, and who is going to be where, when, and how to connect the right person to the need. He caresabout a young woman who desperately needs Jesus, and He knows how to surround her from all directions.
Most of us are familiar with George Muller, who cared for thousands of orphans in Great Britain in the 1800’s, without ever asking for money or going into debt. He relied entirely on God to provide for his children, and time after time God met their needs in unexpected ways.
Just as Jesus cares about Mr. Muller’s needs, He cares about yours, too. Why worry? Pray! It’s great fun to laugh with Jesus as He sets up “coincidences.”
God bless you!
In a devotional by Nicky Gumbel, an English Anglican priest and author and also the developer of the Alpha Course, a basic introduction to Christianity, I read this from a series of John Newton quotes.
“I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I wish to be.
I am not what I one day will be.
But, by the grace of GOD, I am not what I once was.”
With Thanksgiving Day nearby, I have been pondering how far GOD’s love has brought me from where I once was. How the Lord met me in the time of my greatest need, revealed Himself to me in a way that was tangible to me, heard my plea for His supernatural help and began the process of leading me out of darkness and into His light.
In Hosea 7:7 GOD expresses His complaint that His people will not call on Him. Rather, they prefer to do their own will, in their own way, in their own time. Without repentance GOD will say, “So be it!” He will not force us to join Him in the light and life He desires for us. If we choose to stay in the shadows and darkness, GOD will respect our choices (Revelation 22:10-12). We can only escape the darkness by being in right relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:12; 14:6).
Be thankful! Our Lord allows us to participate with Him along the way as He leads us from darkness into ever increasing light. What a joyful adventure this journey is. The fellowship along the way is pretty impressive as well.
I’m praying a truly joyful Thanksgiving holiday for you and yours. May our Lord’s light fill your path along the way.
Ephesians 6:11- 12 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.”
There is a lot of division in our world today. We get so wrapped up in our politics and opinions we forget to see people as God sees them. Ephesians 6:11-12 gives us a new perspective.
It’s not the person we are fighting against rather the sin. When we have conflict as Christians we need to recognize that it is really humanity's sinful nature that we are fighting against, and not the “person”. Satan’s goal is to create conflict among God’s people in order to keep as many as he can from spending eternity with God. Remember we all have sinned, we all have fallen short, we all need forgiveness. Only when we begin to think this way, we begin to help one another become the people God has created us to be.
Is there a situation in your life that needs a perspective change?
You will never run out of COMPLAINTS.
Gratitude is the pathway to PEACE.
Ingratitude DISCOUNTS the past, DEVALUES the present, and DISTORTS the future.
The source of a believer’s gratitude is CHRIST.
Three simple actions for gratitude:
1. List every good GIFT from God.
2. Refuse to let what you WANT rob you of what you HAVE.
3. Turn every blessing into PRAISE.
This last week has been a week of firsts for me, getting to officiate a wedding for the first time last Saturday, and performing my first baptism on Wednesday. Surprisingly, I was more nervous to perform the baptism than I was doing the wedding. This is probably because, in addition to it being a first, I had the great honor of baptizing my oldest daughter. As I witnessed my daughter making this important, mature decision, it struck me that I’m getting to witness my little girl growing up!
It brought to mind James 1:1-4, specifically verse 4, which says “And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” We talk about God as our Father. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are adopted into God’s family as His sons and daughters (2 Cor. 6:18). A part of being someone’s parent is watching them grow up, which means that God is watching us grow, just like any good Father would!
When my daughter made the decision to get baptized, it brought me more joy and pride than anything else I have experienced since my daughters were born. I challenge you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to look at your choices, and make decisions that will make our Father joyful and proud!
Complaint or Gratitude: A Pondering by Holly Woodbridge
Philippians 2:14-16—Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
The following quote popped up on Instagram this week. It kinda bopped me on the head! “Complaining is natural. It is easy. Takes no forethought. Gratitude is the opposite. It is rarely natural because it means thinking of another person above self. Which is why gratitude must be learned.” – Barbara Rainey
I want to learn invasive gratitude. The kind that infiltrates my thoughts and attitudes. I want to live gratitude ON PURPOSE. Sign me up for Gratitude 101. The language of complaint seeps in too easily and I know that it does not please God.
Is God really offended by an ungrateful spirit? I have thought about this, and it seems to me that when we are ungrateful, when we are complaining, we are saying God’s gifts are not enough, and really that HE is not enough
Charles Spurgeon said, “Let us daily praise God for common mercies.”
Yes! Let us praise Him for what is common and for what is uncommon and miraculous. Praise Him for what is seen and for what is unseen. Praise Him for provision and even for need which drives us into His arms.
A Christian once asked: “If tomorrow’s supply depended on today’s thanksgiving, how much would I have tomorrow?”
As we move toward Thanksgiving, it is a great time to begin living a life of gratitude. Want to join me?
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’ Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have instructed the ravens to supply you with food there.’ So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
1 Kings 17:1-6
There are definitely some out of the ordinary parts of this scripture passage. “Well yeah, Pastor Donny, the fact that you have a bunch of birds feeding a guy down by the brook for several years might just qualify for being just a bit different don’t you think? There are other things as well though.
The Old Testament law also makes it clear that ravens were considered unclean and Jewish people should be going nowhere near them, let alone being fed by them! This was way outside of Elijah’s comfort zone. This time and space is a world away from the royal palace where he delivered his prophetic word. It’s a solitary place, a period of utter helplessness in which he is totally reliant on God for nourishment and comfort. There are times where we need to be taken into the hiding place of God to be nourished and comforted.
There is something important about hiddenness and much to be learned in it. A baby develops for nine months hidden in the womb. The Olympic gymnast performing a ninety-second floor exercise spends countless hours practicing in the gym without spectators. Then there is the miracle of the Chinese bamboo tree. After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But then in the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet!
We are surrounded by a culture that appears to value prominence, celebrity status, recognition, and public affirmation. In the midst of all of this the Lord in His grace calls to us. He promises to meet with us where deep calls unto deep. Will you meet Him there today? I leave you with this song as the prayer of our hearts today.
You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in You
I will trust in You
Let the weak say
I am strong
In the strength of the Lord
I will trust in you.
MY FATHERS HANDS
Psalm 104:28 28 What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
Psalm 145:16 “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
I began to reminisce growing up on the farm; always watching my father work with his hands on anything and everything, in all seasons of weather, hot, cold, rain, snow and heat. Even as an adult I was amazed at how large my fathers’ gloves were when I placed them on my hands for work, giving me enough room to almost place both hands into one glove. I recalled the many scars and black and blue fingernails and cracked, chafed skin from his hard work or weather.
Then my thoughts began to consider the comparisons between the hands of my earthly father to those of Christ; the one we cherish as Savior and Lord.
My fathers’ hands were powerful, driving posts, hammering steel, pulling chains, lifting heavy weights and bales of hay, but gentle to touch and convey love. Christs were powerful also; power to heal the sick, touch blinded eyes to see, raise the dead to life and yet took children in His arms, held and loved them as precious lambs, tenderly broke bread to feed the multitudes, his disciples, and gently wash dirty feet as the servant of servants.
My father could seldom have a meal without there being bread on the table, but Christ represents the true bread of life itself which God supplies out of love to us against the evil of the world.
My father could quickly draw intercut instructions and designs in the dirt, even though most of the time I had little idea what he was trying to convey, but Christ brought protection and salvation to suffering souls by simple etchings in the dust.
I think the greatest of all comparisons however comes with the thought of the splinters, the cuts, the gouges and punctures from barbed spikes and barbs on wire or metal which were often visible on my fathers’ hands, all requiring bandaging, not that it was ever available. Yet for Christ, the carpenter’s son, who once held the wood and nails in His hands was then held by the wood and the heavy barbed spikes of the cross for you and me, the shedding of His blood freely with no bandaging; all for you and me without hesitation to pay the sacrifice of atonement for the forgiveness of our sins.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Now, he wants to use our hands to send the same message of love, humility, and acceptance. The world needs your hands; hands to be a blessing every day. May God take your hands and use them for His glory!
Are your hands open?
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Jerry Schmid
God Has A Great Big Platter!
Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light.”
I used to keep a big rubber maid spatula in my office with a big bright bow on it as a constant reminder not to stress about things that I couldn’t always control. Do you find yourself really stressed this time of year? Holidays are fast approaching and there is so much to do! There’s Thanksgiving to think about and whether or not there will really be a shortage on turkeys or will it be some other thing that they deem to be a shortage. Prices keep going up and quantities keep getting smaller! Gas keeps going up and wages don’t cover the upsurge of costs. Christmas is just around the corner and I still have so many things to make or buy! Stress…Stress…Stress!
We all find ourselves with our plates full to overflowing with all the things we need to do, bills that need to be paid, appointments that have to be kept, winterizing our homes, trying to keep up with full or part time job obligations, and the list goes on…But did you know that you don’t have to keep that full plate? God has a great big platter and if we will take the time to scrape off our plates onto His big platter we would find the load isn’t so heavy.
The trouble is when you scrape off a plate with a fork or spoon there is always leftovers left on the plate. But if we will take a rubber spatula and scrape the plate there isn’t a trace of leftovers. Thus the big rubber spatula! I have found that taking a “spatula” to all the things that are stressing me out right now and scrape them onto God’s platter things are so much easier! Maybe I need to re-hang the spatula back up as a reminder that I really don’t have to stress about all of this worldly stuff! That God still has a great big platter and He promises that we will find rest for our souls if we will cast all our burdens on to Him.
So get out the spatula and start scraping! Scrape those deadlines that have you so bogged down! Scrape those time restraints! Scrape those worries about our worldly woes! Even scrape those family dynamics that you can’t control that seem to rear their ugly head around the holidays! Scrape all those financial worries! Even scrape those worries about those wayward kiddos! Scrape them on to His platter and see if you don’t find rest for your soul!
The Holidays are fast approaching but we can approach is so much more joyfully if we have a clean plate because we have scraped it all onto His great big platter!
The Art of Remembering
Joshua Chapter 4
The One Thing: Yesterday’s memories are able to help today’s faith!
They had the faith to walk out of their slavery...
but lacked the faith to walk into their ____________________.
The One Thing: Yesterday’s memories are able to help today’s faith!
but lacked the faith to walk into their PROMISE.
"For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Eternal life was the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human plane, and it is the same life, not a copy of it, which is manifested in our mortal flesh when we are born of God.
Eternal life is not a gift from God, eternal life is “The gift of God”.
The energy and the power which was manifested in Jesus will be manifested in us by the sheer sovereign grace of God when once we have made the moral decision about sin.
"Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost" - not power as a gift from the
The life that was in Jesus is made ours by means of His Cross when once we make the decision to be identified with Him.
If it is difficult to get right with God,
Jesus came to give us endless supplies of life: "that you might be filled with all the fulness of God."
Eternal Life has nothing to do with Time, it is the life which Jesus lived when He was down here.
The only source of Life is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The weakest saint can experience the power of the Deity of the Son of God if once he is willing to "let go." Any strand of our own energy will blur the life of Jesus. We have to keep letting go, and slowly and surely the great full life of God will invade us in every part, and men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I struggle with feeling unworthy, unheard, unwanted, like everything I touch fails, I struggle to see myself in Gods eyes. A couple weeks ago we did a crazy night with our youth group we called “People of Walmart” night. In our lesson that night we looked at how God sees us. We had a handout that we encouraged our students to look at when they are struggling to see or feel about themselves the way that God does. I found myself looking at that again today and want to share this with you. Maybe you’re having one of those days or know someone who is. I encourage you to take a look at how God feels about you, read it out loud, then read it to your children, your spouse or a friend:
-You are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s eyes. (Psalm 139:14)
-You are the salt and light of the world in God’s eyes. (Matthew 5:13-14)
-You are complete in God’s eyes. (Colossians 2:10)
-You are loved in God’s eyes. (Jeremiah 31:3)
-You are worth delighting in. (Zephaniah 3:17)
-You are forgiven and redeemed in God’s eyes. (Ephesians 1:7)
-You are anointed and have a purpose in God’s eyes. (Isaiah 61:1)
-You are beautiful in God’s eyes. (Psalm 45:11)
-You are more than a conqueror in God’s eyes. (Romans 8:37)
-You are chosen, holy, and dearly loved in God’s eyes. (Colossians 3:12)
-You are God’s handiwork. (Ephesians 2:10)
-You are worth fighting for in God’s eyes. (Exodus 14:14)
-You are set free in God’s eyes. (Galatians 5:1)
-You are a new creation in God’s eyes. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Isn’t it amazing to hear what God thinks of you out loud?
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!(1 Chronicles 16:34)
Have you ever bought something online or from a catalogue and then when it arrived been disappointed to discover it’s not what you thought it was? It’s called the classic “bait and switch.” It’s terrible technique for selling a product. Companies advertise one thing, but the product is something else. Fortunately this isn’t as prevalent as it once was because of customer reviews that warn others about these products. Unfortunately, there are still some scams out there.
I’m so grateful God never uses this approach in his relationship with us. In fact, he does the exact opposite. Rather than lure us in and then yell, “Gotcha!” God offers himself. Once we accept the gift of salvation through Christ we get far more than we imagined. In fact, our Father delights in giving us an abundant life. Because of this loving and generous God, we have purpose, joy, peace, and security.
You can be assured that God is who he says he is, and that God will do what he promised to do. There’s no bait and switch. It’s all been secured by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Praise God for all he does for you today!
I absolutely love the month of November! Leaves and temperatures are falling. Add in daylight savings time ending, Thanksgiving, extra days off to laze around and Christmas just around the corner, and it’s a wonderful month.
Maybe it’s because I am just getting older, but it sure seems like the months are flying by. If these fast moving months do anything for me, it makes me pause and consider the things which garner my attention from day to day.
I try and live life by three priorities or my core values. Faith, Family and Friends.
When it comes to faith, it just seems if I am going to spend eternity with Jesus, I should get acquainted as soon as possible.
My second priority of family is beyond important. I see these I love changing so fast or faster than I am. As much as possible I have tried to live by the axiom, “If you take care of them while they are young, they will take care of you when you are old.” (Their time is coming quickly!)
Friends add so much of the flavoring of life to my daily walk. They all make me better because they have decided to journey with me.
If you would indulge me, I just have to ask. What are the priorities driving your life? Are you getting better acquainted with the One you will spend eternity with? Just where does Jesus intersect with you?
Please understand, I am not trying to guilt trip you. I would like you to pause for a moment and survey your priorities though. Where are you investing your weekly 168 hours? Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” Maybe this would be a good day to stop and consider what your treasure is!
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts, and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” I Corinthians 12:12
As I age, I have discovered that various parts of my body occasionally cry out for attention. I’ll be sitting quietly on my sofa, and get a twinge in my foot, as if it’s saying, “Hey! I need help down here!” And although my foot is not usually my first priority, at that moment it is.
As believers, we are all part of the body of Christ. In I Corinthians 12, Paul speaks about this eloquently. We don’t all have to be eyes or ears, or feet or hands – the big, major things that we are all aware of. But Paul says this doesn’t matter. We are ALL part of the body, and we ALL matter to God.
For years I have jokingly referred to myself as a hair follicle in God’s Kingdom. I used that analogy because that’s a part of the body that doesn’t really get much attention or (I thought) do the really important stuff in the body. But recently I said that to my daughter-in-law, who we call our family nurse, and she began to explain to me in great detail some of the things that the hair follicle does (in addition to growing hair). It was pretty amazing, and although it humbled me, it also proved my point. Not one member of the body of Christ is expendable. None is unnecessary. I’m sure even the appendix has a purpose, although I don’t know what it is. My son lost his spleen following a car accident a number of years ago. You can live without a spleen. Most of the time he doesn’t even think about it. But it does reduce his immunity to infection, and this year, that has been pretty important!
If you have devalued yourself because you feel you don’t contribute much to the church, or you feel you are “less than” because of your personal challenges, please know this: God loves you. He values you. And he calls believers everywhere to value each other. Every single one.
God bless you!
Moses: Following God into the Unknown (Week 5)
Exodus 16:2-8a, 16:13-22; John 6:26-35 (NIV)
November 7, 2021
Main Point: We can face the unknown because of Christ.
James 1:22-25 tells us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
When you look in the mirror of God’s Word, what do you see looking back at you? The “natural” values of this world, or values changed supernaturally by a Biblical world view? Is the image of GOD (Imago Dei) being reflected through you to those you encounter?
Just as a mirror reflects what you look like on the outside, GOD’s Word reflects what you are like on the inside. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.“
If the “thoughts and intentions” of my heart are not what they should be, the Holy Spirit can change that as I read, study, and apply Scripture to my life and allow Him to work freely in me. Then I can overcome the personal desires that are so strongly influenced by this world system and begin to reflect God’s values to this needy world.
The shalom and strength of Christ’s presence go with you always.
Is God Really Listening?
Do you ever wonder if God is really listening to your prayers? Do you ever find yourself crying out to God when life is painful, and feeling like you aren’t getting a response? It can be difficult and frustrating to know for sure especially since we can’t physically see or hear God. Maybe the problem isn’t that God isn’t listening, maybe the problem is that we really aren’t listening to God. Maybe the way we think about prayer needs to change.
We often use prayer as a megaphone. When you use a megaphone, you are typically making an announcement or yelling out instructions. You are telling someone what to do, and not inviting them into a conversation. Sometimes we pray like this. We tell God what we want Him to do. We keep it short and generic, keep our true selves out of it, and don’t give Him time to speak back to us.
Instead, we should view prayer like wearing headphones. When we wear headphones, we tune out the world and focus in on the thing we are listening to. It becomes personal. Our prayers need to focus in on God. To discover what he has to say to us. Only then do we realize that he does the same with us. He is really listening to our prayers.
The next time you are wondering if God is really listening to your prayers, ask yourself. “I am really listening to God?”
I love reading fiction in all sorts of genres. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mystery, you name it. The thing that I like the most about fiction is that, with very few exceptions, the good guys win in the end. The excitement of the story comes from figuring out how the heroes get there. Every once in a while, when things look so dark that you can’t see a way for the story to turn around, it’s very tempting to flip to the back of the book and see that yes, good wins out in the end.
Unfortunately, life is nowhere near as predictable as a book. However, we do have one Book that can give us hope. The Bible, while not a work of fiction, is the ultimate account of Good winning over evil, present in both Old and New testaments. While preparing to write this, I was reminded of a gospel song that says “I read the back of the Book and we win, no more living in darkness we’ll be living at home with Him. You see there ain’t no need to worry about it if you’re born again, ‘cause I read the back of the Book and we win!”
No matter how dark the world seems, we can always read the back of the Book and know that He wins!
November 2nd Birthdays: A Pondering by Holly Woodbridge
Two of my specialist people have birthdays today. Donny, my love, and Josiah, our bonus blessing.
The morning of Donny’s 43rd birthday (I was 42 at the time) our Bonus Blessing arrived. But it was 7 ½ months earlier that we learned he was coming!!! We had crossed the 40 mark and we were shocked and elated. But God knew even earlier.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalms 139:13-14)
God created Donny and God created Josiah and God created YOU! ON PURPOSE!!! For a purpose!
We were especially blessed when Josiah arrived on Donny’s birthday. Donny knew his birthdays would be full of fun, games, and laughter from that day on. The Bible talks about the wonderful blessing that children are to be.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward (a blessing). (Psalms 127:3)
Blessing, that is the purpose God has for each of us. I am sure you know that these two men are blessings to me.
When we celebrate someone’s birth, we can remember that our Creator’s image is stamped upon this unique and wonderful person, and we can thank God for his gift of their life.
Old or young, short or tall, people are amazing creations of God. Better than a sunset or crashing wave on the shore. Better than the thousands of colorful fish in the sea, better than a meadow of flowers or even an autumn day in New England. People are made in the image of God, made to bring Him glory and made to bring good to the people around them. That is what being a blessing is all about.
Birthdays are great opportunities to remind a person of the blessing he or she is and how they are a wonder of God. It is also a time to remember to BE A BLESSING.
Happy Birthday Donny! Happy Birthday Josiah! I love you forever, I like you for always! - Holly
Notes from the Staff @The Woods