Wednesday, November 29, 2017

GOD SAID NO!


I am not the original author of this, but I am certain God allowed me to find it so that I could share His message with you......


I asked God to take away my bad habits.

And God said, "NO! They are not for me to take away, but for you to give up!"


I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.

And God said, "NO! That child's spirit IS whole! The body is only temporary!"


I asked God to grant me patience.

And God said, "NO! Patience is a byproduct of tribulations It isn't granted, patience is learned!"


I asked God to give me happiness.

And God said, "NO! I give you blessings! Happiness is up to you!"


I asked God to spare me pain.

And God said, "NO! Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me!"


I asked God to make my spirit grow.

And God said, "NO! You must grow on your own! But, I will prune you to make you fruitful!"


I asked God for all things, that I might enjoy life.

And God said, "NO! I gave you LIFE so that you may enjoy all things!"


I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me.

And God said, "AHHHHH! Finally you have the idea!"

Personally, I think God said all that needed to be said  except, "THANK YOU FATHER GOD FOR NOT GIVING ME WHAT I WANT, BUT RATHER, GIVING ME WHAT I NEED!"

Monday, November 13, 2017

HOW TO DEAL WITH A JOY THIEF

HOW TO DEAL WITH A JOY THIEF
November 13, 2017

Jesus is all about His people’s joy. As He told His disciples in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” A disciple experiences the joy of the Lord as he or she abides in Christ and allows his word to abide in them. C.S. Lewis once powerfully penned, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Yet, unfortunately, joy isn’t always the serious business of professing Christians. There are some Christians whose joy tank seems to be perpetually low if not empty. Unfortunately, they don’t heed the words of the Scripture which tells us to, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” Some Christians believe that their spiritual gift is fault-finding and “keeping the pastor humble.”
Perpetual joy thieves are joyless because they’re not walking in obedience. Perhaps one preacher said it best, “If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.” So what is a joy thief? A joy thief is a person who is perpetually pessimistic, and unhelpfully and unabashedly critical. They’re the types of people that you have to get “pumped up” to spend time with because you know that you will be reminded of everything that’s wrong with you, the church, and the world. Here are three practical things that you can do to deal with a joy thief in your church:
Get to know them
Perhaps the person who steals your joy is a genuine disciple of Jesus that struggles with hope. It could be that they’re processing the world through a negative lens because they’ve experienced great suffering, and rather than learn to count it all joy they’ve heaped up reasons to be joyless. Spending time with a person and getting a better understanding of what makes him or her tick may allow you to be more compassionate toward them. It may also help you identify the best angle to use in approaching them. I know it’s difficult to get close to a person who is constantly swinging a verbal sword at you, but put up your shield of faith, and give knowing them your best shot.
Pray for them
Joyless people are miserable people. They haven’t tasted and seen that the Lord is good. They haven’t yet learned that it’s through our times of suffering that the Lord often does his best work. I have been in a joyless place, and chances are you have, too. Nehemiah 8:5 says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Without Him, a person doesn’t have true strength. They may think they do and put on a strong facade, but they are weak.
·         Pray that the Lord would rescue them from nihilism and give them hope.
·         Pray that the Lord (if he hasn’t yet) would bring them into the saving knowledge of Jesus.
·         Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you the patience and wisdom to interact with them graciously.
·         Pray that the Lord would cultivate in them deep gratitude for the things that He has and is doing in their life

Confront them Biblically
Third, confront the person biblically. Confronting people biblically means that we confront them in the way that Matthew 18:15-18 and Galatians 6:1-5 command. That is, we confront the professing Christian alone, then with 2 or 3 witnesses, and if all else fails, then we take it to the church. This of course must be done in gentleness as one flawed Christian approaching another flawed Christian. Why is this important? Because the church is the one place in the world where people should be able to come together and experience the joy of the Lord. Joy thieves hinder God’s people from rejoicing in the Lord always. Augustine once said, “When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the other’s flame.” It’s our responsibility to see that our members share a common joy.

God has called us to be joyful. In fact, I would argue that our goal should be to be the most joyful person in our congregation. Sometimes we’re our own joy thief because we’re too hard on ourselves and set unrealistic expectations. There’s an old gospel song that says, “This joy I have, the world didn’t give it to me, and the world can’t take it away.” Let’s not let anyone steal our joy, especially ourselves. Remember, “joy is the serious business of heaven.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

God’s Design for Your Unique Marriage Differences


woman hugging husband both smiling
Western culture's movement away from God provides a rich opportunity for Christian men and women to reveal what following God's design for male and female can really look like and, in the process reveal God’s heart. The opportunity must be seized — and by God's grace, it can be.

Husbands have the distinctive opportunity to reveal God's loving, self-sacrificing movement into people's lonely hearts by the way they treat their wife. And wives have the unique opportunity to reveal God's invitation for empty people to be filled with His strengthening presence by the way wives respond to their husband.

At the risk of being a little bit inappropriate, I believe God designed the physical relationship of a husband and wife as a metaphor for their personal relationship. I believe the primary things my wife, Rachael, wants (the things that she's open to receive from me) are to be noticed, to be treasured and to be cherished in the deepest part of her soul. And God has designed me, as her husband, to remember His design and move into the deepest parts of her emotional being.

The woman is open to receive. The man is designed to move. When I recognize that Rachael longs to rest in the presence of a man who's strong enough to not be thrown by the difficulties of life and still move toward her, then she can rest in the strength of that man. That's what she longs for. So, do I remember how God has designed my wife, and do I see her and desire to embrace what is deepest within her?

Perhaps as never before in the history of Western culture, we need to recapture a fundamental truth about Christianity: God always does what He does for His own glory. Let me put that same thought another way: Because God, as the three-person divine community, is the supreme model of perfect and joyful relating, He created us male and female. Not merely to procreate and enjoy pleasurable sex and fulfilling relationships but to put His relational style on display, especially in marriage.

Husbands displaying traits of Jesus
Jesus, under authority from His Father and in the power of the Holy Spirit, moved from heaven's joy-filled community into earth's misery-stained chaos to sacrifice himself for the eternal joy of God-rejecting rebels. The Hebrew word for male in Genesis 1: 27 implies one who moves. It follows that husbands, uniquely designed to reveal God's way of relating, are called to display the way Jesus moved to meet others' needs by moving sacrificially toward their wives with her well-being in view.

Wives displaying traits of Jesus
Now resurrected and returned to the divine community, Jesus invites us to move toward the Father with confidence that He will warmly receive us and, by His Spirit, provide everything we need to carry out His plan for us. The Hebrew word for female in Genesis 1:27 implies one who is open to receive. It follows that wives are specially designed to open themselves, not to all movement, but only to godly movement from their husbands, and to receive such movement with godly delight. In so doing, wives reveal the way Jesus opened himself to invite our movement into the relational joy of His divine community.

Couples modeling how God relates to us
Movement and invitation: the two-part rhythm of how God relates to us. The Gospel of Christ reveals the nature of divine relating: movement into the heart, invitation to delight. The marriage of a man and a woman puts divine relating on display for others to see and to be drawn into the relational beauty of God. It can only achieve God's purpose when a marriage is a God-glorifying covenant between a male and a female.
God's design is sheer beauty, and it leads to joy. Both male and female are called to equally high ground in God's plan, to the privilege of putting Jesus on display by how each gender relates. Christian men and women have the opportunity to show the satisfying beauty of God's design, nowhere more clearly than in a Christian marriage.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

SELAH

Question: "What does "Selah" mean in the Bible?"
Answer: The word selah is found in two books of the Bible, but is most prevalent in the Psalms, where it appears 71 times. It also appears three times in the third chapter of the minor prophet Habakkuk.

There is a great deal of uncertainty about the meaning of selah. Most versions of the Bible do not attempt to translate selah but simply transliterate the word straight from the Hebrew. The Septuagint translated the word as “daplasma” (“a division”). Well-meaning Bible scholars disagree on the definition of selah and on its root word, but since God has ordained that it be included in His Word, we should make an effort to find out, as best we can, the meaning.

One possible Hebrew word related to selah is calah, which means “to hang” or “to measure or weigh in the balances.” Referring to wisdom, Job says, “The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold” (Job 28:19). The word translated “valued” in this verse is the Hebrew calah. Here Job is saying that wisdom is beyond comparing against even jewels, and when weighed in the balance against wisdom, the finest jewels cannot equal its value.

Selah is also thought to be rendered from two Hebrew words: s_lah, “to praise”; and s_lal, “to lift up.” Another commentator believes it comes from salah, “to pause.” From salah comes the belief that selah is a musical notation signifying a rest to the singers and/or instrumentalists who performed the psalms. If this is true, then each time selah appears in a psalm, the musicians paused, perhaps to take a breath or to sing a cappella or let the instruments play alone. Perhaps they were pausing to praise the One about whom the song was speaking, perhaps even lifting their hands in worship. This theory would encompass all these meanings—“praise,” “lift up,” and “pause.” When we consider the three verses in Habakkuk, we also see how selah could mean “to pause and praise.” Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3 inspires the reader to pause and praise God for His mercy, power, sustaining grace, and sufficiency.

Perhaps the best way to think of selah is a combination of all these meanings. The Amplified Bible adds “pause and calmly think about that” to each verse where selah appears. When we see the word selah in a psalm or in Habakkuk 3, we should pause to carefully weigh the meaning of what we have just read or heard, lifting up our hearts in praise to God for His great truths. “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. Selah!” (Psalm 66:4).

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

According To Science, This Is What Jesus Would Actually Look Like:



By Abby Heugel


Christianity is the largest religion on Earth, and a central figure of this religion is Jesus Christ, who you've probably heard of.

When you picture Jesus Christ in your head, what do you see? A white man, long blonde hair, and blue eyes? There have perhaps been more depictions of Christ than anyone else in history.


But just because everyone seems to insist that Jesus looked like a typical white male, that doesn’t make it accurate. Just ask forensic anthropologist Richard Neave.


Neave developed an image of the Christian figure that is pretty far removed from the face we’re used to — but one that was informed by historical evidence and computerized tomography.

But before we get to his images, we have to wonder how we came about our current depiction of Jesus. 


His appearance isn’t described in great detail in the Bible. It only mentions that Jesus “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

Not too specific.

It's thought this description of Jesus was intentionally vague so it could appeal to members of all ethnicities.


However, Jesus has been largely depicted as primarily Caucasian, until now…

Here's what Jesus really looked like, according to Neave:


He has a darker complexion, darker eyes and a more wide-set nose, and his hair and beard are more coarse as well.

So how did he go about constructing this image?

He started by taking three skulls from Israeli archaeological sites near where Jesus was believed to have been born.


He was then able to use computerized x-ray and ultrasound techniques to construct a model of Jesus’ face. Based on anthropological and genetic data, he came up with the image pictured above.

If you think about it, his depiction makes sense.


Jesus was born in the Middle East, so he would look like those around him — not the way he’s so often portrayed in the West.

Yet a lot of people, including then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly, are convinced of Jesus' whiteness, along with that of Santa.


“Jesus was a white man, too,” she said. “It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”

Her assessment is understandable, but flawed — especially bringing in Santa.


We tend to project ourselves onto the people we look up to, and without an understanding of the historical context, it can be easy to accept the image of Jesus that has been most commonly depicted throughout the centuries.

But remember that the Bible itself says Jesus wasn't much to look at.


He most likely wasn’t the handsome, glowing, muscular man we’ve become accustomed to.
But in the end, does it really matter what he looked like? While we like to put a face with the name, if you’re religious, his teachings should be what take priority.

It is, however, certainly something to consider.

Monday, August 14, 2017

SEXUAL INTEGRITY AT A GLANCE


August 14, 2017


Do you consider yourself one who has sexual integrity? It would be easy to say, “Sure, I have sexual integrity–I have never cheated on my wife.” But let’s take a deeper look at this term and perhaps discover an area of weakness that we may not have previously considered.
When you think of sexual integrity, what comes to mind? For me, I consider great men of faith who have stayed with one wife and have never strayed from their original promise to love and to cherish ‘till death. Billy Graham is one that comes to mind. He lived out his strong faith and commitment to his bride by establishing some very solid boundaries that served him well throughout his life and marriage. I also think of those who failed in this regard. Over the years, we have heard countless stories of men and women of faith losing their careers, their ministries, and their families due to lack of sexual integrity. I’ve often wondered, how does this happen and what can I do to be a man of sexual integrity? In consideration of this question, I’ve decided to take a look at David.
You’ll recall that David began his meteoric rise to “fame” in the book of Samuel, when God used the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next King of Israel. David, the boy, then went on to defeat the giant and then on to prove himself a great commander and defender of God’s people. In fact, he was referred to by the LORD as a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
Then, one evening, this King, this man of God, this great defender of the people of God, lost his footing and fell into sexual sin. As he stood on his roof that night, he gazed at Bathsheba while she bathed. He lusted after her and brought her to his home and lay with her. While the sin of lusting and adultery were bad enough, he then planned a “hit” on Uriah to make way for him to marry his newfound love. How did this happen, and how can we avoid this breach of sexual integrity in our own lives and ministry?
Let’s take a look at the progression of events that led to David’s sin. First, he saw Bathsheba bathing. He didn’t just casually glance and look away; he allowed himself to gaze upon her and found that she was very beautiful to behold. The extended gaze turned into a decision, the decision to bring her to his home. He then proceeded to action by following through with his desire and sleeping with this married woman. Fearing his sin would be found out, he proceeded to attempt a cover-up by having her husband killed in battle.
The progression of events began with a simple glance that turned into something much more. Consider this powerful example and examine your own life. Do you allow your eyes to wander and gaze upon things you shouldn’t? Do you allow your gaze to linger when women wear tight or revealing clothing? When you see a provocative commercial on television, do you quickly divert your eyes, or do you find yourself “taking it in”? Has your wife “caught” you inappropriately looking at someone or something?
Are you guarding your heart by what you take in through your eyes? David didn’t set out to commit adultery and then murder, yet it happened. Do you want to live a life of sexual integrity, honoring the Lord, your spouse and your family? Be mindful and intentional of where you allow your gaze to fall, asking the Lord to give you strength.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WASHING TOILETS


..."those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled' Daniel 5:19

Paul desired a career in the building industry. Early in his career, he was working with a large ministry to help direct several of their construction projects.

As the projects were completed, Paul was asked to stay on for future projects. To keep him busy he was given a number of jobs - one of which was cleaning toilets. He recalls getting down on his knees each day and complaining to the Lord, "Lord, I'm a college graduate!"

Discouraged, Paul told the Lord, "I will not leave here until You promote me. Please give me contentment with my circumstance."

Paul felt totally forgotten by God. A few months later, Paul received a phone call from a man in the Midwest who owned five successful businesses who wanted to interview Paul for a job. This came as a total surprise to Paul. As he drove to the interview, he told the Lord, "I only want your will in my life, nothing else. I am content to remain obscure for the rest of my life if I have You. You must override my lack of experience for me to get this job."

The owner of the company asked Paul a surprising question: "If I asked you to clean a toilet, what would you do?" Paul sat there, stunned. He wanted to burst out laughing. Paul assured him that he would simply pick up a sponge and start cleaning.

Amazingly, Paul was hired even though other candidates were more qualified. After several months of success Paul asked his boss why he hired him. His boss replied, "Paul, I still have a large stack of applications from people who wanted this job. Do you remember the first question I asked you in the interview? I asked each one the same question. You were the only one who said he would clean the toilet. Paul, I am a wealthy man, but I grew up dirt poor. I clean my own toilets at home. I can't have people running my businesses who are too proud to clean a toilet."


Sometimes God places us in situations to see if we will be faithful in those before He is willing to promote us to greater things. 

Blessings upon you