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    Thoughts for a New Year

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013, 3:27 PM [General]

         God places/allows difficulties in our live for various reasons. For me right now, they seem to be to discipline and funnel (draw) me back to Him. I need to return though, without just an attitude of avoiding further correction. I need to have an attitude of gratitude and joy for all He has blessed me with.

         Let us all begin this new year with a deeper sense of gratitude for all we have, especially the non-material things.Smile

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Are You Thirsty?

    Saturday, December 1, 2012, 5:17 PM [General]

    “Are you not thirsty?" said the Lion.

    "I am dying of thirst," said Jill.

    "Then drink," said the Lion.

    "May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?" said Jill.

    The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.

    The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

    "Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill.

    "I make no promise," said the Lion.

    Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

    "Do you eat girls?" she said.

    "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

    "I daren't come and drink," said Jill.

    "Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.

    "Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then."

    "There is no other stream," said the Lion.”

    ― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

         All of us are thirsty at times.  Our bodies need water to survive.  Our spirits also thirst, thirst for purpose and meaning.  We look to many things to quench that thirst. 
         The book of Ecclesiastes is all about how the wisest man that ever lived and how he tried everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) to quench that thirst.  Power, money, pleasure, sex and wine; You name it, he tried it.  In the end, he found that purpose in this "Fear GodP)"> and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind."
     God knows that we are thirsty. He asks that we come to Him to drink. He makes no promises as to what He will do in and through us, except that we can fully trust Him.
     Will you trust Him? Or will you allow the thirst to drive you to places that will seem to satisfy, but in the end will simply leave you empty and wanting more?
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    Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

    Sunday, November 11, 2012, 8:19 PM [General]

    1 Peter 4:8

    New International Version (NIV)

    Above all, love each other deeply," because love covers over a multitude of sins.

         I recently read this verse with new eyes.  Always before, I had understood this verse to be about loving others and overlooking THEIR sin.  We are called to love and forgive, and we do well to seek God's help in doing this.  I think there is more that God desires though.

         When we choose to obey, to love and forgive, we are also choosing to avoid sinning ourselves.  Paul wrote to the Ephesians these words:

    “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.  (Ephesians 4:26)

         And James reminds us in Chapter 1 verse 20:

    because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

         Choosing to love not only sets your brother or sister free, it sets you free.  Choose to love and live in freedom.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Risky Love

    Saturday, November 10, 2012, 9:08 AM [General]

         I balk and complain that God asks me to love with no guarentee of return. It 
    isn't fair. God is all knowing, so for Him their is no real risk. 
         How can he understand my fear, how much I have to lose? If I love, I give away a piece of myself, the true "me". I have no way of knowing if they will give back 
    a piece of the true "them". 
         As if that isn't hard enough, I let them have an opportunity to reject me. To lose a piece of me AND have it rejected, how can He ask that? He can't understand what He asks. 
         Then I remember what He did. Not only did He give me a piece of Himself to live 
    inside me, He made that offer to everyone. As I let that sink in, I realize that He chose to love and offer that piece of Himself NOT just to those He knew would accept Him. That would have been safe, not very risky. No, He gave it to those that He knew would despise and reject His gift. I have no fore knowledge of if my gift of me will be rejected. For me, their can always be a chance. How dare I decide to love less than He does? 
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Son

    Saturday, November 10, 2012, 9:00 AM [General]

         This is perhaps my favorite time of year. Here in Florida, it doesn't getting 
    freezing cold often, but it does get down into the 60's.  I love the cold, maybe because 
    it is so hot here much of the year. I also enjoy the cozy feeling of being able to wear a 
    long sleeve shirt without sweating to death and wrapping myself in my fleece blanket at 
    night.
         As much as I love the cold, it is also nice on a cold day to step outside into the 
    sunshine. If there isn't any wind, the warmth of the sun hitting my body feels absolutely 
    delightful.
         That made me think about the state of my heart, and how often it grows cold.  If I stay 
    inside myself, nothing will change or worse, it will grow still colder.
         Then, God reminds me that He is still here, that He is always with me.  If I will only 
    place myself under His Son and let His light shine on me, He will warm my cold heart. How 
    often have I struggled along in the cold when He longs to warm me up, to fix my broken 
    places?
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    James 1:23-25

    Friday, February 17, 2012, 6:49 PM [General]

    23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

    **  DISCLAIMER!!  I am a bit under the weather right now, so hopefully, I do not ramble!  **

    Two different men, two very diferent outcomes!  When I look into the mirror, what do I see?  Do I see a child of God, "God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph. 2:10)?  Or do I see the me I want to be, doing what I want to do?  Oh, I may do a good job of studying and memorizing verses to quote back like a parrot, but am I allowing God's word to soak into my innermost being and change me?  Or am I only "hearing and not doing" (James 1:22)?  None of us intentionally sets out to deceive ourselves, but that is the outcome if we do not put in the work of pursuing what Christ created us for.  We are not here to look good.  Jesus refered to some Pharisees as "white-washed tombstones".  We do not exist merely to enjoy ourselves.  Read Ecclesiastes, written by the wisest man who ever lived.  He ended with the observation that ALL our pursuits are just a "chasing after the wind".  "Remember your creator!" he tells us.  Or as Kansas sang, "All we are is dust un the wind."

    What do I want to see when I look in the mirror?  I want to see God's "perfect law that gives freedom (James 1: 25)!  I eagerly desire to continue to look at it, let it transform me and work its way through me till I am free -  free from the chains that held me bound to a life incapable of pleasing God.  I want the blessing that comes from obeying and finally hearing the words "well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:21)

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    But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother...

    Thursday, February 9, 2012, 9:32 PM [General]

    I was talking with a friend a while back about how Jesus understands our struggles.  They agreed that he understands out temptations, as He was tempted, but they did not think He could really undersatand ALL our struggles.  I mean, was Jesus ever in love with a girl who did not care about Him?

    I do not know if Jesus ever felt unrequited love or not.   I like to think He did.  I do know that he did feel the one universal struggle we all face.  Loneliness.  

    The feeling that no one understands you.  Not your friends.  Not even your family.  His three closest friends fell asleep on Him.  One disciple betrayed Him to death.  Another denied even knowing him.  When it all came down, they all left him.  Not one believed His claims as to who He truely was and that He would rise again.  Not even Mary, who had a front row seat to the miracle that Jesus was.

    This is why He taught us to stay so connected to His and our Heavenly Father.  How often did Jesus seek a lonely place.  In those places, He communed with His Father, and gained the strength to carry out His ministry, the restoring of our friendship with God, the only one who truely understands us.  He made us.  Jesus is that true friend for us, the one who sticks closer than a brother, who in His own words, promised "never to leave us or forsake us."

    Dan

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    Quote

    Monday, December 5, 2011, 12:25 PM [General]

    I asked my Lord, "Why is it that you bestow such a gift on me?  I am not a great man who has done great things, nor even a good man who always obeys."

    "My child, it is because I AM a great God!"

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Focus Part 1

    Sunday, November 13, 2011, 3:19 PM [General]

    Sometimes I love to hear God's voice speak to me, other times, less so.  When I am in pain, I want relief and MY answer to my prayers.  Instead, He gives me what is best.  Lately, that has been a reminder about what my focus should be.

    Last night it was a call to focus, not on what God is not doing, but on what He IS doing, and has done.  The lesson was from Joshua 4, where the Israelites are crossing the Jordan into the Promise Land.  They are instructed by God to take twelve stones from the river and place them as a memorial on the other side to God for all He had done for them.  He had led them from Egypt, kept them safe in the desert for 40 years, fed them, gave them water, made sure their clothes did not wear out, made them victorious in battle (when they were obedient), and more.  They were commanded to remember God's goodness and teach it to the generations to come.

    How easy it is to forget God's goodness.  When things go well, we forget Him, thinking that our blessings are a product of our hard work.  This usually leads us to a place where we must be humbled and reminded who our true provider is.

    Or things are hard and we forget what He has done because we are consumed by our own pain.  In either case, God's prescription to our lack of balance is to focus on God's blessings and remember that He has not left us.  He is still with us and will come through for us again, although not necessarily as we wish or expect.

    The sermon went on to share two events in Peter's life.  The first was when a storm came up when they were crossing a lake.  As the storm raged and the disciples freaked out, Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples woke Him and actually accused Him of not caring about their safety. Jesus calmed the storm with a word and gently rebuked them as having little faith.

    Years later, Peter was in prison, chained between two guards.  James had been executed, and Peter was to be tried the next day.  How did Peter pass his last night?  He was sleeping.  Maybe he was even dreaming of that time in the storm when Jesus slept.  We do not know.  We do know two things. Peter was resting in Jesus, and Peter was miraculously freed from prison by an angel.  Peter was martyred later on in life, so God does not always keep us from pain and death.  He does however give us the strength and peace to handle ALL of life's struggles when we remember that HE holds us.

    God, remind us that we must always seek your provision for our needs.  Even our jobs and the health to do them are gifts from you.  Remind us that you will never leave or forsake us, regardless of what the storms in our life may suggest.  Thank you Father.

    In Jesus Name, Amen

    The full sermon I listened to is "The Power of Remember" and can be found at:

    media.baysidecommunity.org/index.php/arc...

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Sin without consequences?

    Saturday, November 12, 2011, 10:01 AM [General]

    Life has not been good lately. Actually, it has downright sucked. Yesterday, I really wanted a drink. If I could just get drunk this once with no consequences, it would have been tempting. Not a good thought, especially for someone on recovery from alcohol!

    For a few reasons, I didn't. One, because that is not what God says is best for me. Two, because at best that would put me back at square one in my recovery. At worst, it would send me back to drinking for God knows how long. Most importantly, because I KNOW this is no such thing as sin without consequence.

    I do not mean so much the physical consequence. I could have found a safe place to get drunk. I could have made sure my car keys were out of play and I was home for the evening. I could have even hidden my phone to avoid drunk-dialing anyone. The truth is, it would have damaged my relationship with God. When I choose to openly rebel against God, there are always consequences.

    Hebrews 3:12-13 warns us that sin hardens our heart to God.

    "12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. "

    Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us that sin can give The Devil more freedom to assault us.

    "26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold."

    Ephesians goes on in verse 30 to tells us that our sin actually grieves God. Imagine, God gives us that kind of power in free will!

    "30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

    In truth, our sin never harms just us. It always spills over into the lives of others. If you question that, remind yourself of one simple act of sin that rippled through all of time. A man and a woman both decided to take a bite from a piece of fruit that God said not to ....

    3.2 (1 Ratings)

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