Faith Messages to build your faith

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The U in Jesus *

Before U were thought of or time had begun,
God stuck U in the name of His Son..

And each time U pray, you'll see it's true,
You can't spell out JesUs and not include U.

You're a pretty big part of His wonderful name,
For U, He was born; that's why He came.

And His great love for U is the reason He died.
It even takes U to spell crUcified.

Isn't it thrilling and splendidly grand
He rose from the dead, with U in His plan?

The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew,
And this word resUrrection is spelled with a U.

When JesUs left earth at His Upward ascension,
He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.

"Go into the world and tell them it's true
That I love them all - Just like I love U."

So many great people are spelled with a U,
Don't they have a right to know JesUs too?

It all depends now on what U will do,
He'd like them to know,

But it all starts with U.

When Jesus died on the cross he was thinking of you!"

Author unknown

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."  (Acts 3:19)

Today’s 23rd truth: If you are “born again”, you are blessed w/ all spiritual blessings. (Eph. 1:3)
Tomorrow’s post:  Just Listen!

Jesus: The Right Answer


"Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath."  Acts 13:26-27

          “Paul is saying, ‘Come on you guys, don't you get it? You read about Jesus every Sabbath, yet you still don't recognize Him.’ I wonder how they felt when Paul told them it was a fulfillment of Scripture that they would not recognize Him? Sometimes the most obvious place to look for something is right in front of our faces.

        The other day I was late for work, but try as I might I could not find my keys. They weren't where I normally leave them (in the box on the table next to the door); so I looked in all the places I had been just after I got home: the workbench in my garage, on counter in the kitchen by the phone, on my desk, etc. They simply had disappeared off of the face of the earth. I started to get a little frantic, so I did the next best thing, I blamed my wife, ‘Honey, where did you put my keys?’ 

     Her response said something about how well she knows me, ‘Are you having trouble finding your keys? Do you want some help?’ ‘Please,’ I answered. Down the stairs she bounded to the box on the table by the garage door. She opened the box and under my new insurance cards were my keys. You see,, she had placed my insurance cards over my keys so I would be sure to take the updated ones with me! My keys were right there in front of my face, hiding in plain sight. Yet that hadn't stopped me from tearing the house apart looking for them.

       The Jews in our passage today are a lot like that, reading and studying Scripture constantly, yet somehow still missing Jesus as He fulfilled every single word the prophets had spoken about the Messiah. Jesus was the personification of the prophesies, yet they still searched the Scriptures looking for Him. Here He was standing right in front of them: the unrecognized answer and solution.

Questions to Ponder:

      Have you made Jesus the ‘Right Answer’ to every situation in your life? Too often we have an intellectual understanding of Scripture, yet when we have a real life issue, we don't turn to Jesus. What does it mean to you to learn complete reliance on the Lord? Many times Jesus is hidden or embedded within events, waiting for us to recognize Him and then tap into His immense power and love. What will it take for you to recognize Jesus? What needs to change today for you to see Jesus?

Pocket Devotions  www.ptl.org

            “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:2)

"Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest,
Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest.Havergal

When we put our problems in God's hands,
He puts His peace in our hearts."
(April 15 in Our Daily Bread)

Today’s 23rd truth: If you are “born again”, you are blessed w/ all spiritual blessings. (Eph. 1:3)



Tonight's post:  The U in Jesus

Tomorrow’s post:  Just Listen! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Present but Not Fully Checked In


Michael Brooks shares with us, "But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. 

They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region."  Acts 13:50


"I think this is an interesting sequence of events: first the Jews incite the "God-fearing women of high standing"; then the "leading men"; finally persecution becomes widespread enough that Paul and Barnabas are expelled from the region. 


As in our passage today, original sin began in the Garden of Eden with the serpents' temptation of the woman, Genesis 3:8, "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. 


She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it."


Whenever we men recount this story (dating back to Adam), sin has always been the woman's fault, verse 12, "The man said, 'The woman you put here with me -- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." 


The problem is we men have a tendency to be present but not fully checked in to what's happening, so when our women are incited to action, we respond with a superficial, "Okay honey, if that's the way you see it then I'm with you!" 


At least until there's a problem.


I don't want to over generalize, but a woman's nature is to respond first with emotion and feeling then with logic. 


For example when buying a car, a woman might first be concerned with the safety of her children before she considers how fast it goes, the average miles per gallon, or what kind of a statement about 'me' this car will make. 


For a man the order will usually be reversed.


Men typically respond with logic and sensory perception first — emotions then follow. God made us this way intentionally it's the balance in our differences that makes us good together. 


I have thanked God often for my wife whose sensitive heart has led to many opportunities for us to serve the Lord, which quite frankly I would have missed had I been alone. 


On the other hand, there have been times when she has been led down the wrong path despite her good intentions. 


Over the years we have learned to balance each other so that Jesus might be consistently expressed through our actions, Philippians 2:13, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."


In our passage today, well respected Godly women were turned against Paul and Barnabas and their men followed. 


I wonder had their men not just been present, but instead fully checked in to what was happening (in other words paying attention) would the same result have occurred? 


Or did they simply approve their wives' decision?


    Questions to Ponder:


One of the greatest problems with our society today is the lack of involvement by godly men. 


It seems often times men tend to come along in silent support rather than in full participation from the beginning. 


I wonder how different things might have been had Adam said to Eve in the Garden of Eden, 'Honey, those are very good reasons ("good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom"), but didn't God tell us to not eat it?'


Instead Adam ate and said nothing. 

He was present but not fully checked in. 

How checked in are you? Is your wife leading most of your family's decisions? 


Do you find yourself usually affirming the decisions your wife has already made?


What needs to change?


Thoughts for Today from Daily Devotions of Pocket Testament League   www.ptl.org


"Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow."  Isaiah. 1:17



Today’s 22nd truth: If you are “born again”, you are an heir of eternal life. 1 John 5:11,12

Tomorrow's post:   JESUS: THE RIGHT ANSWER

Cutting The Trail

            

“Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding.” (Prov. 4:1)   (Read Proverbs 4:1-7)


Our Daily Bread:   

            “The Native Americans of Michigan were the state’s first highway route engineers. With few exceptions, Michigan’s major highways follow the trails they cut through the wilderness hundreds of years before the white man came. A trail was 12-18 inches wide, and for safety the people followed single file. Then pack horses followed these trails, widening them. Later came wagons, and the trials became dirt roads and then highways.

            In similar way, Solomon followed the trial of his father and in turn paved the way for his sons and grandsons. He did this by encouraging his sons to heed his instructions just as he had followed the sound teaching of his father (Prov. 4:4-4). So this father, giving his sons good practical and spiritual counsel, was passing on what he had learned from the boys’ grandfather, David, who was called a ‘man after [God’s] own heart’ (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). The younger generation of believers often learns best about God from the family.


            Our physical and spiritual children watch the path we’re taking. As God’s men and women, let’s make certain we cut a righteous, wise, and clear trail. Then if ongoing generations choose to follow, the trail can become a highway—an ongoing legacy to God’s glory.—Dave Egner

                              Lord, as I walk my path of life,
Help my feet step straight and true;
That those who follow after me,
Will be tracking straight with you. Egner  


When we follow God, we blaze a trail
for those who would follow.”


INSIGHT: God gave parents the privilege and the responsibility
to teach His Word to their children (Deu. 4:8-9; 6:7; 11:19)
God wants the whole family to fear and obey Him (6:2; Ps. 34:11)."


"Wherever I am, whatever I do,
O God, please help me to live
In a way that makes me credible
As your representative.—Egner


Followers of Jesus are most effective
when attitudes and actions are aligned with His.”
(Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011)

            “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”  (Prov. 4:7 NKJV)

Today’s 22nd truth: If you are “born again”, you are an heir of eternal life. (1 John 5:11, 12)


Tonight's post:  Present but Not Fully Checked In

Tomorrow’s post: Jesus: The Right Answer

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Listening, Believing, and Jumping




     "...who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, 'Stand up on your feet!' At that, the man jumped up and began to walk."  Acts 14:8b-10

     "The title of this devotion comes from the perspective of the cripple: "He listened to Paul as he was speaking." The cripple believed the message; Paul "saw that he had faith"; and finally "the man jumped up." Notice the change in description, at first he was described as a cripple, but somewhere between the time Paul saw that he had the faith to be healed and Paul's call to stand uphe was healed and made complete -- the "man" jumped up.

     I think there is a very fine line between the faith to be healed and the belief that you are. Pay attention: it wasn't the cripple who jumped up, it was the man.

     We pray for healing all the time, but who gets up from our knees after our prayer, the one crippled by a life event or the man (or woman), now completehealed not just by faith but by belief? Many of us do not recognize we are healed from a physical, emotional or circumstantial ailment because we never lift our eyes from the problem to see the love of our Lord expressed in our healing.

     We don't really believe that God heard and answered our prayer. We continue to function as cripples despite being healed. Would this event have been recorded in the Book of Acts if the cripple had not jumped up and walked? The concept is this: "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17). Sometimes we need to move from an intellectual understanding that God 'can' heal to a belief that He 'has', then act accordingly--get up and 'try' to walk. We might just find out that we are healed.

Questions to Ponder:

The Lord spoke to me when I wrote this Devotion: 'If the cripple had never tried to get up, how would he have known that I (the Lord) healed him?' Think about that the next time you pray for healing.

[Please note: I do not intend to imply that if the Lord decides not to heal us it indicates a lack of faith or belief on our part. The Lord acts sovereignly on all of these issues. However, if the Lord chooses to heal us it doesn't necessarily mean we will always recognize the fact that we are healed."]

Thoughts for today from Pocket Devotions  www.ptl.org   6/7/12

Lord, help us to be believers!

Today’s 21st truth: If you are “born again”, you are blessed coming in and blessed going out. (Deu. 28:6)

Tomorrow's post:  CUTTING A TRAIL

CHRIST’S TRAVAIL: Prayer Note # 52






Dutch Sheets: "Let's look at the two previously mentioned examples from Christ's ministry where He was involved in travail or birthing prayer.

The first is John 11:33-44, the resurrection of Lazarus. Just before going to the tomb, verse 33 says Jesus' was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled.

A more literal translation of this phrase is that Jesus 'was moved with indignation in His spirit and deeply troubled Himself.'

The word "troubled" is tarasso. It means 'to stir up or agitate', like an agitator in a washing machine. Jesus was stirring up the anointing within Himself.

Verse 38 literally says He again was moved with indignation.

Another occasion when Jesus was involved in travail was in the Garden of Gethsemane.



Without any question Christ's redemption of humanity—began with His travail in the Garden.

Isaiah prophesied of Him: "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied" (Isa. 53:11, KJV, italics Sheets).

In fulfillment of this, Jesus cried out in Gethsemane saying, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matt. 26:38,KJV).

It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that redemption began and the victory of the entire ordeal was won.

...I believe the term travail was used, not so much because He was working hard, but because He was bringing forth the new birth.

It also seems logical that because our intercession releases the fruit of this birthing, it too is called travail."

Prayer Note # 51 CHRIST'S TRAVAIL -Taken from Dutch Sheets’ book, Intercessory Prayer (pgs 128-130)




The next Prayer Note on July 3rd - BRINGING FORTH THE FRUIT OF CALVARY: Prayer Note # 53

Today’s 21st truth:
If you are “born again”, you are blessed coming in and blessed going out. (Deu. 28:6)

Tonight's post: LISTENING, BELIEVING, AND JUMPING

Tomorrow’s post:  CUTTING THE TRAIL

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CARELESS SPEECH

   


  "He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit."  (Pro. 17:27)

Let's find out how effective our words are!

     "When my wife and I were visiting a church for a special musical program, we arrived early to get a good seat. Before the program began, we overheard two members seated behind us complaining about their church. 

     They criticized the pastoral staff, leadership, music, ministry priorities, and several other things that made them unhappy. They were either unconcerned about or oblivious to the presence of two visitors in their midst.

     It occurred to me that their unfortunate conversation could have pushed us away if we were there looking for a new church home. Worse, what if we were seeking God and their disgruntled opinions had driven us away? 

     Their careless speech was  not just a matter of the words they used or attitudes they displayed, it also demonstrated their lack of concern for the impact those words could have on others.

     A better approach to the use of words is reflected in Proverbs 1&:27, where Solomon said, "He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit." 

     Most often, we would do better not to say all we think or know (or think we know), but instead seek to use words that promote calm and peace. You never know who may be listening." Bill Crowder


"Lord, I need Your help that I might control
my thoughts and words today. I want to be a
blessing to others, to lift them up that they might
see Your goodness. Amen

Discretion of speech is better than
eloquence with words."
(June 3,2012)

"The words we speak may indicate
A heart that's filled with pride;
But godly self-control displays
The Spirit's work inside. Sper

It's not the words we know that show wisdom,
but how and when we use them."
(Oct. 20, 2010)

Read James 3:1-12

These are quotes from OUR DAILY BREAD


"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer."  (Ps. 19:14)


Today’s 20th truth: If you are “born again”, you are observing and doing the Lord's commandments. (Deu. 28:12)

ALL DAY WITH GOD, EVEN AT WORK +

              “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17)


              “Brother Lawrence (1614—1691) felt intimately close to God as he humbly scrubbed  pots and p ans in the monastery kitchen. Certainly Brother Lawrence practiced specific times of devotional prayer. But what he found more life-transforming was prayer during the workday. In his devotional classic Practicing the Presence of God, he says, ‘It is a great delusion to think our times of prayer ought to differ from other times. We are a strictly obliged to cleave to God by action in the time of action as by prayer in the season of prayer.’ In short, he advocated that we "Pray without ceasing" (1Thess. 5:17)


              That’s a helpful reminder, because sometimes we tend to compartmentalize our lives. Perhaps we pray only during church worship, small-group Bible study, family devotions, and personal quiet times. But what about during our worday? To pray on the job does not mean we have to fall to our knees with clasped hands and pray aloud. But it does mean that work decisions and relationships can be brought to God throughout the day.


              Wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, God wants to be a part of it. When prayer enters every aspect of our lives, who knows what God might do for His glory! Dennis Fisher


Let’s always keep the prayer lines open,
Knowing God is always there;
For we upon His name may call
Anytime and anywhere.—D. De Haan

True prayer is a way of life, not an emergency detour!”

Our Daily Bread reading for April 23, ‘12

“Labourers together with God.” (1 Cor. 3:9)

              “Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work. The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God, and this will mean that ll the other margins of life, mental, moral and spiritual, are free with the freedom of a child, a worshipping child, not a wayward child. A worker without this solemn dominant note of concentration on God is apt to get his work on his neck; there is no margin of body, mind or spirit free, consequently he becomes spent out and crushed.


              There is no freedom, no delight in life; nerves, mind and heart are so crushingly burdened that God’s blessing cannot rest. But the other side is just as true—when once the concentration is on God, all the margins of life are free and under the dominance of God alone. There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him. The freedom after sanctification is the freedom of a child, the things that used to keep the life pinned down are gone. But be careful to remember that you are freed for one thing only—to be absolutely devoted to your co- “Worker."


            We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

Devotions for MORNING and EVENING with OSWALD CHAMBERS  (pg234 for April 23)

"Trust in Him at all times, you people; pouor out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah."  (Ps. 62:8)


Today’s 20th truth: If you are “born again”, you are observing and doing the Lord's commandments.   (Deut. 28:6)



Tomorrow’s post: CHRIST’S TRAVAIL: Prayer Note # 52

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WHEN JESUS SAYS "COME"


Going home

Phyllis Qualls Freeman shares with us, "Something was different. 

Whenever I visited Mom in the nursing home, her eyes usually opened wider and her smile broadened. 

But this day, her body slumped in the mauve recliner near the nurses’ station. 

I saw only a weak smile, her breathing labored.

The evening nurse checked Mom’s vitals. Mom stopped breathing twice when they attempted to lay her down. 

An RN was sure Mom would be gone within forty-eight hours. That evening she became non-responsive. She was severely dehydrated. 

I asked the nurse if certain suggestions they made would prolong Mom’s death, and she said 'Yes.' 

I remembered my pastor had said, 'We used to allow a patient to die naturally.' I chose that.

The second night, Bev and I slept in recliners near Mom’s bed. About 2:00 a.m. Mom was restless.

At 3:00 a.m. Bev recognized the signs of death creeping up Mom’s body. 

I knelt on a pillow beside her bed and prayed so she could hear me. Then I spoke. 

'Mom, our pastor mentioned that Jesus would soon say ‘Come,’ and I think He’s saying that to you now. 

It’s okay, Mom. Take that step of faith and go to Him.' 

I continued praying until I felt a joy and victory in my spirit. I looked at Mom’s face and saw a tear roll from her left eye. 

My friend said, 'Look, there is a tear here too,' pointing to the other side of her face. Then she was gone.

I’m certain God welcomes his saints one at a time into His presence. The Scriptures tells us that their death is precious to Him.

Alzheimer’s disease ravages the body and confuses the mind. Through caring for my mom, I knew the disease could not destroy her spirit. 

Her physical shell still lay on her bed, but her spirit was with her Lord.

Do you need reassurance that your loved one’s spirit is alive? Pray with them, sing hymns. 

Watch for any sign that God has reached beyond their mind to their spirit. Do this until he calls them home."

"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7

When Jesus Says, “Come” – Phyllis Freeman


Phyllis Qualls Freeman has over two-hundred-fifty published devotionals, human interest, and other articles. 

She is working on her first book. Phyllis loves reaching out to touch those who have long-term, life-altering situations to share God’s love. 

Married to her college sweetheart for fifty years, they have three children and five grandchildren. Pqfreeman40@yahoo.com
Read Phyllis’s devotions.

Posted on by  Cindy Sproles of www.Christiandevotions.us

Used by permission  www.christiandevotions.us


Today’s 19th truth: If you are “born again”, you are heir to the blessings of Abraham. (Gal. 3:13,14)

Tomorrow's post:  ALL DAY WITH GOD, EVEN AT WORK

A SENSE OF BIRTHING: Prayer Note # 51

      

   “Based on these examples from the Scriptures—Creation, the birth of Israel and Christ’s conception—I would like to offer the following as a definition of spiritual travail: 

    ‘Releasing the creative power or energy of the Holy Spirit          into a situation to produce, create or give birth to 
     something.’

Travailing intercession would simply be prayer that causes this. At the risk of redundancy, I want to restate this phrase, using it to offer a formal definition of travailing intercession: 

   A form of intercession that releases the creative 
   power or energy of the Holy Spirit into a 
   situation to produce, create or give birth to 
   something.’

I use the words ‘produce’ and ‘create’ because travail is not only spoken of in the Scriptures in the context of someone being born again, but of bringing forth other things.

For example, when the Holy Spirit was hovering through Peter, He was bringing forth healing (see Acts 5:15). Through Elijah it was rain (see 1 Kings 18:45); through Paul it included maturity (see Gal. 4:19)."

Prayer Note # 51 A SENSE OF BIRTHING -Taken from Dutch Sheets’ book, Intercessory Prayer (pp. 127, 128)

The next Prayer Note on the 28th, we’ll look at CHRIST'S TRAVAIL: Prayer Note # 52

Today’s 19th truth:
If you are “born again”, you are heir to the blessings of Abraham. (Gal. 3:13,14)

Tomorrow’s post:
 ALL DAY WITH GOD, EVEN AT WORK