Faith Messages to build your faith

Friday, November 30, 2012

We Should Not Make it Difficult




A message in Pocket Devotions: “A few Sundays ago after church, my wife, daughter and I went to a restaurant for a late breakfast.

After we sat down and ordered our food, my wife Sherry proceeded to tell me that Amanda had not been the picture of obedience over the last week.

It seemed that our daughter had become a little sassy (her mother's term).

 Rather than reading or cleaning her room when she was told, instead she had been somewhat argumentative and resistant. For those of you who know my daughter you know this is not typical behavior.

After some discussion (including Scripture and prayer), we all agreed that the only right answer would be, ‘Yes mommy’ when her mother asked her to do something.

Later that day as my wife and I talked about it further in private, I realized the problem wasn't as simple as a little defiance (which is pretty normal in raising children). What we were really dealing with was my lack of presence, involvement, and participation recently.

You see I have been wrestling for the past few weeks with a very significant business problem, and rather than resting in the Lord I have instead allowed myself to get caught up in worry.

 I don't know about you, but when I'm worried about a problem, playing with my daughter is not at the top of my list.

It is interesting when after receiving this revelation and returning to my normal roles of husband, father and friend, how quickly Amanda returned to her normal obedient and happy self.

When I decided to let God be God and once again do the job God gave me do (worry was not part of the job description), everything went back to normal.

When I read our passage today, my cheeks flushed a little bit because I heard James say to me personally, 'Your behavior is making it difficult for Amanda to be obedient.' It's sometimes difficult to realize and admit that our behavior might be the source of another's problem.

Questions to Ponder:

Do you know someone who is ‘turning to God’ (even if it is ever so slightly)? Have you erected a false barrier (like the Jews and their requirement for circumcision) that is making the turn difficult?

Have you considered that your behavior might be the problem? Take a long hard look at yourself, what is God telling you that needs to change right now to improve your witness? Do you need to stop worrying, model your faith in action not just words, and truly let God be God?”

"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for
the Gentiles who are turning to God." Acts 15:17b-18 [James speaking]

Pocket Devotions by www.ptl.org  the Pocket Testament League

[Father, May we see our own need, that it is important to You, and to others. Open our eyes to see the affect we're having on others by disobeying what You want us to make as our priorities in or homes and lives.]

John C. Maxwell: "We can change our whole life and the attitude of people around us simply by changing ourselves."

Another post you may wish to read:  Still in God's Hands

Today’s treasure truth #11: If you are “born again”, you are led by the Spirit of God. Rom. 8:14
Our thought for today: Pray before talking to someone about an issue. Wait for God's timing.
Tomorrow morning's post: Winning the Race  Andrea Merrell

Tomorrow afternoon's post: Faithful Unto Death  Our Daily Bread

Sunday's post:  Burning the Implements of Sin  Pocket Devotions

Samples of Jean's crafts     

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So You Plan to Marry a Man  A devotional book for women contemplating marriage and looking for godly advice.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prophets Who Persevered for the Power: Prayer Note #94




Dutch Sheets tells us in his book, Intercessory Prayer, “When the prophet Elijah came to the widow’s son who had died, he spread himself out on the corpse face-to-face and prayed three times" (see 1 Kings 17:21).

"Why did it take three times?

Because the man of God wasn’t where he needed to be spiritually?

Because he didn’t have enough faith?

Because he didn’t do it right the first two times?
   We are not told the reason, nor is it insinuated that any of those things are true. I believe the reason was that he was releasing a little more life out of his spiritual womb or spirit each time.
It takes a good bit of life to raise the dead! 
   In 1 Kings 18:1 the Lord said to Elijah, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” God didn’t say, ‘I might’. He didn’t say, ‘If you pray hard enough.’ He didn’t say, ‘I’m thinking about it.’ He just said, ‘I’m going to do it.’
It was God’s timing, God’s idea, God’s will. 
   Yet, we are told at the end of this chapter that Elijah labored in prayer diligently seven times in the posture of a woman in travail before clouds appeared and the rain came.
He didn’t casually walk to the top of the mountain and say, ‘Lord send the rain,’ and immediately it was done.

That’s not the "effectual, fervent prayer’"James 5:16-18 tells us Elijah did to first stop and then bring the rain. 
   The question we must ask ourselves is: If it was God’s will, timing and idea, then why did Elijah have to pray seven different times until the rain came?
The most reasonable explanation to me is that it was necessary to persevere until he had completed enough prayer—until enough power had been released through his intercession to go up into the heavens and get the job done. 
   What must be factored in is God’s decision to work on the earth through man.” 

Today’s Prayer Note #94 was taken from Dutch Sheets’ book, Intercessory Prayer (pgs. 204, 205 ) 

[Father, help us to be willing to keep praying for a person or situation, when You keep it on our hearts to do so. We need to know when we've interceded, that there will be the affects You're aiming for.]

"Be thankful God's answers are wiser than our prayer." —submitted by GUIDEPOSTS reader Judy Sherman of Greensboro, NC in  [2012 December issue.

The next Prayer Note will be on 12/4  Releasing the River of Power: Prayer Note #95  Dutch Sheets
Today’s treasure truth #10: If you are “born again”, you are delivered from the powers of darkness. Col. 1:13
Our thought for today: Joyce Meyers said: "The more time you spend with God, the more afraid Satan will be of you."
Tomorrow’s post: We Should Not Make it Difficult  Pocket Devotions

Samples of Jean's crafts
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dealing with Adversity


Hopoing for athe better
Lillian Duncan shares with us, "Last year I had a thought and I had it more than once.

I was pleased with my progress on my spiritual journey. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I’m certainly kinder and nicer than I used to be.

In the back of my mind a scary thought crept to the front—what if my faith wasn’t as strong as I thought?

Life was good for me. I’d accomplished a lifelong dream of becoming a published author, had a godly husband, and enjoyed a job that gave us extra spending money.

I pushed that thought to the back telling myself not to be negative. In hindsight I wonder if it wasn’t God whispering for me to get ready—the ride was about to get bumpy.

And it did!

Not to dwell on all the bad things, let me just show you I’m not exaggerating about the adversity.

On Christmas Day my stepson had a schizophrenic episode requiring four hospitalizations. During this same time, I was told the school district I worked for was eliminating my position and that my husband would need triple bypass surgery.
That was enough to test my faith, don’t you think?

But it wasn’t over.

On April 1, I developed Bell’s Palsy and from that discovered I had two benign brain tumors that would require Gamma Knife treatment over the next year and monitoring for the rest of my life.

Life has its hills and valleys. It can be tough whether we’re 'good' Christians or not. Unfortunately, when life isn’t going our way, we start to question our faith—maybe we aren’t good enough—God doesn’t love us—perhaps God is mad—maybe…maybe. The questions can go on and on if we aren’t careful.

God never stops loving us. He is the source of every mercy. When you find life piling up, you can choose, like me, to follow these steps and draw your spiritual journey closer to Christ. He stands waiting for you to come.

1. Read, study, and understand the Bible.
2. Believe in God’s love for you.
3. Accept God’s sovereignty.
4. Expect trouble.
5. Don’t get stuck in the valley.
6. Praise God and Love God.
7. Guard your thoughts, words, and actions."


 "All praise to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others." 2 Cor. 1:3-4

Dealing with Adversity – Lil Duncan
Posted on by , Cindy Sproles of www.christiandevotions.us  
Photo courtesy of microsoft.com free image gallery 

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance.

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net or her blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com.

Her latest book, DARK ALLEYS, was released in September 2012. She will be releasing a novella just in time for Christmas 2012 — THE CHRISTMAS STALKING.

Read Lil’s devotions.




Used by permission www.christiandevotions.us

 Joe Stowell tells us,  "As the familiar hymn says, 'Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.' We can rest peacefully in the knowledge that God is with us."

"Lord, in our weak and fearful moments, remind
us that Your  love for us guarantees Your
presence with us and Your power against
our fears. Teach us to trust in You.


Trust the presence and power of Jesus
in the midst of life's storms.
Our Daily Bread
11/10/12

[Father, help us rest peacefully in the knowledge that You are with us. May we keep our eyes fixed on You every day.]

Today’s treasure truth #9: If you are “born again”, you are redeemed from the curse of the Law. Gal. 3:13 
Our thought for today: To increase your faith, increase your knowledge of God. 
Tomorrow’s post:  Prophets Who Persevered for the Power: Prayer Note #94 Dutch Sheets

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Differing Measures of Power: Prayer Note #93



Dutch Sheets tells us in his book, Intercessory Prayer:

      “Let’s look again at Mark 6 where Jesus could not get enough power flowing in Nazareth to work a miracle enough power was flowing to get some healings.
   The implication being that they were minor, because the verse differentiates between the healings and miracles.

   Enough power was flowing for one, but not the other. This implies that differing amounts are needed for different things.

Jesus could release enough to get a few healings, but He couldn’t get enough flowing, because of their unbelief, to work a miracle.

   The disciples in Matthew 17:14-21 had been casting out demons and healing the sick because Jesus had given them authority and power to do so. A lunatic boy was brought to them, however, and they couldn’t get the job done.

   Jesus came along, and it was no problem for Him to exercise the demon causing the lunacy.
   The disciples had enough power flowing in their ministry to deal with most demons and diseases, but they came up against one that required more faith and power —and they didn’t have enough to overcome that one!

   Again, the obvious implication is that different measurable levels are needed to accomplish different things.
   I’m thoroughly convinced this principle is a reason it takes a while to get most prayers answered.


   Receiving an instant miracle is far and away the exception. 

   Usually it is not just a matter of asking the Father to do something, but rather a matter of releasing enough power in the spirit to get the job done…the truth is that enough power has finally been released through prayer to accomplish it.”

Today’s Prayer Note #93, is taken from Dutch Sheets’ book, Intercessory Prayer (203,204) 

James 5:16  "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man [woman] avails much."

[Father, help us understand that our prayers are important in getting things accomplished in the Kingdom. May we not hesitate to make our prayers more effectual and fervent.]


The next Prayer Note #94: 11/29- Prophets Who Persevered for the Power

John C. Maxwell tells us on pg. 68 of his book, Failing Forward, "If you want to achieve, you have to win the war in your thinking first. You can't let the failure outside you get inside you."

Today’s treasure truth #9: If you are “born again”, you are redeemed from the curse of the law. Gal. 3:13
Our thought for today: God said He'd put His law in our hearts and minds so we'll be His people.

Tomorrow’s post: Dealing With Adversity  Lil Duncan

Samples of Jean's crafts 
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Peaceful Slumber





Toni Campbell shares with us about
her  fear.

"Fear. I was gripped with it each evening as I tried to fall asleep.

For the first eighteen years of my life I lived under my father’s roof.

Then I got married and lived with my husband for the next twenty-seven.

Until I was separated, I had never been alone and 'unprotected.'

That’s when the fear hit.

For six months, I slept on the couch. It was silly, but I felt if I was in my bedroom, I might not hear an intruder.

Not that it would give me any real advantage to be roused from my sleep as someone tried to break in the front door just a few feet away.

My back ached, I was exhausted from tossing and turning on a piece of furniture never meant for providing a good night’s sleep. 

Then one evening as I read my Bible, I discovered Psalm 4:8.

I prayed for peace and safety, and saw in my mind’s eye, a picture of huge, bright, ten-feet-tall angels, dressed in brilliant white and brandishing swords.

 Sent by God, they stood around the perimeter of my home, guarding against evil.

David was often pursued by enemies. Many of the Psalms are cries to God for deliverance from those who sought his life. He was king, and yet the position and power that came with the title were not enough to protect him.

He knew real safety was found only in the Living God.

Today, we install locks and alarm systems, buy a dog, or have emergency numbers on speed dial. But none of these precautions give us true peace and safety. Only God can provide that.

The Psalm says, "You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me." You can’t get any more watched over than that.

Does fear and worry keep you from a good night’s sleep? 




Trust in the only one who can make you dwell in safety. Only then can you sleep in the confidence of His peace."

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, oh Lord make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8 (NIV)

Peaceful Slumber – Toni Campbell
Toni Campbell is a copywriter and voiceover talent whose true passion is writing and blogging about community outreach and lessons learned through God’s creation at her favorite lake.

She is grateful for a God who restores broken lives and supplies beauty for ashes.

In her church, she heads up the community outreach ministry, sings on the praise team, and leads a monthly women’s prayer group. Toni has two grown children, a son-in-law on the way, and resides in New Jersey.

You can read her blog at www.lakesidelessons.blogspot.com.

Read Toni’s devotions.

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Used by permission www.christiandevotions.us

[Father, help us remember Toni's words: "Trust in the only one who can make you dwell in safety. Only then can you sleep in the confidence of His peace."]

Our quotes for today: Oswald Chambers: "You have no business to find out where God is leading, the only thing God will explain to you is Himself."

Greg Horn: "No matter what happens to you, the important thing is what happens in you"

"When we are afraid, we can depend on God's understanding Isa. 40:28 and trust in His love for us that "casts out fear" 1 John 4:18. The next time fear creeps into your life, don't panic. God can be trusted in the darkness. Jennifer Benson Schuldt


Into His hands I lay the fears that haunt me,
The dread of future ills that may befall;
Into His hands I lay the doubts that taunt me,
And rest securely, trusting Him for all.
Trusting God's faithfulness dispels our fearfulness."
Our Daily Bread
11/25/12


Today’s treasure truth #7: If you are “born again”, you are a new creature. 2 Cor. 5:17
Our thought for today: Do you call on the Lord to be refreshed?
Tomorrow’s post: Differing Measures of Power: Prayer Note #93 Dutch Sheets

Samples of Jean's crafts    
 Crafts order blank link

So You Plan to Marry a Man  A devotional book for women contemplating marriage and looking for godly advice.

http://twitter.com/jeanoathout
http://facebook.com/jean.oathout  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

God Speaks




Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net and Graur Razvan Ionut
God speaks to our hearts



Barbara Duram tells us,"God spoke to my heart. 'Use the obvious.' And I did.

I was asked to prepare a devotion for our choir and though I’d tried numerous times to find an appropriate piece centered around singing, nothing good came to mind. Until…God spoke to my heart.

I opened our hymnal and before me were hundreds of devotionals, all buried within the titles of the hymns.


It was as though God turned the pages and I simply penned.

In Loving Kindness, Jesus Came, For God So Loved the World. On a Silent Night, Holy Night Away in a Manager in Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, Christ was born on Christmas Day. Angels from the Realm of Glory proclaimed His birth While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks.

He lived among us for such a short time but He taught us how to live, how to love and how to serve. He became A Shelter in a Time of Storm and a Gentle Shepherd.

Alas and Did My Savior Bleed on that Old Rugged Cross At Calvary. He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions. Oh, If That Isn’t Love. Low in the Grave He lay, Jesus My Savior and on the third day, that Glorious Morning, Hallelujah, What a Savior for Christ Arose.

He Lives, He Lives, Christ Jesus Lives Today.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross and see that Jesus Paid It All, I wonder How Can I Say Thanks for All You Have Done For Me.

I Love To Tell The Story of how I Was Sinking Deep in Sin when His Love Lifted Me. Jesus Loves Me Just As I Am and Now I Belong to Jesus. So In My Heart There Rings A Melody of Jesus’ Redeeming Love.

What Wondrous Love Is This. I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord Forever because Oh How I Love Jesus. All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.

O Soul, Are You Wearied and Troubled? If so, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. For there’s Power in the Blood and Victory in Jesus.

It Is No Secret, just Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart. Be Still and Know He is Lord. He’s Still the King of Kings. Give of Your Best to the Master, Only Trust Him, and God Will Take Care of You.

So Come Christians, Join to Sing. Come, Celebrate Jesus. Come Share the Lord and Bless His Holy Name. O Come, Let Us Adore Him. Rejoice, the Lord is King.

Let There Be Glory and Honor and Praises. Everybody Sing Praise to the Lord. Crown Him with Many Crowns for Great is the Lord. O Worship the King and Magnify Him.


Google image added

For Soon and Very Soon, Jesus Is Coming Again and We Shall Behold Him. For Our God Reigns and To God Be The Glory, Forever and Ever…Amen.

He said it all through the song titles…spoke loud and clear. All I had to do was listen. Sing to God all you kingdoms of the earth."

"Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord…" Psalm 68:32
God Speaks – Barbara Duramavatar
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net and Graur Razvan Ionut


 


Barbara Duram is a retired Human Resources Assistant and grandmother. She has served in various women’s fellowship positions at church including circle chairman and retreat chairman. Read Barbara’s devotions.

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Used
 by permission www.christiandevotions.us


Ps. 147:11  "The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy."

[Father, may we remember Barbara's admonition to "Come Christians, Join to Sing. Come, Celebrate Jesus." It honors God to voice our praise, even if we can't sing well. He loves our efforts to praise Him, even in the midts of troubles. It shows our faith is in Him.]

 Another post you may wish to check:  What Does God Say? 
Today’s treasure truth #6: If you are “born again”, you are sanctified. 1 Cor. 6:11
Our thought for today: God is as close as your next breath. Just ask Him to speak to you about what concerns you.
Tomorrow’s post: Peaceful Slumber Toni Campbell

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rest

God knows our needs
Ann McCauley shares with us, "What to do? The money is not there, and God tells you to rest.

Rest. Some of the hardest work ever done, entering into faith-rest and doing nothing.

My husband and I were certain God had called us to move back home to Arkansas. We prayed and asked Him to make it clear.

Immediately, my husband received a job and moved. The kids and I followed a month later. Since our hometown was small, we moved in with my husband’s parents and put our things in storage to house hunt.

Eight months later, we found literally the only house for sale in our price range with enough bedrooms for our large family.

God gave me what I dubbed an Ann House, complete with twelve foot ceilings, crown molding, and lovely fireplace mantles. The home was tailored for our family with loads of built-in bookshelves and cabinets for homeschooling and for housing our blind daughter’s large library of Braille books.

God blessed, and the mortgage went through without a hitch. But two days later, when workers arrived to tear out the two existing heat and air units, we received a major blow.

The boss called my husband into his office and told him the business was in decline. He had no choice but to take away our salary. Commission sales became our only income source.

Since our commissions had been few and far between, we knew we needed a miracle. Self doubt plagued. Had we been foolish to buy a house?

God said, 'Rest.'

 This word bombarded us from every direction for six weeks. Then, just as the roof of our situation was about to cave in, God delivered.

He not only provides but He fights the battles that keep us in upheaval. But we have to rest in Him.

As it turned out, my husband’s dream job—the one he’d desired for years—opened at the university. He applied, and the day before our first mortgage payment was due, he was hired.

Rescued.

Rest. A small word backed by a powerful God."

"With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves…" 2 Chronicles 32:8 (KJV)

Rest – Ann McCauley
Ann lives truth and writes fiction. She grew up in Arkadelphia, Arkansas where she met and married her high school sweetheart, Randy, nearly thirty-six years ago.

The McCauley’s have six children, four adopted internationally from South Korea, the Philippines, and Siberia. In 2001 Baker/ Revell published Ann’s first stories in the book, Loved By Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption.

Ann, an ACFW member, has completed three historical novels. Read more about Ann at anncoopermccauley.com.
Read Ann’s devotions.



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Used by permission www.christiandevotions.us

Two posts about rest... I Need Rest!     QUIET AND AT REST

[Father, we ask for faith to trust in Your goodness and mercy for us and our particular needs today. We ask that we will be willing to rest in our waiting, while we'll keep doing what we know You're directing us to do for now.]

Oswald Chambers: "We are not meant to be illuminated versions, but the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God."


Today’s treasure truth #5: If you are “born again”,you are justified. Rom. 5:1
Our thought for today: It's a blessing that we can't see far ahead; we aren't what we'll be by then.
Tomorrow’s post: God Speaks  Barbara Duram
Monday's post: Peaceful Slumber  Toni Dampbell

Many of my crafts can be seen at the St. Lawrence County Arts Council shop, located at 51 Market St. in Potsdam, NY   315-265-6860
Samples of Jean's crafts     
Crafts order blank link
So You Plan to Marry a Man  A devotional book for women contemplating marriage and looking for godly advice.
http://twitter.com/jeanoathout
http://facebook.com/jean.oathout  my home page