Faith Messages to build your faith

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tough Questions


    


Max Lucado tells us, "Some
questions aren't always easy to
answer.

Maybe that’s the way it should be!
Here’s just that kind of question:

“I get tired of hearing people brush aside troubles with the
platitude in Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good."

Isn’t saying that cruel?'

The verse says, “We know that in everything God works for the
good of those who love Him.”


I think it’s one of the most helpful, comforting verses in the
entire Bible.

It announces God’s sovereignty in any painful, tragic situation
we face. Why?

Because we know God is at work for our good!

He uses our struggles to build character.

So what do we do?

We trust. Totally!

And we remember. . .God is working for the good.

Yes, any verse can be misused, but that doesn’t make it useless!"


[Google image and my emphasis added]

Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com

Tough Questions

by Max Lucado

  


          "Swift cometh  His answer, so clear and so sweet;
            'Yea, I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet;
            I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve;
           I will not forsake thee, I never will leave.' - Flint

                  Faith is believing that God is present
                         when all we hear is silence."

                                Our Daily Bread
                                          1/17/13
 
Our prayer: Father, I ask for more faith in You and Your 
Word, so I 

can be guided through life's challenges and situations. May I have
the peace that passes understanding, which Your Word promises. 
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Our Scripture today:  Ps. 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect:

the Word of the LORD is tried; He is a buckler to all those that 
trust in Him." 

Today’s quote by Joanna Fuchs

                                    His Love

             God sent His Son to take the punishment
            For all the thoughtless, sinful things we do;
               Jesus gave his life because He loves us;
             His love is boundless, sweet, forever true.

            On Easter morn He showed He is our Savior;
               His resurrection proves He is our Lord.
              That is why we tell you, "Happy Easter!"
                   He secured our heavenly reward.



Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids: #7 Justice. "God, help my 
children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do:  
Ps. 11:7; Mic. 6:8   [by Bob Hostetler]

Our thought for today: What we need is the presence of God.
(Joyce Meyers).

Tomorrow’s post:  Swept Off Our Feet Linda Anderson



A popular post:  PRAYING FOR PASTORS

Do you know of your responsibility of praying for your pastor?












It Is Finished!


Resurrection Hope for the World! - Please turn on images.










"The disciples surely thought it was finished, 
that the world had gone insane.
How could the Father allow this to happen?
Was Jesus teaching all in vain?

Both Mary's surely thought it was finished,
as they witnessed their worst fears,
seeing the Man they both loved near death.
They could hardly see Him through their tears.

The high priests surely thought it was finished,
their voices rising in a victory shout,
thinking their competition had been wiped out.

Pontius Pilate just wanted it finished.
To what crimes can this Man confess?
Since I can find no fault with Him,
I will simply wash my hands of this mess.

Judas conscience surely knew he was finished,
as he regretted his actions too late.
He had betrayed the only Son of God,
and his name would earn history's hate.

The thief surely thought he was finished,
receiving just punishment for his life of sin,
until a single plea, Lord, remember me,
his new home in paradise to win.

The centurion surely thought, we're finished.
What is this wicked deed we have done?
As the earth beneath his feet trembled,
Surely this Man was God's Son.

Jesus cried out, it is finished.
Yet it had only just begun.
The Father and Son were reunited.
The two deities again became one.

Christ cried out, it is finished.
But it was only just beginning.
The apostles would continue His mission.
Hearts and souls they would soon be winning.

Satan's power over us, it is finished,
since Christ played the Sacrificial Lamb's part.
Jesus gave His life for you and me.
He's become the focus of the Christian's heart.

~ Lanette Kissel
  Today's Story from GodVine 3/28/13

  Our quote for today: 

Our Sacrificial Lamb

The cross lay bare and bloodstained...
The nails ripped from Christ's hands.
They came and took His body.
Most did not understand.

The crowd wept tears of sorrow
For they did not realize
His mission was accomplished...
In three days He would arise.

What seemed like such a tragedy
Was all part of God's plan.
When Jesus died, He paid the price...
Our sacrificial lamb.

 He conquered death by rising
 And opened heaven's door.
 If we will just believe in Him,
 Our destiny's secure. 

 © Frances Gregory Pasch
Frances Pasch <paschf@comcast.net>
 Used by permission


    

















[Google image added + one from Benny Hinn's letter]
 
"The most wonderful news is that we can beat death because Jesus paid our debt! 1 Cor. 15:55-57. Our Daily Bread 3/30/13

Calvary reveals the vileness of our sin and the vastness of God's love."
Our Daily Bread 3/28/13

This afternoon's post: Tough Questions Max Lucado

Tomorrow’s post:  Swept Off Our Feet Linda Anderson


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Promises From the Pit



Mary Southerland asks us, 
"Have you ever received a
gift that you wanted to return 
but couldn’t? 

I certainly felt that way about the pit of depression when I first experienced it.

I wanted to take this nasty black hole to the nearest 'Pit Store' and exchange it for a tall mountain of victory. 

But I have come to the place where I thank God for what He has done in my life through the pit of depression.

 Anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.

We all have a pit of some kind in our lives. Your pit may not be depression. 

It may be an addiction that you find hard to conquer. 

Your pit may be a difficult relationship or a life plan gone wrong. 

It may be a diagnosis of cancer or a chronic physical disease that keeps your broken, wondering if God even cares. 

He does. I know because I am what you might call a seasoned 'pit dweller.'

Let me share some truths I have learned through my struggle with the pit of depression.

Pits are a certainty. Hard times will come. Darkness will find us. We will, at some point in our lives, find ourselves in a pit. It may be a pit of wrong choices and foolish decisions we have dug with our own hands. 

It may be a customized pit prepared for us by the enemy himself. But a pit is a pit! And all pits are basically the same—dark, lonely, and filled with the ugliness of life.

Pits have a purpose. Every pit has a purpose and comes to us for a reason. Pits have an amazing way of bringing balance to life: a balance between sorrow and joy, between darkness and light, between faith and doubt, between weakness and strength. 

Life is like a prescription. The individual ingredients may seem harmful, but when they are blended and balanced, they bring health. Pits are part of the prescription of life.

Pits demand that we change our perspective. They make us stop and scrutinize priorities, eliminating the trivial and focusing on the important. Pits give us new eyes and a heavenly focus.

Pits come to strengthen us. Our struggle to escape the darkness forces us to admit our insufficiency and search for power outside of our own.

You can get out of the pit. If there is one central message of this devotion, it is hope. I made it out of the pit and so can you! 

The path may seem endless and even cruel at times, but remember that you did not slip into that pit overnight and you will not climb out overnight. 

The journey out of the pit begins and ends with one small step. Walk straight ahead through your fear. And with each step, moment-by-moment, the darkness will slowly begin to lift.

You can return to the pit. When it comes to pits, there is bad news and good news. The bad news is that those who struggle with depression may struggle with it for a lifetime. 

The good news is that the things that got you out of the pit will keep you out of the pit. I often step to the edge of that familiar black hole because I want to remember how I got there. 

Then I throw a party in my soul and rejoice in the journey out of the pit!

You can learn to stay out of the pit. Hedges of protection must be planted around the pit of depression. Priorities must be set. Balance must be kept.

Habits must be cultivated. Accountability must be sought. Lessons must be learned. These hedges must be constantly tended in order to provide constant protection. 

In other words, keep doing what you know to do.

God will use your pit. From the depths of every pit comes a message of hope…a message of power…a message of grace. It is a message for us to share. 

God does not want us to just endure the pits of life. 

People without Christ can muster up enough courage—enough human strength—to get through a trial, but God has a better plan. He does not want us to just survive the pain. 

He wants us to rise above it—to celebrate it and use it!

On the other side of the pit you will find that you can minister to others who are in the grip of darkness. You understand their fear. You know the reality of their despair and the depth of their pain. 

Hurting people will listen to you when they will listen to no one else. Why? 

Because you were once like them…a pit dweller.

When you begin to share your journey—when you make the choice to help others find their way to the light—God will strengthen you and keep you out of the pit. 

The choice to use your pit will unleash God’s power in your life as never before.

Life is sweeter on the other side of the pit. We cannot really know just how bright the light is until we have spent time in the darkness. 

On the other side of the pit, the sun is brighter. The sky is bluer. Every day is filled with the discovery of fresh hope and new joy. Relationships grow deeper and fuller. 

Peace settles around you like an old familiar friend. The intimate and faithful presence of a loving Father becomes the reality you once dreamed of knowing.

Remember, my friend, it is through the struggle of the trial—the journey out of the pit that the very best part of us takes flight. One day soon, you will look around to see that you are coming out of the dark.

Let’s Pray

     Father, I come to You – helpless and alone. The darkness is overwhelming and no one seems to understand. I am desperate for You and the healing that I know can only be found in You. Lead me, Lord. Teach me, Father. Right now, I surrender to You and the plan You have for my life. By faith, I thank You for the pit in my life that makes me cry out to You.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen."

 “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” Psalm 18:28, NIV.

 Promises from the Pit  Mary Southerland  3/12/13

 

Used by permission


[Google image added]

Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids: #6 Love for God's Word. "May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than much pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb." Ps. 19:10  [series by Bob Hostetler]


Our thought for today: We may ask "Why", because God wants to teach us His ways. God desires to take care of us, as parents do. Will you trust Him?

Tomorrow morning's post:  It Is Finished!  Linette Kissel


Tomorrow afternoon's post:  Tough Questions Max Lucado

A popular post:  PROBLEMS HAVE A PURPOSE

 





Friday, March 29, 2013

He Did It For You!





 

Max Lucado tells us, “Jesus’ final act on earth was intended to win your trust.


            This is the final act of Jesus’ life. In the concluding measure of his earthly composition, we hear the sounds of a thirsty man.


            And through his thirst—through a sponge and a jar of cheap wine—he leaves a final appeal.

‘You can trust me.’

Jesus. Lips cracked and mouth of cotton. Throat so dry he couldn’t swallow, and voice so hoarse he could scarcely speak. 

He is thirsty. To find the last time moisture touched these lips you need to rewind a dozen hours to the meal in the upper room. Since tasting that cup of wine, Jesus has been beaten, spat upon, bruised, and cut.

 He has been a cross-carrier and sin-bearer, and no liquid has salved his throat. He is thirsty.


            Why doesn’t he do something about it? Couldn’t he? 

Did he not cause jugs of water to be jugs of wine? Did he not make a wall out of the Jordan River and two walls out of the Red Sea? 

Didn’t he, with one word, banish the rain and calm the waves? Doesn’t Scripture say that he “turned the desert into pools” (PSALM 107:35 NIV) and “the hard rock into springs” (PSALM 114:8 NIV)?


            Did God not say, “I will pour water on him who is thirsty” (ISAIAH. 44:3 NKJV)?


            If so, why does Jesus endure thirst?


            While we are asking this question, add a few more. Why did he grow weary in Samaria (John 4:6), disturbed in Nazareth (Mark 6:6), and angry in the Temple (John 2:15)? Why was he sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:38), sad at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35), and hungry in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2)?


            Why? And why did he grow thirsty on the cross?


            He didn’t have to suffer thirst. At least, not to the level he did. Six hours earlier he’d been offered drink, but he refused it.


            They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 

And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. (Mark 15:22–24 NIV, italics mine)


            Before the nail was pounded, a drink was offered. 

Mark says the wine was mixed with myrrh. Matthew described it as wine mixed with gall. Both myrrh and gall contain sedative properties that numb the senses. 

But Jesus refused them. He refused to be stupefied by the drugs, opting instead to feel the full force of his suffering.


            Why? Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you would feel them too.

            He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. 

If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands.


            And because he understands, we can come to him."


By Max Lucado Week of April 20

            New Gift Book! This story from: This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus


            Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado

Used with permission  [Re-posted for today with different title]

[Google image added]


 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation , taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." Phi. 2:5-8 NKJV
 
Tomorrow’s post:  Promises from the Pit  Mary Southerland

Thanking God for our Cindys



Charlotte Purvis tells us, "Cindy, a fellow consultant, was told that one of her corporate clients would soon introduce a new initiative. 

The client was seeking consulting services in support of that initiative so Cindy recommended the client contact me.

Cindy’s referral helped to transform my business, blessed my life in ways I never could have imagined, and gave me an opportunity to reach hundreds of people. One kind act by Cindy became one giant opportunity for me.

As we look back over our lives, we can probably recall many Cindys. 

Our Cindys believed in us, encouraged us, pointed us in the right direction, and took specific actions in order to help us pursue our dreams. 

What can we give them in return?

Gratitude has been my response to my Cindy. 

It’s clear I can never repay her nor does she expect it. 

This friend planted seeds in my life, no strings attached, and enjoyed doing so. 

I pray for her and honor God for arranging the situation that allowed her to recommend me. 

But the most rewarding way to demonstrate my gratitude is by being a Cindy to others.

Paul made every effort to thank his friends. 

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." Philippians 1:3 KJV

He made sure they knew how much he loved them and how proud he was of their kindness. 

Paul set an example for us to follow.

One act by my Cindy, changed my life. 

Imagine what you could do for others. 

Stop and express gratitude to the Cindys in your life. 

 Support and encourage them. 

They will be blessed just as you were blessed."
  
Thanking God for Our Cindys – Charlotte Purvis



Charlotte Purvis is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the place where she learned the importance of having a grateful heart. 

She is a consultant, communication coach, and highly rated professional speaker. 

Thanks to Cindy’s recommendation, she has provided training and consulting services for one corporation since 1997. 

Charlotte is blessed to have loving family members and friends. She thanks God upon remembrance of them.

Read Charlotte’s devotions.

Receive a daily devotion on your Kindle!


Used by permission www.christiandevotions.us

(Google image added)


Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids: #5 Self -control "Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do" 1 Thess. 5:6 [A series by Bob Hostetler]

Today’s quote: by Kim Meye

Simple Blessings 

"We should thank the Lord every day for everything!

A roof over your head
Your next meal
We assume it'll be there
To us it's no big deal

So many things
we take for granted
We think life goes on
As we planned it.

Where will we shower
To keep our bodies clean
We never question
The unforeseen

Help us remember
To count each way we're blessed
The simple pleasures
We daily attest

The loved ones
That are with me here today
Will help me face
Another day

None of us are
Guaranteed tomorrow
So live for today
And rebuke the sorrow

Thank you Lord
For everything
Jehova Jirah
My Precious King!"



Tomorrow’s post: Promises From the Pit  Mary Southerland


A popular post: THE AROMA OF CHRIST Mary Southerland:  "I tend to be a creature of habit in many ways – a fact that impacts all areas of my life – even when it comes to smells. I know. A little strange but let me explain. 

While teaching third grade at an elementary school in Texas, I habitually took the same route to work every morning..."

Samples of Jean's crafts
http://twitter.com/jeanoathout
http://facebook.com/jean.oathout

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cities Transformed: Prayer Note #128





Dutch Sheets tells us in his book, Intercessory Prayer, "Canaan, a cursed land (see Gen. 9:25) became the Promised Land of blessing.

Jerusalem, once a stronghold of evil giants, became the city of peace.

Seven cities, once ruled by idolaters and wicked giants, became cities of refuge where people who had accidentally taken a life fled foe safety and protection.

Hebron, the most famous of the seven, was formerly called Kiriath-Arba, which means the city of Arba.

Arba was the greatest of the Anakim or giants (see Josh. 14:15).

Hebron, its new name, means 'association, friendship, fellowship, communion.'

Fittingly, Abraham, the friend of God, is buried there.

Caleb, a man of faith and courage, was used to transform the stronghold of the greatest giant to a place where people ran to find safety and sweet fellowship or communion with God.

This can happen to our cities!

Can God do this again today? Can our cities and nations be so thoroughly transformed?

Yes, unless God has changed in the last 3,000 years!

That is, if He can find some Calebs....If He can find some giant killers....If He can find some "We're well able" attitudes.

He is asking us, as He did Ezekiel, to look on the dry bones of our nation - the men and women, the young and old, the rich and poor, the hurting and those who think they're healthy - and answer the same question he asked the prophet; "Can these bones live?


I say they can. What do you say?"

Today’s Prayer Note #128 - Cities Transformed, taken from Dutch Sheets’ book, 
Intercessory Prayer (pgs. 254, 255)

The next Prayer Note: 4/2 Are You Ready?
{This will be the very last post that I'll share from Dutch Sheet's book}




[Google image added]
 
Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids: #4 Honesty and Integrity "May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection"   Ps. 25:21   [A series by Bob Hostetler]

Today’s quote: Elisabeth Elliott - “What are you waiting for today in prayer? Don't give up. Make it a way of life. It is in waiting that we make room for God.”

Our thought for today: We're to be just and fair with others - we'll have to give an answer for our actions.


Tomorrow’s post: Thanking God for Our Cindys  Charlotte Purvis

A popular post:    
ACCOUNTABILITY: A HEDGE OF PROTECTION  
  
So You Plan To Marry A Man: Words of Wisdom for Single and Married Women (Wedding Planning) [Kindle Edition]


Jean Oathout




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When I have notice of the new title and cover of my book, I'll let you all know...Hopefully, it will attract the women it was written for.