November 18, 2017

Different

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I have had the right to stand and fight
But it would have still been wrong
I’ve had the chance to prove a hurtful truth
I had to let it go and just move on
‘Cause there’s a gift called grace
That’s captured my life
Though the way of the world is power and pride

I want to be different, Jesus, just like You
I want to be tender with mercy guiding all I do
So when others talk about me
Let it be because I am different
Let the difference be love

Let me have the kind of heart that shines
The light and shows You’re real
And where hope is dim and fear sets in
Will you use me, Lord, to help and heal
I don’t want wealth or fame
To define the life I live
Oh, let me be known for what I give

Every day is a chance to serve You
By caring for someone else
I will make the choice to surrender
And not live for myself

~  Sing this song with me as our prayer and worship today.  ~

~  Performed by Mollye Rees and Jamie Slocum  / Written by Jamie Slocum  ~
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 How many times have you said this phrase to yourself in your life time?

“I want to be different, Lord!”

Everyday, people are watching our every move, especially when they hear we are Christians.   They begin critiquing us in everything.   They want to know ARE we really different.   People look for different.

It’s not what is on the outside (our clothes, our hairstyle, our car, etc.) that is important and makes us different; but it’s Who lives inside us that makes us truly different.   We should be so different that others see it in our hearts, our actions, our attitudes.   Keep in mind, becoming different is not immediate when we say ‘yes!’ to receive Christ as Savior.   Before that moment we lived an ungodly life in an ungodly world trying to shed ourselves of old habits and behaviors that once were us.   Now we have a new life inside us—the Holy Spirit—that is ready to mold us to be different, to be just like Jesus!

Don’t get discouraged, becoming different takes time.  The ways of this world that we live in are natural and don’t have to be learned, but becoming different, becoming like Jesus, is a total change in thinking and action.

 Jesus was different. He was totally others-centered and the key to His difference was LOVE!

How can we become different so that others see Him? By pushing old things away, by letting our reactions to people be seen as the hands and feet of Jesus, by becoming a little more different—more like Him—every day!

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you
John 15:12

I wanna be different…how about you?

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Dear God,  help us to read Your Word daily, Lord, and continue to teach us every day how we can change to be like You and when the world sees that difference then they will see You.  In Your name I pray, Amen!

Hear My Heart

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjvFor several years I have been praying for something specific—and that prayer is still yet unanswered—but I know without any doubt God is waiting in the wings to answer at just the right moment when “He is ready” for it to come to pass.    When I sit and think about when “that moment” will be, this song always comes to my mind and gives me so much comfort!

As I sit and wait in what I have named “God’s waiting room” I open up a book that is sitting on a table in this room, a most wonderful book, “The Holy Bible” that gives me encouragement and strength while I wait and cry out to Him. These two verses below have given me strength beyond strength during my years of waiting.

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your Presence,
let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my cry.
Psalms 88:1-2

When He calls my name to come forward into His presence from the waiting room, I am sometimes scared to meet Him because I know what I want the answer to be,  but  it’s not always what He gives…so I must accept His answer and move forward.

When I have reached the place where I am willing to accept God’s will/His answer instead of my own, it is then I have reached the turning point of prayer and have realized it’s not about me.   It’s about God and God’s Will for me!  And it’s then I realize God did indeed “Hear My Heart.”

~  Stop and listen to these beautiful words, please  ~

Sometimes I feel no one’s ever been in this place before
This is hard, and I’m not sure that I can do this anymore
I know someday I’ll look back, and all this won’t seem real
Lord, right now I need You to know just how I feel

When there are no words to say, and no prayer that I can pray,
Hear my heart
When I don’t have strength to try, and I’ve cried all I can cry,
Hear my heart
‘Cause You know every fear and every doubt I cannot speak
You know all the ways I need You and all the ways I’m weak
So I’ll be quiet, so You can hear my heart

Every now and then, I recall a simple phrase or melody
It comforts and it quiets, it lifts me up and then it carries me
Far above the pain and hurt I think will never end
The song speaks words I cannot, and it calms the fears within

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A beautiful quote from Corrie Ten Boom that I love to remind myself of is:
Don’t pray when you feel like it…
Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.
A man is powerful on his knees.

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Dear God, I pray for each one who has prayed for something specific and have been waiting for an answer, give them knowledge and confidence Lord to know the prayer is in Your hand and You will answer when the time is “right.”   Help us to accept the waiting and be comforted to know that Your will is worth the wait.   In Your name I pray.  Amen!

I Have Been Blessed

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjvHow many of you have been sitting around contemplating and pondering the many ways you have been taken care of by God in this world? Not really much discussion needed to help you understand those ways, let the words of this song speak it all to your heart.

~  Listen while you read, please!  ~

When He walks among us, all that He does, All of His mercy and all of His love.  If the pen of a writer could write every day even this world could never contain just how I’ve been blessed / The warmth in the winter, the flowers in spring, the laughter of summer, and the changing of leaves.  Food on my table, a good place to sleep, clothes on my back and shoes on my feet.  Oh, I have been blessed.

I have been blessed, God’s so good to me, precious are His thoughts of you and me.  No way I could count them there’s not enough time, so I’ll just thank Him for being so kind.  God has been good, so good.  I have been blessed.

 Arms that will raise, a voice that can talk, hands that can touch and legs that can walk.  Ears that can listen and eyes that can see, oh, I’ve got to praise Him as long as I breathe.  Cause I have been blessed / Father and mother, nurtured and raised, my sisters and brothers, memories made.  Our pastor to lead us, this altar to pray, Stripes that can heal and a Blood that can save.  Oh, I have been blessed.

We live in a country, the greatest on earth, our flag stands for freedom and what it is worth.  She stands in the harbor, Ms. Liberty calls, all have gave some, but some gave it all for me to be blessed / A shoulder to lean on when I am down, a rock where He leads me when I’m overwhelmed.  The place where He hides me under His wings.  He’s not just a song, He’s the reason I sing, Oh, and I have been blessed.

Written by Mike Compton/performed by the Champion Baptist College Tour Group
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Dear God, I pray for each precious soul who reads this and listens to this song. Help each one to see and know how many wonderful ways You have always and will always bless us.  Thank You, Lord!  In Your name, I pray.  Amen!

We Are The Reason

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“Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
may not be lost but may have eternal life.”
John 3:16

This verse pretty much speaks mountains of why God gave….\ It was all for us! He wanted us to know His love so He demonstrated His love!  Listen and let this song speak to His reasons as to why He gave and continues to give.

 

As little children we’d dream of Christmas morn
And all the gifts and toys we knew we’d find
But we never realized a baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

We are the reason that He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

As the years went by we learned more of our gifts
The giving of ourselves and what that means
On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying in the rain
Because of love…Because of love

I finally found the reason for living
It’s in giving every part of my heart to Him
And all that I do every word that I say
I will give all my life just for Him, just for Him

We are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

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 Dear God,

 Its hard to fully understand the love You gave and give us everyday, and I want to thank You and praise You with all of my heart.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

The Gift

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Don’t you just love receiving gifts?  It makes us so excited when we are given a box with beautiful paper and a bow—and know that whatever is inside is ours!

I want everyone to think back for a few minutes to  the “BEST GIFT” you ever received?  Now…tell us: what was it?

I wish I could hear you tell me and to be able to hear the excitement and joy in your voice as you tell about that special gift!

There was one special Gift that was given to us all that will surpass all the gifts anyone has ever or will ever receive….  That Gift is JESUS!

But we must remember this gift can’t be ours unless we receive it by faith.  It can’t be of any use to us now or in our future unless we receive it  (Matthew 7:8 “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened),  open it (Revelation 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.)  and accept it  in our heart  (John 1:12 “But to all who believed him and accepted him, He gave the right to become children of God.”)   And then we need to make this Gift our own as He meant for it to be.

Many times, gifts we have received over the years become something left on a shelf that gets looked at occasionally, or eventually something that wears out…but this Gift is one that is “alive” and is hopefully sought after every day.  It’s a Gift that you get to re-open every morning when you open His Word and you get to experience a new part of the Gift given to you from when you first said ‘yes!’ to Him.

It truly is “the Gift” that keeps on giving.”

He was born in Bethlehem they say, there was a star to light the path to where He lay.  Rich or poor they came from far and near, cause they’d all heard the reason He was here.

He was the Son God sent to one and all.  Put on this earth, to hang there on that Cross.
Born to die so we could live. He had the birthday, we got the gift.

They wrapped him up with gentle hands. God hoped the world would understand.
Eternal life we shall receive. And all that He asks in return is that we just believe.

He was the Son God sent to one and all. Put on this earth to hang there on that Cross.
Born to die so we could live. He had the birthday, we got the gift.

There’s no way in this world we could repay the miracle He gave us on that day.

He was the Son God sent to one and all. Put on this earth to hang there on that Cross.
Born to die so we could live. He had the birthday, we got the gift.

The Gift  ~  Randy Travis


 On our Savior’s birthday, we got the gift.

Dear God,

As I think about Your sacrifice You sent to each of us I am joyfully excited for this Gift yet my heart is still saddened because there are some gifts that are still unclaimed, some packages that are still unopened by many!  How sad You must feel to think that the “Gift” is not wanted!  The greatest gift of all, God’s Christmas Gift, Jesus Christ, is still unclaimed by millions!  I pray Lord that before this year is done those millions will say YES to you and open “The Gift” you have given for free.

In Your name I pray. Amen.

Presence for Christmas

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I love the word “presence” when thinking of my God.  This word brings a constant in my life.    It is a word I can count on always no matter what is going on in my day.

Being filled with and surrounded by the Presence of God is the most wonderful gift we could ever receive.

In the busy Christmas noise all the lights, the bells, the toys, I have found You are the only source of comfort and joy.

 Lord, I want Your Presence for Christmas.  I want Your Presence for Christmas.  I long to feel Your spirit speaking peace to my heart.  Of all the gifts I may receive, there’s only one I really need.  And it’s Your Presence, Your Presence for Christmas.

 When the holiday is through, and the year is fresh and new, what will linger are the moments spent, my Lord, just worshipping You.

 Lord, I want Your Presence for Christmas.  I want Your Presence for Christmas.  I long to feel Your spirit speaking peace to my heart.  Of all the gifts I may receive, there’s only one I really need.  And it’s Your Presence, Your Presence for Christmas.

Presence for Christmas ~ sung by the Sisters

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Are you looking for something more permanent that doesn’t only come once a year and only lasts a little while?

Then ask for  “Presence” not “presents.”

Dear God,

I pray that each one of us will desire Your Presence more every day in our life and that You will help us to see “Presence” is constant and “presents” are temporary.   In Your name I pray.  Amen!

Born To Die

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Almost every day there are precious little babies born to families all over the world,  but one day,  there was one special baby that was born FOR the world…His name was Jesus.

This Baby came with a purpose!   And that purpose was “to die” for me and you. This is the ultimate gifts of gifts we have ever, or will ever, receive in our lives.

Think about His birth for a moment and the three gifts that were brought to Him.  One of those gifts was “myrrh.”    Have you ever studied about these gifts?  Well, check this out!

Myrrh was a gum-like substance that was sometimes used to embalm the dead.  (You are now saying, “WHAT????”    Yes, this is one of the gifts brought from the wise men to the little Baby Jesus.    They recognized that He was the little one that was “born to die” for us all.  Not sure if they truly knew the significance behind the gifts they were bringing; but oh, how fitting that they would bring this one gift that was a representation about why He came!!!   Listen to the beautiful words of this song and let it open your heart to the understanding of why God gave us this precious little baby!

Shepherds gaze in wonder while angel voices sing
This night of nights has come, and brought the world  the long-awaited King.
The earth is filled with gladness, and yet the heavens weep.
For heaven’s eyes can see  He was born to die for me.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, is that a tear in Your eye?
Jesus, sweet Baby Jesus, You must know that You were born to die.

It must have broken God’s heart, for the future He could see.
Yet He formed the hands and feet knowing one day, they’d be nailed to a tree.
So all the world could know Him—a gift came from above
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, with a tear of love in Your eye.
Jesus, sweet Baby Jesus, You knew You were born to die.

So, Jesus, thank You, Jesus, for Your gift of eternal life.
My Jesus, Jesus, ‘cause for me You were born to die.

 From the day of His birth the reason was known!

Bethlehem happened so Calvary could happen!

Thanksgiving

At this time of year we come upon a day we call “Thanksgiving.”    We will play games, watch football, and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

We will get together with our families and eat (turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin or pecan pie) and much more…yumm…I’m getting hungry already.

Sometimes before we begin our meal, everyone in the family will tell one thing they are thankful for.   And then after we are all through eating, playing, talking, checking out ads for Black Friday shopping, everyone proceeds to go home—with Thanksgiving now being just a memory in our minds until next year.

Something we all must ingrain on our hearts and minds is that Thanksgiving is not just a one-day-a-year event.

Thanksgiving is a daily opportunity to speak out and express to God how grateful we are.

The Bible tells us we are to “Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

When we make thanksgiving a daily part of our life we will find that our life is much richer and fuller.  When we take time to stop and thank God we will find we have a much softer heart, that our relationship with Him will grow, and our desire to spend more time with Him will increase.

One of the all-time best things we can say thanks for is to God for giving us His Son to die for our sins and allowing us an opportunity to receive salvation and live with Him forever!

Can I stop here and say “WOW”, and “THANKS!

You can track throughout God’s Word the many times Jesus gave thanks to His Father; here are some: (Matthew11:25;  John 11:41;  Matthew 15:36; John 6:11; Luke 22:17-20;  1 Corinthians 11:23 and 24).   How many times do we give thanks to our Father, Jesus Christ?

 Thanksgiving is not the only day we can say thanks to Him.  I encourage each of you before your feet hit the floor each morning to sit in your bed…and…

Speak out to God your daily thanksgivings!

 

Let’s Pray: 

Dear God,

I pray that each of us will let “Thanksgiving” be a daily prayer not a yearly event.  In your name I pray, Amen!

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 8 – Love Is Not Easily Angered

16daylovechallengenotangryWhile studying for today’s lesson, I found this story (author unknown) that is just perfect to help teach us about this standard of “love.”

 A husband one day said to his wife,  “When I get mad at you, you never fight back.  How do you control your anger?” The wife responded, “I clean the toilet.”  He said, “How does that help?” To which she said, “I use your toothbrush.”

Ephesians 4:26 tells us:

In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

How many of us have done this?

How many of us let anger control us?

Anger does not happen easily…it creeps in on us when we least expect it; and the first little thing that someone says will upset us and then we explode.

I was called into my supervisor’s office last week for a special meeting and in the first two minutes of the meeting I was devastated with her announcement.   I was so angry that I could not even speak, and then my insides were ready to burst.

I wanted to get out of her office quick.   Instead of blowing up and shouting out, I began to cry and just told her, “I need to go. I can no longer talk about this subject.”

I left her office, went back to my desk and began to read a Scripture that I had posted on my computer monitor.

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

I sat there reading it over and over so that I did not get up and explode and do or say things that later I would regret.  The more I said the verse and talked with God the more amazed I was that God was helping me to change my thoughts, my anger.  God was providing me the fuel I needed to squash the anger.

Anger is powerful.   James 1:19-20 says:

Everyone should be slow to speak and slow to become angry,
for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

How will we ever be able to live a life that pleases our God if we walk around with this kind of anger inside of us and not deal with it.   It will be just like a mouse running around on a wheel in a cage, or also as Cherie stated “we will be stuck in a continual rotation of frustration with everyone and everything around us”.

How can we show God’s love to this world, if inside us we have anger that is built up and ready to be unleashed at any moment?  When we fail to release our anger it will control us; it will even be who we become.

Love does not do that.  Love seeks to draw others. Love can’t draw when anger is present.

Love looks over the small things that creep up but anger magnifies the small things.

Think of the times in your life recently when you became angry with someone, and that anger then brought you to remember every wrong that person had ever done or said to you.  Going through this thought process is not “love in action.”

 “Love seeks to bind and to mend”

 Many of our angers are petty or personal, so we must learn to bottle them up and deal with them only with Jesus and not others for love’s sake,  then we can fulfill the commandment of God, in 1 Corinthians 13,  to “love and not be easily angered.”

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Let’s Pray:

Dear God, I pray for each lady who has studied this devotion today.  I pray that as they sought You, You were able to speak to them and show them if they are carrying around any anger that has affected their witness of You to others.  Help all of us, Lord, to seek, find and then to squash this anger out of our lives so that we can begin to show love, not anger towards others.  Help us, Lord, to be patient when others show anger and help us not to get drawn into it.  Help us to seek Your love that overshadows anger and—as You show us Your marvelous love—help us to show the world.  In Your name I pray.  Amen!

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 3 – Love Does Not Envy

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Let’s begin this lesson with learning what envy is.

In the Greek translation the word envy means “to burn with zeal,” or literally “to be heated or to boil over with envy.”

According to Holman’s Bible Dictionary envy is “painful or resentful awareness of another’s advantage joined with the desire to possess the same advantage.”  The advantage may concern material goods or social status.

The Bible agrees with the above definition.
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor.
This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 ESV

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30

Envy is an emotion inside of us that continues to build up resent when someone else gets or has something that we want. When we are craving what the other person has, instead of thanking God for what He has provided to us, all we are doing is hurting ourselves.

In Mark 7:21 it tells us that “within our heart” is the source of envy. Our heart is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate and decide. Within our heart is where envy is triggered and it begins to show it’s ugliness once it is set in motion in our thoughts and feelings.

I personally have struggled recently with this issue of envy in a particular area that I will share with you. Doctors have told my daughter that she would never be able to have a baby. When I was told this, I cried for days and, still at times, have moments of breakdowns. Every time I see pictures of her friends who are pregnant (and some of them even pregnant with twins), I immediately begin talking to God—maybe you could really call it complaining to God—as to why it is not my daughter who is the one having a baby…or concerning the girl having twins…why God could You not have given one of those babies to my daughter?

My envy in this is that I want to be a grandmother!!  I was only thinking about me and what I wanted.  I did not sit down and truly talk to God about what He wants for her and her husband’s life.

This is their life, not mine. I need to step aside and allow God to move and work in the way He has chosen. When, and if, this is His desire for their life God can overrule what the doctors have stated.

What I struggled to see was that God chose to bless these other couples, and it was the time for me to give thanks to Him for this wonderful blessing of life and not pout in envy because it was them and not my daughter (and me).

Envy festers inside us and keeps us stirred up. We must stay on our knees in prayer and not allow Satan the upper hand in this area by keeping these envious thoughts at the forefront of our minds. When we are envying, how can we love?

Love will make us blind to the things that other people have. Love doesn’t have any time to envy because we should be celebrating what God is doing.

“True love is God”, He laid himself down for us and He put us first before Himself; that is what we are to do for others as well. We are called to love not envy, and to realize that everything is done in His timing and at His will…not ours!!!

The cure for envy is love because love pushes envy out of our hearts. Envy is absent in our hearts when love is present. To love is to stop comparing.

I am so thankful God has shown me that I was harboring envy. He helped me to see that not only was I being resentful towards others, (not even wanting to see them because of my hurts), but He also helped me to understand that IN HIS TIME is when He answers.

As I sit here thinking about envy and love, I realize the freedom I can feel and have when I lay down envy at the feet of Jesus. When I stop wanting or desiring what others have, that is when love can take over my heart and I can be content with what God has provided to me.

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Let’s pray:

Dear God,

Help us to keep our thoughts away from what others have because that’s not what You want for us. Help us to look to You and Your plans for our life and to be content with what You provide. In Your name I pray.
Amen!

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Food for thought:

Think for a moment…are there any people in your life that you envy because they have something that you don’t? Confess it to the Holy Spirit right now and ask the Lord to forgive you and let Him fill that space of envy with love!