Changing Things Up … AGAIN

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Beloved, I am beyond tired these days. It is more a bone-deep weariness, and feels like I’m treading mud. 

I’ve written before about the chronic pain illnesses I live with daily—Fibromyalgia (FMS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), and daily migraines. The pain that goes along with these wears me out very easily. Summer is my worst season because of the effects of our monsoon weather, and heat also exacerbates my symptoms.

Earlier this summer I thought that sharing blog posts from other authors would be a good way for me to cut down on my computer and internet time during this season, but in fact, it has made things worse. Maybe that’s because I’ve been posting something everyday, but I receive so many great devotionals by email and enjoy sharing them with you. That still translates into more time spent working on my blog.

I thought that I was on the right track because I was doing the work of the Lord but He has been nudging me for several weeks about this. Yesterday I finally got it.

I have been so focused on the work of the Lord that I’ve neglected the Lord of the work.

In my typical overly-ambitious way, I believed that the more I shared about God and how He enables us to live with joy, faith and hope, the more I was doing what He has planned for me right now. But that is apparently not His plan at all—whether that means just for now, or for the unforeseeable future.

My sweet hubby, Rick, has been cautioning me to cut down on my computer and writing time, but I always assured him that I was following the Lord’s leading. I should have listened more closely to Rick’s counsel. He knows me best and completely understands my limitations, and he is the head of our household and my spiritual leader. Why do I so often have to learn things the hard way?

So here’s the deal. For an unknown period of time, I need to go back to posting only three times per week: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. I have already scheduled posts for tomorrow and this coming Monday and Tuesday, but after that I’ll begin the Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday schedule. Please bear with me because for probably a month most of those posts will be reblogs of some of my earlier posts.

Beloved, thank you for your understanding. I covet your prayers.

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The Path of Life

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Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You will make known to me the path of life;
in your presence is fullness of joy;
in your right hand there are pleasures forever. 

—Psalm 16:9-11

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The Daniel Protocol

One of the sites I follow is Koinionia Institute Strategic Research Center and I learn so much there. Last week they published this excellent article. There is a wealth of information on this site so please take some time to browse while you’re there.

The Daniel Protocol

By Steve Elwart
August 3, 2015

 

Many claim “I’m a loyal person!”
but who can find someone who truly is?
—Proverbs 20:6, ISV

 

With all the worldview changes occurring today, what is a Christian to do? Does one hunker down and withdraw from the world or does one stand and fight? The answer may lie in The Daniel Protocol.

Issues for Today

Over the past few years, world events have brought new meaning to the Biblical prophecy of a time where good is called evil and evil is called good. Some of the issues we face today are:

  1. Sanctity of Life: There has been a steady encroachment on the sanctity of life by abortion, euthanasia, cloning and embryonic stem cell research.
  2. Religious Liberty: Every day religious liberties are being attacked. Christians are ostracized, fined, and imprisoned for following Biblical dictates. People are being told to “keep their religion to themselves.” Moral virtue is being decried as intolerance. It is acceptable to condemn Christianity, but nothing bad can be said about Islam. What a few years ago was called “mainstream religion” is now being called “extremist religion.”
  3. Marriage: The recognized concept of marriage that has been in place for millennia has been redefined. All kinds of sexual proclivities are not only considered acceptable, but are now deemed natural. The family, the foundation of any nation, is being eroded in the name of Progressivism.
  4. Terrorism: There is a war being waged where the enemy is not acknowledged. Shootings in the name of Allah are termed “workplace violence.” Jihadists who murder Christians, burn villages, and enslave women and children are called “warring tribes.” The violence being perpetrated on innocents is being termed “war in the name of fundamentalist religion,” placing many Christians in the same category as ISIS and Boko Haram. It is a clash of civilizations that is being put in terms of mere criminal activity.
  5. Judicial Roles: Judges are usurping the role of legislatures and creating law out of thin air.
  6. Faith-based solutions: Churches and faith-based organizations are being told they cannot operate unless they repudiate their religious mandates. Many Christian services are closing rather than bending to pressure from the State, leaving many people without help or hope.
  7. Education: Education is becoming less about learning and more about becoming “good citizens.” Those that choose to educate their own children along religious precepts are being put under great pressure to turn over their children to the State. Sometimes this means imprisonment.
  8. Media: All this under the watchful gaze of a Progressive media that is only reporting the news that fits their worldview.

Read the rest here.

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Wonders of the World

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Wonders of the World

By Patricia Knight

On a torrid day in August, with a steamy haze rising off the lake, it amazes me that the same body of water that solidly freezes into a two-foot block of ice in the winter has melted into a comfortable lake for swimming, just four months later. God produces wonders and miracles every day right before our eyes. Some of creation has become relinquished to common place, like the lake full of ice converting to the refreshing temperature we tend to expect in the summertime.  The whole scenario recurs every year without fail.  Our surprise level is often stunted with familiarity.

If God can pique our interest with the smaller observations of life, our hearts and minds are then prepared for more grandiose vistas. “The Lord has done great things and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3). Feast your eyes on the arch of a rainbow until the prism colors melt into the blue sky. Follow the reflection of a full moon on the surface of the lake as a single canoeist divides its yellow beam. The lake will come alive with waterfowl swimming in formation on a moonlit night. A skier slicing through the newly fallen snow throws powdery white fluff in an arc in his wake. Bright sunlight reflecting off the ice coating a tree branch deceives us into thinking there are diamonds close enough to harvest. An infant’s first smile melts the most unresponsive heart. Grasp the tiny fingers in your hand and feel the trust.

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A loving God has created all of the wonders of the world. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)  A gigantic waterfall tumbling over rocks and bending trees, has mighty, surging power. It enables us to think big thoughts. A slice of canyon wall in the afternoon sun reflects all the earth tones of God’s palette. In autumn, the chlorophyll drains from the monochromatic green leaves as God drenches His paint buckets of color throughout the forests. At a distance a large snow-capped mountain against an azure sky literally appears majestic purple.

We have only to gaze upon the wide-eyed excitement of a child to realize we may take for granted some of the beauty and wonder of this world. Have we lost our sense of astonishment? Do we allow ourselves to meditate on the marvels of God’s creation? God takes great delight in lavishing His gifts and creations upon His own as He advises us to become more like little children. “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Jesus was particularly referring to adopting the faith of a child; one cannot have faith without wonder and fascination.

Matt-18-4-Child-Flowers-25--AMPA child would consider novel the lowly but symmetrical spider’s web implanted with diamond droplets after a rain or the simple entertainment provided by a dandelion blossom. Consider the concentration of a child trying to catch the drips on an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Youths watch the sun go down and the moon come up with intense interest. There is wonder and fascination at the grandeur of an eagle suspended in the air currents above. Chasing lightening bugs on a pitch-black night provides further exhilarating excitement.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). Lightening streaking across a black sky causes tingles to radiate up and down our spine as we recognize its power. Engage a child in a game of identifying animal shapes in the clouds. Clouds accommodate our play; they are constantly shifting and remodeling. Watch the honking geese flying south in a perfect “V” pattern.

Observe the striated, meandering layers of colors in a sunset. Listen to the sounds in the night. Many animals are nocturnal and roam while we cloister ourselves away in our houses. Open a window and listen to the night conversation.

“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God” (Psalm 86:10).  God has created all of the beauty, magnificence, and power that comprises our world. He wants us to be attuned to our surroundings so that we can visualize Him through His creation.

As beautiful as our world is, God provides more astounding opulence and grandeur in heaven. God has fashioned streets of gold (Revelation 21:21). Illumination is supplied entirely by the glory of God (Revelation 21:23). We are only given short glimpses of heaven, for it is too magnificent to describe in earthly words. Frequently in His Word, God assures us heaven will be a place of splendor and majesty and holiness. We will know only goodness and purity. Awe and wonder will permeate our surroundings as we stand in God’s presence. What indescribable resplendence and glory! Heaven far out-strips our imaginative abilities. The beauty on earth is but an introduction of what the eternal experience of the believer will be. Riches and joy will last forever.

While we remain on earth, we have tremendous opportunity to not only see with our eyes, but to experience with our whole being, the beauty around us.  There is neither excuse nor substitute for ignoring the treasures in lovely words expressed, unique occasions experienced, and magnificent creations purposely placed in our paths.

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Investigate your surroundings. Admire beauty and accomplishment. Elevate happiness and joy. Make a practice of serving others with goodness and kindness. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Let your gentleness be evident to all (Philippians 4:4-5).

Regardless of the season of the year, God provides myriad opportunities for adventure.  Non-essential activities of each day can rapidly clutter our lives and demand time that needs to be allotted for indispensable worship and service for our Lord and Savior. Look to Him and He will provide the peace and joy so essential to every aspect of our lives.  God will open our eyes to the glory of His creation in the physical world. Whatever the experience, God will elevate it and enrich it so that we can see Him through every wonder of the world. From that point, worship ensues. The more time we spend in fellowship with the Creator of the world, the more we see Him in His creation. God is as near as His next handiwork.

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Six Steps for Resolving Conflict in Marriage

This article by Dennis Rainey of Family Life contains some wonderful advice and goes along well with my Marriage Triangle series of articles which I write for TRC (The Relevant Christian).

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Six Steps for Resolving
Conflict in Marriage

By Dennis Rainey

There is no way to avoid conflict in your marriage.
The question is: How will you deal with it?

Few couples like to admit it, but conflict is common to all marriages. We have had our share of conflict and some of our disagreements have not been pretty. We could probably write a book on what not to do!

Start with two selfish people with different backgrounds and personalities. Now add some bad habits and interesting idiosyncrasies, throw in a bunch of expectations, and then turn up the heat a little with the daily trials of life. Guess what? You are bound to have conflict. It’s unavoidable.

Since every marriage has its tensions, it isn’t a question of avoiding them but ofhow you deal with them. Conflict can lead to a process that develops oneness or isolation. You and your spouse must choose how you will act when conflict occurs.

Step One: Resolving conflict requires knowing, accepting, and adjusting to your differences. 

One reason we have conflict in marriage is that opposites attract. Usually a task-oriented individual marries someone who is more people-oriented. People who move through life at breakneck speed seem to end up with spouses who are slower-paced. It’s strange, but that’s part of the reason why you married who you did. Your spouse added a variety, spice, and difference to your life that it didn’t have before. 

Read the rest here, and while you’re on the Family Life site, please take the time to browse the great articles and resources there.

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It Came to Pass

This is another wonderful devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada

It Came to Pass

“But it came to pass within a while after…” Judges 15:1  KJV

PearlsOfGreatPrice-JoniEarecksonTadaWhen I was talking with an African sister in Christ in a small Ghanaian village, I was impressed with her quiet, humble spirit. She wore brightly colored tribal clothes with a turbanlike headdress. Although I guessed she was young, her hands were weathered and lined. After she shared her testimony, I asked what her favorite Bible verse was. A knowing smile spread across her face and her eyes lit up. Without hesitation, she replied, “And it came to pass.” I gave her a puzzled look. She added, “Everywhere you look in the Bible, there it is, my favorite verse.” It was a familiar phrase from God’s Word, but I had never heard anyone claim it as their favorite. I asked her to explain. 

“Joni, it is a hard life we live in our country. The weather is harsh and our crops sometimes fail. It’s at those times we don’t know where the next meal is coming from. We have no money, nothing to offer our children. But we have God!” she said in a hearty voice. “And we know he will take care of us. We can look at the misery around us and know that God will see us through. Then we can smile and say, ‘It came to pass.'”

“And it came to pass” reminds me of 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you.” I don’t face drought and failing crops, but I am in a wheelchair; it’s why I appreciate the words, “After you have suffered for a little while.” Our troubles are but momentary according to 2 Corinthians 4:17, and very soon hardships will be behind us. What hardship are you facing? Thank the Lord that you’ll soon say, “It came to pass.”

Lord, keep me from a complaining spirit. Give me the courage to trust You no matter what I lack in life.

Blessings,

 Joni and Friends
www.joniandfriends.org

Pearls of Great Price
Copyright © 2006

by Joni Eareckson Tada
Published in print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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A Part of Everything

Here is another great devotional from Greg Laurie. His Harvest.org site has tons of good resources, so please check it out while you’re there reading the rest of his post. John6-66-DesertedHim-LoneTree--AMP

A Part of Everything

At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.

When Jesus laid out for His disciples what it really meant to follow Him, many of His so-called disciples left. Then Jesus turned to Peter and the others and said, “Are you also going to leave?” (John 6:67).

 Peter said, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life” (verse 68). I love that. Peter was saying, “Lord, we don’t know everything about You. We don’t get You at times. But this much we know: We are sticking with You. We have made a commitment to You, and we want to be close to You.

Are you willing to say that to Jesus? Are you ready to say, “Lord, I want You to go with me wherever I go”?

Read the rest here.

Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
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Gadol Adonai/Great is the Lord

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The other day I heard this great praise and worship song, which was on OneForIsrael’s Facebook page: “Gadol Adonai,” – Hebrew Worship from Jerusalem (2015) by Israeli Messianic Jews. This is the Hebrew version of the hymn “Great is the Lord”.

There is something about listening to Jewish music that always uplifts me. I found myself humming the tune all day after I viewed the video several times. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did:

This is a video with lyrics (Hebrew and English), but if for any reason you cannot view the video, here are the English lyrics which I typed up while watching the video because I couldn’t find them online:

Gadol Adonai/Great is the Lord
by Sarah Liberman

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God, in His holy mountain
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God, in His holy mountain

I will come to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy
I will bring the fruit of my lips as an offering before You

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God, in His holy mountain

Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men
They shall be His people
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes
There shall be no more death, pain nor crying

Hallelujah for the God almighty reigns

Let us rejoice and be glad and honor Him
Let us rejoice and be glad and honor Him
Let us rejoice and be glad and honor Him
Let us rejoice and be glad and honor Him

Hallelujah for the Lord our God reigns
Hallelujah for the Lord our God reigns
Hallelujah for the Lord our God reigns
Hallelujah for the Lord our God reigns

The God almighty reigns
The God almighty reigns

Beloved, enjoy a blessed Sunday in the Lord. If you get the chance, please visit OneForIsrael and their Facebook page.

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Lean on God for powerful strength

No matter what is going on in your life:

  • if  you are alone and lonely
  • if you are in dire financial straits
  • if you are living with chronic pain
  • if you are in the midst of the worst valley of your life

leaning on and trusting God for strength and direction always produces a mighty faith, joy, and hope. And how can you not share all of that with those who need to hear it? 

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When a man has no strength, if he leans on God, he becomes powerful.
—D. L. Moody

As I’ve written about before, the short version of our church’s mission statement is “Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 29:19). To be able to do that effectively, we pray for each mission. We also pray over our bikes and riders, that God will use these to spread His Gospel message, for His glory.

Each year we also gather in several different places for the annual bike blessing. These are photos from the bike blessing on March 15, 2015 at the Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson dealership in Mayer, Arizona. The prayer blessing was led by Pastors Joe and Tim of our Full Throttle Biker Church. I thought it particularly appropriate to make up a collage using photos from one of this year’s bike blessings to illustrate D. L. Moody’s wonderful quote.

Please visit Full Throttle Biker Church and Celtic Cross Ministries on Facebook to find out more about us.

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What does it mean that iron sharpens iron?

Another good one from GotQuestions?

 

Question: “What does it mean that iron sharpens iron?”

Answer: The phrase “iron sharpens iron” is found in Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice. Likewise, the Word of God is a “double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), and it is with this that we are to sharpen one another—in times of meeting, fellowship, or any other interaction.

The proverb also indicates the need for constant fellowship with one another. Man was not made to be alone, for did not the Lord God say this, even before the Fall (Genesis 2:18)? How much more, then, after the Fall of Man, do we need to come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for seasons of fellowship and prayer? Clearly, this was recognized by the saints of the early church (Acts 2:42–47), who “devoted themselves” to teaching, fellowship, communion, and prayer, all corporate activities that provided opportunities for sharpening one another.

There are two points to make about the above proverb. First, the meeting of two together in the Lord’s name will always guarantee blessing. It is a means of grace that the Lord Himself promised—where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them (Matthew 18:20). Also, we see a similar meaning in Malachi, for those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard (Malachi 3:16). When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased. Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice.

Read the rest here.

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