Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Finally

Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honourable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable. Philippians 4:8 GWT

The most important word in this devotion is the word, “finally.” Webster’s Dictionary uses phrases such as “in the end” or “ultimately” to describe it. It can also mean “when you are done.”

Sometimes there is a tendency to look at Christianity as a depressing, bad news religion. We are always dealing with mountains, facing impossible odds, and hearing bad news.

The Apostle Paul, in this Scripture, is not encouraging us to ignore or avoid the struggle. It is real. The struggle can also wear us down. At times, it seems like there is no end to it.

But when you are done thinking and praying about the struggle, turn your thoughts to Paul’s list. Think about something in your life that is pure, like your relationship with God. Think about the last time someone called you with good news and how good it made you feel. Think about something that is honest, like God’s promises to you, and how reassured it makes you feel.

The Apostle Paul encourages us to focus on those things. The important thing is that you focus on them last. If your mind starts to wander back to the struggle, then go over Paul’s list again. Why do this? You should do this because it will lift your spirits and remind you that God can still bless you. It will feed your hope and keep you focused on the good instead of the bad.

God, we thank you for blessing us with so much. We pray that you would remind us day by day of all that you do and have done for us. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

Meditation by Stephen Thomas

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The secret of power

“Let him lay hold of My strength.”  Isaiah 27:5

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringth forth much fruit; for, severed from me, ye can do nothing.” John 15: 4-5

Jacob must have had a tremendous confidence in his physical strength to have dared to accept the challenge of the spirit-Wrestler who came upon him in the night hours.  Nor was his confidence unfounded, for though the struggle continued till dawn, there was no sign of defeat on Jacob’s part.  Yet the struggle was unavailing.  Jacob’s confidence and hope for victory was in his natural strength, and it was not until the spirit Contestant, unable to conquer on the natural plane, touched and disabled the seat of his physical power, that Jacob crippled but undaunted, clung to God in his weakness, pleading for and claiming the blessings that proclaimed him to be spiritually as powerful as he was naturally. Genesis 32: 24-28

It was the same with Gideon! It was not until he had reduced his military strength from 32000 to a paltry 300, armed only with trumpets, torches, and empty mud vessels, that God could use him to a mighty victory.

Samson with his piece of bone; the boy David with his sling and stones; Moses with his rod; how many instances there are in Scripture when God used weaknesses as the vehicle of His strength. In fact apart from weakness the manifestation of His strength was an utter impossibility.

How slow we are to learn this lesson! How slow we are realize that blessing is often delayed simply because we put our natural resources of strength, or ability, or wisdom, in God’s way, and thus hinder the manifestation of His power. We are often so anxious to help God to the accomplishment of His purposes , that we only succeed in producing  frustration.  One of the greatest lessons of Paul’s life was when, his prayer still unanswered thrice, the Lord Himself comforted His child with that glorious revelation of God’s secret of spiritual power. “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness,”  and the apostle exulted; “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak then am I strong.”

How hard it is for the natural man, especially when young and pulsating with life and human energy to come to the realization that humanly precious things are of no value in the sight of God unless and until it is His life that is using these things as a channel and instrument.  One of these points rests the whole secret of the Christian’s power with God and man.  “Christ, and CHRIST ALONE, the power of God, and the wisdom of God…. that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I Corinthians 1:24-29.

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His Sufficiency

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NKJV)

Continually, God reminds me that I rest in His provision to carry me through those moments when I find I have no resources of my own. It was His resource that brought me through in the past, and it will be His sufficiency to all my prayers, present and future. At times, my heart pounds for God to heal my daughter-in-law in her battle with a brain tumor and for my grandson to find the narrow path. During these struggles, Jesus speaks for new birth and victory over drug abuse; again, I’m to keep my heart and mind upon my Lord. My job is to praise and petition the Lord, but I understand it will be God alone who brings victory to all of my heart’s cries. We are instructed in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (NIV).  

When I fight the good fight of faith through prayer, I am certain God hears all of my petitions and praises. I’m reassured through the faith He assigns me, (Romans 12:3) the burdens on my heart I bring before Him are under the authority and sufficiency of His amazing love. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV). Most certainly, it’s all about resting in the power of His presence and sufficiency.

Devotional by Robert Schaetzle

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Our Powerful influence in High Places

When we look at all the goings on of earth, I believe we see a little of God’s Kingdom and Satan’s Kingdom at play. I think we all probably will agree on that. People who follow Jesus is going to reflect in some small way our relationship with God. For example husband and wife, should reflect the relationship between Jesus and His Bride. That is if they are truly obeying the commandment of love. Fathers and their children should reflect the relationship our Heavenly Father has for His children. Mothers reflect in my opinion the feminine side of God’s love for His children. Sisters and brothers should reflect the spiritual relationship we all should have towards one another. Simple things like if I was to talk to you and I can see you obviously showing no interest or even trying to show some interest in me, I am going to feel like I am not important to you. Through these experiences we can put two and two together and work out how would God would feel if we were not showing Him any interest when He speaks to us?

Now I am going to move on and I believe there are basically three types of people. The leaders, the followers and another group that influence the leaders. All equally important. If we serve God on His terms which is unconditionally love everything would work out perfectly for everybody. Because in God’s Kingdom there are no losers, everybody wins and enhance one another to their fullest potential. Now I believe in my life time when I am well enough to mix with people, I have found leaders either love or hate me. I seem to always get noticed by them, without any effort on my part.

When I was a young child I was quiet happy to be the leaders best friend, for very selfish reasons. I could get my own way without putting myself out. How selfish right? I can see adults doing that now. God thankfully soon let me know being the best friend of a leader has its responsibilities that I soon found that I didn’t like. For example while I was a lay missionary I had a friend who use to influence a bishop and I influenced her. And one day I said something casually and I found she grabbed it and was going to suggest it to this bishop who naturally influences a great many more people. And then I got into a panic because I couldn’t remember what I had said to her. So I prayed so hard that if it wasn’t according to God’s will to stop the influence in its tracts. Everything we do we have to make an account to God on Judgement day.

We are all called for something great, because we all influence God. Who is in control of the whole universe and Heaven!! How’s that for influence. We all can change history if we only believed in our influence on God. God is so willing to give all that we ask of Him, if it is for the good of our soul and others. We are not paupers. Our Daddy is rich!!! And powerful!!! Why can’t we see that? The odd time when I do, I see miracles in my life. Some people think only of money and advancements in their careers. I am talking about more exciting things like saving the world. Something I believe we all called to do in the sphere God has puts us in.

We are His Children and we should think like children not cynical adults who cannot believe in things unless it is of this world. Materialism is not God’s way. Look at the earth God has made, before mankind has destroyed it. It is so breath taking and we are to think like our Heavenly Father, who is so creative and loving. When we pray let’s try to see the big picture of our influence on our Father who is in Heaven. Doubting Him is not being childlike it is the old man in us that is supposed to have died when we received Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

I believe in the power of prayer and I believe it is extremely important and we be mad if we do not do it everyday.

Devotional by Sue Darling

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Prayer Changes Everything

Prayer changes,
everything . . .
we can pray for
anything.

Prayer adjusts,
our attitude
when we give God
His latitude.

Prayer brings,
peace and calm
it is our
soothing balm.

Prayer alters,
our life
helps us through
the strife.

Prayer atones,
every sin
gives us power
from within.

Prayer corrects,
our ways
helps us through
bad days.

Prayer changes,
everything . . .
prayer IS
life-altering!

Poem by Deborah Ann Belka

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Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

“I love you. I just don’t like you today,” said one frustrated mother. A very hurt daughter began to sob. I felt my stomach turn.

The mother was a friend of mine, a woman who loved her daughter deeply and yet had no idea that her choice of words was crushing her child.

I sat there, contemplating words of wisdom given to me from some wise, yet forgotten mentor: “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

Applied to parenting, it translates into, “Love the child, disapprove of the action.” In other words: separate the two issues.

“I love you. I just really don’t like what you did today.” Words such as these would have been much clearer and kinder.

Loving the sinner while hating the sin is God’s way. We are to exemplify God’s love to our children. If our children cannot believe that we love them in spite of their mistakes and failures, how will they believe that a Holy God can?

…put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you (Colossians 3:12, NASB).

Meditation by Shari Weigerstorfer

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It is Okay to Fail

I’m much more impressed with a person who shoots for an A and fails and gets a C instead than the guy who aimed for a D because he knew he could hit it, and does. Failure is not the bad thing that we tend to think it is-at least not in the positive areas in our lives. Succeeding in becoming a drug addict is not the type of success anyone should shoot for.

Failure is the process by which we learn. As toddlers, we failed and failed in our attempts to walk. Our failure even brought pain as we fell down, bumped our heads, and wailed for mommy and daddy. But this process of failure teaches us a very important truth. As you fail, you learn more than you thought you would.
When a toddler fails in his efforts to walk, he also learns how to fall. Falling is part of life. We all fall, but when we do fall, it is important that we fall in such a way that we can get back up again. When you fall in life, you learn how to handle it with poise, dignity, and with the desire to get right back up again.

I pastor a Church and as such I do a lot of public speaking. I can’t help but make mistakes. But instead of turning red, stammering around and apologizing profusely, which only embarrasses everyone else, I crack a joke about it. Everyone laughs and the failure is turned into a success. I’ve learned how to fall in public speaking! I can get right back up.

The Bible speaks of this. It says, ‘A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again.’ This man isn’t just because he never fails. He is just because when he does fail, he gets back up! That is the key. Failure toughens you up and allows you to try again!

Imagine a person that has never suffered anything in life. He has never failed, he has never suffered a misfortune, he’s never suffered anything. His ability to handle difficulties and trials is nil. He would be so weak and so ineffective that the first wisp of a storm or trial in his life will cause him to collapse. It is the failures in life that toughen us up, and makes us worth knowing.

Failure is only failure if it keeps you down. Quitting is the only true failure in life. A marriage is a success if they keep trying and learning from their mistakes. But if they quit, yes, it has failed. Imagine a toddler attempting to walk and falling down, and imagine that same toddler saying, ‘Well, I tried this walking thing. I really did. But it’s just not for me. I don’t think I’m cut out to walk. Besides, it’s dangerous, and I think that people who want to walk are crazy!’ No parent would condone such an attitude! Yet we live such an attitude in our daily lives. Failure is only failure if you quit!

Failure can be very motivational! They say that the alley under Thomas Eddison’s window was littered with hundreds and possibly thousands of his failed attempts to build a light bulb. When questioned about his failure he responded with something like this, “I now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb.” His failure drove him on to succeed!

But more than that, when we shoot for something we might fail at then we always go further and accomplish more than when we shoot for something we know we can succeed at. I’d rather shoot for the A and fail than succeed at the D because I knew I could succeed there. If I get a B or a C, I went further than I would have had I been scared to fail.

Failure is not the end. It is just the beginning. Go on, give it a try. So what if you fail! You have joined the human race.

Written by Pastor Greg Baker

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Another Cheek

I was in the middle of the old town in Rhodes, Greece, shopping for worthless trinkets when I suddenly witnessed something that affected me deeply.

A little girl about four years old lost her grip on the stroller she was pushing. It tipped backward and hit the pavement. Thankfully, her sibling was strapped in tight, and he didn’t budge during the descent or the impact. What happened next, I will never forget.

The father, who was walking nearby, yelled something in Greek or Turkish. He then backhanded his daughter with full force. I stood there, stunned, watching it happen. The little girl didn’t cry, but she stood silent as her father adjusted the stroller. Then they progressed down the street. I sensed she was used to this kind of treatment. As they walked, he suddenly stopped and hit her again, knocking her to the ground. She slowly picked herself up and quietly followed behind.

I was enraged. Never before having witnessed this type of violence, I was unsure how to act, so I watched, and internally I pleaded, Lord! What do I do?

I looked around and realized that I was a lone woman in the back streets of a Greek city. Confronting this hostile man and interfering in a family affair probably wouldn’t be wise. I noticed that shop owners and locals also just stood and staredone man shook his head, but then they simply returned to their work. Not one of them said a word, and neither did I.

I continued shopping, still greatly disturbed. Lord, what should I have done? I was sure there was something I could have done, but I didn’t know what. An angry outburst from me would have just fuelled the fire that obviously already consumed the man. As I thought about it, I started to get a sense of what Jesus would have done, and it’s something I can do, too.

I believe Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:39 alludes to the appropriate response to this type of situation. “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. (NASB)”

I’m sure I don’t understand all that Jesus was trying to teach in this statement, but knowing Jesus, it must have had something to do with stopping violence rather than encouraging it.

Next time, I won’t stand there wondering. I will interfere with the gentle statement: “Hit me. Hit me instead.”

I realize I may get belted for my efforts. Hopefully, instead, it will be such an unexpected act that it will stop the aggression. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. If I could go back in time, I would much rather have been hit than to have seen that little girl hit again, as I stood by and did nothing. Next time, maybe a peaceful and sacrificial response on my part will break the cycle of violence.

God created the word compassion, and it’s an action word. We are to be His hands, and an extension of His character and care.  If we will not, what good are we?

Devotional by Shari Weigerstorfer

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Wise Words on Failure

Some of the greatest thinkers of all time can teach us the most important lessons.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein

To be successful we need to begin, without taking the first steps there can be no success. Many people do not begin because they fear mistakes. Welcome mistakes, learn from them and then you will ensure you do not make the same mistake again.

“Remove failure as an option.” Joan Lunden

Did you set your goal so that you would fail? NO. Success was the only option then, and is the only option now.

“Success is the proper utilization of failure.” Unknown

Every failure is a learning experience. A successful person will analyze their failures with smart questions such as:

  • How can I do it better?
  • What mistakes did I make?
  • What did I learn from this?
  • What can I do differently to ensure success?

By identifying the causes of failure, you can start again with more confidence and knowledge. Every failure will bring you closer to success.

“A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.” Richard Nixon

The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is failure. You can only fail if you stop trying. You must continue trying in order to succeed.

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” Sir Winston Churchill

Failure is only an obstacle. If we visualise failure as a brick wall, we can see that there is a way over it. There may be a dozen brick walls in our way, if we climb each one with the same enthusiasm with our goals in sight we will never fail.

“Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

When you have put effort into achieving your dreams you must keep going. There is no crystal ball, success could be right around the corner. You owe it to yourself to keep trying. The worst punishment in life is to look back and wonder “what if….”

Written by Karl Warren

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