Monthly Archives: September 2016

How to be Spiritually Smart

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”Proverbs 1:7 NKJV

The word “fear” in this scripture does not mean you are afraid of God. Instead, it means reverence or respect, so the respect of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. When I think of someone having a lot of knowledge, I think of someone who is very intelligent, who has lots of common sense as well as book knowledge. However, this verse found in the Proverbs of Solomon, refers to a different type of knowledge.
Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba, who became king of God’s people at a young age. When Solomon asked God for knowledge, he was not asking to be smarter and know more than anyone else. He was asking for wisdom in being able to tell his people what they should and shouldn’t do. In other words, he wanted to know what is right and wrong.

It is hard sometimes to know what we should and shouldn’t do. Sometimes the television tells us one thing is right, our friends may say something different and our parents something else. It can be very confusing. But the Bible says if we are smart, we will respect and trust the Lord to show us right from wrong.

The Lord has given us certain principles to live by as Christians; the Bible tells us about them, and they teach them in church. The good news is that as our love and reverence for Him grows so does our ability to interpret the way in which He would have us live our lives.

The Bible tells us that Solomon was a wise king. That reputation began by his going to the Lord in prayer and asking for wisdom and understanding. Maybe we should take notes from Solomon and ask the Lord to grant us understanding so that we can tell the difference between right and wrong.

Dear Lord, it is often hard to distinguish right from wrong in today’s world. I ask you to give me the understanding, and wisdom to know what you would have me do each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Meditation by Karen B. White

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HE is the REDEEMER

“…but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9: l2)

 To redeem means to ransom, release from captivity, pay the penalty, atone for, or buy back.

What were the circumstances in which Christ’s redemption was necessary? Apart from God, the perfection of human nature is a fanciful dream. Science has given Civilization many laudable achievements for which we are profoundly grateful. However science cannot deliver us all from all our cares and all our needs. Man cannot by culture self improvement, education and social reform lift himself to the high place he was intended for. The world needs saving, it needs saving from sin. The cross of Christ declares that sin is the root of all human troubles –  man’s alienation from God. God doesn’t treat sin as if it were something about which we need not upset ourselves. God deals with sin in a serious way. He puts it away by bearing it. He removes it by beating it Upon Himself. Redemption in Christ both exposes the world’s malady and reveals the divine remedy.

To redeem means to buy back, as when some valuable is taken to the pawn broker or moneylender who gives a sum of cash for it. The article is retained for a specified period of time. At any time during that specified period the owner may redeem the article by paying the pawnbroker or moneylender some money. Inevitably, the owner will pay back considerably more than the advance he received. Should he not redeem the article it will no longer be his.

Christ bought back the human race. Man was “sold as a slave to sin ” (Romans 7 : 14). By his disobedience to God he pawned himself to the Devil. But Christ came to earth to redeem man and with His own life paid the price of redemption. The Church of Jesus Christ is a redeemed society. “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ” (Colossians l : 13-14). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God is grace. (Ephesians l : 7).

Despite that he by God was warned,

Mankind his soul to Satan pawned,

By disobedience he lost

The Eden scene of highest cost.

Could that which he had thrown away

Be purchased back, with man to stay?

Almighty God did find a way

For man to see eternal day.

For Christ came down man to redeem.

The race He held in high esteem.

In love He paid in full the price

The one eternal sacrifice.

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The Definition of You

I sat, waiting for the results to come up on the screen. Soon, I had my answer: “Lori, the song of your life is I Will Survive,” followed by a paragraph explaining why. Obviously, it was late and I was putting off more important work by doing one of those silly online quizzes. Have you done them? It’s fun for the moment, but when you think about it – how often do we let others define us, to tell us who and how we are?

Sometimes it’s harmless. The facebook quiz says I’m a nurturing parent, a spontaneous friend and my aura is pink. Other times, not so much: The test says I’m way below average or the counselor tells me I’m dysfunctional.

Not to discount helpful advice or professional analyses or to deny reality, but we can’t allow ourselves to be forever labeled by a single evaluation. Sure, we all have weaknesses and we struggle, some more than others, but, Christian, do you know Who resides in you? The One greater than everything around you! Discover what His Word says about you – we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37 NKJV). He is the strength of our lives (Psalm 27:1 NKJV), and He has given us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV), and let it sink into your soul.

Don’t let a number, a diagnosis, or anyone who isn’t the God of the universe define you. After all, God created you, knows you, loves you and died for you. Let Him define you. Nothing less will do.

Meditation by Lori Othouse

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fire-ants

Fire Ants

In Africa, after the rains, all sorts of bugs suddenly make their presence known. One of these is the fire ant. This medium-sized ant begins its life as larva and progresses to the stage of having legs to crawl. Over the course of time it grows wings, which make it possible to fly. Its instinctive attraction to light causes it to fly toward flames where its wings get singed off. It is then left to crawl again, lay eggs, and die.

The fire ant, when it is crawling around in its initial stages of life, must be eager to have those wings. Later it discovers that being airborne is not the end.

So often I think goals are an end to themselves. My goal in life was to get to the mission field. But being on the mission field was not the end. In fact, it was only a step in the process. I remember the surprise I felt when I discovered that more stages awaited me after arriving in Africa and thought it was a difficult process to complete. However, Paul’s words enlightened me in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God sees the goals in a different light. God is the One who began this work in me. “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, without which man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, lit.) Only through the perspective of eternity will I understand that reaching each of my goals was not an end, but rather a place where God continued the transformation.

Devotional by Faithe Thomas

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wise-spending

Our Lord does not like Wastage

“When they were filled! he said unto his disciples. Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing he lost. Therefore they gathered them, together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above unto them that had eaten” (John 612,13).

Our Lord does not like wastage; and that is why He commanded that nothing be lost. If He was so particular about those fragments left behind, how much more is He particular about our time, money and energy! When we look. at our lives, we have to admit that much of our time is being wasted, much of our money is being mis-spent, and much of our energy is dissipated.

I was at a standstill. I was not growing spiritually. So when I prayed, “Lord, what is wrong with me?” the Lord showed me that l was serving Him in my own strength and wisdom, and that I was wasting time. He showed me how I had cut short my quiet time both morning and evening in order to be out serving. I repented of my negligence and determined that I would wait for the Lord’s plan first before going out. I wanted to see fruit.

I had been praying for three hours, when the Lord told me that l was to go to “Soldiers’ Bazaar”.. The Lord gave us souls every day not only one but many. That is how God began to give me fruit. He expects us to see fruit.

The same principle applies in our use of money also. Do we misuse our money?

In the olden days, I would carry many coins in my pockets! because I was in the habit of giving to anyone who would ask me for money. But one day, when I gave, God spoke to me, and said, “It is not your money it is Mine. Who are you to spend My money. From that day I decided never to spend even one paisa without asking God’s permission.

Your time and your money both belong to God. I never regard money as my own. I never buy anything until I am sure God has a purpose in my spending the money. I remember in America I needed a hair-cut. I had the money, but the Lord never gave me any freedom to get it cut. I kept praying for three weeks, while my hair was getting very long.

I came to Minneapolis, and the Lord told me to go downstairs to the barbershop where I would get a good hair-cut. And while the barber was cutting my hair, I asked him, “Mr. Bruce, can you tell me whether you are born again?” He said, “No, but I want to be”. So after he finished, I took my Bible and explained the way to him. He knelt down and accepted the Lord. He refused to give me the bill; so the Lord gave me a hair-cut and also the privilege to lead the barber to Himself. l believe from God’s Word that we will have to give account for our time and money.

Meditation by Bakht Singh

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Recovering From Bad Choices

We live in a fallen world where evil rules, and we tend to view everything through the natural, time-dominated view. This life is no more than a vapor; however what we do during this brief period not only impacts our lives but that of everyone whose lives we touch. Wrong decisions not only affect our future but the future of those we care about.

The enemy wants to focus attention on our suffering and disappointment which is often a result of our bad choices. As a result, we indulge in self-pity which will always lead to more improper decisions. We turn a deaf ear to God and blame others for our problems. As a result, we are rendered useless in accomplishing our God-given purpose in life. This may go on for years before we realize the truth.

We all have made wrong choices. But God has not forsaken us he never turns his back on his people. Often we make more wrong decisions in an attempt to overcome the first. If we are to have any hope of things changing, we must conduct ourselves in our present situation the way God directs. He can take the bad choices we made and use them for our good and his glory.
We must honestly abandon ourselves to God’s protection and guidance. As long as we persist in looking at our life from a personal perspective, we will not be able to hear God or see the path he has set before us. Seek God’s guidance through prayer and meditation. I have found journaling my prayers very helpful in seeking God’s will in any situation. Remember he speaks to us in a still small voice. In order to hear, we must be silent and listen.

 

Meditation by R. Jamerson  

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Surviving the Preparation

Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. (Psalms 105:19 NLT)

Often when God gives us a dream or a promise, the fulfillment is almost always punctuated by a significant waiting period. Why? God is taking this opportunity to prepare us to receive the vision. Unfortunately, some never make it through the preparatory phase.

God gave Joseph a marvelous dream. The sun, the moon and eleven stars bowed down before him, representing his Father, Mother, and Brothers. Before the fulfillment of the dream, his elevation to second in command in all of Egypt, the word of the Lord tested him. When he told his brothers the truth, it invoked jealousy and betrayal. When he lived righteously, he was falsely accused and ended up in bondage. Those he tried to help forgot him. Hardship and disappointment litter his path in seeing his vision become a reality. He learned the character traits needed to rule in Egypt, such as integrity, perseverance, and ingenuity, in the school of hard knocks.

What was the key ingredient that enabled Joseph in the midst of such adversity to see the dream come to reality? It must have been that no matter what happened to him, he believed in the goodness of a sovereign God. Genesis 50:19-20 gives us some insight into Joseph’s thought process when he said to his brothers, “God turned into good what you mean for evil.” Whether in the pit or prison, Joseph believed that God was still in control.

Have you given up on your dream? Have disappointments or ill treatment even by God’s people dampened your faith. You must remember as Joseph did, they may have meant it for harm, but God meant it for good.

Meditation by Ken Barnes 

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HE is the LIFE

“l  am… the Life… ” (John 14:6)

Jesus is The Life.

The life of Christ is a spiritual life. When we commit our lives to Christ we start a new life. It is our spiritual birth and just as Jesus said to Nicodemus “you must be born again.” (John 3: 7) so when we accept Christ for ourselves the spiritual awakening of the new birth comes to us…

We then can say with the hymn writer ‘Live out Thy life in me O Mighty Saviour’.

We may know Christ’s life more as we discover the yielded life. Paul said “…but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. ” (Galatians 2: 20). There can be the enjoyment of a simple trust and faith in Jesus. We may desire that His influence in our lives will increase.

When that happens we will know Christ’s transforming power in our lives. “He who has been stealing must steal no longer” (Ephesians 4: 28). Bad people become good people. Good people become better people.

The more we imbibe Christ into our lives the more we will enjoy the overflowing experience of His life. Jesus said “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John l0: 10).

“I am…. the Life” said Jesus, and His life encourages, blesses, enriches and empowers.

Life, enjoying His Friendship,

 Life, now knowing His Lordship.

Life, so close to Him clinging,

Life, so wide and fulfilling.

Life, transformed and rejoicing,

Life, now filled with thanksgiving.

Life, so rich and abundant,

Life, so full and triumphant.

Life, immersed in His blessing,

Life, now spent in Him pleasing.

Life, enjoying surrender,

Life, with Him as Defender.

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x-ray-radiation

How to Prevent Spiritual Cancer

Ephesians 6:16 “…Take up the shield of faith…” (NIV)

Radiation can be harmful to living cells. Diagnostic imaging uses radiation in the form of x-rays that can potentially damage sensitive DNA and eventually cause cancer. So precautions should be taken when an x-ray is done to limit the amount of radiation to the patient.

Distance and shielding are the two primary radiation safety measures. The first line of defense is distance. When x-ray photons interact with human tissue, some of them get redirected and exit the body randomly in all directions. So, the further someone is away from the subject being x-rayed, the less likely they will encounter these harmful stray x-rays. Second, the patient, and anyone else near them, should be protected by wearing a lead shield. The idea is that the shield, rather than the patient’s body, absorbs the stray radiation minimizing its potentially harmful effects.

Sin is a lot like radiation. It is dangerous and can damage the soul, resulting in a spiritual cancer that eats away at our relationship with the savior. The number one defense for a believer should be to move as far away from sin as possible. Don’t even flirt with it because while the damage may be unnoticeable initially, it will eventually take its toll, tearing down your spirit from the inside out. But since we do exist amidst a world of sin and danger, we must dawn the spiritual “Shield of Faith”, so that the fiery darts of the devil cannot penetrate our hearts.

Lord, guide me and guard me that I would recognize the traps that the devil so cleverly devises against me and give me the will and the strength to avoid them.

Meditation by Stephen Kimball

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