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Daily Prayer for May 7

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. l John 4:13, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you with all our hearts because we know you are holding us by your hand and leading us on all our ways, in spite of all contradiction, strife, distress, and confusion within ourselves. What are all these compared to your love, which does not let us go but watches over us and finally brings us to what is good? Release us from our many burdens. Free our spirits and our souls more and more until we can do nothing but give praise and thanks with heart, soul, and strength for all you are to us. Amen.

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Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Where does your heart live? That’s what these verses are all about. It’s about where we spend the most time with our hearts. Is there a constant awareness in your life that God is present? Is he the unseen but always present companion in all your ups and downs? Or is God here when it is convenient and gone when things are busy or we feel that everything is going okay? Joy comes from knowing we are never alone. Prayer is the ongoing conversation we have, Spirit to Spirit, child to Abba, human with God. Thanksgiving and joy are the great reminders that we have been blessed no matter what the outward circumstances imply.

My Prayer…

Precious and Righteous Father, thank you for being there, always. Give me a deeper appreciation and a more profound awareness of your presence today. May my life reflect the joy you have given me by saving me by grace. And may my heart always find its home in you. Through the name of Jesus my Savior and friend I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

In the Line of Fire, with Michael Brown

Which Is the Smallest and Most Rejected Minority in America?

People pray at the Freedom March.

How would you answer this question? Which group is the smallest, most rejected minority in our country?

African-Americans have certainly suffered terribly through our history. But they are not the smallest minority today, making up roughly 12 percent of the population. And, despite ongoing issues they face, African Americans are certainly not the most rejected.

Perhaps it is Native Americans? They make up less than 1 percent of our population, so they are certainly very small. And their suffering over the centuries has been intense, with their communities facing immense difficulties to this hour.

But they are neglected more than rejected. To most of our country, Native Americans are, sadly, out of sight and out of mind. And there is another, suffering minority that is smaller still.

What about the LGBT community? They too are quite small (perhaps equaling 3 percent of our population; estimates vary). And to this day, many who identify as LGBT suffer hatred and discrimination.

But the truth be told, LGBT’s are more celebrated than denigrated, more protected than rejected, more powerful than powerless.

Ironically, the group that can lay claim to being the smallest and most rejected minority in America today once was part of the LGBT community. They once identified as gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, but they no longer do. Today, they are “ex-gay” or “ex-trans.”

Their numbers are very small, since they came out of a small community to start with. And it is only a small percentage of that small group who make a break with the rest of the LGBT community.

Most of them make that break because of their religious faith, often newly found. Others make the break simply because they no longer want to identify as gay or bi- or trans. But for making that break, they pay a steep price.

They are mocked and maligned and bullied by the community they once called home.

They are told they do not exist. They are assured they will fail. Their motives are questioned. They are called liars and mercenaries. They are even mocked for being so small in number (even if they number in the thousands or tens of thousands, that represents the tiniest slice of the population).

All this simply because they want to lead a new life, because they do not embrace their same-sex attractions (or, their gender confusion).

Shouldn’t they be applauded for their courage? Shouldn’t they be lauded for doing what they feel is right?

Really now, what can possibly be wrong with a man wanting to be married to a woman, having natural children of his own? Why on earth should he be penalized for that?

What can possibly be wrong with a woman wanting to be at home in her own body? Why on earth should she be criticized for that?

And why is it that we put ex-gays and ex-trans individuals under such intense pressure? If they have one slip-up, they’re called phonies. If they still struggle with attractions or gender confusion, they are told they haven’t changed. But why?

There are plenty of former alcoholics who fell off the wagon for a season, only to get back on track. Do we ridicule them or empathize with them and show them compassion? Many of them identify as recovering alcoholics. Why can’t someone identify as a recovering homosexual?

There are plenty of former porn addicts who still struggle with temptation. Do we tell them they will never be free, or do we encourage them to resist their temptations?

But when it comes to someone being ex-gay, things are very different. If you still struggle with temptation, even if you don’t yield to it, you’re told you’re living in denial. If you mess up once, you’re discouraged from trying again. Why the double standard?

I personally know ex-gays who have experienced a complete and total change. They have become heterosexual and have been happily married for many years.

I know others who have seen a marked decrease in same-sex attractions along with an increase in opposite-sex attractions. Some of them are in successful heterosexual relationships.

I know others who remain same-sex attracted but who say no to those attractions. They are happy to be celibate, finding joy and purpose and satisfaction in life without being in a sexual or romantic relationship.

And I know others who tried to come out of homosexual practice, only to fall back and embrace their homosexuality. But their very real failures and struggles do not negate the success enjoyed by the others.

Why, then, can’t the LGBT community accept it when someone says, “I was once out and proud as a gay person; now I’m out and proud as an ex-gay person”? Why, instead, do LGBT’s commonly mock and attack and ridicule those who identify as ex-gay (or, ex-trans)?

The reason is simple: If it is possible for someone to change from gay to straight, either through the gospel or through counseling (or both), then the whole “innate and immutable” argument goes out the window. (The same can be said for someone who is ex-trans.)

In other words, one of the foundations of LGBT is activism is that, “We’re born this way and we can’t change. Gay is the new black. (Or, trans is the new black.) This is who we are. Our sexual identity is as innate and immutable as our skin color.”

That’s why those who say, “I used to be gay, but I’m free today” must be maligned. Their existence must be denied. Their ultimate failure must be assured.

If change is possible – again, through divine intervention or through counseling or both—then the whole push for “LGBT rights” can be questioned.

I’m aware, of course, that for many who identify as LGBT, this is an intensely personal issue. They tried to change and could not, leading to depression and even attempts at suicide. They had bad experiences with counseling. They were rejected by their churches or families. And they finally found relief when they embraced their gay (or trans) identity.

The moment they hear of someone who claims to be “ex-gay” or “ex-trans,” those old wounds are opened and they feel personally attacked.

To such people I would say this: Just as you must live your own life before God, allow others to do the same. Just as you have the right to self-determination, allow that to others as well. And just as you despise bullying, don’t bully others.

This past weekend, a small group of ex-LGBTs held a rally in Washington, DC, called the “Freedom March.” Although I have met many such people around the country, I expected that the turnout would be tiny. And it was.

That’s because the great majority of those who came out of homosexual practice and transgender identification simply want to live their lives. They are not known or celebrated. They are on no one’s payroll. They are changed, and they are the better for it.

But I do know that many of them feel alone and misunderstood. That’s why one ex-gay counselor, Chris Doyle, founded Voice for the Voiceless. Its mission is “to defend the rights of former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, and their families.”

It is a mission all of us should support, especially those of us in the faith community. If anyone should be encouraged and embraced, it is these precious men and women, some of whom are still in the healing process.

And this is in keeping with the New Testament writings, which say plainly that, just as some of us once engaged in sexual immorality or adultery or theft or lying or greed or idolatry or homosexual practice, we do so no longer. If the Son of God sets us free, we are free indeed. (See John 8:31-36; 1 Cor. 6:9-11. For our six-minute, animated video, go here.)

So, I say to the ex-gay, ex-trans community, you are not alone. We are standing together with you. More importantly, the Lord is standing with you. Be strong in Him.

Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Playing with Holy Fire: A Wake-up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.

 

 

A Prayer for When You Feel Unworthy
By Lindsay Snyder

We must learn to receive His love, because we love only because He has first loved us – 1 John 4:19

Unworthiness! I didn’t know you had a name. I thought you were my thoughts; you have lied to me for a really long time.

I took you on, unworthiness, as my identity, and didn’t even know it.

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I never knew you could be so destructive, lie so deeply about who I was. I am going to tell on you now, so you can’t lie to others like you did to me.

Six things to remember when you are dealing with the LIE of unworthiness:

1. We have to know deep down that God REALLY does loves us!

I know, I know, God loves us, it’s sounds so cliché. But why is it so hard to remember? Why does it seem distant and hard to really grab onto sometimes? Probably because the idea of an intangible, seemingly busy God loving us doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I challenge you to think about it like a real relationship.

We must learn to receive His love, because we love only because He has first loved us (1 John 4:19).

2. We have to know deep down that He is for us.

As life continues to beat us up, we have to remember that life will do that, but He is for us, He is our refuge, our strength, our ever present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1) He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), His Spirit is kindness, love, self-control, joy, peace, gentleness and patience (Galatians 5:22-23).

3. We have to know deep down that God is good.

The kindness of God is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4); it is His kindness in the middle of our mess that we need to look for and be thankful for and keep at the forefront of our hearts. We need to see the good in our life and yes, sometimes that means fighting to see it.

4. We have to pray to let Him have His way.

We pray and ask for our desires, and then we release and surrender our will to His perfect will. Yes, that sweet and super hard way of surrender: reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness in our past and grabbing onto Hope Himself for our future. We did our part, we asked, knocked and sought our way and our will, and now, we say “God, you know best, so your way not mine.”

5. We have to let others speak into our lives without being offended. And then ask God, is there anything to learn here?

Funny how God can speak through seemingly small situations. I encourage you to seek the learning, look and listen in every situation for what He might want to show you, to free you from.

6. We have to believe that we are adopted by a perfect Heavenly Father, who deems us worthy.

We are adopted and grafted into a family of royalty; seriously, that is in the Bible. We are a co-heir with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are worthy because He deems us worthy. We are valuable because of who our Daddy is, no matter what the ‘dust people’ on this earth say about us.

If you’re struggling to feel worthy today, here is a prayer you can pray:

Lord, I know that Your Word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know I am your child; I know that I am saved by your grace. You are kind, good, merciful and gracious, and because You are all of those things, I know You are all of those things for me. When I feel unworthy, help me stop looking at and comparing myself to others, but fix my gaze on You. Through You I will always see my worth clearly. Thank you for your gracious love toward me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 

 

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Is It Sinful To Have Fear And Doubt?

Almost everyone’s had a time of doubt and fear, so what does the Bible say about fear and doubt? Is it sinful?

Doubt

Doubt is a feeling of not knowing what to believe or what to do, or the condition of being uncertain or it’s an uncertainty about something or someone, or even having difficulty believing in something or someone, but fear is more debilitating than doubt because fear is a feeling that can be induced by a perceived danger or a real threat. This causes a change in our metabolic and organ functions and can ultimately create a change in our behavior, so as you can see, doubt isn’t the same thing as fear. Fear can create a dysfunctional life, affecting work, family, and other personal relationships, but doubt is something that we all experience from time to time. Doubt isn’t exactly cynicism, but it’s more about having an uncertainty about a particular expectation or upcoming event, but both fear and doubt can creep into a believer’s life and stymie their walk with Christ…and as we shall read, fear and doubt are contagious.

Fear

As I said, fear is contagious, and perhaps the reason why is given when Israel was being oppressed by the Midian’s. God called Gideon to lead a small force to rid the nation of Midianite raiding parties. When Gideon had assembled over 30,000 men, “The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me’” (Judge 7:2), so God tells Gideon, “’Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’ Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained” (Judges 7:3). I believe the reason why God removed the men who were fearful was because fear in contagious. When you see the battles between nations in the Bible, quite often, when one army flees, the others do too, so fear is like a disease…if you are around it, you can “catch it,” so this may be why God sent all 22,000 of the fearful men home.

Self-Preservation

Even though doubting is not as bad as being fearful, doubt can still rob you of your joy, assurance, and self-confidence. When we begin to doubt ourselves, and perhaps even doubt others, we’re projecting defeat before it ever happens. It’s like we wave the white flag of surrender before the battle begins. That’s how doubt can affect us, but when that doubt grows into fear, it can be especially crippling, however not all fear is bad. In some cases, fear can actually be a good thing and for several reasons. It can keep us from taking unnecessary risks or placing ourselves in danger. Fear can keep us alive. There’s a natural tendency for self-preservation in every one of us, and that type of fear is not debilitating, but is life-preserving, so fear is good for some things, but it can be bad when there’s no real reason to fear. If it’s a rational fear, it can keep us alive, but an irrational fear can make our lives miserable, and perhaps the lives of those around us.

The Wisdom of Fear

One type of fear that is beneficial is the fear of the Lord, because the fear of the Lord is the very beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). This kind fear isn’t the fear that comes from the judgement of God. The Apostle John wrote, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18), so if you fear God’s judgment, you are either unsaved or you don’t understand that Jesus took the judgement that was due us. Some fear kept people from being receiving eternal life, like many of the Jews who believed in Jesus, but “for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him” (John 7:13). Even though many “of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue because they’d be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42), so fear can be good, but fear can also be very bad, and yes, fear can be sinful. The only thing we should fear is God, but if someone’s rejected Jesus Christ, Jesus warned them, saying “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28). On one occasion, the disciples were in a boat with Jesus when “a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling” (Mark 4:37), but Jesus “awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him” (Mark 4:39-41)? At first, they feared the storm, but when Jesus rebuked the storm, calming it, they feared Jesus more, but this was not a sinful fear but a fear of Who they were with…and it was God!

Conclusion

Fear and doubt are normal for some things, but when fear and doubt join hands in our minds, they can be debilitating, and these two can be exceedingly hard to get out of your mind. It takes the Word of God to calm the fear of man and bring him peace…and it’s a peace that surpasses all human understanding (Phil 4:7). The peace of God comes from being at peace with God, and when we’re at peace with God, we have no reason to fear. Jesus left us with His own peace, telling the disciples, “I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). If you have trusted in Christ, you have no more reason to fear. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and it is the fulfillment of wisdom, but that’s a healthy fear, not one of being struck down by God or fearing His judgment. To fear God means to reverence the Word of God and God Himself. The day is coming when God says, “I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD” (Jer 23:4). Today is the day to remove all doubt and fear, and you can do that when you repent and put your trust in Christ. Then, there is no more reason to fear, and I can say that with absolutely certainty, and without a doubt.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

 

 

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Beyond Sunday: A Good Requirement

[Editor’s note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to carry you through the week.]

Focus Verse of the Week

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Classic Commentary

Those who are fully convinced of sin, and of their misery and danger by reason of it, would give all the world, if they had it, for peace and pardon. Yet they do not offer aright. The sacrifices had value from their reference to Christ; it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin. And all proposals of peace, except those according to the gospel, are absurd. They could not answer the demands of Divine justice, nor satisfy the wrong done to the honor of God by sin, nor would they serve at all in place of holiness of the heart and reformation of the life.

Men will part with anything rather than their sins; but they part with nothing so as to be accepted of God, unless they do part with their sins. Moral duties are commanded because they are good for man. In keeping God’s commandments there is a great reward, as well as after keeping them. God has not only made it known, but made it plain.

The good which God requires of us is, not the paying a price for the pardon of sin and acceptance with God, but love to himself; and what is there unreasonable, or hard, in this? Every thought within us must be brought down, to be brought into obedience to God, if we would walk comfortably with him. We must do this as penitent sinners, in dependence on the Redeemer and his atonement. Blessed be the Lord that he is ever ready to give his grace to the humble, waiting penitent.  

(Adapted from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Micah 6.)

A Thought to Keep

We would rather be good employees, helpful volunteers, and even generous givers before we give up our secret sins. But the Lord will not be satisfied with any sacrifice except our hearts. When we humble ourselves before him, he is always ready to accept us.

 

 

Saint Rose Venerini (when she was a Blessed) | Unknown

 Saint Rose Venerini (when she was a Blessed) | Unknown

Saint Rose Venerini

Saint of the Day for May 7

(February 9, 1656 – May 7, 1728)

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SOD_May07.mp3

 

Saint Rose Venerini’s Story

Rose was born at Viterbo in Italy, the daughter of a doctor. Following the death of her fiancé she entered a convent, but soon returned home to care for her newly widowed mother. Meanwhile, Rose invited the women of the neighborhood to recite the rosary in her home, forming a sort of sodality with them.

As she looked to her future under the spiritual guidance of a Jesuit priest, Rose became convinced that she was called to become a teacher in the world rather than a contemplative nun in a convent. Clearly, she made the right choice: She was a born teacher, and the free school for girls she opened in 1685 was well received.

Soon the cardinal invited her to oversee the training of teachers and the administration of schools in his diocese of Montefiascone. As Rose’s reputation grew, she was called upon to organize schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome. Her disposition was right for the task as well, for Rose often met considerable opposition but was never deterred.

She died in Rome in 1728, where a number of miracles were attributed to her. She was beatified in 1952 and canonized in 2006. The sodality, or group of women she had invited to prayer, was ultimately given the rank of a religious congregation. Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters can be found in the United States and elsewhere, working among Italian immigrants.


Reflection

Whatever state of life God calls us to, we bring with us an assortment of experiences, interests and gifts—however small they seem to us. Rose’s life stands as a reminder that all we are is meant to be put to service wherever we find ourselves.

 

 

Help Us, Lord!
Pastor Mark Jeske

Does the concept of a national day of prayer resonate with you? I could understand if it didn’t. You may say that it’s not the government’s job to call people to prayer–it’s the church’s job. And in a sense you’d be right.

But any government has a lot to gain from inviting its citizens to pray for the country’s well-being. Since Christians (me included) are so often lazy and forgetful, we can stand the reminder. Besides, God himself encourages believers to intercede with him on behalf of their fellow citizens: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).

If God had blessings in reserve that he would dump out upon the corrupt and violent Babylonian Empire at Jeremiah’s time, how much more could he be holding in reserve above the skies of our country today? What if he’s just waiting for his children to ask? Imagine if all the Christians in our country would ask for less violence, less injustice, more prosperity, and more peace?

This is not to say that our country deserves God’s blessings because it is a Christian country. In many ways it is not. But God answers prayer not on the basis of the merits of the petitioner. He answers prayer on the basis of the pure grace purchased for us by his Son, Jesus. Help us, Lord!

 

 

Equipping the Called

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. – Ephesians 3:20
When God called Moses to go before Pharaoh, Moses basically told God that He was making a mistake choosing him. God became angry, but Moses made an impact. God understood the fear Moses was experiencing and provided him with an assistant.
You often think that God can’t or wouldn’t use you because of your past mistakes, or because you’re not worthy. Do you think you’re going to limit God and His power to use the most unlikely people in the most unlikely situations? I don’t think so. I heard a pastor say, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called!” I love that, because it means that God works through people like me who are the underdogs . . . the outcasts . . . the defeated.
Remember the story of Balaam . . . how God spoke through his donkey? If he can use a donkey, he can use you, or even me! The Bible shows example after example of God using the least likely people to accomplish His will. David to slay Goliath. Moses to speak to Pharaoh. Gideon and a band of three hundred men to defeat the Midianites. A ragtag team of fishermen to turn the world on its heels with the good news of Jesus.
They all had in common a willingness to be used by God. He just wants you to make yourself available to Him. You don’t have to have it all together. If you wait for that, you’ll never be ready. And don’t get caught in the paralysis of analysis. Just express your willingness to be used by God for His purpose, and take the first step to do something today. Don’t limit yourself. God doesn’t!
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney (1901-1966)
Devotionals Daily: A Year with Jesus

From Devotions for the Beach

Breakfast on the Beach

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. – John 21:12

It had been a tough morning, to be sure. Following Jesus’ death, several disciples returned to their regularly scheduled programming. They got up early, took their fishing nets, and . . . nothing. Not a bite. Until some guy stood on the shore and called out a weird suggestion to throw their nets in from the other side of the boat.

I wonder if any of them grumbled brief ly, “What difference does it make which side of the boat we throw the nets from? Who is this guy?” But by then, they were desperate enough to try anything.

Suddenly, when their nets were heavy, the same question took on a different meaning, because they knew the answer. John shouted, “It is the Lord!” and Peter could not get to Jesus fast enough. Other than suggesting that they add some of the fresh catch to His spread, Jesus’ sole response was “Come and eat breakfast.”

Now, wait just a minute. When read in context, the scripture notes that this is Jesus’ third post-resurrection appearance, a miracle unto itself. After all, these men saw Him perish on the cross. And not only that, He’s preparing a meal on the beach—not as a ghost or apparition, but as a physical being able to lift things and build a fire, etc. Then, after their own efforts had been useless, He provides an abundance of fish with one simple instruction. And after these marvels, He simply says, “Come and eat breakfast”?

Yes.

We create so much unnecessary hoopla in our own regularly scheduled pro­gramming. We plan, we implement, and we work hard . . . and get frustrated when nothing comes of it. Desperate and empty, we finally look to Jesus as a last resort—because we don’t recognize who He is. And sometimes, really, all He’s asking is that we come join Him and take part in what He’s prepared and created. The rest will come.

So declutter your mind of plans, schedules, and “to do” lists. Instead, look out upon the waves, wiggle your toes in the sand, absorb the sights, smells, and sounds, and enjoy the moment for what it is—not what it means, not what lies ahead, not how you arrived here. There will be another time for that. For now, just be present with Him.

After all, in the best relationships, sometimes words are unnecessary.

Lord Jesus, I bring no words, no petitions with me right now. Just a moment to be still and commune with You in gratitude and love, using all of my senses to absorb and celebrate Your beautiful creation.

 

 

What Jesus Did! ‘Too Close to Home?’

Illustration of John 6:41-42 NLT — "I am the bread that came down from heaven."   ——   "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, 'I came down from heaven'?"

Key Thought

“I came down from heaven!” That is the claim of Jesus’ life and ministry in the Gospel of John. Either he is the Son of God, come from heaven — from God the Father — or he is not. Believing that Jesus is God’s Son has never been easy. However, let’s not dismiss the claim too quickly or easily simply because it doesn’t fit into our oversimplified and greatly prejudicial boxes of human judgment. Some people correctly looked at Jesus and saw a Savior come from God. Others saw him simply as the boy from the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth. What you decide matters eternally … and you must decide.

Today’s Prayer

Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you for having him enter our world as one of us. I am comforted to know that he faced the challenges of my world and still triumphed over sin and death. Through your Spirit, keep my passion and interest in your Son aroused. Don’t let me outlive my faith or ever take Jesus for granted. In the name of my Lord and Christ, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

Daily Wisdom: Proverbs 17:1

Illustration of Proverbs 17:1 — Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Spiritual Warfare: ‘Those Whose Heart is Completely His’

God’s Power for Our Battles

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.

Lord, You are the heart Knower. You are able to discern my true nature and how my intentions are wholesome. It is so encouraging to know that You are actively searching for people who are wholehearted in their faithfulness and dedication to You. I want to be one of the people You strongly support because of my pure heart. Help me to have that kind of heart. Strengthen me to be the example that makes others want to know You and serve You. My life is in Your hands, Lord, and I trust You with it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Today’s Scripture

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” – Galatians 6:10 NIV

Thoughts for Today

God gives us opportunities to do good to all people, especially to those in the family of believers. Today’s scripture encourages us to use every opportunity that comes.

How often do we hear of a friend’s need and simply respond with an “I’ll pray for you.” Sometimes that’s all we can do. However, many times we could give some practical assistance as well. But that might be inconvenient. Or costly. “As we have opportunity, let us do good.” .

And then there is the homeless man on the street corner whom we pretend not to see. Or the lady who lives across town and needs a ride to church. Inconvenient. Or the friend dealing with a crisis who just needs to talk. But I have so much to do today. “As we have opportunity, let us do good.”

Consider this …

Sometimes our lives are not characterized by caring and kindness. We are too busy, too caught up in ourselves and our own troubles, too isolated. Just imagine what would happen in the body of Christ if we each begin to show compassion and brotherly kindness at every opportunity?

Let us start each day with a prayer asking God to help us use every opportunity to do good. Let us be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so we will seize those opportunities and not run from them.

Prayer

Father, forgive me for sometimes being selfish, not wanting to help someone because it is inconvenient or uncomfortable. Teach me to seize every opportunity to do good. In Jesus’ name . . .

 

 

 

Changing Besetting Habits – The $10 Challenge
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
May 07, 2018

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” – John 8:34

“I hate being late,” my friend lamented. “It has been a problem for me all my life.”

“Do you really want to change that?” I asked.

“Yes, I do.”

“All right. Every time you are late to work or anywhere else where you have committed to be at a particular time you must give me $25.”

“No way!” my friend responded. “I would go broke! But I will do $10.”

“All right, $10 it is. It has to be a large enough amount of money for it to hurt your pocketbook.”

“Believe me, that will hurt,” my friend said. About a month later my friend found great motivation to be on time to every place she had to be. In the first week, I got only $10 from my friend. The next week, $20. The third week, nothing. By the fifth week, my friend had changed a lifelong habit that had hindered her all her life. In order for my friend not to be resentful of me for the money she had to give, we put it in a jar to be given to some other Christian cause. This ensured my motive was only for her best interest.

Some might be reading this now and say it is legalism. For my friend it was freedom. For the first time she had some means of changing a behavior that had caused her problems in relationships and her own work habits. Psychologists tell us that it takes 21 days to form a habit. So, if you need to change some habit, you need to be actively engaged in that new behavior at least 21 days. My friend needed help to change a habit she didn’t like about herself. It took another individual to hold her accountable, and it took a potential loss of something to provide the added incentive.

A successful businessman was experiencing a difficult marriage. When counseling the couple over dinner one night, a friend of mine noticed that the man often criticized his wife. After further counsel it was determined the man simply could not love his wife. My friend asked him if he truly wanted to see change in his marriage. When the man said he did, my friend said, “Every time you criticize your wife you must agree to give me $100.” This man was well-off and needed substantial incentive to change his behavior. After the man rebelled and retorted, he agreed in front of his wife. A few weeks later a report came back that things were changing. This man did not want to write any checks to my friend. Although it was a competitive game to the man, it was also yielding some positive changes in his marriage. He began to acquire the habit of avoiding criticism of his wife, which was killing her spirit.

What are the habits that keep you from becoming all that God may want you to become? Do you desire change enough to be accountable in a way that it costs you something when you fail? Ask a friend to hold you accountable in an area that needs change. You will find new freedom as you conquer old besetting habits.

 

 

National Paste-Up Day May 7

NATIONAL PASTE-UP DAY

National Paste Up Day is observed each year on May 7.  This day is about remembering those times before desktop publishing and computerized digital imaging when newspapers, magazines and catalogs were compiled by hand and those that worked so tediously in their positions.  Paste-up refers to a method of preparing and laying out pages of publication.  A paste-up artist was also known as a layout artist, mechanical artist, production artist or compositor.  Part of the daily duties of the paste-up artist would be to cut the type into sections and arrange it carefully across multiple columns.  The headline and other typographic elements were often created and supplied separately by the typesetter, leaving it to the paste-up artist to determine their final position on the page.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Word processing technology today seems to have eliminated the art of paste-up.  Bring back the art of paste-up using #NationalPasteUp and share your paste-up art on social media.

HISTORY

Within our research, we were unable to find the creator or origin of National Paste-Up Day.

 

 

HeyYou1

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And now, some Monday Wisdom…..

Image result for Monday Wisdom?

Image result for Monday Wisdom?

 

 

 

 

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