RENEWAL

Do you ever wish you could just run away from the all the daily routine and get a new perspective on life? I think we all have those feelings at one time or another.

This time every year, my husband and I leave our hectic life behind and travel to the mountains for a renewal week. It isn’t exactly a vacation; it’s more like recharging our batteries.

We spend a week with Christian brothers and sisters studying God’s Word with some of the best teachers in the country. We spend the entire day, every day, in Bible classes on subjects that concern Christian people.

This year we have enjoyed already the beauties of God’s earth and have been exposed to the wonders of His universe as we watched the eclipse. What a wondrous sight that was! At the end of that extraordinary event, hundreds of people stood in the courtyard of the conference center and sang together, “How Great Thou Art.”

On Sunday morning, four thousand people gathered to worship God. We sang together, prayed together, took the Lord’s Supper together, and listened to a powerful lesson on the anointing of Jesus before His crucifixion.

Sometimes I get really discouraged at the horrible things going on in our country. I am sad that our freedoms are disappearing. I am frightened for my children and my grandchildren that they have to experience the discontent in our nation. There are those that do not want us to honor our history as a nation, but they prefer to rewrite our history.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.” People since the beginning of time have experienced persecution for their belief in God. They have lost their freedoms in one way or another.

You would think that we would learn from the mistakes made over the years, but we don’t. We remain silent and let those with distorted views and sinful hearts make the decisions that rule our nation. We refuse to stand for the truth, and we hide behind the idea that one person can’t do anything.

When Moses sent the men to spy out the land of Canaan, this is what he told them. “Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes” (Number 13:17-20).

When the spies returned, this was their report. “…We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27-28).

Two of the twelve men that travelled into Canaan insisted they could take the land. They wanted to go at once and take the land. The other ten were afraid and did not want to go.

Even though God had promised the Israelites that they would conquer the land of Canaan, the people murmured against Moses and Aaron. They wanted to appoint a new leader to return them to Egypt. Can you imagine? They wanted to return to slavery!

Two men stood before a crowd of hostile people and declared their allegiance to God. They begged the people not to rebel against God, but they responded by threatening these two men with stoning.

God declared that He would not allow any of these people to enter the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb and the children of those that had defied Him (Numbers 14).

Two men stood before a mob of people, defied the will of the majority, and professed their belief in God the creator.

My faith has been renewed because I know there are more than two people who want to stand against those that would allow us to be consumed by the ungodly. I know there are more than two men who desire to see this country remain free and who are willing to profess their belief in a higher power.

Do you stand with those that defy God, or do you stand with the faithful?

Sandra Oliver

“THE GOD WHO WASN’T THERE”

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Sometimes Christians become complacent and start thinking that because they will not watch such movies, as “The God Who Wasn’t There,” that nobody else will either, or they think their own families will not be affected by such an attack.  Believe me; we have witnessed quite a few “strong” Christian families falling apart because they thought they were impervious to such attacks.  We need to have answers for those who attack our faith (1 Pet. 3:15).  This is partly why I write some of the ladies’ lesson series—so that we can build faith in the word of God.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Who_Wasn%27t_There

The Christian who sent this link to me made the following comments:

One of the best responses I know would be Jesus’ response to the Pharisees when they attacked his credentials (John 5:31-36—especially verse 36).  Jesus simply referred them to the miracles he had done!  What can anyone say?  Nicodemus understood that miracles testified Jesus was from God (John 3:2).  The unbelieving Jews knew exactly what the miracles meant (John 6:2).  The Jews silenced the Pharisees with the same evidence that they themselves had seen (John 7:31).  The blind man silenced the Pharisees with the same obvious evidence (John 9:16).  The Chief Priests themselves along with the Pharisees acknowledged that they were helpless against such evidence.  Peter reminded them of the fact the God gave Jesus His witness that not one Jew could deny (Acts 2:22).  Hebrews 2:2-3 reminds us in a very succinct way of God’s witness to Jesus as well as the apostles.

Then, 2,000 years later, men, who are not in any way witnesses, and who offer no witness whatsoever, question the undeniable evidence?

Nevertheless, the Lord prophesied that he would blind the Jews’ eyes and harden their hearts in Isaiah 53:1 and points to that prophecy in John 12:37-38, and more forcefully again in Isaiah 6:9-10 and points to that prophecy many times (Matt. 13:13-15; Mark 4:11-12; Acts 28:25-27; Rom. 11:8-11, etc. and etc.).

He points to these times in 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:3-4, etc., so that we should not be surprised.  In fact, he warns us that there will be many false teachers even among his own children (2 Pet. 2:1-3) and warns us that the majority (many, as opposed to the few who will be saved) will follow the false teachers rather than the true teachers.

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

–Beth Johnson

MULIEBRAL STUDIES  http://pilgrimstranger.wordpress.com/
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Brighten the corner where you are

In the few garden notes that I manage to keep, it is understood that the “corner garden” refers to a small patch of ground bordered on three sides, and having three corners.

It started out as the pointy space where the driveway meets the sidewalk going up to the front steps, and eventually was extended to include the whole triangle bordered by the sidewalk, driveway, and the west wall of the house. In it is buried our first pet, Muffin the cat, beneath the aging crape myrtle tree.

This was the first flower garden that we planted after we moved in, and special attention was paid to that very first pointy place by the driveway/sidewalk junction. Right now, some “Claudia” tulips are about to bloom, intended to delight the eye of anyone getting out of their car and walking either toward the back of the house or up the front walk.

These tulips were not from the bulbs planted in 2015. Now that Muffin is gone, the voles are left free reign to feast on tulip bulbs. No, new bulbs had to be purchased once they went on clearance in November, and re-planted. Long gone are the pretty striped crocuses, too. If we get a bargain on them, who knows? We may grow crocuses for another season.

It seems important to brighten up this corner garden with year-round interest. There are even two benches by the house and sidewalk corner to sit and enjoy the show. While it is too far away from the far corner to see the tulips, a few late daffodils bob their heads to cheer things up a bit, and pink hyacinths lend their perfume for the pleasure of those that pause there.

Similarly, we can make life more pleasant in the corners we dwell.

In the song, “Brighten The Corner Where You Are,” we are admonished to do what we can for good – right where we are. We may have plans to do something great, but if all we can do is brighten up a small spot and add cheerfulness and love, that is often enough.

“Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

“Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor “you” may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

“Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.”
(Song lyrics by Ina D. Ogden)

Consider how Dorcas was remembered for the things she did. It wasn’t a monumental achievement, it was one garment at a time, done with love one tiny stitch at a time. When Peter arrived shortly after her death, it became evident that her acts of kindness were treasured greatly.

“All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them” (Acts 9:39b, NASB).

Is God telling us that the most important activity in which to be engaged is sewing? Certainly not; but it is a wonderful example of brightening a tiny corner by one woman willing to use her talent.

May God give us all wisdom in finding a way to brighten one corner at a time, and become a blessing to others.

Christine (Tina) Berglund

“A Servant”

We come in contact with many people daily, people who have various situations in their lives, be it sickness, troubles at work, loss of jobs, accidents. Situations common to all mankind.  Our Lord was the greatest servant and gave many examples to us in how to be a servant.

I’ve heard, and perhaps you as well, “Leadership begins at the foot and not the head.”  Our Lord taught by example the lesson in Scripture.  Leadership does begin at the foot.  When we are servants, we put aside ourselves, and focus on others.  Christianity is, after all, God First, Others Second and Me Last.

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments:  and took a towel and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.  Then cometh He to Simon Peter:  and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?  Jesus answered and said unto Him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.  Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.  Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.  Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit:  and ye are clean, but not all.  For He knew who should betray Him; and therefore said He, Ye are not all clean.  So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them.  Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord:  and ye say well: for so I Am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I give you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither He that is sent greater than He that sent Him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”     John 13:4-17

“Self-promotion and servanthood don’t mix.  Real servants don’s serve for the approval and applause of others.  They live for an audience of One.  Real servants maintain a low profile.  Servants don’t promote or call attention to themselves.  Real servants are faithful and finish their tasks, fulfill their responsibilities, keep their promises, and complete their commitments.  They don’t leave a job half done and they don’t quit when they are discouraged.  They are trustworthy and dependable.    Real servants are committed.  Most people don’t know the meaning of commitment.  They make commitments casually, then break them for the slightest reason without any hesitation, remorse, or regret.  Every week congregations must improvise because volunteers didn’t prepare, didn’t show up or did not call to say they were not coming.”

“Real servants pay attention to needs.  When they see a need, they seize the moment to meet it.  Real servants do their best with what they have.  Servants don’t make excuses, procrastinate, or wait for better circumstances.  Servants never say, “One of these days” or “When the time is right.”  They just do what needs to be done.  Less than perfect service is always better than the best intention.”

Real servants do every task with equal dedication.  Whatever they do, servants “do it will all their heart.”

“If you only serve when it’s convenient for you, you’re not a real servant.  Real servants do what’s needed, even when it’s inconvenient.  That’s what you might call an inconvenient truth.”         ~ Unknown

The heart of a servant is one of humility. They seek not to be noticed of others, but to serve others.  Our Lord had the true heart of a Servant.  He did not seek to be served, but to serve.

“And He said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?   They said unto Him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Ty left hand, in Thy glory.  But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask:  can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?  and be baptized with the baptism that I Am baptized with?  And they said unto Him, We can.  And Jesus said unto them,  Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of;  and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:  But to sit on My right hand and on my left hand is not Mine to give;  but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.  And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.  But Jesus called them to Him, and saith unto them,  Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them;  and their great ones exercise authority upon them.   But so shall it not be among you:  but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:  And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.   For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”     Mark 10:36-45

“I have found David my servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him:  With whom My hand shall be established:  Mine arm also shall strengthen him.”   Psalms 89: 20-21

“And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd:  they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them.”
Ezekiel 37:24

There are many reasons God called David a servant of His.  He was faithful, obedient, penitent, loving, devoted, trusting, respectful and a humble servant of God.

Moses, Joshua, Abraham, Paul and many others in Scripture were servants of God.  They were all leaders for they were obedient to Him.  Humble servants seeking to do His will.

May we all as faithful children of God have the heart of a servant!

“If I support my family, I’m a provider.
If I kiss a child’s hurt finger, I’m a healer.
If I dry another’s tear, I’m a comforter.
If I reach a hand to the fallen, I’m a restorer.
If I give directions to a lost pilgrim, I’m a guide.
If I work for harmony, I’m a peacemaker.
If I right the world’s wrongs, I’m a crusader.
If I hearten the despondent, I’m an encourager
If I aid the needy, I’m a benefactor.
If I keep secrets, I’m a confidant.
If I light a candle in a dark world, I’m an illuminator.
If I live a sermon, I’m an example.
If I’m just a part of this, I’m useful.            ~ Leroy Brownlow

Eileen Light

 

Infallible Word of God

We hear more and more of God’s Word being only a book of fanciful stories.  Some claim there was never a flood upon the earth, and when we die we are as the dog Rover, dead all over.  Satan’s lies are designed to destroy our faith in Truth, the infallible Word of God.  The fact is they are trying to dethrone God.  It is their aim to destroy all belief in Him, and to enthrone themselves.  God’s Word says differently.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.”      Matthew 24:35

“For the Word of the Lord is right; and all His works are done in Truth.    Psalms 33:4

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”     II Timothy 3:16

“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”   Hebrews 4:12

“Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth:  for He shall not speak of Himself;  but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak:  and He will shew you things to come.”         John 16:13

“God’s Word has been accused of being wrong, but the wrong was in the eyes that beheld it and the ears that heard it and the heart that considered it – not in the Word itself.  “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”      Romans 7:12

The Bible  has been here too long to become outmoded.  The things that are right and practical are here to stay, like the Bible and the multiplication table – they are not in danger of becoming obsolete.  Our fathers needed the Word.  We need it.  Our posterity shall need it.”       ~ Leroy Brownlow

“Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time

“How many anvils have you had, ‘said I,
‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’
‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye,
‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’

“And so, I thought, The Anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”         ~ Attributed to John Clifford

“But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever . . . .”      I Peter 1:25

God’s Word is sure and has been fought against since time began.  But, His Word still stands today, and those that belittled, mocked and ridiculed its precepts, promises, Words of wisdom, and comfort, have passed on to their reward, and any today that fight against Him, His Infallible Word, will pass on to their reward as well, and His Word will still be standing.

“And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the Words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the Words of this Law.  For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life:  and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.”    ~ Deuteronomy 32:46-47

Eileen Light

 

WHY DO WE GO TO WORSHIP?

For over a year, our ladies’ Bible class studied the subject of worship. We spent our Tuesday evenings discussing the things we do when we worship and the object of our worship. We looked at the worship of the Old Testament. We also compared and contrasted New Testament worship with Old Testament worship.

When we looked closely at the elements God has put in place for us to observe as we worship Him, we found that we may be lacking in our form of worship and also in our attitude about worship.

Our Bible studies about worship have made me contemplate the question, why do most people go to services? I suspect there are many different reasons, and I hope you will examine your own to determine how you would answer this question.

You may be interested in knowing we don’t “go to church”. The word church according to bible studytools.com means:

“…ekklesia [ejkklhsiva] is used of the community of God’s people some 109 times (out of 114 occurrences of the term). Although the word only occurs in two Gospel passages ( Matt 16:18 ; 18:17 ), it is of special importance in Acts (23 times) and the Pauline writings (46 times). It is found twenty times in Revelation and only in isolated instances in James and Hebrews. We may broach the subject of the biblical teaching on the church by drawing three general conclusions from the data so far.
First, predominantly ekklesia [ejkklhsiva] (both in the singular and plural) applies to a local assembly of those who profess faith in and allegiance to Christ. Second, ekklesia [ejkklhsiva] designates the universal church ( Acts 8:3 ; 9:31 ; 1 Cor 12:28 ; 15:9 ; especially in the later Pauline letters, Eph 1:22-23 ; Col 1:18 ). Third, the ekklesia [ejkklhsiva] is God’s congregation ( 1 Cor 1:2 ; 2 Cor 1:1 ; etc.).”

Church actually refers to the people and not the building. So instead of saying, “we are going to church”, we should say, “we are going to worship”. I wonder, however, if this is what our real intentions are. Are we really coming together to worship God or are we coming together for other reasons?
An article appeared in our local newspaper recently that really caught my attention. David Cook wrote the article about a book by Rod Dreher called “The Benedict Option”. According to Mr. Cook, Mr. Dreher believes America has become a post-Christian nation. “What once influenced nearly all our institutions—government, media, education, business, entertainment—is now an afterthought.” Mr. Dreher says, “There are people alive today who may live to see the effective death of Christianity within our civilization”.

Does that scare you? It does me. I hate to think of my children and grandchildren living in a country without Christianity. We are living in a country where anything goes. Wear what you want; say what you want; do what you want.

If that attitude is not enough to show you that Christianity is faltering, look at what is happening with our worship services. They are often no longer God-centered but man-centered. God is not the focus, our desires, pleasures, and wishes are. Churches no longer meet several times a week, but they meet at a later time on Sunday morning to accommodate the late sleepers, and Sunday evening and Wednesday evening worship are almost non-existent.

Let me call your attention to a passage in John 4:24. Jesus said, “God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (KJV). We have a command to worship God, and we must worship Him with the right attitude and in the way He instructed us in the scripture. Anything else, any other way, is condemned.

So why do we go to worship? Some go because that’s what you do on Sunday. Some go for the social experience. Some go to enjoy the fellowship and the activities offered. Ask yourself, why do I go to worship?

• If we go to please ourselves, we are in violation of God’s teaching. Paul told the Romans, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8). Though this does not speak directly to worship, it does speak to being fleshly minded.
• Worship to please self is not true worship. Jesus told the devil, “…Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10). Worship that does not center on God is not pleasing to God.
• Belief in a philosophy of men does not constitute true worship. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:8-10).

There are many examples of wrong worship in the scriptures. There are also scriptures that tell us what we are to do in worship.

Unlike Mr. Dreher, I know that God has promised that His kingdom, the church, will never be destroyed. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44). This prophecy was fulfilled in Acts 2 when the church was established. I Corinthians 15:24-26 tells us that this kingdom, the church, will be delivered to God at the end of time. So the church that Jesus established will be here until the end of time.

Let’s be conscious of our worship and be conscientious in our need for and our participation in worship in spirit and in truth.

Sandra Oliver

 

J.J. ALTIZER AND THE GOD IS DEAD CONTROVERSY

Thomas J.J. Altizer

Emory University

Do those names ring a bell?

This website, GOD IS DEAD CONTROVERSY, mentions several sources, so it will probably help you remember what happened if you have forgotten, or never knew. You may be able to find the Time Magazine or other publications during the time Altizer proposed his idea.

The media at the time wrongly identified James D Bales as a member of the Church of God, who challenged Altizer to debate and later wrote a book about it.  Actually J.D. Bales was a professor at Harding for years and became the object of great opposition in the church for what was known as the Bales doctrine on marriage!  Originally, there was a rather disparaging article linked to The Georgia Encyclopedia about J. D. Bales’ “paperback denouncement” of Altizer.  A friend shared a link to Bales’ book still in print but only selling for $0.01 a copy: The God Killer? Altizer and His “Christian Atheism”

It was unfortunate that most Christians at the time were ill equipped to deal with such an onslaught.  Would we or they be in any better position to argue today?  Public school teachers and counselors, as well as professors in colleges and universities everywhere (even Christian schools) were teaching that man was the measure by which everything should be judged.  It was the era of I’m OK; You’re OK.  They said, “Man is God and God is dead.”

Why did Altizer declare that God is dead? Altizer taught that God came to earth in the form of the man Jesus, and was subsequently killed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_God_theology

Altizer concluded that God had incarnated in Christ and imparted his immanent spirit, which remained in the world even though Jesus was dead. Unlike Nietzsche, Altizer believed that God truly died. He is considered to be the leading exponent of the Death of God movement.

Altizer did not believe Jesus was raised from the dead, and so, to him, God is dead.  Simply stated, Altizer’s ‘God is dead’ statement is a rejection of the witnesses who testify God raised Jesus from the dead.  The solution?  We must present the testimony of the witnesses who saw him after he was raised from the dead. Those who are honest will listen to the facts. All others will, with Altizer, willingly reject eyewitness testimony.

Even though some claimed Altizer’s was a “pre-mature” philosophy, people were ripe for such teaching–perhaps vulnerable would be a better word. Judging from today’s profligate society, I would say the idea has flourished and borne fruit.

Humanism has persuaded unsuspecting children in the public schools that there is no such thing as a miracle.  What tools did they use? They simply invented an imaginary evolution that takes more faith than believing in Santa Claus.  Mankind itself is living testimony of the miraculous creation, not only of their bodies, but also their minds!  Where did mind come from?  Evolution’s mouth is shut.  It can’t even imagine where it came from.  Such living testimony in the marvelous bodies each of us is indisputable testimony of God’s work from the beginning of the world.  If we can’t explain where mind came from, all our imagination about how our bodies evolved is meaningless.  Only a living and loving God could create, not one, but innumerable minds, each on in his image.  And he hasn’t stopped.  Each one who reads these words is another witness to the God who can create minds and bodies.  Only a dishonest judge would reject such obvious evidence.

 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

(Hosea 4:6).

One well-known hymn, OUR GOD, HE IS ALIVE, was written around this time period and served as a reminder of our faith that God is still alive and working today.

–Beth Johnson

MULIEBRAL STUDIES  http://pilgrimstranger.wordpress.com/
MULIEBRAL VIEWPOINT  http://pilgrimstranger39.wordpress.com/  or http://helpmeettohim.org
BOOKS  http://tinyurl.com/km5bly

Three Most Powerful Words

Sally sat patiently while Heather explained how sorry she was for the ungodly things she said and did. She asked Sally to forgive her, even though she knew she didn’t deserve it. After a brief silence Sally said, “I forgive you.” Heather fell on her shoulder with great sobs. An immense flood of relief and peace poured into her soul. Sally assured her that all was forgiven and would never be brought up again. When someone asks for forgiveness, there is power to free that soul of the guilt and shame of sin. Sally knew that forgiving Heather would save her soul, too.

No one left a greater example of forgiving others than our Lord. As he hung on the cross, he prayed for the ones who were killing Him, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34). The soldiers ridiculed and blasphemed Him. The two thieves who were crucified with him, reviled Him (23:39-43). At some point, however, one of the thieves asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. The Lord assured him, This day you will be with Me in paradise. Incomparable compassion and mercy. Amazing grace!

As children of God, we are called to be like our Savior. Are we supposed to forgive when someone asks for forgiveness, but for years has tried to derail us, said cruel things about us, and did evil against us? Yes. If we want the Father to forgive our sins, we must forgive those who sin against us (Matt. 6:14-15). Otherwise, He will not forgive our sins.

In Psalm fifty one, David used very descriptive words pleading for forgiveness. Have mercy…blot out…wash me…cleanse me from my sin…purge me…wash me and I shall be whiter than snow…create in me a clean heart…renew a steadfast spirit within me…restore to me the joy of your salvation…uphold me by Your generous Spirit…deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed.

The three most powerful words in any language are, “I forgive you.” When spoken from a sincere heart followed with forgiving actions, they have the ability to transform two lives. When spoken to God from a broken and contrite heart, He is merciful to save!

Today’s Verse: Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

By Teresa Hampton
Bonus: Audios available at http://christianwomanaudiodevotionals.abiblecommentary.com

AUGUST: Preacher’s on vacation. He will never know I missed.

I came across the following calendar the other day, and it describes a number of people’s itineraries.  It would be humorous if it were not so true.

“Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it!  and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts;  and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick;  thus ye brought an offering:  should I accept this of your hand?  saith the Lord.”     Malachi 1:13

“And let us not be weary in well doing:  for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”    Galatians 6:9

“For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.  But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.  And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.  Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.  Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means.  The Lord be with you all.”     II Thessalonians 3:11-16

“Sorry, I can’t today.  My sister’s friend’s mother’s grandpa’s brother’s grandson’s uncle’s fish died, and yes, it was tragic.”    ~ Unknown

JANUARY:  I hereby resolve to start to church this year, Gotta get over the holidays.

FEBRUARY:  Weather is terrible.  I’ll start when it gets a bit warmer.

MARCH:  Lots of sickness just now.  Got to keep away from those bugs.

APRIL:  Easter.  Big crowds.  They won’t miss me.

MAY:  I’ve been holed up all winter and now that the weather is getting pretty it’s time to hold reunions.

JUNE:  I’ll wait until the baby is older.  How on earth do some folks take their babies when they are just a few weeks old – and then never miss Sunday worship?

JULY:  Boy!  The heat is terrific!  That air conditioner in church gives me chills.

AUGUST:  Preacher’s on vacation.   He will never know I missed.

SEPTEMBER:  School’s started.  Vacation threw me behind in my work.

OCTOBER:  Leaves are beautiful this time of year.  I can worship God outdoors anyhow.

NOVEMBER:  Getting colder . . . can’t stand warm church buildings with a lot of people in them.

DECEMBER:  It belongs to kids.  Anyway, next month is January, I’ll resolve now to start going to church next year.

“tomorrow – (noun) 
a mystical land where 99%  of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.”

Eileen Light

 

Encourage the Elders and Preacher

It is said, “To punish someone for your own mistakes or for the consequences of your own actions, to harm another by shifting blame that is rightly yours;  this is a wretched and cowardly sin.”     ~ Goodrich

It may astonish your preacher and elders, but uphold their hands when they are leading and/or preaching to your congregation  You never know the battles they may be fighting you know nothing about.  Battling against Satan is hard enough when Truth is taught.  Edify them, don’t discourage them.

“But Moses hands were heavy, and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon;  and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side;  and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”      Exodus 17:12

“If he’s young, he lacks experience;  if his hair is gray, he’s too old.

If he speaks from notes, he has canned sermons;  if he is extemporaneous, he wanders.

If he spends time in his study, he neglects the people;  if he visits, he’s a gadabout.

If he is attentive to the poor, he’s playing to the grandstand;  if to the wealthy, he’s trying to butter his bread.

If he suggests improvements, he’s a dictator;  if he doesn’t he’s short of vision.

If he condemns wrong, he’s cranky and intolerant;  if he doesn’t he is a compromiser.

If he preaches thirty-five minutes, he’s windy;  if less, he’s lazy.

If he reaches the Truth, he’s offensive;  if not, he’s a hypocrite.

If he fails to please everyone, he’s hurting the church;  if he does, he has no convictions.

If he preaches on giving, he’s a money grabber;  if he doesn’t he’s not developing the people.”

And some folk think the preacher has an easy time.        ~ Unknown

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.”   Mark 16:15

“Render therefore to all their dues:  tribute to whom tribute is due;  custom to whom custom;  fear to whom fear;  honour to whom honour.”    Romans 13:7

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”       I Thessalonians 5:11

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”       Romans 14:19

“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure  of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”    Ephesians 4:16

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”      Ephesians 4:29

“Today will never come again.  Be a blessing.  Be a friend.  Encourage someone.  Take time to care.  Let your words heal, and not wound.”    ~ Unknown

Eileen Light