Tag: encouraged

What Does Everything Mean To You?


I saw this commercial the other day. “What does ‘everything’ mean to you?”, asked Samuel L. Jackson for Capital One.

Now, for the record, I am NOT endorsing Capital One OR Samuel L. Jackson. But the commercial caught my ear.

I think sometimes we forget what the word “everything” really means.

We are told to not worry about anything, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)

There’s the word, everything. Pray about everything, worry about nothing.

Here’s another word for us. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV)

In everything. Can we agree with Mr. Jackson’s definition? Can we agree with God’s?

The word declares we can receive God’s bountifully supply in everything, so we can always be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:11

Oh, we agree with Mr. Jackson with that verse!

But what about these…?

Do everything without complaining and arguing… (Philippians 2:14 NLT)

…but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NLT)

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26 NLT)

Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:5-6 NLT)

We’re instructed to: not complain or grumble about anything. Test everything and let go of evil. Look to the Spirit to teach us and remind us. About every thing!

And if you’re breathing, praise God!

You see, “everything” to God means every problem has an answer, every word of wisdom we need will be supplied, every stronghold of addiction will be broken, and every demon must flee when resisted in faith with the Name of Jesus..

Every knee must bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus is Lord.

Every prayer will be answered, every word spoken won’t return without accomplishing it’s intended purpose.

Every heart can believe, every voice of repentance is heard. Every angel dispatched to minister to those who are heirs of salvation.

Every truth will be revealed, every lie exposed, every mountain and hill brought low, and every crooked path straightened.

One other thought before I wrap this up.

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. (Colossians 1:19-21 NLT)

…for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him. (Colossians 1:16 NLT)

God wasn’t willing for anyone, or anything (just in case you don’t want to identify with the human race), to be separated from him. So he did something about everything. In Christ.

Every person will have an opportunity to receive the savior; the one who died for everyone.

He created everything through Christ, and reclaimed and restored everything (and everyone) in Christ.

This is powerful stuff! Something we shouldn’t forget. Something even Mr. Jackson agrees with.

God’s definition of everything.

After all, “That’s what everything SHOULD mean.”

Breaking the Spirit of Poverty (Intro)

chainGod doesn’t have a nickle to His name, but He’s rich. He doesn’t own a Lexus or a Lamborghini, but He always rides in style. He wears no fancy Rolex, but He’s never late. He has never known poverty, and He doesn’t want you or I being chained to the spirit of poverty either. 

He is rich. He’s rich to all who call upon Him.

This post is the introduction to a little eBook I wrote a couple of weeks ago. If you are interested in receiving the whole book, free, please sign up to follow this blog via email. You’ll not only receive the book for free (PDF version at this time; I’m working on the Keynote version), you’ll also receive my posts (3-5 per week) and a weekly newsletter highlighting various ministry opportunities, challenges and, quite possibly, a chuckle or two. Thank you for your interest in Grace Books and Blogs, and A Seasoned Word.

Breaking The Spirit Of Poverty Contents

1. God’s Attitude
2. Characteristics of a Poverty Spirit
3. Characteristics of a Generous Spirit
4. Breaking Free
5. Living Above Your Income
6. Let’s wrap it up

Breaking the Spirit of Poverty
By Jan L. Grace
copyright 2014

God’s Attitude

Poverty, according to the dictionary, is the state of lacking sufficient money or material possessions. But according to biblical principles and examples, poverty is much more than just the lack of funds or possessions. It is a spirit, a force, that enslaves men and women. It becomes their mind set, the reason why they live the way they do.

God’s people may or may not have a lot of money. At times, they may be downright poor. But being poor and under the curse of the spirit of poverty are two completely separate things. NEVER does God want his people (or anyone, for that matter) living under the curse of poverty.

God’s attitude toward abundance and lack can be summarized in the following passage:

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.“

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 – 9:10 NKJV)

Many people have the idea that God is very much against wealth and riches. If that were the case, why did he put so many resources in the earth? He has created every precious gem, every valuable mineral, every costly metal and fossil fuel. He has given mankind the knowledge to find and refine such commodities; and the knowledge to use them for the betterment of his people.

God is extremely wealthy! And yet, no one is more generous. He does not wring his hands, or shake his head, when he thinks about our needs. He is rich to all who call upon him (Romans 10:12). He is so rich; he never runs out of anything!

“God is able (and willing) to make all grace ABOUND toward you and I; so we’ll have the ability and the resources to have an abundance for EVERY GOOD WORK.”

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV)

The power to get wealth includes the wisdom to use it, and not abuse it. The poverty spirit will abuse it, waste it, and blame God for his stinginess. But the heart free from the spirit of poverty will allow God full access to everything they have; everything they are. And that leads to one, very exciting life!

Characteristics of the Spirit of Poverty

“And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. “And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ “So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15 – 12:21 NKJV)

Covetousness is an indication that the spirit of poverty is lurking close by. Notice the certain rich man’s focus. Himself. No one else. Not a wife, a child, a parent, a church, a beggar; no one else was even considered when he was contemplating what to do with all his good fortune. His chief concern was how he should store all he had gained. God called him a fool. And that was putting it mildly.

Here is a list of characteristics, indicators, of the spirit of poverty.

Lazy
“How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:9-11 NKJV)

People who have an “entitlement mentality” can fit into this category. I’m not referring to people who CAN’T get out of bed, or those who have had financial, social, or some other kind of trouble. This is about those who WON’T get up, get to work, or do something for someone else. Yet this spirit loves to scream, “I have my needs!” Too bad the prowler has stolen everything they ever had – including their dignity.

The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the street.(Proverbs 22:13 NKJV)

Laziness declares – I can’t. It isn’t safe. I have to stay clear of that area UNTIL SOMEONE COMES AND GETS RID OF THE LION. Yep, that’s lazy; and sad.

Continued in eBook – please click the “MailChimp” button under the heading “Follow Blog via Email” for a free eBook and weekly newsletter.

Hey, Jude!

20130807-223048.jpgEver hear of the rock and roll group called The Beatles? Of course you have! As a teenager, and like millions of other teens, I listened to them every chance I could. And, like it or not, their music spoke directly to the heart of their generation, the culture of the day.

From simple songs about love, to complex pieces laced with veiled references to the drug world, their lyrics told tales of people with names like Rita, Lucy, Michelle, and Maxwell. They gave the world a new way to sing “Happy Birthday”, revealed a thing or two about Walrus’, took us on a Magical Mystery Tour, and encouraged us all to just “Let It Be.” And we can’t forget the cryptic cover of the “Abbey Road” LP; the one with Ringo as the preacher, John as God, Paul as the deceased, and George as the grave digger – as the story goes.

Yes, they spoke to their generation, for better or worse, and most of us listened and bought their message.

Ever hear of a guy named Jude? Not the guy the Beatles sang about; this guy was a brother of Jesus and a writer of a very small letter in the New Testament. He had much to say to his generation, as well. And although his letter is about 2000 years old, the message he gave then is probably better suited for this generation!

Ever read his letter? It begins nice and friendly; cordial, in a way. But things get pretty hot real quick. I mean, he starts writing and warning people to stand up, contend, for the faith. Fight for the Truth, the Gospel. Why, because there’s a time coming when all “hell is gonna break loose!”

He warns of judgment to come, the danger of “backsliding”, and the need to keep “built up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” He uses the word “ungodly” so many times you begin to get the idea God isn’t very pleased with a lot of people who call themselves Christians; the ones who act like they’ve never met Jesus. For instance:


“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” (Jude 1:5-13 NKJV)

See what I mean? “Having saved people…destroyed those who did not believe”, and “while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.” These people hung out with the believers, but…

Jude, poor Jude. He’s not a very popular guy! Definitely not as popular as the Beatles! And his message doesn’t attract too many people today, either. In fact, most of the “church world” would just as soon ignore the message of Jude.

Here’s a little ditty that resonates with a lot of the modern “saints”. Feel free to sing along!

Hey, Jude,
I can’t believe
You’d take a Good God
And make Him bitter
Remember,
God is love and so kind
I am offended by your letter

Hey, Jude,
Why are you mad?
Where’s the love, man
Why be so hateful?
Remember,
God’s love and grace is for all
He wouldn’t send a soul to hell.

So why the angry rhetoric,
You know, I’m sick
Of people who always speak so ugly
Why can’t we all just get along
Would it be wrong?
To talk of the good, and not the ungodly

Hey, Jude,
You’re such a fool,
To believe those tales of fiction,
Remember,
The thought of angels in chains
Is but a vivid imagination

So let them out and let them go
Those words of woe
They only embarrass Christian brothers
Lighten up your voice of gloom
Your words of doom
And let’s all love one another…

Hey, Jude,
Though I’m your friend
Feel that church has made you bitter
Remember,
It’s not as bad as it seems
So take your sad notes, and make them better, better, better…

Yep, poor old Jude. Too bad he didn’t realize this generation doesn’t care for such negativity. If he’d only gotten the memo, and had a dynamic agent, he just might have connected to the believers of the 21st Century.

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey Jude!

Cause and Effect

20130717-072655.jpgI woke up this morning with an old song on my mind; an old Gaither song called, “Because He Lives”. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow”, is the beginning of the chorus. As I kept thinking about those words, the phrase, “cause and effect” jumped into my mind, waving its arms and hollering loud enough to keep me from falling back to sleep.

The cause and effect of the Gospel! “Because” and “Therefore”. The “cause” is why it happened, and the “effect” is what happened as a result. For example:

“So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision – the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” (Colossians 2:10-15 NLT)

Let’s look at this idea using a simple ’cause and effect’ format. The first line of each group will be “the cause”, the second, “the effect”.

Creator God loves fellowship, loves creating good, loves giving life.
He created everything seen and unseen, and called it “Good”.

God gave Man total authority to rule and reign on earth.
They had the authority to give it away to the Deceiver.

The Deceiver is the father of lies, rebellion, wickedness, sickness, fear, torment and death.
Man began to experience the nature of the new ‘boss’, and pass it to each subsequent generation.

God never quit loving His ‘lost’ family.
He found people who would ‘cut the covenant’ with Him.

Abraham believed and obeyed God, even to the point of offering his son as a sacrifice.
Abraham’s covenant partner, God, could offer His sinless Son as a sacrifice for Abraham’s family.

Jesus died on the cross.
He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. The judgment upon Him was for our peace, and the stripes He bore were for our healing.

God raised Him from the dead.
We are raised with Him! Through faith in God’s answer to our need! Jesus!

I left out a lot of examples between Abraham and Jesus’ death, but I’m sure you have the idea. As you read your bible, see if you can find more examples of ’cause and effect’.

Here are some examples that thrill my soul:

He cancelled the list of sin that was on our account.
We can walk in newness of life.

He delivered us from the authority of darkness.
We can walk in the light of His love.

He openly displayed His triumph over the Deceiver.
The Deceiver actually has nothing to blackmail us with, or to hold over our head.

Jesus’ Spirit lives within the heart of the believer.
The believer is not obligated to listen to the desires and dictates of the old nature.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
As a ‘temple’ of the Holy Spirit, those things can flow from our heart.

God works within us, giving us the power and desire to do what please Him; the right thing.
We can ‘work out’ our salvation; actually do what He’s placed in our heart to do.

God resists the proud but helps the humble.
Submission to God gives power to our resisting the devil, so he flees.

Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
That’s me! Saved: delivered, made complete, a new creation, child of God, someone with a hellish past but, now, a heavenly future.

Because He lives, I can face my yesterdays, tomorrows, and even my todays.

How about you?

“Because He Lives”
(written by Bill Gaither, Gloria Gaither)

God sent His son, They called Him Jesus. He came to love, heal and forgive. He lived and died, to buy my pardon. An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a new born baby, and feel the pride and joy he gives. But greater still is that assurance the child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He hold the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day, I’ll cross that river. I’ll fight life’s final war with pain. And then as death gives way to victory. I’ll see the light of glory and I’ll know that He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He hold the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Musicians and Music

20130629-224623.jpgIt’s been said that musicians are a strange breed of cat. I’ve been inclined to agree. But I’m not sure anymore. I believe everyone has a bit of peculiarity about them. God would call it uniqueness.

However, there is something powerful about music. Maybe it’s the melody, words, rhythm, and harmony all working together that makes it so powerful. Ask any person 50 years or older about a certain bell, a certain tune, they’d hear during the summer and chances are they’d begin telling you about the ice cream truck, or bicycle. And, oh, the power of that little tune was enough to get every kid running to their parents, all yelling the same thing, “Can we, Puh-Leeze?!?”

Musicians and music. In my opinion, you can’t separate the two. They are connected by the heart of the musician. A musician can create a piece of music, write it down so others can play it, all the while never realizing the spirit that embodies the song.

I know, it sounds pretty weird. Let me say it a different way. Whatever is in a person’s heart, or spirit, in abundance, is what will come out; regardless of what they’re doing or what their gift is. For instance: do you know people who complain all the time? Guess what’s in their heart. Actually, you don’t need to guess. They give it away! Know anyone who is kind and encouraging? Out of the abundance of the heart…

There are examples of this phenomenon in the scriptures. David, before he was king, was a singing, worshipping, shepherd boy. He loved God, worshipped God, and stood up for God’s Name regardless of the circumstance. His heart was full of love for God. So, when King Saul had emotional and spiritual problems, and probably felt like he was losing his mind, someone suggested to him that he get David to come and play music for him. David came and brought the Presence of God with him, soothing Saul’s soul.

Another time, King Jehoshaphat was preparing to join forces with King Ahab, but hesitated until he could hear from Elisha, the prophet. Elisha said, “Bring me a minstrel (or musician).” As the musician began to play, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha. The musician helped usher in the Presence of God,and mighty things were accomplished.

Lucifer himself used to be the chief musician in Heaven (Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). Music and a holy anointing flowed out of him; until the day iniquity was found in him. Until the day he was consumed with himself; his importance, his gifts, his power. But even though a holy anointing ceased to flow out of him, still, music and an unholy anointing flows from his heart. Out of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks, sings, worships (himself), plans, etc. Same way with God and mankind, who were created in His image.

Everything flows from the heart!

Ministering, serving others, flows from the heart. Giving to the widows and orphans flows from the heart. The power to resist temptation flows from the heart.

Everything flows from the heart!

There’s coming a day when the children of God will learn this truth. They will come to know that, regardless of the situation they may be in, they can bring Godly influence and His Heavenly Presence into their midst. It’s not a matter of praying long prayers, fasting 200 days, or even saying so many “amens”, “oh me’s”, or “hail Mary’s”. It’s allowing the heart to do what it longs to do most – love and worship God! It was created to yield to God, to allow God access to all He’s placed inside each of us. The creation yielding to its Creator – now that’s beautiful music!

Whatever is good, lovely, pure, kind, fruit of the spirit (the human spirit); let those things be in you in abundance and they will flow from you. “Out of your inner most being will flow rivers of Living Water.” Because the River is in you, it can flow out of you.

Everything flows out of the heart!

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ’Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38 ESV)

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 ESV)

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)

Musicians – do you want to make a positive difference in your world? It’s not about building a platform, putting a band together, recording and distributing your songs, or making a name for yourself. Do you remember the name of the minstrel who played for Elisha? No? That’s because his name wasn’t recorded. Only One Name is important. And amazing things happen because of that Name.

The main thing is being the person God can anoint and flow through to touch others. After all, something is going to flow out of your heart. Let it be something God can partner with.

Everything flows from the heart!

Are You Teachable?

Know-it-alls come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages, and experiences. The world is full of them, in case you haven’t noticed. No matter what the subject, some people are experts on everything!

Maybe you’ve never met a know-it-all. Good for you. But just wait, you probably will one of these days. Of course, everyone goes through a period of being ultra smart. It’s part of growing up. It happens usually during the teenage years (which could include the “spiritual teenage years”). Unfortunately, some people never grow out of it.

How about you? Are you teachable?

The word “teach” is a very important biblical word. It’s used over 100 times, most of it pertaining to being taught by the Lord. People read verses about being taught by the Lord and think it gives them the right to say, “God’s my teacher. I don’t need any man to teach me!” They use the verses as an excuse to be unteachable. Here’s a hot one for you…

If someone will NOT receive teaching from anyone but God, they WILL NOT receive teaching from God.

A favorite scripture verse for the “unteachable” is found in 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

“See”, they say, “No one needs to teach me anything; the Holy Spirit is the Only One I need.” But the same Spirit has placed us into a Body; a Body with different parts, different gifts, different callings, different offices…DIFFERENT! We NEED DIFFERENT! He has placed us into a Body into which He has also placed…”Pastors and Teachers”…for the perfecting of the saints…

So you don’t believe me, eh? You don’t agree with my statement? You don’t agree that a person has to receive teaching from an individual or else they’re really not teachable? Allow me to explain.

Different instructions, dealing specifically with teaching and learning, have been given to us throughout the Word of God. Here are some examples:

“Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

“And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.”

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths”

“Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”

“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.”

“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.”

“And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

“yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

“These things command and teach.”

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient…”

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

Sorry, no scripture references. Easy to find using a concordance, though…

Anyway, did you notice all the references to teaching? It’s rather a simple concept, actually. How else can someone learn if they can’t be taught? And for someone to be taught, they must be teachable!

It’s like this: to add water to a glass, the glass can’t be full. Someone’s who’s teachable has room in their glass. Someone who is UNTEACHABLE THINKS their glass is already full.

We will NEVER get so smart we can’t or shouldn’t learn something.

I’ve watched people. I’ve watched them grow in God, grow in fellowship and relationship with others, and then I’ve seen them become so SMART and SPIRITUAL they quit learning and developing in the things of God. They pull themselves and their families out of church, out of fellowship with others who could help encourage them. I’ve contacted them afterward. They start complaining about all the hypocrites, the shallowness of the pastor, the volume of the music. No one seems to care. And since they’ve been reading the Bible, they can lead their family just fine. They’re anointed just as much as the pastor is. (Kind of reminds of Korah, in the book of Numbers)

Unfortunately, and it never fails, a year later or so the family is a mess, and the unteachable one is still bad mouthing everyone but himself. You know what? I’d rather sit and listen to a smelly ol’ catfish growl than to be in the company of someone who isn’t teachable. How about you?

A person who won’t be taught loves to hear themselves talk. They love their opinions, and couldn’t care less about what anyone else might have to say.

Years ago, as I was deep into my know-it-all stage of spiritual growth, we attended a little church in Altoona, Iowa. Our pastor was Brother Anderson, and he has since gone on to be with Jesus. Anyway, he sure was a patient man. I know. I helped him develop patience by the way I acted. Now I didn’t see it at the time, but looking back, I was really a know-it-all. Yes, I was hungry for God and His Word, wanted to grow and help others; but I was a know-it-all. I really had a hard time listening to sermons that weren’t as “deep” as I felt they should be. Hard for someone like me to learn anything from anyone! Too busy comparing what I heard with what I “knew” to be correct.

Well, back to my pastor and I. At that time there was a family in the church whose daughter became extremely ill and ended up in the hospital for an extended period.

Since I was quite the caring, spiritual giant, I asked the pastor what he thought I could do to help the family.

“Well, I would recommend going to the hospital and sit with the family. Encourage them by just being there. Visit with them, pray with them, and stay out of the nurse’s way.”

My spiritual response was, “I really thought I should bring some Kenneth Copeland tapes, a tape player, and my Bible so I could pump them full of the Word of God and faith.”

One of the few times he showed his frustration with my “billowed sails of knowledge” was after my response. I’m sure he tried, but he just couldn’t hold it in. He could only temper his reaction which were these words, “If you didn’t want my opinion, why did you ask?”

I learned something at that moment. Several things, in fact. One, I really didn’t know as much as I thought. Two, others have a lot more knowledge and experience about things than I do. Three, if I’m really going to grow in the Lord, I’d better listen more than I talk. Four, if I don’t receive the ministry of the one God has put into my life, then I won’t receive ministry from God.

Ouch!

So, when’s the last time you actually allowed someone to teach you what you really need to do in order to: get through a certain situation, deal with a particular co-worker, handle problems with your kids, parents, or spouse…

and when’s the last time you actually followed their advice?

When was the last time you admitted to yourself that you really aren’t the brain you’d like people to think you are?

Why not do it now? Look into mirror and say, You, in the mirror! Look at me while I’m talking to you. You know some things, but you don’t know all things. You need to be, YOU WILL BE, teachable. You will learn from God, from your pastor, from your brothers and sisters in the Lord. You will learn from enjoyable moments, and you will learn during seasons of sorrow. You will learn how to be content with little, and you’ll learn how to abound with plenty. You’ll learn God CAN make it without you, BUT He’d rather not have to. You WILL LEARN that in order to listen to other’s wisdom, you must clamp your mouth shut. Shut mouth, open heart.
You’ll learn there’s a season to give to others knowledge, and a season to allow others to pour into you.

You, in the mirror, YOU WILL BE TEACHABLE – and thus you’ll be an asset to the Kingdom of God; and especially to the King.”

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 NKJV

Be Unique

20130416-095945.jpg“…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

“Belongs to Christ…” Anyone who receives, by faith, Jesus Christ as The Lord of their life becomes a new creation, a new “fabrication”, a “species of being which never before existed.”

Recreated on the inside, in our “spirit man”, the part of our being that is dead, unresponsive, to God without the life only Jesus brings. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

It’s interesting to realize how every new creation can be fashioned into the likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29), yet each person be so different. Each person, each individual, totally unique.

Our lives can be so monotonous, so mundane, until we discover who we really are as a new creation. Until we embrace our uniqueness and trust The Lord to fit us, differences and all, into His Body.

We are unique, in Him. Individually, we are one of the many facets, variables, which make up His glorious Body. And as individuals walking in the grace of God, we join our unique gifts, callings, and personalities into one “Light of the World” and a “City set upon a hill.”

Quit acting as though your life is nothing special! Allow God the joy of showing you how your unique beauty can be used to reveal a facet of His glory to your world.

You are unique! Be unique, in Him.

Memories and Berdine’s

Front 1Memories and Berdines

Remember when you were a kid? Remember how simple things were? And how about the old “Dime Stores”?

When I was young there was a store called “Places”, and it was only three blocks from where I lived. I could’ve hung out there all day if my folks would’ve allowed it. Such a cool place where a kid could find just about anything they could imagine. Model cars, squirt guns, cap guns, balsa wood gliders, army men, marbles, games, dolls; and the list could go on and on. I loved it!

Every year my wife and I travel to West Virginia to visit her family. About 20 miles from her Mom’s house is a town called Harrisville, the County Seat of Ritchie County. Within the town is Berdine’s, America’s oldest five and dime store. It has been around since 1908.

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We love to visit the store each time we’re in the area. So much stuff, so many memories. There’s no hurry as we casually meander through the narrow aisles, handling items that trigger memories of a time when life was fun and care free. A time when the burdens of our life were basically non-existent. A period when we felt secure and cared for, and were free to use our imagination.

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Memories, good memories, are important to hold onto. They can help us stay calm even during troubling situations.

In Joshua, chapter 4, the Lord instructed Joshua to have 12 men build a Memorial using 12 stones from the Jordan River.

“Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, “that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ “Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:4-7 NKJV)

The memorial was a place where people could remember the time they felt secure and cared for by God. As they looked upon the memorial stones, the victories of yesteryear would be replayed in their mind and heart. The joy and faith that had sustained them before would rise up in them, reminding each one, “Our God is for us! He has brought us here, and He will bring us through. He will finish what He started! He cares for us.”

Just a little reminder is all we need at times. A little Bible verse, someone’s picture, a bag of marbles, or maybe a little Gumby doll, could be enough to help us not give in or give up.

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Here’s an idea that just may help you. Know where your good memories are kept! Store them in a place where you have easy and quick access. A journal, a photograph, a book, whatever you have as a memorial of God’s love and care; keep them handy.

And, whether you need to buy anything, or not, it’s always enjoyable spending a leisurely afternoon reliving the memories of “the good ol’ days”, when you knew Someone cared for you…

…and He still does!

For those interested in reading more about Berdine’s:

Berdine’s
America’s Oldest Five and Dime Store
Harrisville, West Virginia
Since 1908

http://www.berdinesdimestore.com/

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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Four Anchors

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Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.
Acts 27:27-29 NKJV

Paul’s journey to Rome, with its storms, treachery, shipwreck, and rescue, would make a great movie! But just in case that doesn’t happen for a while, there is something in this story I must tell you about.

The ship and all 276 people aboard had just endured almost 2 weeks of stormy weather. It had been so bad, many had feared for their life. Now things were going fairly smooth, other than they had no idea where they were.The sailors were extremely cautious at this point. Traveling at night, they relied largely on their experience and gut feeling to alert them of possible danger. About midnight, the crew sensed they were drawing close to land. To know for sure, they took soundings (using a line with a lead weight on the end, they measured the depth of the water) a couple of times. They discovered land was fast approaching and the ship was in danger of colliding with the shore. So, to avoid the collision and disaster, they lowered four anchors and waited for the sun to come up.

Everyone has gone through, is going through, or WILL go through, storms. Each person runs the risk of becoming shipwrecked, or even worse, destroyed, as a result. But as the story illustrates, God shows us a safe way to travel, to keep from destroying ourselves and others, even through the toughest times. And though a lot of storms are not our fault, just knowing where to place the blame doesn’t help the situation.

Have you ever been overtaken by a storm? No warning, not a clue anything was brewing. It happens all the time. It was happening on Paul’s ship. The soldiers weren’t aware of danger, the prisoners (outside of Paul) didn’t really care – they were probably as good as dead, anyway. But someone on Paul’s ship with life experience recognized the possibility of impending danger; and the experience became the wisdom necessary to avoid certain disaster. Even in the dark, where it was impossible to see, the experienced ones knew what to do until they could see the issue for what it was. And in each of our lives there’s someone with the experience and wisdom to help us know how close danger is and what to do until revelation comes.

The sailors (experience and wisdom) said, “Drop four anchors and we’ll wait for the sunlight.” Light, daylight, sunshine, all speak of revelation knowledge. God, opening the eyes of their understanding, allowing them to see things from His perspective and with His wisdom.

“Drop four anchors…” Four anchors to hold them in place, to keep them from drifting, from wandering; giving them stability until the next step for action could be discerned.

In our life’s journey, these four anchors are extremely important. They help us stay in place and not drift when we can’t see what’s around us. Something that gives us stability and helps keep us from drifting. These four anchors are:

1) Hear the truth – “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1 NLT

Don’t trade the weighty anchor of truth for something that is only fluff. The anchor of truth can smash our foot if we drop it there, but it will also keep us from being blown about by every wind of doctrine.

2) Hope – “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…” Hebrews 6:19 NKJV

The hope of God’s promises is an anchor for our soul – our mind, our will, and our emotions. As our soul is anchored, we have greater confidence to go boldly to the Throne of Grace. Encouragement.

3) Helpful Friends –” Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. ” “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” Proverbs 27:6,17; Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 NKJV

Friends – people who love us enough to tell us the truth AND walk with us during dark moments. People who will help us with our resolve and be there through the restoration process.

4) Holy Spirit – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:7-15 NKJV

The Holy Spirit KNOWS what’s going on and WHY it’s happening. He will guide us INTO ALL TRUTH. He will guide us OUT OF ERROR. This anchor will keep us from turning around.

Life’s a crazy, dangerous journey at times. We all need people speaking into our lives who have the experience, wisdom, and love to help alert us to possible danger. We must listen to them, and not push them aside when we don’t like what they say.

If you’ve been running through life without these four anchors, I encourage you to stop now and secure the anchors you’ll need. Because you WILL need them.
Keep the anchors within reach, for when the slightest “drift” is detected, it’s time to act.

“Drop Kick Me Jesus…”

“Drop kick me Jesus…” A cute little song by Bobby Bare.

God NEVER intended for His people to barely make it through this life and into the next, without a testimony of His power and victory evident in their life. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”(Romans 8:29-30 NKJV)

The word “predestined” can toss you around if you’re not careful. It does not mean God has already decided who will and who won’t be saved. God’s not willing any perish or go to an eternal hell. Rather He IS willing, and made it possible, for ALL men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. So ANYONE and EVERYONE can become a new creation in Christ and spend now and forever abiding in His Presence.

“…He also predestined…” in the above passage could be paraphrased in this manner: “God knows who will come to Him through His Son, Jesus. And all who come to Him are destined to be changed into His likeness, His image. It’s an established plan. God won’t settle for any less.”

God desired to have a family, created in His image, after His likeness. Adam started out well, but ended falling way short. But Jesus, the Second Adam, brought mankind back to the place where fellowship with God is possible. Possible, through faith in Jesus. And our “destiny”, in Jesus, is to be changed into His exact likeness, His image; acting like Him in all ways, thought, word, and deed. As the Son is, so shall we be (see John 17 and Hebrews 1:1-3). “Pre” means “before” so think of it this way: God planned our destiny in Jesus before it was possible. He “prepaid” for our eternal hope and future.

I believe it’s time for us to see ourselves the way God sees us in Christ. Time for us to understand “this life” on earth is only separated from our “next life” by our earthly body. What God has, or hasn’t, accomplished in us while on earth will continue. “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” 

So, enjoy the cute song. Especially if you like country music. But look into God’s Word and discover what He has already accomplished for you in Christ. And don’t be satisfied with barely making it through life. 

You are not a football.