Tag: God’s love

Only One Shot At Life


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No one determines if or when they will be born, and most haven’t a say regarding the day they die. 

But we all have some input on how we’re going to live out the days in between.

Whether we only have 10,000 days, or a whopping 35,000 days (almost 96 years), we only have one shot at life.

Life consists of much, much more than inhaling and exhaling, and a heart rate of 80 beats per minute.

It’s more than merely existing.

Some may make a big splash in their world, enjoying much more than fifteen minutes of fame.

But even if we’re the most popular, most powerful, most prestigious person on earth, we have only one shot at life.

One shot at life in our mortal body. 

One shot to decide our eternal fate; our endless destiny.

Oh, the days fly by so quickly. We are so easily distracted with the everyday, routine things, that we sometimes ignore the still, small voice whispering to our heart, “There’s more to live for, more to enjoy, than you’re experiencing.”

One day turns into a thousand, and our one shot at life slowly passes us by.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“He who has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12).

There’s no reason anyone should live another day without life; life that only God can provide.

There isn’t a soul on this big, blue earth who wasn’t created to experience life; an eternal, God-filled life.

We must not let our one shot at life pass us by. 

There’s a truth we must all embrace, by faith, in order to have eternal life. Life which takes us far beyond merely existing; both now and forever.

That truth is simple, yet we need God’s help to receive it.

We are, by nature, rotten to the core; undeserving of God’s eternal life and love. We all are selfish and rebellious. We may try and be good, but even if we lived a thousand lifetimes we could never attain the goodness, the holiness, God requires in His Kingdom.

God knew we could never make it on our own, which is why He sent His Son, Who was/is perfect in all of His ways, to become the Father’s once and for all payment for the sins of mankind.

Our shot at life, our one shot at life, is our opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as our Substitute; our Lord and Savior.

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12 NLT)

The right, the privilege, the authority, to become a child of God, a soul made alive with the very life God has AND IS!

Our days have a way of slipping by, and quickly, I might add.

What are you doing with yours?

“And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 NLT)

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9 – 10:10 NLT)

Don’t assume you have another day left to decide. Nothing is promised, nothing is certain.

But if there is breath in your lungs, God is still offering you one shot at life.

Please don’t let it slip by. 

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” (John 3:36 NLT)

Remember, one shot is all you have. 

“For God loved the world (including YOU) so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

All You’ll Ever Need Is Found At The Mercy Seat

There’s a place in this universe, though it was created for every man, woman, and child who’d ever grace this planet, far beyond the reaches of the most powerful telescope.

A place not made with human hands, but a place where every sin-stained hand can find complete cleansing.

A place ignored by some and cursed by others. Yet it’s a place where never once has anyone been turned away.

Throughout the generations, many have attempted to destroy the very mention of its Designer. But those attempts have not frustrated Him, nor have they diminished His great love for each one.

A picture of that precious place was painted for us with words spoken by the author of Genesis, when recounting the events of man’s first transgression.

Moses wrote, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21 ESV)

The picture was further developed when the Lord told Moses, “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony…” (Exodus 25:22 ESV)

Moses knew it as the Mercy Seat. The place created by God, for man. The place where man could meet with God; sinful man communing with a Holy God, at the seat of mercy.

The place far beyond our casual reach, but as close as a simple prayer for help.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

Throughout the ages, man has attempted to erect a substitute for that special place. But even with all their logic and labor they’ve never created anything other than a false hope; a deadly delusion.

No, mankind can’t improve it, reproduce it, or make it go away.

The Mercy Seat; the Throne of Grace. The place where Heaven meets Earth; God fellowships with man.

Jesus told His disciples He was going to prepare a place for them (John 14). He did. The place of mercy; the place of propitiation and atonement.

Jesus is the place of mercy. The Mercy Seat.

Every one of us need the mercy of God, because every one of us is guilty of sin and rebellion. Each one of us has filthy hands, and a wicked heart.

But to all who will acknowledge their need, Heaven calls out to them: “Come and receive mercy, and find grace to help for every need.”

All you need to do is believe, and call.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12 ESV)

Have You Ever Been Disowned?

How many times can a person be disowned without it affecting them? 

Have you ever been disowned? Have you ever been told you’re no longer part of the family?

Maybe not a family, but perhaps a softball team, church, group of friends, or dinner club?

And why the announcement? Because you didn’t measure up in someone’s eyes. You were either too this or that; somehow you didn’t meet the expectations of the designated leader.

And it’s such a shame.

Or is it?

How do you feel when you’re told in no uncertain terms, “You do not belong! You are no longer one of us”?

I know it can really hurt. I’ve experienced it several times in my life. I wanted to belong, because I believed I should.

There have even been times I felt it was my God-given right to belong; my birthright, if you will. But hey, what do I know? I wasn’t the one making the rules.

Even though I knew I was loved and appreciated by a number of other people, and I’d try to act like it didn’t matter, it still hurt to be disowned.

It hurt like crazy. 

Perhaps you’ve experienced some of the same rejection. How does it make you feel? What are you doing with your feelings? Are you handling them well, or do you find yourself making excuses for the rule maker?

 How many lifetimes will you have to live before you find the correct formula for making the grade? 

 And what if the rules change, like they sometimes do?

Can you maintain your vigilance, chasing the elusive right to belong, and still be who God created you to be?

I think I’m finally starting to understand that to some, unless I act exactly according to their rules, I’ll never belong.

What about you? Are there people who love to hold the coveted “you are finally good enough to belong to us” award in front of your face? They know you can’t live without it; you so want to belong to their group. Family, friends, team, whoever; you only want to belong.

But you can’t. Because if you have to change that much just to fall in line with them, are you really you?

I am so glad my Heavenly Father doesn’t treat His family that way.

“…those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” (John 6:37 NLT)

“The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22 NLT)

Notice the Head (Christ) won’t say to the feet (you and I), “I don’t need you.”

Even when we don’t measure up, the Ruler of the Universe offers grace and mercy. Though we may have disgraced Him, His Name, and His Family, He says, “Come unto Me.”

And He’s always ready to help us with any changes we may need to make.

Though we may be disowned and cast aside like a used paper towel, God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He says we belong. 

His blood was sufficient for all our shortcomings, all our failures. That’s why He went to the cross.

Others may be too good to help someone as rotten as you and I measure up to their standards. But the Lord of All came in our stead, took our place, so we could become part of His family.

Disowned? It happens, and it hurts. But you don’t need to be alone. There’s Someone Who will receive you; all you need to do is receive Him.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)

Will you?

Do YOU Have A Healthy Smile?

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Smile


I’ve heard it said, and maybe you have as well, that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Many people believe it, but there are some who emphatically don’t.

Searching the Internet, I discovered quite an array of opinions. For example, there are those who believe the old adage, claiming it takes 43 muscles to frown, but only 17 to smile. One medical student debunked the theory by stating “there are only about 36 named muscles of facial expression.”  (Click Here)

At least one plastic surgeon believes it takes one more muscle to smile than frown.

So what do you believe? Who is right?

And one other question: if the only difference between a smile and a frown is the position of one’s mouth, why is a smile more pleasant to look at?

There’s more to a smile, or a frown, than just the tightening or relaxing of certain muscles. A genuine smile (or frown) originates in a person’s heart (inner being, spirit) and soul (thoughts and emotions). It’s one reason why, most often, you can tell if a person is happy or mad without even seeing their mouth. Just look at their eyes, listen to their voice, or watch the way they walk.

I’m not sure how many muscles it takes to smile or frown. But I do know this; smiling is healthier.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)

The person whose heart is filled with God’s love, joy, peaceful contentment, and thanksgiving, is someone who can sow seeds of encouragement into the lives of those around them. They look for ways to lift up the fallen, and those burdened with tremendous pain. They possess a simple, yet powerful, resource that God can use to make a difference in someone’s life.

The smile.

The genuine, from the heart, healthy smile.

It’s one of the reasons Solomon wrote, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the forces of life.” Proverbs 4:23

In this age of fitness facilities (seems like there are more of them than churches, nowadays) many have carved out time from their busy and hectic schedules to make certain they are physically fit; their muscles toned and their body trim. If you’re one of those people, great. I salute you for having the determination and discipline to see it through.

But don’t forget the most important part of your body. For whether or not it takes more muscles to frown than smile, never underestimate the power of a healthy smile.

Yours.

Religious Wars and Murderous Maniacs

I hate to say it like this, but murder isn’t anything new. Ever since Cain killed Abel, mankind has had to deal with it. 

And can you guess what’s probably the number one reason a person would murder another human being? 

If you guessed religion, you’re absolutely correct. In some form or fashion you can trace the root cause of many murders to some sort of religion. 

It’s why Cain killed Abel. Abel’s offering was accepted by the Lord, and Cain’s wasn’t. God warned Cain about the sin which was creeping around his heart, and his need to master it or it would master him. 

Well, he didn’t, it did, and Abel was killed. 

In 1095 a series of wars were waged, lasting several hundred years, involving hundreds of thousands of people; the Crusades.

In the name of their pope, “Christians” waged wars against the Muslims who occupied ancient Israel. Much blood was shed for God, King, and Pope; including the blood of thousands of Jews. 

Nations were pillaged, land confiscated, women raped, as the Crusaders marched from Constantinople toward the Holy Lands.
In the “name” of religion.

It’s happening today. 

Each day it seems as though there’s another story regarding ISIS, Sharia law, and things pertaining to Muslim terrorists. American troops are on foreign fields fighting a war that can be traced back to a disagreement about religion. 

Like I said, there have been many wars fought over religion; man’s attempt to define God apart from His own personal description as revealed in His Son, Jesus.

“Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?” (John 14:9 ESV)

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV)

Back in the early days of the church, there was a young man named Saul. Well educated, highly indoctrinated, and an asset to any community. A Pharisee of Pharisees, having studied under one of the greatest teachers of the law and who was always held in highest esteem, Gamaliel.

Saul was an up and comer, totally ready to take on any and all heretics, and defend the righteous name of his God. 

I don’t recall him ever wearing a black hood, though.

A man with a mission: get rid of all the people who didn’t believe like him. 

He was present when Stephen was stoned to death; holding the coats of those doing the dirty work. 

But later, as he traveled up to Damascus with signed documents authorizing him to jail anyone he found in the Way, something strange happened.

He came face to face with the God He thought he was defending. 

And as he picked himself up from the ground, asking for someone to lead him by the hand since he was temporarily blinded by a bright light, the fight was removed from his soul, replaced with a newfound understanding of God’s love and power. 

Read all about it in Acts 7-9. 

So now I’m wondering; are the wars which are presently being waged throughout the world, the religious wars, too big for God to handle? 

Could there possibly be a few Sauls among them? 

And if God is allowing them to wage their murderous acts of terrorism in the name of their god, then how will this all end?

Is the war about religion, or maybe something else? 

And what if the Almighty intervened and wiped out all the bad guys? He is capable of such a feat. But would anyone want to acknowledge the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus as the true Champion?

I’m not discounting the heroics and bravery of our men and women in uniform. I have the deepest respect for them. 

But sometimes during the course of war, God is needed to intervene. Why, King Hezekiah was surrounded by almost 200,000 Assyrians. One night an angel, one angel, walked through the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 men. 

That’s what I call intervention. 

But is our nation ready to rely on divine assistance to keep our loved ones safe? 

Probably not. 

What saddens me, is that when all of this is said and done, this religious war, this nation won’t be any closer to the truth.

May Heaven help us anyway.

God Hates Cancer

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It’s as though a light suddenly turned on inside my spirit, illuminating my understanding and igniting my faith.

As I said a silent prayer for someone we know who just recently was diagnosed with cancer (for the second time), deep in my heart I heard the Spirit of God say, “God hates cancer!”

I have believed in divine healing for a long time, but at times have let my faith subside. Personal pain can sometimes override my faith; at least it has in the past.

But God hates cancer! In fact, He hates sickness and disease! He hates it with a passion.

Sickness and disease of any kind are results of the fall of Adam and Eve. God created them perfectly. They were created to live forever. It wasn’t until they disobeyed God, and obeyed the evil one, that sickness and disease entered the human race.

But God has demonstrated His will concerning healing and health because He has NEVER turned anyone aside without healing them; if they approached Him with believing faith.

Look throughout the New Testament. Time after time Jesus says, “As you have believed, be made whole.” “According to your faith…”

God hates cancer. There are several reasons why I believe it:

1. Its author is Satan. Notice what Jesus said: “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16 NKJV)

I’m not saying a person is fighting a demon every time cancer is diagnosed, but ultimately cancer originated in the bowels of hell. It wasn’t part of God’s original plan, you won’t find it in Heaven, and it can be destroyed by faith in God.

“All things are possible to those who believe.” (Mark 9:23)

2. Jesus paid the complete cost of Adam’s treason; spirit, soul, and body.

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah 53:4-5 AMP)

And in case you’re wondering if that Old Testament passage applies, notice how Matthew uses the same verse in his gospel.

“So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'” (Matthew 8:15-17 NKJV)

Even the Apostle Peter agrees:

“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV)

3. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

“…The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].” (1 John 3:8 AMP)

“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 NKJV)

Not once did Jesus tell someone, “I’m so sorry; you just have to keep that cancer so God can teach you something.”

4. Cancer destroys life. God is the God of life!

“Our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.” (Psalm 68:20 NKJV)

5. Cancer mocks God’s power. But God is able, and willing, to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

6. Cancer declares God can’t, or won’t, forgive sins.

Notice: “When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God .” (Luke 5:20-25 NKJV)

Why would Jesus say something like that? Maybe because of what the Holy Spirit inspired David to write in Psalm 103.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction…” (Psalm 103:2-4 NKJV)

Healing and forgiveness require power from the same source – God. His power saves and heals.

James said somewhat the same thing.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:14-16 NKJV)

7. Jesus told us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.” Healing and health abound in Heaven.

God hates cancer because it reminds Him of His adversary, the devil. God isn’t using the devil to teach His kids something. A house divided will fall.

Do YOU hate cancer? I’m sure you do.

But you and I hating it isn’t the same as having faith in the Living God Who has demonstrated His power over it.

He demonstrated His power over anything and everything hell could possibly use against us when He raised Jesus from the grave.

God hates cancer! He has a word for it; a word that demolishes it to its very root.

Jesus!

Human Trafficking, Abortion, and Jesus

TrafficTrafficI have received a number of comments regarding my last post: “Human Trafficking? What if I’m pro-choice?” And, I will add, no one wrote to tell me what a great writer I am.

But that isn’t why I write.

Rather than addressing each comment individually, I felt I might be able to address them in the context of a follow-up post. I will attempt to do that now.

First of all, I am very sorry for the pain people have endured, and are still enduring, because of human trafficking. I was in no way trying to minimize the pain, or treat it lightly. I don’t believe it’s a joking matter.

Even though it may be hard to believe, there is a God in Heaven who cares about each of us here on earth. He saves, delivers, and heals. He restores the years stolen from us; for whatever reason. He is able to make us brand new on the inside. Our thoughts, our memories, our horrors; all washed clean with His love.

My comments about abortion, pro-choice, and advertising executives were not meant to diminish the evils of human trafficking. I was attempting to drill down to the root of the issue. Lust.

I believe the stories told by victims of human trafficking are horrifying. And again, I can’t imagine the pain and suffering they went through. To speak of it now must be very painful, like hell on earth!

Though it is extremely painful, the voice of those who have escaped can now be heard! They now have an opportunity to enlighten society of the hell they’ve gone through, and maybe give some ideas on how it can be stopped. And I hope they do.

But the unborn baby has no voice. They are victims with no rights and no voice. They feel unimaginable pain as they’re ripped from what should have been a safe place to grow. That’s what I was attempting to say when comparing the one with the other. Sorry if it wasn’t very clear. Maybe it still isn’t.

Yes, there are a number of reasons why a woman may choose to abort. And, I’m sure, there are some legitimate ones, even in God’s eyes. But since I don’t have the job title of Spokesman for God, I’ll move on.

I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as I am. And that’s my opinion; what I believe.

I stand on my belief that the answer to our world’s problems is Jesus.

The world NEEDS Jesus!

And I believe the world’s problems can be traced to the devil. I’m sorry for being so black and white. But when man’s “lease” on this world finally runs out, and God wraps up His plan for the ages, the devil will be completely removed from the scene. Forever. And the evils he’s responsible for will be removed as well.

Some have asked me how I can say the world is getting worse. Simple. I look around. I read of the way things were. I’ve also 60 years of life to use as a reference point. That doesn’t make me an expert, nor does it validate my opinion over others. But from my vantage point, that’s what I see. Not because I’m negative, or even narrow minded. Of course, you may not be convinced.

I also believe things are getting worse because it is prophesied in the Word of God. People may choose to not believe the Bible, for whatever reason. There was a time I didn’t believe the Word. But, things change and so do people. At least they can.

I am not holier than you or anyone else. If I don’t walk with God I am capable of doing hellish things. The same is true for everyone who names the Name of Christ. But even though Christians don’t always do things correctly, and even though we don’t always say the right things or show the right amount of compassion, doesn’t mean our message is wrong or outdated. It just means we haven’t “arrived” and God still has more work to do.

Again, I’m sorry for anyone’s pain.

I still believe the root of the problem needs to be dealt with. The lust in people’s hearts. Do I think it will happen? Can someone wave their magic wand and end all sin, all evil, all greed and selfishness? No. People have a choice.

Adam and Eve had a choice. We have a choice. Our choices won’t necessarily stop all kinds of evil from happening, or even happening to us. But our situations and circumstances do not annul the promises of God.

Jesus came for each one of us. He came to undo the devil’s works. And eventually, all of God’s promises will be fulfilled. Believe it or not.

Someday every person will stand before God and have to answer a question or two. I will. You will.
We’ll give an account of all the things we’ve done while here on earth. Good or evil. Or just so-so. But the question of our lifetime isn’t about whether we are pro-choice or pro-life. It isn’t about how many sex partners we’ve had, or did we remain a virgin all our life. If we fail to answer THE question correctly, nothing else will matter.

The question? What have we done with God’s Son, Jesus Christ? Receive Him or reject Him? As for human trafficking, I will help stop it in whatever way I can. And I’ll encourage victims to find new life, forgiveness and healing in Jesus.

Because, as I mentioned before, I am convinced the answer to all of our problems is Jesus.

“For I am not ashamed of the good news of Jesus. It is the power God uses to restore, remake, and reclaim a life from the hellish grip of the evil one.” Romans 1:16 (loosely paraphrased)

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

anchoranchoranchoranchor

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.

a simple reminder…

A New Day

We may struggle remembering things such as names, dates, assignments, and the like. But God has given everyone a way to NEVER FORGET the important things.

Just a simple reminder. As simple as the dawning of a new day.

Each time the sun rises in the east, signifying the beginning of a new day, let that ordinary event remind you of God’s extraordinary promises!

See the rising sun as a simple reminder of “NEW”:

Covenant – 2 Cor. 3:6
Creation – 2 Cor. 5:17
Freedom – 2 Cor. 3:17
Mind – Rom. 12:1,2
Provision – Matt. 6:11
Power – Acts 1:8
Things – Isa. 43:19
Comforter – John 14:26
Coming of the Lord – 2 Pet. 3:12
Heaven and Earth – Rev. 21

and also Lam. 3:22,23
Compassion
Hope
Mercy
Faithfulness
Living

Just God’s simple way of saying to us, “If I can make the sun rise each and every day, please know you can trust Me to help with the small things.”

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