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Soldier4Christ
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« on: October 14, 2005, 09:14:09 AM »

 He Came, He Sought, He Saved


 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost,” (Luke 19:10).

When I was in High School back in the day, I loved to play sports. One of my favorite lines after we won a game was, “We came, we saw, and we conquered!” What a feeling that would run through our veins when we won! We would get crazy!

You know what? Jesus did the same, but in a slightly different manner.  He came, He sought, and He saved!  Just think, Jesus, the Son of God, which spoke and galaxies came into existence, stars burned into place, and the heavens and the earth unleashed in power and glory, came to this earth to seek us out, and to save us!

The more and more that I look at my salvation the more and more that I adore the Savior who sought me out, and saved me. Then, I ask myself, what kind of response does that deserve?  The answer is my everything!  Everything that I am is because of Christ, and therefore, everything that I am belongs to Him! Praise the Lord for seeking me, and giving me salvation!  May God’s Grace Abound in You!

« Last Edit: January 16, 2007, 05:59:17 AM by Pastor Roger » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2005, 09:17:16 AM »

 The Greatest


 “And whoever would be greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.” (Matthew 20:27)

I used to think this was a command of Jesus intended for those who were great among Christians, telling them how they should behave towards others. Leaders should act as servants. Those especially gifted should use that gift for those less gifted. Those with the most faith should impart to those with less faith. While all these definitions are true in some sense, the verse is more accurately an instruction from the Savior to anyone who wishes to become great among believers.

Jesus is giving us divine advice on how to make ourselves great Christians. He is saying that the one who serves all, is greatest. And he is greatest, not just because he serves all, but because in serving all, he grows in himself all the beautiful attributes of God, who lowered himself to human form and came to serve, not to be served.

Many people have aspired to be better Christians by memorizing scripture, earning theological degrees, starting ministries, fasting, and praying without ceasing. But the weightier matters of the faith - mercy, grace, love, etc., are made full in a believer the most when that believer is giving of his own strength, and especially of his own time, in order to benefit somebody else. This means the hard stuff—things we don’t particularly look forward to. Jesus epitomized this practice when He stooped down and washed the dirty feet of His own disciples, when they should’ve been washing His.

So, while God gives us a form of service to Him that is also a gift to us, and pleasing. God says we are doing the greater work when we step out and serve our fellow man. And by Jesus’ example, obviously that form of service will not always be the most appealing. But if we would become great Christians, it is most necessary for the character it instills in us is basic Godliness. 

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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2005, 01:28:25 PM »

 Independence is Impossible


“Yes, I [Jesus] am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15: 5)

Have you ever visited a vineyard?  Have you ever studied the structure of a grapevine itself?  If you haven’t maybe you or your parents have a house plant or two, and if you aren’t the best of green thumbs, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen plants in nature, in your front yard perhaps.  If you have seen any of these instances of nature then you surely know that, if you separate part of a plant from its roots (life source) it will surely die within a short amount of time.  That branch/vine is dependant upon the root for its food and energy to survive, much like us Christians who are dependent upon Jesus for our spiritual and physical survival.

Often many of us have struggled with the notion of independence. Maybe stubborn thoughts like, “God, I want to believe in you, but I don’t want to give up my freedoms of what I have here on earth,” “I want to do your works Lord, but I don’t have any time,” or, “I’m going to be a Christian my way!” have crossed your mind.  With thoughts like these it’s hard for us to fully give our lives to God like He asks us to, and therefore as Christians, we find great struggle within ourselves.  We become stubborn and form brick walls that don’t allow anyone or anything to help us to be better Christians. We cut ourselves off from our life source. 

Humankind declared its independence from God in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve believed the lie that they could live apart from God. Since then, we humans have been constantly struggling to do it our way.  When reading John 15: 5, one thing that we have to realize about independence is that true independence from God is impossible.  There’s no way we can function effectively if we are cut off from any outside help just like the vine cannot grow when it has been cut from the root.  We are like branches in the vineyard and God is our life source; without Him we cannot grow and flourish to produce more fruit of His vine.  Jesus is the true vine, and we are all connected to Him, we’ll never truly be productive. 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I encourage you to give everything to God and realize that He is your life source.  Remember that Jesus is the true vine, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me,” (John 15: 4).   We cannot function being totally independent from Him.  Pray and ask Jesus to be your Life Source.

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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2005, 01:29:27 PM »

 Prayer is the Remedy

By: Jeff Lappano

”Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” (James 5:16).

Let’s look at the final two phrases of James 5:16, one by one. "Pray for one another that you may be healed." How many of you are ill right now? Maybe you have the flu, or a cold, or some of you maybe suffering with something worse, such as cancer or tumors. And just maybe, those of you who are sick just mope around the house all day, "I'm sick." If that's you I challenge you to stop that right now! Many of you who are sick probably know someone who is ill as well or has something else going on in his or her life. Did you know you could get well just by praying for others?  

I believe this has a sowing/reaping principle. Galatians 6:7, tells us what this principle is, "You will always reap (harvest, get back) what you sow (to scatter or draw out). Pray for others, or scatter the seed, that you may be healed (or harvest that which you given). I testify unto you that this works!  When I don't feel well, yes I take some time to rest, but then I get up and pray for people, and I receive that which I have sown! "The effectual fervent (active zeal, powerful) prayer of a righteous man avails much (exercises much force abundantly).  

I encourage you to stay hooked up in prayer. There is power in prayer! The other night I was asked to pray for a girl with a rash by e-mail, so I decided to see if she was on-line. She was, and so I asked her if I could pray for her by Instant Message. She gave me the permission to do so, and she was healed. As I finish this teaching, I encourage you to stay in prayer that you  may be effective in this powerful weapon against the enemy, in Jesus' name.

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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2005, 01:30:39 PM »

 Light in Darkness

By: Ariel D. Gant

You are the light of the world - like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all to see.  Matthew 5:14-15

Have you ever driven through the mountains in the middle of the night? There are usually a few houses that are barely visible, hidden among the trees and bushes, high atop the hill. I remember when I was little, my parents and I went on vacation to Florida from Indiana. We drove all the way there and back, and a lot of the driving was done at night. I woke up one night while we were driving back home through Tennessee and looked up to the top of a mountain to see one little light glowing. But, in the midst of darkness - no streetlights, no other buildings - this one little house, besides the moon and the stars, was the only thing that lit up the night sky. And wow, was it beautiful and amazing. In fact, I think it was one of the things that made me fall in love with Tennessee.

When I read this verse, I thought of that mountain and that one little light. It seemed so small and insignificant. I'll bet most of the people around there didn't even notice it. But, it shone so brightly that it attracted one little girl's attention in the middle of the night. And from the back seat of the car, she watched until it was out of sight.

Somehow, that light seemed so special then. And now I realize how inspiring it is. We are to be as that city on the mountain - as small, seemingly insignificant, and unnoticeable as it is, it attracts the attention of those who need it and shows a testimony of who God is. More people than you realize see your faith and are intrigued, inspired, and encouraged. But, more importantly, God sees it and is glorified. Be a light to your city, community, and school. You might be amazed at those who are touched by it.

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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2005, 01:31:37 PM »

 Real Friendships

By: Beth Hays

And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:3-4)  NIV

I’ve heard it said several times that all friendships should have the beauty and depth of David and Jonathan’s. And I’ve prayed countless times for God to give me someone like that. I guess I didn’t realize I had to be ready to be that kind of friend before I could have that kind of friend.

I went most of my life without knowing the preciousness of a best friend. And the loneliness seemed unbearable at times. I had acquaintances and even a few surface friendships, but very few heartfelt, deep ones. God has since taught me that I didn’t yet know how to love, as a friend should. Friends should love the other as themselves. Well, I could love people like I loved me. The problem was that I didn’t love me.

I realized that I wouldn’t sacrifice things for me, let alone another human being. And I started to see that all those years searching for a friend were worthless until I knew how to be one. Over the past few years I have worked endlessly on trying to find worth in my heart and see God’s reflection in me.

Once I gained glimpses of this, I was able to see Him in others too. It wasn’t until I started to love myself that I could love anyone else. And just about the time I thought I cared enough about myself to sacrifice and care for me, I was given an amazing gift by someone who was also willing to sacrifice and care for me. I do have a best friend now and I love her dearly. And our friendship is as deep and precious as I imagine Jonathan and David’s must have been. But, I couldn’t have had or understood it without first seeing the beauty in me.

So many of you have shown me your intense loneliness and it breaks my heart. You deserve a friend so close that the relationship is as comfortable as a family should be. But, sometimes God waits to give us what we want until we can appreciate it. I hope and pray that you can begin to see the beauty in you and the reflections of our creator in His creations. And may that knowledge lead to beautiful friendships rooted in the God of love.

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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2005, 03:09:10 PM »

 Making Your Resloution a Reality

By: Tony B. Rhoda

And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. (Hebrews 12:1-2) NLT

Every year we sit down and write out what we would like to change about ourselves. What aspect we could improve upon or start doing for the first time. Whether it is working out, working on better grades, or becoming a stronger Christian, we all tend to spend time thinking about the one thing we would like to do differently.

The concept of a resolution is a great one. Who doesn't have something they would like to do differently each year. Each January 1st we are a little older and wiser. We look back over the past year and can name a number of things we would like to do over again.

Whether it is be a litte nicer to people, go to church more, or spend more time with God and the Bible. It starts out as a great idea, but why is it more often then not we fail at keeping them. It becomes just another nice thought and empty plan that fades away.

This year let's make our resolution a reality. Let us focus on Jesus and find someone to keep us accountable. Whether it is a friend, neighbor, or pastor, make sure they call you up and keep you focused on the race. Sure you might get tired, you might want to give up, but the reward of completeing a goal you set out for will definitly outway the pain it took to get there. God Bless and Keep the Faith!

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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2005, 03:10:16 PM »

 Being A Heartbreaker

By: Brittany Waller

"I will give them a new heart and a new mind. I will take away their stubborn heart of stone and will give them an obedient heart." (Ezekiel 11:19)

Don't you wish some days you could change the hearts and minds of non-believers? Well I do every day! You want them to share in God's Word and see His light. I have many friends who are non-believers, and I can't even mention God around them without offending them. It hurts because they have built stonewalls around their hearts and minds.

Sometimes I think there is no hope. But, what we have to remember is that even if everything else is gone we must have hope. So, I turn to God and ask Him for help. Just being able to talk to God makes my soul soar with renewed persistence to carry on.

With the help of God we can change hearts, so let's get to work! I got my tool belt! You ask what is in this tool belt? Well let's take a look. A hammer to break the stone away, and do not run after your friends with this hammer, I meant it figuratively not literally. Safety comes first! Three nails to remember Jesus died on the cross to save us. A flashlight, because Jesus is the light of the world and of course you cannot forget the batteries. God's love is like the energizer bunny, it keeps going, and going, and going.

Not to disappoint you, but you are not going to break the stone away from every heart. Many people are stubborn and set in their ways. But, just being the Christian you are will reflect God's Word and change the hearts and minds of some and eventually break that stone away.

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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2005, 07:41:04 PM »

  The Journey

By: Steve Self
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><> §«:*´`³¤³´`*:»§«:*´`³¤³´`*:»§« † »§«:*´`³¤³´`*:»§«:*´`³¤³´`*:»§ <><

Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way robbers attacked him. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luke 10:30 (The Message)

Too many people are in the same condition as the guy in this story.  They are naked, beaten, bloody, bruised and left half-dead.  But this assault isn’t something that’s happened physically, it is emotional and spiritual and all of it is hidden under a façade of happiness, it’s hidden under a mask of being ‘ok’.  The church should be a place where that mask can be taken off so that some trustworthy people can see this pain.  When that happens they can clean and bandage these wounds and nurse you back to health.

When people get hurt like this, emotionally and spiritually, they can become afraid, embarrassed, and scared.  Satan somehow takes this situation and places blame on the victim.  Unfortunately too many victims begin to believe him.  They believe they somehow caused this to happen to themselves.  These circumstances can be anything from neglect, abandonment, physical or emotional abuse, even rape.  That is not the whole list, but hopefully you get the idea.

I want to point out a couple of things in this passage you might not have seen before.  Notice is says the guy is going on a journey; this journey is the same as a person’s life. Life is a journey as you grow.  Then it says “on the way”, too many people who have been hurt believe they were born with these issues and the associated pain that goes along with them (another lie from Satan).  He was attacked.  He didn’t ask for it, he couldn’t have seen it coming; it happened and was over with before his brain could process it.  Don’t look back and say, “If I had just (insert phrase here) then it wouldn’t have happened or I could have stopped it.”  You couldn’t have stopped it any more than the guy in this story.

I said the church should be the place where we can show our wounds and get help and healing.  Too often we try to pretend everything is ok, but let me leave you with one last thought.  The church is not a place for perfect people; if you are perfect then you don’t belong in church.  The church is a hospital for sinners.  The cool thing about the church is that we are not only patients, but we can be part of the medical staff as well.  Don’t go to church and hide this pain, find someone who can help you work through it, there are people available.  After all, not getting help in church is like getting a broken arm and going to the hospital hoping to get help, but all the while you’re wearing a thick coat and acting like everything is fine.  It’s time to let the doctors do their job.  You can quit hurting, you can be fixed and you can be whole.  God promises us that, all you have to do is accept His help.

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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2005, 07:41:57 PM »

  How To Shine

By: Matt Crawford
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"If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as noonday."
(Isaiah 58:10)

So often we forget the things, which should be the fruit of our salvation. Things that go beyond our prayer time, our Bible study, our "ministry" as we know it  --things that work repentance and humility in our hearts for God in a way that no other "religious" practice could come close to. We forget the basic concepts of easing the yoke for others, helping the poor, and going out of our way -- sacrificing -- to comfort the afflicted.

Even before Christ began his public ministry, John the Baptist preached repentance to the people to prepare their hearts for the Lord that was to come. When they asked him what they should do, his first reply was "let him who has two coats give to he who has none." And the Bible makes it clear that John's only purpose was to fill in the valleys, to level the hills, and to make straight the path of the Lord. The hearts of the people needed to be set in repentance, producing fruit accordingly, so that they would be ready to accept Christ's words in their heart when he arrived.

So often is a "life-enhancing" gospel of personal fulfillment, joy, and love preached, we set aside and forget the righteous and pleasing deeds God requires. "Share your bread with the hungry," "bring to your house the poor who are cast out," "when you see the naked, cover him" (Isaiah 58). Yet, if John the Baptist, who was full of the Spirit from birth, was supposed to ready the people's hearts for Christ by calling them to such deeds, do we who profess Christ is supposed to ignore the heart of God while claiming to be His children?

Like all God's pleas or requirements, the call to "extend your soul to the hungry" is meant to bring us goodness, not to deprive us of it. For the scripture goes on to say that our light shall dawn in the darkness, and even our darkness shall be as the noonday. The work that such action will wrought in our heart is so profound that even in our bad moments, at our darkest times, we will shine like the sun at it's brightest of the day.

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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2005, 12:43:24 PM »

  Push

By: Mandie Ross
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“Therefore…stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”              
1 Corinthians 15:58

I am reminded of a story of a man and a rock. God asked this man to push against this very large, and heavy rock. Everyday the man went out and pushed against it but no matter how hard he tried the rock wouldn’t move. Finally he cried out “Lord, I’ve done what You’ve told me to do. But Lord, this rock won’t move.” I suppose God chuckled as He confirmed, “I asked you to push against the rock, not move it. But with your perseverance to do what I have asked you’ve developed much strength.”

I would guess that most of us are like this man. Sometimes we get anxious because we want something that we’re not getting fast enough. And other times we feel so burdened and stressed out by everything going on in our lives. I’m sure so many of us have overscheduled ourselves, trying to make ourselves feel productive. And at the same time we succumb ourselves to the anxiety of our own future plans…as if the stress from our already busy lives isn’t enough. But it comes to a point where we feel Mary on one shoulder, and Martha on the other. One is begging us to do, do, do. And the other is pleading for us to just sit at the feet of Jesus.

There are so many things, whether they are the stress of overdoing ourselves, anxiety about the future, or tantalizing worldly temptations, that can get us sidetracked from our purpose. We let fear, worry, doubt, and temptation get into our hearts. But God only asks us to do what He asks us to do, and nothing more. He asks us to push up against our adversities, not to be moved because of them. So pretend that big rock contains all the things that take our focus off of what God wants us to do with our lives. Turn your back to it with your arms folded and feel the sun on your face. Turn to it and push to get your strength. Show it that you’re not troubled by it being there, but that you’ll work around it. Let God be the one to take care of that rock. Let Him be the one who moves you.  


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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2005, 09:11:03 PM »

  The Promises of God

By: Jeff Lappano
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“So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to
me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the
thing for
which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

I heard a preacher say something so interesting one time that it stuck with
me and I want to share it with you. What we consider to be promise of God,
He considers a prophecy. What does that mean and how does it work? Whatever
God says has to come to pass; as it is written that God is not a man that He
should lie. Whether He speaks a prediction type of prophecy or he speaks
just a simple word, it can only come to pass.

Has the Lord ever made a promise to you? If you’re His child, chances are
that yes He has promised made a promise to you! That’s point A, and point B
being of course, getting a hold of that promise. It can be a long road from
Point A to B; just remember Israel from their flight from Egypt to the
Promise Land! However, we have the benefits of the instructions of the Word!
First of all we should write down the promise. Secondly, we need to wait on
the Lord for Him to bring that promise to pass.

As time progresses on you can surely bet that the devil will come to you and
tell you that God is liar and will not fulfill His promises. We must always
remember that the promise is for an appointed time. God already has perfect
timing, and knows the exact day when it will come to pass, we are commanded
to wait on it because God is not a liar! God’s word will always come to pass
when He want it to.

So, check it out, I want you to think about what God has spoken to you. It
sure has been a while since He spoke about it, hasn’t it? It will come to
pass, I promise you! How do I know?  Because the Bible tells us so!

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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2005, 09:12:18 PM »

  Scared?

By: Steve Self
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“Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’"   Matthew 26:38-39(NIV)

"If you are a Christian, life will be perfectly easy and all your problems will magically dissolve away." That is one of the biggest lies I've ever heard, but that lie doesn't normally come from other people, it comes from Satan who can be a loud voice inside us.  He tells us we aren't really Christians when things mess up or if we struggle with problems, because he tells us you shouldn't be afraid of anything if you are a Christian.  By following Satan's advice, we totally leave the example that Jesus taught us right before He died.

I've heard people say that if you are a Christian, you shouldn't fear death.  I don't fear death but I'm a little concerned with the journey from here to there.  Being anxious, hurt and even being scared is normal.  God gave us emotions, while fear does not come from Him; it comes from the sin and death in the world.

As we look at the actions of Jesus in this passage, Jesus is overwhelmed terribly by what is going to happen.  He is worried and He tells the disciples He took with Him about His feelings.  Not only was Jesus real, He was honest.  He didn't pretend that everything was going to be OK, He didn't act like "a good Christian would" because true good Christians are real.  I have actually heard preachers tell people with terminal illnesses that, "A true Christian would not be afraid".  That is a lie.  Sometimes life is scary!  When you follow God it can get even scarier.  If you don't believe that, e-mail me and I will be glad to tell you about the first time I preached a sermon!

As Christians, we are to be real, not perfect.  Following God can be scary and we can get into situations where it may mean our life is at stake.  But I want to be sure to point out one last thing here.  Look at what Jesus prays to God, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."  Sometimes God may ask us to do things that terrify us, but He will never give you a job without the right tools.  You may even lose your life for it, and you have every right to be scared or worried, but remember that God is in control and truly the safest place is to be in the middle of God's will.

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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2005, 10:39:41 AM »

  He Knows The Feeling

By: Beth Hays


“In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.”
s(Isaiah 63:9) NLT

God and I have been discussing suffering a lot lately. Maybe that’s because my life seems to be full of it. I’ll bet some of you can relate. Every time I pick up my head, there is another reason to drop it again. But, friend, I have some amazing encouragement straight from the heart of God.

He knows the feeling. Wow! Just take a minute and fathom that. Jesus felt what we feel. He knows hurt, abuse, abandonment, rejection, loneliness, and so much more in greater portions than we do. He was here on this earth and went through so much more than we face. (But including everything we face!) His eyes were wet with tears and his throat dry from screaming. But, more than all of that, He feels every hurt your heart has. Your body holds God Himself and everything you feel, He feels. He knows.

But, He didn’t stop there. He knows the hurt, but He also has a way out. He has come in the midst of the mess in your life, and He is holding your hand, and He is offering a way out. He personally is offering to rescue you. He’ll walk you out of the storm, simply because He adores you. It’s love that calls Him to reach into your world and gently pull you up to His.

And that love never goes away! It will last, “through all the years.” That means NOTHING that has happened, is happening, or will happen can affect the fact that Christ has redeemed you and will show you the way out if you let Him. My precious friend let Jesus, “lift you up and carry you,” through the suffering,” in your world. He knows the suffering and He has the strength and power to turn it into something beautiful.

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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2005, 10:40:58 AM »

  Wail For The Nations

By: Adam R. Rinehart


"Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty." Isaiah 13:6 (New International Version)

This past week here in Indiana, I had the wonderful opportunity of enjoying some of this Indiana weather.  You see, Indiana weather can change in a heartbeat.  One minute it can be raining and the next minute turn to ice.  That was last week.  I spent most of the week working, cleaning up water that decided its only way out was through my basement. The whole time that I was working on these things, the Holy Spirit reminded me, "This could be worse.  You could be one of those victims over on the other side of the world having to deal with an even bigger flood."

The tsunami, the mudslides, and even here in Indiana with floods occurring all over the place, reminded me more and more that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is at hand.   Then, the Lord led me to this Scripture,  "Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;"  Isaiah was prophesying this upon Israel, and for sure the wrath of the Lord was near and at hand.  My question is, "Lord, why wail? Why do you want us to protest loudly with bitter lament over your coming return?"  Friends, Isaiah wanted the people to wail because some of them would not be spared from the destruction.  You see, those of us who know Jesus as our personal Savior know that our ticket to heaven is already in hand.  The problem is there are people that do not have a ticket!

Are you willing to tear your ticket in half so that someone else may have the opportunity to go as well?  When was the last time that your heart grieved and wailed because you knew that someone close to you was going to die and go to Hell?  When was the last time that you shared about your ticket to heaven so that someone else could be spared?  The time is now!  If you do not know Christ as your personal Savior, the time is now in order for you to be spared as well.  Please feel free to contact a member of our staff and we would love to share with you the salvation from the wrath of God.  May God's Grace Abound in you!

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