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« Reply #945 on: August 24, 2009, 12:46:17 PM »

Your mourning will be turned into dancing!

Psalms 30:11-12 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

This is one of my favorite promises in the Bible – that God turns mourning into dancing! He takes away the anguish of being clothed in sadness and replaces it with gladness. However, notice what God doesn’t do – simply stop your mourning and make it disappear. No, He transforms it.... into joy! He turns your sorrow into gladness. He takes your failure and creates success! We serve an awesome and mighty God, who says, “all things work together for good to them that love Him, and to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Let’s take time to dwell on this promise. Our sorrows, disappointments, tragedies and failures are very real– but they are also "raw material" for a divine transformation that our Lord will accomplish in His time for His glory. And we WILL dance! God will do it. Our part is simply to wait....believe....and cling tightly to this wonderful promise!
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« Reply #946 on: August 24, 2009, 12:46:48 PM »

Act now!

Romans 12:17-18,21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

One minister tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even! Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has hurt me!"

The minister suggested an ingenious plan "Why don't you go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him. Make him believe you love him. Then -- after you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, drop the bomb. Tell him you want a divorce. That will really hurt him.

"With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful! Boy, will he ever be devastated!" And she did it with enthusiasm. For two months she showed love and kindness, she listened, served and reinforced. When she didn't return to his office, the minister called. "So, are you ready now to go through with the divorce?" "Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered that I really do love him."

This woman's actions changed her feelings. Whether it's a tough relationship, a long-time fear, or a task that seems too big for us to accomplish, sometimes we need to act in faith in order to see it conquered for the Kingdom!

Whatever it may be, let's give it to the Lord today and ask Him to motivate us to go forth with strength and passion -- for His sake!
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« Reply #947 on: August 24, 2009, 12:47:19 PM »

Disarm discouragement!

Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

A modern parable has been written about the tools of the enemy that I believe we can really learn from.

"Some time ago, an advertisement appeared in which the devil was putting all his tools up for sale. On the day of public inspection, each one of his tools was marked with its selling price: Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Doubt, Lying, Pride, and so on, were each on the block. Set apart, however, from all the rest of the pile, was a harmless-looking tool, well-worn, but priced very high -- it was discouragement!

Someone asked the devil, 'why is that one priced so high?' He replied, 'Ah, that one is more useful to me than all the rest. With it I can pry open a man's heart and enter, when I cannot get near him with any other tools. Once inside, I can lead him any way I choose. The tool is very worn because I use it on almost everyone, since few people know it belongs to me.'"

The enemy loves to sow discouragement -- but believers have a tool much more powerful -- encouragement! We can speak a word into the lives of those who desperately need to hear it: to the college student adjusting to his new environment; to the missionary who may feel alone in the harvest field; to the disillusioned newlywed young couple; to the forgotten servants of God who labor in an obscure and difficult ministry; to the orphans and the widows; to all those who need to hear a word in due season!

We have the power in our lips to rekindle a discouraged soul. Let's inspire one another with words of encouragement! It costs nothing, and reaps an eternal reward..."encourage one another daily, as you see the Day draw near. [Hebrews 10:25]
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« Reply #948 on: August 24, 2009, 12:47:59 PM »

Excuse me, could you direct me to the promised land?

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

It is among popular "Christian" belief that an abundance of material and other blessings follow those whose hearts are truly after God and that those who seem to consistently struggle to that end, cannot possibly be in God's perfect will. I want to submit to you a realization I had about this very thing. I think we might have it all backwards.

Almost all the great men of faith I've read about in the Bible had to spend some time in the wilderness. Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, just to name a few.

God had to make them desperate. He had to cause them to be quiet and undistracted enough to hear His still, small voice. He had to make them hungry and thirsty enough to cry out for a miracle.

Interestingly, the word for wilderness, in Hebrew, is "meed-bahr". And meed-bahr comes from the word "leh-da-behr", which means to speak. Hmmm.

Some of us are walking through the desert right now. It's hot by day -- there is only rugged, thorny, sandy terrain for miles and miles and there seems no end. By night, the wind is unbearably cold and we stumble over things we can barely see. Snakes and scorpions live here. It seems like a lonely place.

But this is actually a place of blessing! It is for our growth, and ultimately for our prosperity that God has brought us here! Like it or not, the wilderness is where He can speak to us most effectively. It is the place He can most easily get our attention. It is the place we will cry out to God and truly listen for His voice.

Know that God is with you today! He is walking along with us through this wilderness and longing to comfort us! If we would only cry out to Him and heed His voice! The promised land awaits! And there's so much work to be done!!
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« Reply #949 on: August 24, 2009, 12:48:39 PM »

Be endued with power from on high!

Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Shortly after WWI, Lawrence of Arabia was entertaining some of his Arab friends in Paris. He showed them the sights of the city: the Arc d'Triomph, the Louvre, the Champs Elysees.

It was a remarkable irony to Lawrence that these amazing sights were not what most impressed his Arab friends -- but rather the bathtub faucet of their hotel room. They were completely astonished that someone could turn a handle...and get all the water he wanted.

As they were preparing to leave Paris, Lawrence found his foreign friends in the bathroom with wrenches trying to disconnect the faucet.

They said, "It is very dry in Arabia. What we need are faucets. If we have them, we will have all the water we want." Lawrence had to explain that the water did not come from the faucets, but rather from the water supply to which they were connected. It doesn't matter if you have a faucet -- if you're not connected to the water supply!

In the book of Acts we read how God endued those in the Upper Room with power from on high! They waited – and waited – and waited, for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit. They didn't go forth proclaiming the gospel UNTIL they were filled with power from on high. I believe as they were in prayer in the upper room, God was revealing different sins in their lives that He wanted them to deal with, so that He could fill them to overflowing. The Lord did not want these saints just to be faucets -- but rather, conduits of his power!

Let's spend time today making sure all the obstructions are cleared -- so that we can be the spirit-filled saints God has called us to be in these last days! There's so much work to be done -- but let's be sure we're doing the work, fully endued with power from on high!
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« Reply #950 on: August 24, 2009, 12:49:33 PM »

Let it go!

Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

My wife has had an interesting life. Here, she shares a small portion of her past:

I was born in Israel. My parents divorced when I was a toddler and my mother met and married a hippie American tourist who was searching his roots in Israel at the time. Later, we went back to the States with him. Little did we realize that he was heavily addicted to drugs and this among other things made for a very unhappy family and little on which to live.

Every once in a while my father in Israel would send money for my mother to buy an airline ticket for me to visit him and the rest of my family. One particular year when I about eleven or twelve, he gave me a nice chunk of spending money for the duration of my trip, the equivalence of two hundred and fifty dollars or so. When my time in Israel that summer was coming to an end and I realized I had hardly touched that money, I decided keep it and not tell him or anyone else. "I mean, my dad had assumed I'd spent it, right? No one would have to know," I reasoned. "I'd take it back with me and have lots of money to spend when I returned to Israel the next time."

When I got back to America, I put that stash away in a little jewelry box on my dresser. No matter how poor we were, I always secretly felt rich knowing that stash was there. The next summer, my father sent for me again. Before I left, I was sure not to forget to put my saved shekels deep in my pocket, as not to lose them. I was the richest girl in the world!

But when I reached Israel this time, my father gave me money unlike the kind I had in my pocket. It looked funny -- not at all like my long-awaited spending stash. It was different in color and had a different design. "That's strange," I thought, "How could this be?"

To my great dismay, the currency had changed to the New Israeli Shekel while I was away. The money I had was absolutely worthless now. I was sick to my stomach.

What a waste! And worse, I couldn't even tell my dad.

A wise man once said, "Greed is the logical result of the belief that there is no life after death. We grab what we can while we can however we can and then hold on to it hard."

Our Father has given us some spending money, hasn't He? And sadly, it is our tendency as human beings to want to keep it to ourselves. Let's not hoard what He has freely given us. Let's freely bless people around us in need, whether it is with our finances, our possessions, our time and energy or comfort. There is a lot more where those came from. And we can't take it with us anyway -- the currency is different in heaven!
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« Reply #951 on: March 27, 2010, 01:22:39 AM »

Re-Dedicate Yourself!

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

As parents trying to raise kids in this world, we’re constantly reminded by the Lord of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The Hebrew word “train”, in this passage is, “Chanak” which can be translated, “train up” or “dedicate.” It’s the root word from which we get the word, Chanukah.

The festival of Chanukah is not only a time of rejoicing, but also a time of “dedication.” Let’s be reminded of the cost that the Maccabees were willing to pay to make their stand against Antiochus – who was led of the same anti-christ spirit that swirls around us today. They were willing to lay it all down and dedicate themselves to serving God.

As the spirit of anti-christ is released in this age, we also need to make a stand in the Spirit and consecrate ourselves for the battle before us. So this holiday season, let’s not only rejoice in the victory we have, but continue to walk in it, wholeheartedly dedicated to serving God – no matter the cost!
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« Reply #952 on: March 27, 2010, 01:23:36 AM »

How dedicated are you?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

As we mentioned a couple of days ago, Chanukah commemorates of the desecration of the holy temple of old, (just another attempt of the enemy to wipe out the Jewish people and the things of God), God’s great grace and the rededication of the temple to Him.

While there is no longer a physical temple today, the Bible declares that we, as believers in Jesus, are living temples of God. But we need to recognize that our enemy is constantly at work, trying to erect idols and desecrate our temple in various ways so that we cannot be used to glorify God. How long has it been since we cleansed and rededicated our temple to the Lord? We should really be be doing it daily!

We want to be more holy -- more pure -- more righteous so that we can be found a peculiar people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, as the scripture says. Let’s strive to be a people who shine forth the glory of God today! Let’s pull down the strongholds and destroy the idols that pollute us! There’s so much work to be done!
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« Reply #953 on: March 27, 2010, 01:24:19 AM »

Shine your light!

Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Today celebrates the 6th night of Chanukah. As we light the candles, we remember that God has called us to be lights.

D. L. Moody told the story of a man who was crossing the Atlantic by ship. He was terribly sick and confined to his cabin. One night he heard the cry “Man overboard!” He felt that there was nothing he could do to help, but at second thought, he said to himself, “I guess I can at least put my lantern in the porthole.” He struggled to his feet and hung the light so it shined out into the darkness.

The next day he learned that the person who was rescued said, “I was going down in the dark night for the last time, when someone put a light in a porthole. As it shone on my hand, a sailor in a lifeboat grabbed it and pulled me in."

All of us have weaknesses -- and times of weakness. The fact of the matter is, though, that weak or not, we need to muster up the strength to put our lights in our portholes for the sake of the dying and the lost among us. It’s so tempting to sulk in our weaknesses, and stay in our beds -- but God expects more of us. He has given us the strength to do all things -- even move mountains! There are so many people around us sinking in despair. But God has chosen us to reach out and light up their lives!

Let's do something extraordinary for the Lord today. Be bold, speak up! Let’s get beyond our weaknesses and light up the darkness around us!
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« Reply #954 on: March 27, 2010, 01:25:16 AM »

Be courageous!

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Some of you may be celebrating the holiday of Chanukah with us -- this will be the seventh night of this beautiful Festival of Lights.

While Chanukah is not a Biblical feast, it is an important one. Chanukah commemorates the story of small group of men with much courage -- enough courage to defeat even the greatest of the world's empires.

The Greek-Syrian Emperor Anticochus Epiphanes defiled the Temple by erecting an idol within it, and commanded all of Israel to worship it. If that wasn't enough, he made it illegal to follow God’s laws and anyone caught observing them would be put to death. Yeshua (Jesus) pointed out in Matthew 24 – when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel – flee! This event is precisely what He was referring to.

So what happened? A few men, the Macabees, decided to fight an entire empire on their own! They had a miraculous victory, restoring and rededicating the Temple, and relighting the menorah -- a victory which we celebrate tonight.

In these dark days approaching, we’re going to be called to a deeper walk with the Lord, to stand up for His truth and be a light to the dying world around us! Let's get restored, rededicated and rekindled so that we can be strong for Him! There's so much to be done!
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« Reply #955 on: March 27, 2010, 01:25:50 AM »

Enjoy the greatest gifts!

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

This is a sweet story we came across.

When our son Pete was six, it was a Depression year and the bare essentials were all we could afford. We felt we were richer than most people, though, in things of the mind and imagination and spirit. That was a comfort of sorts to us, but nothing a six-year-old could understand.

With Christmas a week off, we told Pete that there could not be any store-bought presents this year--for any of us. "But I'll tell you what we can do," said his father with an inspiration born of heartbreak. "We can make pictures of the presents we'd like to give each other."

For the next few days each of us worked secretly, with smirks and giggles. Somehow we did scrape together enough to buy a small tree. But we had pitifully few decorations to trim it with. Yet, on Christmas morning, never was a tree heaped with such riches! The gifts were only pictures of gifts, to be sure, cut out or drawn and colored and painted, nailed and hammered and pasted and sewed. But they were presents, luxurious beyond our dreams: A slinky black limousine and a red motor boat for Daddy. A diamond bracelet and a fur coat for me. Pete's presents were the most expensive toys cut from advertisements. Our best present to him was a picture of a fabulous camping tent, complete with Indian designs, painted, of course, by Daddy, and magnificent pictures of a swimming pool, with funny remarks by me. Daddy's best present to me was a watercolor he had painted of our dream house, white with green shutters and forsythia bushes on the lawn.

Naturally we didn't expect any "best present" from Pete. But with squeals of delight, he gave us a crayon drawing of flashy colors and the most modernistic technique. But it was unmistakably the picture of three people laughing--a man, a woman, and a little boy. They had their arms around one another and were, in a sense, one person. Under the picture he had printed just one word: US. For many years we have looked back at that day as the richest, most satisfying Christmas we have ever had. -- Margery Tallcott

The most precious things in life cannot be bought with money. Let's focus on the wonderful gifts we've been given this season -- family, friends and most of all, God's grace toward us in sending His Son Jesus to die in our place.
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« Reply #956 on: March 27, 2010, 01:26:37 AM »

God only knows!

Est 4:14b who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

This is a story relayed by Corrie Ten Boom, "It was Christmas, 1944. My sister, Betsie, had died. I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck, a Nazi prison camp. Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me. There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Dead bodies of prisoners had been thrown under the Christmas trees. I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked and sneered. At last I kept quiet.

In the middle of the night I suddenly heard a child crying and calling, "Mommy! Come to Oelie. Oelie feels so alone." I went to her and saw a child not so young, but feebleminded. "Oelie, Mommy cannot come, but do you know who is willing to come to you? Jesus will come." Oelie was lying on a bed next to the window, not far from lack of food, she had a sweet face and beautiful eyes. A bandage of toilet paper covered an incision from surgery on her back. That night I told this poor child about Jesus. How He came into the world as a little baby how He came to save us from our sins. "The Lord Jesus loves Oelie and has borne her punishment on the cross.... Jesus is ... [in heaven] right now. He is getting a little house ready for Oelie." Later I asked her what she remembered of what I had told her. "What is the little house like?" I asked. "It is very beautiful. There are no wicked people as in Ravensbruck only good people and angels. And Oelie will see Jesus there." The child added, "I will ask Jesus to make me brave when I have a pain. I will think of the pain that Jesus suffered to show Oelie the way to heaven." Oelie folded her hands; together we gave thanks. Then I knew why I had to spend this Christmas in Ravensbruck."

Often we find ourself in difficult situations or places and we can't for the life of us understand for what possible reason we're here -- but be encouraged! We may not understand but God does! And who knows whether you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this?
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« Reply #957 on: March 27, 2010, 01:27:23 AM »

Go tell it on the mountain!

Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

We came across this quote in our search for devotional material and thought we'd share it with you in light of the holiday season. The author is not known but he or she is surely wise.

"If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer..... but our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior."

Yes, God sent us a Savior -- that we might know His forgiveness. But not only that we might know it. God sent us a Savior so that we, who have been given the privilege of this knowledge, might go and share the good news of His forgiveness with all the world!

Let's cherish His forgiveness today. Let's revel in it and let all who don't know that they can have the same!
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