Devotionals

04/15/14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -

Legislation that calls for the phrase “In God We Trust” to be displayed above the main Capitol entrances and behind the speakers’ podiums in both the House and Senate has been approved by the Senate.

The proposal sponsored by Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville was approved 21-0 on Monday.
Tennessee Capitol In God We TrustThe measure is different than the companion bill that’s scheduled for a House floor vote on Wednesday. It instructs the State Capitol Commission to study the feasibility of painting the national motto in the tunnel that connects the state Capitol and the Legislative Plaza.

The state adopted its official slogan “Tennessee – America at Its Best” in 1965. The words “Agriculture and Commerce” from the state seal were adopted as the official state motto in 1987.

Read more: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/story/25198742/bill-seeks-in-god-we-trust-signage-at-tenn-capitol#ixzz2z0MvUPVM

 

 

In most Baptist Churches, as in others, Pornography has it’s tentacles clutching the lifeblood of  marriage relationships among its members. From the pulpit to the pew Lust has an ally from the world of online lewd images of every conceivable sexual deviations.  Christians, especially men, are under the bombardment of millions of opportunities to commit the sin of ‘lust in the heart’ with a click of a computer. Kay Adkins has written for Baptist Press a synopsis of the tragedy and triumph over porn in the life of a man of God.

LAKELAND, Fla. (BP) — Bonnie Hicks had known for years something was wrong in her marriage. At times it seemed good. At other times, although Allen was physically present, she felt he was emotionally absent. From time to time she was certain he was having an affair but she lacked proof.

In December 2010 the truth was unveiled. Allen, a youth pastor at the time, was caught in an adulterous relationship, which seemed to doom their 22-year marriage. Over time, however, the truth cleared the way for the couple to build an authentic marriage and set Allen on a new path toward freedom from a long-term sexual addiction.

The Hickses are now members of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla. The church’s senior pastor, Jay Dennis, is leading a movement to battle pornography and sexual addictions among Christian men. Since the “One Million Men” campaign began at Church at the Mall in 2011, Dennis said the church has experienced a new “awareness and openness to deal with those issues.”

The campaign — to be set in motion nationwide during the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 11-12 annual meeting in Houston — is named “Join 1 Million Men,” on the Web atwww.join1millionmen.org.

“As long as men suffer in silence and secrecy, the enemy has a stronghold,” Dennis said. “However, once the secret is revealed by the light of God’s Word, Satan loses much of his power to keep Christian men in bondage.” By openly addressing pornography in the church, Dennis said,

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those ensnared in sexual sin can begin to understand they are not alone in their struggle and that they will be supported and encouraged by other Christians as they repent and do the hard work necessary to break free.

Allen and Bonnie indeed have worked hard to deal with painful issues on their journey to freedom and healing. Bonnie was pierced with the reality of Allen’s betrayal first via a text message from the other woman. “I went into a rage,” Bonnie recounted. “I groaned and moaned, like an animal almost. I hit him — I was physically abusive at this point as a reaction.”

That night at Bonnie’s request, their pastor at the time and his wife, George and Margaret, met Allen and Bonnie at their church. “At 10:30 we met in George’s office to begin to deal with this nightmare,” Margaret recalled. “Allen was denying most of it. Bonnie was beside herself.”

George requested Allen’s resignation as the church’s youth pastor. But George and Margaret, who had once survived a similar trial, did not abandon Allen and Bonnie. Instead, they walked with them through it, George working with Allen and Margaret working with Bonnie.

The other woman continued tormenting Bonnie for weeks. Brokenhearted and defeated, Bonnie kicked Allen out of their house just before Christmas Eve. But the other woman’s harassment persisted for nearly a year, and Margaret helped Bonnie endure the agony. The woman, Margaret said, “was doing anything she could do to hurt them.”

Bonnie’s brokenness was compounded further when her 16-year-old son rejected her. “He didn’t want anything to do with me,” Bonnie said. “It nearly put me over the edge.”Allen recalls how Bonnie often ended their phone calls by declaring, “I hate you.”

Though the year was, in Bonnie’s words, “hell on earth” for them, Allen said that is where the story begins of God’s grace working in their lives. Bonnie sought out counseling and support groups right away, and through a chance encounter she found L.I.F.E. Recovery International (“Living in Freedom Everyday,” www.freedomeveryday.org). Her L.I.F.E. group guided her through a process of grieving. “Then God started working in me, showing me things that were in my own life that I would not have recognized,” Bonnie said. “Emotionally, your anger, the ways you cope…. I was so negative and critical, and I had lived that way in my marriage and as a mom.”

Not long after Bonnie began going to a women’s L.I.F.E. group, Allen began to attend a men’s L.I.F.E. group. Recalling his initial response to being exposed, he said, “I had lived these two lives for so long. Part of me was relieved that it was out because it was treacherous holding all that in. But instead of being remorseful, I was very angry with everyone except myself.” His motive in the L.I.F.E. group, he admitted, had nothing to do with trying to get any better; he just wanted to get his family back.

“But,” he said, “Bonnie’s thought was, ‘We can’t go back to what it was.’” Bonnie sometimes called Allen at work, and he was encouraged that they had had some good talks. “I was just hanging on. Hanging on,” Allen said. But one day Bonnie called and announced that God was leading her to divorce him.

“At first I didn’t accept that,” Allen said. “Then I talked to some guys in my group, and I realized that I had to change my focus. I had to fix what was wrong with me to be a good husband. I had to put the marriage on the sacrificial altar and just work on me, and who I was. I accepted the fact that she was going to divorce me and signed the paperwork.”

Allen added, “When the anger subsided, I could see the destruction I had caused in all of these lives — Bonnie, the kids, the youth at church.”That’s when the remorse came.”

In working on himself, Allen said, a key to change was identifying the sources that started him on an addictive path. His home life growing up was “teeming” with alcohol and tobacco addiction, “lots of addictions,” anger, co-dependency and verbal and emotional abuse. Lacking a positive male role model in his life, Allen said he learned to be more comfortable in relationships with women. “Porn,” he said, “helped me carve out a fantasy world where I was in control and was never rejected.”

In his L.I.F.E. group, Allen found many who could relate to his experiences, several of whom were in ministry.

Dave, a former worship minister, became one of Allen’s accountability partners, and their stories had much in common. Both grew up in church, yet both also grew up in the midst of alcoholism and pornography. Additionally, Dave suffered physical, verbal and sexual abuses that ultimately gave way to sexual addictions.

At age 20 Dave married Barbara, the daughter of a Baptist preacher. “She knew about the abuse,” he said, “but we thought she could fix me.” Like Allen, his addictive cycles continued.

Dave lamented that the times he sought help from church leaders or men in ministry, he felt condemned by some and exploited by others. Those hurtful experiences left him too fearful to be honest with his pastor. Dave told himself, “You are 48 years old and this is just how you are.” He lost hope that he could be different and for 14 months walked away from his family.

“Then,” Dave said, “through counseling, and the help of our three boys, our close friends and our awesome church family, for the first time in 29 years we began walking this journey together.” Dave and Barbara renewed their wedding vows on Sept. 7, 2009.

In 2010, Dave discovered L.I.F.E. Ministries online and began participating in a group. Now he serves as a L.I.F.E. group facilitator in Orlando and coordinates the groups in central Florida. ”Allen works right-hand with me. We have a Tuesday night conference call that is worldwide. We minister to men from everywhere who are dealing with these addictions and we encourage, empower and equip them to Live in Freedom Everyday. It is a lifelong journey to walk out of. That is why I live by Jeremiah 29:11 — ‘God’s Plan’.”

As Bonnie was wrestling with her decision to divorce Allen, God spoke to her in several ways. At a marriage conference the couple had attended the previous year, Bonnie had prayed that God would give her a real marriage. “When I was wondering if I wanted to be married [after Allen's betrayal], God reminded me of my prayers at that conference,” she said.

One day she tried to fax the signed divorce papers to the paralegal, only to be thwarted three times by the oddly malfunctioning fax machine. That “coincidence” and some other seemingly odd happenings, plus some friends who were asking her “the hard questions,” prompted Bonnie to slow down and give marriage counseling a chance.

The Hickses began working with a licensed marriage and sexual addiction counselor in August 2011. Both of them lacked hope for their relationship, but Bonnie recalled, “It was a step of faith and saying, ‘I trust You, God, and if You want me to go back into this marriage….” As they began to reveal all of the secrets they had hidden from each other, a new relationship began to develop.

During a 2011 Christmas Eve celebration, Allen and Bonnie renewed their marriage vows. Among the witnesses were many who had supported them throughout their restoration process, including Dave and Barbara and George and Margaret. This year the Hickses will celebrate their 25th anniversary. ”God performed a miracle,” Bonnie said.

“It’s a journey — it’s still a journey,” Allen said. “We had to start all over. We were lousy communicators. We had so much hidden from each other. But we’ve come a long way.”

————-

Kay Adkins is a writer in Mountainview, Ark. Allen and Bonnie Hicks reside in Lakeland, Fla., where he is a sales manager for a car dealership. The couple, parents of two sons and a daughter, are committed to ministering to others struggling with issues related to sexual addiction. Allen helps facilitate a L.I.F.E. support group for men struggling with sexual addictions. Bonnie has written a devotional guide for women titled “Where Can Broken Hearts Go? A 31-Day Journey Towards Healing” (https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000002695/Where-Can-Broken-Hearts-Go.html0), available at Amazon.com and other online retailers. Her blog is at http://hope4brokenhearts.com. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).


My Son First!

by Dr. HL Champion on April 21, 2013

“A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call asap, changed his clothes and went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father going and coming in the hall waiting for the doctor. Once seeing him, the dad yelled:

“Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have the sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled and said, “I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital and I came the fastest I could after receiving the call… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down?! What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do??” said the father angrily

The doctor smiled again and replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Book “From dust we came and to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go and intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace”

“Giving advice when we’re not concerned is so easy,” murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor exited happily, “Thank goodness! Your son is saved!” Without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any question, ask the nurse!!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state” Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: ‘His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was at the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.’”

The homosexual political agenda has gained a momentum that may overwhelm Baptist churches. Most pastors are just attending to their congregational priorities without paying too much attention to the potential of law suits that could jeopardize local church autonomy as well as every member’s First Amendment  There is a lot of conversation among Southern Baptist leaders that local church bylaws should define Marriage and Sexuality.
This conversation is one that is important for all churches who have incorporated with their states.  Most Associational Baptist churches as well as Independent churches have a statement of their bylaws registered with their incorporation. Attending to this subject and amending church bylaws now may save heart aches
later. 
You may access Dr. Champions Facebook and post comments - www.Facebook.com/brochampion
  Every Baptist Church should heed this  article and schedule Church Wide Meetings on this issue.
 
 

NASHVILLE (BP) — With the U.S. Supreme Court set to take up gay marriage and potentially legalize it this summer, churches that host wedding ceremonies or other events for traditional couples should examine their bylaws and shield themselves from the impact of possible litigation, says an attorney who specializes in religious liberty issues.

“We’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality.” – ADF attorney

The justices are scheduled in March to hear two cases concerning gay marriage, and by June could either uphold the traditional definition of marriage or legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a religious liberty legal organization — is hoping for the former but preparing churches for the latter, just in case.

A number of situations could place churches in legal trouble, such as congregations who would:– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to use their facility for a wedding ceremony.

– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to take part in a marriage class or retreat.
– terminate an employee involved in a same-sex wedding.

Bylaw language defining marriage in the biblical sense doesn’t mean a church won’t face a suit or a complaint, but it does mean the church would be in a much better situation legally, said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for ADF.

“I think we’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality,” Stanley told Baptist Press. “This is a proactive approach that churches can take to head off any claims of discrimination in the future, should they occur. There’s no magic language for such a bylaw statement, but it should be some form of a statement of the church’s religious beliefs.”What that does is it allows for a good defense of a church to any type of discrimination claim that may arise, by saying, ‘Look, this is part of our religious beliefs.’ When we fight on the ground of protecting a church’s religious belief, then we have a lot of ammunition in our arsenal from a constitutional perspective.”Even without gay marriage legal nationwide, there have been lawsuits against churches.

In 1999 a woman who had worked as a youth minister at a Colorado Episcopal church was terminated after it was learned she was a lesbian living with another woman. She sued in federal court, but the lawsuit was dismissed, with the court ruling her suit was barred by the First Amendment. (The case was Bryce v. Episcopal Church in Diocese of Colorado.)

In 2001, a California church’s worship minister, Bob Gunn, was let go when it was discovered he was gay. He sued the church, primarily because the pastor told the congregation why Gunn — who was popular with members — had been fired. The church won in court. (The case was Gunn v. Mariners Church.)

Some churches have affirmed the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and calls homosexuality sinful. Asked whether the BF&M would be sufficient, Stanley replied, “That would be just fine for churches to adopt the BF&M 2000 in their bylaws on this issue. But the BF&M 2000 does not necessarily address the issue of human sexuality in depth, especially the issue of homosexual behavior. Churches may want to consider adopting a fuller statement regarding their biblical beliefs on human sexuality.”

ADF has listed on its website suggested bylaw language for churches. (Read the two ADF articles on the subject – http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/content/docs/issues/church/Suggested-Lang-Church-bylaws.pdf andhttp://www.speakupmovement.org/Church/Content/userfiles/Resources/church_seven_bylaws.pdf. Also, read the suggested language at the end of this article.)

“What we tell churches is that the clearer and the more explicit you can make your religious beliefs about those issues, the better off you are going to be in defending yourself against a claim of discrimination,” Stanley said. “Because then it becomes: You’re not discriminating against an individual based upon their sexual orientation or marital status. You’re making a decision to abide by your religious beliefs. And that’s protected by the Constitution. The more that we can move this from the ground of a claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status to the ground of ‘We are simply abiding by our deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs,’ the better off a legal defense is going to be.”

The legalization of gay marriage, Stanley said, will impact religious freedoms.

“Religious liberty is on the chopping block any time same-sex marriage is legalized or normalized in the culture,” he said. “But we’re not defenseless and we’re not left hopeless. If same-sex marriage is legalized by the Supreme Court, these types of cases that we see pop up, they’re just going to become more commonplace.”

In January, Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, urged Southern Baptists and other Christians to pray for the Supreme Court as it takes up the issue of marriage. Read his column here.

Following is ADF’s suggested language on marriage and sexuality for church bylaws:

“We believe that term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.

“We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

“We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

“We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

“We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

“We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.”
–30–
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Christians of similar platforms often conflict politically. Such was the case of Tim Tebow and Robert Jeffress.  Baptist.org commends both parties for their respective convictions on issues facing those who are believers in the Holy Bible.  Tim Tebow has the sports world as a virtual congregation to present the basic truth of Jesus Christ as Saviour to a blinded world. Robert Jeffress  as a pastor to a physical congregation opts to be fundamentally bold to stand on comprehensive applications of the Christ life in a decadent world.  We applaud both, for their testimonies for Faith and Practice as commanded by God’s Word.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow speaks at the Easter service of Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/William Philpott)

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AP

NY Jets QB Tim Tebow has spoken at mega-churches in the past, including this appearance at the Easter service of Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas last year.

Tim Tebow apparently consulted a higher power – Twitter – and decided not to speak at the controversial First Baptist Church of Dallas in April.

Tebow, still on the Jets’ roster until further notice, tweeted Thursday that he would cancel the appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

From @TimTebow: “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic … First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my … upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those … needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

Tebow was scheduled to speak at the mega-church on Sunday, April 28, but reports quickly surfaced, pointing out that the views of the church’s lead pastor, Robert Jeffress, didn’t exactly coincide with Tebow’s squeaky-clean image.

According to a statement from Jeffress, Tebow has told the pastor that he would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak at a future date.

Jeffress has spoken out in the past against Muslims, Jews, Mormons and homosexuals, claiming that Islam “promoted pedophila” and has said that “Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else” are members of cults, according to reports. He has said Islam and Mormonism are “heresy from the pit of hell” and tied Catholicism to “a Babylonian mystery religion” that corrupted the early Christian church.

He makes no apologies for his comments.

“I think as pastors we have a duty to preach ‘the whole counsel of God,’ and not just discuss those that are politically correct,” Jeffress said. “It’s my role to speak clearly on the issues on which the Bible speaks clearly. It’s my role to preach what the Bible says, and that includes the controversial issues.

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FREDERICK BREEDON/GETTY IMAGES

Tim Tebow sees little action after the Jets trade for him before the 2012 season.

“The reason for this firestorm is not because the word of God has changed. It’s because society has changed.”

“I applaud Tim Tebow’s decision to cancel his appearance,” Hudson Taylor, the founder of the non-profit Athlete Ally, said in a statement. “Regardless of his reasoning, his absence serves as a reminder that the discrimination of gay and lesbian athletes and individuals has no place in sports or society. I hope Tim will take this opportunity to speak out for respect and acceptance of all people, regardless of a persons sexual orientation.”

Statement by First Baptist Church Dallas:

The leaders and congregation of First Baptist Church Dallas are disappointed that New York Jets’ Quarterback Tim Tebow today has announced he will no longer speak at First Baptist Church Dallas on April 28, 2013, as part of the month-long celebration events surrounding the grand opening of our new $130 million, state-of-the-art campus on Easter Sunday.

Mr Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time, but would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak  at a future date.

We are saddened that Mr. Tebow felt pressure to back out of his long-planned commitment to First Baptist Dallas from numerous New York and national sports and news media who grossly misrepresented past comments made by our pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically related to issues of homosexuality and AIDS, as well as Judaism.

As a Christian pastor, Dr. Jeffress takes a biblical approach to moral and social issues, closely following his duty to preach ‘the whole counsel of God,’ and not just address issues that are politically correct. First Baptist is a church built on the truth of Scripture, even though at times that approach can be perceived as controversial or counter to the prevailing winds of culture.

The reason for the recent media firestorm is not because the Word of God has changed, but because society has changed.

More important, contrary to editorializing in the media, Dr. Jeffress shares a message of hope, not hate; salvation, not judgment; and a Gospel of God’s love, grace and new beginnings available to all.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/tebow-cancels-gig-controversial-dallas-church-article-1.1269712#ixzz2LrDaDz47

Never Shine

by waynesosebee on August 31, 2012 · 0 comments

I own a black truck; wash it and it shines like new money or at least most of it does. The hood on my black truck will never shine again and the reason is I fail to keep it washed and waxed. Because of my neglect it will never shine again without a fresh paint job. Now there is someone reading this and saying bring it to my shop and I’ll paint it for you. There’s been many a Christian that began passionately and became professional. What was once love for their daily Bible reading and prayer has now turned into a duty. Oh, these good folks aren’t doing anything terribly wrong they have just drifted from their passionate love for Him. I remember I was doing some snorkeling, I was so excited about what I was seeing I failed to realize that I had began to drift and then a current grabbed me and out in deep water I went. When I raised my head I was a long ways from where I should have been all because I neglected what I should have been paying attention to and then I drifted. That’s what happens, we neglect our time with the Lord and before we know it we are drifting away.
Hebrews 2:3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;How can you and I escape if we neglect our great salvation. Notice that verse didn’t say “how shall we escape if we reject such a great salvation?” It says neglect. Now that hood on my truck didn’t suddenly become dull it became that way because of what I didn’t do. It became dull because I neglected it. You and I must have a daily maintenance in our Christian life. Daily time in God’s Word turns on the light for the day; you see it’s not a book you’re missing but a person you spend time with, Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. It’s neglecting time with Jesus. Yesterday morning I went out the door on my way to work when I felt a strong urge to pray. I walked over to the edge of the yard and began to pray. Don’t know why I felt that way but I obeyed the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Now it could have been the Lord slowing me down from an oncoming accident that might have injured me, I don’t know and may never know. It’s not my job to know it’s my job to obey realizing that God loves me and wants the best for me. If He wants to have me stop for a few minutes so He can talk with Him that’s fine; better than a dead battery.  On Tuesday of this week I was in a bad part of Atlanta stopped at a stop sign when I heard a gunshot and at the same time I heard the bullet hit a tree close to me. Needless to say I got to moving very quickly. Later as I thought about that my heart began to beat fast as I got to thinking how I could have been killed had that bullet hit me in the head and not the tree. As I was thinking on that the Holy Spirit brought comforting words to my heart knowing that it was He that protects me. Have a blessed weekend, don’t forget that you are loved greatly by the Lord Jesus and don’t neglect Him this weekend.  

Only Three Things

by waynesosebee on August 29, 2012 · 0 comments

Complaining is something we all do from time to time. We complain if it rains too much and we complain if it doesn’t rain enough. We complain if we miss an opportunity, we complain if we get sick, we complain if we….you get the picture I’m sure. There is not one who is reading this now that hasn’t been treated wrong at one time or another. We have cried, felt lonely and left behind and at times we have felt that no one even cares about poor little old me. Wait, there is nothing you or I can do about the troubles that come into our life is there? Well, I think there is! Troubles will come; that is for sure and if we live with a troubled attitude it will only make things worse. Try this instead of listing the troubles and problems why not make a gratitude list. That’s right, a list of things that you are grateful for. Let’s see! How’s your health? Are you enjoying eating every day and a loving family? Maybe you are glad the weekend is almost here? Do you have clothes to wear and someone who loves you? Maybe you’re the hero in your sons or daughters life? Are you taking a vacation in a few weeks? A wife who still loves you and has encouraging words for you each day? If all else fails you may have a pet that awaits your arrival each day. I love it, when all else has gone wrong I walk in the door and my dog is always glad I’m home.  I am sure you can think of others to add to your list. Remember now only put on your list things you are grateful for. This is a terrific way to change your attitude in a hurry. You may say why is that? When I was in the military we were taught about our enemy but we were also taught about our weapon and how to use it. Now with that in mind let me show you something about our enemy. Our enemy only wants to do three things and he is very successful at doing them and he has destroyed many a person’s life.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: There they are Steal, Kill, Destroy…Steal your joy by your complaining… Kill your desires by dwelling on the past; which you can do nothing about. Destroy your zeal by getting you to think everybody is against you and no one loves you. Think like that and you’ll soon be depressed, stressed out and feel you’re hopeless. I love the next part of that verse…. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Now you can dwell on what’s going wrong or the abundant life! I choose the latter! I say let’s cut the pity party short and shift to the gratitude list because gratitude will get you much farther in life than complaining. The weapon we need to know how to use is our Bible; it needs to get off the table and into our hearts.
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Notice he said in our heart not our head. This is not Bible memorization for that will be in your head. David said in your heart. Wonder what my wife would say if I said “sweetheart I love you with all my head?” No, I love her with all my heart and there is a big difference. With my heart I know her and love her. So it is with Jesus Christ I know Him and love Him with my heart.
Now get busy with your Gratitude list…..only things you’re grateful for! You have 10 minutes and we are turning the light out on the pity party.

Can I Talk

by waynesosebee on August 28, 2012 · 0 comments

The Miracle of forgiveness! Letting the stone go. Someone is angry at you, something you said offended them. Asking for forgiveness is an amazing experience but it’s easier to simply just let it slide, especially if it’s someone you’re not going to run into. It takes courage to walk up to someone and say “can I talk with you. I owe you an apology and I want to ask for your forgiveness.” Do we have the ability to forgive?  Are we willing to say those words “I forgive you?” His face had been slapped, harsh words had been spoken to him, he had been beat and now someone spits in his face. This is an awful day but with all that is going on this man finds time and words to forgive.
Luke 23:34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. The voices are loud, this man is being bitten, he is thrown out of the city, the stones began to fly, one hits in above the eye another on his cheek bone, another in the head, the stones are coming now faster and faster he falls to the ground. The pain is excruciating he is rushed upon and more stones and more and more and just before this poor man dies he raises up with words of forgiveness.
Acts 7:59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Acts 7:60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
  Years ago I was working a factory job; we went work at 7 and got off at 3. The plant was closed on the week of July 4. For some reason they wanted to start an hour early on the last day we were to work before the plant closed. I couldn’t see the benefit but none the less that’s what was to be. There was no way I could go to work at 6 the nursery where our children stayed didn’t open until 6:30 each morning and sad to say that plant starting an hour early wasn’t that important to them. I told my supervisor that there was no way I could be there at 6 and he told me get there as soon as I could. I did but when I arrived my supervisor and his supervisor were waiting for me. His supervisor began to yell at me I just stood there for a moment hoping he would cool down but he just got louder. That is when I told him that he wasn’t going to talk to me like that but he kept yelling and then I yelled back at him telling him once again he wasn’t going to talk like that to me. Then he said come with me to my office. Now on the way to his office I began to feel like I handled the matter wrong so when we walked into his office I said before you say anything else I would like to apologize for my actions and ask for your forgiveness. He looked at me and never raised his voice again to me and then told my supervisor to help me get my work done. Forgiveness is a wonderful gift that we possess that is hidden in plain sight. It costs nothing and is worth millions. It is available to everyone and used by few. If you harness the power of forgiveness, you will be sought after and regarded highly. Not coincidentally, you will also be forgiven by others!

 Proverbs 26:8 As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so [is] he that giveth honour to a fool.
What good is a stone in his sling that will not come out? It’s like a person who goes to battle with his weapon and no ammunition.   What if I were to tell you that I knew of something that cost nothing and is worth millions? At the same time was available to everyone and used by few.  Would you be interested in knowing what it was? Abraham Lincoln, one of my all time hero’s said this. “Forgiveness is a secret that is hidden in plain sight. It costs nothing and is worth millions. It is available to everyone and used by few. If you harness the power of forgiveness, you will be sought after and regarded highly. And not coincidentally, you will also be forgiven by others! When I read that my mind went quickly to Matthew chapter 18 of the King taking account of his servants and finding out that one owed him an enormous amount of money and didn’t have the resources to repay the amount. The King then clears his entire amount to nothing. What a wonderful blessing. What is interesting to me is that this same servant goes to one that owes him an amount that is payable but at the moment can’t pay. The forgiven servant gets angry and puts his friend in prison.  Word got back to the King who calls for his servant and reminds him that he was forgiven of an amount that he could never repay. He then tells him that when he had opportunity to forgive another he refused. I am afraid that hits home too many times. I must ask myself “have I been forgiven by my heavenly Father of all and do I refuse to forgive those that have wronged me? Do I hold grudges, do I refuse to forgive? Oh, wait, if those who have wronged me would come and ask for me to forgive them I would. Let me say that forgiveness is not an emotion it’s a decision. Have you ever been trying to fall asleep and suddenly your peacefulness is interrupted by remembering what someone has done to you. Do you replay that event over and over in your mind, thinking that you should have just knocked his lights out when you had the opportunity? That’s right think like a boy forgetting you are now 45 or so years old. You have consumed yourself with that kind of thinking in the middle of the night while that person is home in bed getting a good night’s rest. Would you forgive that person if they would come and ask or even beg for your forgiveness? The sling is the power to forgive and the stone is the forgiveness that you have bound in the sling. Tomorrow I’ll write on the Miracle of forgiveness; letting the stone go. 

No Angels Singing

by waynesosebee on August 24, 2012 · 0 comments

I have said this phrase 100’s of times “if you keep doing the same things you’ve always done you’re going to keep getting the same results you’ve always gotten.” Sunday is coming not a week or a month away but in two short days and the question is where will you be? In Church you might say and my answer to that question is and what will you be there for? Were you there last week? Were you content to just be there? Were you content to sit and look straight ahead and leave when the service was over? Content with the nice service! I hope if that were the case you’ll come this week looking for Jesus. Have you prepared your heart for worship? Have you prayed before you arrive so that you will be ready to pray when you arrive?  Did you sleep well so that you’ll be able to stay alert after you arrive? Did you read your Bible before you came so your heart will be soft when you worship? Come hungry, come willing and come expecting God to speak to you personally. When you leave Church will you have something to thank God for? He speaks to open and willing hearts. I read that George Carver Washington went out each morning to pray and the results of his prayers were over 300 uses for the peanut. Carver never patented most of the many discoveries saying “God gave them to me, how can I sell them to someone else?”  
Mat 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
What are you asking God for? After you ask are you seeking for what you asked for? Are you knocking, looking and expecting God to give you what you asked for? I remember a while back asking God for a certain matter; I asked more than once. I kept knocking at heavens doors for God to please supply in this matter; nothing happened the prayer was not answered, nothing. Then one day I just said in my prayer “God I have asked and asked I have knocked and knocked why have you not answered; just say yes or no but please give me an answer.” There was no sound from heaven, no angels singing but on that morning God answered my prayer. I was reading Matthew chapter seven when my eyes read verse seven. Ask, seek and knock and then the Lord spoke to me. You have asked and yes, you have knocked but you have failed to seek. That’s it I was waiting for something to drop out of the sky into my lap. I like most forgot to seek after what I was asking for. If you want to find gold one must go and pan or seek for it. I am afraid that many die without ever really knowing what God wants them to do. Oh yes, they asked God to show them and sure they knocked but have they really gone seeking for it.
Proverbs 21:20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
Proverbs 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
Proverbs 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Proverbs 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
Proverbs 2:4 Ifthou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Proverbs 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
When you walk into the doors of your Church this Sunday don’t you want more than being content? If that’s all you want that’s all you’ll get. But if you come expecting to hear, see and experience something from God that’s what you’ll get. You can have as much as you want or as little as you’re satisfied with.
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