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Friday, October 24, 2014

NOT QUITE – BUT ALMOST !



Almost but Not Quite !
 
Recently I wrote about a time in my young life when I ran out of gas and how a kind service station attendant helped me get it right.  I stated that to this day I have never ran out of gas again. 

Thinking back several years ago when our family was returning from Oklahoma to California;  I remembered when we were very close to running out of gas, “Almost – but not quite.”

Our daughter, Becky was riding with me as I drove our car.  Robert was driving a U-Haul truck, and we met each evening at a designated city and motel.

The next morning we would set out again with our schedule in place.

As Becky and I drove, we were talking merrily as mother and daughters often will do, and I had not paid any attention to the gas gauge.

The car began to cough and alert us that something was definitely wrong.

Quickly inspecting the gas indicator I realized we were in trouble.

As we peered down the highway, staring far into the distance we thought we could make out a gas station on the other side of the road.

I cried out to God; “Oh Jesus, as you multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed a multitude, I ask you to please create enough gas so we can make it to that station.”

The sputtering stopped, and we slowed down, but we kept a steady pace toward our goal.

I kid you not, but that car purred all the way - - at least half a mile, until we finally arrived to fill up our tank. 

In life there are times when we know to do the right thing but something beyond our reasonable intelligence causes us to hesitate. 

We almost make the correct choice but not quite.

Almost but Not Quite !
As Paul stood before King Agrippa, the King declared, “Almost you persuade me to become a Christian."

When it comes to receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord it is time to not just entertain the thought - - but to accept Him.  The Bible says “Today is the day of Salvation.”

A preacher once said, "He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, but to be almost saved is to be entirely lost."

You might enjoy the Lyrics to the Hymn “Almost Persuaded.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Running Out of Gas



Early experiences in life can cause you to be careful about things you want to encounter only once. 
 
I was a young bride, just having received my driver’s license, and decided to visit my friend Maude.  She lived about three blocks off one of the main highways in our town, so the trip did not take long.
 
After a lovely visit, it was time to leave so I could get home in time to fix supper.
 
We said our good byes, and Maude went back into the house, and I jumped into my car.
 
I turned the key in the ignition and all I heard was a grinding noise.  My car refused to start.
 
Because I was a fairly new driver, it had not occurred to me to watch my fuel gauge and sure enough I was out of gas.
 
Pulling my wits around me, I grabbed my purse and took off walking to the main road. 
 
I remembered there was a gas station at the highway, and I was healthy and a walk was good exercise.
 
When I arrived at the station, I explained to the kind attendant my problem and he shook his head while biting his lower lip, to show he understood and felt bad for me.
 
He walked briskly into the garage area and returned with a red gas can and put just enough gas in the can to accomplish the next step. 
 
The gentleman that he was, he escorted me over to one of the cars near by and showed me how to lift the hood.  He explained that after I poured most of the gas into my tank, I needed to do something else.
 
“Look right here,” he said, as he showed me where the carburetor was.  You need to pour some gas into the carburetor to make sure your car will start.
 
He knew I was just a kid, so he did not require a deposit on the gas can, but he did tell me to come right back and return it, and if I had enough money, I might want to purchase a bit more gas.
 
The can was not that heavy, but it did slow me down a bit on my return trip to my car.
 
After I had poured most of the gas into my tank, I gingerly pulled the hood release, and proceeded to put the rest of the gas into the carburetor as instructed.  
 
Putting the can in the back seat - - making sure it was upright, I headed back to the gas station.
 
Although I did not have much money with me, I purchased several gallons of gas, thanked the nice man and drove home to tell Robert my unhappy, but exciting experience!
 
Lessons learned can be painful while the process is going on and I am a fast learner.
 
To this day, I have never ran out of gas again. 
 
In life, we often run out of Spiritual fuel, and when this happens it is time to visit God’s fueling station. 
 
 
Our spirit runs on the fire of the Holy Spirit and the living water from Jesus; and although the fire and water are free, the value is priceless.  
 

So if you are running low, perhaps it is time to “Fire Up" with a renewed Holy Spirit infilling, and another big drink of the fresh living water - - for it is just a prayer away. 
 
 

 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What Do We Owe You, God?

 
 


I took notes as Pastor Jerry read from Matthew 22:15-22.

The Pharisees asked: “Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?”  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?  Show Me the tax money.”  So they brought Him a denarius.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Pastor began his message.  At a party or gathering there are certain topics we avoid; Religion, politics, and sex.  Today I want to talk about money.

We will see how faith touches our lives and even our finances.
Jesus comes down hard on the Scribes and Pharisees as they moved to trick Jesus.  These men were usually opposed to each other, but now they teamed up in an attempt to trap Jesus. 


They began with flattery saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth;” then they asked their question hoping to get Jesus in trouble with the Roman Government.

The Romans had a lot of taxes; the Temple tax, Land, tax and the Imperial Tax which was actually a tribute to Rome, for the privilege of being oppressed.

Pastor Jerry quoted Richard Brant. “We have a duty to support Caesar as long as Caesar is doing what he is supposed to do.  We do not owe Caesar our total loyalty when Caesar oppresses.

The denarius was the coin used to pay this Imperial Tax.  It had the value of a day’s wages, and to the Jews the coin was offensive. On one side there was a graven image of Caesar, and on the other side an inscription declaring that Caesar was divine. 

 “Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?” they asked Jesus.  The Roman soldiers were standing near by, and a crowd was gathering.  Jesus was in a hard place, but he saw through their divisive scheme, and asked for a coin, the denarius.

His answer, “Give to Caesar what is his, and unto God what is His.

The tables were turned on the accusers.

God is the creator and sustainer of us all.  God created us, and we are God’s coin.

What belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?  These things are separate.

Taxes have nothing to do with religious commitment.  The Law is the Law and we have a duty to support our Government.

There may be another meaning that we should consider.  “No one can serve two masters.”

Jesus was not describing the coin, which was clearly against the second commandment.

Who in our story possessed such a coin?  Certainly not the poor disciples, but it was the rich religious leaders.

The coin was made by humans.  In Genesis we read that God created humans.

The Big questions is: Whose image is on us?

That which bears God’s image belongs to God.

We must use responsible wisdom with our finances, and certainly the church needs our support - - but - -

God is not after your money, but He wants YOU.

Come Onto Me
 
This post is shared at Charlotte’s Spiritual Sundays
 

The Lord is Your Shepherd





THE LORD IS YOUR SHEPHERD
By Roy Lessin  


He doesn't drive, He leads.
He doesn't starve, He feeds.

He doesn't abuse, He affirms.
He doesn't confuse, He confirms.

He doesn't quit, He remains.
He doesn't deplete, He sustains.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Tires



 
Tires do wear out, and our pickup truck had made it across country and back plus other traveling. 

My dad decided he would provide us with a gift of four new tires and paid to have them installed. 

After Robert inspected the tires already installed on the truck, he confided in me that although he appreciated my father’s kind gesture, he knew that the tires were the wrong size for the wheels.   
Gift Horse

He hoped that perhaps the tires would be okay so he drove his truck for several days and all was fine. 

Then one very hot Summer day, Robert needed to travel to another city close by.  After he had been gone for awhile, I received a telephone call from him. 

He told me he was at a tire place in that town and was replacing all four of the new tires with the correct size. 

Due to the heat of the day, the tires could not take the pressure placed on them, and all at once, NOT ONE but all four tires went flat. 

We never told my dad what had happened, because he had been so happy to be able to give us this nice gift.
 
There are times when the old saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” might just be true.

In life when it comes to God and his blessings,  His Gifts are always to be trusted. 

The Bible promises us in Matthew 7:22  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Rejoice in the Lord Always !


 
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Be Wary Of Leviathan


 

"Be Wary Of Leviathan"

Guest post by Troy Goode, Providence, RI

The Leviathan Spirit has many characteristics, but it mainly manifests itself as pride. The very word "Leviathan" means "to twist."

Leviathan is deceptive because it preys upon very real hurts and wrongs that have happened to you.  

Your pain is not imagined; you were actually wronged, but Leviathan is seeking to make you fix your gaze solely on your problem; so you never pull back from how you were wronged and pray the heroic prayer: "Lord, heal ME!" 

This is a season of the great reconstruction. A time when God is building a new force of elite soldiers that will ascend their mountain of culture but also possess the character to stay on top and release God's love and healing in a manner that brings glory to Him.  

God is purposefully poking you where it hurts and forcing you to deal with internal issues you've masqueraded and hid behind for too long.
4 Keys To Confronting Leviathan

1) Come In The Opposite Spirit. At the root of your vulnerability to Leviathan is authentic hurt and anger. The Bible says we are to be angry but not sin.

Here it is critical that we acknowledge our anger but intentionally forgive and not give too much energy to thinking about how we were wronged.

2) Create A Healthy Environment. The old adage is true, "misery loves company," but during these critical times we can't be surrounded by people who will "co-sign" and enable our dysfunction.

We need friends that will hold us accountable and tell us the truth about ourselves even when it hurts. The Bible says the wounds of a friend are faithful. We don't need fans...we need friends.

3) Be Teachable. Leviathan is especially dangerous for leaders and leader-types, because they are so used to having the answers for everyone's problems that they struggle with seeking answers for themselves.

Leaders think they always have to be tough, that they have to appear strong, and those attributes work against them when they are the ones under God's magnifying glass and in need of help themselves.

4. Fixate on God’s Promises. God is always good, and Scripture teaches us everything works together for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purpose.  

We must focus on God's promises to come at the end of all this reconstruction. We can't get sidetracked by the pain or how badly we were wronged.

God is working on us to bring us to a better, more sustainable place. Ultimately He's taking us from glory to glory, and that must be our main focus.

 Excerpt's from the Post by Troy Goode, Senior Pastor
New Dimension Church Providence RI

Sunday, October 12, 2014

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS ?

 

 
During the Sunday Service, I gleaned from Pastor Jerry’s sermon as he read from Philippians 4:1-9. 
 
Paul was writing from prison, yet even in his situation he was rejoicing in the Lord. 
 
In his letter he urged the Christians to be of like mindedness and not to argue; not to worry or be anxious, but to present their needs to God in faith believing that they would receive.  Paul also advised them to be cautious about their thought life.
 
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 
 
Pastor said there is an old Chinese proverb that says:
“May you live in interesting times.”
 
Today we worry about many things, terror, disease, our planet, our health and our family’s health.  It only takes a moment to understand crisis that others are going through here and world wide and it makes our problems seem small.
 
Pastor mentioned that he had just re-read the classic book “Grapes of Wrath” set during the great depression, and the incredible issues and treatment by fellow Americans.
 
Back to Paul’s letter 62 AD to the Philippians, as he told them to rejoice in the Lord Always and not to worry.
 
Jesus also admonished people not to worry or be in fear.
 
We might say, “That is easier said than done.”
 
The Christians all had problems of their own and Paul was in prison, a terrible dungeon, yet he was able to rejoice in God.  He rejoiced nine times in different ways.
 
Before Paul received Jesus he was successful, well educated, respected and looked up to.  He was willing to give all that up to follow Christ Jesus.  He counted the loss of all things as nothing compared to the peace and blessing given to him by the Lord.
 
Sometimes it is difficult to rejoice always.  Thankfully we have assurance in the Living Word of God.  We can invest our time in prayer and worship and practice thankfulness.
 
We can’t live in constant anxiety.  Do we want an inner calm?  We can learn to put our mental energy into productive thoughts as we remember the proclamation of Paul in verse 8. 
 
Maybe Paul is right and we can mature to discover peace even in tough times.
 
We have good intentions to pray, but our mind goes off in all directions as we think of things we need to do.
 
Paul encouraged the members to get along with each other, to do good works and to rejoice, not worry and bring their thoughts into subjection.
 
It is important to be concerned and not forget about the needs of the world and of others close by.  There are troubles in our church as we face the future. 
 
The main thing is - - if we excessively worry we fail to feed the poor and go about doing the things we need to do.
 
At times we need to read the newspaper or watch the news to at least keep up with what is going on in our world and in our town so we know how to pray. 
 
We do live in interesting times.