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DIRECTIONS FROM ABOVE

“Trust in the Lord with all you heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

During a visit to Chicago, I stayed on the 25th floor of a downtown hotel. As I gazed out the window, I was fascinated by the maze of cars flowing four lanes abreast in opposite directions.

One motorist faces in emergency. He had engine troubled and was stalled in the middle of all that traffic. From the vantage point I could see for blocks. I watched several drivers switch into the same lane as the stalled auto. unaware of what was ahead. Thinking they were gaining time, these motorists were actually crossing over into a lane that would only spell greater delay.

As we travel along life’s road, we do much the same as those misguided drivers. With our limited foresight we select the route that seems best-only to find that the temporary advance has led us into a course filled with delay and heartache. But how reassuring that we can look to One who is above everything, who knows the end from the beginning! This is why the writer Proverbs could say, “In all your way acknowledge Him, and He shall directs your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). When the Lord indicates a “stop” or a “change of lanes” or a “wait”, we should gladly obey.

Yes. we look for direction from above.

He leadeth me! O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

THE BEST WAY TO KNOW GOD’S WILL IS TO SAY “I WILL” TO GOD!

 

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FRUSTRATED PLANS

“They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia.” – Acts 6:6

A young man went to college to seminary, determined to become a pastor. God blessed his years in school and gave him many opportunities to preach.

After graduation he looked for a church to pastor but couldn’t find one that needed him. So when he was offered a contract to teach in a Bible college, he said yes, still intending to a pastor a church someday. But after 2 years of teaching, it finally became clear that God wanted him to be a teacher rather than a pastor.

God sometimes frustrates our own plans as we seek to determine His will. We head in one direction; He blocks our way. Finally, we become content to go where He directs us.

Paul experienced that kind of frustration in Asia Minor on his second missionary journey. He headed for the Roman province in Asia, but was “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia (Acts 16:6). So he and his companions tried to enter Bithynia, “but the Spirit did not permit them” (v.7). So they journeyed to Troas, where Paul learned that God wanted him to preach in Macedonia (vv. 9-10).

Is God frustrating your plans? He may be trying to lead you. Be open to His will and sensitive to His guidance, and He will use you and bless you.

I want to follow You, O Lord,
Your plans or me I will obey;
So when You close or open doors,
Help me to see Your perfect way.

“CONTENTMENT COMES WHEN WE WANT GOD’S WILL MORE THAN OUR WAY.”

 

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THE HEART OF GOSPEL

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

“We all, with with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

When E. Stanley Jones, well-known missionary to India, had the opportunity to meet with Mahatma Gandhi, he asked a searching question of India’s revered leader: “How can Christianity make a stronger impact on your country?” Gandhi very thoughtfully replied that three things would be required.

First, Christians must begin to live more like Jesus.
Second, the Christians faith should be presented without any adulteration.
Third, Christians should emphasize love, which is at the heart of the gospel.
These insightful suggestions are the key to effective evangelism around the world. As messengers of God’s love, we are to be human mirrors who reflect without distortion a growing likeness to our Lord; We are not to walk in “craftiness” (2 Cor 4:2). If our lives reflect an image that is communicated (vv. 3 – 5). We are also to share the biblical essentials of our faith clearly. We must not handle the Word of God “deceitfully” (v.2). And our lives are to be marked by the love for God and others (1 John 5:1 – 2).

Let’s be sure that we reflect a clear image of Jesus’ likeness, the truth of God, and love.

Called to be salt and light in this world,
Called to preserve and to shine,
Called to reflect the glory of God–
Oh, what a calling is mine! –Fitzhugh

“THE PRIMARY REASON FOR LIVING IN THIS WORLD IS TO REFLECT THE LIKENESS OF CHRIST”

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Our Message

Read: 1 Corinthians 2:1-8

“I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

I’ve heard people say that the Lord sometimes uses simple hymns to impress them with profound truths. Songs like “He lives”, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, or “Jesus Saves” have jolted them as if they were hearing these truths for the first time.

Something similar happened o me in 1996. I attended a convention that drew 10,000 evangelists from many countries. Our unified concerns was to bring God’s plan of salvation to our lost and needy world. As I went to seminars and listened to brilliant speakers, I began to wonder if the urgent task of evangelism was beyond me. Then a singer was invited to the platform. My spirit soared with reassurance and confidence as her rich voice proclaimed, “People need the Lord!” She reminded us in song that people all around us need to hear about Jesus and put their faith in Him.

Sharing the gospel means sharing Christ, His death, and His resurrection with people lost in sin. Paul said he didn’t minister with eloquence or worldly wisdom. He chose to know nothing “except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Yes, there is much knowledge to be learned, but the key to that knowledge is to know the Lord. That’s why people need Him. Remember, our message is Christ. – JEY

He is the way, the truth, the life
That One whose name is Jesus;
There is no other name on earth
That has the power to save us. – Sper

“THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT JESUS,
THE MORE YOU’LL TALK ABOUT HIM”

 
 

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THE GOOD NEWS

Our Thoughts:

For each of us, it takes different things to get us excited. The least good thing we hear about might be the ‘good news’ we’ve been waiting to hear. The news that our child has gotten good grades is exciting to know, since that keeps them from failing. And we know they are learning at school. The news of a new job promotion is also wonderful to hear. It means that our pay day is going to be larger, and perhaps that employer does appreciate us after all!

It was exciting to us, as grandparents, to hear that our grandson was going to perform in school. That might not be something special for other grandparents, but it made us swell with pride! Also, I remember back when my son came home from high school to tell me he had missed being Valedictorian by a 100th of a point (that is getting very nitty gritty), but, he went on to say that he had been chosen Salutatorian. Well, that was wonderful news to us! His Mom was also class salutatorian when she graduated.

This is the season for ‘good news’ in it’s finest. It’s not the decorating of our trees and homes to influence our neighbors or friends. It’s not the purchasing of fine gifts and toys for our children or kinfolks. It’s not eating at the best restaurant to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner, or having the family gathering at someone’s house to enjoy all the great dishes. But, it’s the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. God sent His only Son to earth, to live here as we do, to know the life of a human, but, yet, he never sinned. He lived thirty three short years on earth, only to return to His Father, when He was crucified on that cross, bearing all our sins, so that we could, one day, live with him eternally, if we chose to follow after Him – the GOOD NEWS!

God’s Thoughts:
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Got Accountability?

Romans 14:9-12 (NKJV) For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:  “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Louis McBurney, in a Leadership Journal article, stated there are four reasons people reject accountability.
1) They fear rejection. 2) They feel embarrassed. 3) They resent control by hostile people. 4) They don’t like facing any negative feelings.

Everyone, including leaders, needs accountability through their significant relationships. Accountability is not something we need just when we‘re young Christians; accountability is for everyone. Accountability is a powerful tool that can launch many of us into the fullness God has for each of us. When we say accountability, we’re not talking about intimidation, invasion of privacy, bringing people under the weight of someone else’s preferences or legalism. Biblical accountability isn’t manipulation; but if practiced right, is a blessing.

Accountability comes with a price, and comes with four requirements. If you are truly going to walk in accountability you must be willing to meet the following requirements: 
A. Must Be Teachable – Willing to learn; quick to hear and slow to respond. B. Availability – Willing to be accessible, touchable, open and interruptible. C. Vulnerability – Capable of admitting ones mistakes. D. Truthfulness – Committed to the truth, and walks in honesty even if it hurts.

Why does accountability have requirements?  The dictionary says accountability means “being responsible to others“. In a biblical sense, it’s developing relationships with other believers which will promote spiritual growth and obedience to God. Therefore, accountability means teaching, challenging, supporting and encouraging one another in ways that promote spiritual integrity in us as believers.

Have you ever wanted to go to the next level and dimension in your life, but haven’t been sure exactly how to get there? Today, I inoculate you to pray; and ask God to show you someone who can hold you accountable. If Jesus had twelve accountability partners, each of us should have at least one or two believers that hold us accountable. 

But remember accountability also has its rewards:
Accountability builds friendships. Accountability builds a hedge of protection. Accountability brings freedom. Accountability reflects the truth. Accountability develops Christlikeness. Accountability adds responsibilities. Accountability builds our integrity.
Don’t reject accountability but embrace it. Walk into your fullness, and watch the power of accountability transform your life.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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T R U E H U M I L I T Y

Isaiah 66:2 says, “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” The promise of revival in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is available only to those who are humble, broken of spirit, and who bow their spirits before the authority of the Word of God. It is time to fall on our faces and cry out that Christ is worthy and that we are not, that He is capable and that we are not, and that He is strong and we are weak. Revival is a work of the Spirit in which we surrender to the authority and grace of God to move and operate in our lives. There can only be one captain of our hearts, and it must be King Jesus. Contrition and trembling before the Word of God are akin to humility. Isaiah 66:2 is not a list of three totally distinct and disconnected spiritual realities; rather, it is three different angles of observing the same reality of the humble heart. In other words, humility involves, by its very definition, both contrition and trembling at the Word of God. The Hebrew word for humility in 2 Chronicles 7:14, is kana, meaning “to bend the knee.” This means to humiliate, vanquish, bring down low, bring into subjection, put under, or to subdue. It is a relinquishing of authority from self to God. Contrition is to repent or become ashamed of the current state of one’s heart, and it is impossible to truly humble oneself without this inner sorrow and change. The humbling process will have begun with a cutting to the heart from God’s Word, and it will end in a reverence and fear for the authority and supreme value of God and His Word. When we see God for Who He really is, it is hard not to tremble in our spirits. Contrition, humility, and trembling are the beginning point for revival. All three simultaneously exist in the heart that is to be revived. For genuine revival to occur, we must become a people of tender hearts. We ought to weep over the state of affairs around us. We cannot pretend that God can send His Spirit to move if we gloss over sin issues. Sin must be identified and crushed. Sin stymies the Spirit, and God requires broken vessels. Some sin is obvious while some is not. Sin relies on self, lifts up self, and operates without God and against God’s ways and will. Before we can be shown such errors of spirit, we must humble ourselves to ask God to show us where we might be off course. Humility is the posture of growth because it is where God infuses His grace into a teachable spirit. Humility also has a posture of power because a bowed knee and heart which calls out to God is honored and heard by God. Humility is our starting point. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” This passage tells us one of the major evidences of a humble heart. If we have the humility of mind characterized by surrender, contrition, and trembling before God, then we will necessarily think of others as more important than ourselves. It doesn’t say that others are more valuable than we are, for God values us all equally as His children. It does say that we are to be cognizant of the needs and welfare of others more than we are to be consumed with ourselves. Humility is not a neglect of self where we act as doormats for others; rather, it is a demeanor and mindset that is far more concerned about how others are than how we ourselves are. Humility is the opposite of self-centeredness because it is driven by service for God and others. Too often, we try to exalt ourselves by our skills, intellect, and education, among other things. Our Lord says in 1 Peter 5:6, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” True exaltation can only be given by Christ Himself, and it will be given to those who vanquish their own selfish agendas and desires and place themselves in submission to their Master and their Lord, Jesus Christ. Like John the Baptist says in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We decrease not by self-abasement or self-insult but by dying to self and immersing ourselves by faith in Christ’s life, purpose, love, and power. As we do what He wants, delighting ourselves in Him, we will end up fulfilling our purpose and finding the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). The child of God who desires to live the Christian life to the fullest must be willing to submit to God’s plans and desires, no matter the cost or the particular challenge. True humility bows the knee to the true Lord of the universe and says, “Lord, not my will but Yours be done.” And God’s way is always the best way, a means for our good, and with honor as its ultimate end. The truly humble will be truly exalted.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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