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Archive for August, 2010

I don’t believe in God!

A man was struggling with his marriage, when his friend asked how “God fit into his marriage” his countenance darkened and he cut his friend off, “I don’t believe in God and I don’t want to talk about religion”.

Not wanting to push to hard, his friend respected his stance and continued talking about his marriage without mentioning anything more about God, the man interrupted the conversation to remind the friend he didn’t believe in God and he didn’t want the friend to push religion on him.

The friend stopped in puzzlement, they resumed the conversation, all the more resolved not to mention God. A third time the man blurted out “I don’t want to talk about God, I don’t believe in God.”

Finally it dawned on the friend; the hurting man really did want to talk about God. Since he wouldn’t drop the subject, the friend asked carefully “Tell me about this God you don’t believe in.”

The man was happy to oblige. He said he didn’t believe in a God who was angry, always waiting to catch people that was doing wrong, and who delighted in sending people to hell.

This time the friend interrupted and said “I don’t believe in that God either.” The man was confused and said “I thought you believed in God.” the friend replied “I believe in a God that loves you more then you could ever imagine, I believe in a good God that takes a personal interest in all of us, My God sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross for your sins. The man looked at his friend sadly obviously carrying alot of pain and said “I wish I could believe in a God like you, and the friend said you can.”

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Grace to help!

We have a God who is a very present help in trouble. He is our help and our shield. Our help comes from the One who made heaven and earth when we pray, we’re coming to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need. “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God”

Walking as Jesus did…He did not retaliate

When someone hurts me, I want them to hurt too. Hurt often results in anger building up inside us. And so often, we use that anger as an excuse to be cruel to the one who hurt us. Mark Twainsums up the effects of this anger inside of us when he says, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”Once we have given our anger free reign, we are often left feeling worse off than we did before. So it is evident that it does not pay to “get someone back.” “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”(Proverbs 29:11)

Looking at our Lord Jesus, we see a different picture altogether. He responded quite the opposite when He was insulted, slapped in the face, spat on, mocked at and beaten to a pulp. In Him we see the opposite of what would be the expected response under such circumstances. He is the WAY. In other words, His way of doing is the Way that would lead us to the Father. So, it makes sense to find out how He handled the pain of being wronged.

Pilate asked Jesus if He is not going to say anything about the claims the people are bringing against Him. Pilate was aware that the people have no legitimate reason for wanting to crucify Jesus. The Bible says, “He [Pilate] knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.” (Matthew 27:18). Pilate also fully understood the weight of the matter. The fact that Jesus was handed over to him, meant the people wanted Him dead. Because Pilate could see that the accusations were unfounded and that he was handed an innocent man, he expected Jesus to say something in his defense. But, says the Bible, “Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge -to the great amazement of the governor.” (Matthew 27:14).

While we are quick to defend ourselves when being wronged, Jesus did the opposite. He didn’t avenge of defend Himself because He trusted that His Father will judge righteously. Centuries before this event took place, Isaiah gave a vivid account of what will transpire there:

“It was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth.” Isaiah 53:4-7 (NLT)

Jesus was completely innocent of all charges, yet did not retaliate. The reason He could fully release the situation into the hands of His Father was because of His unshakable trust in the character of God. He knew God won’t let injustice continue indefinitely. He knew His Father is a Righteous God. And so it is also possible for us to fully surrender a situation in which we are wronged into the hands of God only if we fully trust Him to come to our defense. In fact, God waits for us to leave it to Him. If we do that, that’s when He steps in. Did someone insult you; persecute you? You have two options: You can insult him back; get him back or you can lay it on the shoulders of the One who receives these things as if it were done against Him personally.

Notice that when Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, He asked Paul why he was persecuting Him. Now, we know Paul never persecuted Jesus Himself, but the followers of the Lord. However, from the Lord’s words here, we can see that He took Paul’s persecution of His followers as if Paul was persecuting Him personally: ”He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ’Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ’Who are You, Lord?’ Saul asked. ’I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied.” (Acts 9:4-5).

I pray that our trust in our Father will grow to such an extent, that when we are insulted, wronged, cheated, and persecuted, we will be able to surrender the situation to our Lord and let Him repay. As the hymn says, ”O, what needless pain we bear…all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” The hymn also says we forfeit peace when we fail to take our trials to the Lord in prayer. Prayer is not our last option after all else has failed. It is our first line of action. That’s where we find the peace that transcends all understanding.

“When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

“Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).

Hebrews 11: 1-3

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

(2This is what the ancients were commended for. 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11: 1-3 NIV)

I let go of judgments toward myself and others so that I can truly experience the oneness of all things. I allow myself to love more, and I am healed. Be kind, caring & compassionate. Be thoughtful, attentive & giving. Be confident, strong & passionate. Do these things in your own unique way & we will make this world a better place!! After all, we are all Created Equal!! Your past is a part of who you are, but it does not define who you will be. Take your experiences, learn from your mistakes, and seize your life to be great.

Kids Bible Study 8-30-2010

How Queen Esther Save the Lives of Her People
Esther 4:4 to Esther 10:3

Esther tells the king of the wicked Haman’s plot to kill the Jews.

ESTHER WAS HAPPY in her beautiful palace-home. She was kind to her servants, and they liked to obey her. But she did not forget how Mordecai had taken her into his own home when she was a poor little orphan.And every day she watched from her window to see him pass by, and always she was eager to receive the messages that he sent. She still obeyed him just as cheerfully as when she had been a little girl in his own humble home.

But one day Mordecai did not pass by as usual. And Esther missed him. Perhaps she thought he might be sick. But soon her servants came to tell her that he was walking through the streets of the city, dressed in sackcloth and crying with a loud and bitter cry.

“What has happened?” wondered the Queen, as she hurriedly gathered some new clothes to sent to him. How she longed to run out to comfort him, herself! But now she was the queen, and now she could not go about in the streets. Perhaps she wished that she were not the queen, after all.

As she sat watching anxiously from her window, soon she saw the servant returning with the clothes she had sent. Mordecai would not take them, and Esther knew that some terrible sorrow had come into his life. So she quickly called another servant, one of the King’s servants who sometimes waited on her, and told him to learn from Mordecai the cause of his intense grief.

Mordecai told this servant about all that had happened to him, how Haman had planned to kill all the Jews and had even promised to give money to the King for this cruel purpose.

He gave the servant a copy of the letter that Haman had written, and the servant brought the letter to Esther. He told Esther, too, that Mordecai had commanded her to speak to the King and tell him that she was a Jew, and that Haman had planned to kill her and all her people.

At first Esther was afraid to go to the King. She knew the law of the palace: that any one, either a man or a woman, who should approach the throne without being called by the king would be put to death unless the king should hold out to that person the golden scepter.

And she feared to take such a risk; for the King had not called for her in many days, and she supposed he was attending to important matters and did not wish to be disturbed. She sent her servant back to Mordecai to tell him that she dared not go into the presence of the King without being called by him.

Mordecai believed that God had permitted Esther to become queen on purpose, so that she might at this time save the lives of her people. So he sent word again, telling Esther that she must go, for if she refused she would be sparing her life at that time only to lose it later, when all the Jews in Shushan should be destroyed.

Esther still was fearful to obey the wishes of Mordecai; but she longed to help her people, and she promised to try. She commanded Mordecai to gather all the Jews in Shushan into one place, and there to fast and pray for three days that God would give her favor in the eyes of the King.

She and her servants would also fast during that time, and then if Ahasuerus had not yet called for her she would go to him, contrary to the law of the palace, and plead for her life and for the lives of her people.

Mordecai hastily called all the Jews in Shushan and told them of Esther’s words. And they fasted and prayed as she had commanded. Then, on the third day she dressed in her most beautiful garments and went in to speak to the King.

Ahasuerus was surprised to see the Queen standing timidly in the court before his throne. He knew some urgent matter had brought her there, and because he loved her he held out to her the golden scepter, which was in his hand.

Then she came near to his throne and touched the scepter, and he asked, “What is your request, Queen Esther? It shall be given to you though it should be the half of my kingdom.”

Esther did not tell him at once about the great sorrow that clouded her life, but she requested him and his friend Haman to dine with her that day. And the King promised to come. Then she went away, and Ahasuerus sent word to Haman, telling him of the Queen’s invitation to dinner.

Haman felt highly honored because he was the only guest invited to eat with the King and the Queen. But Ahasuerus guessed that Esther had some great request to make of him, so again he asked, “What is your wish, my queen?”

And again Esther answered simply, “If I have found favor in your eyes, O King, my request is that you and Haman shall return tomorrow and dine with me as you have done today. Then I shall tell you what is my greatest wish.”

And the King promised that they would come.

After the banquet Haman hurried home to tell his wife and his friends about the great honor that Queen Esther had shown to him. But as he passed through the king’s gate he saw Mordecai sitting there and refusing to bow before him as the other servants were bowing.

This spoiled all of Haman’s gladness of heart. How he despised that Jew! He longed to be rid of Mordecai’s presence in the king’s gate, and he told his wife and his friends how greatly Mordecai’s presence annoyed him. He boasted loudly to them of the honors both the King and the Queen were bestowing upon him, but he complained about the contempt this humble Jew, Mordecai, had shown.

Haman’s wife and his friends urged him to prepare a high gallows and ask permission of the king to hand Mordecai. Then he might enjoy fully the honors that were being shown by every one else except by this much-despised Jew. Haman thought their advice sounded good, and he set to work at once to have a gallows built.

That night Ahasuerus, the King, could not sleep. As he tossed restlessly about on his soft pillows he commanded his servants to bring the book of records and read to him about the things that had happened since he had been the rule of Persia.

And among the other things he heard them read from the book was Mordecai’s report of the evil plans of two servants who intended to kill the King. “Has any honor been shown to Mordecai for that kindness done to me?

And the servants answered, “Nothing has been done for him,”

Haman rose early the next morning and went to the palace, intending to ask the King’s permission to hang Mordecai on the gallows he had made. But just as he entered the court of the palace, Ahasuerus sent for him.

And he came in proudly, wondering what service he could perform to please his ruler. “What shall be done to the man whom the King delights to honor?” asked Ahasuerus of Haman.

And Haman thought quickly, “Whom would the King delight to honor more than me?” so, believing that the honor would be shown to him, he answered, “Let the man whom the King delights to honor be dressed in the King’s royal garments, and let him ride upon the King’s horse, with the King’s crown upon his head. Let one of the most noble princes place the royal garment upon this man, and the crown upon his head, and let the prince bring him on horseback through the streets of the city and cry out before him that all may hear, ‘This is done to the man whom the King delights to honor.'”

The King was pleased with Haman’s answer, and he said, “You are my noble prince, so I command you to take my royal garment and my crown, and hasten to dress Mordecai in them. Then put him on my horse and lead him through the city, proclaiming before him the words that you have spoken. See that you do everything as you have advised should be done to the man whom I delight to honor.”

Now Haman was frightened, but he dared not disobey the King’s command. He took the garments, dressed Mordecai, the Jew, in them, and led him on horseback through the city streets, crying out, “This is done to the man whom the King delights to honor!”

Then he returned with Mordecai to the palace, and brought back the royal garments to the King. Afterwards he ran home, covering his head in shame and sorrow, for he dared not speak to the King about the matter that had brought him to the palace at the early morning hour. And his wife and friends heard this story, and feared that greater troubles might soon befall him if the King was showing favor to the despised Jew.

Haman had forgotten about his invitation to dine again with the King and Queen. So the King sent a messenger to bring him to the palace. And then, as they sat about the table the King asked Esther the third time what her wish was, that she desired of him. And the third time he promised to grant that wish even though it should be the half of his kingdom.

Now Esther was ready to tell her story. She may have heard that very morning how highly the King honored Mordecai; for she spoke with courage and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O King, and if it please you, I ask that my life and the lives of my people may be spared, for we have been sold–not to become slaves, but to be killed.”

Ahasuerus was surprised to hear these words. He asked, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare to do such a thing?” and Esther answered, “That enemy is this wicked Haman.”

Now Haman was frightened, and he did not know what to do. He had never guessed that the beautiful Queen was a Jewess. He did not know, even yet, that she had been brought up by Mordecai, the man whom he so much despised. Speechless he sat before them, and when he saw the King rise up in anger and leave the room, he sprang from his seat and feel before Esther, begging for mercy from her.

The King walked about in the garden, wondering what he should do to punish Haman. Then he returned and found Haman pleading for his life. But his pleading could not profit him nothing, for the King’s servants came in and covered his face, ready for death.

Then they led him out, and one of the servants showed the King the high gallows that Haman had prepared to hang Mordecai.

“Hang Haman on the gallows!” commanded the King, and Haman was hung on the gallows he had commanded others to build for an innocent man.

After Haman’s death, the King raised Mordecai to a place of great honor in the kingdom, and he sent letters to every part of the land where Haman’s letters had gone, telling the Jews to fight for their own lives on that day appointed when Haman had wished to put them to death.

Because their enemies feared them, they did not try to kill the Jews on that day, for even the rulers of those lands helped the Jews. And the Jews celebrated the day of their great victory with a great feast, called the Feast of Purim.

Even today the Jews keep this feast, and they always tell the story of Esther, the beautiful queen, who saved the lives of her people.

Prayer 8-30-2010

Dear Father, fill me a new with Your Spirit. Set me on fire with zeal for Your Kingdom. I commit my life and all that I have to you. Be glorified in my life.

In Jesus’ name
Amen

Bible Study 8-30-2010

“And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.” – Isaiah 10:17 NASB

James McGready was one of the men who inspired the great campmeetings and revivals that took place in America in the early 1800s. It was said that he had “a voice like thunder.” He also had a zeal for the things of God, and he boldly called men and women to put aside sin and dedicate their lives to Him.

People who knew him said that this zeal was inspired by his humility and his intimate relationship with God. He truly loved God and had a passion for Souls.

McGready also was concerned about the widespread hypocrisy and deception in the Church. Looking back at his own life, he realized how easy it was to have a “false foundation,” based on faulty religious traditions and customs. He sought to inspire people to give everything to God, refusing to compromise with the world or hold back.

This same passion continued throughout his life. In 1816, McGready preached a sermon called, “The Character, History, and End of the Fool.” After finishing his message, he fell to his knees and prayed for the audience. When he closed, he arose from his knees and said with a loud voice, “O blessed be God. I feel the same holy fire that filled my soul sixteen years ago, during the glorious revival of 1800.”

Today, God is looking for men and women with that same kind of zeal and passion—filled with holy fire and dedicated to impacting lives for the Gospel. Ask God to give you that zeal and fire. Burn with a passion for Souls and for His Kingdom.

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