Monday, November 28, 2016

The Greatest Birthday Ever Celebrated... (by Shonda Ponder)

It dawns on me, in the days after Thanksgiving, that our next holiday is Christmas. As I reflect on this, and remember what Christmas is all about, I am listening to praise songs about the birth of Christ on KHCB Christian Radio. Then, moving over to a more worldly thought, I think of my children and the birthdays they used to have.

When we were children, I am sure some of our best memories were the birthday parties that were held in our honor. It was a celebration of the fact that we were born into this world. On a more deeper level, it is a celebration of who we are. The fact that we exist -- that we are here to brighten the lives of those around us with our presence.

But, when we die, who is going to celebrate our birthdays? And, if they do, how many years will it last? It seems kind've strange to have a birthday for someone who is no longer there...

Then, my thoughts wonder back to Christmas: The greatest birthday party ever celebrated; A party that has lasted for over 2,000 years. And, no matter how many people try to distract us from this celebration every year, the holiday has continued to grow and spread.

Christmas: The birthday of a man who came to earth, placed in a manger because there was no crib for him, who grew up and became one of the greatest men the face of the earth has ever seen or heard of. He was God's son, through and through. He taught love, Godly obedience, mercy, forgiveness and hope. Then, as humbly as he was brought into the world, he died being nailed painfully to a cross, with a crown of thorns on his head. His last words, before announcing that his job was finished were, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

And today, we celebrate His birth. We celebrate it, not because He was born, but because He existed -- then, and now. He is alive. His life is celebrated, not His birth -- just as OUR life is celebrated with each birthday that rolls around. At the end of our lives, our birthday parties are not celebrated. But, at the end of his visit to earth, HIS life was just beginning. Today, we see Him in every good thing that exists. And, on Christmas, we remember the sacrifices He made so we could, and we celebrate.

This Christmas, I pray that when you look back on your lives, and build memories with your families, you are able to see what the celebration is all about, and that you take as many moments possible to stop and Praise Him, because HE is what Christmas is all about.

So, let us all celebrate -- not just on Christmas Day, but on every day that leads us to it, and every day thereafter. And, on Christmas, let's all throw the best party we can in His honor!

If this has inspired you, please share it!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In the Hands of Mercy is Where I Belong

Nobody here is perfect. Everyone is going to fall down...not once, not twice, but over and over in their lives.

That's why Jesus came.

God is faithful and just. When you fall down, He will ALWAYS pull you back up.

You just have to reach for Him.

1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

If this has inspired you, please share it!

How Great is YOUR God?

How great is YOUR God?

My God is great. My God is Able. My God can do anything. My God is not limited.

How great is YOUR god?

There is not a war He hasn't won:

Psalms 24:8
“Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.”

God is the author of power. All power is His:

Psalms 62:11
“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.”

God is limitless:

Psalms 147:5
“Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.”

Nothing is too hard for Him:

Genesis 18:14
“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Jeremiah 32:17
“Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”

Jeremiah 32:27
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”

God fulfills all of His promises:

Romans 4:21
“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”

Nothing is impossible for God:

Luke 1:37
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Mark 10:27
“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

God is ABLE:

2 Corinthians 9:8
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

Ephesians 3:20
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”

And the power that works in us? We call it FAITH!

Matthew 21:22 - And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Matthew 17:20
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Matthew 21:21
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”

Matthew 9:22, Matthew 9:29, Matthew 15:28

Lord, I am finite. No matter how much I praise You, O Lord, it isn't near enough for all that You are. I cannot begin to give You the glory that You deserve, even for only what You have done for me. You are GREAT! O God! And, that description is not great enough. Please continue to be all that You are. I love You, Lord. In Jesus' Holy Name I pray, Amen!

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Walk Away...(Contributed by James Bradford)

1 corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

This is God's promise to us during a test of faith. God can not lie. Sometimes God will show us where our previous life as a sinner took us to remind us where we could be headed again.

Luke 11:24-26
24. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house when I came out.
25. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
26. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other Spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Replace Christ with no other. No other can deliver what He promised us.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Purpose of the Church Family (by Sandra Poplin)

A church family will help keep you from backsliding. None of us are immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin. God knows this, so he has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track.

The Bible says, “Encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV).

“Mind your own business” is not a Christian phrase! We are called and commanded to be involved in each other’s lives. If you know someone who is wavering spiritually right now, it is your responsibility to go after him and bring him back into the fellowship.

James tells us, “If you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back” (James 5:19 MSG).

A local church also provides the spiritual protection of godly leaders. God gives the shepherd leader the responsibility to guard, protect, defend, and care for the spiritual welfare of his flock (Acts 20:28-29; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:7). We are told, “Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God” (Hebrews 13:17b NLT, second edition).

Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the life of the Body, isolated from God’s family, and unaccountable to spiritual leaders, because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics. Don’t let him get a foothold in your life! Stay connected to your church family.

Talk It Over:
What kind of relationships will you have to develop if you want accountability with people in the Body of Christ?
How should you pray for your church leaders?
What do you need to do to reconnect with your church family?
Who do you know that needs to be brought back into your church family?

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

We Are Adopted

Adopting a child can be one of the greatest blessings God has for your life. Although I have not experienced the blessings of having adopted a child, I have experienced the blessing of having a child who is a part of my family that is adopted.

Romans 8:15 reads "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

God adopted us. Having adopted us, as Christians, He has not made us second, but First, to be JOINT heirs with Christ. He has accepted us into His family AS IF we are His own. There is nothing that Christ has that we won't also have when we are finally brought home in the end.

There are members of my family that like to remind everyone that my cousin is adopted. Having grown up with him, I find that personally offensive. Other members of my family and I have discussed this, and I find that I am not alone in how I feel.

My cousin is as much a part of my family as anyone who was born of flesh and blood as one of us. He was taught to BE one of us, and he wears that trophy well. He (and his children) deserves all of the inheritence our name bestows.

Furthermore, I thank God for him, because the whole experience has taught me to understand God's love for me more.

I was lost and all alone. I needed someone who really understood my life. Who better than the One who Created it? I was scared of what was to come, but the author of the Future chose me.

I wasn't too young, too old, not right, or even too bad or too good.

He chose me.

If this has inspired you, please share it!

November is National Adoption Month do for someone else what God has done for YOU!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Carry me through...

I have been referred to consistently lately as being "strong". I was described as being "the strongest person I know". I was recognized as growing continually stronger.

The truth is, I am very weak. I know my weaknesses and limitations. I also know that all of what I have achieved in my lifetime has been way beyond my own limitations.

Someone told me once that I needed to take credit for having accomplished some of the things in my life that I have accomplished. "If you hadn't had the strength, you would not have accomplished it." True, except I didn't have any strength. God had the strength and He gave me what I needed to go forward.

God is my strength. He is my exceeding great reward.

Isaiah 41:10
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Being single is not a curse..

1 Corinthians 7. (Read the whole chapter).

"The purpose of marriage is to make you more effective in fulfilling your purpose. If marriage keeps you from your purpose, then you missed the point of the marriage: to be part of God's calling." (Pastor Rick Warren) in the broadcast entitled "Finding the Love of Your Life (Part 2)" from his series "The Crazy Makers"

He brings up a good point. When God asks if we fulfilled our purpose, He is not going to except the answer that, "I am sorry, I was going to do that but I found this really cute guy..."

If your partner is not helping you or making it easier for you to fulfill God's calling on your life, then you don't need to marry them. You need to find another partner before you make the mistake of committing your life to them.

I personally have not found anyone who has ever been supportive of what I have felt was my calling at any given point in my life. I cannot believe that God intends for everyone to get married. If that were so, then Paul of the Bible, who was the greatest Apostle, in my opinion, would not have remained celibate.

Sometimes, it is better to remain single and focused.

Being single is NOT a curse! It's a gift!

If this has inspired you, please share it!