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Monday, October 30, 2006

The Parable of the Lost Phone

Yesterday I had that yucky, sinking feeling that you get when you've lost something valuable. See, I couldn't find my cell phone. I know, I know, a cell phone is a material object that can be replaced, but it's an expensive object to replace, so I needed to find it. I even asked for prayer about it yesterday in Sunday School. (Yes, I even pray about the small things like losing my cell phone.)
I looked all around my house, calling my phone to see if I could hear it ring. I had my mom and dad check their house, and they called it to see if they could hear it ring. I checked my car and my brother's car. I checked everywhere. Then I decided to go searching outside at my parents because I'd had my hands full when I got into my brother's car on Saturday night.
Sure enough, there was my phone on the ground beside where my brother's car had been parked. There wasn't anything wrong with it. So I rejoiced. I called the people that had been helping me look for my phone to rejoice with me.
Now, my phone may not mean much to you. And in the major picture, it doesn't mean much, but Jesus told a parable kind of like my phone parable in Luke 15. He told several actually. He told the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7), the parable of the lost coin, (Luke 15:8-10), and the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11-32).
Now like I said before, my cell phone may not mean much to you. Just like the sheep in the first parable or the coin in the second parable may not have meant much to the people of Jesus' day. After all you have to lose something yourself to understand that deep sinking feeling.
But Jesus used the loss of such small things to point out that all of us are lost. All of us need to be found, and that no matter how small and insignificant we may feel, we are still important to God. We are still worth finding. And there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels over EVERY soul that repenteth.
They don't wait and have a party for every thousand souls that cry out for salvation. They don't have "hundred soul" shindigs. They rejoice about every individual soul. Because every individual soul is important.
You are important. If you are a lost soul today, Christ wants you to come home to Him. Just like that lost son in Luke 15, all you have to do is realize that you have done wrong. Just come to Jesus, and He will wrap you in His arms, and He will forgive everything you've ever done.
And there will be rejoicing in the presence of the angels over you today!!

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Extreme Makeover

This morning I was looking at One of the main stories on there is telling about 5 things you MUST have to look like a celebrity. People are constantly throwing out tips on how to be a new you. Or in the case of some, how to leave yourself behind entirely and become someone else.
Have you ever watched the makeover show on the TV Guide channel where they take people who kind of look like a movie star and give them a makeover to where they look pretty much exactly like them.
Pardon me for saying so, but a movie star is a pretty low standard to shape yourself after. Don't get me wrong, I believe there are some really good Christian actors out there. And I'm glad that they take a stand for the Lord, but they still aren't the ones I want to shape my life after.
See, there's only One that I want to be like. That One is my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the only PERFECT standard. He is the only One who will NEVER fail.
I could change the outside to look like Jennifer Aniston or Anne Hathaway, but outer beauty will fade. I will get older, and wrinkles will come. But if I strive to follow in the footfrints of Christ and become like Him, that is a beauty that will last through all eternity.
So that's the kind of makeover I want. Daily. A heart makeover, where I decide daily to follow Christ and listen to His teaching.
If you're looking for the same kind of makeover, there are five simple steps you MUST first follow:
1. Admit that you are a sinner - Romans 3:23
2. Realize that the penalty for your sin is death - Romans 6:23
3. Recognize that Christ took your death penalty to save you from your sins - Romans 5:8
4. Believe that Christ rose again on the 3rd day to give us eternal victory over death, hell, and the grave - I Corinthians 15:4
5. Confess with your mouth that Christ is Lord - Romans 10:9
After you have followed these steps you will be saved. If you aren't truly saved, you can't live the Christian life. Because you can't live the Christian life apart from Christ.
If you are already a Christian, just ask Christ to help you to draw closer to Him everyday. James 4:8 says that if we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us. He wants a close relationship with us. We just have to accept it!

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Verses That I Like in Isaiah
The past several days my Bible in 90 Days reading has been in I

1. Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isn't it great to know that no matter what we have done the Lord is willing to forgive us and make us clean?

2. Isaiah 6:8, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." I want to be willing to go when the Lord is looking for a willing servant.

3. Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." I'm so glad that God kept His promise and sent this promised child. He is all that Isaiah said He would be and more.

4. Isaiah 11:9, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." It is so good to know that one day all pain and destruction will be done away with forever!

5. Isaiah 12:2, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." We can trust in God for salvation. We have nothing to fear if we trust in Him.

6. Isaiah 24:14-15, "14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. 15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea." I like this reminder to sing to the Lord and glorify Him at all times in life.

7. Isaiah 25:1, "O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." We can trust in God and praise Him because His truth will always be. Past, Present, and Future.

8. Isaiah 26:3, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." If we keep our minds on the Lord, He will give us peace because we will have our trust in Him.

9. Isaiah 33:2, "O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." In times of trouble we can cry out to the Lord. He is our salvation in our times of trouble.

10. Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." I'm glad that no matter what may happen in this world, God's Word will always stand.

11. Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." I'm glad that God gives me strength for the journey if I will rest in Him and wait for His perfect timing.

12. 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." We have no cause to fear because God is always with us, and He will give us strength to face whatever may come our way.

13. Isaiah 53:6, "3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." I'm so glad that God sent His Son to bear our sins even when He knew we would turn away from Him.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sleeping in the Midst of It All

Acts 12:1-6, "1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison."

Did you see that word I highlighted? Peter was SLEEPING in the midst of the soldiers. Now I've read this passage of Scripture like a million times, and I never caught how important that one little word really was.
On Sunday night, Brother Larry Brown preached on this subject. He talked about how we can find rest in the midst of a trial.
I mean think about it, in verse 2 it talks about how Herod had taken James and killed him. Since that made the Jews happy, Herod went for a bigger fish, Peter. Now Peter had to assume that Herod intended to kill him as well.
So here's Peter chained in prison with 16 soldiers guarding him, pretty much waiting for death. Yet he was asleep. Do you think that he was asleep because he knew that God was going to send an angel to save him?
I don't think so. Look at this verse from Acts 12:9, "9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision."
When the angel came to Peter, Peter thought he was dreaming. He wasn't even sure that the angel was real. No, I really think that Peter thought he would die at the hands of Herod. But that fact didn't bother him. In fact he was so UN-worried about the situation that he fell asleep right in the middle of those soldiers.
Why wasn't he worried? Because he trusted in the Savior that he preached about. He was willing to give his life for the cause of Christ. I'm sure that Peter knew that God could save his life, but he didn't expect it. He just trusted that God was in control no matter what happened to him. That strong trust in God gave Peter a peace beyond understanding. (Philippians 4:7)
So the question is, do you have that kind of peace? Do you fall asleep at night knowing that God is in control no matter what you are going through?
Or do you pace the floors worrying about what will happen next? If so, take a lesson from Peter. Put your trust in the One who can handle it all, and you too will be able to sleep in the midst of it all!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Waters of Deliverance

This past Saturday I went down to visit my brother at college and stay the weekend. (I didn't post yesterday because I was driving back.) So I went to church with my brother on Sunday. Let me just say the services were AWESOME.
On Sunday morning Brother Larry Brown talked about "The Waters of Deliverance."
He talked about how the children of Israel when the crossed the Red Sea. In Exodus 14:10 the children of Israel had come to a dead end. There was no way to turn, and their enemies the Egyptians were hard on their heels.
But the children of Israel knew exactly where to turn. They cried out to the Lord. And He sent them salvation. He parted the waters of the Red Sea. And while He parted them, He put the pillar of fire between the children of Israel and the Egyptians so that Israel's enemy could not see what was going on. (Exodus 14:16-22)
After the children had crossed, the Lord removed the barrier, and the Egyptians began to pursue the children of Israel across the Red Sea, but the Lord released the waters and drowned the enemies of Israel in the midst of the sea. (Exodus 14:23-28)
The children of Israel believed more strongly in God and His servant Moses that day because they saw the great power that God had displayed. (Exodus 14:29-31) The waters that they thought would bring their end became waters of deliverance to them.
The pastor pointed out that the Egyptian army pictures Satan in the life of every Christian. He pursues to the point that we feel we have nowhere left to turn. We think that we will surely be destroyed. But we serve a God that can do impossible things. Even when all of our options seem to be gone, He can step in and work miracles that we never imagined.
I'm sure that God could have just picked up the children of Israel and placed them on the other side of the Red Sea and left the Egyptian army standing in amazement on the other side. But God wanted the children of Israel to see the Egyptians destroyed. He wanted them to know that He had the ability to conquer their enemies.
He has power over our enemies and problems as well. If we turn to Him in times of trouble, we will see our problems slain before us. And one day He will destroy our enemy, Satan, for all of eternity.
So keep trusting Him no matter what. He can bring waters of deliverance to your soul, just as He brought waters of deliverance to the children of Israel on the shores of the Red Sea.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Verses That I've Read in the Past Week That Really Got My Attention

1. Revelation 21:4, " And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." We spoke about this one last night in youth. Just imagine, one day we will live with God eternally, and He will erase all pain, sorrow, and death from our lives!

2. Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." I heard a preacher speak on this last Sunday. He said that we couldn't possibly live the Christian life on our own, but that with Christ's strength we can achieve any goal.

3. Acts 11:26, "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." My grandpa preached about this verse Sunday night. He spoke about the characteristics of a "true Christian." I want to strive to be like Christ so that I may deserve to be called a Christian.

4. Ephesians 4:25-30, "25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." These are the verses we went over last night in youth. We're talking about the change Christ makes in you once you are saved. These verses tell it in a straightforward way.

5. Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." I read this in my Bible in 90 Days reading. This reminded me exactly why I'm trying to read more of His Word daily.

6. I John 1:8-2:2, "8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world." These are the verses from Shalee's Being Real post. It's an awesome post about God's forgivness that you all need to read!

7. Matthew 22:37-39, "37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. " These are some of the verses Susanne used in her Faith Lifts post the other day. This is a beautiful post about our first true purpose.

8. Hebrews 10:22, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." I saw this one over at Amydeanne's blog in her In Other Words post for this week. It's a great post about how God wants a close relationship with us.

9. Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." This is the verse that I read in a Karen Kingsbury book. It's actually in almost all of her books, but the constant suttle reminder from her that God is in control of our lives is a great thing.

10. Galatians 3:26-27, "26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." This is a verse that Janet used in her post about how much God loves us in spite of our failures! Definitely a post you should check out!

11. I Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" This is the verse currently highlighted at Simeon's Promise'swebsite. As Christians we should always know what we believe and have a pure life so that we can be ready to give an answer to those around us at any time.

12. Proverbs 31:30, "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." This is also one from my Bible in 90 Days reading. This is a very well known verse, but it's one I need to hear often because it reminds me that being a Godly woman is worth it.

13. Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" This was also in my Bible in 90 Days reading. I need to be reminded constantly that God has a perfect time for everything, and that I need to wait on His timing!

I hope these verses have blessed you like that have me! Have a good one!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Soft Answer

I don't know how many of you are required to take safety courses at your place of employment. Unfortunately I am. I'm in the same building as a machine shop, a sewing plant, and a laundry facility. So the entire building is required to take safety courses.
I mean I guess it doesn't hurt anything. It's just that I've seen the same videos like 20 times since I've worked here. But the one we watched this month came to mind when I read this verse today.
Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
See, this month's safety meeting was on "Workplace Violence," which is basically a meeting where they tell us not to let any unauthorized people into the building and how to keep a violent person calm.
They tell us to keep our voice low and soothing, and to keep our hands at a low, non-threatening level. Basically, they're telling us what God said in His Word several thousand years ago.
So whether they know it or not, they're teaching something Biblical here at work. What do you think of that in this politically correct world?

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lord, Help Me Have a Soft Heart

I read a verse yesterday that really hit me. It's found in Proverbs 17:10. Check out what it says, "A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool."
When I was growing up my daddy called me "Snoot." (He still does, but he and maybe a few others can get by with this. You may not call me this! LOL!)
Anyway, he always called me that. Except for when I was in trouble. Seriously, all my daddy had to do was call me Heather, and I'd burst into tears. See, when he switched to a serious tone and called me by my actual name, I knew that I'd disappointed him. And nothing upset me more than upsetting my daddy. I was my daddy's girl.
Now that I'm grown up I'm striving to serve another "Daddy." I'm striving to serve God, my heavenly Father. I want to be wise in serving Him. I want to be convicted at the slightest nudge He places on my heart. I want to have a soft heart that is open to His leading.
I don't want to be a fool who refuses to listen even when God has used every means to get my attention.
What about you?

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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Key to the Treasure

We're living in pretty unstable times. There are stories on the news daily of people losing their jobs. Jobs that some have had for 20+ years. The economy is shaky at best.
Then there are the natural disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados. We've all seen the terrible results of these tragedies over the last several years. And no matter how much technology we may have, men can't stop one of these things from happening. They can't even pinpoint exactly how or where they will happen.
Yes, we definitely live in an unstable world. But we serve a God that can not be shaken. David said many times that God was his "rock." (Psalm 18:22, 28:1, 62:6, etc)
He is the ONE that we can trust in. I read a verse in Isaiah this morning that pretty much sums it up: Isaiah 33:6, "6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure."
True wisdom and knowledge can give us stability even in the hardest times. Where do we gain this wisdom and knowledge? Through the salvation of the Lord. This salvation gives us strength even when we can't change the crazy circumstances around us.
The last part of the verse is my favorite part. "The fear of the LORD is his treasure."
A treasure is something that one seeks with all he is worth, and once he has found it, he holds it close so as not to lose it. That's how we should feel about our relationship with God. If we hold our relationship with Him like a treasure, we will not be shaken even when the strongest winds blow.
See, God is eternal, and if we hold onto Him rather than the temporary things of this world, we can't fail! What are you holding onto today?

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

He'll Whisper Peace

Have you seen the newest commercial for This couple walks into a hotel room, raving about how nice it is. Then the husband says, "It's so peaceful." His wife then walks out on the balcony only to realize that their hotel overlooks a graveyard. Then the whole spiel about knowing about the place you're going to stay before you get there starts.
The message of the commercial was pretty much that sometimes what you think is peace really isn't peace at all. Of course was offering peace of mind about picking a hotel.
But the deeper message is true about everything in life. We think we've found peace when we find the right relationship. We think we've found peace when we have the right car. We think we've found peace when we have the right job. We think we've found peace when we pick the perfect vacation spot.
Thing is that none of that brings peace. None of that brings lasting happiness or joy. That can only come from one source. And that ONE SOURCE is Jesus Christ.
I talked a bit about this in this post from last week. Through this commercial He reminded me once again that there is only one place I should look for peace. Because the One who whispered "Peace, be still" to the winds and waves in Mark 4:39 is the only one who can whisper peace into my life today.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Shall Know As I'm Known

1 Corinthians 13:12 - For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

This has always been one of my favorite verses. The promise is awesome. I mean think about it. Right now we don't really know exactly what is in store for us. We know if we're saved that we're going to heaven. We know we'll be with Jesus, and He even let John tell us a few things about that city, but what is truly in store for us is beyond our imagination. But we won't be left in the dark forever. One day we'll be there. We'll see Jesus face to face, and we'll experience all that He has prepared for us! I can hardly wait for that one day!

P.S. I know this is short today, but I really feel like I'm seeing "through a glass, darkly" today. I've got "the funk," and my head feels fuzzy! I promise to return to regular posting once I feel a bit more coherent!! If you'd send up a prayer for me, I'd appreciate it!!

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Friday, October 06, 2006

True Repentance, True Humility

As I said yesterday, I'm up through II Chronicles in my reading. And the last person on my list from yesterday was Josiah. I'm gonna talk a little bit more about him today.
Josiah became king of Judah when he was only eight years old. Can you imagine? I'm mean, I'm sure that he had advisors that helped him make the important decisions he had to make, but fate of the entire kingdom of Judah ultimately rested in his very young hands.
But Josiah started things off right. He followed the Lord just as David had. Considering David was called "a man after God's own heart" I think that Josiah looked to a pretty good person for an example.
Now Josiah's own father had done evil in the sight of the Lord, and Josiah could have followed that example, but he went in the way that he knew to be right, and he didn't turn from it.
He even made restoration for the evil that his father had done. He tore down the altars and images made to other gods. He restored the house of the one true God that the evil men had torn down in his father's time. During the time of restoring the house of God, the book of the law was found, and it was read before Josiah.
When Josiah heard what the book said, he rent his clothes.
In Josiah's day, when someone rent their clothes, it was a sign of true shame and repentance. Josiah was humbling himself before God, not just because of his sin, but because of the sin of his fathers. Josiah was troubled before God because he knew that Judah deserved God's punishment for their sins.
Because of Josiah's humility, God promised to hold off his wrath until after Josiah died. And Josiah used his lifetime to lead the people of Judah back to God.
Josiah's was a life of true humility and true repentance. And because of that, God granted him favor.
Josiah's is a story that reminds me to be humble. It reminds me that no matter what position I am in, I should never be too proud to call out to God in repentance. Just as Josiah did not let his high position as king keep him from humbling himself before God, I shouldn't ever let anything keep me from being humble before him.
You can read Josiah's story in II Chronicles 34-35. I hope it blesses you as much as it did me.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thirteen People I've Read About Lately in the Bible
As I've said before, I'm once again attempting the "Bible in 90 Days" challenge. I'm up through II Chronicles so far. These are a few people that really impressed me in my reading so far!

1. Enoch - This was a man who walked with God. He was so close to God that one day God just took him on to heaven. He never had to die. (Genesis 5:21-24)

2. Abram (later Abraham) - Of course we all know about Abraham, but no matter how many times I read about Abraham, I'm always impressed with how he left all he knew behind to follow God. God's call for Abraham can be found in Genesis 12.

3. Miriam - because she stayed by to make sure that baby Moses was going to be okay when he was placed in the river. (Exodus 2:4)

4. Moses - God was willing to use him in spite of his past. (He murdered an Egyptian in Exodus 2:12.) He went from being a murderer to being a leader used by God.

5. Jethro - Moses' father-in-law because he recognized that the God of Israel was the ONE TRUE GOD. (Exodus 18:11)

6. Joshua - because he learned to be a leader by following a leader. He obeyed Moses because he knew that Moses followed the Lord. (Exodus 17:9)

7. Deborah - because her witness for God was so strong that Barak would not go to battle without her (Judges 4:8)

8. Jael - because she didn't let her husband's evil alliances (Judges 4:17) keep her from destroying an evil man (Judges 4:21)

9. Gideon - because he obeyed God even when his army was dwindled down to 300 people (Judges 7)

10. Ruth - because she would not leave her mother in law even though it meant leaving all she knew behind. (Ruth 1)

11. Samuel - because he learned to listen for God's voice as a young child. (I Samuel 3:10)

12. David - because God forgave him of his sins and blessed him (II Samuel 12 - David had sinned with Bathsheba, and God took a child from them, but he gave them another child, Solomon, who would one day be king.)

13. Josiah - because he served God and didn't turn away from him to the right or to the left (II Kings 22:1-2)

These are just a few of the many people I've read about so far. I hope that I can learn some things from them and live my life closer to God because of what I've learned from their lives!

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

He Loves Me for Me

In yesterday's post I talked about peace through the hard times. But God not only offers peace from outside situations. He offers peace with self.
I'm sure all of us have said, "I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish was a little bit smaller. I wish I had a little less junk in the trunk. I wish I was more 'blessed.' I wish I wasn't so blessed. I wish I was more outgoing. I wish I would learn to shut my mouth."
Or something like that. It's easy to be dissatisfied with self. After all everyone on TV looks perfect and so should we, right? Wrong. Most of those people's images have been edited so that they look perfect on TV.
But whether those images are real or not, they set the standard for perfection, and many go to great lengths to reach that standard. And when they fail, they get depressed.
The thing is that God made each and every one of us to look how He wanted us to look. We are all "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14) God doesn't make mistakes, but many of us constantly whine about how we are made.
I'm guilty. God made me 5'1" with low metabolism (read short and chunky.) But I'm healthy. Seriously, my blood pressure is excellent. My cholesterol is excellent. God has blessed me, though at times I wish I looked differently. He loves me for me.
The thing is that I can't make myself taller (Luke 12:25, "And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?"), and though I can try to lose some weight, it shouldn't be my all-consuming goal.
Christ should be my all-consuming goal (Philippians 3:14). If I keep my focus on Christ, He will give me peace about the rest. I'm not saying it's evil to diet and excercise. I'm trying to do both. But if I focus only on those things, I will never have peace.
Take a look at yourself today. Remember that God made you just the way you are. You were formed by the Creator of the Universe. And He loves you just the way you are!

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Peace...I Just Need Some Peace

Last night my grandpa was preaching on peace. It was a great message. One I truly needed.
He talked about how this world's definition of peace is completely different from God's definition of peace. Check out this verse from John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
"Peace...not as the world giveth, give I unto you." Christ offers us something that this world CAN NOT give. He offers us peace.
See, everyone in the world is looking for peace, but no one in the world can provide it.
There are spas everywhere that offer a stress free environment. But you can't live on a massage table. Eventually you have to face the world again.
Then there are radio stations that offer "easy-listening" to soothe your tensions as you drive down the road or sit at your desk at work. But a beautiful melody can only calm your nerves for so long.
Peace is fleeting in this world. But Christ offers us everlasting peace. A peace that will be with us through the difficult times. See, that's how Christ's peace is so different from any peace that this world offers. The world says, "Get away from it all." But Jesus said, "I'll take you through it all."
There will be trials in this life. We will face death. We will face sickness. We will face stress at work. We will hear about war. We live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people. So trials will definitely come.
But Jesus has promised to be with us all the way. And that thought should bring you peace in the midst of any circumstance.
And not only that, but He has promised to return for His children one day and take us home to live with Him forever. The thought of heaven gives me peace for my journey.
What about you? Have you ever experienced Jesus' peace in your life? Have you asked Him to come into your life and give you that everlasting kind of peace? If not ask Him today!

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Testimony

Today I'm taking part in the "Bloggy Tour of Testimonies" and sharing my testimony. I just love this tour!
Anyway, for my testimony. As I've said on here before, I was raised in a Christian home. My parents weren't perfect of course, but they always lived the life in front of me. And when they did do something wrong, I saw them ask forgiveness for it.
I learned very early on that Jesus died to forgive our sins. By the time I was five I could pretty much quote the entire Christmas story and tell you the whole reason Jesus came. (Seriously there are videos of Christmas plays when I was little.)
Then when I was five I started at a Christian school, so once again I had Christian influences all around (as far as teachers go anyway.)
It was around that time that I decided it was time for me to "pray the prayer." After all, I knew that Jesus had come to die for my sins. I knew that I was a sinner. So I prayed the prayer, and being the good Baptist girl that I was, I was baptized.
But I came to realize later in life that I had just been going through the motions. As a matter of fact, I went through the motions of that prayer countless times. Anytime I watched a movie about the end times or I heard a sermon or watched a play about hell I prayed the prayer. But I never truly meant the prayer until March of 1995 when I was 12 years old.
A preacher had come for revival, and it was Friday night of revival. I can't tell you one word that the preacher preached. Seriously because most of the revival I didn't pay ONE BIT of attention. On Friday night God convicted me. He showed me that I had played church and prayed a few prayers, but that I had never really changed. I had never become a true Christian.
That night I went down to the alter, and I prayed and asked Christ to come into my heart for real. Not because I thought it was what others wanted me to do. Not because I was scared of hell (though I was because after all, it's a scary place to think of, and I didn't want to go there.) But I prayed because I knew deep down inside that I was a sinner, and I needed a Savior.
I came alive that night. Old things truly passed away and all things became new. I'm not going to say I've been perfect since that time. I'd be a liar if I did.
But Jesus has been with me each step of the way, and He's taught me so much. His Word has become something that I want to learn rather than something I had to learn in my Christian school. Church has become somewhere that I love to go rather than somewhere I was forced to go. And singing has become something I do for Him rather than something I did for myself. There is much more I could say about my testimony, but I'll stop here for now.
I was a sinner on a church pew, but God saved me by His amazing grace!