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12/6/19 9:28 A

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HYMN OFTHE SEASON. With History and Inspiration
December 6, 2014(December 6, 2019)

Welcome to the hymn of the week.

There are endless hymns and carols each Christmas season to be enjoyed, some more familiar than others. This one is a less familiar Christmas hymn “CHILD OF THE STABLE’S SECRET BIRTH”.

I, myself have never heard of this hymn, as beautiful as it is, and it was originally written as a family Christmas card! Then handed over to a friend and editor, Timothy Dudley-Smith, and when placed in his magazine, it became strong in popularity. Shortly thereafter, this poem was put to a tune by Christopher Dearnley and found it’s way to a British hymnal.

Dudley-Smith was ordained a Deacon in 1950, a priest in 1951, and then served as Archdeacon of Norwich from 1973-81, and Bishop of Thetford in 1981-91. He retired in 1991. He has been writing hymns for over 30 years, composing approximately six to eight hymns per year. He has published over 250 hymns.

He currently resides in Salisbury, England. He had a wife named Arlette MacDonald. He has 1 son and 2 daughters. He is the first lyricist I have researched that is still living!

Some of his collections include:
Lift Every Heart 1984
Songs of Deliverance 1988
A voice of Singing 1993
Great is the Glory 1997

Biography of a Friend:
The Making of a Leader: JOHN STOTT (2 volumes)

Some of his hymns include:
Choirs of Angels, Tell Abroad
Come now With Ave
Holy Child
Soft the Evening Shadows Fall
The Light of Glory Breaks

* Special Note: In 1997 he was honored by being named a “Fellow” in the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada (rare honors). In 2003 Dudley-Smith was awarded an OBE for services to “hymnody” and in 2009 a ‘Doctor of Divinity’ degree.

CHILD OF THE STABLES SECRET BIRTH
Words by: Original author unknown– (edited version)Timothy Dudley-Smith
Born, December 26, 1926–
Music by: Christopher Dearnley (2/11/1930- 12/15/2000)


Child of the stable's secret birth,
the Lord by right of the lords of earth,
let angels sing of a King newborn,
the world is weaving a crown of thorn:
a crown of thorn for that infant head
cradled soft in the manger bed.

Eyes that shine in the lantern's ray;
a face so small in its nest of hay,
face of a child who is born to scan
the world he made through the eyes of man:
and from that face in the final day
earth and heaven shall flee away.

Voice that rang through the courts on high,
contracted now to a wordless cry,
a voice to master the wind and wave,
the human heart and the hungry grave:
the voice of God through the cedar trees
rolling forth as the sound of seas.

Infant hands in a mother's hand,
for none but Mary may understand
whose are the hands and the fingers curled
but his who fashioned and made the world;
and through these hands in the hour of death
nails shall strike to the wood beneath.

Child of the stable's secret birth,
the Father's gift to a wayward earth,
to drain the cup in a few short years
of all our sorrows , our sins, and tears--
ours the prize for the road he trod:
risen with Christ; at peace with God.

Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith
Words © 1983 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188.

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Read: John 1:11-13 Gal 4:4

THE FATHER’S GIFT TO A WAYWARD EARTH...

His servant, Phylis

**SPECIAL NOTE: I apologize for any poor quality of the videos from 'you tube' or any other sources. I have spent a lot of time researching to find the best examples as close to what I feel would be the composer's rendition of the piece. Sorry for the quality of these next few examples. Please complete watching the videos, the music is lovely!
You might need to copy/paste onto youtube.

God bless.
youtu.be/5wWJgK6sTbI

Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 12/6/2019 (09:36)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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12/5/19 6:28 A

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Intentional Kindness--I want to show God’s kindness to them. 2 Samuel 9:3

READ 2 SAMUEL 9
Boarding a plane alone with her children, a young mom tried desperately to calm her three-year-old daughter who began kicking and crying. Then her hungry four-month-old son also began to wail.

A traveler seated next to her quickly offered to hold the baby while Jessica got her daughter buckled in. Then the traveler—recalling his own days as a young dad—began coloring with the toddler while Jessica fed her infant. And on the next connecting flight, the same man offered to assist again if needed.

Jessica recalled, “I [was] blown away by God’s hand in this. [We] could have been placed next to anyone, but we were seated next to one of the nicest men I have ever met.”

In 2 Samuel 9, we read of another example of what I call intentional kindness. After King Saul and his son Jonathan had been killed, some expected David to kill off any competition to his claim for the throne. Instead, he asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” (v. 3). Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, was then brought to David who restored his inheritance and warmly invited him to share his table from then on—just as if he were his own son (v. 11).

As beneficiaries of the immense kindness of God, may we look for opportunities to show intentional kindness toward others (Galatians 6:10). By Cindy Hess Kasper

REFLECT & PRAY:Heavenly Father, I thank You for the kindness You’ve shown me. Help me to lavish it on others.

Who can you show God’s kindness to? What specific act of kindness can you demonstrate to someone who is hurting or discouraged.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT:
The events that transpire in 2 Samuel 9 have their roots in the covenant relationship that David had with Jonathan, the son of Israel’s first king, Saul. Jonathan, knowing that David was destined to be king, secured David’s commitment to show “kindness” to his offspring (1 Samuel 20:14-17). Mephibosheth, crippled by an accident when he was five years old (2 Samuel 4:4), was an heir to covenant kindness. Arthur Jackson

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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11/30/19 7:24 A

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Hazardous Materials--

See, this [live coal] has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.
Isaiah 6:7
READ ISAIAH 6:1–10

The sound of a siren increased to an ear-piercing level as an emergency vehicle sped by my car. Its flashing lights glared through my windshield, illuminating the words “hazardous materials” printed on the side of the truck. Later, I learned it had been racing to a science laboratory where a 400-gallon container of sulfuric acid had begun to leak. Emergency workers had to contain the substance immediately because of its ability to damage whatever it came in contact with.
As I thought about this news story, I wondered what would happen if sirens blared every time a harsh or critical word “leaked” out of my mouth? Sadly, it might become rather noisy around our house.
The prophet Isaiah shared this sense of awareness about his sin. When he saw God’s glory in a vision, he was overcome by his unworthiness. He recognized that he was “a man of unclean lips” living with people who shared the same problem (Isaiah 6:5). What happened next gives me hope. An angel touched his lips with a red-hot coal, explaining, “your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (v. 7).
We have moment-by-moment choices to make with our words—both written and spoken. Will they be “hazardous” material, or will we allow God’s glory to convict us and His grace to heal us so we can honor Him with everything we express? By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

REFLECT & PRAY :Dear God, help me to see how my words affect other people. Show me how to encourage them.

Why do our words have such a powerful effect on others? How might God want to change your speech?

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT:
The book of Isaiah was written by the prophet whose name means “Yahweh is salvation” during a time of almost constant clash with the kingdom of Assyria. Isaiah was the son of Amoz and was married to a woman called “the prophetess” (8:3). They had two sons—Shear-Jashub and Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (7:3; 8:3). From the very first verse we know that Isaiah prophesied “during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah,” a period of possibly fifty years. Alyson Kieda

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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11/15/19 8:05 A

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Our Blessings, His Love: To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. Psalm 136:16
READ PSALM 136:1–3, 10–26

In 2015, a woman discarded her deceased husband’s computer at a recycling center—a computer that had been made in 1976. But more important than when it had been made was who made it. It was one of 200 computers hand built by Apple founder Steve Jobs, and was worth an estimated quarter of a million dollars! Sometimes knowing the true worth of something means knowing who made it.

Knowing that it’s God who made us shows us how valuable we are to Him (Genesis 1:27). Psalm 136 catalogs key moments of His people—ancient Israel: how they had been freed from captivity in Egypt (vv. 11-12), journeyed through the wilderness (v. 16), and were given a new home in Canaan (vv. 21-22). But each time a moment of Israel’s history is mentioned, it’s paired with this repeated refrain: “His love endures forever.” This refrain reminded the people of Israel that their experiences weren’t random historical events. Each moment had been orchestrated by God and was a reflection of His enduring love for those He’d made.

Far too often, I allow moments that show God at work and His kind ways to simply pass by, failing to recognize that every perfect gift comes from my heavenly Father (James 1:17) who made me and loves me. May you and I learn to connect every blessing in our lives to God’s enduring love for us. By Peter Chin

REFLECT & PRAY:
Heavenly Father, please don’t allow even one blessing that You’ve given pass by without me recognizing that it came from You, and You alone!

How can we better remember the Source of life’s blessings? What hinders you from doing so?

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT:
When we read the Psalms, it’s easy to forget they were actually written to be sung, not read. While many were about individual experiences, some were directed to the people of Israel corporately. This was often expressed when the people gathered for worship. Psalm 136 was such a psalm, and some scholars believe it was intended to be sung antiphonally—where one group made a musical declaration and another group responded to that declaration. The priests and Levites (worship leaders) would sing a statement about God (“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,” v. 1) and the assembled congregation would respond, “His love endures forever.” Bill Crowder

Blessings on your day!


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/24/19 6:41 A

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Good News for Feet--
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death . . . that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
Psalm 116:8-9
READ JOHN 5:1–9

The ad brought a smile to my face: “The most comfortable socks in the history of feet.” Then, extending its claim of good news for feet even further, the advertiser said that because socks remain the most requested clothing item at homeless shelters, for every pair of socks purchased the company would donate a pair to someone in need.

Imagine the smile when Jesus healed the feet of a man who hadn’t been able to walk for thirty-eight years (John 5:2-8). Now imagine the opposite look on the faces of the temple officials who weren’t impressed by Jesus’s care for the feet or heart of someone who had gone without help for so long. They accused the man and Jesus of breaking a religious law that allows no work to be done on the Sabbath (vv. 9-10, 16-17). They saw rules where Jesus saw the need for mercy.

At this point the man didn’t even know who had given him new feet. Only later would he be able to say that it was Jesus who had made him well (vv. 13-15)—the same Jesus who would allow His own feet to be nailed to a tree to offer that man—and us—the best news in the history of broken bodies, minds, and hearts. By Mart DeHaan

REFLECT & PRAY:
Jesus, allow me to see and meet the needs of others. To learn more about the life of Christ, visit christianuniversity.org/NT111.
What needs do you see in those around you? In what ways have you seen Jesus meet your own needs?

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT:
In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus begins His ministry by quoting from Isaiah (61:1-2) that the Messiah would perform miracles. Christ’s miracles served as proof that He was indeed the Messiah. In John 5, Jesus directly confronted the religious leaders about His identity. When they began to persecute Him for working on the Sabbath, He referred to God as “my Father” (v. 17) and stated that God too worked (on the Sabbath). As evidence of His deity, Jesus pointed to the miracle He’d just performed, saying that as the Father gives life so does the Son (v. 21). In other words, He wouldn’t have been able to restore the paralyzed man’s legs if He were not doing it through the power of the Father. J.R. Hudberg

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/16/19 7:35 A

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Fill in Your Name--
. . . He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name.
Isaiah 40:26
READ ISAIAH 40:25–31

In Love Letters from God, Glenys Nellist invites children to interact with the Lord in a deeply personal way. These children’s books include a note from God with a space for the child’s name to be inserted after each Bible story. Personalizing scriptural truth helps her young readers understand that the Bible isn’t just a storybook. They’re being taught that the Lord wants a relationship with them and that He speaks to His greatly loved children through the Scriptures.
I bought the book for my nephew and filled in the blanks in the beginning of every note from God. Delighted when he recognized his name, my nephew said, “God loves me too!” What a comfort to know the deeply and completely personal love of our loving Creator.

When God spoke to the Israelites directly through the prophet Isaiah, He called their attention to the heavens. The Lord affirmed that He controls “the starry host” (Isaiah 40:26), determines each star’s individual value, and directs each one with love. He assured His people that He won’t forget or lose one star . . . or one beloved child that He’s sculpted with deliberate purpose and endless love.

As we celebrate our Almighty God’s intimate promises and proclamations of love within Scripture, we can fill in our names. We can trust and declare with childlike delight, “God loves me too!”
By Xochitl Dixon

REFLECT & PRAY:
God, thank You for affirming that Your love is a personal gift for each and every one of us. Thank You for assuring us that You know our names and can handle all of our needs.

How does it feel when you realize God loves you and knows your needs? What Bible verse could you remember that’s a personal promise to you?

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT:
One of the ways God is magnified in Isaiah 40 is through the use of rhetorical questions—questions not asked in anticipation of an answer but to provoke one’s thoughts, to drive home a point. An example of this device in the Bible is the book of Job, particularly chapters 38-41, where God is the One asking the questions. In Isaiah 40, after the pronouncements of the comfort that awaited the people of God through the Lord’s coming (vv. 1-5), the trustworthiness of God’s words (vv. 6-8), and the might and mercy that would attend His coming (vv. 9-11), the questions begin to roll in verse 12 and they don’t stop until verse 28! They’re designed to help believing people throughout history to ponder the incomparable greatness of our loving God. Arthur Jackson

Blessings on your day!

emoticon

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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7/30/19 10:50 A

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But a Breath
My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7
READ PSALM 39:1–13

Bobby’s sudden death brought home to me the stark reality of death and the brevity of life. My childhood friend was only twenty-four when a tragic accident on an icy road claimed her life. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, she had recently seemed to be moving forward. Just a new believer in Jesus, how could her life end so soon?

Sometimes life seems far too short and full of sorrow. In Psalm 39 the psalmist David bemoans his own suffering and exclaims: “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure” (vv. 4-5). Life is short. Even if we live to see a century, our earthly life is but a drop in all of time.

And yet, with David, we can say, “My hope is in [the Lord]” (v. 7). We can trust that our lives do have meaning. Though our bodies waste away, as believers we have confidence that “inwardly we are being renewed day by day”—and one day we’ll enjoy eternal life with Him (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1). We know this because God “has given us the Spirit . . . guaranteeing what is to come”! (5:5).
By Alyson Kieda

REFLECT & PRAY
Thank You, Lord, that this life is not all there is! You have eternity in store for all who believe in You. Help us to spend our numbered days here in service to You.

How is it comforting to know that God has made it possible for you to share in His eternal life? How can the gift of each moment encourage you to make the most of your time?
Blessings!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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7/21/19 9:35 A

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Victory Parade

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.
2 Corinthians 2:14
READ 2 CORINTHIANS 2:14–17

In 2016 when the Chicago Cubs baseball team won the World Series for the first time in more than a century, some sources said that five million people lined the parade route and gathered at a downtown rally to celebrate the championship.

Victory parades are not a modern invention. A famous ancient parade was the Roman Triumph, in which victorious generals led a procession of their armies and captives through crowded streets.

Such parade imagery was likely in Paul’s mind when he wrote to the Corinthian church thanking God for leading believers “as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession” (2 Corinthians 2:14). I find it fascinating that in this imagery, followers of Christ are the captives. However, as believers we’re not forced to participate, but are willing “captives,” willingly part of the parade led by the victorious, resurrected Christ. As Christians, we celebrate that through Christ’s victory, He’s building His kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

When we talk about Jesus’s victory on the cross and the freedom it gives believers, we help spread the “aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). And whether people find the aroma to be the pleasing reassurance of salvation or the odor of their defeat, this unseen but powerful fragrance is present everywhere we go.

As we follow Christ, we declare His resurrection victory, the victory that makes salvation available to the world.
By Lisa M. Samra

REFLECT & PRAY
Jesus is our victorious King. For further study, see christianuniversity.org/NT109-06.

What does Jesus’s victory on the cross mean to you? How are you living out the power of His resurrection?
Blessings...

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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7/4/19 11:20 A

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The Lord Rejoices, [God] will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
READ ZEPHANIAH 3:14–20

My grandmother recently sent me a folder full of old photographs, and as I thumbed through them, one caught my eye. In it, I’m two years old, and I’m sitting on one end of a hearth in front of a fireplace. On the other end, my dad has his arm around my mom’s shoulders. Both are gazing at me with expressions of love and delight.

I pinned this photo to my dresser, where I see it every morning. It’s a wonderful reminder of their love for me. The truth is, though, that even the love of good parents is imperfect. I saved this photo because it reminds me that although human love may fail sometimes, God’s love never fails—and according to Scripture, God looks at me the way my parents are looking at me in this picture.

The prophet Zephaniah described this love in a way that astounds me. He describes God as rejoicing over His people with singing. God’s people had not earned this love. They had failed to obey Him or to treat each other with compassion. But Zephaniah promised that in the end, God’s love would prevail over their failures. God would take away their punishment (Zephaniah 3:15), and He would rejoice over them (v. 17). He would gather His people into His arms, bring them home, and restore them (v. 20).

That’s a love worth reflecting on every morning. By Amy Peterson

REFLECT & PRAY
God, thank You for Your forgiveness and faithful love for us.

How does it make you feel that God rejoices over you with singing? How have you experienced His love?


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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6/27/19 9:13 A

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Untying the Rope

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. Genesis 33:4

GENESIS 33:1–11
One Christian organization’s mission is to promote the healing nature of forgiveness. One of their activities involves a skit in which a person who has been wronged is strapped back to back with a rope to the wrongdoer. Only the one sinned against can untie the rope. No matter what she does, she’s got someone on her back. Without forgiveness—without untying the rope—she cannot escape.

Offering forgiveness to someone who comes to us in sorrow for their wrongdoing begins the process of releasing us and them from the bitterness and pain that can cling to us over wrongs we’ve suffered. In Genesis, we see two brothers separated for twenty years after Jacob stole Esau’s birthright. After this long time, God told Jacob to return to his homeland (Genesis 31:3). He obeyed, but nervously, sending ahead to Esau gifts of herds of animals (32:13-15). When the brothers met, Jacob bowed at Esau’s feet seven times in humility (33:3). Imagine his surprise when Esau ran and embraced him, both of them weeping over their reconciliation (v. 4). No longer was Jacob held by the sin he committed against his brother.
Do you feel imprisoned by unforgiveness, saddled with anger, fear, or shame? Know that God through His Son and Spirit can release you when you seek His help. He will enable you to begin the process of untying any ropes and setting you free.
By Amy Boucher Pye

REFLECT & PRAY
How do you think Esau felt to see Jacob bowing before him? Could you similarly humble yourself before someone you’ve wronged? Who do you need to release through forgiveness?

blessings on your day....

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/16/19 7:46 A

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Words that Wound
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

READ 1 SAMUEL 1:1–8

“Skinny bones, skinny bones,” the boy taunted. “Stick,” another chimed. In return, I could have chanted “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But even as a little girl, I knew the popular rhyme wasn’t true. Unkind, thoughtless words did hurt—sometimes badly, leaving wounds that went deeper and lasted much longer than a welt from a stone or stick.

Hannah certainly knew the sting of thoughtless words. Her husband, Elkanah, loved her, but she had no children, while his second wife, Peninnah, had many. In a culture where a woman’s worth was often based on having children, Peninnah made Hannah’s pain worse by continually “provoking her” for being childless. She kept it up until Hannah wept and couldn’t eat (1 Samuel 1:6-7).

And Elkanah probably meant well, but his thoughtless response, “Hannah, why are you weeping? . . . Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (v. 8) was still hurtful.

Like Hannah, many of us have been left reeling in the wake of hurtful words. And some of us have likely reacted to our own wounds by lashing out and hurting others with our words. But all of us can run to our loving and compassionate God for strength and healing (Psalm 27:5, 12-14). He lovingly rejoices over us—speaking words of love and grace.
By Alyson Kieda

REFLECT & PRAY
Loving Father, thank You for the healing and hope we find in You! Help us to bring our hurts to You—and always to be mindful of the words we say. Give us the wisdom and patience to think before speaking.
When have you been hurt by unkind words? What helped you to heal? Who needs to hear your grace-filled words?

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT
The historical setting of 1 Samuel 1 is critical to understanding the events recorded in this book. As 1 Samuel opens, it’s the end of the time of the judges, but it’s not yet the time of kings. Bridging that gap will be Samuel, the son who would be born to Hannah after her season of prayer at the tabernacle in Shiloh (1:9-20). Samuel’s role in the transition from judges to kings will include the fact that he’s the last of the judges and the first of the prophets. As a prophet, he would be responsible for anointing Israel’s first two kings: Saul, the kind of king the people wanted (10:17-24); and David, a man after God’s own heart (13:14). Bill Crowder

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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6/2/19 2:05 P

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Amen!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/1/19 12:57 P

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JUST for TODAY

Just for today I will have a program, I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world,so the world will give to me.

Prayer for Today Prayer of St. Francis
Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt,faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness,light, and where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved,as to love,
for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This was from Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters,inc. from 1972


PS I posted the entire Just for today in a blog on page if you wanted to read it. emoticon


Edited by: IMEMINE1 at: 6/2/2019 (11:00)
Donna
Lehighton, Pa
BLC 27-to-41
Powerful Prism Panther team
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Purple Phoenix
Focus....Eat right & keep moving!!
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5/30/19 7:20 A

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Marvelously Unique:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

Human beings are not special—at least according to the London Zoo. In 2005, the zoo introduced a four-day exhibit: “Humans in Their Natural Environment.” The human “captives” were chosen through an online contest. To help visitors understand the humans, the zoo workers created a sign detailing their diet, habitat, and threats. According to the zoo’s spokesperson, the goal of the exhibit was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings. One participant in the exhibit seemed to agree. “When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds them that we’re not that special.”

What a stark contrast to what the Bible says about human beings: God “fearfully and wonderfully” made us in “his image” (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:26-27).

David began Psalm 139 by celebrating God’s intimate knowledge of him (vv. 1-6) and His all-encompassing presence (vv. 7-12). Like a master weaver, God not only formed the intricacies of David’s internal and external features (vv. 13-14), but He also made him a living soul, giving spiritual life and the ability to intimately relate to God. Meditating on God’s handiwork, David responded in awe, wonder, and praise (v. 14).

Human beings are special. God created us with marvelous uniqueness and the awesome ability to have an intimate relationship with Him. Like David, we can praise Him because we’re the workmanship of His loving hands.
By Marvin Williams

REFLECT & PRAY God created human beings to be like Him.
What are some practical implications of knowing and believing you’re fearfully and wonderfully made? What are some negative consequences of not believing this?

Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 5/30/2019 (07:22)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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5/27/19 8:21 A

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A Living Memorial of Kindness

David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Samuel 9:1

READ 2 SAMUEL 9:1–7
I grew up in a church full of traditions. One came into play when a beloved family member or friend died. Often a church pew or possibly a painting in a hallway showed up not long afterward with a brass plate affixed: “In Memory of . . .” The deceased’s name would be etched there, a shining reminder of a life passed on. I always appreciated those memorials. And I still do. Yet at the same time they’ve always given me pause because they are static, inanimate objects, in a very literal sense something “not alive.” Is there a way to add an element of “life” to the memorial?

Following the death of his beloved friend Jonathan, David wanted to remember him and to keep a promise to him (1 Samuel 20:12-17). But rather than simply seek something static, David searched and found something very much alive—a son of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:3). David’s decision here is dramatic. He chose to extend kindness (v. 1) to Mephibosheth (vv. 6-7) in the specific forms of restored property (“all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul”) and the ongoing provision of food and drink (“you will always eat at my table”).

As we continue to remember those who’ve died with plaques and paintings, may we also recall David’s example and extend kindness to those still living.

REFLECT & PRAY
Jesus, give me the strength to extend kindness in memory of the kindness others have shown me, but most important because of Your great kindness.

Who has died that you don’t want to forget? What might a specific kindness to another person look like for you?


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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5/16/19 9:01 A

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God is love. 1 John 4:16
READ 1 JOHN 4:13–19

“Bear” was a gift for my grandchild—a heaping helping of love contained in a giant stuffed animal frame. Baby D’s response? First, wonder. Next, an amazed awe. Then, a curiosity that nudged a daring exploration. He poked his pudgy finger at Bear’s nose, and when the Bear tumbled forward into his arms he responded with joy joy JOY! Baby D laid his toddler head down on Bear’s fluffy chest and hugged him tightly. A dimpled smile spread across his cheeks as he burrowed deeply into Bear’s cushiony softness. The child had no idea of Bear’s inability to truly love him. Innocently and naturally, he felt love from Bear and returned it with all his heart.

In his first of three letters to early Christians, the apostle John boldly states that God Himself is love. “We know and rely on the love God has for us,” he writes. “God is love” (1 John 4:16).

God loves. Not in the pillow of a pretend animal but rather with the outstretched arms of a real human body encasing a beating but breaking heart (John 3:16). Through Jesus, God communicated His extravagant and sacrificial love for us.

John goes on, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). When we believe we’re loved, we love back. God’s real love makes it possible for us to love God and others—with all our hearts. By Elisa Morgan

REFLECT & PRAY
Dear God, help me to let You love me and then help me to love You back—with all my heart.

What do you find is most amazing about God’s love for you? How will you reveal His love to others today?

Blessings on your day.


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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5/12/19 7:25 A

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As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me.
Psalm 55:16

Love Won’t Stop
Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. Luke 15:6
READ LUKE 15:1–7

After I turned nineteen, and years before I owned a pager or a cell phone, I moved more than seven hundred miles away from my mom. One morning, I left early to run errands, forgetting our scheduled call. Later that night, two policemen came to my door. Mom had been worried because I’d never missed one of our chats. After calling repeatedly and getting a busy signal, she reached out to the authorities and insisted they check on me. One of the police officers turned to me and said, “It’s a blessing to know love won’t stop looking for you.”

When I picked up the phone to call my mom, I realized I had accidentally left the receiver off its base. After I apologized, she said she needed to spread the good news to the family and friends she had informed that I’d been missing. I hung up thinking she’d overreacted a bit, though it felt good to be loved that much.

Scripture paints a beautiful picture of God, who is Love, relentlessly beckoning His wandering children. Like a good shepherd, He cares about and seeks out every lost sheep, affirming the priceless value of every beloved child of God (Luke 15:1-7).

Love never stops looking for us. He will pursue us until we’ve returned to Him. We can pray for others who need to know that Love—God—never stops looking for them either.
By Xochitl Dixon

REFLECT & PRAY Heavenly Father, thank You for pursuing us with persistence and providing a safe place when we return to Your loving arms.

How does it encourage you to know that God continually pursues you in love? How is He using you to reveal His love to others?

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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5/5/19 6:35 A

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Small but Significant:
On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.
2 Corinthians 1:10–11
READ 2 CORINTHIANS 1:8–11

The day started out like any other, but it ended as a nightmare. Esther (not her real name) and several hundred women were kidnapped from their boarding school by a religious militant group. A month later all were released—except for Esther who refused to deny Christ. As my friend and I read about her and others who are being persecuted for their faith, our hearts were moved. We wanted to do something. But what?

When writing to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul shared about the trouble he experienced in the province of Asia. The persecution was so severe that he and his companions “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8). However, Paul was helped by the prayers of believers (v. 11). Though the Corinthian church was many miles away from the apostle, their prayers mattered and God heard them. Herein lies an amazing mystery: the sovereign One has chosen to use our prayers to accomplish His purpose. What a privilege!

Today we can continue to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith. There’s something we can do. We can pray for those who are marginalized, oppressed, beaten, tortured, and sometimes even killed for their belief in Christ. Let’s pray for them to experience God’s comfort and encouragement and to be strengthened with hope as they stand firmly with Jesus. By Poh Fang Chia

REFLECT & PRAY
In prayer, we cast ourselves at the feet of divine power.
Who can you commit to praying for by name this week? When have you experienced God’s faithfulness during a time of persecution?

Praising HIM! Blessings on your Sonday!


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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4/20/19 7:50 A

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Flourishing Like a Flower
The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field. Psalm 103:15
READ PSALM 103:13–22

My youngest grandson is only two months old, yet every time I see him I notice little changes. Recently, as I cooed to him, he looked up at me and smiled! And suddenly I began crying. Perhaps it was joy mixed with remembering my own children’s first smiles, which I witnessed so long ago, and yet it feels like just yesterday. Some moments are like that—inexplicable.

In Psalm 103, David penned a poetic song that praised God while also reflecting on how quickly the joyful moments of our lives pass by: “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone” (vv. 15-16).

But despite acknowledging the brevity of life, David describes the flower as flourishing, or thriving. Although each individual flower blossoms and blooms swiftly, its fragrance and color and beauty bring great joy in the moment. And even though an individual flower can be quickly forgotten—“its place remembers it no more” (v. 16)—by contrast we have the assurance that “from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” (v. 17).

We, like flowers, can rejoice and flourish in the moment; but we can also celebrate the truth that the moments of our lives are never truly forgotten. God holds every detail of our lives, and His everlasting love is with His children forever!
By Alyson Kieda

REFLECT & PRAY - God provides what we need to flourish for Him.
In what way can you flourish in this moment? How can you bring joy to another?

Many blessings this Holy Week! emoticon

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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4/18/19 10:18 A

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In the Moment

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life . . . . No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
John 10:17–18
READ LUKE 23:32–46

The ambulance door was about to close—with me on the inside. Outside, my son was on the phone to my wife. From my concussed fog, I called his name. As he recalls the moment, I slowly said, “Tell your mom I love her very much.”

Apparently I thought this might be goodbye, and I wanted those to be my parting words. In the moment, that’s what mattered most to me.

As Jesus endured His darkest moment, He didn’t merely tell us He loved us; He showed it in specific ways. He showed it to the mocking soldiers who had just nailed Him to a cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He gave hope to a criminal crucified with Him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). Nearing the end, He looked at His mother. “Here is your son,” He said to her, and to His close friend John He said, “Here is your mother” (John 19:26-27). Then, as His life slipped from Him, Jesus’s last act of love was to trust His Father: “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Jesus purposefully chose the cross in order to show His obedience to His Father—and the depth of His love for us. To the very end, He showed us His relentless love.
By Tim Gustafson

REFLECT & PRAY - Every word of Jesus was spoken in love.
What matters most to you? How do love and obedience fit together?

---------------------
I too called out to the Father and asked to speak with my children before the Emergency crew rushed me to the Medical center in Vermont, a 2 hour ride!

After suffering for over a day in our local ER, an MRI revealed an aneurysm and it was determined to send me to the bigger medical center in Burlington, VT.
This was in 2011 and I since have been on yearly watch to access the growth of my defect.
I am safe for now and it was deemed too risky to operate. I have also been in the ICU in Burlington for uncontrollable high blood pressure.

Our days are numbered and only the Lord knows when our time is at an end. I thought mine was over with that day. I told all my family how I loved them. My time was not up.

Be thankful for each and everyday! Phylis(I now have two aneurysms)

Blessings on your Easter!
emoticon

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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4/14/19 9:09 A

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Will you finish first or last?
Many who are first will be last. Matthew 19:30
Many who are first will be last. Matthew 19:30

READ MATTHEW 19:17–30 From: Our Daily Bread

Perhaps the most preposterous, spellbinding moment in the 2018 Winter Olympics was when the Czech Republic’s world champion snowboarder Ester Ledecka won an event in a completely different sport: skiing! And she took the first-place gold medal even though she had the unenviable position of skiing 26th—a feat believed to be basically impossible.

Amazingly, Ledecka qualified to race the women’s super-G—an event that combines downhill skiing with a slalom course. After she won by .01 of a second on borrowed skis, she was just as shocked as the media and other contestants who had assumed the winner would be one of the top skiers.

This is how the world works. We assume the winners will keep winning while all the others will lose. It was a jolt, then, when the disciples heard Jesus say how “hard [it is] for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23). Jesus turned everything upside down. How could being rich (a winner) offer a roadblock? Apparently, if we trust in what we have (what we can do, who we are), then it’s not only hard but actually impossible to trust God.

The kingdom of God doesn’t play by our rules. “Many who are first,” Jesus says, “will be last, and many who are last will be first” (v. 30). And, whether you’re first or last, everything we receive is purely by grace—by God’s unmerited favor.
By Winn Collier

REFLECT & PRAY
Winning and losing are turned upside down in God’s kingdom.

Consider how you view people, or how you view your own life. How does Jesus’s way of seeing so-called losers and winners change your perspective?
Blessings!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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4/12/19 7:48 A

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The Greatest Gift

We have found . . . Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
John 1:45
READ JOHN 1:43–51

Over the years, my friend Barbara has given me countless encouraging cards and thoughtful presents. After I told her I’d received Jesus as my Savior, she handed me the greatest gift she’d ever given me—my first Bible. She said, “You can grow closer to God and mature spiritually by meeting with Him daily, reading Scripture, praying, and trusting and obeying Him.” My life changed when Barbara invited me to get to know God better.

Barbara reminds me of the apostle Philip. After Jesus invited Philip to follow Him (John 1:43), the apostle immediately told his friend Nathanael that Jesus was “the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote” (v. 45). When Nathanael doubted, Philip didn’t argue, criticize, or give up on his friend. He simply invited him to meet Jesus face to face. “Come and see,” he said (v. 46).

I can imagine Philip’s joy when he heard Nathanael declare Jesus as “the Son of God” and “the king of Israel” (v. 49). What a blessing to know his friend wouldn’t miss out on seeing the “greater things” Jesus promised they’d witness (vv. 50-51).

The Holy Spirit initiates our intimate relationship with God and then lives in all who respond in faith. He enables us to know Him personally and to invite others to encounter Him daily through His Spirit and the Scriptures. An invitation to know Jesus better is a great gift to receive and give.
By Xochitl Dixon

REFLECT & PRAY
Knowing Jesus is the greatest gift we can receive; sharing Him is the greatest gift we can give.

To whom will you extend an invitation to know Jesus better? How has He worked through others to grow your faith?
Blessings on your day!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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4/10/19 8:28 A

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Joy in Hard Places.... From Our Daily Bread

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:18
READ HABAKKUK 3:16–19

Whenever she was unable to take my phone call, my friend’s voicemail recording invited me to leave her a message. The recording cheerfully concluded, “Make it a great day!” As I reflected on her words, I realized that it’s not within our power to make every day “great”—some circumstances truly are devastating. But a closer look might reveal something redeeming and beautiful in my day, whether things are going well or poorly.

Habakkuk wasn’t experiencing easy circumstances. As a prophet, God had shown him coming days when none of the crops or livestock—on which God’s people depended—would be fruitful (3:17). It would take more than mere optimism to endure the coming hardships. As a people group, Israel would be in extreme poverty. Habakkuk experienced heart-pounding, lip-quivering, leg-trembling fear (v. 16).

Yet despite that, Habakkuk said he would “rejoice in the Lord” and “be joyful” (v. 18). He proclaimed His hope in the God who provides the strength to walk in difficult places (v. 19).

Sometimes we go through seasons of deep pain and hardship. But no matter what we’ve lost, or wanted but never had, we can, like Habakkuk, rejoice in our relationship with a loving God. Even when it feels like we have nothing else, He will never fail or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). He, the One who “provide[s] for those who grieve,” is our ultimate reason for joy (Isaiah 61:3). By Kirsten Holmber

REFLECT & PRAY
Lord, no matter my circumstances, help me to find joy in You.

What about your relationship with Jesus brings you the greatest joy? How has He met you recently in a time of hardship or grief?

Blessings on your day! Phylis

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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4/5/19 7:04 A

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From: Our Daily Bread

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. Ezekiel 36:26
READ EZEKIEL 36:24–27

The news was grim. My father had been having chest pains, so his doctor ordered a test to peer into his heart. The result? Blockage found in three arteries.

Triple-bypass surgery was scheduled for February 14. My dad, though anxious, saw that date as a hopeful sign: “I’m getting a new heart for Valentine’s Day!” And he did! The surgery went perfectly, restoring life-giving blood flow to his struggling heart—his “new” heart.

My father’s surgery reminded me that God offers us a new life as well. Because sin clogs our spiritual “arteries”—our capacity to connect with God—we need spiritual “surgery” to clear them.

That’s what God promised His people in Ezekiel 36:26. He assured the Israelites, “I will give you a new heart. . . . I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” He also promised, “I will cleanse you from all your impurities” (v. 25) and “put my Spirit in you” (v. 27). To a people who’d lost hope, God promised a fresh start as the One who could renew their lives.

That promise was ultimately fulfilled through Jesus’s death and resurrection. When we trust in Him, we receive a new spiritual heart, one that’s cleansed of our sin and despair. Filled with Christ’s Spirit, our new heart beats with the spiritual lifeblood of God, that “we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).
By Adam Holz

REFLECT & PRAY
Father, thank You for the new hope You’ve given us in Jesus. Help us to trust You daily as Your Spirit leads us into a whole new way of living.

How does God’s promise of a new life bring hope when you’re struggling with guilt or shame? How will you rely on the Spirit’s power today instead of your own?

Blessings on your day! Phylis


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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Matthew 19
13Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. And the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15And after He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.…

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Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 3/27/2019 (05:36)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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3/25/19 8:52 A

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We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. 2 Corinthians 4:18
READ 2 CORINTHIANS 4:16–18

A rare supermoon appeared in November 2016—the moon in its orbit reached its closest point to the earth in over sixty years and so appeared bigger and brighter than at other times. But for me that day the skies were shrouded in gray. Although I saw photos of this wonder from friends in other places, as I gazed upward I had to trust that the supermoon was lurking behind the clouds.

The apostle Paul faced many hardships but believed that what is unseen will last forever. He said how his “momentary troubles” achieve “an eternal glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Thus he could fix his eyes “not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,” because what is unseen is eternal (v. 18). Paul yearned that the Corinthians and our faith would grow, and although we suffer, that we too would trust in God. We might not be able to see Him, but we can believe He is renewing us day by day (v. 16).

I thought about how God is unseen but eternal when I gazed at the clouds that day, knowing that the supermoon was hidden but there. And I hoped the next time I was tempted to believe that God was far from me, I would fix my eyes on what is unseen.
By Amy Boucher Pye

REFLECT & PRAY
Lord God, sometimes I feel like You’re far from me. Help me to believe the truth that You are ever near, whether I feel Your presence or not.

What does it mean for you to fix your eyes on what is unseen? How does your hope in Jesus help you face the difficulties of life?

Blessings on your week! Phylis

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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3/11/19 8:07 A

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Return on Investment

We have left everything to follow you!
Mark 10:28
READ MARK 10:17–31

In 1995 US stock market investors received record-high returns—on average, a whopping 37.6 percent return on their dollars. Then in 2008 investors lost almost exactly as much: a negative 37.0 percent. The years between had varying returns, causing those with money in the market to wonder—sometimes with fear—what would become of their investment.

Jesus assured His followers they would have an incredible return on investing their lives in Him. They “left everything to follow [Him]”—leaving their homes, jobs, status, and families to put their lives on deposit (v. 28). But they grew concerned that their investment might not pay off after watching a wealthy man struggle with the grip worldly goods had on him. Jesus replied, however, that anyone willing to sacrifice for Him would “receive a hundred times as much in this present age . . . and in the age to come eternal life” (v. 30). That’s a far better outcome than any stock market could ever match.

We don’t have to be concerned about the “interest rate” on our spiritual investment—with God, it’s an unmatched certainty. With money, our aim is to maximize the financial gain from our investment. With God, what we get back isn’t measured in dollars and cents, but in the joy that comes from knowing Him now and forever—and sharing that joy with others!
By Kirsten Holmberg

REFLECT & PRAY
Living for God is a worthy investment.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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3/3/19 8:26 A

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[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:4

READ 2 CORINTHIANS 1:3–7

When Siu Fen discovered she had kidney failure and would need dialysis for the rest of her life, she wanted to give up. Retired and single, the longtime believer in Jesus saw no point in prolonging her life. But friends convinced her to persevere and go for dialysis and trust in God to help her.

Two years later, she found her experience coming into play when she visited a friend from church with a debilitating disease. The woman felt alone, as few could truly understand what she was going through. But Siu Fen was able to identify with her physical and emotional pain and could connect with her in a personal way. Her own journey enabled her to walk alongside the woman, giving her a special measure of comfort others couldn’t. “Now I see how God can still use me,” she said.

It can be hard to understand why we suffer. Yet God can use our affliction in unexpected ways. As we turn to Him for comfort and love in the midst of trials, it also empowers us to help others. No wonder Paul learned to see purpose in his own suffering: It gave him the opportunity to receive God’s comfort, which he could then use to bless others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). We’re not asked to deny our pain and suffering, but we can take heart in God’s ability to use it for good.

By Leslie Koh

REFLECT & PRAY
Lord, help me to keep trusting in You in the midst of trouble, knowing that I can tap Your unlimited comfort and share it with others.

How has God used you to bring comfort to another? How has your faith helped you to persevere?

blessings.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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From: Our Daily Bread

Living in God’s Story
The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. Romans 13:12

READ ROMANS 13:8–14

Ernest Hemingway was asked if he could write a compelling story in six words. His response: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Hemingway’s story is powerful because it inspires us to fill in the details. Were the shoes simply not needed by a healthy child? Or was there a tragic loss—something requiring God’s deep love and comfort?

The best stories pique our imagination, so it’s no surprise that the greatest story ever told stokes the fires of our creativity. God’s story has a central plot: He created all things; we (the human race) fell into sin; Jesus came to Earth and died and rose again to save us from our sins; and we now await His return and the restoration of all things.

Knowing what has come before and what lies ahead, how should we now live? If Jesus is restoring His entire creation from the clutches of evil, we must “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). This includes turning from sin by God’s power and choosing to love Him and others well (vv. 8-10).

The specific ways we fight with Jesus against evil will depend on what gifts we have and what needs we see. Let’s use our imagination and look around us. Let’s seek out the wounded and weeping, and extend God’s justice, love, and comfort as He guides us.
By Mike Wittmer

REFLECT & PRAY
Live out your role in God’s story as He leads you.
Father, may Your kingdom come and may it come in me.

Blessings on your day.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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2/20/19 12:17 P

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Amen.
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Donna
Lehighton, Pa
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Powerful Prism Panther team
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Purple Phoenix
Focus....Eat right & keep moving!!
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Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.
Romans 15:2

READ ROMANS 15:1–7

I’m encouraged every time I visit the fitness center near our house. In that busy place, I’m surrounded by others who are striving to improve their physical health and strength. Posted signs remind us not to judge each other, but words and actions that reveal support for others’ conditioning efforts are always welcomed.

What a great picture of how things should look in the spiritual realm of life! Those of us who are striving to “get in shape” spiritually, to grow in our faith, can sometimes feel as if we don’t belong because we’re not as spiritually fit—as mature in our walk with Jesus—as someone else.

Paul gave us this short, direct suggestion: “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). And to the believers in Rome he wrote: “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up” (Romans 15:2). Recognizing that our Father is so lovingly gracious with us, let’s show God’s grace to others with encouraging words and actions.

As we “accept one another” (v. 7), let’s entrust our spiritual growth to God—to the work of His Spirit. And while we daily seek to follow Him, may we create an atmosphere of encouragement for our brothers and sisters in Jesus as they also seek to grow in their faith.
By Dave Branon

REFLECT & PRAY
A word of encouragement can make the difference between giving up and pressing on.
Lord, help me today to encourage others along the way. Guide me to say what will not discourage but will spur them toward a deeper walk with You in Your love.

Blessings.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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2/13/19 6:36 A

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The Battle
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7

READ PSALM 39:1–7
As artillery rounds fell around him with an earth-shaking whoomp, the young soldier prayed fervently, “Lord, if you get me through this, I’ll go to that Bible school Mom wanted me to attend.” God honored his focused prayer. My dad survived World War II, went to Moody Bible Institute, and invested his life in ministry.

Another warrior endured a different kind of crisis that drove him to God, but his problems arose when he avoided combat. As King David’s troops fought the Ammonites, David was back at his palace casting more than just a glance at another man’s wife (see 2 Samuel 11). In Psalm 39, David chronicles the painful process of restoration from the terrible sin that resulted. “The turmoil within me grew worse,” he wrote. “The more I thought about it, the hotter I got” (vv. 2-3 nlt).

David’s broken spirit caused him to reflect: “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is” (v. 4). Amid his renewed focus, David didn’t despair. He had nowhere else to turn. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you” (v. 7). David would survive this personal battle and go on to serve God.

What motivates our prayer life doesn’t matter as much as the focus of our prayer. God is our source of hope. He wants us to share our heart with Him.
By Tim Gustafson

REFLECT & PRAY
We are in the best place we can imagine when we go to God in prayer.

Father, our hope is in You. Forgive us for seeking answers apart from You. Draw us close to You today.

Be blessed.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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2/1/19 8:45 A

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When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:19

As I waited at the train station for my weekly commute, negative thoughts crowded my mind like commuters lining up to board a train—stress over debt, unkind remarks said to me, helplessness in the face of a recent injustice done to a family member. By the time the train arrived, I was in a terrible mood.

On the train, another thought came to mind: write a note to God, giving Him my lament. Soon after I finished pouring out my complaints in my journal, I pulled out my phone and listened to the praise songs in my library. Before I knew it, my bad mood had completely changed.

Little did I know that I was following a pattern set by the writer of Psalm 94. The psalmist first poured out his complaints: “Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve. . . . Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?” (Psalm 94:2, 16.) He didn’t hold anything back as he talked to God about injustice done to widows and orphans. Once he’d made his lament to God, the psalm transitioned into praise: “But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge” (v. 22).

God invites us to take our laments to Him. He can turn our fear, sadness, and helplessness into praise. By Linda Washington

REFLECT & PRAY
Praise has the power to lighten our heaviest burden.

Lord, I pour out my heart to You. Take my hurts and my anger, and grant me Your peace.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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1/25/19 6:39 A

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READ HEBREWS 11:1–6

Lessons on faith can come from unexpected places—like the one I learned from my 110-pound, black Labrador retriever, “Bear.” Bear’s large metal water bowl was located in a corner of the kitchen. Whenever it was empty, he wouldn’t bark or paw at it. Instead, he would lie down quietly beside it and wait. Sometimes he would have to wait several minutes, but Bear had learned to trust that I would eventually walk into the room, see him there, and provide what he needed. His simple faith in me reminded me of my need to place more trust in God.

The Bible tells us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). The foundation of this confidence and assurance is God Himself, who “rewards those who earnestly seek him” (v. 6). God is faithful to keep His promises to all who believe and come to Him through Jesus.

Sometimes having faith in “what we do not see” isn’t easy. But we can rest in God’s goodness and His loving character, trusting that His wisdom is perfect in all things—even when we have to wait. He is always faithful to do what He says: to save our eternal souls and meet our deepest needs, now and forever.
By James Banks

REFLECT & PRAY Don’t worry about tomorrow—God is already there.

Almighty Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to always take care of me. Help me to trust You and to rest in Your perfect love today.

I had a dog named 'Bear'! Blessings!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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1/21/19 9:09 A

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Where Are You Headed?

Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord.

Psalm 121:1-2
What determines our direction in life? I once heard an answer to that question in a surprising place: a motorcycle training course. Some friends and I wanted to ride, so we took a class to learn how. Part of our training dealt with something called target fixation.

“Eventually,” our instructor said, “you’re going to face an unexpected obstacle. If you stare at it—if you target fixate—you’ll steer right into it. But if you look above and past it to where you need to go, you can usually avoid it.” Then he added, “Where you’re looking is the direction you’re going to go.”

That simple-but-profound principle applies to our spiritual lives too. When we “target fixate”—focusing on our problems or struggles—we almost automatically orient our lives around them.

However, Scripture encourages us to look past our problems to the One who can help us with them. In Psalm 121:1, we read, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?” The psalm then answers: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. . . . The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (vv. 2, 8).

Sometimes our obstacles can seem insurmountable. But God invites us to look to Him to help us see beyond our troubles instead of letting them dominate our perspective.
By Adam Holz

REFLECT & PRAY
Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8

Father, help me not to “target fixate,” but to look to You whenever I face fearful obstacles as I seek to follow You along life’s road.

Blessings!


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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Unfailing love!

I pray that you . . . [will] grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
Ephesians 3:17-18

I lay still on the vinyl-covered mat and held my breath on command as the machine whirred and clicked. I knew lots of folks had endured MRIs, but for claustrophobic me, the experience required focused concentration on something—Someone—much bigger than myself.

In my mind, a phrase from Scripture—“how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18)—moved in rhythm with the machine’s hum. In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church, he described four dimensions to God’s love in order to stress the unending parameters of His love and presence.

My position while lying down for the MRI provided a new image for my understanding. Wide: the six inches on either side of where my arms were tightly pinned to my body within the tube. Long: the distance between the cylinder’s two openings, extending out from my head and feet. High: the six inches from my nose up to the “ceiling” of the tube. Deep: the support of the tube anchored to the floor beneath me, holding me up. Four dimensions illustrating God’s presence surrounding and holding me in the MRI tube—and in every circumstance of life.

God’s love is ALL around us. Wide: He extends His arms to reach all people everywhere. Long: His love never ends. High: He lifts us up. Deep: He dips down, holding us in all situations. Nothing can separate us from Him! (Romans 8:38-39).
By Elisa Morgan

REFLECT & PRAY
Dear God, help us pause to ponder Your multidimensional love for us!
What situations cause you to question God’s love? How will you choose to trust Him?

From: Our Daily Bread.
Blessings.



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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1/6/19 8:33 A

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Glory to God

The word glory (or glorify) is very prominent in John’s gospel. In John 17 alone it’s used nine times. It’s derived from the base word doxa, which means “glory,” “honor,” or “praise.” Our word doxology (a short hymn of worship) comes from this term. In John, the word glory surfaces first in chapter 1, verse 14. The second time is in John 2:11 where at Cana we read that Jesus “revealed His glory” by turning water into wine. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God was and is honored or glorified. Arthur Jackson

Blessings!

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Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 1/6/2019 (08:38)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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12/30/18 9:01 A

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All Things New: From Our Daily Bread.

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Junkyards intrigue me. I enjoy working on cars, so I frequently make trips to the one near our home. It’s a lonely place, where the wind whispers through discarded hulks that were once someone’s prized possession. Some were wrecked, some wore out, and others simply outlived their usefulness. As I walk between the rows, a car will sometimes catch my eye, and I’ll find myself wondering about the adventures it had during its “lifetime.” Like a portal to the past, each has a story to tell—of human hankering after the latest model and the inescapable passage of time.

But I take particular pleasure in finding new life for an old part. Whenever I can take something discarded and give it new life in a restored vehicle, it feels like a small victory against time and decline.

It sometimes makes me think of Jesus’s words at the end of the Bible: “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). These words refer to God’s renewal of creation, which includes believers. Already, all who’ve received Jesus are a “new creation” in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

And one day we will enter into His promise of unending days with Him (John 14:3). Age and disease will no longer take their toll, and we will continue the adventure of an eternal lifetime. What stories each of us will have to tell—stories of our Savior’s redeeming love and undying faithfulness.
By James Banks

REFLECT & PRAY
The end of a year and beginning of another is an opportunity for a fresh start. What might God be making new in your life?

Loving Lord, I praise You that I am a new creation in You, and that in Your kindness and mercy You have given me the promise of eternal life.

Amen. Blessings.




"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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12/23/18 6:34 A

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A Christmas Letter

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father.
John 1:14
READ JOHN 1:1–14

Every Christmas, a friend of mine writes a long letter to his wife, reviewing the events of the year and dreaming about the future. He always tells her how much he loves her, and why. He also writes a letter to each of his daughters. His words of love make an unforgettable Christmas present.

We could say that the original Christmas love letter was Jesus, the Word made flesh. John highlights this truth in his gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). In ancient philosophy, the Greek for Word, logos, suggested a divine mind or order that unites reality, but John expands the definition to reveal the Word as a person: Jesus, the Son of God who was “with God in the beginning” (v. 2). This Word, the Father’s “one and only Son,” “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (v. 14). Through Jesus the Word, God reveals Himself perfectly.

Theologians have grappled with this beautiful mystery for centuries. However much we may not understand, we can be certain that Jesus as the Word gives light to our dark world (v. 9). If we believe in Him, we can experience the gift of being God’s beloved children (v. 12).

Jesus, God’s love letter to us, has come and made His home among us. Now that’s an amazing Christmas gift!

By Amy Boucher Pye

REFLECT & PRAY
How can you share the amazing gift of Jesus with others today?

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Word of God, and You bring light into my life. May I shine forth Your goodness and grace and bring You honor.
From: Our Daily Bread

Blessings to you this Christmas!
Phylis
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"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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12/16/18 7:31 A

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Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it . . . will be blessed in what they do.
James 1:25


When I emerged from my hotel in Kampala, Uganda, my hostess, who had come to pick me up for our seminar, looked at me with an amused grin. “What’s so funny?” I inquired. She laughed and asked, “Did you comb your hair?” It was my turn to laugh, for I had indeed forgotten to comb my hair. I’d looked at my reflection in the hotel mirror. How come I took no notice of what I saw?

In a practical analogy, James gives us a useful dimension to make our study of Scripture more beneficial. We look in the mirror to examine ourselves to see if anything needs correction—hair combed, face washed, shirt properly buttoned. Like a mirror, the Bible helps us to examine our character, attitude, thoughts, and behavior (James 1:23-24). This enables us to align our lives according to the principles of what God has revealed. We will “keep a tight rein” on our tongues (v. 26) and “look after orphans and widows” (v. 27). We will pay heed to God’s Holy Spirit within us and keep ourselves “from being polluted by the world” (v. 27).

When we look attentively into “the perfect law that gives freedom” and apply it to our lives, we will be blessed in what we do (v. 25). As we look into the mirror of Scripture, we can “humbly accept the word planted in [us]” (v. 21).

By Lawrence Darmani


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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12/10/18 6:57 A

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

Steadfast Love

“I love you!” my dad called out as I slammed the car door and headed into school. I was in sixth grade, and for months we had played out basically the same scenario every morning. We arrived at school, Dad said, “Have a great day! I love you!” and all I said was “Bye.” I wasn’t angry with him or ignoring him. I was simply so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I didn’t notice his words. Nevertheless, my dad’s love remained steadfast.

God’s love is like that—and more. It endures forever. The Hebrew word that expresses this steadfast kind of love is hesed. It’s used over and over again in the Old Testament, and twenty-six times in Psalm 136 alone! No modern word can fully capture the meaning; we translate it “kindness,” “loving-kindness,” “mercy,” or “loyalty.” Hesed is a love that is based on covenant commitment; love that is loyal and faithful. Even when God’s people sinned, He was faithful in loving them. Steadfast love is an integral part of the character of God (Exodus 34:6).

When I was a child, I sometimes took my dad’s love for granted. Sometimes now I do the same thing with my heavenly Father’s love. I forget to listen to God and respond. I forget to be grateful. Yet I know that God’s love for me remains steadfast—a reality that provides a sure foundation for all of my life.
By Amy Peterson

REFLECT & PRAY
Take time to show the love of God to someone today.

God, we praise You for Your steadfast love to us! Even when we’re faithless, You’re faithful.

Bel blessed!


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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12/7/18 6:26 A

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With Jesus we are never alone....

The loneliest Christmas I ever spent was in my grandfather’s cottage near Sakogu, northern Ghana. I was just fifteen, and my parents and siblings were a thousand kilometers away. In previous years, when I’d been with them and my village friends, Christmas was always big and memorable. But this Christmas was quiet and lonely. As I lay on my floor mat early Christmas morning, I remembered a local song: The year has ended; Christmas has come; the Son of God is born; peace and joy to everybody. Mournfully, I sang it over and over.

My grandmother came and asked, “What song is that?” My grandparents didn’t know about Christmas—or about Christ. So I shared what I knew about Christmas with them. Those moments brightened my loneliness.

Alone in the fields with only sheep and occasional predators, the shepherd boy David experienced loneliness. It would not be the only time. Later in his life he wrote, “I am lonely and afflicted” (Psalm 25:16). But David didn’t allow loneliness to cause him to be despondent. Instead, he sang: “My hope, Lord, is in you” (v. 21).

From time to time we all face loneliness. Wherever Christmas may find you this year, in loneliness or in companionship, you can enjoy the season with Christ.
By Lawrence Darmani

REFLECT & PRAY With Jesus at Christmas, we’re never alone.

Lord, thank You that with You I’m not alone even in my times of loneliness. This Christmas, help me to enjoy my fellowship with You and to reach out to others.
From: Our Daily Bread

Blessings this holiday season! emoticon

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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12/1/18 6:50 A

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Honoring God with Thanks

Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.
Psalm 50:15

The doctor wasn’t frowning, despite talking to my husband about his recent cancer diagnosis. Smiling, she offered a suggestion: start each day by giving thanks. “For at least three things,” the doctor said. Dan agreed, knowing that gratitude opens our hearts to find encouragement in God’s goodness. Thus, Dan starts each day with words of praise. Thank You, God, for a good night’s sleep. For my clean bed. For sunshine. For breakfast on the table. For a smile on my lips.

Each word is heartfelt. But could it sound trivial? Does our praise in life’s small details matter to Almighty God? In Psalm 50, David’s chief musician, Asaph, offers a clear answer. God has “no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens” (v. 9). Instead of these once-formal Israelite sacrifices of gratitude, God wants His people to give Him our hearts and lives in gratitude (vv. 14, 23).

As my husband experienced, whole-hearted gratitude helps our spirits flourish. Then when we call on the Lord “in the day of trouble,” He will “deliver” us (v. 15). Does this mean Dan will be healed, spiritually and physically, during his two-year treatment? Or not until after this lifetime? We don’t know. But for now, Dan delights in showing God he’s grateful for His love, and for who God is: Redeemer. Healer. Friend. And friends delight to hear these beautiful words: Thank You.

By Patricia Raybon

From: Our Daily Bread


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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11/25/18 6:33 A

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The eye of their God was watching over [them] . . . and they were not stopped.
Ezra 5:5
READ EZRA 5:1–5

When an opportunity came to take on a new role at work, Simon believed it was a godsend. After praying over the decision and seeking counsel, he felt that God was giving him this opportunity to take on bigger responsibilities. Everything fell into place, and his boss supported his move. Then things began to go wrong. Some colleagues resented his promotion and refused to cooperate. He began to wonder if he should give up.

When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem to build the house of God, enemies sought to frighten and discourage them (Ezra 4:4). The Israelites stopped at first, but continued after God encouraged them through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (4:24-5:2).

Once again, enemies came to hassle them. But this time they persevered, knowing “the eye of their God was watching over [them]” (5:5). They held on firmly to God’s instructions and trusted Him to carry them through whatever opposition they’d face. Sure enough, God moved the Persian king to support the temple’s completion (vv. 13-14).

Similarly, Simon sought God’s wisdom to discern whether he should stay or find a new position. Sensing God calling him to remain, he relied on God’s strength to persevere. Over time, he slowly gained his colleagues’ acceptance.

As we seek to follow God, wherever He places us, we may face opposition along the way. That’s when we need to keep following Him. He will guide us and carry us through.
By Leslie Koh

REFLECT & PRAY
Remain strong, for God’s eye is on you.
From: Our Daily Bread.

Blessings on your day. Phylis

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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11/15/18 9:36 A

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Dangerous.

Artist Sigismund Goetze shocked Victorian-era England with a painting entitled “Despised and Rejected of Men.” In it, he portrayed the suffering, condemned Jesus surrounded by people of Goetze’s own generation. They were so consumed by their own interests—business, romance, politics—that they were shockingly oblivious to the Savior’s sacrifice. Indifferent to Christ, the surrounding crowd, like the mob at the foot of Jesus’s cross, had no idea what—or who—they had missed.

In our day as well, believers and unbelievers alike can easily become distracted from the eternal. How can followers of Jesus cut through this fog of distraction with the truth of God’s great love? We can begin by loving one another as fellow children of God. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 nlt).

But real love doesn’t stop there. We extend that love by sharing the gospel in hopes of drawing people to the Savior. As Paul wrote, “We are . . . Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

In this way, the body of Christ can both reflect and project God’s love, the love we so desperately need, to both each other and to our world. May both efforts, empowered by His Spirit, be a part of cutting through the distractions that hinder us from seeing the wonder of God’s love in Jesus.

By Bill Crowder
REFLECT & PRAY
To a world living in the fog of distraction, we bring the light of the good news of Jesus.



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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11/11/18 7:11 A

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Thy father.

He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.
Malachi 4:6
For believers of Christ- death is not the end.

My father was a good father, and, in most respects, I was a dutiful son. But I allowed my father to starve for the one thing I could have given him: myself.

He was a quiet man; I was equally silent. We often worked for hours side-by-side with scarcely a word passing between us. He never asked; I never told him my deepest desires and dreams, my hopes and fears.

In time I woke up to my reticence. Perhaps the perception came when my first son was born, or when, one by one, my sons went out into the world. Now I wish I had been more of a son to my father.

I think of all the things I could have told him. And all the things he could have told me. At his funeral I stood beside his casket, struggling to understand my emotions. “It’s too late, isn’t it?” my wife said quietly. “Exactly.”

My comfort lies in the fact that we’ll be able to set things right in heaven, for is that not where every tear will be wiped away? (Revelation 21:4).

For believers in Jesus, death is not the end of affection but the beginning of timeless existence in which there will be no more misunderstandings; relationships will be healed and love will grow forever. There, the hearts of sons will turn to their fathers and the hearts of fathers to their sons (Malachi 4:6).

By David H. Roper:
REFLECT & PRAY
In God’s power and love, draw closer to others while there’s time.

Father, thank You for forgiving me and allowing me to experience a restored relationship with You. Help me to seek reconciliation in my broken relationships and deeper connections with others close to me even as I await the healing that will come in Your presence.



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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11/7/18 7:38 A

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Compassion...

Anne Frank is well known for her diary describing her family’s years of hiding during World War II. When she was later imprisoned in a Nazi death camp, those with her said “her tears [for them] never ran dry,” making her “a blessed presence for all who knew her.” Because of this, scholar Kenneth Bailey concluded that Anne never displayed “compassion fatigue.”

Compassion fatigue can be one of the results of living in a badly broken world. The sheer volume of human suffering can numb even the best intentioned among us. Compassion fatigue, however, was not in Jesus’s makeup. Matthew 9:35-36 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Our world suffers not only from physical needs but also from spiritual brokenness. Jesus came to meet that need and challenged His followers to join Him in this work (vv. 37-38). He prayed that the Father would raise up workers to respond to the needs all around us—people who struggle with loneliness, sin, and illness. May the Father give us a heart for others that mirrors His heart. In the strength of His Spirit, we can express His compassionate concern to those who are suffering.
By Bill Crowder

REFLECT & PRAY
In a world filled with heartache, we can model the compassion of Jesus.

Be blessed.



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/30/18 8:18 A

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Agreeing to Disagree

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace. Romans 14:19

I remember hearing my dad talk about how difficult it was to walk away from unending arguments over differing interpretations of the Bible. By contrast he recalled how good it was when both sides agreed to disagree.

But is it really possible to set aside irreconcilable differences when so much seems to be at stake? That’s one of the questions the apostle Paul answers in his New Testament letter to the Romans. Writing to readers caught in social, political, and religious conflict, he suggests ways of finding common ground even under the most polarized conditions (14:5-6).

According to Paul, the way to agree to disagree is to recall that each of us will answer to the Lord not only for our opinions but also for how we treat one another in our differences (v. 10).

Conditions of conflict can actually become occasions to remember that there are some things more important than our own ideas—even more than our interpretations of the Bible. All of us will answer for whether we have loved one another, and even our enemies, as Christ loved us.

Now that I think of it, I remember that my dad used to talk about how good it is not just to agree to disagree but to do so with mutual love and respect.

By Mart DeHaan

REFLECT & PRAY We can agree to disagree—in love.

Father, please enable us to be patient and kind with those who don’t agree with us about anything or everything.

From: Our Daily Bread.

Be blessed today.




"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/23/18 6:49 A

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From: Our Daily Bread
I have a beautiful autumn photograph of a young man on horseback in the Colorado mountains as he contemplates which trail ahead to follow. It reminds me of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” In it, Frost ponders two pathways that lie before him. Both are equally inviting, but he doubts he will return to this place again, and he must choose one. Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the Lord told His listeners, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (7:13-14).

On our journey through life, we face many choices about which road to travel. Many pathways seem promising and attractive but only one is the pathway of life. Jesus calls us to travel the road of discipleship and obedience to God’s Word—to follow Him instead of the crowd.

As we ponder the road ahead, may God give us wisdom and courage to follow His way—the road of life. It will make all the difference for us and those we love!
By David C. McCasland

REFLECT & PRAY
Choose to walk the road of life with Jesus.
Lord, as we go through this day, give us eyes to see the narrow road that leads to life and the courage to follow it.

Blessings on your day. Phylis


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/20/18 6:36 A

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God is always with us!

Fear can leave us frozen. We know all the reasons to be afraid—everything that’s hurt us in the past, everything that could easily do so again. So sometimes we’re stuck—unable to go back; too afraid to move forward. I just can’t do it. I’m not smart enough, strong enough, or brave enough to handle being hurt like that again.

I’m captivated by how author Frederick Buechner describes God’s grace: like a gentle voice that says, “Here is the world. Terrible and beautiful things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you.”

Terrible things will happen. In our world, hurting people hurt other people, often terribly. Like the psalmist David, we carry our own stories of when evil surrounded us, when, like “ravenous beasts,” others wounded us (Psalm 57:4). And so we grieve; we cry out (vv. 1-2).

But because God is with us, beautiful things can happen too. As we run to Him with our hurts and fears, we find ourselves carried by a love far greater than anyone’s power to harm us (vv. 1-3), a love so deep it fills the skies (v. 10). Even when disaster rages around us, His love is a solid refuge where our hearts find healing (vv. 1, 7). Until one day we’ll find ourselves awakening to renewed courage, ready to greet the day with a song of His faithfulness (vv. 8-10).
By Monica Brands

REFLECT & PRAY
God’s love and beauty make us brave.
Healer and Redeemer, thank You for holding us and healing us with Your endless love. Help us find in Your love the courage to follow You and share Your love with those around us.
This was from: Our Daily Bread

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Ps 16:8
Amen.



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/17/18 7:00 A

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Safe in His Arms
He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.
Isaiah 40:11

Message from: Our Daily Bread
The weather outside was threatening, and the alert on my cell phone warned about the possibility of flash floods. An unusual number of cars were parked in my neighborhood as parents and others gathered to pick up children at the school bus drop-off point. By the time the bus arrived, it had started to rain. That’s when I observed a woman exit her car and retrieve an umbrella from the trunk. She walked towards a little girl and made sure the child was shielded from the rain until they returned to the vehicle. What a beautiful “real time” picture of parental, protective care that reminded me of the care of our heavenly Father.

The prophet Isaiah forecast punishment for disobedience followed by brighter days for God’s people (Isaiah 40:1-8). The heavenly dispatch from the mountain (v. 9) assured the Israelites of God’s mighty presence and tender care. The good news, then and now, is that because of God’s power and ruling authority, anxious hearts need not fear (vv. 9-10). Included in the announcement was news about the Lord’s protection, the kind of protection shepherds provide (v. 11): vulnerable young sheep would find safety in the Shepherd’s arms; nursing ewes would be led gently.

In a world where circumstances aren’t always easy, such images of safety and care compel us to look confidently to the Lord. Those who trust wholeheartedly in the Lord find security and renewed strength in Him (v. 31).
By Arthur Jackson

REFLECT & PRAY
The good news is that God cares for us!

Father, in a world where we are sometimes threatened, we are comforted because of Your gracious care for us—in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praising Him.



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/11/18 7:15 A

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A message of insight from: Our Daily Bread

Although the Scriptures don’t contain every story about Jesus (in fact John twice admits that he has only recorded a portion of Jesus’s life and ministry—see John 20:30 and 21:25), we have the significant parts. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have the whole story of Jesus that is necessary for our salvation.

But what about those things that aren’t written down in John’s gospel? There have been attempts to fill the holes. Should John’s admission that “Jesus performed many other miraculous signs” (20:30) make us insecure? Should we try to “fill in the blanks”? Not at all. When John first tells us that what he recorded is only a part of Jesus’s story, he gives us full confidence that what we have is enough: “These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31).

How can you thank God today that His story is even bigger than we know?

For more on who Jesus is, see Life of Christ at christianuniversity.org/NT111. J.R. Hudberg


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/8/18 7:46 A

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Shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.
Philippians 2:15-16

From: Our Daily Bread

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is an English lullaby. Its lyrics, originally a poem by Jane Taylor, capture the wonder of God’s universe where stars hang “up above the world so high.” In the rarely published later stanzas, the star acts as a guide: “As your bright and tiny spark lights the traveler in the dark.”

In Philippians, Paul challenges believers in Philippi to be blameless and pure as they “shine . . . like stars in the sky” while offering the good news of the gospel to all around them (2:15-16). We wonder how we can shine like stars. We often feel inadequate and struggle to think our “light” is bright enough to make a difference. But stars don’t try to be stars. They just are. Light changes our world. And it changes us. God brought physical light into our world (Genesis 1:3); and through Jesus, God brings spiritual light into our lives (John 1:1-4).

We who have God’s light in us are to shine in such a way that those around us see light and are drawn to its source. As effortlessly as a star hanging in the night sky, our light makes a difference because of what it is: Light! When we simply shine, we follow Paul’s directive to “hold firmly to the word of life” in a world in deep darkness, and we draw others to the source of our hope: Jesus.
By Elisa Morgan

Jesus brings light into our life.

Dear God, may Your light shine out of the very cracks of our beings as we hold out the Word of life to others.


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/6/18 9:00 A

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O soul, are you weary from wave upon wave
Of grief and affliction whom no man can save?
Has sickness surrounded, or unending night?
Uncertainty stolen your joy and your might?

O doubting, o fearful– remember His care,
The helpless and hopeless need never despair
For from your afflictions His glory shall spring–
The deeper your sorrow, the louder you'll sing!
Remember Your Father– His promise, His love:

"I'll never forsake you, this pain will not break you,
For I will remake you for unending joy;
My promise is faithful though now it is painful;
No power can trample My covenant love."

Remember your Savior– His grief and His pain,
The lonely affliction, unmerited shame.
Though you had betrayed Him, He died in your place;
The joy set before Him He offers by grace.
Remember Your Father– His promise, His love:

"I'll never forsake you, this pain will not break you,
For I will remake you for unending joy;
My promise is faithful though now it is painful;
No power can trample My covenant love."

"I'll never forsake you, this pain will not break you,
For I will remake you for unending joy;
My promise is faithful though now it is painful;
No power can trample My covenant love."

Remember Your Father– His promise, His love.

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"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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10/1/18 9:49 A

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This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel.
Ephesians 3:6

When I came home from work one day and saw a pair of lady’s high-heel shoes next to the driveway, I was sure I knew whose they were. So I put them in the garage to give to my daughter Lisa when she returned to the house to pick up her children. But when I checked with Lisa, I found they didn’t belong to her. In fact, no one in our family claimed them, so I put them back where I’d found them. The next day, they were gone. Mysterious.

Did you know that the apostle Paul wrote of a mystery in his letters? But the mystery he described was so much more than some kind of “whodunit.” In Ephesians 3, for example, Paul spoke of a mystery that “was not made known to people in other generations” (v. 5). This mystery is that, while in the past God revealed Himself through Israel, now, through Jesus, Gentiles—those outside of Israel—could be “heirs together with Israel” (v. 6).

Think about what this means: all who trust Jesus as Savior can love and serve God together. We can all equally “approach [Him] with freedom and confidence” (v. 12). And through the church’s unity the world will see God’s wisdom and goodness (v. 10).

Praise God for our salvation. It unlocks for us the mystery of unity as people of any and all backgrounds become one in Jesus.
By Dave Branon

REFLECT & PRAY
Unity in Christ breaks down barriers and builds the church.

Thank You, Jesus, for the unity all believers can enjoy in You. Help us to serve together as equal members of Your body.
Be blessed !!!



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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9/25/18 6:24 A

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Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

“We’re going this way,” I said as I touched my son’s shoulder and redirected him through the crowd to follow his mom and sisters in front of us. I’d done this more often as the day wore on at the amusement park our family was visiting. He was getting tired and more easily distracted. Why can’t he just follow them? I wondered.

Then it hit me: How often do I do exactly the same thing? How often do I veer from obediently walking with God, enchanted by the temptations to pursue what I want instead of seeking His ways?

Think of Isaiah’s words from God for Israel: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ ” (Isaiah 30:21). Earlier in that chapter, God had rebuked His people for their rebelliousness. But if they would trust His strength instead of their own ways (v. 15), He promised to show His graciousness and compassion (v. 18).

One expression of God’s graciousness is His promise to guide us by His Spirit. That happens as we talk to Him about our desires and ask in prayer what He has for us. I’m thankful God patiently directs us, day-by-day, step-by-step, as we trust Him and listen for His voice.
By Adam Holz

In today’s passage, a resurgent militant Assyria threatened to conquer all of Israel. But instead of trusting God to deliver them, Judah turned to Egypt for help. God had explicitly prohibited Israelite kings from trusting in anything other than God for deliverance (Deuteronomy 17:16). Isaiah warned that it’s futile to trust Egypt instead of the Lord (Isaiah 30:1-19; 31:1). The psalmist also warned of the futility of putting our trust in something other than God: “No king is saved by the size of his army . . . . A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save” (Psalm 33:16-17).

When have you placed your trust in something other than God? K. T. Sim



Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 9/25/2018 (06:25)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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9/22/18 6:23 A

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The 2010 movie The King’s Speech tells the story of England’s King George VI, who unexpectedly became monarch when his brother abandoned the throne. With the country on the brink of World War II, government officials wanted a well-spoken leader because of the increasingly influential role of radio. King George VI, however, struggled with a stuttering problem.

I was especially drawn to the film’s portrayal of George’s wife, Elizabeth. Throughout his struggle to overcome his speech difficulty, she was his constant source of encouragement. Her steadfast devotion provided the support he needed to overcome his challenge and rule well during the war.

The Bible highlights the stories of encouragers who gave powerful assistance during challenging circumstances. Moses had Aaron and Hur’s support during Israel’s battles (Exodus 17:8-16). Elizabeth encouraged her pregnant relative Mary (Luke 1:42-45).

After his conversion, Paul needed the support of Barnabas, whose name literally means “son of encouragement.” When the disciples were fearful of Paul, Barnabas, at the risk of his own reputation, vouched for him (Acts 9:27). His endorsement was essential to Paul being welcomed by the Christian community. Barnabas later served as Paul’s traveling and preaching companion (Acts 14). Despite the dangers, they worked together to proclaim the gospel.

Believers in Jesus are still called to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). May we be eager to offer encouragement to help support others, especially as they face difficult circumstances.
By Lisa Samra

REFLECT & PRAY
The encouragement of a friend can make all the difference.

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King James Bible
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
1Thes. 5:11



"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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9/17/18 6:26 A

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A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, THIS PAGE IS TO HONOR GOD THE FATHER , JESUS, AND HOLY SPIRIT. BROKN MAN CAN'T FAX BROKN MAN, BUT JESUS CAN. {Free bible study at {www.lisbonfreebaptist.org}


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9/17/18 4:32 A

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Message from: Spark member ANHELIC.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
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Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 9/17/2018 (04:33)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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9/16/18 5:57 A

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If you’re looking for something that’s one-hundred percent good for you all the time, can I recommend the Word of God? Listen to what it can do for the follower of Jesus who is seeking to build a relationship with God.

• It can keep you pure (Psalm 119:9, 11).

• It blesses you (Luke 11:28).

• It makes you wise (Matthew 7:24).

• It gives light and understanding (Psalm 119:130).

• It helps you grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2).

Our God is good: “The Lord is good to all,” says Psalm 145:9. And in His goodness, He’s provided those who love Him with a guide that helps us see how to enhance our relationship with Him. As we try to decide how to live in a world full of choices, praise God that He’s told us in Scripture what’s good for us. Let’s say with the psalm-writer: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103).

By Dave Branon

Praises to HIM. Peace and Joy and God's Blessings- Phylis


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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9/9/18 9:26 A

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It is very dangerous to go into eternity with possibilities which one has oneself prevented from becoming realities. A possibility is a hint from God.

Soren Kierkegaard

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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8/16/18 6:19 A

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From: Our Daily Bread

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.—John 6:35

Riding along with my husband on some errands, I scrolled through emails on my phone and was surprised at an incoming advertisement for a local donut shop, a shop we had just passed on the right side of the street. Suddenly my stomach growled with hunger. I marveled at how technology allows vendors to woo us into their establishments.

As I clicked off my email, I mused over God’s constant yearning to draw me closer. He always knows where I am and longs to influence my choices. I wondered, Does my heart growl in desire for Him the way my stomach did over the idea of a donut?

In John 6, following the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, the disciples eagerly ask Jesus to always give them “the bread that . . . gives life to the world” (vv. 33-34). Jesus responds in verse 35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” How amazing that a relationship with Jesus can provide constant nourishment in our everyday lives!

The donut shop’s advertisement targeted my body’s craving, but God’s continuous knowledge of my heart’s condition invites me to recognize my ongoing need for Him and to receive the sustenance only He can provide. —Elisa Morgan

Dear God, remind me of my need for Your daily bread of presence.

Jesus alone offers the only bread that truly satisfies.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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8/14/18 6:12 A

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Blog from a fellow Sparker! Inspirational!

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https://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.as
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Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 8/14/2018 (06:12)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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8/10/18 7:45 A

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The parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7) is the first in a series of parables about lost things. It’s followed by the parable of the lost coin (vv. 8-10) and the parable of the lost son, better known as the prodigal son (vv. 11-32).

Although each of the parables is about something lost, there’s also something in each that isn’t lost—the sheep safe in the pen, the remaining coins, and the elder son at home. Yet the shepherd, the woman, and the father are not content with what they have; their concern is for that which is lost.

Is someone in your life lost and waiting to be found by the Savior? Whom can you trust to God’s loving and searching ways? J.R. Hudberg

Luke 15: 1Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
3And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Praise HIM


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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8/4/18 4:26 A

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From Our Daily Bread.

The elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.—3 John 1
What the apostle John did for his friend Gaius in the first century is a dying art in the twenty-first century. John wrote him a letter.

One writer for the New York Times, Catherine Field, said, “Letter-writing is among our most ancient of arts. Think of letters and the mind falls on Paul of Tarsus,” for example. And we can add the apostle John.

In his letter to Gaius, John included hopes for good health of body and soul, an encouraging word about Gaius’s faithfulness, and a note about his love for the church. John also spoke of a problem in the church, which he promised to address individually later. And he wrote of the value of doing good things for God’s glory. All in all, it was an encouraging and challenging letter to his friend.

Digital communication may mean letter-writing on paper is fading away, but this shouldn’t stop us from encouraging others. Paul wrote letters of encouragement on parchment; we can encourage others in a variety of ways. The key is not the way we encourage others, but that we take a moment to let others know we care for them in Jesus’s name!

Think of the encouragement Gaius experienced when he opened John’s letter. Could we similarly shine God’s love on our friends with a thoughtful note or an uplifting call? —Dave Branon

Lord, help us know how to encourage others who need a spiritual boost from us.

Encouraging words bring hope to the human spirit.

Inspire someone today-

Fighter: Jamie Grace

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"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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8/2/18 6:58 A

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From: Our Daily Bread

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.—Nehemiah 6:15
We gathered monthly to hold one another accountable to our individual goals. My friend Mary wanted to reupholster the seats of her dining room chairs before the year’s end. At our November meeting she wittily reported her progress from October: “It took ten months and two hours to recover my chairs.” After months of not being able to obtain the materials required, or find the quiet hours away from her demanding job and her toddler’s needs, the project took merely two hours of committed work to finish.

The Lord called Nehemiah to a far greater project: to bring restoration to Jerusalem after its walls had lain in ruin for 150 years (Nehemiah 2:3-5, 12). As he led the people in the labor, they experienced mockery, attacks, distraction, and temptation to sin (4:3, 8; 6:10-12). Yet God equipped them to stand firm—resolute in their efforts—completing a daunting task in just fifty-two days.

Overcoming such challenges requires much more than a personal desire or goal; Nehemiah was driven by an understanding that God appointed him to the task. His sense of purpose invigorated the people to follow his leadership despite incredible opposition. When God charges us with a task—whether to repair a relationship or share what He’s done in our lives—He gives us whatever skills and strength are necessary to continue in our effort to do what He’s asked, no matter what challenges come our way. —Kirsten Holmberg

Lord, please equip me with Your strength to persevere and finish the tasks You’ve given me. May my labors bring You glory.

God equips us to overcome obstacles and complete the tasks He’s given us to do.

Amen.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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8/1/18 9:45 A

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From: Our Daily Bread

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.—Psalm 145:9

A wise friend advised me to avoid using the words “you always” or “you never” in an argument—especially with my family. How easy it is to criticize others around us and to feel unloving toward those we love. But there is never any variation in God’s enduring love for us all.

Psalm 145 overflows with the word all. “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made” (v. 9). “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” (vv. 13-14). “The Lord watches over all who love him” (v. 20).

A dozen times in this psalm we are reminded that God’s love is without limit and favoritism. And the New Testament reveals that the greatest expression of it is seen in Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Psalm 145 declares that “the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them” (vv. 18-19).

God’s love for us always endures, and it never fails! —David C. McCasland

Father in heaven, we are awed by Your love for us that never changes, never fails, and never ends. We praise You for demonstrating Your limitless love for us through Jesus our Savior and Lord.

There is never any variation in God’s enduring love for us all.

INSIGHT: The book of Psalms, also referred to as the Hebrew Hymnbook, is a collection of 150 songs that were sung by God’s people at various times as part of their worship. Psalm 145 is the last psalm in the final collection of songs penned by David (Psalms 138-145). David proclaims God as the Sovereign King (vv. 1-3, 10-13), exalting His glorious majesty (v. 5) and generous benevolence (v. 7) to all His creation. God’s greatness and goodness is manifested in His mighty acts, wonderful and awesome works, and great deeds (vv. 4-6).

How have you experienced God’s enduring love?


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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7/29/18 3:00 P

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We had a memorial for a very dear ole' friend today.... emoticon
She is with the Lord.

From: Our Daily Bread
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.—Luke 24:31
When I was nineteen, one of my close friends was killed in a car accident. In the following weeks and months, I walked each day in a tunnel of grief. The pain of losing someone so young and wonderful clouded my vision, and at times I even felt unaware of what was going on around me. I felt so blinded by pain and grief that I simply could not see God.

In Luke 24, two disciples, confused and brokenhearted after Jesus’s death, didn’t realize they were walking with their resurrected Teacher Himself, even as He explained from Scripture why the promised Savior had to die and rise again. Only when He took bread and broke it was it revealed that this was Jesus (vv. 30-31). Although the followers of Jesus had faced death in all its horror when Jesus died, through His resurrection from the dead God showed them how to hope again.

Like those disciples, we might feel weighed down with confusion or grief. But we can find hope and comfort in the reality that Jesus is alive and at work in the world—and in us. Although we still face heartache and pain, we can welcome Christ to walk with us in our tunnel of grief. As the Light of the world (John 8:12), He can bring rays of hope to brighten our fog. —Amy Boucher Pye

Lord God, thank You for being the light in the darkness. Bring hope when I’m sad and confused, and help me to see Your glory.

Though we grieve, we have hope in Jesus.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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7/24/18 7:32 A

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From: Our Daily Bread

[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:39

My coworker Tom keeps an 8" by 12" glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything “through the cross.” The glass cross is a constant reminder of God’s love and good purposes for him.

That’s a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It’s much easier to focus on our problems than on God’s love.

The apostle Paul’s life was certainly an example of having a cross-shaped perspective. He described himself in times of suffering as being “persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). He believed that in the hard times, God is at work, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (vv. 17–18).

To “fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen” doesn’t mean we minimize the problems. Paul Barnett, in his commentary on this passage, explains, “There is to be confidence, based on the certainty of God’s purposes for [us] . . . . On the other hand, there is the sober recognition that we groan with hope mingled with pain.”

Jesus gave His life for us. His love is deep and sacrificial. As we look at life “through the cross,” we see His love and faithfulness. And our trust in Him grows. —Anne Cetas

Father, teach us who You are. Increase our trust in You. Fill our minds with Your perspective.

Look at everything through the cross.
INSIGHT: Through the cross we see God’s loving payment for our sin. But it teaches us more. Jesus’s suffering also exposed the nature and cruelty of our sin against Him and against humanity. He endured the worst we could do to Him to expose Satan’s lie that our Creator isn’t as good as He says He is. He even suffered unimaginable wrongs to show us how to love those who hurt us.

What else does God want to teach us about cross-shaped love and what it can do in us and for others? Mart DeHaan

What a wonderful message for today as we venture into our day- try to look through the Cross of Jesus ……… Phylis


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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7/21/18 6:04 A

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From: Our Daily Bread

I am going there to prepare a place for you.—John 14:2

“Why do we have to leave our home and move?” my son asked. It’s difficult to explain what a home is, especially to a five-year-old. We were leaving a house, but not our home, in the sense that home is where our loved ones are. It’s the place where we long to return after a long trip or after a full day’s work.

When Jesus was in the upper room just hours before He died, He told His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). The disciples were uncertain of their future because Jesus had predicted His death. But Jesus reassured them of His presence and reminded them they would see Him again. He told them, “My Father’s house has many rooms . . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you” (v. 2). He could have used other words to describe heaven. However, He chose words that describe not an uncomfortable or unfamiliar place but a place where Jesus, our loved One, would be.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” We can thank God for the “pleasant inns” in life, but let’s remember that our real home is in heaven where we “will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). —Keila Ochoa

Dear Lord, I thank You for heaven, my eternal home.

Read more about the life to come at discoveryseries.org/q1205.

We look forward to being with the Lord forever.
Blessings on your weekend. Phylis

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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7/10/18 10:47 A

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Be still. From: Our Daily Bread

I have calmed and quieted myself.—Psalm 131:2

Picture a parent poised lovingly over a child, finger gently placed in front of nose and lips softly speaking the words—“hush,” “shhhh.” The demeanor and simple words are meant to comfort and quiet anxious little ones in the midst of disappointment, discomfort, or pain. Scenes like this are universal and timeless and most of us have been on the giving or receiving end of such loving expressions. When I ponder Psalm 131:2, this is the picture that comes to mind.

The language and flow of this psalm suggest that the writer, David, had experienced something that provoked serious reflection. Have you experienced a disappointment, defeat, or failure that prompted thoughtful, reflective prayer? What do you do when you are humbled by life’s circumstances? When you fail a test or lose a job or experience the end of a relationship? David poured out his heart to the Lord and in the process did a bit of honest soul-searching and inventory (Psalm 131:1). In making peace with his circumstances, he found contentment like that of a young child who was satisfied with simply being with his or her mother (v. 2).

Life’s circumstances change and sometimes we are humbled. Yet we can be hopeful and content knowing that there is One who has promised to never leave or forsake us. We can trust Him fully. —Arthur Jackson

Father, when things change in my life, help me not to be anxious but to trust You and find contentment in You alone.

Read more: Cultivating a Heart of Contentment at discoveryseries.org/hp052.

Contentment is found in Christ alone.
INSIGHT: The theme of Psalm 131 is rest or spiritual contentment. Verse 2 says, “I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” This idea of rest connects to the preceding song (Psalm 130) whose theme is forgiveness. Psalm 130:4 affirms, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” It is forgiveness that gives us true, lasting rest because it brings us into relationship with the God who made us.

This was voiced beautifully by the church father Augustine who said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Bill Crowder


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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7/5/18 8:16 A

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From Our Daily Bread:

The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.—Psalm 104:12

On a recent visit with some of our grandchildren, we enjoyed watching a web cam that focused on an eagle family in Florida. Every day we would check in on the mom, the dad, and the baby as they went about their daily routine in their nest high off the ground. Each day the parent birds would keep a constant, protective vigil over the eaglet, bringing it fish from a nearby river for nourishment.

This little eagle family depicts for us one image the psalmist gave us of God’s magnificent creation in Psalm 104—an array of creation images, of scenes from the work of God’s creative hand.

We see the majesty of God’s creation as it relates to the universe (vv. 2-4).

We experience the creation of the earth itself—waters, mountains, valleys (vv. 5-9).

We enjoy the glory of God’s gift of animals, birds, and crops (vv. 10-18).

We marvel at the cycles God created in our world—morning/night, darkness/light, work/rest (vv. 19-23).

What a glorious world God has fashioned with His hands for our enjoyment—and for His glory! “Praise the Lord, my soul!” (v. 1). Each one of us can say thank You to God for all He has given us to appreciate and enjoy. —Dave Branon

Praise God! Praise You, Lord, for the wonder of the earth You created.


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/30/18 10:47 A

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Thank you, Phylis.
Amen

Donna
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Focus....Eat right & keep moving!!
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6/30/18 9:54 A

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I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.—2 John 1:5

Message from: Our Daily Bread

My children and I have started a new daily practice. Every night at bedtime, we gather colored pencils and light a candle. Asking God to light our way, we get out our journals and draw or write answers to two questions: When did I show love today? and When did I withhold love today?

Loving our neighbors has been an important part of the Christian life “from the beginning” (2 John 1:5). That’s what John writes in his second letter to his congregation, asking them to love one another in obedience to God (2 John 1:5-6). Love is one of John’s favorite topics throughout his letters. He says that practicing real love is one way to know that we “belong to the truth,” that we’re living in God’s presence (1 John 3:18-19). When my kids and I reflect, we find that in our lives love takes shape in simple actions: sharing an umbrella, encouraging someone who is sad, or cooking a favorite meal. The moments when we’re withholding love are equally practical: we gossip, refuse to share, or satisfy our own desires without thinking of others’ needs.

Paying attention each night helps us be more aware each day, more tuned in to what the Spirit might be showing us as we walk through our lives. With the Spirit’s help, we’re learning to walk in love (2 John 1:6). —Amy Peterson

Lord, let us not love just in words, but in actions and in truth. Teach us to be obedient to Your call to love.

How can I show love today?

INSIGHT: Love is a prominent theme in the apostle John’s writings. In today’s reading (2 John 1:1-6) John writes: “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (v. 4). Just as caring parents delight in the development of the gifts and character of their children, John had a father’s pride in those who walked in love. It is interesting to contemplate what John means by “walk in love” (v. 6). The Greek word translated “walk” can also mean a consistency one exhibits in speech, attitudes, and behavior. It’s clear that we’re being told to make sure the words we say, the attitudes we have toward others, and our general behavior be characterized by sensitivity and generosity. Of course, the ultimate example of love is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (1 John 4:10). We love others because Christ first loved us. Dennis Fisher


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/27/18 6:07 A

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"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/26/18 4:21 P

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Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

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Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

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6/25/18 8:22 A

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[Make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.—Ephesians 5:16

From Our Daily Bread

Moses prayed in Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (v. 12). And Paul wrote, “Be very careful, then, how you live . . . making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

I suspect that Paul and Moses would agree that our wise use of time isn’t just a matter of clock-watching. The situation may call for us to keep a tight schedule—or it may compel us to give someone an extended gift of our time.

We have but a brief moment to make a difference for Christ in our world, and we need to maximize that opportunity. That may mean ignoring our watches and planners for a while as we show Christ’s patient love to those He brings into our lives.

As we live in the strength and grace of the timeless Christ, we impact our time for eternity. —Bill Crowder

Father, You have given us all the time we need to accomplish what You have given us to do. May we use our time in ways that honor You.


Time management is not about clock-watching, it’s about making the most of the time we have.


INSIGHT: Psalm 90 is a worshipful conversation Moses has with God. The superscription reads, “A prayer of Moses, the man of God.” But even if we weren’t alerted that this psalm is a prayer, the language and tone clearly indicate the psalmist was talking to God. This prayer was spoken during a rough period in Israel’s history. It appears the people of God had experienced discipline (vv. 7-11, 15), which prompted Moses to talk to God about the brevity and fragility of human life in view of God’s eternal nature (vv. 1-6). The psalm includes many references to time, such as “generations” (v. 1), “years” (vv. 4, 9, 10, 15), “day(s)” (vv. 4, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15), “morning” and “evening” (v. 6).

Indeed, tough times can compel us to talk to the Lord about our brief time on earth and appeal to Him for His help (vv. 12-17). They can also cause us to ask who may need the gift of our time. Arthur Jackson

Time management-- use it wisely. Phylis

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/23/18 4:02 P

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Amen

A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, THIS PAGE IS TO HONOR GOD THE FATHER , JESUS, AND HOLY SPIRIT. BROKN MAN CAN'T FAX BROKN MAN, BUT JESUS CAN. {Free bible study at {www.lisbonfreebaptist.org}


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6/23/18 2:51 P

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Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


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6/23/18 11:08 A

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A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, THIS PAGE IS TO HONOR GOD THE FATHER , JESUS, AND HOLY SPIRIT. BROKN MAN CAN'T FAX BROKN MAN, BUT JESUS CAN. {Free bible study at {www.lisbonfreebaptist.org}


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6/23/18 10:51 A

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Leaning on YOU.

From: Our Daily Bread

The Lord who made you and helps you says: “Do not be afraid . . . my chosen one.”—Isaiah 44:2

I’d been out late the night before, just as I was every Saturday night. Just twenty years old, I was running from God as fast as I could. But suddenly, strangely, I felt compelled to attend the church my dad pastored. I put on my faded jeans, well-worn T-shirt, and unlaced high-tops and drove across town.

I don’t recall the sermon Dad preached that day, but I can’t forget how delighted he was to see me. With his arm over my shoulder, he introduced me to everyone he saw. “This is my son!” he proudly declared. His joy became a picture of God’s love that has stuck with me all these decades.

The imagery of God as loving Father occurs throughout the Bible. In Isaiah 44, the prophet interrupts a series of warnings to proclaim God’s message of family love. “Dear Israel, my chosen one,” he said. “I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children” (vv. 2-3 nlt). Isaiah noted how the response of those descendants would demonstrate family pride. “Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord,’” he wrote. “Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands” (v. 5 nlt).

Wayward Israel belonged to God, just as I belonged to my adoptive father. Nothing I could do would ever make him lose his love for me. He gave me a glimpse of our heavenly Father’s love for us. —Tim Gustafson

Heavenly Father, we all come from families that are broken in one way or another. Thank You for loving us in that brokenness and for showing us what real love looks like.

God’s love for us offers us the sense of belonging and identity we all crave.

INSIGHT: In addition to the imagery found in Isaiah 44, we see other examples in Scripture of God as our Father. In the Old Testament, God is called the Father of Israel, not on a personal basis but as a nation. When God delivered the nation from slavery in Egypt, God declared that Israel is His “firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22). Moses reminded the Jews about to enter the Promised Land that Yahweh the Lord is their Father (Deuteronomy 32:6). God Himself said He is “Israel’s father” (Jeremiah 31:9). Because of their sins, Isaiah warned that the nation would go into exile (Isaiah 5:13). Then crying to Yahweh to restore them to the Promised Land, the Israelites said, “Surely you are still our Father!” (63:16 nlt).

In the New Testament, the Christian faith is a love relationship couched in the most basic of all human relationships—a father and child. Those who believe in Jesus are called children of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1). The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-31 is a picture of our loving and forgiving heavenly Father welcoming His wayward children into His arms.

Indeed He is “still our Father!” Have you come home to your Father? K. T. Sim

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"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/22/18 11:41 A

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6/22/18 6:00 A

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Salvation-- Worth it all.
From: Our Daily Bread

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.—Philippians 3:8

I’ll never forget the time I had the privilege of sitting next to Billy Graham at a dinner. I was honored but also somewhat nervous about what would be appropriate to say. I thought it would be an interesting conversation starter to ask what he loved most about his years of ministry. Then I awkwardly started to suggest possible answers. Was it knowing presidents, kings, and queens? Or preaching the gospel to millions of people around the world?

Before I had finished offering suggestions, Rev. Graham stopped me. Without hesitation he said, “It has been my fellowship with Jesus. To sense His presence, to glean His wisdom, to have Him guide and direct me—that has been my greatest joy.” I was instantly convicted and challenged. Convicted because I’m not sure that his answer would have been my answer, and challenged because I wanted it to be.

That’s what Paul had in mind when he counted his greatest achievements to be of no worth compared to the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Think of how rich life would be if Jesus and our fellowship with Him was our highest pursuit. —Joe Stowell

Lord, forgive me for chasing after things that matter far less than my fellowship with You. Thank You that You stand ready to enrich my life with Your presence and power.

To remain faithful where God has placed you, give Christ first place in your heart.


INSIGHT: The apostle Paul’s passion to know Christ and to make Him known to others should guide our lives as well. In Philippians 3:1-14, we see how growing in our knowledge of Christ is mixed with both joy and pain: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (v. 10). Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). As we grow in our relationship with Christ we can expect both joy and suffering.

How has both joy and suffering deepened your fellowship with Christ? Dennis Fisher


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/19/18 10:23 A

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6/19/18 10:21 A

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Do not judge, or you too will be judged.—Matthew 7:1
From Our Daily Bread.

I’ve been quick to judge anyone I saw walking in the street while staring at a phone. How could they be so oblivious to the cars about to hit them? I’ve told myself. Don’t they care about their own safety? But one day, while crossing the entrance to an alleyway, I was so engrossed in a text message, that I missed seeing a car at my left. Thankfully, the driver saw me and came to an abrupt stop. But I felt ashamed. All of my self-righteous finger-pointing came back to haunt me. I had judged others, only to do the same thing myself.

My hypocrisy is the kind of thinking that Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount: “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). I had a huge “plank”—a blind spot through which I judged others with my own impaired judgment.

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,” Jesus also said (7:2). Recalling the disgusted look on the driver’s face that day, after having to make an abrupt stop when I walked in front of the car, I’m reminded of the disgusted looks I gave others engrossed in their phones.

None of us is perfect. But sometimes I forget that in my haste to judge others. We’re all in need of God’s grace. —Linda Washington

Heavenly Father, please help me be quicker to console or encourage, and slower to judge someone else.

Be slow to judge others.


INSIGHT: In today’s reading we see our Lord’s condemnation of a judgmental attitude. It’s remarkable how we can have a perfectionistic attitude toward others yet ignore the glaring faults we possess. The Pharisees of Jesus day were scathing in their attack on the sins of others while seemingly unaware of their own faults. In seeing the pretense of these hypocrites, Jesus gave a series of rebukes such as: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:25-26).

The Greek word hypocrite means “he that wears the mask” and was used of actors in plays. The private lives of hypocrites do not match the image they project for public view. The Christian walk should lead to greater integrity and transparency. To avoid hypocrisy, it’s essential that we confess our sin and rely on the Spirit to help us live holy lives (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 1:9).

In what ways can you become more gracious in your response to the behavior of others? Dennis Fisher


Good advice, when you point your finger at someone else- there are fingers pointing back at you!!! Phylis

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/18/18 9:47 A

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God sees Jesus, not us we are in Jesus, if we are been saved we are under the blood.

A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, THIS PAGE IS TO HONOR GOD THE FATHER , JESUS, AND HOLY SPIRIT. BROKN MAN CAN'T FAX BROKN MAN, BUT JESUS CAN. {Free bible study at {www.lisbonfreebaptist.org}


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6/18/18 8:25 A

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He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6


I got myself into this mess, so I’d better get myself out, I sometimes find myself thinking. Although I believe in a God of grace, I’m still prone to act as if His help is available only when I deserve it.

God’s first encounter with Jacob is a beautiful illustration of how untrue this is.

Jacob had spent a lifetime trying to alter his destiny. He’d been born second at a time when firstborn sons typically received their father’s blessing—believed to guarantee future prosperity.

So Jacob decided to do whatever it would take to get his father’s blessing anyway. Eventually, he succeeded—through deceit—obtaining the blessing intended for his brother (Genesis 27:19-29).

But the price was a divided family, as Jacob fled from his furious brother (vv. 41-43). As night descended (28:11), Jacob must have felt as far from a life of blessing as ever.

But it was there, leaving behind a trail of deception, that Jacob met God. God showed him he didn’t need desperate schemes to be blessed; he already was. His destiny—a purpose far greater than material prosperity (v. 14)—was held securely by the One who would never leave him (v. 15).

It was a lesson Jacob would spend his whole life learning.

And so will we. No matter how many regrets we carry or how distant God seems, He is still there—gently guiding us out of our mess into His blessing. —Monica Brands

Lord, so often we feel trapped by our mistakes, thinking there’s no future left for us. Remind us that you are the God of Jacob, the God who will never give up on Your purposes for us.

God never gives up on His love and purposes for our lives.

Amen- Praises to the Lord! Blessings on your day and week!!! phylis

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/17/18 1:51 P

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6/17/18 11:30 A

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I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”—Psalm 91:2
From Our Daily Bread:

My very first job was at a fast-food restaurant. One Saturday evening, a guy kept hanging around, asking when I got out of work. It made me feel uneasy. As the hour grew later, he ordered fries, then a drink, so the manager wouldn’t kick him out. Though I didn’t live far, I was scared to walk home alone through a couple of dark parking lots and a stretch through a sandy field. Finally, at midnight, I went in the office to make a phone call.

And the person who answered—my dad—without a second thought got out of a warm bed and five minutes later was there to take me home.

The kind of certainty I had that my dad would come to help me that night reminds me of the assurance we read about in Psalm 91. Our Father in heaven is always with us, protecting and caring for us when we are confused or afraid or in need. He declares: “When they call on me, I will answer” (Psalm 91:15 nlt). He is not just a place we can run to for safety. He is our shelter (v. 1). He is the Rock we can cling to for refuge (v. 2).

In times of fear, danger, or uncertainty, we can trust God’s promise that when we call on Him, He will hear and be with us in our trouble (vv. 14-15). God is our safe place. —Cindy Hess Kasper

Dear Father, thank You for being my Rock and my safe place.

The living God will always be our shelter.

INSIGHT: Psalm 91 offers comfort no matter where we find ourselves in life. Notice how the author, line after line, encourages the reader by stating how the Lord will faithfully care for His children (vv. 3-13). These promises are not just wishful thinking on the psalmist’s part; God Himself confirms He will protect and rescue those who love Him and call on His name (vv. 14-16). J.R. Hudberg


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/14/18 10:31 A

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6/14/18 10:19 A

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Do you find it hard to continue/focus on what you are trying to do in spite of 'criticism''?

From Our Daily Bread:

Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads.—Nehemiah 4:4


I work with a team to put on an annual community event. We spend eleven months plotting many details to ensure the event’s success. We choose the date and venue. We set ticket prices. We select everything from food vendors to sound technicians. As the event approaches, we answer public questions and provide directions. Afterward we collect feedback. Some good. Some that is hard to hear. Our team hears excitement from attendees and also fields complaints. The negative feedback can be discouraging and sometimes tempts us to give up.

Nehemiah had critics too as he led a team to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. They actually mocked Nehemiah and those working alongside him saying, “Even a fox climbing up on it would break down [your] wall of stones” (Nehemiah 4:3). His response to the critics helps me handle my own: Instead of feeling dejected or trying to refute their comments, he turned to God for help. Instead of responding directly, he asked God to hear the way His people were being treated and to defend them (v. 4). After entrusting those concerns to God, he and his co-laborers continued to work steadily on the wall “with all their heart” (v. 6).

We can learn from Nehemiah not to be distracted by criticism of our work. When we’re criticized or mocked, instead of responding to our critics out of hurt or anger, we can prayerfully ask God to defend us from discouragement so we can continue with a whole heart. —Kirsten Holmberg

Help me to evaluate the good and bad in the criticism, to trust You, and to continue in my work wholeheartedly.

God is our best defense against criticism. Amen.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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6/13/18 2:02 P

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A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, THIS PAGE IS TO HONOR GOD THE FATHER , JESUS, AND HOLY SPIRIT. BROKN MAN CAN'T FAX BROKN MAN, BUT JESUS CAN. {Free bible study at {www.lisbonfreebaptist.org}


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6/13/18 1:45 P

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Thank You Lord for your Son's sacrifice....

The greatest among you will be your servant.—Matthew 23:11


When Benjamin Franklin was a young man he made a list of twelve virtues he desired to grow in over the course of his life. He showed it to a friend, who suggested he add “humility” to it. Franklin liked the idea. He then added some guidelines to help him with each item on the list. Among Franklin’s thoughts about humility, he held up Jesus as an example to emulate.

Jesus shows us the ultimate example of humility. God’s Word tells us, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:5-7).

Jesus demonstrated the greatest humility of all. Though eternally with the Father, He chose to bend beneath a cross in love so that through His death He might lift any who receive Him into the joy of His presence.

We imitate Jesus’s humility when we seek to serve our heavenly Father by serving others. Jesus’s kindness helps us catch a breathtaking glimpse of the beauty of setting ourselves aside to attend to others’ needs. Aiming for humility isn’t easy in our “me first” world. But as we rest securely in our Savior’s love, He will give us everything we need to follow Him. —James Banks

Beautiful Savior, I am Your servant. Please help me to live in Your love and be a blessing to someone today.

We can serve because we are loved.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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6/12/18 7:07 P

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Open your eyes that you might see!

From: Our Daily Bread

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!—Luke 18:38


Some years ago a traveling companion noticed I was straining to see objects at a distance. What he did next was simple but life changing. He took off his glasses and said, “Try these.” When I put his glasses on, surprisingly my blurred vision cleared up. Eventually I went to an optometrist who prescribed glasses to correct my vision problem.

Today’s reading in Luke 18 features a man with no vision at all, and living in total darkness had forced him to beg for a living. News about Jesus, the popular teacher and miracle worker, had reached the blind beggar’s ears. So when Jesus’s travel route took Him by where the blind man was sitting, hope was ignited in his heart. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v. 38) he called. Though without sight physically, the man possessed spiritual insight into Jesus’s true identity and faith in Him to meet his need. Compelled by this faith, “He shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (v. 39). The result? His blindness was banished, and he went from begging for his living to blessing God because he could see (v. 43).

In moments or seasons of darkness, where do you turn? Upon what or to whom do you call? Eyeglass prescriptions help improve vision, but it’s the merciful touch of Jesus, God’s Son, that brings people from spiritual darkness to light. —Arthur Jackson

Father, open the eyes of my heart to clearly see who Jesus is and what He can do.

The Father’s delight is to give sight to those who ask Him.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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6/10/18 2:06 P

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6/10/18 10:12 A

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God! The perfect Father....This message relates to the relationship that I had with my dad.
Phylis

From Our Daily Bread:

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.—Psalm 27:10


Standing in the crowded store aisle, I struggled to find the perfect Father’s Day card. Although we had reconciled after years of a strained connection, I had never felt close to my dad.

The woman next to me groaned and shoved the card she’d been reading back into the display. “Why can’t they make cards for people who don’t have good relationships with their fathers, but are trying to do the right thing?”

She stormed off before I could respond, so I prayed for her. Thanking God for affirming only He could be a perfect Father, I asked Him to strengthen my relationship with my dad.

I long for deeper intimacy with my heavenly Father too. I want David’s confidence in God’s constant presence, power, and protection (Psalm 27:1-6).

When David cried out for help, he expected God’s answers (vv. 7-9). Though earthly parents could reject, abandon, or neglect their children, David declared God’s unconditional acceptance (v. 10). He lived with assurance in the Lord’s goodness (vv. 11-13). Like most of us, David sometimes struggled, but the Holy Spirit helped him persevere in trust and dependence on the Lord (v. 14).

We will encounter difficult relationships on this side of eternity. But even when people fall short, fail us, or hurt us, we’re still completely loved and protected by the only Perfect Father. —Xochitl Dixon

Lord, thank You for being a Father we can always count on.

God—the Perfect Father—will never let us down, leave us, or stop loving us.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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6/7/18 7:16 A

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This message HIT HOME for me because my son has announced he plans to marry his girlfriend of a different faith.....

FROM: OUR DAILY BREAD

In His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.—Zephaniah 3:17


Years ago, I attended a wedding where two people from different countries got married. Such a blending of cultures can be beautiful, but this ceremony included Christian traditions mixed with rituals from a faith that worshiped many gods.

Zephaniah the prophet pointedly condemned the mixing of other religions with faith in the one true God (sometimes called syncretism). Judah had become a people who bowed in worship to the true God but who also relied on the god Molek (Zephaniah 1:5). Zephaniah described their adoption of pagan culture (v. 8) and warned that as a result God would drive the people of Judah from their homeland.

Yet God never stopped loving His people. His judgment was to show them their need to turn to Him. So Zephaniah encouraged Judah to “Seek righteousness, seek humility” (2:3). Then the Lord gave them tender words promising future restoration: “At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home” (3:20).

It’s easy to condemn examples of obvious syncretism like the wedding I attended. But in reality, all of us easily blend God’s truth with the assumptions of our culture. We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance to test our beliefs against the truth of God’s Word and then to stand for that truth confidently and lovingly. Our Father warmly embraces anyone who worships Him in the Spirit and in truth (see John 4:23-24). —Tim Gustafson

When I am in trouble, where do I turn? A crisis reveals where I put my trust. Is my faith completely in God? What do I need to give over to Him today?

God is always ready to forgive and restore.


INSIGHT: God’s judgment is the theme of Zephaniah and is predicted because the people “neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him” (1:6). Several groups are targeted: the priests, who thought they could worship God and false gods (v. 6); the royal family, “who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit” (v. 9); “merchants,” who exploit the poor (v. 11); and the “complacent” (v.12), who live comfortably while doing nothing to change their corrupt culture. When we mix God’s truth with error, as the idolatrous priests did, judgment is inevitable. Tim Gustafson

We must continue to pray for the Salvation of others.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/4/18 7:14 A

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The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things.—John 14:26

From Our Daily Bread:
Sometimes when we read the Bible we understand the basic stories, but what about the connections—those details that weave Scripture into the one perfect story? We have Bible commentaries and study tools, yes, but we also need a guide—someone to open our eyes and help us see the wonders of God’s written revelation. Our guide is the Holy Spirit who teaches us “all things” (John 14:26). Paul wrote that He explains “spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words” (1 Corinthians 2:13).

How wonderful to have the Author of the Book to show us the wonders of it! God has not only given us His written Word and His revelation but He also helps us to understand it and learn from it. So let us pray with the psalmist, saying, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18). —Keila Ochoa

Dear Lord, as I read Your Word, open my eyes that I may discover the wonders of Your revelation.


Praise HIM for the Holy Spirit to guide us!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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6/1/18 6:21 P

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Amen

A SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, THIS PAGE IS TO HONOR GOD THE FATHER , JESUS, AND HOLY SPIRIT. BROKN MAN CAN'T FAX BROKN MAN, BUT JESUS CAN. {Free bible study at {www.lisbonfreebaptist.org}


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6/1/18 6:59 A

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From: Our Daily Bread

We are looking for the city that is to come.—Hebrews 13:14
Almost as soon as the ferryboat started to move, my little daughter said she felt ill. Seasickness had already begun to affect her. Soon I was feeling queasy myself. “Just stare at the horizon,” I reminded myself. Sailors say this helps to regain a sense of perspective.

The Maker of the horizon (Job 26:10) knows that sometimes in life we may become fearful and restless. We can regain perspective by focusing on the distant but steady point of our destiny.

The writer of Hebrews understood this. He sensed discouragement in his readers. Persecution had driven many of them from their homes. So he reminded them that other people of faith had endured extreme trials and had been left homeless. They endured it all because they anticipated something better.

As exiles, these readers could look forward to the city whose architect is God, the heavenly country, the city God prepared for them (Hebrews 11:10, 14, 16). So in his final exhortations, the writer asked his readers to focus on God’s promises. “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (13:14).

Our present troubles are temporary. We are “foreigners and strangers on earth” (11:13), but gazing at the horizon of God’s promises provides the point of reference we need. —Keila Ochoa

Father, in the midst of troubles, help me to focus on Your promises.
Focus on God and regain perspective.

INSIGHT: Followers of Jesus wait for the day when we will be with Him—the fulfillment of what we’ve spent our lives pursuing. We rightfully yearn to be “home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). The troubles we have in this life make our desire that much sharper and earnest. Today’s passage isn’t about forgetting the world we live in and thinking only of heaven; it’s about seeing our present life from the perspective of the life to come. Paul reminded us that our current troubles are not worth comparing to what is to come (Romans 8:18). J.R. Hudberg

Praising You Lord for this message. Blessings! Phylis
Feel free to add your own inspirational message.


Edited by: ADIRONDACKMOM1 at: 6/1/2018 (07:05)
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
youtu.be/Ps7xmW-9LXQ


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