How Different?

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How different are we from our main societies;
Cultural expectations,
Accepted norms?

How different is light from darkness?

“Thus your light will shine before the children of men that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

SEEDS SOWN TODAY

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May the seeds I sow today
Bring blessings tomorrow:
Love, hope, peace;
Kindness and generosity;
Faith, goodness and joy:
May the harvest be so abundant
There is plenty to share
With everyone around me.

Audacious

Faith so audacious,
We dare to believe
That God is greater
Than all we see;
That He is more powerful
Than any circumstance;
We are guided by His will;
We simply don’t live by chance.

 

Faith so audacious
We trust Him and pray,
Till we have heard Him;
Then we obey.
Living with expectancy;
Bold because we belong
To Papa God’s household;
The Lord most gracious and strong.

 

Faith so audacious
We happily rest
In God’s loving arms,
Where we are blessed.
We receive His provision;
Papa’s unending care;
Then we give it to others,
Rejoicing in all we share.
Faith so audacious
We know He will heal
Injury and disease
With power so real.
We still look for miracles
From Jesus, Risen King;
We live out courageous faith
For God is our Everything.

“There, But for the Grace of God, Go I.”

This quote is creditted to a man by the name ofJohn Bradford , a Protestant who was martyred in England in the 16th century.
On seeingseveral criminals being led into the scaffold he remarked, ‘there but for the grace of God’ goes John Bradford. His words without his name are still very common today.

I originally heard this phrase as a response to learning of someone else’s mistake or sin.  It carried the message, “Take care not to point fingers or judge; you have your own struggles with imperfection and sin.”

John Bradford, however, was expressing gratitude for another day alive and the understanding that God was having mercy on him.

It seems that we could apply this both ways in our modern world:
It is true that we need God’s grace to live holy lives.
It is also true that we do well not to judge others or look on their circumstances without compassion and mercy.
What happens to one group of people can happen to another.
I am thinking of the ban on people from countries that are largely Muslim who want to travel to the United States.  Brothers and sisters, the Bible says that we will face persecution.  We are as vulnerable as Muslims, Iraqis, Sudanese, Syrians and all of the other people who are being denied entry, or even detained.  That is why we must stand with them in resisting this injustice.
“There but for the grace of God go I.”  Next time, it could be Christians.

Kyrie Eleison

Lord, have mercy:
Loving Father, God Most High,
Thank You for Your great compassion.
Thank You for love that transcends every situation.
Thank You for understanding us so well.
Though You have the power to do anything,
Let Your lovingkindness prevail on us and our nation. Amen.

Christ, have mercy:
Anointed One of God, Savior of the world,
Thank You for Your profound sacrifice.
Thank You for redemption and healing.
Thank You for bringing us into the Household of God.
May Your finished work be manifest in our lives.  Amen.

Lord, have mercy:
Lord of lords, King of kings,
May Your Kingdom be made known on Earth,
Until every sickness is banished,
Every injury is forgiven and healed,
Death is never seen again.  Amen.

A Christmas Blessing

star-bright-christmas-16227730-1600-1044May the Light who came into the world shine in your heart;
May His love warm, cheer and strengthen you;
May His presence bring you all health and joy.
Amen.

Storehouses Are Opening

This is a prophetic word by Doug Addison.  I am extremely particular about the people to whom I will listen.  Doug is one I trust.

http://dougaddison.com/2016/12/december-prophetic-word-your-storehouses-are-opening/?inf_contact_key=487cfb77719c6bd7aa361d37d672216388cdc0049fba7da74dfe8c86ac7e99e6

 

Does this witness to you?

Zechariah

Luke 1:5In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

8Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
I learned recently that the phrase , “your prayer has been heard” (v 13) carries the sense of a prayer that has been let go for a very long time.  This could probably read, That prayer you used to pray before you gave up on it…

I relate to that:  There are things I have sought the Lord for; then given up on because they haven’t happened.  I’m betting you have some of those as well.

In the light of this understanding, Zechariah’s reaction makes perfect sense.  It is far too easy to allow doubt, discouragement and unbelief to move in.

The question is, what shall we do with prayers that don’t seem to get answered?

I only have a whisper of insight:  Keep on keeping on.  One thing Elizabeth and Zechariah did right was to continue in their lives and work.  They “were righteous in the sight of God.” (v6)  When the Lord’s timing came, he gave them their desire.
I understand with all heartache, quandary and “hope against hope” about fighting that sense that “It’s too late.”  Zechariah and Elizabeth certainly struggled with that one.  God’s answer:  He gave them what they had asked for.

Is it ever too late for God?

Advent

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Looking back;
Remembering the story
Of God’s life among us;
His wonderful glory:
A day long ago,
When a baby was born
To bring a new covenant
To the world so forlorn.

 

Watch for the day
When Jesus comes again
To gather His people;
All promises attend.
A day filled with awe
And ecstatic delight,
Together with the Bridegroom,
A celebration bright.

 

When it’s time,
Neither early nor late;
Lord Jesus will return
In His glorious state
Until then, we live,
Depending on His grace
And look forward to that day
When we meet face to face.

That’s Good News

The Gospel of Christ is greater than any tradition or bent we could possibly come up with.
It reaches higher, deepr and farther than conservitivism, progressivism, liberalism, communism, socialism, libertarianism, greenism and all other isms.

 

The Good News is this:
God loves each of us.  It doesn’t matter who, where or what you are; Time in history is of no consequence.

 

He wants every single person to be saved; He is not willing that any should perish.  Yes, that even means progressives, communists, socialists and all of the other ists!
God’s love reaches to every income bracket, from the welthiest, most powerful people in the world to those who have absolutely nothing.

 

Jesus doesn’t fit in any box; yet he is present in every last one of them, even yours!

 

He has every resource you willever need.

 

Now, that’s Good News!!

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2 Peter 3:9
John 3:16-17
Psalm 139
Matthew 18:14

The Refuge

There is a refuge from chaos and strife,
Where all can receive abundant life.
A place where peace and joy prevail;
And all are embraced, even when they fail.

 

This refuge is built on intimate love,
Sealed by the Son of God above.
The King of kings and Lord of lords;
Who redeems and saves us, heals and restores.

 

But how will people ever come to know
This is a place where they can go,
Unless we live to show the way
By being God’s expression every day?

 

The living refuge is alive and well,
Standing against the gates of Hell.
Pointing the way so all come in,
To the Refuge where they are born again.

 

Chaos may increase and the storms will brew,
But peace abides in God most true.
Let us give thanks to His great Name,
Yesterday, today, forever the same.