Monday, June 30, 2014

Spiritual Hugs -- Part 2

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Last time, we spoke considerably about the importance of preaching and studying the Word as an essential aspect of whatever church we attend.  But that still doesn't deal with why we should go. Sure, learning the Word is one highly important reason.  But, as we pointed out, some or all of that could be done without deviating from our normal places or schedule.  But there's a more compelling reason for being in church.

Romans 12:5 (KJV)  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Hebrews 10:25 (KJV)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Spiritual Hugs -- Part 1

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Have you ever had one of those moments when you were certain you were in tune with someone because your thoughts and theirs paralleled or were the same, despite no direct verbal communication about it? At least till the discovery of the unity of thought. I have. And it's been happening a lot, lately. Especially unity with the Spirit. One way I see that is when I'll be studying something on my own or for something I'm writing and the very next message my pastor preaches either is on the exact same thoughts or they dovetail together. Or the next conversation I have, the other party talks about something that goes to the thoughts I've been studying.  That spiritual match up happened one recent Sunday morning with something God had been placing on my heart. 

My pastor started preaching his message. And from the first verse, my mind was racing. My thoughts and the content of the sermon complemented each other. If you've ever seen a child going to someplace special like Disney World, you've seen my mind, that Sunday morning. At the first insight it goes racing off toward the target, then runs back to the parent thoughts, then races off, again. Racing ahead, running back, racing ahead, running back, racing ahead, running back. Till we reached the goal. We shared the video from that. And, as always, there's more. 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Strength For The Journey‏

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Our ministry is in the midst of its International Convention.  I'm there.  And so is our guest poster, Todd Parsons.  Today, Todd shares some thoughts on our way, walk, or journey.  And we thought we'd do a double header.  If we're getting extra blessings this week, why shouldn't you?  The second part is another music video.  This one's a little different, as we'll explain after Todd's thoughts.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Follow to Lead

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It's been a while since we wandered into the area of leadership.  And we're long overdue to think about it some more.  In July of 2012, Ryan Somers wrote an article in Forbes Magazine, titled "Wanna Lead? Learn How To Follow First".  In it, he makes some interesting points.  We'll highlight some of those for you and add some insights.

One of Ryan's points that we should talk about is the idea of what a follower is. Many concepts describe a follower as a mindless, unthinking individual who has to be led along like a pet on a leash.  Mr. Somers describes that type of follower as passive, conformist, dependent, and having uncritical thinking.  They fit the child in our illustration, following whoever looks like they might have the authority to lead, whether they do or not.  Or they may refuse to obey rightful authority.  Those are not the followers who lead.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Am I My Own God?

Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9–14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.”

Chambers, Oswald (2010-10-22). My Utmost for His Highest, Updated Edition (Kindle Locations 3750-3752). Discovery House Publishers. Kindle Edition. 
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Oswald Chambers is one of my favorite devotional writers.  He has a way of cutting out all the fluff.  Lately I've been thinking a lot about pride.  When I read this quote from June 12, it jumped right off the page at me.  In a way, it doesn't matter what we communicate, it's what's really going on internally.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wound Our Hearts

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photo by Cherry Nahme on deviantart
So.  Here we are, presenting the first ever music video on the blog.  Once, again, this from one of my online friends.  This month we'll be showcasing some of my friends a bit more than usual.  Besides our usual schedule, next week is our ministry's International Convention.  So we've been working on getting ahead on things so we can focus totally on the convention.  We're expecting rhemas from the Word.  And we have friends coming from all over the world, so the fellowship will be rich.

Today's music video is "Wound Our Hearts" by Adriel Hong. She's a relatively new Christian singer/songwriter.  At least somewhat new to us.  Adriel recruited her brother, Daniel Tekunoff, for the guitar accompaniment on this one.  And it's the perfect combination.

We've mentioned, before, that we tend to listen to quiet instrumentals when reading, writing, or meditating.  Most often it's jazz or classical type music.  That way, it's just us and God, without the songwriter's spirituality (or lack of it) intervening.  But there are exceptions. And this is one of them.  We think you'll be as blessed as we are by the sweetness of both the music and the lyrics.  "Wound Our Hearts" by Adriel Hong is after the break.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What Happens When What We Say is Wrong?

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Have you ever wondered if your words are having the right impact?  The answer to that might surprise us more often than it should.  Think about how often we say things without thinking.  We may joke about something without thinking about whether it may accidentally strike a nerve.  Or, because we're not paying attention to what we're saying, we may miscommunicate something we don't intend to.  There's a reason Ecclesiastes 5:2 (KJV) says, "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.". Think with me on this.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Right Liberation of Women

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Recently, we spoke about the validity of online relationships.  One of those blessings has been a beautiful young lady from "down under", named Melanie Baker-Nash.  To say that she's gung ho for God would be an understatement. 

Late last week, she posted a commentary about some females posting those well known selfies showing parts of the anatomy in ways designed to stir up male lusts.  She got a lot of negative feedback.  Everything from her not being a liberated woman to Mel being judgmental.  It's amazing how the one bringing in accountability suddenly is seen as judgmental.

My own response was that these young ladies were sending a message to the guys they're trying to attract that they're showing the best or most important attribute they have.  Forget the mind, ignore the soul, the personality is unimportant.  It's "Look at my body.".  That makes the woman nothing more than the sex object she complains about being treated as. It shifts the focus from the value God has given a woman to becoming the commodity Satan would prefer she be.

As a result of the varying responses, Melanie did a video blog post, with some written introductory comments.  I know we don't normally do two guest posts in one week.  But I thought this was important enough to change our posting pattern.  Normally, I use the exact titles of the videos.  But I modified my post title slightly to better reflect Melanie's thoughts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stilled and Quieted, by One Voice‏

image from theguardian.com, photo by Baz Ratner/REUTERS

Todd Parsons is back.  This week, he looks at personal relationship and its tendency toward a spontaneous combustion of worship.  we can meditate on Psalm 23:1, "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want." and slide right into worship.  Part of that, both creating worship and growing from worship, is trust.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Emerald's Life Devotional Excerpt

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June's devotional book is Emerald's Life. As you can see by our illustration, an emerald doesn't look very good until it's properly cut and polished.  Which sounds very much like the life that is represented by the green color.  Life can be rough till we let God get His hands on it.

We're all familiar with Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV), "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:".  As usual, at that point in the Old Testament, Israel wasn't behaving.  And a loving God implores them to choose spiritual life instead of the alternative.  No matter how rough life may seem, life with God is always better than the other choices.  Day 6 of our devotional finds God, once again, still loving His people and still begging His people to make the right decision.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sacrificed On Purpose -- Part 2

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Let's start where we left off, last time.  Monday, we ended with John 16:23, "And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.".  We often hear the tail end of that or the next verse, without the beginning or the context.  Questions answered and things that are asked for, now being given.

John 16:24 (KJV)  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Sacrificed On Purpose -- Part 1

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From last Monday's post for Memorial Day to Wednesday's post From Todd about those who have sacrificed in the Word, we continue our theme of sacrifice.  In different ways, we need to be appreciative of the costs to these people  who gave their lives, in one way or another, for what it cost to give us physical and spiritual protection.

All those sacrifices are important.  But there's another that's far more important.  One that gave us choices. We'll get to that in a bit.  First, let's go back to the beginning.  There are some doctrinal points that lay the groundwork for what we're going to say.

Hebrews 9:26 (KJV)  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Think about that verse.  It highlights some things that are the underpinnings of our understanding of the Cross and its importance to us.