Senin, 28 Februari 2011

The Stinky Sour Sippy

The Stinky Sour Sippy
Gwen Smith

Today's Truth
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him; for we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16a, NIV).

Friend To Friend
A few years ago, I flew to Nashville to record vocals for a CD project. My girlfriend, Kerri, and I had spent the last day of my trip in a studio, recording background vocals. When we were finished, I had to high tail it to the airport in order to catch my flight home.

Kerri, a young mom, kindly offered to take me to the airport, and I gladly accepted. I'm all about spending time with my friends and catching up on life. As we made our way to the car, Kerri apologetically mentioned that her daughter had dropped a sippy cup of milk in her car the day before, and that she hadn't been able to locate it.

"I will be more than happy to take you to the airport, Gwen," she said, "but there's just no telling what my car is going to smell like!"

"No problem!" I said. "I'm a mom! I've dealt with many-a-missing milk sippy in my day. How bad can it be?"

Did I mention that it was one of those "you can fry an egg on the sidewalk" days of August? Yep. It was! You know where this is going, don't you?

As we opened the car doors, Kerri and I were smacked silly with the stinky smell of sour milk. Not just a subtle smell, mind you - but a dominant, "been sitting in the 100 degree weather all day" smell. It reeked! We laughed until we almost cried at how horrible it smelled as we made our way down the expressway to the airport.

Sounds kind of funny, but smells matter. Some smells, like a stinky, sour milk sippy, are offensive. They make you want to escape their presence. While other smells, like fresh baked bread, or a lotioned-up baby, can be greatly pleasurable and inviting. Which type of smell best represents your presence and persona?

As Christians, we need to remember that our attitudes and conversations give off a smell as well. The apostle Paul said, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him; for we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16a, emphasis mine).

Does your attitude give off an aroma of Christ? Are those around you drawn to Him as a result of the love and peace you display? Do your conversations consistently honor God, embody the fruit of the Spirit, and expel the fragrance of life ... or are they sometimes laced with bitterness, resentment, anger, complaining, and/or gossip? It's time to locate and throw away our stinky, sour sippy attitudes, and ask the Lord to renew our minds. Let's run the race before us as women of honor who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, give off an aroma of Christ.

Let's Pray
Holy Father, please forgive me for all of the times I've allowed sinful behavior to creep into my thoughts and conversations. I ask that you will now, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV).
In Jesus' Name,


Now It's Your Turn
Read, write down, and commit to memory the following verse: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV).

Spend some time in prayer right now. Ask God to reveal to you any areas in your life that might not "smell" as they should. Then talk to a trusted friend about what He brings to your heart, and ask her to pray for you and hold you accountable.

More From The Girlfriends
As I'm finishing up this devotion, I've got a pot of fresh coffee brewing. Oh how I love the smell of my dark roast! It's important to understand that when we put love in, we will live love out. Spend some time in God's Word today. I have a GiG challenge for you: for the next 16 days, read one chapter of the New Testament book of MARK per day and ask God to speak to your heart through His Word. Who's in? Click over to my Facebook page at and let me know that you are good for the challenge!!

The Road to Perfect and Complete
Bayless Conley

I want us to focus our attention today on James 1:2-4,

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

What I want to look at today is how God seeks to bring us to maturity by building patience into our lives. If there is one thing I have learned in my Christian walk, it is that God is not in as much of a hurry as I am!

Now, what is patience? Patience is the long-lasting quality of your faith. If you let go of your patience, your faith falls to the floor.

The end result God is looking for is that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. The word perfect here means mature. God is developing maturity in us by working on our patience.

I have a dear friend who has a great church. They endeavored to build another building on their property and it ended up being a major undertaking. In fact, it turned out to be the most difficult thing he had ever done. I mean, it took a strip out of his hide.

Eventually it got built, but you know what my friend says about it? He says, "You see that building? I didn't build that building. It built me."

Going through those trials, facing those difficulties, having his faith tested, having to trust God when it seemed like there was a lack of finances, having to hold onto God's Word when he was a laughing stock with some people, all of that built character in him as he stood the test.

I have a question for you: Has anything been building you lately? If so, rejoice, because God is working maturity in you!

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God

Beth Moore "It's Scary to Be Us"

Beth Moore tells a funny story about a visit to the doctor and the revelation she received regarding God's empathy. Wednesdays with Beth presented by LIFE today with James and Betty Robison.

Watch the full episode at

Minggu, 27 Februari 2011

Welcome to the World, Baby Claire!

On February 22, 2011, at 1:37pm, we welcomed Claire Marie Bradford 
into the world and into our family!!!

She was 7 lbs and 19 inches of perfection.

There are no words to describe the utter joy and amazement of seeing your sweet child for the first time. Hearing her first cry, holding her for the first time, and touching her soft, brand new skin, is like nothing else in this world. 

We absolutely adore her; we are so thankful for her; and we give all the glory to the Lord for this tiny miracle that was formed so intricately, so wonderfully, and so perfectly by the loving hands of our Heavenly Father. 


7lbs flat!

proud Daddy!

only 2 hours old!

Jack meets his baby sister!

our family!

Bubba Bear and Claire Bear! Sweet loves!

love my boy!

Day 2! and a visit from Nana!

wide awake!

my girl!

Daddy's Girl



Don't toss that scrap wallpaper!

"Here, open locker cubbies transform the entry and make it easy for the whole family to access and organize gear. Pretty wallpaper lines the backs of the lockers for style and dimension." BHG

"To update a boring built-in, first apply colorful paint. Next add flair to the cabinet fronts by attaching decorative wallpaper in coordinating colors." -- BHG

"A few partial rolls paired with sections cut from a wallpaper book destined for the trash bin were the liftoff points for this amazing patchwork wall. " - BHG

Projects Using a Roll of Wallpaper
Try our creative projects using a single roll of wallpaper or less.
Don't toss that scrap of wallpaper; turn it into a smashing style statement. Try our 21 creative projects using a single roll or less.

photo credits: Better Homes & Gardens

The Blind Dog Helped Me See

The Blind Dog Helped Me See
by James Robison
Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:1-3, NAS)

While shopping at an office supply store recently, I witnessed an odd sight. A man was pushing a pink baby carriage down the center aisle of the store. It was smaller than a normal carriage – similar to one a child would push a doll in. I looked into the carriage and there was a beautiful little dog. He weighed around 15 pounds and had a mane that looked like a lion’s. I’ve never seen one like it.

The dog captivated me, so I leaned into the carriage and said, “You sure are cute. You really are pretty.” The man called the dog’s name and said, “That’s the man who needs to pray for you!”

It caught me quite off guard. He said, “I know you.”

I asked, “Why do you want me to pray for your dog?”

“My dog is blind,” he said. “He is five years old and has a retinal disease that is afflicting many dogs throughout the country. They are losing their sight in a very short time. We’ve actually taken him to a doctor in Boston to have a procedure, but the dog is still blind.”

“I will pray for your dog,” I said and dropped down on my knees in the middle of the store. I laid my hands on the dog’s face, turning him straight toward me. I noticed that he didn’t follow me and didn’t seem to respond as quickly as a dog normally would, though his eyes appeared perfectly normal. I prayed, “God, bless this little dog. He’s such a sweet pet and his family loves him very much. Please make this little dog well. You can heal this dog’s eyes. Jesus, would you heal this little dog’s eyes.”

I cupped his face in my hands, putting my cheek against his cheek with tender affection. When I stood up the man said, “Thank you.” I smiled and said, “You evidently know me and can get a message to me. I would like to know if your dog begins to see. My prayers go with you.”

I finished shopping and left the store. Later, as I reflected on the moment, God revealed, “My kingdom was manifest in that store right in broad daylight. You did exactly what believers should do when they recognize the importance of living with an awareness of kingdom power.”

Prayerfully, I asked God about the experience. “Why did that man say of me, ‘That’s the man who needs to pray for you’?”

God impressed upon my heart, “Because he was actually saying to his dog, ‘That’s a man who believes in a God who can do anything for anyone… anywhere… anytime. That’s My kingdom!”

Considering that thought, I wondered why he came to such a conclusion. Had he simply seen me on television or had he heard me speak somewhere? Perhaps, but wouldn’t it be best if he had, over a period of time, simply observed my life? You see that can and should be the case with every believer, not just preachers and teachers, but everyone reading this story.

If you are sick and fighting a disease in your family or among your friends and are under the load of some seemingly unbearable weight, I ask you to agree with this fact: The King is here! His presence and power are all around you as surely as the air you breathe. Ask Him to release His healing power to lift the load and accomplish His Kingdom purpose in and through your life, including those you care about. Trust Him! Kingdom results are in His hands. We receive the seed in receptive soil and the light of His life and the water of His Word brings forth beautiful fruit in His garden. No plant strains to yield its fruit; no flower, its blossom. It simply remains rooted and grounded, trusting God for the light and the water necessary for fruit to come. If we yield to the King to bring forth kingdom life, He will not fail. It’s our responsibility to yield. His grace working in us makes remarkable changes. We should live amazed by the power of His presence.

You may ask, “What if I’m not healed physically?” Keep trusting Him and thanking Him for a great work of healing and wholeness His Kingdom power can accomplish by shaping your character. This is the greatest healing of all. God provides healing for our souls and for our lives, even when we don’t always see it in our physical bodies. Jesus’ stated that the goal is for the works of God to be displayed in our lives.

Many people have been healed physically, but not spiritually, and, as a result, they still can’t clearly see God’s kingdom purpose for their lives. Jesus can heal a withered hand, but His greater emphasis is on the need for withered lives to be healed by the power of His abiding presence and kingdom reality.

Jesus miraculously fed the multitudes on more than one occasion. But when they kept coming, asking for another food miracle, He made it clear He wasn’t going to be the original “fast food opportunity.” He wanted them to have meat to eat they knew nothing about. They needed nourishment that comes from above—food with eternal promise and present-day effect.

He really did come to heal the brokenhearted and those who may also have a broken body. All disease and sickness will be absent in the eternal kingdom that is to come. Absent from that kingdom will also be any potential for disease, temptation or sin, and there will be no more death. It’s no challenge in heaven to overcome an enemy because there’s none to overcome. In this life God desires to make us more than conquerors—priests and kings, mighty warriors, ambassadors with His armor and the shield of faith that can quench every fiery suggestion of the enemy and all of the lies in this present world.

God’s kingdom power really did show up in that office supply store. It wasn’t simply an expression of love from a lover of pets, but it was an expression from the lover of our souls and our lives. It was the heart of One who cares about every concern we have. His desire is not that we should strive for righteous works on our own, but that we would allow Him to work His righteousness in our lives every single day. Once we allow His kingdom to rule in our lives, we can learn to express His kingdom here on earth.

Awareness of kingdom presence in the spiritual realm is like the knowledge of oxygen in the physical realm. You know it’s there, so you access it. By faith, we must recognize that kingdom presence and atmosphere is here. We are receiving into the visible realm the power found in that which is in the unseen realm. We must breathe it in. When you live in this awareness, you will find yourself suddenly producing kingdom fruit. This is when we, like the blind man Jesus encountered, allow the works of God to be expressed in our lives. This is true healing.

LIFE Outreach International P.O. Box 982000 Fort Worth, TX 76182-8000
1-800-947-LIFE (5433)

Today's Scripture:

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
John Chapter 20

1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus Reinstates Peter

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

Manna-Fest #493:
The End Time Prophecy of the Net and 153 Fish - Part 1

The End Time Prophecy of the Net and 153 Fish Part 2 of 2

Sabtu, 26 Februari 2011

Going Against Public Opinion

Going Against Public Opinion
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman

"On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, 'No! He is to be called John.' They said to her, 'There is no one among your relatives who has that name.'" (Luke 1:59-61).

Have you ever had to go against public opinion or advice from family members or peers? Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. It was time to name the child. Tradition said the name would be in honor of a family member. The family members were insistent. When Elizabeth didn't agree with them, they appealed to Zechariah who supported Elizabeth.

Zechariah was told by the angel Gabriel the name was to be "John." They were being obedient to the Lord's command which went against tradition and public opinion.

We live in a day when leaders are often driven more by public opinion than what is right. We are each called to live a life based on obedience-based decisions, not public opinion. Living a life of obedience will often go against the tide of public opinion. Jesus lived a life based on a purity of purpose and mission. The Pharisees wanted Him to conform to the rules of religious tradition. The result was He died because He lived to obey an audience of One, not public opinion.

Are you challenged to live a life of conviction versus pleasing others? Be true to what God has called you to do no matter the cost.

Today's Prayer

Dear God, Thank You that I am still alive and able to enjoy this day You have given me. Would You do me a favor? Show me how well I am doing in keeping my word and my commitments. Examine the desires of my heart, the words of my mouth, and the actions I take (or don't take). Do I follow through like I should? Do I keep my commitments? Please help me to be trustworthy and dependable. Please forgive me where I have fallen short. Help me to not over commit myself and to think and pray before I speak and make commitments. May my thoughts, words, and actions bring glory to You and not disappointment or shame. I trust You and commit my thought life to You as well as my eyes, mouth, hands, and feet, that they may be about Your business. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

The Missionary Call
Dr. Charles Stanley

Matthew 4:18-22

I've heard every reason you can imagine for avoiding missionary service: "I haven't been to seminary." "I can't preach." "I'm too old." "My family won't go for it." On and on the list goes. Let me tell you that there are thousands of active missionaries who once thought that God couldn't use them either. I often have the privilege of hearing their stories of how the Lord turned resistance into enthusiasm.

People can offer God plenty of reasons why He shouldn't call them to spread the gospel. But His call is not issued for our consideration; He expects a response of obedience and surrender.

A believer is accountable only to say yes to God's call. It is the Lord's responsibility to equip the chosen for the work He's assigned. A personal plan has been mapped for each believer's life, and God provides the personality and temperament that suits. Then He adds skills that can be developed and the spiritual gifts necessary to fulfill His mission.

God makes His call with wisdom and discernment. He knows why He created you and what you're capable of accomplishing in His strength (Eph. 2:10). Rejecting the invitation to serve Him is foolish. It would be like telling almighty God that He made a mistake. But surrender opens the door to a lifetime of service, blessing, and joy!

Mission work can occur near or far. You could serve: at home by writing to prisoners; down the street by dishing out meals at a shelter; across the nation by providing flood relief; or in a foreign land by translating the gospel. In short, a missionary calling is whatever God tells you to do.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit

Prophecy In The News: Satan's Long Long Story - Part 3

Jumat, 25 Februari 2011

When Your Low on Hope and Afraid

When You Are Low on Hope
by Max Lucado

Water. All Noah can see is water. The evening sun sinks into it. The clouds are reflected in it. His boat is surrounded by it. Water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the west. Water.

He sent a raven on a scouting mission; it never returned. He sent a dove. It came back shivering and spent, having found no place to roost. Then, just this morning, he tried again. With a prayer he let it go and watched until the bird was no bigger than a speck on a window.

All day he looked for the dove’s return.

Now the sun is setting, and the sky is darkening, and he has come to look one final time, but all he sees is water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the …

You know the feeling. You have stood where Noah stood. You’ve known your share of floods. Flooded by sorrow at the cemetery, stress at the office, anger at the disability in your body or the inability of your spouse. You’ve seen the floodwater rise, and you’ve likely seen the sun set on your hopes as well. You’ve been on Noah’s boat.

And you’ve needed what Noah needed; you’ve needed some hope. You’re not asking for a helicopter rescue, but the sound of one would be nice. Hope doesn’t promise an instant solution but rather the possibility of an eventual one. Sometimes all we need is a little hope.

That’s all Noah needed. And that’s all Noah received.

Here is how the Bible describes the moment: “When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf!” (Gen. 8:11 NIV).

An olive leaf. Noah would have been happy to have the bird but to have the leaf! This leaf was more than foliage; this was promise. The bird brought more than a piece of a tree; it brought hope. For isn’t that what hope is? Hope is an olive leaf—evidence of dry land after a flood. Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.

To all the Noahs of the world, to all who search the horizon for a fleck of hope, Jesus proclaims, “Yes!” And he comes. He comes as a dove. He comes bearing fruit from a distant land, from our future home. He comes with a leaf of hope.

Have you received yours? Don’t think your ark is too isolated. Don’t think your flood is too wide. Receive his hope, won’t you? Receive it because you need it. Receive it so you can share it. Receive his hope, won’t you? Receive it because you need it. Receive it so you can share it.

What do you suppose Noah did with his? What do you think he did with the leaf? Did he throw it overboard and forget about it? Do you suppose he stuck it in his pocket and saved it for a scrapbook? Or do you think he let out a whoop and assembled the troops and passed it around like the Hope Diamond it was?

Certainly he whooped. That’s what you do with hope. What do you do with olive leaves? You pass them around. You don’t stick them in your pocket. You give them to the ones you love. Love always hopes. “Love … bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4–7 NKJV, emphasis mine).

Love has hope in you.

The aspiring young author was in need of hope. More than one person had told him to give up. “Getting published is impossible,” one mentor said. “Unless you are a national celebrity, publishers won’t talk to you.” Another warned, “Writing takes too much time. Besides, you don’t want all your thoughts on paper.”

Initially he listened. He agreed that writing was a waste of effort and turned his attention to other projects. But somehow the pen and pad were bourbon and Coke to the wordaholic. He’d rather write than read. So he wrote. How many nights did he pass on that couch in the corner of the apartment reshuffling his deck of verbs and nouns? And how many hours did his wife sit with him? He wordsmithing. She cross-stitching. Finally a manuscript was finished. Crude and laden with mistakes but finished.

She gave him the shove. “Send it out. What’s the harm?”

So out it went. Mailed to fifteen different publishers. While the couple waited, he wrote. While he wrote, she stitched. Neither expecting much, both hoping everything. Responses began to fill the mailbox. “I’m sorry, but we don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.” “We must return your work. Best of luck.” “Our catalog doesn’t have room for unpublished authors.”

I still have those letters. Somewhere in a file. Finding them would take some time. Finding Denalyn’s cross-stitch, however, would take none. To see it, all I do is lift my eyes from this monitor and look on the wall. “Of all those arts in which the wise excel, nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.”

She gave it to me about the time the fifteenth letter arrived. A publisher had said yes. That letter is also framed. Which of the two is more meaningful? The gift from my wife or the letter from the publisher? The gift, hands down. For in giving the gift, Denalyn gave hope.

Love does that. Love extends an olive leaf to the loved one and says, “I have hope in you.”

Love is just as quick to say, “I have hope for you.”

You can say those words. You are a flood survivor. By God’s grace you have found your way to dry land. You know what it’s like to see the waters subside. And since you do, since you passed through a flood and lived to tell about it, you are qualified to give hope to someone else.

From A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God’s Love
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Max Lucado

When You Are Afraid
by Mary Chapian

SITUATION: David begged God to rescue him from those who sought his demise. He recognized the wickedness of his enemies and asked God to intervene.

OBSERVATION: God fights on behalf of his children.

INSPIRATION: You feel unsafe, unsure.

You don't like to be alone.

You're frightened, and fear limits the joy you experience in your life. You're trapped in an adventure less existence. What are you afraid of ? Pain? Rejection? Are you afraid of making a mistake? Of getting hurt? Of being robbed or killed? Or getting a disease?

. . . Did you know I am never afraid, worried, frenzied or never driven with terror? Did you know that your Lord is at peace always? Did you know my Spirit--the same as is in Me--lives in you?

I have built a wall of protection around you so that the invisible dragons of the night will not harm you . . .

I save you from the troubles and dangers of the daytime. I am for you. Who can be against you?

But you worry because of past experiences when you were hurt. You are afraid to be hurt again. You are afraid I won't keep my word. You are afraid I don't care about you. But I do care. Every hair on your head is numbered.

. . . See Me surrounding you and keeping you from evil. See Me bringing you up out of a horrible pit, lifting you gently out of the miry clay of fear and worry. See yourself completely safe, with your feet upon a rock, established in the ways of God. (From His Thoughts Toward Me by Marie Chapian)

APPLICATION: When you face battle in life, write them in a prayer journal. Wait on your Defender and record His victory in your journal. This will build your faith.


Praise God Who Creates and Saves
Psalm 33

1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
4 For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars[a];
he puts the deep into storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.

16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

Praise God Who Judges and Saves

Psalm 34

1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

The City Harmonic - Manifesto

Kamis, 24 Februari 2011

John the Bapitist was the Greatest

John the Baptist was the Greatest
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman

"I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matt 11:11-12).

John the Baptist did no miracles. Elijah performed miracle after miracle. Daniel interpreted dreams for kings and he and his friends impacted an entire nation. Jeremiah and Isaiah were two of Israel's greatest prophetic voices. Jesus built his church through the twelve disciples. But Jesus made a profound declaration about this man who performed no miracles - He is the greatest among all the prophets.

Why did Jesus make such a claim? Because he did one very important thing - he fulfilled his purpose on earth in every way.

The disciples asked John the Baptist, "Are you the one we have been waiting for? John responded quickly, "No." Then he made a profound statement: "A man can receive only what God gives him" (John 3:27). He had a complete understanding of why he was placed on earth.

Jesus proclaimed John the Baptist was the greatest because he (John) knew and fulfilled his purpose. The angel Gabriel described John's purpose to his father: "And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous - to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).

His purpose was absolutely necessary to be achieved in order to prepare the way for Jesus. Do you know why God made you? Are you fulfilling the destiny He has planned for you since the foundation of the earth?

Understanding your work life purpose is key to receiving your inheritance. Paul said no matter what kind of work you do, if God has called you to do it, you will receive an inheritance for doing it. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Col 3:23-25).

Today's Prayer

Dear God of peace, make me perfect in every good work to do your will. Work in me that which is well pleasing in your sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever (based on Hebrews 13:20-21). You are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. Please see my worth through the blood of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer. Please forgive me of my shortcomings, and help me to live a holy life unto You, oh my God of peace. In Jesus' name, amen.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders

You're Not Stuck
Bayless Conley

1 Corinthians 10:13 says,

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

The word temptation in this verse also means test or trial. With that in mind, here are a couple of thoughts to encourage you today.

1. Whatever test, trial, or temptation you are facing today, it is "common to man." That means that you are not the only one who has gone through whatever you are facing.

It is comforting to know that others have faced similar problems before us and made it through!

2. God makes a way of escape with the trial or temptation. That means you're not stuck! Before your difficulty ever arose, God designed a way of escape. And that means of escape comes with the problem.

So if you find yourself embroiled in trials, tests, or temptations today, start looking for God's way of escape—it exists. Trust Him to guide you safely through and out of your difficulties!

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God

Our Missionary Mission

Dr. Charles Stanley

Acts 13:1-4

Paul and Barnabas set the standard for the church's mission work when they obeyed God's call to go forth. The local body of believers—those left behind to share Christ with neighbors and friends—equipped the men for their journey. They did so for the same reasons that apply today:

1. The spiritual condition of mankind. Romans 1:21-32 describes this sinful world. Unchecked sin leads people down a slippery slope toward a depraved conscience and, ultimately, a darkened mind that cannot perceive what is right. Every unbelieving person is sliding on that treacherous path.

2. God's spiritual provision. The Father responded to mankind's plight with grace: He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to save the world. On the cross, Christ bore the sin of every person—living, no longer alive, and yet to be born. The offer of salvation is for all; God's grace is blind to race, creed, and color (Rom. 10:12). Those who believe in Jesus are forgiven their sin, and they will spend eternity with the Lord.

3. The commission from Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8 says we receive the Holy Spirit so we may bear effective witness to those who need salvation. Notice that we don't simply begin at home and work steadily outward. People everywhere are waiting for the Good News. The word is to be carried far and fast.

The purpose of the church is to worship and witness. Some will go and some will send, but all are called to the work of spreading the gospel. This is not a suggestion; it is a command (Matt. 28:19). Believers living in God's will are all to be involved in missionary work.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit

Prophecy in the News: Earth's Sun is Waking Up!

Rabu, 23 Februari 2011

There is a Time for Everything

There Is a Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

15 Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.[b]

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself,

“God will bring into judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time to judge every deed.”

18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?

--Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, NIV

Take away points to consider: How we use our time reflects our values and our understanding of our eternal destination. What does it mean for you to live today in the knowledge that God has set eternity in your heart? What changes can you make in your lifestyle based on that knowledge?

Personal Comment: On Monday, The Holy Spirit gave me these verses to study. At the end of the Prophecy in the News video, Gary Sternman also mentions these verses written by King Solomon.

To Be "in Christ Jesus"
Pastor Adrian Rogers

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1

What does it mean to be "in Christ Jesus?" First, think about what it was for Noah to be in the ark. The ark was waterproof. How do we know it was? Well, God told Noah, "put pitch on the inside and on the outside" (Genesis 6:14). The word "pitch" in the Hebrew is kapar, and it is exactly the same word translated as "atonement." You see, we are in Jesus as Noah was in that ark. Just as the storms of God's wrath beat upon that ark, the storms of God's wrath beat upon the Lord Jesus. But we are on the inside, and not one drop of judgment can come through.

Read Romans 8:35-39. Reflect on the things that Paul says will never separate you from God's love. Give glory to God that your sins have been atoned for by the righteous blood of the Savior.

For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit

Spiritual Treasure
Bayless Conley

In 2 Corinthians 4:7, Paul tells us,

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

If you look at this chapter, Paul helps us understand that this treasure is ministry, the gospel, the Word of God, and the light and the glory of God, God's presence.

Paul wants us to understand that God has placed in us an incredible spiritual treasure...a treasure residing in these earthen vessels...our bodies. The treasure is in you and me!

But that treasure needs to be poured out.

I can't help but think that Paul was thinking of two particular earthen vessels that were used in his day. One was the vessel of mercy and the other the vessel of honor.

One place you would find the vessel of honor was around the home. People would use the water to wash their feet after traveling the dusty roads before they would enter your house, or they would use the water to quench their thirst. Like the vessel of honor, we are to wash the feet of our family, to humbly serve them and to help quench their thirst for more of God.

The vessel of mercy looked identical to the vessel of honor, but it was located in public places like the town square, so that any traveler coming through that arid land would be guaranteed to find a fresh drink of water. It was placed where the needs were. We need to take mercy where mercy is needed most—out onto the highways of humanity.

You are an earthen vessel filled with His spiritual treasure, so start pouring it out—in your home and out where the people are.

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God

Get Serious About Sin
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
"But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done" (1 John 1:9, NCV).

Friend To Friend
As a little girl, I always looked forward to the first day of summer vacation because it meant two things. First, I did not have to sit in a classroom all day wasting precious brain power trying to comprehend and learn what I considered to be useless information. Second, I did not have to wear shoes except when I went to church or when my mother handed down the decree, "If you are going with me, you have to wear shoes." It had to be a really important errand for me to don even a pair of sandals or flip-flops.

Those first few days of my shoeless adventures were always a painful shock to my tender feet since my "playground" was actually nothing more than a gravel road running beside our house on the edge of town. I played for hours, climbing trees and racing friends up and down that rocky street. At the end of each day, my feet were grimy and filthy, often bruised and sometimes slightly bloody. Even now I can remember the stinging discomfort inflicted by those razor-sharp rocks during the first few weeks of summer. My pain management was firmly rooted in the knowledge that my feet would soon grow callused and tough. I took comfort in the fact that I would soon be running down that gravel road with little or no pain.

Sin works the same way. The first time we commit a sin it is painful. We are filled with remorse and mourn the fact that we have grieved the heart of God, but regret is not enough when it comes to dealing with sin. Unless we confess and turn away from that sin, we are likely to commit it again. If we allow sin to settle into our life and refuse to confess it, that sin eventually hardens our heart and builds spiritual calluses in our soul. When we become comfortable with our sin, we are walking in enemy territory and setting ourselves up for spiritual failure and discouragement.

The good news is that Jesus understands human frailty. He is well acquainted with temptation and the tactics of Satan. Jesus gave His life as a ransom for yours and mine. He paid our sin debt in full.

1 John 1:9 "But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done" (NCV).

This verse was written to believers as an encouragement to deal with sin and a promise that when we do so, God will be faithful to forgive us and clean up the mess that sin has caused. We are not perfect - just forgiven. To experience that forgiveness fully we need to keep short books on sin. That means being sensitive to sin and immediately choosing to do something about it. God is serious about sin. We need to be as well.

1. We must confess sin continually. "Confess" means to agree with and is a present tense verb meaning that we must confess sin frequently, without stopping.

2. We must confess sin completely. We commit sins one at a time. We need to confess them one by one as well.

3. We must confess our sin confidently. Once we confess and repent of our sin, we can put it behind us. God is just and fair - seeking only one payment for sin. Jesus has already made full and complete payment with His death on the cross.

One of Satan's favorite tactics is to resurrect buried sin. Wrapping that confessed transgression in his vain taunts and useless accusations, the enemy hauls it back into focus, hoping that guilt will paralyze and imprison a soul set free. Satan can hold us prisoner if we let him. But how often do we believe his empty lies - and by doing so, grant him access to that which he has no right? To break the hold of sin, we can and must stand against the enemy, trusting not in our feelings but in the facts of God's word. And those facts are unchanging and crystal clear - when we confess sin, God forgives it.

Let's Pray
Father, do not let me ever forget the price You paid for my sin. Thank You for the forgiveness and freedom You purchased with Your death on the cross. Bring swift awareness and conviction when I sin. Give me the strength and power to deal with and turn from the sin in my life. For Your glory and in Your name I pray, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Set aside time each day to pray and study His Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of every sin that stands between you and God. Confess that sin. Choose against it and walk on in His power and forgiveness. Ask yourself the following questions:

What sin do I need to confess right now?

Why have I held on to this sin?

What effect has this sin had on my life?

What changes do I need to make in order to "turn" from my sin?

Do I really believe that God can and will forgive this sin? Why? Why not?

Need help?
Winning the War with Temptation is one of Mary's E-Download Bible Studies that examines the life of Eve to discover five steps she could have and should have taken to win the war with temptation. The central message of this study is grace, God's unmerited favor, His unconditional love and the complete forgiveness only He can give. Temptation is a certainty of life but God has a plan that will enable us to stand firm in His strength and through the power of His Word.

It's not too late to enroll in Mary's weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, and have access to all of 2011 studies. The current topic is How to Handle Hurt. We will experience pain and hurt but we can learn how to handle the hurt in a way that honors God and assures a life of victory.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

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