Jumat, 30 November 2012

What's Your Top Priority?



What's Your Top Priority?
Gwen Smith


Today's Truth
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. (Psalm 57:2, ESV)

Friend to Friend
My heart plays ping-pong. It shifts focus from one affection to another faster than you can say, “Squirrel!” I have never been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD – or any other condition with scary capitol letters – but I’ve surely been known to major on some minors in my day. Practically every day. I worry about things that don’t really matter… at least not eternally.

The other day started out great. In the wee hours of early, I poured some hot coffee, grabbed my prayer journal and my Bible, and headed to the couch to spend time with God. My heart spilled with worship as I fixed my affections on Him. I was prepared to start my day. Fueled and focused.

A while later, my son came downstairs ready for school. We exchanged tender morning greetings and hugs as he grabbed a bowl for cereal. But when he sat down to eat, I realized that he was wearing two different socks. As he ate his breakfast, I tried to lovingly influence him toward a matching pair… to no avail. Hmmph! When he left for the bus stop, I was horrified, so I lamented. Where have I gone wrong with this child? Why does his 13-year old brain not think it is inappropriate to wear un-matching socks? What will people think? Surely the teachers will have a juicy gossip session in the lunchroom about how awful and inadequate I am as a mother because my “it’s-all-good” child went to school with two different socks!

AS IF it matters.


Ping. Pong.

My heart can turn on a dime. One moment it is fixed on the Lord and the next it prioritizes drama. Does God care if my son’s socks match? I’m thinking No. Is it okay to want my children to wear matching socks? Yes. Surely I can speak into a practical matter, but the way I respond matters more – especially if things don’t go my way. Let it go, already.

I really do need to let it go.

I need to let a lot of things go. I need to let go of reactions, emotions, activities or thoughts that don’t honor God. He wants to be our top priority! That’s why we were created. To love him above all things. He wants the details, activities and decisions of our lives to be prioritized around Him - not just our Sunday mornings and major decisions… but our every morning and our every decision. We must look to Him as our desire – our ultimate – our obsession. Then the rest of life falls into place.
God is El Elyon. This Hebrew term for God can be translated two ways: the Most High God or God Most High. Either way, they mean the same thing: He is to be preeminent in our lives. He is supreme. There is nothing above Him or beyond Him.

In her book Obsessed, author and speaker Hayley DiMarco said it this way, “If you claim two obsessions, then you are not truly obsessed with both. No one is obsessed part time.” [i]

God is jealous for us.
He wants us to be obsessed with Him and Him alone.         

God becomes El Elyon to us when our affections for Him and His ways are prioritized above all else. The Lord wants us to be focused worshipers. To have hearts that look to Him and His strength; seeking His face always. (Psalm 105:4) One of my favorite things about the Psalms is that they are honest. Refreshingly so. Like the psalmist, we need to allow God to filter our responses.

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. - (Psalm 57:2, ESV)
I’m so encouraged by what Scripture says here: when I cry out to God and make Him my ultimate, He fulfills His purpose for me. Yes, please! That’s what I want. His purpose – not mine. More of Him – less of me. You see, we don't have to try to find our happiness and purpose in other things. When we prioritize God and put Him as God Most High in our lives, 

He fulfills us in a way that none of these other things can!

A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” He also listed off these telling “Rules for Self Discovery”:

1. What we want most;
2. What we think about most;
3. How we use our money;
4. What we do with our leisure time;
5. The company we enjoy;
6. Who and what we admire;
7. What we laugh at.


Tozer summed it up beautifully: all of life needs to be filtered through our constant thoughts and yielding to our Most High God.

How can this be practical in our lives? What does El Elyon mean to your worries? Do you obsess about them? If you compare your fears to El Elyon, the Pinnacle of existence, do they still look so big? What does El Elyon mean to your busy life, your weight loss goals or your desire to please others? Which master leads? Are you more concerned about pleasing man or pleasing God?

This is where the rubber meets the roads.
Where your ping meet your pong.
You must choose what, or who, will be Most High in your life.

The psalmist chose what is best as he sang to El Elyon, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:2)
Will you allow Him to be your El Elyon?

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, El Elyon, I really want to get this one! Help me to place You above all and before all. Show me what that looks like in the midst of my drama. Help me to yield to You when I want to take control. Be my Everything. In Jesus’s name, amen.


Now It’s Your Turn
·         How does today’s devotion relate to your life?
·         Spend a moment in prayer about the things that distract you from prioritizing God above all and before all.




El Elyon by Gwen Smith



 

Let's Swap!



COOKING LIGHT

It's like a cookie swap, but more grown-up. Uncork the Champagne, nibble, and trade.



SOUTHERN LIVING MAGAZINE
Christmas Party Appetizers 




Kamis, 29 November 2012

Zui

How To Decorate Cookies Like A Pro


Country Living


For not much money, and very little time, you can whip up homemade treats 
guaranteed to wow: savory crackers, gourmet salts, delectable decadent 
marshmallows, and more.







Get 15 beautiful (and tasty) homemade gift ideas.



Chow: How To Decorate Cookies Like A Pro




Southern Living

Adorable Christmas Cookies For Kids

 

Getting What We Deserve






A HEAVENLY STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSION
BY OS HILLMAN
TGIF TODAY GOD IS FIRST, VOLUME 1



"And the Lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?' One suggested this, and another that. - 1 Kings 22:20

There are few times we get a glimpse of what goes on in Heaven. Here is one instance when the angels were conferring with the Lord about the judgment of King Ahab for his sin and who was going to set up Ahab for this judgment.

If God wanted to use you to impact your world for Jesus Christ, what circumstances would have to be created in order for you to respond to His call? Would prospering you materially encourage you to this end? Would a major change in what you are presently doing be necessary? What would your response be should God and the angels conclude that the only way to move you into a position of fulfilling God's purposes was to remove some things that might be very dear to you? Would you agree with their plan if you knew this would be the only way you would achieve the purposes for which God made you? Hard questions, aren't they?

This is the very thing God does in many who have been called for a special mission. Moses had to be stripped of his royal position in the family of Egypt and sit in the desert for 40 years. The apostle Paul had to be knocked off his horse, blinded, and receive a personal visitation from Jesus. The 12 disciples had to leave their jobs for three years to follow Christ. Imagine what kind of disruption this had on their lives. There are many examples of God bringing major upheaval in the lives of those He called for His purposes. Why?

The reason is that we do not seek God with a whole heart in times of prosperity and comfort. Prosperity and comfort tend to breed complacency and satisfaction. It is rare to find the man or woman who seeks God with a whole heart who does so simply from a grateful heart. We often must have pain or crisis to motivate us. Eventually, that crisis bridges us to a new calling, and we embrace that calling if we are open to the Holy Spirit's work in us. We can actually thank God for the change that was required to get us to this place, but it is not without anguish of heart.

Would you be willing to sit in the strategic planning session for your life and agree with the plans God has for your life? Could you give God complete freedom to implement that plan, no matter the cost? Ask God to give you the grace and trust in His love for you to say "yes."



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



Beth Moore: Getting What We Deserve

 


Rabu, 28 November 2012

3plus car

What's For Dinner?



Tina Rupp



In his excellent version of the traditional Chilean stew porotos granados, chef Alex Aguilera uses kidney beans in place of the customary cranberry beans, then folds in fresh basil and a swirl of paprika oil.



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A President Leads Citizens In A National Prayer of Repentance!





Ugandan President Repents Of Personal, National Sins

'We confess idolatry, witchcraft, political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue'




Should a president lead citizens in a national prayer of repentance?

Uganda’s Christian president believes so.

The Ugandan news site New Vision reports President Yoweri Museveni celebrated Uganda’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Jubilee Prayers event by publicly repenting of his personal sin and the sins of the nation.

“I stand here today to close the evil past, and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness,” Museveni prayed.

“We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation. We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal,” Museveni said.

“Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict,” Museveni prayed.

Next, the president dedicated Uganda to God.

“We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own,” Museveni prayed.

Uganda won its independence from Britain Oct. 8, 1962. Resistance leader Milton Obote was the country’s first prime minister.

Massachusetts pastor and activist Rev. Scott Lively believes Museveni is a model for other national leaders.

“The Museveni prayer is a model for all Christian leaders in the world. The leaders of the West have declined in proportion to their degree of rejection of God,” Lively said.

Lively also believes Uganda will rise as a major African power as America continues to decline. He uses Britain as an example.

“Britain was at its height as a world power when it honored God as the Ugandan president has just done. America’s greatness has similarly diminished as we have shifted from a Christian to a secular-humanist country. But watch now for Uganda to be blessed by God for their desire to be His,” Lively said.

Lively added that Museveni is definitely drawing a contrast between Uganda and the West.

“This incident is also important as a contrast to the picture being painted of Uganda by the godless left of a backwards, violent and savage culture intent on murdering homosexuals,” Lively said.

“On the contrary, Museveni is calmly and confidently setting the course of his nation by the guidance of the Bible, in a way that also shows great courage and resolve,” Lively said.

Homosexual activist groups have criticized the government of Uganda and Museveni for passing laws criminalizing homosexual behavior. A current bill before the Ugandan Parliament increases the jail sentences for homosexual acts and includes criminal penalties for those who encourage or promote homosexuality.

The bill had included the death penalty for those who commit multiple acts of homosexual behavior, but the provision has been removed, BBC News reports.

The government of Uganda could not be reached for comment on this story.

Lively said he didn’t agree with the death penalty provision but supports the nation’s strong stance against homosexual behavior.

While Museveni is being held as a model for Christian leaders, Dave Daubenmire, PT Salt Ministries’ president and founder and social commentator, said the problem for Western nations goes deeper than the political leaders.

The problem in the United States, he said, is the pastors.

“Sadly, I think our lack of repentance is the fault of the pulpit. Individual Christians are so awash in sin that they think politicians are merely better at sin than they are,” Daubenmire said.

“There is no fear of the Lord and we are getting essentially a two-kingdom message. We hear that the devil is the god of this world and that Jesus will even the score later,” Daubenmire said. “The problem is that most Christians are convinced that this world is in control of Satan and therefore are not interested in applying the kingdom principles for which Christ died.”

Daubenmire quoted Matthew 28:18, in which Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”

Christians, Daubenmire said, are exhorted later in the same chapter to go and make disciples of all nations.

“We are to teach them and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “All power in heaven and in earth belongs to Jesus. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t have the foggiest idea that He rules and reigns here and now, and that the kingdom principles that He taught us bring victory over evil wherever they are applied.”

He added that Christians too often play with sin.

“Since we do not hate sin anymore, we don’t demand repentance,” Daubenmire said.

He quoted British 17th century statesman Edmund Burke, who said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Daubenmire said that in America, “good men have yielded power to evil men.”

“Evil rules when evil men make the rules,” he said.

The Power of the Holy Spirit + Bible Antiquity Center Tour




 "The Power of the Holy Spirit."
A Message Of Hope By Dr. Jack Van Impe

Believers are powerless and ineffective in their daily lives because they do not partake of the vast storehouse of power that is available to them in the person of the Holy Spirit. As a result, they depend upon personality traits and psychological manipulations rather than the power of God. They forget that God says in Zechariah 4:6: . . . Not by [human] might, nor by [human] power, but by my spirit . . . . Man, with all of his reliance on tricks, gimmicks, and manifold activities, could accomplish so much more if God, the Holy Spirit, originated, motivated, and activated the program. He alone supplies the power needed by powerless human beings. He alone is the match to ignite the fire, the fuel to propel the motor. A person cannot move without His assistance. Acts 1:8 states: . . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you
. . . Do you have this power? Or are you still serving God in the energy of the flesh? Just as there is a difference in cultivating a field with a shovel or with a tractor, so there is a mighty difference in one's service when empowered by the all-powerful Holy Spirit. May I also say that there is no power shortage in God's Spirit because:


The Holy Spirit is Omnipotent

The Holy Spirit manifested this power on numerous occasions:

A. At creation, this blessed Spirit was active because the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). Job 26:13 states: By his spirit [God] hath garnished the heavens . . . . Again, Psalm 104:30 declares that mankind, animals, birds of the air, fish of the sea and all other created objects came because thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created....

B. At the conception and birth of Christ, the Holy Spirit again displayed His power. The Bible teaches that Christ was an unembodied spirit in eternity past, for He was in the form of God (Philippians 2:6), and God is a Spirit (John 4:24). However, one of the members of the Trinity had to become embodied because God had decreed in the councils of eternity that the blood . . . maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). Animal blood was only an inadequate temporary covering looking toward the planned, prepared, permanent sacrifice (I Peter 1:20). This eternal offering also had to be a sacrifice of blood. Man's blood was already poisoned through Adam's transgression (Romans 5:12). Therefore, since animal blood was inadequate and man's blood was tainted, the only solution was that a member of the Godhead should take a body containing blood. However, if this One were to come into the world through natural generation, the seed of a man deposited into the womb of a woman, the tainted blood would then be passed on to the newborn Christ. Thus God planned and prepared a body for His Son (Hebrews 10:5), which the Holy Spirit miraculously placed in the womb of the virgin, and the result was the incarnation -God in the flesh, with sinless blood. That is why I Peter 1:19 declares that we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Perhaps this information may help some seeking soul see why the entire program of redemption and salvation stands or falls upon the foundation of the virgin birth. The blessed, all-powerful Holy Spirit was the agent in carrying out this miracle of the ages. The story is unfolded in Luke chapter one. The angel appears to Mary and says: . . . thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Mary, in her astonished frame of mind, replies: "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" The word know in Scripture often refers to the sex act. For instance, Genesis 4:1 says: And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived . . . . So Mary is actually saying, "How shall I have a child when I have never known a man intimately?" The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (verse 35). Oh, blessed be the wonder-working, omnipotent Holy Spirit who took the body and blood prepared by the Father and placed the Christ - the sent One - into the womb of the pure virgin.

C. Again, notice the power of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. First Peter 3:18 declares: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [made alive] by the Spirit. Romans 8:11 also states: But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

We have thus far witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of creation, incarnation, and resurrection. We have discussed the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit for one primary reason: to show every child of God that this power is available in each believer's life.


Holy Spirit Power for Believers
. . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you . . . (Acts 1:8). This power is released in a Christian as the indwelling Holy Spirit is allowed to take full control. Do not misunderstand - every saved person has this Holy Spirit indwelling him . . . [we] have been all made to drink into one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13). All means ALL. In fact, it is correct to say that it is impossible to be a child of God if one does not have the Holy Spirit, for if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9). Romans 5:5 says: . . . the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Who? A select few? No! . . . the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (I Corinthians 12:7). One cannot have the manifestation of the Spirit without having Him, and this manifestation is given to every man who says: Jesus is the Lord (verse 3).

While it is true that every believer has the Holy Spirit (and has all of Him, for He does not enter in percentage portions), this does not guarantee that He has all of us. Therefore, subsequent to salvation, every believer needs the filling of the Spirit (also see Chapter 4). Ephesians 5:18,19 says:. . . be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. One evidence of the filling, then, is a heart overflowing with spiritual songs.

Another evidence is Holy Spirit power for witnessing . . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: [the result:] and ye shall be witnesses unto me. . . (Acts 1:8). Seek the power the apostles had to witness as they bore ridicule, hatred, persecution, and death for the Lord Jesus Christ. May I go one step further? I care not what you call your experience with the Holy Spirit. However, do not pray for "the fulness of the Holy Ghost" unless you are willing to become hated and even slaughtered for the name of Jesus. This is where the power of the Holy Spirit usually leads the sold out, dedicated, Spirit-filled Christian. Let's look at the Book of Acts for a moment and see.

Peter, after being filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4 (not baptized, which takes place at salvation, but filled, which is subsequent to salvation), becomes a power-laden giant for God. Earlier in his life - in fact, only 7 weeks earlier - he sat by a fire denying the Lord (Matthew 26). At that point in his life, he was a powerless witness. After he allowed the Holy Spirit to take full control and possession of his body, he became a one-man army for the Saviour. Please notice that the texts to be quoted mention "boldness" and "power" as the results of the filling of the Spirit. These two attributes, which the indwelling Spirit generates in the believer when He is allowed to have control, cannot be easily duplicated "in the flesh." "Boldness" and "power" in the face of persecution and death can only be produced by the blessed Spirit of God.


The Boldness of Peter

First, let's consider the boldness of the Apostle Peter. Acts 4 states: Then Peter, filled [filled - not baptized, but filled] with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel . . . Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This [Christ] is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (verses 8, 10-12). Verse 13 states that these people saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John. Imagine the high priest and his relatives and a great multitude of those who had put Christ to death gathered together as Peter denounces their sin publicly and declares that this Christ they killed is the only way of salvation! It takes Holy Spirit boldness to be uncompromising.

Are you seeking the fulness of the Holy Ghost for the same reason or because it is the popular thing to do?

This same crowd hated Peter's message and threatened Peter and John in verses 18-20: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. That is boldness, my brother! Did they quit? No! Acts 4:33 states: . . . with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. In Acts 5:40-42 they are beaten for the sweet name of Jesus and guess what?. . . they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Did it stop them? And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. The only thing that stopped these Spirit-filled warriors was death. Beloved, to be filled with the Spirit is to die daily (Luke 9:23).


The Power of Paul

In Acts 9:17, Paul, too, was filled with the Spirit -not baptized, but filled. He was baptized by the Spirit at salvation, as all believers are (I Corinthians 12:13), and then filled as all believers should be (Ephesians 5:18). This filling prepared him for the Lord's plan: . . . I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake (Acts 9:16). Has anyone ever suffered as much as Jesus or Paul? This battle-scarred apostle enumerates his sufferings in II Corinthians 11:23-27: . . . in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Why was he so hated? Because. . . he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8); because his preaching caused an uproar in the city (Acts 20:1); and because he called sin and sinners by name. In Acts 13:9,10 we see Paul filled - get the exact word -filled with the Spirit, setting his eyes on Elymas the sorcerer and saying: . . . thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? A Holy Spirit-filled life denounces sin in an uncompromising way. It also often brings death because they beheaded Saint Paul. Stephen also experienced the same in Acts 7:55 when he, being full of the Holy Ghost, BOLDLY exposed sin PUBLICLY and was murdered.

Friend, do you want to be filled with the Spirit? Think twice before asking Him to take full control of your life. It may cost you everything you have. However, it will be worth it all when we see Jesus. He said in Matthew 5:10-12: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.



Christ In Prophecy: 

Bible Antiquity Center Tour 

* * * *



How did people live in the First Century during the time of Jesus? 

Find out with guest Dr. James Fleming on the show Christ in Prophecy.

Selasa, 27 November 2012

She's so hot

finally tracked down the is album cover


Garland Ideas for Christmas Stairs


Keeping The Christmas Spirit Alive


Today I thought I might share some of my favourite ideas on how to decorate 
a staircase at Christmas.



Better Homes and Gardens

Christmas Garland and Swag Decorating Ideas

Decorate your home for the holidays with these festive Christmas garland and swag ideas. We have the classic garlands for banisters, mantels, windows, and doorways, but we give you a little modern twist and add them to dining chairs and chandeliers to transform your everyday spaces into a winter wonderland.







Clover Lane













Pottery Barn

How To Decorate With Christmas Ornaments

Under His Hand





Under His Hand

by James Robison
Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional

Princess makes an effective alarm clock, but not a very pleasant one. We have a mat in our garage decorated with a dachshund and the phrase, “Caution: Dog Cannot Hold Its Licker.” This is especially true when I’m trying to sleep.

If Betty gets up before I do, she will sometimes allow Princess to jump onto the bed while I am still sleeping. Normally she comes straight to my face to show her affection with a wet mess of dog kisses. It’s about as shocking as a pitcher of cold water poured on your head!
One morning I felt her jump up on the bed, so I braced for the barrage. It never came. Instead, she thrust her nose under my hand, wanting me to pet her. In a flash, I was impressed by God that this is how we should approach Him every morning.

Imagine how our lives would change if our first thought or action was not, “Oh no, another day,” or “Am I late for work?” For those who have experienced loss, that waking moment may hold, “I wonder where he or she is,” or “I miss my loved one.” I have been told that smokers often think, “I need a cigarette,” immediately upon waking.

What if our first action of every day was more like Princess’ that morning when she thrust her head under my hand? I felt the Lord was impressing me, through this simple canine act, that the first thing I should do every day is to get my head under His hand, so that He can guide my thoughts and order my steps. 


“ Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

“ For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5, NAS).

When God’s hand rests upon our lives, wisdom will enlighten our minds and integrity will direct our feet. Jesus said that He is light, and His light guides our paths. When the light moves, we move. Where He goes, we must go. We not only walk in the light, but we freely express the glory of His light through our lives. This is life under His hand and divine direction.

When Princess showers me with kisses, I appreciate her enthusiasm and affection, but sometimes it’s a bit much. But when she pushed her head under my hand, I turned my attention to her, petting her head as I contemplated God’s truth. Her move was not bold or boisterous, yet I noticed her. I pulled her close.

I have no doubt that God never wearies of our enthusiasm and affection, but I also believe that he notices our submission. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you,” wrote James, the brother of Jesus. (James 4:8)

Under His hand there is warmth and intimacy. When we press in toward God, it’s like Princess nudging my hand. He responds with divine love. He presses in toward us. This is perhaps the most intimate relationship that mankind can have with Holy God while we are still alive on this earth. It is supernatural and life-changing.

Under His hand there is security and safety. If you ever see the owner of a cat or small dog encounter a large, threatening dog, you will see the same reaction: the owner will immediately pick up their pet and hold it close. When the owner holds their beloved pet, the animal is usually safe. With God, we are always safe when under His hand. The Psalmist declared, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’" 
(Psalm 91:1-2). In the Gospel of John, we are reassured of God’s abiding love for us: “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:29, KJV)

One cannot live in the “shadow of the Almighty” without being close. It requires the kind of trust Princess has in me – simple, yet profound. She trusts me completely, even when her limited mind cannot comprehend my plans. She obeys me, for the most part, and her obedience is rewarded with the good things I bring her. I look for ways to give her joy -- though I am just a man. How much greater is a close relationship with the Creator of the universe when we trust Him completely? The joy He gives surpasses anything we could ever conjure on our own.

The wisdom, peace and fulfillment of this type of relationship cannot be fully stated. It must be experienced. Perhaps you did not awaken today seeking to have His hand resting on your head, but you can start now by drawing near and He will draw near. Then tomorrow, and every day thereafter, begin your day by pressing closer to Him, submitting your will and quieting your mind. When you truly learn to live this way, you will begin to experience the transforming power of His abiding presence.


Excerpted from God of All Creation: Life Lessons from Pets and Wildlife by James Robison. Published by WaterBrook Press. ©2012 by James Robison.

God of All Creation makes a great Christmas gift! 












Senin, 26 November 2012

Brick

Here Comes Santa Claus







The history of Christmas decorating can be glimpsed in the holiday collections displayed in this Texas home. Come inside!







Sedona's Talk of the Town 
Christmas Decorating Idea


The Power of Praise!









Psalm 28:7 -The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Psalm 69:30  I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:1-6 - O Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth; The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.





Rabu, 21 November 2012

Stacked

She's on her cycle

The Easy Way To Live the Abundant Life


The Easy Way to Live the Abundant Life
Sharon Jaynes
Girlfriends In God

Today’s Truth
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” - (Matthew 11:28-230 NIV).


Friend to Friend
Here’s a question. Do you think obedience to God is easy or hard? Hmmm. Obedience may seem hard at first, but in reality, obedience is the easy way. It is difficult to cope with the messes we get into when we don’t obey. The consequences of sin are hard to deal with. Think about the times you have disobeyed or turned your back on God. What were the results? Easy? Hard?


Satan will try and convince you that obedience is much too hard, that it carries too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. He will never tell you the glory moments you will forfeit by refusing or ignoring God’s invitation to join Him.

Practicing Acts 17:28 (In him we live and move and have our being.) will never lead to sin. When we wrangle from God’s embrace and set out on our own, that’s when we get in trouble. God isn’t telling us to obey to make life difficult. God wants us to obey to make life less difficult. The end result of obedience is the blessed way…smooth moves.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30). The yoke is simply a farmer’s understanding of the divine dance of obedience. When two oxen are yoked together, they move as one—walking in tandem to the bidding of the master. Usually, an older, more experienced animal is yoked with a young upstart. The apprentice ox learns from the more seasoned ox as they walk along tethered together. If the younger animal tries to surge ahead, the yoke chokes at his neck and slows him down. If he lags behind, the yoke chafes at his neck and prods him to hurry along.

And what does Jesus say about this yoke? It is not hard. It is not difficult. It is not heavy. It is easy. It is light. Being yoked to Jesus actually makes life much simpler…smoother…more peace-filled.

God said to the people of Israel: “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18). A river flows unhindered over rocks and boulders as it moves from one place to the next. It flows around them, over them, and past them—all the while smoothing rough edges. A river doesn’t strive to get from one place to another. It simply flows. That is the glory life of living and moving and having our being in Christ. We simply flow with a sacred inner calmness. Sometimes circumstances will be like tumultuous white-capped rapids, other times like a lazy gentle stream. But the life in union with Jesus keeps flowing. Moving forward. And in the journey, we catch glimpses of sudden glory in the scenery as we move between life’s banks.

Obedience is so much more than following a list of do’s and don’ts. Practicing religion rather than enjoying a love relationship with Jesus is like trying to plow the field alone. It will exhaust you rather than energize you. You will feel like a martyr and then wonder why others around you seem to be so joyful in their calling. Obedience because of our love relationship energizes our lives. Obedience out of a sense of duty or law drains. Always drains.

Religion operates on a “works of the law” principle: “I obey God, therefore, I am accepted by God.” Relationship operates on the gospel of grace principle: “I am accepted by God through the finished work of Jesus, therefore I obey—because I love and trust Him.”  We’re going to talk more about that in the next chapter. This is important to understand because until we grasp the difference, we will never experience the joy of living and moving and having our being in Christ.

Obedience is aresponse to love. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching,” (John 14:23-24).

Sometimes relinquishing control and following Jesus’ lead through obedience can feel uncertain or awkward, like when your dance partner leads you into a new move for the very first time. But each time you say yes to God, a new passion and peace flows through your veins until eventually, hopefully, a total transfusion of Christ-centered living replaces self-centered stubbornness. Intimacy becomes sweeter. Passion grows stronger. Glory moments become easier to see. Unique glory moments…selected especially for you.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, thank You for loving me enough to provide boundaries in which to experience the abundant life. Help me to obey You quickly and fully, so that I can experience all that You have for me. I don’t want to miss a single blessing because I’ve chosen to walk through the wrong door.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn
Think of a time you flat out disobeyed God. What was the outcome?


Think of a time you willingly obeyed God. What was the outcome?

Which outcome was the best in the long run?

There’s an old saying in the South… “Dance with the one who brung you.” (I know  that’s incorrect English. But it correct “southern.”)   So here’s the question…Are you willing to dance with the One who made you? Remember before you answer…He has to be the leader.

If your answer is yes, click on to my blog post at www.sharonjaynes.com and say, “I’m dancing with the One who made me, and I’m following His lead!”

More from the Girlfriends
My new book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, is all about raising your expectations to experience the full, abundant life that Jesus came to give. If you’ve settled for a ho-hum, so-so, Christian life, it is time to start enjoying the abundant life Jesus came to give. God wants you to experience His presence every day through moments of sudden glory where He makes His presence known. Ready to get started? Download a free sample chapter or watch the videos on my website! 



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