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Archive for November, 2011

What To Do When Your God-sized Dreams Stall.


DreamsStalled

If you’ve ever pursued a God-sized dream, you will be challenged to do what doesn’t come naturally.  You’ll be challenged to walk by faith.

I was driving late to an appointment and getting antsy at each stoplight. There had been something bugging me for a while that I couldn’t shake.

I was discouraged about some dreams I’d been pursuing.

I had hit some roadblocks and I was stalled.

So I decided to talk with someone who counsels people through transitions and grabbed a cup coffee. I was curious to get her perspective.

Putting plans in place to get things done has always been my thing. I had carved out a career in high tech getting teams to produce products doing just that. I liked planning and measuring progress. I got good at meeting goals.

But, the dreams I’m talking about don’t reach success through executing plans.

These dreams are God-sized dreams.

A Safety Mechanism

God-sized dreams defy control and only survive on one ingredient: faith.

The more I want to make progress, the more I get discouraged. It’s like a safety mechanism God puts into the dreams that come from Him. I can only get to the destination walking by faith, which means I can only see one step at a time.

The trouble is that I don’t like doing the one-day-at-a-time gig.

The experience has felt long and dreary. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m even heading in the right direction.

Nothing To Fix

An hour later, with a drained cappuccino and a bunch of wooden stir sticks I broke while talking, the verdict was this:

Keep going. Don’t give up. Transitions takes time.

“Hmm…” I answer cautiously because I really want something to be wrong.  I want to fix something. “So, you’re saying I’m not missing anything?”

“Nothing’s wrong.” was the reply.

I stood up, awkwardly surprised. At the same time, I was relieved because I knew I could now go home and ask God what all this was about.

What Doesn’t Come Naturally

Sometimes the only known path to the future is a desire to stay faithful, even in the face of discouragement.

That is what I realized as I stopped to pray in my car before returning home.

As I desperately listened, I got a strong sense of what needed to be done.

Keep doing what I’m asking you to do, regardless of what it looks like, Bonnie.

There wasn’t anything I could fix. No changes to be made. Well, one change was needed — the one in my heart.

It doesn’t come naturally, but I needed to trust God more.

After all, it’s easier to think something is wrong when nothing is happening. Then we’d have something to fix.

It’s also harder to keep doing the same thing, when we just want to see change.

Some people give you the impression that trusting God comes second nature. I’m not quite there yet.

That is why it is such a big deal that God is faithful, even when we are not.

Is it still worth it? I ask myself, as I drove into the garage with the same daily routine waiting for me.

Do I still want to trust God even when it’s hard? I remember a time when I struggled to answer that question. So when I found my heart saying yes that day, I knew God was at work in me. And I was unexpectedly encouraged.

“No one who trusts God like this — heart and soul will ever regret it.
It’s the same for all of us, acting in the same incredibly generous way.”
~ Romans 10:11-12,
The Message

Are you feeling discouraged because you’re in between transitions?

God’s dreams for you can never be stalled.

He’s calling you to draw near Him, to give you strength, to keep doing what you’re doing. He knows our hearts are weary. Yet He sees our desire to stay faithful. None of that changes His love for us. And He’ll guide us all the way.
~~~~~~~~~~

How is God asking you to trust Him more?.

By Bonnie Gray.

Herod May Not Have Completed Jerusalem’s Walls.


Despite centuries of assumption that King Herod built the Western Wall of the temple in Jerusalem, recent archaeological findings could throw this accepted conventional premise on its head.

Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a news conference Nov. 23 that a ritual bath exposed beneath the Western Wall of the Temple Mount contains proof that the construction of that wall was not completed during Herod’s lifetime but at least 20 years after his death around 4 B.C.

The find changes the way we see the construction, and shows it lasted for longer than we originally thought.

This confirm accounts by Josephus, the Jewish historian, who wrote that the work was only finished during the reign of King Agrippa II (Herod’s great-grandson), not before that during Herod’s time.

During recent excavations, archaeologists uncovered three clay oil lamps from the first century A.D. and 17 bronze coins, some dating to around 17 or 18 A.D., approximately 20 years after Herod’s death, the archaeologists said.

Donald Ariel, curator of the numismatic collection of the Israel Antiquities Authority, determined that the bronze coins were stamped by a Roman proconsul, Valerius Gratus, 20 years after Herod’s death, around 17 A.D.

That indicates that Herod did not build the wall and that construction was not close to being complete when he died.

Valerius Gratus was the predecessor of Pontius Pilate, Reich said.

The coins were found inside the ritual bath.

The find is the first archaeological evidence that supports Josephus’ account.

“This bit of archaeological information illustrates the fact that the construction of the Temple Mount walls and Robinson’s Arch was an enormous project that lasted decades and was not completed during Herod’s lifetime,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

Coins found at Western Wall dig

Photo: Coins found at the Western Wall dig

Publication date: November 29, 2011.

By Nicole Jansezian.

Praying For Wisdom And Understanding To Study The Word.


Heavenly Father, I join my brothers and sisters in one accord to thank You, for delivering the gift that Jesus promised that You would send to us, the gift of the Holy spirit, Oh Lord, we beseech Thee to be our Counselor and guide us in all we say and do, Great Teacher, we pray Thee to teach us to love those in this world while recognizing that we are not of this world, but we are citizens of Your kingdom who, today, happens to be living in this foreign land and let us love others and, in doing so, bring glory to Your name. In Jesus name, we worship. Amen.

Holy Trinity, we beseech Thee, to inspire us, Holy spirit, to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to You, to Your glory and to Your throne, there by allowing our lives to be a melodious symphony of praise for Your goodness to us and we pray Thee to minister and lay new rhythms to our hearts to worship you with in union with other saints, for in Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

Giver Of Grace Of Preparation, we pray Thee to grant us grace, wisdom, strength and directives to eat, sleep, study, carry Your word on daily basis and also practice the precepts and may we everly be equiped, ready and prepared and when ever the enemies come knocking, we will use the power, we have acquired through Your word to conquer, defeat, overcome and triumph over them and even in our weakest moments, we pray that Your word in us will rise up and drive the enemies back, Lord Jesus, we pray Thee to continually fill us with the hunger and thirst for Your word and help us to know how to fight the enemies at every point of attacks, this we pray, receive, claim and decree in Jesus powerful name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Listen Up.


 

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” -1 John 2:20

 I was walking through an outdoor mall on a very hot day when I found myself facing two stores and two choices – ice cream or an icy juice drink.

What can I say?.

 When it’s hot, sometimes you need to munch on something frozen!

Frozen fruit juice won the battle, and as I stepped out of the store, I noticed some teenagers walking by wearing shirts with logos that read: “Not of this World.”

The reference goes back to John 18:36 where Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

As I reflect back on the logo on those T-shirts, I’m drawn to the passages around our scripture verse today, 1 John chapter 2, which references the kind of kingdom in which God wants us to live.

It is a kingdom not of this world.

 “Do not love this world, or the things of this world,” 1 John 2:15 says, then continues saying, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

I remember that when I was growing up, I always had trouble wrapping my mind around this concept.

Am I not to love people?.

 Am I to live completely apart from everyone else?.

 Not drive a car, buy jeans, or wear flip-flops?.

 Must I simply close myself up in a shack in the wilderness?.

 Years later, when I came to understand the full teachings of Jesus, I began to understand what “not of this world” really means.

It means to think differently.

 To love differently.

To live differently.

 To do each of these with the heart of Christ within us.

It means we live as salt and light to a hurting and sinful world.

So, how do we know if we’re on the right path?.

That’s where 1 John 2:20 comes in: “You have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things.”

As we are living in our heart of hearts for Christ, we will feel the stirring of the Holy Spirit within us, helping us to recognize when we are loving the world rather than representing Christ’s love.

So, how w you get to that place in our lives?.

 In our quiet times with God, we pray for guidance in everyday living…for wisdom…for God’s will to be done and not our own.

We must be diligent in these prayers and never let up in good times and bad.

When we do, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit will stir more and more within us.

 Guidance and wisdom will be ours like never before – guidance that will help us to learn what it means to live in this world, but not to be of this world.

      *                       *                      *         

  

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for delivering the gift that Jesus promised that You would send – the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Oh, Lord, be my counselor and guide me in all I say and do.

 Teach me to love those IN this world while recognizing that I am not OF this world, but a citizen of your kingdom who, today, happens to be living in this foreign land.

Let me love others and, in so doing, bring glory to Your name. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

      *                       *                      *      

    

In what ways do you cling too tightly to what this world has to offer?.

 In what ways do you lift yourself up into God’s kingdom when this world overwhelms you with things and desires that may harm your otherwise wonderful walk with the Lord?.

Written by Jim Penner.

The Cancelled Stoning.


Have you ever made a really bad mistake in life?.

Ever made one of those mistakes where regret rushes to your consciousness with full force and if you could paint yourself invisible and disappear you would?.

You know, the kind of mistake that comes with brutal repercussions that you wish you didn’t have to face. 

Well that was the case of the woman in Jerusalem that day when the villagers caught her in the arms of a man she wasn’t married to.

Her emotions were a tangle of panic and confusion.

She must have been angry at herself.

I can almost hear her thoughts, “How could I not have foreseen this happening?.

How could I have allowed myself to be seduced by the love of another?”

Now she was forced to face the fact that she would never see her family again.

As untimely as it was, the day of her death had come and this was not the way she had anticipated it happening; she was about to be stoned to death.

Indeed, this was her harsh reality.

A sin such as the one she was caught committing demanded a brutal death as stated in the Mosaic Law.

But then mercy entered the scene in the person of Jesus Christ.

If we were watching this moment of judgment take place on stage, at this point in the scene the woman’s character would fade into the shadows for a moment and the spotlights would be focused on her accusers and on Jesus.

This is because whenever we sin, the first conversation in heaven isn’t between us and God, but between God and our accuser.

By the end of the scene however, God’s mercy triumphs and the death sentence cancelled.

This story teaches us two very important things: firstly, without the help of the Holy Spirit, we are all susceptible to grave moral failure.

At best, our righteousness is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and as such, we have all fallen, some privately and some publicly.

Secondly, sin should not be given an option in our lives, but should we be overcome in a moment of weakness and do sin, we have an “advocate who pleads our case before the Father.

He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Today, you may be overwhelmed by guilt, maybe you are battling with the disappointment of your failures, know that God has an ‘open door’ policy, which means that you are welcome before Him.

Recognize where you have failed and present that area of weakness before the Lord.

Ask Him to strengthen and fortify you in your areas of vulnerability, and know that He will.

His mercy will cancel sin’s death sentence in your life.

Where your ministry should have failed, where your relationship should have been destroyed, where sickness should have prevailed, God’s mercy will intercept and bring restoration.

Today, trust in Him whose mercy cancels the enemy’s accusations. 

Scripture Of The Day: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” – 1 John 2:1 (NIV).

By Kerri-Ann Haye-Donawa.

Boot Camp.


 

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. Psalm 37:31

During boot camp the new soldier is issued a weapon.

The drill instructor orders him to take it apart, then put it back together.

It never leaves his side.

It lies beside him at night, his arm wrapped around it in his sleep.

 In the morning, he starts all over again, taking it apart, putting it together, and carrying it until it becomes a part of him.

When the enemy comes, it is too late to go looking for your weapon.

 When the enemy runs toward your foxhole with a hand grenade, it is too late to consult the training manual.

You must be ready to react immediately and automatically.

When the devil comes, it is too late to start looking for your Bible.

You should have been eating and sleeping with the Word—taking it apart, examining it, studying it, carrying it with you, and practicing its precepts.

When the devil comes, your training will take over.

 When you have no strength or presence of mind to fight, the Word you have hidden in your heart will rise up and drive the enemy back.

Jesus, continually fill me with a hunger and thirst for Your Word.

Help me know how to fight the enemy at every point of attack. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

His Faith and Our Faith.


For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

It is one thing for us to believe it once and be electrified and be thrilled, to have our world turned upside down, but quite another to keep believing it.

The devil will come alongside and tell you that it can’t be true, and he appeals to our natural reasoning.

He appeals to what we know to be true about ourselves, that we are sinners.

If he can, he will bring us right back to our bondage.

It was Martin Luther who rediscovered the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith.

Luther was a very conscientious person.

He had a sensitive conscience and was known to go to confession not only every day but sometimes two or three times a day, because after spending an hour confessing his sins, he would come back an hour or two later remembering there was a sin he didn’t confess.

But during these days he was also reading Romans, as well as Galatians and certain of the Psalms.

Here he had a breakthrough, largely from Romans 1:17.

When Luther saw that what Paul was saying was that faith alone pleases God, and it satisfies, to use Luther’s term, “the passive justice of God,” his world was changed.

He, in fact, woke up the world by his own world being turned upside down.

He did not know that he would turn the world upside down by simply trying to save his own soul.

The interesting thing is that Paul too rediscovered this teaching.

Paul realized that Abraham saw it long before, and David saw it.

The principal thing that we are to see is that we are justified by the combination of two things: what Jesus did  for us and our own faith in Him.

Or, to put it another way: His faith and our faith.

These two things must come together.

Excerpted from The God of the Bible (Authentic Media, 2002).

By R. T. KENDALL.

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