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Posts tagged ‘Religion & Spirituality’

Dress Rehearsal for Heaven.


Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:9

Recommended Reading
Revelation 5:11-14 [ http://iz3.me/0wWS1z3Fe1A1 ]

Actors know the value of rehearsals. And the most important rehearsals are the dress rehearsals in which every aspect of the performance — costumes, script, lights, music — is carried out exactly as it will be in the actual performance. Non-dress rehearsals are fine for getting oriented, but dress rehearsals are where one prepares for the actual performance.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message [ http://iz3.me/1wWS1z3Fe1A1 ]

There is a sense in which the Christian’s life on earth is a dress rehearsal for heaven. Not in terms of costumes and theatrics, but in terms of worship and devotion to the One we will worship for all eternity — the Lamb who sits on the throne of heaven. If He is to receive “blessing and honor and glory and power … forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13), then the more we rehearse that worship now, the more seamless our transition to eternity will be — the more comfortable and secure we will be in our role as eternal citizens of the New Jerusalem.

Because our eternal life has already begun (John 17:3), so should our dress rehearsal for eternity!

I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.
A. W. Tozer

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Numbers 30–32

By David Jeremiah.

Obamacare Subscribers Take Big Out-of-Pocket Hits.


Image: Obamacare Subscribers Take Big Out-of-Pocket Hits Customer service agents at Covered California’s Concord call center.

By Drew MacKenzie

The Obamacare nightmare never ends as scores of frustrated patients are finding out while paying hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets for doctors visits, and drugs even though they have already paid for their insurance premiums.

People who have taken out policies from state and federal healthcare exchanges are now venting their anger at overwhelmed insurance companies while running into a whole new set of problems following the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The consumers are spending countless hours attempting to contact insurance company call centers — and often don’t even get through.

And even if they succeed, they cannot get their coverage confirmed, they cannot get simple questions answered, and they cannot get the vital identification numbers to receive medical care or get their prescription drugs, says the report.

Without the necessary documentation to show that they have paid for the first month of their policy and should be receiving coverage effective January 1, they are instead having to foot their huge medical bills themselves, if they can actually afford it.

The Times says that “the dismal service” is sweeping the insurance industry, posing another crisis that President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy never envisioned. And the newspaper warns that it could “sour” potential consumers from signing up by the first deadline on March 31.

“Health plans have gone above and beyond to protect consumers from disruptions caused by the ongoing problems with HealthCare.gov,” said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group. “The last-minute changes to deadlines and rules have made the process more complicated and time-consuming.”

Alan Sager, a health policy professor at Boston University, called the insurance company chaos the latest crisis under the Affordable Care Act.

“There’s equal opportunity for incompetence by the public and private sector in administering such a large new program,” he said. “People are deservedly angry and resentful.”

Blue Shield of California, in fact, went as far to apologize to customers on its Facebook page this week for its “unacceptable” performance, says the Times. “While we anticipated and planned for increased traffic, the sheer volume of enrollments has swamped all major health plans,” the company said.

In another posting on the page, the company said, “In response to the high volume of inquiries, we are extending our service hours … to meet the increased demand. We are also tripling our website bandwidth to support new enrollees making payments online. Thanks for hanging in there.”

WellPoint, the country’s second largest health insurer and parent company of Anthem Blue Cross, also admitted that it’s been under pressure from a large volume of callers in California and the 13 other states where it operates.

More than 1,000 employees, in fact, took one million calls over two days last week, roughly the number it usually receives in a month.

WellPoint spokeswoman Kristin Binns blamed the government for the problem, saying that changes to deadlines and regulations “are impacting the timeline for us to process customer applications, issue billing statements, process payment and issue coverage ID cards.”

She added, “We greatly appreciate patience during this transitional time and apologize for any inconvenience they may have experienced.”

The disastrous Obamacare rollout took another hit on Friday when Forbes revealedthat the health insurance giant Humana said it was set to have a bad year in 2014 because of the new law.

The revenue from Medicare will be substantially higher for Humana because of the increased number of enrollees dumped into the federal program because they were ineligible to receive policies from the federal and state exchanges.

But Forbes says, “Any additional business will be fully offset by its bad experience with Obamacare. As a result, its earnings will remain flat this year. The company says that it expects the higher costs will result from the older and less healthy population that’s enrolling in its Obamacare plans (the bad ‘mix’).”

However, there is one small piece of good news for the troubled healthcare reform law. More than three-quarters of visitors to HealthCare.gov who were eligible for insurance are healthy, according to a new survey.

The study by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund, which ran through the end of December, also found a great number of young adults, 41 percent, logged onto the website.

Obamacare depends on a large contingent of young and healthy people to sign up for the system to help cover the medical costs of older and less-abled consumers.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Just Keep Sowing.


It…is…so…frustrating! 

You spend hours and hours with a friend, helping them work through the same issues again and again, helping them carry their enormous amount of baggage. You tell your son not to punch his brother for the bajillionth (1 followed by, like, inifinity zeros) time. You desperately pray for the salvation of your parents for five years, ten years, even twenty years. You bust your butt (or “bottom” as we say in my child-friendly house) to serve a difficult person in the church.

And yet, in spite of all your efforts, you don’t see any fruit. It appears that your friend is still carrying the same baggage. You son is still throwing blistering haymakers and jabs at his brother. Your parents seem to be even less receptive to the gospel than in previous years. And that difficult person in the church is still being… let’s see, how do we say this?… difficult. You’re doing the work, you’re not a slacker! (see What About Bob?). But you’re not seeing any results.

What is the point of it all? Why should you keep investing yourself in a person when you are seeing zero fruit? Why should you keep working on a relationship that just doesn’t seem to be working?

1 Corinthians 15:58 says:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Paul knows we will be tempted to think our labor is in vain. A waste. Absolutely useless. So Paul reminds us of the truth. Our labor for God is never in vain. Our work for God is never wasted. God promises that he will use our labor and sweat and tears for his purposes, to bring him glory. Even if we don’t see results, we can be assured that God is working. Most of the time we have no idea how God is using our efforts. As Charles Bridges says:

Apparent must not be the measure of the real result…. There may be solid work advancing underground, without any sensible excitement; as we observe the see that produces the heaviest grain lies the longest in the earth. We are not always the best judges of the results of our Ministry. (The Christian Ministry, 73)

In other words, our perception of what God is doing in a person is often very different from what God is actually doing in that person. It may appear that nothing is happening in a person, when in reality, God is at work all over the place. We have no idea what God is doing quietly, behind the scenes. We have no idea how he is pressing, convicting, and shaping a person. We have no idea how God is using our labors to draw a person to himself. We usually are not the best judges of the results of our ministry.

So we must be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work God has called us to. Be steadfast in raising, instructing, and training your children, even when it seems like you’re on a wash, rinse, and repeat cycle. Be faithful in helping your baggage-carrying friend, even if it seems like the baggage is actually accumulating! Be abounding in the work of serving others, even when there is no thanks in return.

Why? Because YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN! God will use it. He will be faithful. Don’t hang all your faith on visible results. We don’t know what God is doing. We do know that our work is never wasted.

Stephen Altrogge

Daniel’s Principles of Prayer.


Dag Heward-Mills

1. Prayer is very important.

2. No one is ever too busy, too blessed or too
successful to pray.

3. Prayer is the source of our power and protection.

4. Prayer is important in acquiring and sustaining the blessings of God.

5. For prayer to be effective, it must be habitual.

6. Prayer must continue both in troubled times and in times of peace.

7. Every nation needs lots of prayer and prayerful leaders.

8. It is important to pray for long periods of time.

9. It is important to enter your closet for effective prayer.

10. Everyone must develop the ability and the formulae
for praying four times a day.

Don’t throw away your tomorrow…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9

God wants you to be the kind of person who, in the midst of a difficult struggle or tragic loss, never gives up, never loses hope, and always trusts that his love will work it out in the end.

Right now, your life may not look the way you think it should look, but I believe that in the end you will say, “I have been living God’s best the whole time. There’s no doubt in my mind that God treasured me, valued me. Because I followed him and hoped in him, by no means did I miss out on the calling of my life.”

In the words of my grandfather, “Don’t throw away tomorrow,” Don’t give up. Don’t check out. Don’t fall into despair, but trust that, even now, in the hardest times, that the love of God endures for you. You may be much closer than you think. Don’t quit and don’t give up, but lean on God and his enduring love.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I don’t want to lose hope. Even though I struggle, I believe in you. I lean on you. I won’t give up. Your enduring love is the fuel for a hope-filled life. Amen.

Reflection: How do you find the hope to carry on and thrive when you are weary?

{ Day 198 }.


But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. —Isaiah 35:9-10

God is the God of gladness, a happy God of infinite joy. In the billions of years that we will relate to Him, His anger will only be for a brief moment, and the other 99.9999999 percent of our experience and relationship with Him will be based on the gladness of His heart toward us. He is a God of happy holiness, without any contradiction between those words. His holiness flows from abundant joy that cannot be imagined. This does not deny His anger with rebellion. He is fierce to remove what hinders the love between you and Him. But in the life of a sincere believer, there is an important distinction between rebellion and immaturity. They are entirely different things. God hates rebellion, but He sees immaturity as something other than outright sin. He is smart enough to separate the individual from the sin. He can enjoy us and still disapprove of things we do or believe, like a parent who disciplines and enjoys a child from one moment to the next.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, I want to experience the happy, abundant joy that will permeate eternity. Reveal Your exuberant Father heart to me, Your child. Raise me up to share Your eternal joy.

The God of affection—this is the foundational
truth that you experience in your intimacy
with Jesus.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Be God’s Standard Bearer.


Is this not the fast that I have chosen?-.-.-.-That thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? —Isaiah 58:6, 7

This text is the foundation for our becoming one of God’s standard bearers. Too often the church has gone rushing into battle with dirty garments and soiled uniforms. Too often the church has tried to call the world to repent before she has left the night of sin. We need to come out of our deserts—soiled with past battles and sins—and be washed by living water.

In this text the Spirit of God admonishes us not to hide ourselves from our own flesh. We have been so busy playing the victim and blaming someone else for our failure to obey the commands of God that we have forgotten we were the ones who made the conscious decision to sin.

Before you can progress and rise to the rank of a mighty standard bearer in the kingdom of God you must first hear and respond to His primary call. God’s first trumpet call to raise up standard bearers in the church is not to battle but to repentance.

Before we can become clear, transparent, shining, bright as the sun, we must repent and convert so that when the refreshing, revival, and restoration of God comes, we can receive all God has for us as His standard-bearers.

Purify my heart, O God. Make me beautiful,
clean, and pure as the moon reflecting
Your light. Make me transparent,
shining, and bright as the sun.
Make my life a light shining
for Jesus. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

Secure Your Victory.


My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. —Hosea 4:6

When you give in to temptation, it is because you have not secured your victory for one of two reasons:

1. You are receiving His Word but choosing not to walk in it. When you know what the Bible says about your situation and walk in the light of that knowledge, you will not fall into temptation. You will see the snares of the devil and avoid them.

2. You are yielding to temptation because you are uninformed of God‘s instructions.

We are required to walk in the revelation of the Word, whether we have received it or not. Just because you don’t know the law doesn’t mean you won’t get arrested for disobeying it. People get into all kinds of sin, die of cancer, and live in poverty. Why? Because they are ignorant of the power available to them.

Secure your victory by finding out what God has to say about your situation and then determine to do what He says to do about it.

Lord, teach me Your Word and Your
ways. I will read, study, meditate upon,
and apply Your Word this day in all
that I say and do. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

{ Day 155 }.


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.” —Psalm 118:1-4

We are loved by Him, and therefore, we are lovers of Him. That is our primary identity. From this perspective, life looks totally different because no matter what happens, a song fills our hearts, our spirits are stirred, and our inner man becomes tender toward God. I have set out to do risky ministry endeavors that the Lord called me to and have unexpectedly hit many brick walls. During such times the Lord makes clear to me that He does not want ministry or financial success to be our primary reward. He wants His Son to be our magnificent obsession, not the fact that we might preach to a stadium of one hundred thousand people and lead ten thousand to the Lord. The great news is that when your primary reward is in place, you can be in prison and still be successful. You can have the disappointments of a lifetime in your ministry and have people in the local church misunderstand you and write you off, but you will still be successful in your heart if loving Him and being loved by Him are your primary reward.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Loving You and being loved by You are all the reward I need. Keep me from allowing achievements or successes to be more important than Your love.

I know about ministry endeavors in which I felt as
if I had lost ground, even though I knew I was
in the will of God.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 154 }.


As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. —1 John 2:27

Secondary rewards on the earth are very important. They include an anointed ministry, a breakthrough of finances, a couple of good friends, health, and strength. All of these are very important rewards, but they are secondary. I love the secondary rewards. We need them, and they are God’s will. When the first commandment is seen as a task of labor—as a sacrifice—the secondary rewards often become primary to us. In other words, our main concern becomes how much anointing is on our ministry, how much money we have, the condition of our health, and the number of deep and loyal friendships we have. These secondary rewards become our primary focus when we see ourselves as making sacrifices for God. However, such rewards become secondary when Jesus is our magnificent obsession, because our highest level of purpose is fulfilled.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, may loving You never become a task of labor or a difficult sacrifice to me. Your Son, Jesus, has become my magnificent obsession.

We become powerful and fearless in the grace
of God when the primary purpose of love for
which we were created begins to be fulfilled.

By MIKE BICKLE.

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