“Prioritizing Our Hopes” 10/31/2014 by Bill Sweeney

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Written by my friend Bill Sweeney, stricken with ALS 18 years ago. He now writes by use of an eye-tracking computer, with only his eye movements. Bill’s “Unshakable Hope” should give us all a reason to count our blessings !! (bruce) Read more about Bill @ http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/about/

View original post @ http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/prioritizing-our-hopes/

Prioritizing Our Hopes

When you go through a trial, especially an extended trial that disrupts or even destroys your earthly hopes and dreams, you either learn to focus and depend more on your eternal hope or slide further into despair.

I imagine that every Christian that has gone through an extended trial will remember coming to this difficult crossroad and facing this choice. In truth,

seek first

it’s a decision we should have made when we committed to follow Christ – whether or not we were going through a trial at the time. By definition, a Christian is someone whose primary hope is an eternal hope in Christ.

“…we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” (Hebrews 6:18-20)

I know that God wants us to have hopes in and for this life, but, for the Christian, those hopes must be secondary to our heavenly hope. Our heavenly hope must govern our earthly hopes. This is the only formula that leads to the “Abundant life” that the Bible talks about. If Jesus is not the Christian’s primary hope, he or she will have a really difficult time when (not if) a trial comes. Even when everything is going great (by the world’s standards), the Christian that does not have his or her hopes in order will not be experiencing the inner joy and peace that the Bible tells us we should have.

Unfortunately I speak from experience. If asked, I probably would have said that eternity was my primary hope before being diagnosed with ALS, but

aim at heaven

looking back now I really don’t think it was. It’s so easy to get caught up in our career, our marriage, raising kids, our homes and so many other things involved in day-to-day life that, without even realizing it, our earthly hopes and dreams can become our primary focus.

In this context, I think it’s fair to say that hope and love are synonymous. If Christ isn’t our primary hope, He is not what the Bible calls “our first (most important) love” either. I remember when I began reading the Bible, I had a real hard time with the following verse: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37)

Probably because I didn’t understand Christ’s nature at that time, His demand seemed harsh and even narcissistic. After reading the whole New Testament and getting a better understanding of His selfless nature, I realized that His demand had nothing to do with harshness or ego; it is a simple matter of priorities. It’s only by loving Christ more than anyone or anything that we are able to demonstrate His unconditional love to and for others. Likewise, it’s only when Christ is our greatest hope that we are able to fully appreciate and enjoy our earthly hopes. And, it’s only when Christ is our primary hope that we will know if our secondary hopes are also God’s hopes for us.

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“John 16:5-7 (Advocate)” 10/30/2014 by BJ Richardson

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Written by BJ Richardson for “The River Walk” @ http://tworiversblog.com/

View original post @ http://tworiversblog.com/2014/10/16/john-165-7-advocate/

John 16:5-7 (Advocate)

advocate (1)

But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send Him to you. (John 16:5-7)

Read: Luke 11:14 – 12:34

Relate: One of my favorite verses has always been out of Job. In the midst of his suffering-turned-argument, he cried out, “Even now my witness is in heaven, my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears tears to God.” Even though Job is speaking of one person, there is a trinitarian appeal of the three offices being referred to. It is the witness (the Father) who sees everything and knows the truth. It is the intercessor (the Son) who holds our hand and walks with us through the trial. (And ultimately volunteers to take our punishment) It is the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) who takes up our case.

Trinitarian or not, the nuts and bolts of the issue is that Job longed for an advocate, but not just any lawyer. He wanted an advocate from on high. He wanted someone taking up his case who has never lost and could never lose. He got it. Jesus promised us the same. He promised that when He left us, He would send the Advocate in His place. That Advocate has come, and everyone who has surrendered their life to Christ has that Advocate dwelling with them. In Greek the word is Parakletos. It comes from two words: para – close beside and kaleo – to make a call. Basically, it is a legal reference for the one calling the shots on our behalf. He is our legal representation.

React: So the question is: if the Holy Spirit is an ever victorious Advocate, are we following His counsel? I recently saw Gone Girl (horrible movie) in which Nick comes to the realization that, even though he is completely innocent (of murder), he needs a really good lawyer or he’s going to face the death penalty. Within seconds of meeting the infamous Tanner Bolt, the defense lawyer is giving him marching orders. “This is what you need to do…” As situations continue to change and evolve, the lawyer continues to call the shots as to how Nick can stay ahead of the game. That is what the Holy Spirit, as an Advocate, is doing for us. But are we listening? Are we heeding His counsel? Am I?

Respond: View video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9jhcFxIhCpU

God, help me to listen. Help me to heed Your leading and direction. No matter where that leading might take me, no matter how difficult of undesirable that counsel might be at times, give me the courage to follow through. I know You have my best interests at heart. I know that Your wisdom and guidance is always, always perfect. Help me to follow.

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“LIGHT UP YOUR WORKPLACE!” 10/29/2014 by Dave Boller

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Written by Dave Boller for “Working for Christ” @ http://work4christ.wordpress.com

View original @ http://work4christ.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/light-up-your-workplace/

LIGHT UP YOUR WORKPLACE!

“You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)

prayer

Are you in the right job, following the proper career path, living in the right city? How can you be certain that God has you where he wants you? The strongest evidence is simply that we’re there. He knows where we are. He sees us (Luke 12:6-7). He is always with us (1 Corinthians 3:16). He has a plan for each of us. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). So where we are now – no matter where that may be – is no accident. Until we hear differently, we’ve got to assume that where we are is where He wants us to be – for His reasons, and for His purposes.

One of those purposes, if not the main one, is to bring “light” into our regions of influence and impact (Matthew 5:14). Jesus tells us not to hide the light that radiates from us when we follow Him. “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our light begins to dim when we get too comfortable with the places where we work and live. Our light is extinguished when we succumb and begin to follow our worldly desires instead of those ordained by Christ. We need to resist the worldly beliefs and values that so many of us tend to follow. We need to remember who we are – as Christians.

We follow Christ! Our values are His values! We believe in Him! That is the belief we live by!

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

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“Where’s Your Hope?” 10/28/2014 by Robert VanHoose

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Written by the wise 85 yr old Robert VanHoose @ http://www.homilygrits.com

October 20
Read Hebrews 10,
Psalm 33

“Where’s Your Hope?”

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-32

There seems to be a lot of wishing going on without much hoping. We wish or desire for what we perceive are good things for ourselves and others, but somehow seem to become very doubtful about our wishes coming true.

“I wish I could lose ten pounds.” “I wish I could get a new car,” “I wish I would win the lottery,” are just a few of the desires expressed that are common to many people.

There is often a large gap between our wish and our hope with regard to salvation. When asked about being sure of going to heaven, even many professing believers become hesitant and unsure. “I think I am,” “I hope that I am,” and often “how can anyone be sure of this.”

We must understand the facts: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:12-14)

It is so good to know that our hope is a living hope based on the incredible power of God, where it becomes not only a desire but an expectation and confirmed fact of faith.

When our hope is confirmed by faith and trust in the incredible promises of God, we are no longer tossed about by conflict and doubt, but stand strong in the security of God’s love and the blessed assurance of the hope we have in Him.

We can not only hope but, like Job, know that “our redeemer lives and that He will again stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25  NIV)

Father, give me that hope that cannot disappoint, in a God who cannot fail. Amen

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“Are We Relying On “Who We Are” or “What He Has Done” To Save Us From Our Sins?” 10/27/2014 by Pastor Rob Barkman

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Written by Pastor Rob Barkman for “Settled In Heaven Ministries” @ http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/

View original post @ http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/the-revelation-of-jesus-christ-them-which-say-they-are-jews-and-are-not/

Are We Relying On “Who We Are” or “What He Has Done” To Save Us From Our Sins?

SIH TOTT ICON

Rev 2:9 KJV   I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

The people being described in this section of Scripture were physical Jews that did not accept Christ as their Messiah. They were making a claim that they were members of Jehovah’s nation of Israel and, therefore, had found favor with Him.

They were being truthful when they claimed they were a part of the physical nation of Israel, however they were wrong in assuming because of their physical lineage they were accepted by God. This is where the “blasphemy” came in. By making a claim that “God accepts people based upon their physical lineage” is a blasphemous statement that demeans the great Lord that we serve. They were picturing the Lord as a respecter of persons and One that forgave sins based upon the keeping of the OT laws. No wonder they are charged with blasphemy!

Although they were physical Israelites, these unbelievers due to their unbelief were not accepted by God, nor counted as a members of His spiritual nation. Their sinful condition separated them from their God and their lack of faith in Christ exempted them from the redemptive work of Christ. In that sense, they were not a part of the people of God and, therefore, they “say they are Jews, and ARE NOT”.

The Lord goes on and describes them as being “of the synagogue of Satan”. In other words, their religious acts of worship and service were actually furthering the cause of Satan. Through their proclamation of a false means of acceptance by God (their physical lineage) they were leading men astray and condemning their followers to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

To this day, the unbelieving members of the physical Jewish nation believe their hearts are right with God. But apart from Jesus Christ’s gracious granting of repentance and belief, they will not be found acceptable in God’s sight. Apart from them turning to the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in His name, they will be eternally condemned with all others members of fallen mankind. God is no respecter of persons and, as such, does not save based upon our good works, physical lineage, social status, amount of wealth possessed, level of intelligence, or position of authority we may hold.

Folks, we need to always keep in our minds that the only way that any of us can be found acceptable in the sight of God is through faith in Christ and His work on the cross…

Eph 2:7-9 KJV

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

If we have been truly saved, it is ONLY because of the Lord’s gracious intervention in our lives. We deserve absolutely ZERO “credit” for our salvation… everything that led up to our salvation and that secured our salvation were acts of intervention in our lives by a gracious, Sovereign Lord.

May we all serve Him with renewed hearts of thanksgiving, knowing He loves us, died for us, lead us to repentance and belief in His name, all of which resulted in the eternal deliverance from our debt of sin and the receipt of His eternal inheritance on the New Earth in the New Jerusalem, the home of His spiritual nation… “The Israel of God”…

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” .

(Galatians 6:15-16)

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3LW

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“The Truth about Sin” 10/26/2014 by bruce (Reposted from 7/11/2013)

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“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com/

Romans 5:12… Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (NKJV)

Most people believe sin began in the Garden of Eden, but it didn’t… Sin began when God’s top angel Lucifer, decided to flex his power, and wanted to become equal to God…Isaiah 14:12-14… Here is a link to an interesting answer as to why God allowed Satan and the demons to sin… http://www.gotquestions.org/angels-sin.html

Sin, by its very nature, is born into every human being, since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, to the serpent’s (Satan’s) temptations… This natural sin nature is part of everyone’s natural make-up, from the time they are young children, until the time that they pass on from this life…

That 3 year old, who is told NO by their parents, goes right ahead and disobeys their parents at the first chance they get… This rebellion against their parents turns into rebellion against God, as a child grows older… God hates sin, because it is independent rebellion against God; and will devastate the lives of everyone that remains living in sin…in bondage to Satan and the ways of the world…1 John 2:15-16

The sad truth about sin, is that it blinds the unbeliever…2 Corinthians 4:4… whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV) (More about “the light of the gospel” of our Lord Jesus Christ, later)…

Satan is the father of sin (John 8:44), and a master of disguise… The Apostle Paul warns about false prophets and Satan himself in…2 Corinthians 11:12-14… For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (NKJV)

Thank goodness God sent His Son Jesus Christ, born to the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18)…who’s shed blood on the cross at Calvary, will cleanse the sins of those who are first drawn in by God…John 6:44… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (NKJV)

Upon understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the sins of the unbeliever will be replaced with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9…&…2 Corinthians 5:21)…as God’s free gift of grace through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, fills the heart, mind, and soul of the new child of God…

Ephesians 2:8-9… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)

There is nothing an unbeliever can do on their own merit… No amount of good works done in the name of the Lord, can cleanse away sins… All of our own righteousness is absolutely worthless…Isaiah 64:6… Jesus warns those who falsely believe that their good works done in the name of the Lord (like going to church every week), will forgive sins…when Jesus warns those around Him (and us) about this, in…

Matthew 7:21-23… “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (NKJV)

Having one’s lifetime of sins forgiven, is pure grace given to the unredeemed sinner by God… God’s grace is given by God to those who seek Jesus Christ to become their personal Lord and Savior, through a personal one on One relationship that is established between the unredeemed sinner and Jesus Christ…

This is accomplished through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, through obedience to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the sinner realizes they can in no way save themselves and turn to the Lord…repenting and turning from their sins with godly sorrow and a repentant heart…2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

The inspiration for today’s writing came from listening to Dr. Charles Stanley’s 2 days of 20 minute audio sermons, on July 8th and 9th… You can listen to them by going to… http://www.intouch.org/broadcast/audio-archives Dr. Stanley’s second day of July 9th, will explain in detail how God’s saving grace is received through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ… I must note that the prayer Dr. Stanley asks the unbeliever to make, must be made with ALL of their heart, ALL of their mind, and ALL of their soul…Matthew 22:36-40

I can only tell you from my own personal experience…that I made this prayer several times before God graced me with salvation… It’s not the prayer that saves; it is a changed heart that is regenerated by God… The final time I prayed with true godly sorrow and a repentant heart, I absolutely knew beyond any doubt, that I was just then a redeemed child of God… It is God’s decision, and God’s perfect timing, to grace someone with eternal life with Him in heaven…

All Spirit filled Christians should absolutely, positively know for sure, that they are indeed a redeemed child of God… The Apostle Paul tells us this, in… Romans 8:15-16… For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (NKJV)

There should be no doubts for the Spirit filled Christian about where they will be headed upon their death… No wondering if they are good enough to get into heaven… Because none of us are good enough…Romans 3:23… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJV) But when the peace of God fills His new child with the Holy Spirit, (John 14:26), this peace God gives to His Spirit filled children (Ephesians 5:18-20), goes beyond our mortal understanding…

Philippians 4:6-7… Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

I wrote about this God given peace (even in the face of death), when I wrote…“Do You Fear the Lord ??”…that can be found by going to http://www.Godsmanforever.wordpress.com and typing 6/22/2013 into the search window…

The power of the Holy Spirit can and will conquer sin, by those who without question, have placed their lives in the hands of the Lord… The Apostle James says this best, when he penned this, in…James 4:7-8… Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NKJV)

Heavenly Father, Your Word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…Hebrews 4:12-13… I pray Lord, that You would draw those that You don’t yet recognize as Your children, to Yourself…John 6:44… And that the truth from Your Word through obedience to the gospel of Your Son Jesus Christ, would set them free from Satan’s chains of bondage…John 8:32… I pray for this fullness of Christ in all of our lives, in Jesus’ most precious name and for His sake…Amen…

Blessings in Christ,  bruce

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Save a Little Love For Me

I post this today for all married stay at home as well as working moms struggling with raising kids and keeping house…  But today is relevant for both men and women sharing a home together with children…

Blessings in Christ,  bruce

Save a Little Love For Me


He grabs his boots, or his briefcase, or his suitcase – and He’s headed off to work.

She’s busy making breakfast for the little ones already awake. The cereal spills across the kitchen floor just as the baby monitor lights up. Someone else needs her too.

She pours milk into the bowl, steps over the mess, and as she walks towards the nursery she shouts over her shoulder, “LOVE YOU! Have a great day, honey!”

He knows there will be so much demanded of her. He knows that she will spend every ounce of who she is taking care of the house and the babies and the bills. She won’t get a break or get to stop worrying, or caring, or planning all day. He knows that she will be exhausted when he walks back through that door, but his hope is the same day after day.

As she disappears around the corner, he whispers under his breath, “Save a little love for me.”

For the nurse and the coach, for the teacher and the banker, for the clerk and the pastor –

For each of us, our hope is the same.

May we never pour out so much of ourselves that we don’t have anything left to give our spouse at the end day. May we never forget the love that was so abundant in the beginning. And may we never lose sight of forever.

A simple reminder from the ones that we love, and to the ones that we love –

No matter how you will spend your day,

Just save a little love for me.

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