“3 Key Areas of a Spiritual Life” 3/27/2015 by Pastor Dennis Thurman

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Written by Pastor Dennis Thurman of http://www.mountain-top-musings.blogspot.com

Original post found @ http://mountain-top-musings.blogspot.com/2015/03/spiritual-service.html

3 Key Areas of a Spiritual Life

I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you… (Exodus 31:6b)

Are you a spiritual person? Some equate it with emotion—the more I laugh or cry, the more spiritual I am. Others associate it with volume—loud “Amens” or quiet contemplation. Then some connect it with posture—kneeling down or raising hands. While I am not opposed to any of that in its place—none of that makes a person spiritual. Bezalel and Aholiab are examples.

THE SPIRITUAL SERVANT IS ENLISTED BY GOD (v.1-2). Bezalel heard the call of God and responded to it. We observe God’s sovereign choice. It is God’s decision, not our desire determining the nature of our service (see 1 Cor.12:18). The spiritual person knows that whether they are in the spotlight or behind the scenes, there is no room for either conceit on one hand or covetousness on the other. Either one will hinder our service and isn’t spiritual. Our enlistment also involves God’s specific calling. God called Bezalel by name—now that’s specific! God calls us to salvation by name (John 10:1-4). The same God who calls us to salvation, calls us to service. He has a specific assignment. Have you heard God’s call and responded to it?

THE SPIRITUAL SERVANT IS EQUIPPED BY GOD (v.3) We note that God promises the power of the Holy Spirit to enable Bezalel to accomplish his assignment. We can be sure that the work God has for us flows from His work in us. Think about the definition of being Spirit-filled. During the Old Testament era, the Spirit only filled select people for specific purposes for set periods. In the New Testament age, every believer has the privilege of the Spirit’s indwelling and the potential of His infilling. Paul wrote, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18).  As being filled with liquor affects a person in a sinful way, so being filled with the Lord affects him or her in a needful way! When someone is filled with liquor it controls them and impacts their thinking, vision, speech, walk, personality—so too when filled with the Spirit! There is also the diversity in receiving spiritual gifts. A special giftedness was imparted to Bezalel. The gifts Moses had and those Aaron had and those Joshua had and those Bezalel had differed—but all were needed. That’s the way it is in the body of Christ. Each of us need to discover, develop and deploy our spiritual gifts.

THE SPIRITUAL SERVANT IS EMPLOYED BY GOD (v.4-11). The spiritual person has not only been enlisted, and equipped, they are employed. This brings the proof of our calling. Bezalel was faithful and fruitful. This leads to the performance of our duty. God hasn’t called us to be ornamental, but instrumental. Spiritual gifts aren’t for show, but for service. They aren’t given to puff up the Christian, but to build up the church! During the reign of Oliver Cromwell in England, there was a shortage of silver for minting coins. A search was made, and all they could find was in the churches’ statues of the saints. Cromwell said, “It’s time we melted down the saints and put them into circulation.” That needs to happen in the church.

The spiritual person is born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and using spiritual gifts. Are all these attributes present in your life?

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Dennis Thurman has pastored churches in Western North Carolina for 36 years. Currently, he is Senior Pastor of Pole Creek Baptist Church where he has served for almost 20 years. Married to Marilyn for 40 years, they have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.

This article was originally posted on Dennis’ blog, Mountain Top Musings

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“The Faith of The Centurion” 3/26/2015 by Karina Susanto

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org/
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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

 

Written by Karina Susanto @ http://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/

Original post @ https://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/the-faith-of-the-centurion/

“The Faith of The Centurion”

by Karina Susanto

Mar21

THE FAITH OF THE CENTURION -Karina's Thought
Today yearly Bible reading reached to the book of Matthew 8 and I am interested to share a bit what I have learned from the Centurion of Capernaum in verse 5 to 13. Even though this passage talks about faith of the centurion, I got another important lesson from this centurion. There are three important things we could learn from this passage. Let’s have a look together.

Mercy

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help for his paralyzed servant at his home. (Matthew 8:6 NIV) The centurion came to Jesus not because he is sick but he felt so sorry with his servant’s suffering. As a leader, would be so easy for him to cast away his servant and find a new one. But let’s see, he was willing to spent his time and try hard to meet Jesus. Here we could see that the centurion not just had a mercy but also accompanied with action by asking for help to Jesus. He did something concrete.

A question arises in my mind. In this very difficult live today, how big our mercy to our friends or relatives who are in difficult situation and need our hand? Whether our mercy has been accompanied with action? It is easy to have mercy but we may not easy to help them concretely. We may tend to have sympathy but difficult to have empathy. I often heard the old and classic reason: “How we could help others if ourselves in the difficult and shortcomings situation?” I remembered with the church in Macedonian. In the midst of very severe trial, they still have overflowing joy in giving and they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. (2 Corinthians 8:2-4 NIV) Maybe this time we do not like the church in Macedonia who is in poverty but are we already have generosity to give a little we have for those who are in need? Are we already have mercy that accompanied by action? It is very good to show a mercy and sympathy, but in reality oftentimes it is not enough to lighten those who have burden concretely.

Actually, God takes into account all mercy that we show to our neighbor no matter how small it is. Jesus said: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV) In our daily lives I often see the contrary situation to what was done by this centurion. The higher one’s position they lose their sense of mercy for others. This centurion has great mercy regardless of his position or status. And did not merely have sense of mercy but he revealed with the real action. This centurion of Capernaum can be a role model to us to always remember to have sense of mercy to others no matter their position lower than us or not because God alone has a great mercy to us and He will forget our sins.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV)

Humility

Now let’s take a look at the second important thing from the centurion of Capernaum. Humility! Yes this centurion had humility. Let us examine together. After Jesus knew the centurion ask for help to heal his servant, Jesus said that He wanted to come to the centurion’s house and heal his servant.

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

(Matthew 8:7-8 NIV)

Let’s pay attention to the centurion reaction. He did not say: “Yes, that is I want from you. Please come to my house and heal my servant immediately” but let’s look at his answer on verse 8: “Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof…” Here we can see the sense of humility of this centurion. There are two things that show the centurion’s humility. First, let us notice to his efforts to meet Jesus in order to his servant to be healed. I imagine one thing. As a centurion, I do believe he has a lot of soldiers. It will be easier he ordered one of his men to go to meet Jesus. But he did not do it. He did it himself. The second thing is he felt unworthy to have Jesus come to his house. This centurion really realized who he was and that was clearly reflected in the following verse:

“For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me…. “(Verse 9)

This humble centurion truly realized that he is not the highest person in the world. He still has a leader and above of all he really realized that he was dealing with the King of kings.

To be honest, this part immensely touched my heart, become a rebuke, and makes me asking to myself. As a person who has position in the company, whether I already have humility in the eyes of all who are under me? This centurion becomes a great reminder to me. Although I have high position and big authority but there is still my parents who in fact is the owner of the company. Every single policy and decision that I take still needs their approval. And more than it all, there is God who created and become the owner of all in this world. This time maybe God bless us with the very high position and have full authority in a company, an organization or wherever we are. Be grateful for that and be grateful God entrust us to sit on the high position. But we must always remember to keep being humble. Remember that all of it is blessing from God. If we are become arrogant, God will not be pleased and anytime He can take it all back from us. Let us learn from the centurion of Capernaum to always has humility as God commanded,

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2 NIV)

… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)

Great Faith

My beloved readers, now we come to the part that become a title of this passage. For me, this section is the most important thing that I got and learned from this centurion. It is talk about something that becomes a foundation in the Christian living. Now we talk about faith. The centurion had something great and awesome. He had a great faith. Let’s take a look again to the verse 8.

For he was not worthy to have Jesus come in his house, then he said: “But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” I am so impressed with his word. This is amazing words that show such a great faith. His faith made him believe that God has a mighty power that is not limited by the dimensions of space and time. His faith also made him believe that through one word, Jesus has incredible power to do a healing miracle to his servant who far away in his house without Jesus’ touches hand directly. When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him:

“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Verse 10)

I imagine what I will do if one day my baby boy is sick then I ask my pediatrician come to my house but unfortunately he could not come and just give me suggestions what I have to do. Perhaps I will remain force the pediatrician come to my house because I will not satisfied and believe if I not see my doctor directly cure my baby. Oh, how much I want to have great faith like this centurion. Without need to look directly Jesus heal his servant, his great faith makes him believe that his servant will definitely healed. And it is proven. Jesus said, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. (Verse 13)

This time I will not deliver my thought about faith too much. I have written some posts which talk about faith and there are so many other excellent posts in the blog which talk about the same thing. Right now I just want to all of us to take a moment asking ourselves: How big our faith now? Whether we already have a great faith like this centurion? Are we having a great faith that makes us believe a miraculous thing will surely happen without we need to see it first? How deep these following verses embedded in our heart?

“…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b NIV)

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

Whether our faith can make us believe something invisible, believe something unbelievable and make us believe can receives something impossible [i] as we believe there is God even we cannot see His real figure? Let’s together examine ourselves again how the quality of our faith today.

My dear friends, at the end of this post I encourage all of us to learn from the centurion of Capernaum wholeheartedly. Let us unite in prayer, pray for one another so that in every step of our lives, we have great mercy and accompanied with real action for our neighbor regardless of whom they are and no matter whom we are. Let us also remain have the humility even though we have a high position and authority wherever we are. Although there is no one higher than us, still remember there is God who the highest of the high. And the most important thing let us always maintain our faith in God. Let us pray so our faith keep growing, getting stronger day by day, strengthen our faith with outpouring of God’s word every day and finally will enable us to believe in something without having to look at. Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: historylectionary.com

[i] Quoted from Corrie Ten Boom’s quote

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The Perfect Way!

Godsmanforever:

As imperfect human beings, flawed from birth with sin nature…there is only one perfect way… That is the Lord’s way, that always following the Holy Spirit will be the right path to follow !!

Blessings in Christ, bruce

Originally posted on maryhallrayford:

“You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:28,30 NIV)

In order to be perfect–flawless–there has to be no room for options or choice. Since we always have options, we can never attain perfection. Years ago, while I was praying, the Lord revealed to me that we achieve perfection when we are either dead or in a coma–not having the ability to choose anything.

There are no perfect people walking in the earth, but there is our perfect God–reigning in heaven–One who is flawless and incapable of error. His name is Jesus Christ, Our Lord! Since He is perfect–all of His ways are perfect and when we do things His way–we get closer to perfection–in living a life, pleasing…

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“The Upside Down and Backwards Trait” 3/25/2015 by Nancy Ruegg

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Written by Nancy Ruegg @ http://nancyaruegg.com

View original post @ http://nancyaruegg.com/2015/03/16/the-upside-down-and-backwards-trait/

The Upside Down and Backwards Trait

March 16, 2015 by Nancy Ruegg

Antiques-Roadshow

“Do you have any idea how much your painting is worth?” asks the antiques dealer.

“No, not really,” the owner answers.

“At auction, this portrait would probably bring…(a bit of a pause)…$5,000 or more.

The owner gasps. “And to think I only paid $25.00 at a garage sale!”

Scenes such as this are quite frequent on the popular TV program, Antiques Roadshow. It’s quite astonishing how valuable some common-looking items turn out to be. But I can’t help feeling a bit sad for the previous owners, who had no idea the worth of their possessions.

There are some folks who see little worth in the teachings of Jesus. To their way of thinking, his world view and expectations seemed upside down and backwards.

For example, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus highlighted attributes that the world does not value, yet God considers of great worth. Meekness would be a prime example.

Part of the problem lies in a common misunderstanding of the attribute. People think a meek person as weak-willed, passive, and too nice for her own good.

Such thinking is far from the truth.

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Meekness includes:

* Surrender to God
* Trust and confidence in His ways and provision
* Gentleness and humility with others
* More concern for the interests of others than one’s own
* Self-control, self-sacrifice, faith, patience, and forbearance
* A gentle and soothing disposition

A weak-willed, passive person cannot demonstrate such traits. Meekness requires strength of character; it is power under control.

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Imagine wild stallions running free across rolling hills. Manes and tails undulate and flow in the wind, muscles strain beneath gleaming coats, hooves pound a rapid rhythm. Indeed, stallions in motion is a majestic sight. They exude power. But that power is useless to man unless it is harnessed and trained.

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That’s the picture of meekness–strength under control. Strength to do the right thing at the right time. It’s not a human personality trait; it’s a super-human God trait. And the more we know his Son and abide in him, the more we’ll demonstrate meekness.

What might that look like, day-to-day? First, there would be no:

* Mean-spirited sarcasm and rudeness
* Arrogant behavior
* Concern for prestige
* Over-sensitivity or defensiveness

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Instead, the beauty of meekness includes:

* Quiet trusting in God to supply
* Adherence to the Golden Rule
* Love in action—caring, giving, helping
* Gracious understanding and forgiveness

The world would be a different place if meekness were a more prevalent trait.

Some of you may recall the old tune, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Do you remember the next line? “And let it begin with me.”

Surely the same could be said for meekness. We can each be an example. As opportunities arise that require meekness, we can allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with his power, much as we fill our lungs with air. In fact, we can use that physical act of taking a deep breath as a reminder of “the breath of God” within us, providing everything we need for meekness: trust in God, self-control, compassion, kindness, and patience.

Meekness is so important to God, he included specific promises in scripture for those who demonstrate this trait:

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* “I hear the desires of the meek. I strengthen their hearts” (Psalm       10:17, RSV).
* “The meek shall…be satisfied” (Psalm 22:26, ERV).
* “The meek will he guide in justice; And the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9, ASV).
* “The meek will…enjoy great peace” (Psalm 37:11).
* “The Lord lifts up the meek” (Psalm 147:6a).
* “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord (Isaiah 29:19a, RSV).

Strength, satisfaction, guidance, peace, uplift, and fresh joy. Valuable blessings, don’t you think?

Let’s seize the day in meekness. Let’s partake in the adventure of living our lives upside down and backwards, Jesus’ way!

We will NOT be disappointed in the results.

(Art & photo credits: http://www.dealtrackersf.com; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.kansas.com; http://www.pinterest.com;

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“Drawn With Kindness!” 3/24/2015 by Mary Hall-Rayford

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Written by Mary Hall-Rayford @ https://maryhallrayford.wordpress.com/

View original post @ https://maryhallrayford.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/drawn-with-kindness/

Drawn With Kindness!

“The LORD appeared to us in the past,saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)

I will be the first to admit that sometimes, trying to expound upon God’s Word does not always seem like we’re trying to draw people with kindness. But then, I have to think about what kindness is.

Is it a kindness to let people follow a path, blindly, when we know there is danger ahead?

Is it a kindness to give people incomplete instructions and hope they’ll figure it out?

Is it a kindness to let people think there are no consequences for disobedience?

Is it a kindness to tell people they must do, “as we say” or “do?”

Is it a kindness to let people wander through life believing there is no hell?

Loving parents always have rules to protect their children and since God is our loving Father, He has rules to protect us from harm. The rules are simply this–love Him with all our heart and mind (spiritually and naturally) and to love others as ourselves.

To truly love God would mean that we understand Him, in order to understand Him, we have to know Him and in order to know Him, we have to know how He wants us to live, and in order to know how He wants us to live, we must get into His Word. That’s how we love Him with all our heart and mind.

To love others as we love ourselves, we must think about how we treat ourselves. Do we abuse and misuse us? Do we lie and steal from ourselves? Do we sabotage our own progress? Do we manipulate ourselves and cause harm to us? Now, while I know the answer to these questions is sometimes–a resounding yes, that yes for Believers should be in our Before Christ (BC) time. Now that we know better, we should be doing better. I have learned that we cannot truly love anyone else until we first love us. We cannot give what we do not have.

Now, do we have all the tools we need to draw others to Jesus Christ? We do, if we love Him and love self. When we allow Holy Spirit to lead us in all we do, He will instruct us in how to speak truth, without it being a lie, but will convict of sin and ignite desire to please God. That is being drawn with kindness!

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I Will Sing!

Godsmanforever:

A poem from the heart of my sister in Christ, Mary !!

Blessings in Christ, bruce

Originally posted on maryhallrayford:

“I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 104:33 NIV)

The birds of the earth sing their praises every morning, their chirping so loud that sometimes, it becomes annoying, until one realizes they are simply doing, what they are meant to do.

The crickets sing their praises and when we forget–they remind us–they know our awesome God.

Every creature in the earth and those in the water have a song of praise for the God of all creation who gives them food when they are hungry and shelter in which to rest.

I am a uniquely created being, created in His image and He does supply all my needs and when I please Him, He gives me the desires of my heart. What an awesome God! He who set the moon, the sun and stars…

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“Are You Under-insured?” 3/23/2015 by Robert VanHoose

“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
“Homily Grits Devotional” http://www.homilygrits.com

 

Written by the wise 82+ yr old Robert VanHoose @ http://www.homilygrits.com

March 10
Read Hebrews 10:22-39,
2 Samuel 22

“Are You Underinsured?”

“Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31 (NKJV)

You can insure about any possible risk. From the unlikely possibility that someone will make a hole in one in a contest, to death, policies are available. Often we never know how good our insurance is until we have to use it. Some of those fine print “exceptions” make some policies virtually worthless.

Sun Life Assurance of Canada is one of the giants of the insurance world, but even they cannot guarantee that losses and calamities will not happen, but only that they will reimburse you if they do.

There is only one insurer that has never failed to honor a claim, has no hidden exceptions and will even guarantee to cover pre existing conditions. I like to call this “Son Life”.

“Son Life” is the only insurance available that does not pay death benefits because “Son Life” guarantees that you will never die! The lump sum one-time premium was paid for you on the Cross of Calvary, when Jesus Christ gave up His life so that you could have one forever.

The application for this eternal life insurance is as simple as ABC, and cannot be rejected or cancelled. All you have to do to become fully insured is Admit that you are a sinner, Believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as payment and proof of payment for your sins, and Confess this admission and belief to God and to others. If your confession is sincere and your faith is real, you receive the keys to the kingdom, and forever life with God in Christ.

If you do not have this policy, you are seriously underinsured! Call “Son Life” today!

Father, thank You for the assurance of eternal life I have through faith in Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen
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P.S. (From bruce) For your eternal life insurance policy, here is a link for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, after first being drawn in by God…John 6:44… http://godsmanforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/gods-group-thoughts-for-7112013-the-truth-about-sin/

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