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KEEP ON WALKING


by Neil Anderson

July 29

Isaiah 50:10  
Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God
 
The life led by the Spirit of God is marvelous. Sensing His presence, living victoriously, and knowing the truth are characteristics of a free person. But what if you couldn’t sense His presence? What if God, for some reason, suspended His blessings? What would you do if you were faithfully following God and suddenly all external circumstances turned sour?
 
My family and I have been through two extremely dark periods in our life. There were days I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it. If it wasn’t for the message of Isaiah 50:10, I’m not sure we would have survived spiritually. Isaiah is asking if there is a believer, somebody who fears the Lord, walking in darkness. He is not referring to the darkness of sin or even the darkness of this world. He is talking about the darkness of uncertainty–that blanket of heaviness that settles in as though a black cloud has drifted over our very being. God has suspended His conscious blessings.
 
What is a person to do during these times? Isaiah tells us that no matter how dark it gets, we are to keep on walking. In the light we can see the next step. The path ahead is clear. We know a friend from an enemy and we can see where the obstacles are. But when darkness settles in, every natural instinct says to drop out, sit down, stop! We become fearful of the next step.
 
Isaiah says don’t stop; keep on walking. Keep walking in the light of previous revelation. If it was true six months ago, it is still true. I try never to make a major decision when I am down. Rather, I wait until the cloud lifts and everything is clear and in focus again.
 
If God’s ministry of darkness should envelop you, understand that God has not left you; He has only suspended His conscious presence so that your faith will not rest on feelings or be established by unique experiences or blessings. Listen to Isaiah’s advice: Keep on walking. Never doubt in the darkness what God has clearly shown you in the light.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for guiding me through the darkness of my trials with the light of Your truth.


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What I’ve Learned Along My Journey

Red Rose 2

1 I am stronger than I ever thought I was.

2. Even at my weakest moments I am stronger than those who try to bring me down -because I keep getting up!

3. Strength comes from love, never from anger, pain, or revenge.

4. Its ok to feel weak and vulnerable -just don’t stay there.

5. The only person you can rely on is yourself.

6. Value your friendships and those you love.

7. Make the time to show how much you care. Always show your love. Often the words are not enough.

8. Be kind to everyone –we all have our own crosses to carry.

9. Do it now! Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Now is all you have.

10. Set realistic goals but dream big. Achieve one step at a time, and soon your dreams will become a reality.

11. Be an adventurer —if you want something, get it. Its only impossible if you believe it is.

12. If you can’t get to the mountain, get the mountain to you -there’s no obstacles you can’t tackle with the right approach.

13. Smile -it has the haters wondering why you so happy and it opens you to new friendships and opportunities.

14. Start each day in gratitude, acknowledging the blessings in your life.

15. Never take a positive attitude for granted. Positively is the energy your soul requires to sing.

16. Take every opportunity that presents itself to you -if it changes your life, it was meant to.

17. Never loose faith ……it is your inner sanctuary.

18. Be the reason for others smiles, help those you can, loose yourself in the service of others -you will gain more than you ever gave.

19. Look at life through a child’s eyes -experience the wonder and joy in everything.

20. Remember to play -life is not always serious.

21. Happiness cannot be bought or acquired. It does not come gift- wrapped or on a gift card. True happiness comes from a healthy mind, body and spirit. It starts with inner acceptance.

22. Its ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry. It signifies you are real enough to show your emotions.

23. Pretenses and lies have a way of catching up to you -why be ashamed of your authentic amazing wonderful self?

24. Jealousy, anger, revenge , pain are inner expressions of what you feel about yourself. Love yourself enough to let it go.

26. Forgiveness is the selfish act of healing yourself. You deserve to be whole.

26. Be humble -we are made of the same dirt we will return to.

27. Respect and tolerance will take you much further than any networking you may do. Treat others as you want them to treat you or don’t moan when you have enemies.

28. Integrity is staying true to your inner moral compass.

29. Values are important. They define your path.

30. No matter how much you mess up or how low you feel you have sunk -it Can be fixed.

31. The grass is only green where you water it.

32. Don’t take people for granted ever. People have a way of forgetting everything except how you make them feel.

34. There is power in the words thank you, I’m sorry, I love you and a sincere are you ok?

35. Nothing is more beautiful than an honest compliment, a kind word, a true friend or a shoulder to cry on.

36. Don’t underestimate the power of nature to heal your soul.


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SATISFACTION IN LIFE


by Neil Anderson

July 28

2 Timothy 4:7 
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith
 
Satisfaction in life comes from living righteously and seeking to raise the level of quality in the relationships, services and products you are involved with. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Do you really believe that? If you did, what would you be doing? You would spend more time feeding your spirit than trying to satisfy your fleshly desires. Have you ever tried to satisfy the flesh? It can’t be done. The more you feed it, the more it wants.
 
What causes you to become dissatisfied? It’s usually because the quality of the relationship, service or product has diminished. I often ask people when they became dissatisfied. Inevitably they identify the time when the quality of a relationship, the service rendered, or the product produced diminished.
 
Satisfaction is a quality issue, not a quantity issue. You will achieve greater satisfaction from doing a few things well than from doing many things in a haphazard or hasty manner. The key to personal satisfaction is not in broadening your involvements, but in deepening them through a commitment to quality.
 
The same is true in relationships. If you are dissatisfied in your relationships, perhaps you have spread yourself too thin. Solomon wrote: “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). It may be nice to know a lot of people on the surface, but you need a few good friends who are committed to a quality relationship with each other. We all need the satisfaction which quality relationships bring.
 
Paul accomplished what he was called to do. He left a lot undone, but he fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith. Jesus also left a lot undone, but He did His Father’s will and was able to say, “It is finished.” You may not be able to do all you want to do for Christ in your lifetime, but you can live obediently and faithfully day by day.
 
Prayer: Lord, I desire the satisfaction that comes from righteousness and quality in my relationships and activities.


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Let There Be Peace

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Beyond shadow of a doubt, we now live in constant state of unease an anxiety, feeling like there is more to do and more to worry about. We stress about our to-do lists, even though no matter how many items pop-up, more will take their place. Isn’t that something familiar to you?

We feel like we can’t relax and be happy until we have achieved some goals, but when we get what we want, we just want more and more. There seems to be no satisfaction in the blessings that we are receiving from God, or have we forgotten to count our blessings?

In this chaotic world where we live, I am most certain that what most people look for, but are unsure how to obtain, is PEACE.

Here are some guidelines that may mean the difference  between peace and turmoil:

REDIRECT YOUR PERSPECTIVE TO GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

To lead a peaceful life we need to redirect our perspective to God’s perspective. It is only when we follow God’s path and God’s perspective that we also obtain God’s peace, and this is  through meditating on the Scriptures and becoming a living witness  of the Word.

Talking with His disciples, Jesus said, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

PRAY

When your life is filled with bitterness, not much peace can fill your heart.

Pray, “Lord Jesus, I have sinned, I need you to fix the problem of my heart, I beg for your forgiveness and I fervently ask for your peace.”

Let us remember that Christianity is more than preventive psychiatry; it is a gift that brings eternal life and its by-product is peace.

BE CONTENTED

In a world that honors outward achievement, tells people they will never have enough, and encourages an impossibly busy life, peace and contentment can feel like a distant dream.

But here is the secret: there can never be inward peace without being satisfied with what the Lord is giving us. Think about it this way: As parents, we only give what is best for our children and when and  our children are not contended with what we are providing them, and they do not even show their gratitude, will that make us happy? This is similar to our Father, who provides us countless blessings.

Let us always be grateful and be contended with what life is giving us and we will find inner peace.

BE AN EFFECTIVE LIVING WITNESS OF CHRIST

Your old nature demands exoneration. Stop playing the “blame game” with your spouse, son, daughter, boss or even yourself. It produces anger, irritation and turmoil.

As you exonerate your old self, and you follow the Word of God through your actions, you become an effective witness for Christ in a lost world. A “witness” is someone who attest to a fact, so in order to be an effective witness, you must have a first-hand knowledge of Him.

John the Apostle speaks of this in 1 John 1:1-3, when he says, “That… which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hand have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.”

Today, we who have experienced a new life in Christ give an account of His love and forgiveness, both verbally and in the way we live our lives. This is “witnessing”.

Have peace, be an effective living witness of Christ.

HOLD OUT THE OLIVE BRANCH

Life is too short to live with broken relationships. You’ll be amazed how different you feel when you say, “I’d like to be your friend. Let’s settle that issue that have divided us.” In short, hold out the olive branch.

So then, maybe instead of wringing our hands about  apalling evil acts in the world that creates turmoil and chaos, we ought to look within our own hearts. At our anger. Lust. Greed. Pride. Laziness. Indifference. And even hypocrisy.

We certainly cannot stop chaos in this world but we can find God’s peace in our own hearts. We can’t eradicate the evil in this world but we surely have a choice, but for us Christians we only have one:  to do good and be good.

 


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GIVE YOUR CHILD TO GOD


by Neil Anderson

 

July 26
 
Psalm 37:5 
Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it
 
You can and should uphold Christian values and standards in your own home. But when your child leaves your home, he leaves with his own values, beliefs and personal agenda. This is the first half of the prodigal son story (Luke 15:11-32). The prodigal son wanted to do his own thing, so his father let him. I don’t think the father would have let the boy rule in his home, but he did let him go. We don’t like to see our children fail or make mistakes like that. When they do, we are too quick to rescue them from the natural consequences of their actions.
 
The father in the story welcomed his son home after the boy came to his senses. His repentance was complete: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (verse 21). The critical insight we need is offered by the father: “This son of mine was dead, and has come to life again” (verse 24). When your child is out of your sight, only God can bring him to his senses, bring him home, and give him life.
 
You can’t go everywhere your child goes, but God can. He is the child’s heavenly Father, and He is fully capable of protecting him.
 
I know of a dear lady who has buried two sons and witnessed the miracle healing of her husband from a near-fatal car accident. But her hardest trial was discovering that her beloved third son was struggling with homosexuality. Months of dark depression were lifted in one day when she realized that her son belonged to God, so she gave her boy to Him. For 11 years she didn’t hear from him. Then one day he called and said he had a Mother’s Day present for her. He had come back to the Lord!
 
God is in control. When you pray you release Him to do what only He can do in your child’s life. And when you pray, He can mold your parenting style so you can do what He has called you to do in raising your child.
 
Prayer: Lord, I release my children to Your care and protection, and I relinquish my will for them in favor of Your will.


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Little miss Giggles

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”  (Luke 18:27)

Can the impossible happen?  Short answer Yes – I know for a fact it can – I would have thought it was impossible for me to change – In fact I reckon I got to the stage where I didn’t want to change I was happy, or so I thought, with my life until BAM! God changed me – I can’t believe how I used to be.

Was I really like that and loving it?

When you read the Bible there are heaps of impossibilities happening – most of them mind blowing.

Although the biggest impossibilities happen in the lives of ordinary human beings I’d reckon – lives changed dramatically and permanently by the Spirit of God. Things that cannot be explained and quite frankly a bit hard to explain to the world at large out there.

Consider the case of Sarai who was to have her named changed to Sarah – an amazing lady of exceptional beauty, wealth, poise, self-assurance and grace.

Married to her half brother Abram (wouldn’t happen today) Sarai was wealthy in the eyes of the world – beauty and wealth couldn’t hide the fact that she was sad because she couldn’t have children.

She would have been well into her sixties by the time Abram was called by God to ‘go to the land flowing with milk and honey’ the promised land that was later to become the home of the ‘chosen’ people of God – Abram and Sarai’s descendants.

She was in her ‘golden years’ you could say and God had promised her a son – she is excited – she plans – she waits and waits and waits – still no son.

Decades pass so Sarai decides to take things into her own hands – after all it’s impossible now for her to conceive – she is well into her eighties! She convinces Abram that time has run out!  it’s impossible now. So she gives her maid Hagar to Abram and Hagar bears Ishmael and the rest is history.

We leap ahead fourteen long years, Ishmael has grown and he and his Mum are pretty entrenched into the family – Ishmael is Abram’s heir, Ishmael MUST be the promised child of God BUT…. God had other ideas.

The amazing and impossible happens – God pays them a visit and tells them to get ready for a baby bundle, start choosing boy’s names because this time next year you and Sarai will be bouncing a baby boy on your bony old knees! IMPOSSIBLE!

Sarai was 99 years old and Abram 100 –  impossible! – what do they do? – they laugh at the lunacy of it all. They laugh because it is just too good to be true and I guess they laugh because it JUST MIGHT happen!

Sarai laughed into her bony wrinkled hands her shoulders shaking with laughter at the very thought of bearing a child at her age. Hilarious on one hand, fear on the other, hilarity doubling her over turns to nervous giggles of apprehension at the very might and in the very presence of Creator God.

God works at accomplishing the absurd, the impossible, the unbelievable and sure enough by the time the year is ended, Sarai and Abram are changed forever – God even changed their names to Sarah (Mother) and Abraham (The Father of a multitude).

Their names aren’t the only things God changed in that miraculous year, He changed their minds, their faith and how they looked at the impossible. He also changed Sarah’s definition of trust in God – She trusted Him from then on – In His time not hers.

We so easily jump ahead of God – we tire of waiting on Him – how many times have we taken things into our own hands just like Sarai did those thousands of years ago, often with disastrous consequences.

Yes our God is a God of miracles – a God of the impossible. We can read about them all scattered throughout the Bible – from Sarai to Paul’s amazing and impossible conversion.

What is impossible for man is possible only through God – He needs our complete surrender. All around us in this world is sin, sorrow, war and problems all of which are Satan’s domain – BUT God is the God of the impossible – He is still on His throne, doing the impossible, changing people’s lives and changing them for good.

 

If we surrender to God completely then like Abraham and Sarah we will become strong in faith, giving glory to God, because we trust in His amazing and often impossible ways.

 

Bride


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Bride of Christ

Bride

A devotion from Cheryl Zelenka’s soon to be released book of devotions FACING STORMS. Available on Amazon this October.

“While praying one day a woman asked, “Who are you, God?”

He answered, “I Am.”

“But, WHO is, I Am?” she asked.

He replied, “I Am LOVE. I Am PEACE. I Am GRACE. I Am JOY. I Am STRENGTH. I Am SAFETY. I Am SHELTER. I Am POWER. I Am THE CREATOR, I Am THE COMFORTER. I Am THE BEGINNING AND THE END. I Am THE WAY, TRUTH, AND THE LIGHT.”

With tears in her eyes she looked toward heaven and said, “Now I understand. But, who am I?”

God tenderly wiped the tears from her eyes and whispered, “YOU ARE MINE.” ~ Unknown 

I have been single all of my life. I never married and did not adopt my son until I was in my forties. I lived alone for many years. Learning to accept my life as a single person, and then as a single parent, was difficult. In fact, it can still be a challenge, but I have accepted God’s will and now recognize the many benefits my station and position in life provide. 

However, most little girls do not grow up dreaming about life as a permanently single person. Instead, they want to marry Prince Charming. They daydream about the wedding dress they will wear and think up ways to make their wedding day extra special, fun, and unique. I was no different. I wanted to wear that pure white dress; after all I had taken a vow of celibacy. In fact, I have remained a virgin for the King, but back then I felt I had “earned” the right to a wear a white dress. For whatever reason, marriage was/is not the Father’s will or plan for me. 

My personal relationship with God has always been more important to me than any human relationship. Yet, in my young adult years, I longed for a husband who would nurture and encourage my spiritual growth. Many a time I would return home after a long workday yearning for a husband’s comfort, love, and protection. I wanted a partner who would share in my problems, joys, and biblical insights. 

We must strive to see the blessing in the midst of our sorrow thus, I tell you now that the single life I live has brought me into a deeper understanding of God’s love for me. By leaning totally on God, I have gained insight into the many dimensions of His character and love. He wants all of us to interact with Him, learning about the many roles He plays in our lives. As for me, I relate to Jesus not only as my Savior and Redeemer, but also as my brother, friend, counselor, AND husband. I am a Bride after all. I am a Bride of Christ! 

If you are a single person, please do not settle for a relationship that is any less than the one God has prepared for you. He wants to give you the very best. Your marriage partner might not come for a very long time, which requires great faith and patience, but you would be wise to wait for this person. I am. 

If I do marry some day, I know it will be hard work (any relationship is after all), but a blessing given by the One who loves me most of all. Remember, He only gives good gifts! Furthermore, if He decides my present is a life of singleness, I will also rejoice and be glad. Why you ask? Because I believe He has my best interests at heart. I trust Him with my future and in the fact that He has equipped me to live a life best suited for His glory. Yes, I I trust God that much. He made me and therefore, He knows how I tick.

So as you wait for your heart’s desire, don’t stop living your life. Follow the path God has placed you on…. work the job, buy a house, get a pet, adopt a child in need (if so led). Live your life and don’t put things on hold unless you hear God say, “Hold on and wait a bit.” Use your time wisely, by reading your Bible and memorizing scripture.

As a single person, you have fewer commitments and distractions than those who are married. Take time to have conversations with God. Work on seeing Him from different angles and deepen your intimacy with Him. He really is all you need. If you align your will to His, the desires of your heart will be granted. Seek His face in diligence and fervor asking, “What do you want from me and how would you like me to serve You?”

I am a Bride of Christ! I will wear white on my wedding day and feast upon wonderful foods at the wedding supper of the Lamb! I am His beloved, and He, my dear reader, is mine. 

READ THE SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE BELOW THEN PRAY ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. 

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!
 For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and His bride has made herself ready.Fine linen, bright and clean, 
 was given her to wear.”(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Revelations 19:7-9 (NIV)

“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” 1 Corinthians 7:8 (NIV)

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Revelations 21:2 (ESV)

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