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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)

http://www.openbible.info

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Does God Exist?

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Please take a minute to watch this short video and then share with friends. 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=798302620188827&fref=nf

No, Albert Einstein was not a Christian or even a theist (one who believes in a personal God), probably because he failed to understand why evil existed. These days, those who fail to understand the purpose of evil not only reject the concept of a personal God, but also reject the concept of God’s existence altogether. If you are an agnostic or atheist, my goal for you would be to recognize what Albert Einstein understood about the universe – that its amazing design demands the existence of a creator God. Then, go beyond Einstein’s faulty understanding of the purpose of the universe and consider the Christian explanation for the purpose of human life and why evil must exist in this world.

Source: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/einstein.html

And here are some facts….

Does God exist? The universe had a start – what caused it?

Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.

Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, “The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion…The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen.”9

Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, “the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade…and the universe was filled with light.”

The universe has not always existed. It had a start…what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light

And….

The eye…can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages — simultaneously. Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain — the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.       Source: http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html

EVIDENCE FOR GOD http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/einstein.html

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT HOW WE KNOW GOD EXISTS

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-How-Do-We-Know-God-Exists/

1 Corinthians 2:14 
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Bible. Paul wrote that “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). The Bible itself is proof of God’s existence because He used 40 unrelated people over a period of 2,000 years to write His unique love letter to us. There is nothing like the Bible because it carries the same consistent message throughout all of its 66 different books. Atheists can laugh at this idea, but those who have read the Scriptures and experienced God through its pages know why it is the best-selling and most-translated book in all of history. (Fact: 100 million copies of the Bible are sold every year. Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion has sold 2 million. http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/43192-seven-things-that-prove-god-is-real

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXDDZrYOuAE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4EaWPIlNYY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4EaWPIlNYY

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Hope

“Where do you find hope, and in what shape or form does it rest?
I say to you now that absolute and genuine hope is found only in Christ Jesus. He is never far way and always within your grasp. He expects you to seek Him, but when you do He is quickly found. Only upon your discovery of Christ will you recognize the desperate condition of your soul, and through glorious and supernatural revelation comprehend that it was this living Hope who graciously discovered and delivered you.”
~ Cheryl Zelenka-Author
From upcoming book Facing Storms.

*Hope Image
Available books now on Amazon…
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3ACheryl%20Zelenka

No Problems in Heaven


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Work In Heaven?

No Problems in Heaven

Are you afraid to die? Is it death itself or the journey to death’s door that causes you to fear? Maybe it is the idea of living for an eternity, or maybe you fear the possible pain that will come with your travel to heaven’s door? Why not dislodge your fears by focusing on this fact. You will not die!

Believers do not die, they transcend. Our earthly passing is simply the means God has ordained to transport us into our final destination. Regarding any pain we may face on our journey home, He will supply for all our needs.

“Are you afraid to die? Remember that for a child of God, death is only a passing through to a wonderful new world.” ~Corrie ten Boom

In the book of Matthew we read, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Indeed, we will be living spirit and flesh with new and improved bodies. These glorious and newly resurrected bodies will be magnificent.

“But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.”  Matthew 22:31-33(NKJV)

And what will life be like in heaven? Will we find ourselves bored with endless feasting and continual choir practices? Does all work end the minute we pass through those pearly gates? I really don’t think so dear one.

God created mankind for His own pleasure. He takes great delight in us and rejoices over us with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17) And because God is love, He wants us to enjoy all that He is and all that He has done.

Therefore, heaven is a place of revelation, exploration, and learning. Why would God impart spiritual gifts and talents, while we live out our lives on earth, and take them away once we reach paradise? Doesn’t it make more sense that we continue to improve our skills and talents in heaven and use them to magnify our Savior?

If you are presently a gifted composer and your music pleases God, why wouldn’t you continue to hone your talent in heaven? Surely in heaven you will have a greater understanding of sound and a more excellent ability to create with you new heavenly resources. Why would music stop in paradise? I see no reason why those with musical abilities would cease from creating, learning, producing, and performing, as it would all be for His praise and glory. Think of our human design. God values music, otherwise He would not have designed our bodies as living instruments.

I see our time on earth as one spent in a gigantic classroom. Each person and experience we encounter has been planned and foreseen by God, and is being used to train us for our future heavenly labors. Yes, I said work. But this work will fill us with joy and great satisfaction. To serve God will be our fulfillment and pleasure.

And since God designed us with the need for fellowship, there will be times of worship, feasting, working side-by-side, and playing. Yes, fun games and entertainment… so long as it glorifies God. Can you imagine climbing the mountains in heaven? What would a game of football look like up there? Imagine saints inventing new sports for the glory of God and for everyone’s good pleasure.

Heaven, I do believe, will be a place of endless learning, laughter, joy, fellowship, praise, and labor. However, our labor will give us great enjoyment. I love to garden, so maybe I will work the soil in one of God’s magnificent gardens. Maybe you like to design and build, imagine the new buildings you could create for His glory! If you like to explore, God could ask you to search out new realms of His kingdom and bring back stories and resources. You may then attend a feast and share your stories with friends who are gifted writers. They might even write down your adventures for enjoyment of others and the King of Kings.

Heaven is a destination we should all dream about and never fear. I pray I see you there!

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NKJV)

“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.  There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:3-5 (NKJV)

“In the dark dreary nights, when the storm is at its most fierce, the lighthouse burns bright so the sailors can find their way home again. In life the same light burns. This light is fueled with love, faith, and hope. And through life’s most fierce storms these three burn their brightest so we also can find our way home again.” ~Unknown

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Fear: The Absence of Peace

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When fear is present, peace is absent. Fear robs our peace of mind, weakens our resolve, disturbs our rest, and even causes us to question the presence of God. Fear is an emotion that will hinder our walks with Christ unless we learn to face it and overcome it with the grace of God.

In Isaiah 26:3 we read how God keeps those whose minds are steadfastly transfixed on Him in perfect peace. When we take all thoughts captive and trust God with our well being, fear departs. Our faith in His power will remove our insecurities, wobbly uncertainty, and unstable nervousness.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Because God knit each one of us together, He understands our nature and individual weaknesses. He lovingly calls out, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV). It is His desire for us to rest in His peace. God longs to give us rest. Faith requires trust, and peace is the fruit of that trust in God.

Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6. When He walked the earth as the Son of Man, He told us that in this world we will have tribulation. But He also told us to be of good cheer since He had conquered the grave. This fact alone should produce peace in our hearts. The battle has already been won. Eternal peace is our guarantee, but peace while on still on earth is also available. In fact, we are told to pursue it!

“Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14 (NKJV)

How then do we pursue peace? Through Christ and Christ alone! With supplication and petitions we enter the very throne room of God and while in His very presence, we witness a mediator who intercedes on our behalf both day and night, for He never sleeps. By knocking on His door and seeking Him out, He will accept our offer of fellowship and dine with us. While in His company, He fills us with a hope, inexpressible joy, and comforting peace. Trusting in His love for us produces peace.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)

Psalm 23 speaks of how God provides peace even when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. With our eyes focused on Him, not concentrating on our problems, He leads us beside still waters and makes us lie down in green pastures for a peaceful rest.

When we walk in the Spirit of God, the fruit of the Spirit will be very evident in our lives. Peace, not fear is a component of this fruit. We must crucify our flesh, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 (NKJV). By doing this, God blesses His people with peace.

“God incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that He is in the midst… will be quiet in the middle of alarm.” ~ F.B Meyer

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“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NKJV)

“And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”   Daniel 10:19 (NKJV)

“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 (NKJV)

“It is good to remind ourselves that the will of God comes from the heart of God and that we need not be afraid.” ~Warren Wiersbe


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Two Sisters

Expectations. What we project on others; expecting them to behave, say, do as we think they ought to; which results in us being disappointed, upset, offended and angry when they do not behave as we want them to.

So often, we think that other people should be like us. We assume that they have the same perceptions and way of thinking that we do and become frustrated when it becomes apparent that they do not think like us. I was thinking of Martha and Mary in the infamous Luke 10:38-42 story. Jesus and everyone in His entourage descends on Martha’s house and this throws Martha into a frenzy of preparing food to be hospitable for everyone who walked through her door. I can understand Martha at that moment. I would probably do the same, except that maybe, I now have the option of ordering pizza. But, if Jesus walked through my doorway, I would worry if the house was all clean for Him, if my floors had been mopped or if they are sticky. And, I would definitely rope my husband into helping me make everything acceptable for Jesus.

So, I can understand Martha’s frustration with Mary. Of all the times to go and do nothing, this was not it! The injustice of having to do everything and not being given help to do it. I wonder if Martha was upset at Jesus for showing up and expecting her to do everything without help especially since He was encouraging Mary to sit and do nothing. Perhaps that was why Martha directed her question at Jesus, to ask Him to say something to get Mary up and moving. I can only surmise. But, Jesus did the opposite and instead, basically told Martha to do the same thing as Mary. Be still and know that He is God. 

Martha had been projecting her expectations on Mary, thinking that she should respond to Jesus’ arrival in the same manner as Martha did. She wanted Mary to do what she thought was the correct thing; doing based on her own ability and capacity. Martha probably figured that she had to do it all if it was going to get done at all and if she was not doing it, who would feed Jesus and His entourage? She had forgotten that Jesus is more than capable and able to make miracles happen. Martha was relying on her own ability and expected that Mary do the same thing, rather than to lean on and draw from Jesus’ strength and ability to get things accomplished. Which was why she was frustrated and flustered.

She had also forgotten that Jesus did not ask her nor expect her to do what she was doing.

Jesus, being the Son of God, was more than capable of feeding them all if He had to and by doing things in her own manner and by her own ability, Martha might have forfeited herself from being part of a miracle Jesus could have and might have performed right there in her house. She had thought that it was expected of her to do as she was doing, perhaps because society and good manners dictated it; but not only that, she had expected her sister to be like her and to behave in the same manner.

So often, we act like Martha, doing things because we thought we should as Christians because of others’ expectations, and then we think that others should do the same as us (I am not referring to sin here, or being disobedient to the Word of God) and when it does not happen in the way we expected, we get frustrated and upset. Or become self righteous. Instead, we need to find out what the better way is and do that, lean on Jesus and rely on His abilities rather than our own and rest in Him to know that He is God and more than able to accomplish that which He said He would do in our lives. Let us not get all riled up, frustrated, offended and upset because we have chosen to do things in our own abilities or based on other’s expectations and are now expecting others to do the same when they have chosen to go a better way.

Like Mary, let’s sit at His feet constantly, waiting for His direction, and His timing instead of working ourselves up in a frenzy and possibly missing out on a miracle that He would have done had we just waited on Him.

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Abundant Glory

I just thought I would share this photo that I captured tonight on my back porch.

I’m in awe of the natural beauty that The Lord has made. I believe that He is the Master Artisan.

This snapshot reminded me of God. I hope that this photo will uplift and encourage all of you as well. <3

Photo taken by Alicia Hostetler of Covered By Mercy

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CONFLICTING WORLDVIEWS

 


by Neil Anderson

 

July 13

Colossians 1:13  For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son

The Western world today sees reality in two tiers. The upper tier is the transcendent world where God and angels–as well as ghosts and ghouls–reside, a world which is understood through religion and mysticism. The lower tier is the empirical world, which is understood through science and the physical senses. In two-tier mentality, the spiritual world has no practical bearing on the natural world; we have excluded it from our understanding of reality. Most attempts at integrating theology and psychology include only God and humanity (fallen and redeemed) and exclude the activity of Satan and demons.

In stark contrast to the secularism of the West, two-thirds of the inhabitants of the world hold an Eastern worldview. They live and operate believing that spiritual forces are an everyday reality. These people appease their gods with peace offerings and perform religious rituals to ward off evil spirits. To the common people in Third World nations, religious practice or superstition has more practical relevance in daily life than science.

It is easy for those of us raised in the West to dismiss the Eastern worldview as inferior on the basis of the “success” of the Western world. But both are worldly systems and neither reflects biblical reality. The West tries to ignore the reality of the spiritual world and the East tries to appease it or naively enter into it. The Bible clearly depicts the reality of the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. God’s Word tells us we can have victory over the former by being transferred into the latter.

Many Christians either exclude the supernatural from their worldview altogether or consign it to the transcendental tier where it will have no effect on their lives. By doing so they not only exclude God’s power from their theology and practice, but they also explain all human failure–even that which is induced by demonic influence–as the result of psychological or natural causes.

Prayer: Lord, I accept the worldview presented in Your Word. Help me deal victoriously with the reality of demonic forces in my world.

 


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God Wants To Forgive

Written by: Alicia Hostetler of Covered By Mercy

Yesterday God and I were having a conversation, and I was pretty distraught. I was feeling guilty about saying something that was rude, and I was really kicking myself.

I ended up crying, and through the tears I heard God say, “I want to forgive you, Alicia.” That put it all in perspective for me. Immediately the Holy Spirit gave me the “ah-ha!” moment that I’ve needed. I thought that since God helped me realize His truth, that today I would share it with all of you. After all, I received a free gift. Why not multiply God’s glory by telling others who may need to hear that same message?

Here’s how the Holy Spirit put it: think of the verse John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

He told me to think of it this way: for God wanted to forgive mankind so much, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Receiving that new perspective on a verse that I’ve known and have had memorized for so many years was a breath of fresh air into my faith. It doesn’t change the meaning of the original verse. God loves us, and He does want to forgive us. Otherwise He wouldn’t have sent Jesus. Right?

Of course, that isn’t an excuse to live in sin and abuse God’s grace and mercy. I believe that God showed this to me because He knows that I am earnestly seeking Him, and He didn’t want me to beat myself up over sinning. I truly hate sin. Glory to God for that.

I’m sure that someone out there is in need of this same message that I received. God is just, sovereign, and all powerful. He is also loving, kind, and forgiving. That is the truth.

—>If this article spoke to you in a way that encouraged you, please give it a like.

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Thank you for reading this today! I pray that The Lord will be magnified in glory through this post. God bless you all! <3

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Share Your God Given Talents!

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God gives all of His children gifts.  We should use these talents to bless others and glorify God.

I love taking photos of nature.  Recently, there was an opportunity to enter some of my images in an amateur photo contest.  Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I found out I had tied for first place. What a blessing and surprise!!

If there is something you love to do but you have been holding back or not sharing your gift, consider your ways!! Who knows, your gift may be the blessing somebody really needs today.

http://myspiritualbreakfast.com/get-involved/contest/most-inspiring-photo-gallery/

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”              1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV)