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Thoughts With God

Jesus into all the world

I woke with thoughts wild in my head
Wished that I was dead instead.

 
Thought of all I had to do
Screamed “Lord! I wish you only knew–
I cannot cope all alone!
Stop adding to my burdens please!
There is NO more left for You to squeeze!”

 
He added yet another stone.
I bent, and buckled, and began to groan.
“Oh my child” he whispered “I wish you knew, HOW MUCH FAITH I HAVE IN YOU!”

 
With that he pointed to the way
He wanted me to walk today.

 
“On bended knees and with tears of Grace I will guide YOU through this trying race.
When things seem far too big for You,
REMEMBER ALL THE FAITH I WISH YOU KNEW! “

 
So, today, as I struggle all alone,
I will not sulk!
I will not moan!

 
For, my LORD has a plan for ME
        Even if I can-NOT see!


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LIVING WATER


by Neil Anderson

 

July 31
 
John 7:37, 38 
If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water”
 
The story is told of a prospector in the last century who had to make a four-day journey across a burning desert. He couldn’t carry enough water to make the journey without dying of thirst, but he was assured there was a well halfway across the desert. So he set out and sure enough there was a well right where the map indicated. But when he pumped the handle, the well only burped up sand. Then he saw this sign: “Buried two feet over and two feet down is a jug of water. Dig it up and use the water to prime the pump. Drink all the water you want, but when you are done, fill the jug again for the next person.”
 
Sure enough, two feet over and two feet down was enough water for the prospector to prime the pump or to finish his journey. Should he pour the water down the well or should he drink it?
 
To tell you the truth, I’d drink the water that was buried! I don’t know who wrote the sign on that rusty old pump. It could be a cruel joke. I’d pour that water down a worthless well only to watch my life drain away for lack of water.
 
Faith always has an element of risk, but there is one factor in the above story that doesn’t exist when it comes to God. I know who wrote the sign. When I pour myself into a life of faith, I know that out of my inner being shall flow rivers of living water. God said so, history verifies it, and I, for one, can testify that it is true. In the final analysis, God is not only true, He’s right.
 
There is more than enough water in God’s well for everyone, but the pump is only activated by faith. Remember: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have proven Yourself trustworthy. Your river of living water never dries up or becomes polluted.


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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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Flesh vs. Spirit, part I

god stuff 4

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Galatians 5:17, NAS).”

 

There is an ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Satan wants to activate the flesh in all of its deadness because he strongly desires to make people act irrationally, unjustly, mercilessly, selfishly, foolishly – evil and against The Kingdom of God. Where God uses His Spirit to connect with our spirit internally, Satan uses the flesh to connect with us externally. The god of this world provokes us to evil through emotionalism.

Emotionalism stems from the flesh. Emotionalism, in whatever form it may present itself, causes us to act and react in an unholy manner and, when we do, we justify our poor conduct. Emotionalism causes us to rationalize bad behavior with “I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m bored, I’m irritated, I’m right, I’m aroused, I’m hungry, I’m needy…I’m, I’m, I’m!” Notice the “I” which translates: I’m thinking only of myself (an idol set before God) and not of God who is my life. My fleshly thinking is more important that heavenly, spiritual thinking.

In this, our God-focus becomes buried under self-focus; and believe me when I say that I am not exempt! My child and I have simultaneously undergone much travail with our health the last two and a half years; stressful and exhausting does not begin to express this experience. We are both feeling much improved these days, but that is not the focal point.

The subject at hand is that situations such as this can gradually cause us to become weakened spiritually so as to awaken the fleshly nature – or rather, they cause us to recognize and face that which has not been fully consigned to Christ as we may have thought. I know for me at the worst of it, I caught myself saying things at the “slip of the tongue” (aka lack of self-discipline) that are not godly and have had to quickly consign myself back to Christ.

I have said for years that bad situations do not change people; they only bring about truth of who the person really is underneath the tidy veneer. It’s easy to walk with God when things are great, but turn up the heat and yikes – out comes all the junk! For me personally, I find that where patience would otherwise prevail, impatience and irritation with people and things tended to become more prevalent. When I stepped back and heard/saw myself, I was appalled, or rather; my spirit, Holy Spirit, was appalled at the flesh in which I reside. This is the battle spoken of in Galatians 5:17.

That which the flesh loves (self-desires), the Spirit hates and vice versa. As long as we live in this fleshly shell, there will be battle. There, of course, will be times where the battle seems less intense, but it’s there nonetheless and can do a sneak-attack if we are not on guard at all times. But we are not without hope, people of the Most High God!

Romans 7:14-25, NAS: For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

 

Stay tuned for next week’s part II! If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

 

www.thefierysword.com

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

 http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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THREE LEVELS OF PRAYER


by Neil Anderson

 

July 25
 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
 
I have observed three approaches to prayer which progress from level to level. The first level is petition. We are encouraged to let our requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6). If it helps us to keep a list of daily prayer reminders, we should do so. However, most people weary of this, and their devotional life disappears over time. Often they don’t see immediate results from their prayers, so they conclude that more can be accomplished if they just get busy for the Lord.
 
We’ve progressed to the second level when prayer becomes personal. We have discovered a new dimension when we are comfortable in His presence and don’t feel obligated to talk. It’s much like a marriage relationship. A mature couple can ride together in the car for hours, enjoying each other’s company, without having to say a word. I can just be with God and I’m learning to listen.
 
Realizing that I need not feel obligated to keep the conversation going when I’m with God has changed my prayer life dramatically. This kind of prayer makes my relationship with God a 24-hour-a-day experience. Setting aside special times for prayer is still important. But when we leave our quiet time, the sense of God’s presence should remain with us throughout the day.
 
I call the third dimension of prayer true intercession. True intercessors hear from God. They know how to pray and what to pray for. In my observation, there are very few true intercessory prayer warriors. The ones I know of are usually older than 50 and most are women. They pray privately in their homes and often at night. Every church has at least one or two of them. Share your family needs with them. When these people pray, things happen because they don’t just talk to God, they listen to Him.
 
Prayer: Father, I want to grow in all dimensions of prayer to the point that I sense Your presence and hear Your voice.


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HUMANITY’S BASIC NEEDS


by Neil Anderson

 

July 24
 
Philippians 4:19 
My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus
 
Adam and Eve were created spiritually alive. The attributes they experienced before the Fall became glaring needs after the Fall.
 
1. Acceptance was replaced by rejection, therefore we have a need to belong. Ever since Adam and Eve’s sin alienated them from God and disrupted human relationships, we have experienced a deep need to belong. Even when people come to Christ and fill their need to belong to God, they still need the acceptance of people. You will never understand the power of peer pressure in our culture until you understand the legitimate need to belong and the fear of rejection we all share.
 
2. Innocence was replaced by guilt and shame, therefore we have a need for a sense of worth. Many psychologists agree that people today generally suffer from a poor sense of worth. The secular psychologist responds by trying to stroke the human ego and psychologist responds by trying to stroke the human ego and encourage us to improve our performance. Your worth as a person is not an issue of giftedness, talent, intelligence or beauty. It’s an identity issue. Your sense of personal worth comes from knowing who you are: a child of God.
 
3. Authority to rule over creation was replaced by weakness and helplessness, therefore we have a need for strength and self-control. There is no one more insecure than a controller. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, not spouse- or child-control.
 
Only Christ can meet the most basic needs of humanity such as life, identity, acceptance, security and significance. These needs are eternal, unlike our physical needs. If we present Christ as meeting only our physical needs, we will have stiff competition from every humanistic organization.
 
Prayer: Father God, I reject any counterfeit fulfillment Satan offers me. I will live by every word that proceeds from Your mouth.


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Penciled In

pencilI was a young Air Force officer, likely insufferable and most certainly highly enamored with my own early success.  I was moving on up; on the “fast track” (though early promotions were not yet possible at my career stage).  I had been moved into a job reserved for more senior officers and had hit the ground running–inflicting upon all my “innovative” ideas for brazen success in that new job. 

My new boss (last name: Sullivan; we called him “Sully” long before the advent of the big, blue monster), would sit at his desk with an increasingly bemused look on his face as he observed the undeniable evidence of my embrace of the Myth of Indispensability.  I was fully and firmly convinced that the Air Force, nay the entire Military Establishment, could not move forward without my genius.  Mystifying it was and puzzling too, how the Air Force had survived lo those many, many years without me. 

Sully took me to lunch one day; he even bought the meal.  After we consumed our burgers, he looked me in the eye and said words so profound in their impact that I repeat them to myself each and every day.  Sully stared straight on at me, his words cutting right to my mind and heart and said, “You know, Howard, we’re all just penciled in.” 

Of course that was in the days when pencils had not been replaced by the ubiquitous keyboards and people actually wrote things out by hand, in pencil, with the option of erasing their efforts if they ran afoul of wisdom or common sense or just plain accuracy.  “Penciled in,” Sully had said, meaning I could be erased and replaced at any moment. 

I was taken aback as Sully succeeded in his mission: to debunk the Myth of Indispensability I had created about myself and replace it with an eye toward excellence tempered by humility.  We’re all just penciled in. 

These days, of course, the metaphor might be lost on the “What’s a pencil?” generation.  So maybe we should instead say that we’re all Snapchat fodder; visible for mere moments and then gone in a screen wipe. 

The Bible gets at this in the Book of James.  James calls us “mist(s) that appear for a little while and then vanish” (4:14).  Is James denigrating the species?  Kicking dirt in the face of God’s greatest creative efforts?  No, James is just reminding us that we are all penciled in.  Our own endeavors, as impressive as they might seem, and even our very earthly existence, all have expiration dates.  We will be, in this life, surpassed and replaced–likely when we least expect it.  The energy that we expend will be caught up with us when we “vanish.” 

James (in context) intends this as encouragement to do our best with an eye ever towards God’s good pleasure.  It doesn’t make us lazy (or ought not); it helps squash our personal Myth of Indispensability and move forward, in Christ, in the pursuit of excellence, tempered by humility. 

Sully was so very right; even now, when I ponder how exceptional I am (just ask me), his words clang and bang loudly in my mind. 

We’re all just penciled in.  Jesus is the only Indispensable One; He is the Alpha and the Omega; He is the One to whom we look as we pursue excellence on His behalf, tempered by humility. 

We’re all just penciled in. 

© All rights reserved.  Scripture quotations from the NIV. 

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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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THE POWER TO CHOOSE


by Neil Anderson

 

July 23
 
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. . . . As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD
 
Adam and Eve’s sin also affected the area of their will. Do you realize that in the Garden of Eden they could only make one wrong choice? Everything they wanted to do was okay except eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16, 17). They had the possibility of making a myriad of good choices and only one bad choice– only one !
 
Eventually, however, they made that one bad choice. As a result, you and I are confronted every day with a myriad of good and bad choices. You can choose to pray or not pray, read your Bible or not read your Bible, go to church or not go to church. You can choose to walk according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. You and I face countless choices like that every day, and we eventually make some bad ones.
 
Other than the Holy Spirit in your life, the greatest power you possess is the power to choose. Someone has said that pure Christianity lies in the exercise of the will. The animal kingdom operates out of divine instinct. But we are created in the image of God, which means we have a self-operated, independent will. The essence of temptation is to function independently of God. The basis for temptation is legitimate needs.
 
Sinful behavior is often a wrong attempt at meeting your basic needs. The real issue here is are you going to get your needs met by the world, the flesh and the devil, or are you going to allow God to meet your needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)? It’s an issue of identity and maturity. The more you understand your identity in Christ, the more you will grow in maturity. And the more mature you become, the easier it will be for you to choose to live your life in dependence on your heavenly Father.
 
Prayer: Lord, I determine to exercise my great power of choice to live in moment-by-moment dependence on You today.


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BEHAVING YOUR WAY INTO GOOD FEELINGS


by Neil Anderson

 

July 22
 
John 13:17 
If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them
 
What happened to mankind emotionally as a result of the Fall? For one thing, we became fearful and anxious. One of the first emotions expressed by fallen humanity was fear (Genesis 3:10). Today fear is crippling our relationships and activities. Fear is a result of the Fall. If fear is controlling your life, then faith is not.
 
Another emotional by-product of sin is shame and guilt. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). God created them as sexual beings. Their sex organs and sexual activity were holy. But when they sinned, they were ashamed to be naked and they had to cover up (Genesis 3:7). Many people mask their inner self in fear that others may see them for who they really are.
 
Mankind also became depressed and angry after the Fall. Cain brought his offering to God and, for some reason, God was displeased with it. As a result, “Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?'” (Genesis 4:5-7).
 
I believe God established a principle here which echoes all through the Bible: You don’t feel your way into good behavior; you behave your way into good feelings. There are tons of things you don’t feel like doing, but you do them. I never feel like going to the convalescent hospital to minister. And the moment I step in the door, the smell alone does away with any positive feelings of wanting to continue on. But I always leave feeling great; I’m glad I went. Good feelings follow right behavior. Jesus said, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:17).
 
Prayer: Lord, help me do what You want me to do even when it seems unpleasant. I seek Your blessing for obedience.