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Love that Never Ends

We’ve all fallen, haven’t we? We’ve all had bad days. Problems in life. Stress. Confusion. We all just have struggles in general. It’s in those times that we feel like we can’t get to God. Our problems and our struggles hold us back from communing with Him. However, Psalm 51:17 tells us something different: 

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

As David is writing this and praying this, he knows that all he can offer God is a broken heart. Because, honestly, that’s all we have. Our heart, our soul is the only thing we really own. Everything else will stay behind when you enter eternity. So, the only thing we can truly offer God is our heart. That’s not much, is it? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m anything special. I know that I’ve failed time and time again. The thing is, God accepts what we offer him when we do it with everything we have. When we really mean it, He eagerly accepts our offerings. And they thrill Him because that’s all He wanted in the first place. He wants fellowship with the very people He gave the breath of life. 

I hope this short post has encouraged you tonight! God bless!

-Austin

“Well my love is over
It’s underneath
It’s inside
It’s in between 

The times that you’re healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you’ve fallen from grace 

The times you’re hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal 

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I’m there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame 

I’m there through your heart-ache
I’m there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone 

I don’t care where you’ve fallen or where you have been
I’ll never forsake you
My love never ends”- Tenth Avenue North


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A COMPASSIONATE COUNSELOR

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

February 27
 
Matthew 9:13 
But go and learn what this means, “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice”
 
I used to ask my seminary students two questions: What attributes, strengths and characteristics would you look for in a person with whom you could share your deepest personal problems? Would you be willing to commit yourself to become that kind of person–someone others could confide in?
 
The essential prerequisite for a Christian counselor is to become the kind of person with whom others feel confident in sharing the problems of their present and past. Christian counseling doesn’t require a college degree, although those who counsel professionally can be greatly helped by receiving Bible-based training. Whether you sit on the platform or in the pew, whether you sit at a desk in a counseling clinic or at a dining room table, God can use you to minister to people with problems if you are compassionate.
 
You can’t really help a person unless you hear his whole story, and you won’t hear it unless you are the kind of person he can trust. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. Compassion is not a question of learning a professional technique; it’s a question of Christian character and love.
 
Counseling seeks to help people deal with the present by resolving conflicts from the past. Many of these conflicts relate to areas of bondage where Satan-induced strongholds have been erected in the mind. People cannot grow and mature because they are not free. The goal of Christian counseling–whether done by a pastor, a professional counselor, or a friend–is to help people experience freedom in Christ so they can move on to maturity and fruitfulness in their walk with Him.
 
Prayer: Lord, increase my compassion so I can be an effective counselor of others. Keep me from jumping to self-righteous conclusions.
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Godly Friendships

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LOL…. I love it when a dog smiles! Their unconditional love and absolute acceptance is so encouraging and heart warming. We really should stop using our eyes to judge people. This chick and dog are an odd couple but then, I have a few friends who make me half of an odd couple too! I believe God sends us friends. He knows the best people to bring our way and places them in our path.  Then He leaves it up to us to make a connection.

Our Lord looks at the inner spirit of a person and does not judge our outer appearance! Spiritual eyes should be used when meeting people and deciding if they could be a friend. Too many times we are quick to make a decision about possible relationships.

 Think about Jesus and His twelve Apostles. 

 The Apostles of Christ were the foundation stones of His church. Revelation 21:14 speaks of the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem as having in them the names of the twelve Apostles. These men were important to Jesus. However, what a mix our Savior had in friends and followers. They included: Zealots, fisherman, missionaries, an even a tax collector! They were from different geographic locations and social classes, some were more political and others had more education.

 When we are true believers of Christ, there is a common bond that overrides profession, education, race, nationality, geographies, linguistics, social class, and economics. We are brothers and sisters and God is our Father.  We are family…. A spiritual family.

 Although we do not have a choice into which family we are birthed into while on earth, we do have a choice as to whom we choose as friends.  How do you select a friend?  Is it based on interest, profession, or social status? Perhaps you search for friends with a sold out Christian walk, and then let everything else fall into place.

 Elijah had Elisha as a friend, David had Jonathan, Ruth was bound to Naomi, Paul had Barnabas and later on, Timothy.  Whom do you call friend? Are they leading you into a deeper relationship with God, or are they dragging you further from Him? Do they encourage and spur you on in your walk?

 Today, I encourage you to pray about the people in your life.  Seek God and ask Him if you need to rethink some of your relationships and friendships. Listen to His voice and look for confirmation in the Word.  He may even use your Pastor or a radio message to enlighten or advise you.

But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. 
The Lord do so to me, and more also, 
if anything but death parts you and me.”   Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)

Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.  Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1-3 (NKJV)

 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel.”  2 Kings 2:2 (NKJV)


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HE’S ALWAYS THERE

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

February 20
 
Matthew 28:20 
I am with you always, even to the end of the age
 
In the early 1980s I counseled a Christian young woman who was languishing in deep spiritual, mental and emotional torment. She wrote:
 
Dear God,
 
Where are You? How can You watch and not help me? I hurt so bad, and You don’t even care. If You cared You’d make it stop or let me die. I love You, but You seem so far away. I can’t hear You or feel You or see You, but I’m supposed to believe You’re here. Lord, I feel them and hear them. They are here. I know You’re real, God, but they are more real to me right now. Please make someone believe me, Lord. Why won’t You make it stop? Please, Lord, please! If You love me You’ll let me die.
 
A Lost Sheep
 
Many Christians I deal with are filled with such confusion that their daily walk with Christ is unfulfilling and unproductive. When they try to pray, they begin thinking about a million things they should be doing. When they sit down to read the Bible, they can’t concentrate. When they have an opportunity to serve the Lord in some way, they are brought up short by discouraging thoughts of self-doubt.
 
Having found freedom, “The Lord Sheep” penned a response to her own prayer based on her new understanding of God’s provision in Christ.
 
My Dear Lost Sheep,
 
You ask Me where I am. My child, I am with you and I always will be. You are weak, but in Me you are strong. I am so close that I feel everything you feel. Be crucified with Me and I will live in you, and you shall live with Me. I will direct you in paths of righteousness. My child, I love you and I will never forsake you, for you are truly Mine.
 
Love, God
 
Prayer: Loving Shepherd, thank You for tending me and feeding me daily, showing me that I am precious to You.


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Love to Worship- Spoken Word

This is a video from Dillon Chase. I thought it was great, so I’m sharing it with all of you! :)

-Austin 

 


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THE BATTLE OF THE MIND

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

February 18
 
Romans 7:25; 8:1 
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! . . . There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
 
Romans 7:22, 23, pinpoints the battleground for the contest between me and sin: “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.”
 
Where does my desire to do what’s right reside? Paul uses the phrase “the inner man,” referring to my new self where my spirit and God’s Spirit are in union. This is the eternal part of me. And where does sin wage its war to keep me from doing what I really want to do? In the physical members of my body (James 4:1). Sin operates through my flesh, that learned independence that continues to promote rebellion against God. This is the temporal part of me. Where then do these two opponents wage war (Galatians 5:17)? The battleground is my mind. That’s why it is so important that we learn how to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 
 
Paul concluded his description of the contest between sin and the new self with the exclamation: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Notice that he didn’t say, “Sinful man that I am !” Wretched means miserable, and there is no one more miserable than the person who has allowed sin to reign in his mortal body. If we use our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness, we give the devil an opportunity in our lives, and he brings only misery.
 
The good news is that Romans 7:24 is followed by Romans 7:25 and Romans 8:1: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! . . . There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The battle for the mind is a winnable war.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for knowing me, understanding me, and providing for me a way of escape for every possible temptation.


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THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN

By Neil Anderson

Neil Anderson

February 15
 
Revelation 12:10 
The accuser of our brethren . . . who accuses them before our God day and night
 
Next to temptation, perhaps the most frequent and insistent attack from Satan to which we are vulnerable is accusation. By faith we have entered into an eternal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, we are dead to sin and alive to God, and we now sit with Christ in the heavenlies. In Christ we are important, we are qualified, we are justified. Satan can do absolutely nothing to alter our position in Christ and our worth to God. But he can render us virtually inoperative if he can deceive us into listening to and believing his insidious lies, accusing us of being of little value to God or other people.
 
Satan often uses temptation and accusation as a brutal one-two punch. He comes along and says, “Why don’t you try it? Everybody does it. Besides, you can get away with it. Who’s going to know?” Then as soon as we fall for his tempting line, he changes his tune to accusation: “What kind of a Christian are you to do such a thing? You’re a pitiful excuse for a child of God. You’ll never get away with it. You might as well give up because God has already given up on you.”
 
We have all heard Satan’s lying, hateful voice in our hearts and consciences. He never seems to let up on us. Many Christians are perpetually discouraged and defeated because they believe his persistent lies about them. And those who give in to his accusations end up being robbed of the freedom that God intends His people to enjoy.
 
The good news is that we don’t have to listen to Satan’s accusations and live in despair and defeat. Satan is not your judge; he is merely your accuser. When Satan’s accusations of unworthiness attack you, don’t pay attention to them. Instead respond, “I have put my trust in Christ, and I am a child of God in Him. I have been rescued by God from the fire of judgment, and He has declared me righteous. Satan cannot determine a verdict or pronounce a sentence. All he can do is accuse me–and I don’t buy it.”
 
Prayer: Lord God, when Satan accuses me and reminds me of my past, help me resist him and remind him of his future.


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YOUR JOURNEY TOWARD CHRIST

By Neil Anderson

Neil Anderson

February 13

John 10:10 
The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy

How do evil spirits interfere with our lives? Let me answer with a simple illustration. Imagine that you are standing at one end of a long, narrow street lined on both sides with two-story row houses. At the other end of the street stands Jesus Christ, and your Christian life is the process of walking down that long street of maturity toward Him. There is absolutely nothing in the street which can keep you from reaching Jesus. So, when you receive Christ, you fix your eyes on Him and start walking.

But since this world is still under the dominion of Satan, the row houses on either side of you are inhabited by beings who are committed to keeping you from reaching your goal. They have no power or authority to block your path or even slow your step, so they hang out of the windows and call to you, hoping to turn your attention away from your goal and disrupt your progress by tempting you, accusing you and deceiving you.

What is the enemy’s goal in having his demons jeer you, taunt you, lure you, and question you from the windows and doorways along your path? He wants you to slow down, stop, sit down, and, if possible, give up your journey toward Christ. He wants to influence you to doubt your ability to believe and serve God. Remember: he has absolutely no power or authority to keep you from steadily progressing in your walk toward Christ. And he can never again own you, because you have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and you are forever in Him (1 Peter 1:18, 19). But if he can get you to listen to the thoughts he plants in your mind, he can influence you. And if you allow him to influence you long enough through temptation, accusation and deception, he can control you.

If I could influence you to believe a lie, could I control your life? Yes. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2) and take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).


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OVERPOWERING THE CAPTORS

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

February 11
 
Matthew 12:29 
How can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man?
 
A prime target for our authoritative prayer is the “strong man” mentioned in Matthew 12:29. Jesus was saying that you cannot rescue people from the bonds of spiritual blindness or demonic influence unless you first overpower their captors. Satan’s power is already broken, but he will not let go of anything he thinks he can keep until we exercise the authority delegated to us by the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
When we pray we are not trying to persuade God to join us in our service for Him; prayer is the activity of joining God in His ministry. By faith we lay hold of the property in Satan’s clutches which rightfully belongs to God, and we hold on until Satan turns loose. He will hold on to these people until we demand their release on the basis of our authority in Christ. Once Satan is bound through prayer, he must let go.
 
Understanding the spiritual nature of our world should have a profound effect on our evangelistic strategy. All too often we proclaim the virtues of Christianity to unbelievers like someone standing outside a prison compound proclaiming to the inmates the virtues of the outside world. But unless someone overpowers the prison guards and opens the gates, how can the prisoners experience the freedom we’re telling them about? We must learn to bind the strong man before we will be able to rescue his prisoners.
 
Prayer: In the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command Satan to release those loved ones in my family who are blinded to the truth and whose thoughts are raised up against the knowledge of God and to return them from enemy territory.


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LIMITING ANXIOUS FEELINGS

By Neil Anderson

banner_secondary_who i am in christ

February 9

1 Peter 5:7 NIV 
Cast all your anxiety on Him [God] because He cares for you
 
Let’s assume you have sought God’s will for a certain direction, and you believe that He has led you to make specific plans. The problem is you are still worried about whether your plans will come about as you have hoped. When I’m facing such situations, I try to follow the six steps described below to limit my anxious feelings.
 
First, state the problem . A problem well stated is half solved. In anxious states of mind, people can’t see the forest for the trees. Put the problem in perspective. Will it matter for eternity? The danger at this juncture is to seek ungodly counsel. The world is glutted with magicians and sorcerers who will promise incredible results. Their appearance may be striking. Their personality may be charming. But they are bankrupt of character. Avoid them (Psalm 1:1).
 
Second, separate the facts from the assumptions . Since we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, we make assumptions, and we usually assume the worst. If the assumption is accepted as truth, it will drive your mind to its anxiety limits. Therefore, you must separate assumptions from facts.
 
Third, determine what you have the right or ability to control . You are responsible for that which you can control, and you are not responsible for that which you can’t. Don’t try to cast your responsibility onto Christ; He will throw it back.
 
Fourth, list everything you can do which is related to the situation that is under your responsibility . When people don’t assume their responsibility, they turn to temporary cures for their anxiety, like eating, TV, sex or drugs.
 
Fifth, once you are sure you have fulfilled your responsibility, see if there is any way you can help others . Turning your attention away from your own self-absorption and onto helping people around you is not only the loving thing to do, but it also brings a special inner peace.
 
Sixth, the rest is God’s responsibility , except for your prayer, according to Philippians 4:6-8. So assume your responsibility, but cast your anxiety on Christ.
 
Prayer: Lord, help me recognize the difference between today’s responsibilities and anxieties, then put them in their proper places.