How to pray For Someone In Bondage

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Originally posted on nuggets4u:

COUNSELOR’S CORNER
By Alfred H. Ells, M.C.

Volume II, Issue 2

HOW TO PRAY FOR SOMEONE WITH
MENTAL, EMOTIONAL OR BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS

“What can we do? He is wandering the streets of downtown LA.”

The caller was a worried mother whose adult son had been drinking heavily. The family had tried to get him into treatment but he refused help and continued to abuse alcohol. Even though I was Director of an alcohol and drug abuse facility, I had no answers for this family. What do you do when someone refuses help?

Before hanging up the phone I offered to pray for the mother and her alcoholic son. It then came to me to suggest that the family organize a prayer campaign, asking God’s help. Encouraged, she agreed to organize all the relatives into teams to fast and pray one day a week for the problem son.

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Repentance, Acceptance, Foriveness.

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Originally posted on My Lord, My Friend:

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To be tempted is not the same as sinning. God created Adam and Eve to be free so they could worship Him freely. God did not want coerced worship; He wanted authentic worship. So God gave Adam and Eve a free will to worship  Him. If they were forced to worship God, it would not have been authentic worship; that is not true freedom.

For Adam and eve to be free, they had to have the ability to both reject God  and worship Him freely. Adam and Eve fully understood what God expected of them. If Adam and eve were never tempted in their loyalty to their Creator, they would have remained in immaturity. God only put condition on them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God created all the trees in the garden, and told them to freely eat of all the…

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Daily Light

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Originally posted on Three Iron Nails:

Evening

Contribute to the needs of the saints.
Rom 12:13 NET

Then David asked, “Is anyone still left from the family of Saul, so that I may extend kindness to him for the sake of Jonathan?”

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ’Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ … And the king will answer them, ’I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did…

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The LORD Bless You and Keep You

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Originally posted on This Thing Called Life...:

Num6-24-26--TheLordBlessYou

Aaron’s Benediction

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying,
‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel.
You shall say to them:

The Lord bless you, and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel,
and I then will bless them.” 
—Numbers 6:22-26

…..

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WHITE SPACEThe advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.

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Take Goliath Down

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by Max Lucado
Goliaths still roam our world. Debt. Disaster. Dialysis. Danger. Deceit. Disease. Depression. Super-size challenges still swagger and strut, still pilfer sleep and embezzle peace and liposuction joy. But they can’t dominate you. You know how to deal with them. You face giants by facing God first.
Focus on giants—you stumble.
Focus on God—your giants tumble.
You know what David knew, and you do what David did. You pick up five stones, and you make five decisions. Ever wonder why David took five stones into battle? Why not two or twenty? Rereading his story reveals five answers. Use your five fingers to remind you of the five stones you need to face down your Goliath. Let your thumb remind you of …
1. THE STONE OF THE PAST
Goliath jogged David’s memory. Elah was a déjà vu. While everyone else quivered, David remembered. God had given him strength to wrestle a lion and strong-arm a bear. Wouldn’t he do the same with the giant? A good memory makes heroes.
“Remember His marvelous works which He has done” (1 Chronicles 16:12). Catalog God’s successes. Keep a list of his world records. Has he not walked you through high waters? Proven to be faithful? Have you not known his provision? How many nights have you gone to bed hungry? Mornings awakened in the cold? He has made roadkill out of your enemies. Write today’s worries in sand. Chisel yesterday’s victories in stone. Pick up the stone of the past. Then select …
2. THE STONE OF PRAYER
Note the valley between your thumb and finger. To pass from one to the next you must go through it. Let it remind you of David’s descent. Before going high, David went low; before ascending to fight, David descended to prepare. Don’t face your giant without first doing the same. Dedicate time to prayer. Paul, the apostle, wrote, “Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long” (Eph. 6:18 MSG).
Prayer spawned David’s successes. His Brook Besor wisdom grew out of the moment he “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). When Saul’s soldiers tried to capture him, David turned toward God: “You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Ps. 59:16).
Invite God’s help. Pick up the stone of prayer. And don’t neglect …
3. THE STONE OF PRIORITY
Let your tallest finger remind you of your highest priority: God’s reputation. David jealously guarded it. No one was going to defame his Lord. David fought so that “all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam. 17:46-47).
David saw Goliath as a chance for God to show off! Did David know he would exit the battle alive? No. But he was willing to give his life for the reputation of God.
What if you saw your giant in the same manner? Rather than begrudge him, welcome him. Your cancer is God’s chance to flex his healing muscles. Your sin is God’s opportunity to showcase grace. Your struggling marriage can billboard God’s power. See your struggle as God’s canvas. On it he will paint his multicolored supremacy. Announce God’s name and then reach for …
4. THE STONE OF PASSION
David ran, not away from, but toward his giant. On one side of the battlefield, Saul and his cowardly army gulped. On the other, Goliath and his skull-splitters scoffed. In the middle, the shepherd boy ran on his spindly legs. Who bet on David? Who put money on the kid from Bethlehem? Not the Philistines. Not the Hebrews. Not David’s siblings or David’s king. But God did.
And since God did, and since David knew God did, the skinny runt became a blur of pumping knees and a swirling sling. He ran toward his giant.
Do the same!
Let your ring finger remind you to take up the stone of passion.
One more stone, and finger, remains:
5. THE STONE OF PERSISTENCE
David didn’t think one rock would do. He knew Goliath had four behemoth relatives. For all David knew, they’d come running over the hill to defend their kin. David was ready to empty the chamber if that’s what it took.
Imitate him. Never give up. One prayer might not be enough. One apology might not do it. One day or month of resolve might not suffice. You may get knocked down a time or two … but don’t quit. Keep loading the rocks. Keep swinging the sling.
Excerpted fromDavid took five stones. He made five decisions. Do likewise. Past. Prayer. Priority. Passion. And persistence.
Next time Goliath wakes you up, reach for a stone. Odds are, he’ll be out of the room before you can load your sling.

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Finding Peace

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by Teresa Bell Kindred

My grandparents’ house sits empty now. However, if walls could speak I’m sure there are lots of stories they could tell. The main part of the house is more than 100 years old. The steps to the upstairs are steep and narrow, not meant for my family’s oversized feet. Parts of the floor are rotting, and the plumbing and wiring need work as well. It would cost a fortune to restore the old house, so it will probably continue to sit empty. Its secrets will be safe from future generations.
My grandmother always said it would be up to my cousin Sarah and me to “clean up the mess upstairs.” Few things in my life have been as difficult as cleaning out that house after my grandmother died.
It was the house where my grandmother came to live as a young bride. At that time, her mother-in-law was still alive and my grandparents cared for her until she died at the ripe old age of 96. “Don’t ever live with your in-laws,” Grandma advised. “You never have a thing that feels like your own.” That was as close as she ever got to complaining about the fact that she rarely left the side of my great-grandmother, who was bedfast for the last 10 years of her life.
The house has been closed up for over a year, but from time to time I still go there, raise the windows to air it out, and walk through the empty rooms. Yes, it makes me sad, but it also brings back so many memories.
I’m remembering things through rose-colored glasses.
My favorite part of the house has always been the front porch. When I was a little girl, my grandmother and I would sit on the front porch swing together and watch the world go by. The chains would clink and clang softly while the swing creaked beneath our weight. We’d guess what color car would come down the road next. We’d pick out animal shapes in the clouds.
Maybe I’m remembering things through rose-colored glasses, but it seems as if the sky was always blue, the birds were always singing, and I was always safe, loved, and at peace when I was there. As I got older, that peaceful feeling became more elusive. There’s always somewhere I’m supposed to be or something I’m supposed to do. At times, I yearn for that kind of peace.
Paul spoke about finding peace. He said:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
When I remember to do this, when I pray and thank God, I can find a peace more wonderful and serene than even the peace I felt on my Grandma’s porch swing. It’s truly a feeling more wonderful than the human mind can understand.

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Serving Others

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from New Life
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10
Finding a way to help others is an expression of faith. It shows that we believe in the sovereignty of God. We don’t’ have to wait until the pain in our life is gone, because we know God can use it for good.

Finding a way to help others requires that you ask two questions: “What is God doing?” and “How can I get into the flow of His activ­ity?” When we ask these questions, ideas will come. And once we begin doing this, the ‘why is this happening’ question, which once seemed so important, becomes irrelevant.

The best answer to why is always what. When we stop asking, “Why has God allowed this?” And begin asking, “What does He want me to do with it?”, we’re ready for God to start His work in us, and that prepares us for service.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. – Galileo Galilei
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. – Charles Dickens

Climber on the summit.

Love and Fear

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by Tim Archer

It’s interesting to watch my dogs when I go out to work in our yard. At first, they are thrilled that I am spending time with them. They dance and jump and beg for attention.
Then I pick up a tool, and everything changes. Their joy turns to terror. One of our dogs lived on the street before we took her in; I’m guessing she suffered some abuse during that time. The other dog, her daughter, follows her mother’s lead, fleeing in fear when they see me armed with a shovel or a rake.
It is a continuous cycle of rejoicing and fear. I put down the tool for a moment, and they are immediately there, craving my affection. As soon as I start back to work, they run for cover.
The thought crossed my mind that this was how ancient peoples lived. They had deities that they looked to for provision and protection. Yet the ancients saw these gods as easily angered, quick to lash out capriciously. The people praised their gods and gratefully accepted the blessings of rain and a bountiful crop. But they fled from them when the deities seemed to be displeased.
We don’t have to live in fear of him, waiting for him to zap us when we make a mistake. Thinking about this almost schizophrenic relationship between worshipers and their gods, I realized that some people still view our God that way. If you do everything just right, God will be pleased with you, allowing you to enjoy his blessings. But if you do something to displease him, he will strike you down or bring disaster on your loved ones.
That’s not who God is. We don’t have to live in fear of him, waiting for him to zap us when we make a mistake. Yes, our God is a just God who will punish sin. But for those of us who seek him, who enter into a relationship with him, he is merciful and good. His love frees us from fear.
The apostle John wrote: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
Seek God. Run to him with all the enthusiasm my dogs show when I step out the back door. Love him and learn to live in his love. John also recorded these words of Jesus: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). We’ll learn to do what Jesus wants; not out of fear of a heavenly thunderbolt, but out of love.

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True Forgiveness

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from New Life
God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. Acts 5:31
Without true forgiveness, bitterness will inevitably tear our relationships apart. No relationship or family will hold together for long if the people involved are unable to grant forgiveness. I don’t just mean saying the words “I forgive you” but actually relating to your spouse, child, parent, or friend with your actions that display forgiveness. Giving voice to forgiveness might create peace temporarily, but when that forgiveness isn’t evidenced by the way you live, true reconciliation will never result.
Let’s learn from a man who went before us. Absalom, the third son of King David, suffered much and also caused much suffering because forgiveness wasn’t a part of his life. When Absalom discovered that his sister had been raped by his half brother, anger and hatred built up in him for two years until he finally killed him.  Then to avoid the wrath of his father, he was on the run for a period of three years. And even after he returned he and his father, David, didn’t speak to one another for two more years. And you thought your family had issues!
Well, Absalom never regained the love he had for his father. In fact, Absalom spent the rest of his life scheming against his father, King David. His life ended while he led a rebellion against his father. Absalom is an example of the wasted years and broken hearts that can result when we harbor bitterness and are unwilling to forgive.
To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness. – Robert Muller
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The Holy Spirit

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The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
 

 

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
A lot of different religious groups will give you all sorts of ways to know whether or not you have the Holy Spirit. Jesus has one simple answer: “by their fruit you will know them.” Paul gives us the definition of holy fruit — LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL. Now why not repeat them out loud and ask the Lord to make this fruit yours in full measure?
Prayer…
Abba Father, through the Spirit I call upon you. Please fulfill in me the character you possess. I want to exhibit the qualities of your child, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.
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Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord

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But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8

When I was a boy, I fell into freezing water while trying to cross some thin ice. A while later, my brothers took me to a frozen pond–where I wasn’t in jeopardy of falling through. It was frozen thick and solid.

Yet even when my brothers ran out onto the ice to demonstrate its sturdiness, they had a difficult time convincing me it would sup­port my weight. I’d been fooled by solid-looking ice before. Finally, they dragged me onto the ice. At first, I tested it nervously. Then slowly and hesitantly I began to trust the ice.

My experiences with ice remind me of the philosophies and teach­ings we put our faith into. We have to test them to make sure they’re trustworthy.

Are you trusting in thin ice? Or in something thick and solid? Put your faith in Christ!

Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence. – St. Augustine

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He restores my soul.

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Today’s Verse for Monday, March 17, 2014
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
—Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
He restores my soul. My that sounds so good. But it is more than talk. When we’ve reached that point that we can’t go on, God blesses us with strength to just keep on walking. When we’re in a struggle and things are tough, his power upholds us and we run to victory. When we’re winning victories in his name, we can soar on wings like eagles. He is a shepherd and more. He is the Rock and Sustainer of our lives!
Prayer…
O Gentle Shepherd, help me rest tonight in your grace and in the confidence that you are nearby. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Whats Wrong With Grownups

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from New Life

 

What’s Wrong with Grownups
Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged. – Colossians 3:21
What’s wrong with grownups?” This was a question posed by a Sunday school teacher to a class of ten-year-olds. See if you recognize yourself in any of these complaints:
Grownups make promises, then forget them, or say it wasn’t a promise, just a “maybe.”
Grownups don’t do the things they tell their children to do—like pick up their things or always tell the truth.
Grownups don’t listen. They decide ahead of time what they’re going to answer.
Grownups make mistakes, but won’t admit them. They pretend they weren’t mistakes at all—or that somebody else made them.
Grownups always talk about what they did and what they knew when they were ten-years-old, but they don’t try to think what it’s like to be ten-years-old right now.
If you’re like me, right now you’re thinking, “Ouch!” Children are perceptive, and they are much more pure in heart than we give them credit for. Take time for them, be honest with them, don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry”.
Nothing you ever do for a child is wasted. – Garrison Keillor
Children are the brightest treasures we bring forth into this world, but too large a percentage of the population continues to treat them as inconveniences and nuisances, when they’re not treating them as possessions or toys. – Charles de Lint

May the God of hope fill you with all joy

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Today’s Verse for Tuesday, March 18, 2014

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Hope and joy and peace sound terrific. Two things are vital for these two blessings to be a part of our lives. First, we must trust God to meet our needs and get us to where we need to be. Second, we expect the power of the Holy Spirit to bless us and empower us with God’s qualities.

Prayer…

Great and Mighty God, bless me with greater trust that you are nearby and long to help. Dear Father, bless and empower me to be the person you want me to be. Fill me with your Spirit so I may live my life here more like Jesus lived his life here on earth. In the name of the Savior I pray. Amen.

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Acknowledging His Presence Builds Character

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Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. – James 4:8

In the quiet early morning, as the sun’s first rays peak over the horizon, we may sense the presence of God. But as the day wears on and the demands of everyday life bear down upon us, we may become so wrapped up in earthly concerns that we forget to praise the Creator.

God is everywhere we have ever been and everywhere we will ever be. When we turn to Him often, we are blessed by His presence. But, if we ignore God’s presence or rebel against it altogether, the world in which we live soon becomes a spiritual wasteland.

Since God is everywhere, we are free to sense His presence whenever we take the time to quiet our souls and turn our prayers to Him. But sometimes, amid the incessant demands of everyday life, we turn our thoughts far from God; when we do, we suffer.

Are you tired, discouraged or fearful? Be comforted because God is with you. Are you confused? Listen to the quiet voice of your Heavenly Father. Are you bitter? Talk with God and seek His guidance. Are you celebrating a great victory? Thank God and praise Him. He is the Giver of all things good. In whatever condition you find yourself—whether you are happy or sad, victorious or vanquished, troubled or triumphant—celebrate

God’s presence. And be comforted in the knowledge that God is not just near. He is here.

There is a basic urge: the longing for unity. You desire a reunion with God—with God your Father. – E. Stanley Jones

Claim all of God’s promises in the Bible. Your sins, your worries, your life—you may cast them all on Him. – Corrie ten Boom

The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as his Majesty whispers ever so gently, “I’m here.” – Max Lucado

Inheritance Day

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by Philip Gulley
In the autumn of my grandfather’s ninety-second year, he moved to a retirement home. The decision to move had been a long time in the making. Grandma had died two years earlier. He was afraid that closing the door to their home one last time would make their goodbye permanent. Complicating the decision was their dog, Babe, who was going with him no matter what. Dispensing the family heirlooms was the final hurdle … the kitchen table he’d built from a wind-shook cherry tree in 1941, Grandma’s mahogany bed, and the woodworking tools.
Since childhood, I had shown a penchant for tools of all types. I spent a fair portion of my youth perched on Grandpa’s workshop stool, eyeing his implements and learning about their upkeep. “Delta-Milwaukee drill press, built in 1939,” he instructed. “Oil it once a month. Craftsman table saw. Don’t ever buy a new one; just buy another motor when the old one goes bad. These are carving knives. Keep them sharp. A dull knife is a dangerous knife.”

Then the most beautiful words of all to my young ears: “Someday these tools will be yours.”

I could scarcely wait for them to be mine, not thinking how receiving them would signal Grandpa’s final days. Whenever I visited him, I would finger the tools, imagining them in my workshop. But as I grew older and my affection for Grandpa increased, my yearning for his tools diminished. I began to realize they would be bought at a heavy price.

A week before he entered the retirement home, he invited me to his house. “Bring a truck,” he said. I arrived the next morning with my friend Jim. Grandpa hobbled out to his workshop, and I followed. Jim had the good sense to linger in the background. Grandpa unlatched the door and we made our way inside. “Someday these tools will be yours.” He rested his hand on the drill press. “This is a 1939 Delta-Milwaukee drill press,” he told me. “You’ll need to oil it once a month.” He worked his way through to the carving knives. “Remember to keep these sharp. A dull knife is a dangerous knife.” It was a sober morning.

“Someday these tools will be yours.”
My wife and I unloaded the tools that evening and carried them to my basement workshop. I arranged them just so while my little boy Spencer looked on from his perch on the workshop stool. “This was Grandpa’s drill press,” I told him. “Now it belongs to me. And these are carving knives. When you’re bigger I’ll show you how to use them.”
He looked up at me from the stool. “Can I have them?” “Yes, Spencer, someday a long time from now, when Daddy doesn’t need them anymore, these tools will be yours.”

He grinned a shy grin. Those were beautiful words to his young ears.

Forty-five years from now, I’ll totter out to my workshop with son in tow. It will be his Inheritance Day. I will have oiled the drill press once a month, just as Grandpa taught me to do. It will be one hundred years old and will work just fine. My son’s friend will linger in the background, while Spencer and I go over the tools’ upkeep one last time. “Don’t forget, son, a dull knife is a dangerous knife.”

I wonder if on that day my son will feel the melancholy I felt on my Inheritance Day. I wonder if he’ll lie awake on that distant night, wishing his daddy was still long for this world, as I wish that now of Grandpa.

Late at night, when my sons are asleep and my wife is reading in her chair, I go down to my workshop and think of grandpas and daddies and sons and the faithful rhythm of it all.

Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for Christians everywhere, I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people. (Ephesians 1:15-18 NLT)

Regret and Restoration

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I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 4

“If only . . .” is a haunting phrase. It implies that you failed and that you wish you could go back and do things differently.

When you dare to see the truth and accept responsibility for your life, you may feel sad and ashamed. You may regret your irresponsibility and destructive behavior, and wish to erase the past. The Bible is full of stories of regret. Take for example the Old Testament book of Zephaniah. The prophet Zephaniah condemned the idol worship and self-center living of the nation Judah. If only they had obeyed and trusted God instead of going their own way!

This book shows us how many of our troubles are a direct consequence of our irresponsibility. The nation Judah was irresponsible in her relationship with God. She worshipped false gods and ignored God’s laws, which were intended for her own good. But Zephaniah made it clear that their irresponsibility would carry heavy consequences.

With the help of Zephaniah and King Josiah the people confessed their sins, took responsibility for their lives, and turned back to God. As a result, they received substantial healing and restoration. When you are irresponsible in your relationship with God and others, your situation will grow progressively worse. The process of your spiritual renewal may start out painfully. When you confess the truth about yourself, it hurts. But as you begin to see the truth, speak the truth, and accept responsibility for your life, you’ll discover the great relief and hope that God offers.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.- C.S. Lewis

Fake

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by Tim Archer
There was controversy in the awarding of the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year. According to some, the photo that won the prize didn’t represent the reality that was photographed. It had gone through significant retouching, enough for some to claim that the picture was fake.
I’m not a photography expert, so I won’t weigh in on that. But I will point out that many pictures are fake. That is, they reflect a reality that doesn’t exist.

You’ve seen them… photos showing a happy couple, when those people are on the verge of divorce. Glamour shots of celebrities that eliminate all wrinkles and blemishes. Panoramic photos with nary a cloud to disturb the heavens. Christmas photos with bows, ribbons and smiles all around.

In fact, we are more interested in having photos that look good than we are in photos that look real. We preen and prep so that we will look better in pictures than we do in everyday life.

So how do you look to God? What does he see? Remember what the Bible says:

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
God looks at the heart. Not the blood-pumping organ in my chest, but the inner me behind the photo-ready facade. He doesn’t care about my hair or my skin tone; he wants to know what I’m like on the inside.

Your inner man could use a bit of Photoshop
If you’re like me, you’re aware that your insides could use some retouching. Your inner man could use a bit of Photoshop. The Bible also tells us who can do that:
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
God can change our heart. He can make us into what we should be. Then we won’t need to fake anything nor retouch anything. God will give us the heart that he’s looking for.

Rest for the Weary Soul

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My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. ― Psalm 38:4

There are plenty of roads in life that promise joy, health, peace, or transformation. Most of them, however, don’t lead in that direction. You can literally exhaust yourself seeking spiritual refreshment. And that doesn’t make any sense.

We work hard at building a good life, but instead of joy on the journey, we often feel weighed down by life. Have you grown weary going down one wrong road after another?

Proverbs tells us, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” (Proverbs 14:12) The fact that a way looks right at first glance doesn’t mean it’s leading toward spiritual renewal . . . it could be leading to a dead end. If you’re someone who has taken many paths but still finds yourself weary, turn to Jesus. He said these words for you: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Any spiritual path that doesn’t lead to Jesus Christ won’t lead to true spiritual renewal . . . no matter how right it seems at first. In fact, Jesus Christ Himself is our way. Remember, the burden He calls you to bear on your journey is light, and the yoke of His expectation fits you perfectly. When you do this, He promises rest for your soul.

Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you. ― George Müller

We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, “I give up, Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world, the whole world.” ― Bruce Larson

If we believe that God is always at hand, always ready to hear, surely we should take delight in telling Him all our little cares, and woes, and hopes, as they flit by. ― H.L. Sidney Lear