Encouragement for Today

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Lysa TerKeurst SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

Before They Go to School … Have This Conversation
LYSA TERKEURST

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Lysa TerKeurst I look around the dinner table and feel that desperate ache not uncommon to women who deeply love.

Whether it’s my own family or those who just feel like family, I want so much for them. These young people who are so full of possibility and dreams and bright futures … they have my heart.

Yet my heart feels fragile in the hands of these young people. They are smart. They are grounded. But they are young.

It takes me back to me at that age.

And that scares me.

I remember feeling so grown up and crazy excited at the chance to be in charge of my own life. Ready for independence. Ready for love. Ready for the next chapter of my life.

Chasing what felt good and thrilling, I quickly learned the wind blows in dangerous directions sometimes. Going with the flow led me places I didn’t intend to go. And I woke up one morning ashamed of my choices, wondering how in the world I got to this place.

How?

I cringe thinking back on it. And I cry. Because I don’t want that experience for these people I desperately love.

So, in the midst of the laughter and casual banter, I turn the conversation at the dinner table to a word I want them to know and live.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you want to be. In this moment of togetherness, surrounded by family, and saturated in love — decide.

Decide what your answer will be when the talk turns ugly and the laughter turns mean against that girl who desperately needs you to be her friend.

Decide what your answer will be when someone invites you to the cool party full of drinks and drugs.

Decide what your answer will be when the boy says it’s no big deal to stay the night.

Decide what your answer will be when "friends" laugh at your Christian views and challenge you to lighten up.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you are going to turn to if you do get into trouble. Remember the people at this table. Remember who truly has your best interests at heart. Remember who you are.

Pre-decide.

Decide today to turn around any mistakes from your past by asking for God’s forgiveness and walking in His grace.

Decide today to ignore the enemy who wants to trick you and trip you and take you out.

Pre-decide. And only say yes to the decisions that lead you in the direction of becoming more like Christ. This is the Best Yes.

Yes, pre-decide.

And then we go around the table and tell what we are pre-deciding this year. And my heart feels less of that ache.

I’m not so foolish to think this will act as a bad choice immunization. We are all susceptible. But it is a way to infuse their heart with a memory of a pre-decision.

And with that the plates are cleared, the cookies are nothing more than crumbs, and it’s time to go.

Here are some great Bible verses to pray for our kids as they head off to school this year:

• Galatians 1:10
"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." (NIV)

• Romans 12:2
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will." (NIV)

• Joshua 24:15
"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (NIV)

• Proverbs 29:25
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (NIV)

So, along with these Scripture verses, I whisper a few last words that are a "best yes" for them as they pack up to go …

Go where wisdom gathers, not where wisdom scatters.

Make decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.

And (insert voice cracking and tears welling up), remember how much I love you.

Dear Lord, You are so good. Thank you for entrusting these people to me. I pray You’ll guide my family in Your way as we enter a new school year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Did you enjoy today’s devotion? Click here to subscribe.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Be further equipped to have these kinds of discussions with your kids, your spouse, your coworkers, your fellow ministry leaders, etc. with Lysa’s new book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. Click here to purchase your copy.

Every decision points us in the direction we are about to travel. So we’ve got to get good at chasing down our decisions. We need to look ahead to see where they will take us — and make sure that’s really where we want to go. Click here to download Lysa’s free "Chase Down That Decision" Tool from her new book The Best Yes to help you or your kids practically think through a decision that needs to be made.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which of the above Scripture verses will you pray for your child? Write it down on an index card and personalize it using your child’s name. Then, put the index card where you will see it often during the day as a reminder to pray.

Lysa TerKeurstClick here to pin the imageClick here to download this free printable PDF

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Appreciate

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Originally posted on Ann - A Friend of Jesus 2013:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
~ Romans 8:28 ~

Hello friends. (smile) Praise The Lord, my smile and sense of humor is back. (wink) My faith and trust in God gives me strength and courage each day to share what He pours into my heart.

I give a heartfelt thank you and abundant blessings to online and offline friends, for your prayers and encouragement during my challenges last week. {{hugs}}

I appreciate your thoughtfulness more than you could possibly know. By faith, I know God will bless each of you, in a mighty way, for your part in praying and encouraging the encourager. (smile)

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Sometimes, we forget to appreciate

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The Lord tests hearts

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Originally posted on Knowing God through His Word...Day by Day:

Proverbs 17:3 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and the Lord tests hearts.

God tests us, tests our hearts.  Repeatedy in the Bible, we read that HE refines us, tests us, just as precious metals are refined to remove impurities.  Read these other passages, and ask yourself what remains after going through the “furnace of affliction.” Gold will become pure.  Silver will become pure.  The rest?  Kindling.

The Refiner's Fire by Lars Justinen (www.larsjustinen.com)Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;  I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Behold, I will refine them and test them,
 for what else can I do, because of my people?

Zechariah 13:9 And I will put this third into the fire,
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,

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The Father’s Approval

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Originally posted on flourish:

many daisy flowers at sunset in summerIn life we can seek approval from society and people. If we did not receive enough approval when we were young we can become approval addicts who are willing to compromise what we believe or try to become something we are not.

When Jesus walked the earth there were two times God the Father publicly announced His approval of Him: once at the Jordan River when Jesus was being baptized and the other at Mount Hermon where Jesus had gone to the mountain top to pray. The Father said audibly both times that this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.

Even though during Jesus’s three year ministry He often removed Himself to spend time in prayer. At Mount Hermon there were witnesses, Peter, James and John who heard the Father’s voice of approval and saw the glory that transfigured Jesus so that His face shone like…

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Evening Devotional

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Originally posted on Three Iron Nails:

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.”
Eph 3:17

Beyond measure it is desirable that we, as believers, should have the person of Jesus constantly before us, to inflame our love towards him, and to increase our knowledge of him. I would to God that my readers were all entered as diligent scholars in Jesus’ college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to attain unto a good degree in the learning of the cross. But to have Jesus ever near, the heart must be full of him, welling up with his love, even to overrunning; hence the apostle prays “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” See how near he would have Jesus to be! You cannot get a subject closer to you than to have it in the heart itself. “That he may dwell”; not that he may call upon you sometimes, as…

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Sunday Encouragement

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Originally posted on My Lord, My Friend:

sundays

If this is your day for rest, be encouraged or perhaps you live in an environment where rest is hear to come by, be encouraged. Encouragement is a wonderful and exciting blessing to give, let all share more encouragement.

ROMANS 12 VERSE 12

Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction , be persistent in prayer.

Rejoice in hope might be hard to understand when sometimes circumstances are against us, but we can rejoice in the anticipation of what God is going to do with our circumstances, and through our circumstances. On cloudy days the sun still shines as brightly as ever in the center of the solar system.

Despite out circumstances the Son is still shining brightly as ever with His healing balm.

Be patient in affliction. If we understand that the Son is always shining on us, that enables us to have the patients in afflictions. patience is hope in…

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Prayer is a Habit Worth Having

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Prayer is a Habit Worth Having

Today’s MP3 Do you want to know how to deepen your prayer life? At the risk of sounding like a preacher—which I am—may I make a suggestion? Why don’t you check your habits?

In Romans 12:12, Paul says, “When trials come endure them patiently; steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer.” Prayer is a habit worth having. Don’t prepare to pray. Just pray. Don’t read about prayer. Just pray. Don’t attend a lecture on prayer or engage in discussion about prayer. Just pray.

Posture, tone, and place are personal matters. Select the form that works for you. But don’t think about it too much. Don’t be so concerned about wrapping the gift that you never give it. Better to pray awkwardly than not at all. And if you feel you should only pray when inspired, that’s okay. Just see to it that you are inspired every day.

From When God Whispers Your Name

What Kind of Treasure Hunter Are You

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What kind of Treasure Hunter are You?

If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. – John 15:19MSG

It’s difficult to race headlong after material possessions and focus on building character at the same time. But, society encourages us to chase a long string of material possessions while paying precious little attention to the accumulation of spiritual rewards.

All of mankind is engaged in a colossal, worldwide treasure hunt. Some people seek treasure from earthly sources, treasures such as material wealth or public acclaim; others seek God’s treasures by making Him the cornerstone of their lives.

What kind of treasure hunter are you? Are you so caught up in the demands of everyday living that you sometimes allow the search for worldly treasures to become your primary focus? If so, it’s time to reorganize your daily to-do list by placing God in His rightful place: first place.

The world’s treasures are difficult to find and difficult to keep; God’s treasures are ever-present and everlasting. Which treasures, then, will you claim as your own?

Because the world is deceptive, it is dangerous. The world can even deceive God’s own people and lead them into trouble. ~ Warren Wiersbe

Every Christian is a contradiction to this old world. He crosses it at every point. He goes against the grain from beginning to end. From the day that he is born again until the day that he goes on to be with the Lord, he must stand against the current of a world always going the other way. ~ Vance Havner

Give me Your grace, good Lord, to count the world as nothing; to set my mind firmly on You and not to hang on the blasting words of men’s mouths. ~ St. Thomas More

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you that you are enough for me. I thank you that there is no earthly treasure or fame that is more worthy of my affections and heart. Help me to make my relationship with you more important than being popular with my peers. Amen.

Trust God

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TODAY’S VERSE "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." Proverb 3:5-6

TODAY’S THOUGHT We never seem to run out of opportunities to "trust" God. That doesn’t mean we actually choose to trust Him. In fact, if we were honest with ourself, we would admit that most of the time we choose to fear, run, hide, get mad, pout, strike out at others and a myriad of other reactions to the many stresses in our life. But this is not what God wants. God wants us to trust Him. Solomon, knew this and shared their secret to trusting with us. Trusting is the result of drawing near to God with your heart. Trust is choosing to move from fear to faith, anger to peace and doubt to certainty. Solomon warned about depending only on our own understanding. He encouraged us to move toward God, seeking His will in everything that is going on. It is in "trusting God with all of our heart" that we find Him near, showing us which way to go. Today, when you find yourself in a quandary, stop! Draw near to God, seek His will and trust in Him.

TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, I come to You, drawing as near as I can. Here is my heart. I come seeking Your will and will trust in You. AMEN

Our Problem

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Our Problem is Sin

Today’s MP3 Our problem is sin. Not finances. Not budgets. Not overcrowded prisons. Our problem is sin. We are in rebellion against our Creator. We’re cut off from the source of life. A new president or policy won’t fix that. It can only be solved by God. That is why the Bible uses drastic terms like conversion, repentance, and lost and found. Society may renovate, but only God re-creates.

Ask yourself three questions:

1. Is there any unconfessed sin in my life? Confession is telling God you did the thing He saw you do.

2. Are there any unresolved conflicts in my world? Go and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

3. Are there any un-surrendered worries in my life? Worry is a noose on the neck and a distraction of the mind.

Sometimes the problem’s out there. More often, it’s in here..in us!

From When God Whispers Your Name

Like UpWords · 07/28/2014 on Facebook share on Twitter

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Guard Your Faith

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Originally posted on Spiritual Musings:

Discern who you allow into your personal situations and circumstances. This is not a judgmental act but a discerning act. Nobody is good or bad and or right or wrong….. HOWEVER, There is a special type of faith that only a true believer has access to… A faith that is supernatural in HIS ways that CAN move mountains……. A Christian’s Faith must be protected because many times the world can’t comprehend it….. BUT JESUS!!!!!

1 Timothy 6:20 -Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,

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Rest Assured

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Originally posted on flourish:

Beautiful sea landscapeIn life we can struggle with insecurity. We can worry that we don’t measure up or that we don’t fit in. The truth is if we feel our worth lies in another person’s opinion then it will always be on shaky ground.

As we come to see ourselves through God’s eyes we will see that we are intrinsically valuable. God created us for the purpose of love. He made us in His own image for relationship, so that we could be His children forever.

As we come into this divine relationship through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can rest in Him. We didn’t do anything to earn this right standing with God, and we don’t have to do anything to keep it. We just simply trust and believe in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.

The more we catch a glimpse of God’s massive…

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Scripture Verse Of The week ‘1 Chornicles 28 verse 9′

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Originally posted on My Lord, My Friend:

search

1 Chronicles 28 verse 9; “Know God, and  serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you.”

There is more to know about God than just a belief. We are created for intimacy, intimacy in life, where a man and a woman come together and the life cycles start all over, though the expression of love they have for each other.

Intimacy with God, knowing His ways deeper, where we learn to understand the very heart of God. As we do this, all other intimacy takes on new and even greater meaning. God crested us for intimacy, we a lonely people longing for relationship. 

Our Lord and Our Friend is waiting for us to come to Him with repentance and acceptance, to be able to enter…

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Richard Rohr’s Meditation: Forgiving Ourselves

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Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Letting Go

Forgiving Ourselves

Friday, July 25, 2014

Perhaps the most difficult forgiveness, the greatest letting go, is to forgive ourselves for doing it wrong. We need to realize that we are not perfect, and we are not innocent. “One learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence” says Robertson Davies. If I want to maintain an image of myself as innocent, superior, or righteous, I can only do so at the cost of truth. I would have to reject the mysterious side, the shadow side, the broken side, the unconscious side of almost everything. We have for too long confused holiness with innocence, whereas holiness is actually mistakes overcome and transformed, not necessary mistakes avoided.

Letting go is different than denying or repressing. To let go of it, you have to admit it. You have to own it. Letting go is different than turning it against yourself. Letting go is different than projecting it onto others. Letting go means that the denied, repressed, rejected parts of myself are seen for what they are. You see it and you hand it over to Go

Pride Resists Godly Wisdom

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Pride Resists Godly Wisdom

God’s Word gives perspective for our lives: He directs our paths by His Spirit and Word—a Lamp for feet and Light for paths; without His shining we cannot see and without sight we settle . . . for whatever light we can get.

To compare what we settle for to what He planned is like comparing inches to miles, towns to nations, or a newborn to a wise experienced elder.

Conviction of this perspective is the Spirit’s gift; without the Spirit we are unconvinced, and unconvinced, we choose based on our own wisdom and inevitably pride has its way.

Pride governs the low path but on the heights of God we see clearly—He is for us!! God is Father, Son and Spirit—knowing Him is to know His Word perspective: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness . . .”

Father, I pray… Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in my life—today! I ask for leading by Your Spirit and for the Light of Your Presence to fill my life. Forgive me – pride kept and restrained me because I did not receive Your Wisdom. I turn. I turn. I turn. Today, I turn from pride and into Your Word . . . into Your Light.

Amen.

Proverbs 16:18, NLT | John 1:3-5, NKJV | Acts 3:19 | Verses@Once

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God Often Leads Us Through Trouble, Not Around

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God Often Leads Us Through Trouble, Not Around
by Kevin Malarkey from A Beautiful Defeat

Meet Kevin Malarkey

A successful confrontation will always involve balancing grace and truth.

Grace is your being on the side of, or “for,” the other person as well as the relationship. Truth is the reality of whatever you need to say about the problem.

This balancing combination is referred to as being neutralized. Being neutralized doesn’t mean being neutral about the problem – not taking a side or expressing an opinion. In fact, the clearer you express your opinion, the better your chances of success.

A choice faces us every time we are in a mess, entrapped in sin, or confronting our enemy in the world: Will I believe that God can find mehereand find a way forward in the mess or will I harden my heart, protect my pride, and simply wish I were somewhere else?

Keep yourself open to some amazing possibilities.

A Beautiful Defeat

No question, Satan is at work trying to destroy, but God is at work too. He has an alternative purpose in the worst things we face. He’s a specialist at taking the darkest day and turning it into something beautiful in your life.

This is exactly what the Bible is all about. God is a savior – the Savior. Most times His salvation takes a path we didn’t anticipate, and almost always it’s through, not around, our problems… and only when we yield our hearts and surrender our wills to Him.

We’ve all had what might be referred to as a “Red Sea” moment – our backs against the wall, where every option seems to lead to disaster – but how about the real thing? Several million people without any ability to defendthemselves and the army of Pharaoh bearing down on them with one purpose: slaughter. The Red Sea stood to their backs like a prison wall. There was nothing to do but wait for the inevitable. The people cried out against Moses, and Moses cried out to God for mercy, for help, for salvation.

How big are your problems? Impossible? Insurmountable? A complete disaster? Gut-wrenchingly hard? This isn’t necessarily the bad news. When the scale of our troubles is beyond our abilities to do anything about them, God has the perfect opportunity to teach us something important. It’s as if God allows the trauma to escalate until we are forced to rely on Him.

When God is our only answer, we are right where He wants us.

And, again, remember His path is almost always through the trouble, through the bitter circumstances, through the impossible relationship, through the deep water, not the easy path around our troubles… just like it was for the Israelites.

God opened the sea before His chosen people and they walked through the midst of the waters, on the sea bed, to the other side. This is what God will do for you and for me, if we let Him. Without fail, God will take our struggles, our problems, our trials and make them the place where He does His work – we just need to be open to it. This is the powerful and important message of Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who loveHim, who have been called according to His purpose.

Did you catch that – “all things”? That includes the worst stuff your life has dished up to you, including the worst circumstances you’ve gotten yourself into. God says those things will work together for good.

It’s hard to accept, but will you believe what God is saying here? Will you give Him your worst and let Him make something good out of it? He will manifest His power in the middle of your mess.

It’s not about desiring to get away from your circumstances but drawing near to God in the middle of them.

When we come to the place where we are willing to give God our struggles, burdens, trials, messes, it’s a place of great release. Have you ever been under water for too long and then finally made it to the surface? Surrendering to God is like that, and He wants us to breathe in the life-giving air. I’m guessing it’s a lot like the Israelites felt when they made it to the other side of the Red Sea.

But God didn’t want them to stop their journey. They still had a long way to go… and so do you and I.

God never covers us with His mercy only to leave us.

It’s just one stop on the journey – a great place to rest and get our bearings -but He has something more for you and me. And everything in us is going to resist it because, humanly speaking, it’s unnatural, ugly even. But when wesee this step through the eyes of the Spirit, something that was at first repulsive becomes a thing of breathtaking beauty.

Determine to live through your struggles rather than around them.

Action Step

Try not to eliminate struggle, but ask God to help you discover His purpose in it.

Prayer

Lord, please forgive me for constantly running from You at the times when I need You most. Remind me of the times You have rescued me in the past. Thank You for showing me in the Bible where You did the same for yourpeople. Help me realize that all life events are not about me and that there is much going on that I do not understand or even see. Most importantly, God, please help me remember that when You say all things will work together You are talking about Your perfect plan for eternity and not my immediate need for comfort. Thank You for including me in your plans, and give me wisdom and insight so that I can play my role as You have designed it for me.

* * *

Your Turn

Everyone wants a way out of difficulty, rescue from the struggle, freedom from heartbreak. Have you ever prayed that God would help you through trouble instead and bring redemption as only He can do? ~ Devotionals Daily

A Beautiful Defeat

Buy Now

Total surrender to God: the surprising key to experiencing the sense of peace and purpose you crave.

There is a gnawing feeling inside all of us that says we could be better. If we would just be more organized or work a little harder, we’d finally have the rich and fulfilling life we want.

But the message of the cross is different.

Discover the message in A Beautiful Defeat!

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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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