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The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Faithful Obedience

This morning I was wondering about people, people who are in the church yet have no visual spiritual growth. It worries me. My heart breaks for those that don't take to heart God's words and commands. I think of the verses,  Matthew 7:21-23

““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” 

Who are these people that The Lord will turn away?
Apparently these people believed themselves to be "known" by God. They remind God of the works that they performed for Him.
Yet, He says that He never knew them.

If people think and believe themselves to be "right" with God how is anyone to reach them? Very often they become defensive and feel that they are being judged.
People say things like, "God understands." 

And honestly, I believe that He does understand. And He pardons. And He forgives. And another new day, new chance is given.
But there will come the day when we die and all new chances are done away with.

“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,”
Hebrews 9:27 NASB

Now what? 
Now a person is judged and will be held accountable for every word of God. We will each be held up against the measuring rod of His word and whether or not He "understands" that you believe your circumstances will exempt you, they will not. 

‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Are words that I never want to hear.

If you want to be in The Kingdom, you must obey the King.
A life of faithful obedience no matter what we go through is required by God.

Discussion:
What does faithful obedience look like?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Spur On

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

If you look up the word Encourage in the Greek language it means, Strengthen or be alongside.

I looked this word up because I have recently had someone tell me that I needed to be more encouraging and less "preachy."

I won't apologize for trying earnestly to keep those I care about on the straight and narrow road. If I care about you and recognize potential in you, then I will push you to do your best.

You must understand to strengthen may not always be a pleasant experience. Imagine a body builder in strength training. It is hard. They are pushed beyond what they feel is comfortable.
In the same way, be alongside, make me think of staking up a tall, spindly tree. We pound a stake into the ground and tie the tree to it to help it grow correctly. We train it to go against what seems natural.

To strengthen or be alongside is not pumping sunshine into someone. It's not sugar coating your words or tickling ears. To be encouraging is to push those you care for into being their best selves.

And in the above verse we are to spur one another on. Is that a comfortable term? No.
Horse riders use spurs to get the most from their beloved horse. It is not punishment or meanness. It is to encourage full potential.

I expect my friends to help keep me on the straight and narrow. And I will be spurring you and encouraging you.
Love you always.
Rhonda

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Epaphras



The apostle Paul speaks very highly of Epahras.
A. He says that Epaphras is a SERVANT of Christ.
B. Epaphras struggles in his prayers while praying for the Colossians Christians.
C. Epaphras prays for them to be mature Christians.
D. He prays that the Colossians Christians will have assurance in the will of God.

That is a good prayer. 
When is the last time you actually struggled while praying for someone else?
We do need to pray for others to become mature in Christ. We need to be always growing as well.
Do you feel assured that you are living out your purpose of God? Do you pray for others to live out God's will for their lives?

Let's pray on behalf of others.

DIVORCE



After you hear the word, once you've come to believe the truth of God, when you are not ashamed to proclaim that Jesus is the son of God, and have had all your sin washed away and have risen from your dead self into a new life by re-enacting the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ through the act of baptism, then comes the hard part. It is the part with which we all need encouraged: Living a life of faithfulness to God and His work.
How would you define faithfulness?

In your marriage if you spoke to your spouse for a minute each day, is that faithfulness.
If you only brought yourself to the presence of your spouse for 1 hour a week, would that be faithfulness?
If you spoke great praise of your spouse in his presence, but lived like a single person the rest of the time, is that faithfulness?
If you dislike being near other people that your spouse dearly loves, how can you say you love him?
Do you feel obligated to take care of your husbands house, his belongings and hate doing the things necessary for upkeep of his household?

Ladies, if we had marriages like that we would not call that faithfulness, we would want out and fast.
Yet that is how so many treat their relationship with God and his family.

I encourage you today to step it up and be faithful if you truly love Him before he gives you an eternal divorce.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Army


Have you ever noticed how contagious a bad mood can be?
Someone in the house is grumpy and then it begins to spread. And if Mom catches it, look out, because she can outdo anyone else. 😬
Really any kind of negativity can bring down those around you. 
Ever hear of a "wet blanket" or a "stick in the mud?" 
A wet blanket refers to putting a wet blanket on a fire to smolder it. It acts as a damper to the flame. 
A stick in the mud originated from animals and wagons getting bogged down or mired in clay. 
Can you see why these phrases might be used to describe a discouraging person?
People don't want to be around that in the same way we don't want to be too near a contagiously ill person. We might catch it. 
God even gave laws considering a discouraged soldier. 

The officials will continue to address the troops, stating: "Is there anyone here who is afraid and discouraged? He can leave and go back to his house; otherwise, his comrades might lose courage just as he has."
Deuteronomy 20:8 CEB

Can you imagine if discouragement spreads throughout the army?
As a child we sang, I'm in the Lord's Army. 
As adults we sing, Onward Christian Soldiers. 

Dear Lord, help us to not be afraid. Help us to be bold and courageous. Keep our faith strong in you. We don't want to be put out of Your Army, Lord.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tied Together

This morning at church we sang the song, Bind us together. And my imagination wheels started turning.
I wondered how the young ones I had just finished teaching would act if I tied them altogether and left them that way throughout the lesson time. I believe it wouldn't be a good idea.
What if we, the adults would literally be bound together? 
I wonder.
Do we really want to be bound together with anyone?
Married couples don't even stay bound together for very long.
Church members aren't much better either. Very often we forsake unity. We forget to daily deny ourselves. We don't look a whole different than the world. In fact, all too often we look just like the world.
Don't believe me? Put your imagination hats on. Can you imagine being united, bound, tied up with, the members of your congregation? For how long? A few minutes maybe. It might even be funny. But within an hour some would want loose. Some would begin to lose their sense of humor. After a few hours we would be squirming our way away from each other. After a whole day, I don't think we would want anything to do with each other.
But the song, Bind us Together, is not talking literally being tied together. It is a unity of our hearts, beliefs, goals, and spirits. We are to be one. We are all to seek God's purpose and direction.  We are to bear one another's burdens. We are all part of one body. Our arm would not drop off because it didn't feel good. Our nose would pop off because it was mad at the big toe. We are one body.
What are you willing to do to keep unity in the church body? 

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB

BIND US TOGETHER, Lord, Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.

There is only one God,
There is only one King;
There is only one Body,
That is why we sing