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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Here is the church



Here is the Church


Remember doing this as a child? When we open the doors of the church building now, where are all the people?
What in the world has happened to cause such a decline in faith in such short a time?
All people believe in something. Everyone holds to something's that they "believe" true in their own minds.
Our love and joy in knowing Christ needs to be so bright and shining that people will desire to have it for themselves. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NASB)

It takes all of us working together, doing our part to build up the Kingdom of God. God has given each of us grace. He tells us that His grace is sufficient for us. 
We all have gifts that will allow us to build each other up.  Think about your part today. What is your gift? How are you using it to reach others and build others?
Don't give up or grow weary.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "V engeance is M ine, I will repay," says the Lord. "B ut if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:3-21 NASB)

Always on my mind


Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind - YouTube
www.youtube.com/watch/?v=wDe60CbIagg

Elvis and Willie Nelson both have recorded this song as well. But I like this version.
Isn't it true that many times we think of someone, or think of doing something for someone and then we don't act upon it and the moment passes.
We are so full of good intentions. And we always assume that there will be another opportunity. 
I was always taught that if someone is on my mind that I should stop what I'm doing and pray for that person. 
And as I go through my Facebook stream if someone is requesting prayer, I try to pray right then and there.
My mind is not the best at remembering. I am a creature of notes and lists. I always have a piece of paper in my pocket with things to remember to do.
Many people and many things run through my mind, but sometimes my rewind button doesn't work so good and as I get older, that gets worse.
I am happy that God isn't like that. I am on His mind. And so are you. And He doesn't forget us or forget bout us. No, we are always on His mind.
Thank You, Lord for thinking of me and loving me and for telling me that I am yours.

Mine, mine, mine


Have you watched the movie, Finding Nemo? Do you remember the greedy seagulls screeching, "Mine, mine, mine," when they spotted food? I always laugh when I see that part. 
And along that line, I know a mother on Facebook that reminds me of those seagulls. Every single time anyone comments on one of her teens Facebook page she will ALWAYS come back with a comment of her own, usually along the line of, "yes, My daughter is so pretty." Or "I know, MY son is very smart." Or just a "that's MY kid."
These comments always make me chuckle just like the greedy seagulls. I have to wonder why she does this. Is she being possessive? Or is she wanting to take the credit for all of their accomplishments?
Or Maybe she is just absolutely so proud of them and wants the world to know it.
God does this for us. He is our Lord. He has created us and formed each one of us. He has given us salvation and He calls us by name. But even more, he says, "You are Mine."

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, And He who formed you,  "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! (Isaiah 43:1 NASB)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's make a Deal


I remember when I was young watching Let's Make a Deal with Monte Hall. It was exciting watching people dress up in silly costumes and play games to win prizes and then Monte would show them a "big box" or a curtain and offer to allow them to trade their prize for something else.
Oh, the temptation! It was fun watching them agonize over what to do. Sometimes they were content and keep their original prize and sometimes the thought of something better would lure them to trade.

Sometimes their choices turned out to be something silly and no good at all.

Adam and Eve lived in splendor. They enjoyed the most heavenly garden. They took walks with God. Everything they needed was theirs. Until the thought of something better was planted into Eve's head. Then she became discontent. 
Her choice of trying for something better turned out to be really bad.

The thoughts of something better can breed discontentment. These thoughts can cause you to overspend. They cause jealousy, and give you a general feeling of dissatisfaction.

When this happens in a church, God cannot be pleased and the outcome is seldom good. Parents get upset because the youth minister hurt their child's feelings. The preacher preaches on one sin all the time and it is directed right at me. The lady in the kitchen gave someone else a bigger piece of pie than I got. Who chose that color for our pew padding?
Why is there lavender air Fresheners in the bathroom, it is such a strong smell. And it goes on and on. And the more it goes the bigger the circle of discontentment gets. 
God will not be pleased by this. Take those thoughts captive. Do not take part in the whisper campaigns. 

Church is for the building up of each other and to collectively worship our creator. 
Come in with the right attitude and leave with a better one. That's a good deal.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who am I that you are mindful of me?


Have you ever looked up into the night sky and just exclaimed, "Wow?"
It is vast! It is magnificent! There are SO MANY STARS! And the beauty of all of it is just astounding. God is great!
And to think that what you see is just a speck of what is out there. Space goes on and on.....

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, (Psalms 8:3-6 NASB)

Why would God think so much of us? Why does He love me? What am I in comparison to all the universe?
Yet God does love me. He knows how many hairs are on my head, and judging by my hairbrush, this job alone should keep Him busy.
I have value. You have value. God is so in love with us that He sings over us. Zeph. 3:17

Yet, I let Him down. I fail. I am not what/who He created me to be. My failures separate me from God. And no matter what I try to do I cannot bridge that separation.
But God loves me/us so much that He made a way.

His Son Jesus is the bridge. 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fBPA-atGdc
Mar 22, 2011 - Uploaded by Jillian Fortin
There's a cross to bridge the great divide. God is faithful. On my own I'm unable. He found me ...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Coming to The gathering of the Church?


Coming to the assembly of the saints this morning?
Everyone is welcome. I need to see you there. I get my encouragement from you. It inspires my faithfulness when I know you aren't feeling your best yet you come anyway.
When I am feeling down and defeated talking to you and hearing that you sometimes feel that way too lifts me up.
When I am struggling financially, I can hear about Jesus having no where to lay His head.
When I am feeling like my sins are too big and I'm not going to fit in, I can hear about Rahab, a prostitute that God changed and became an ancestor of our Lord.
I don't have nice clothes to wear, well, 1 Sam. 16:7 tells us that God doesn't care what we wear. He looks at our hearts.
But if you would rather o to the mountains or the beach or anywhere in nature and find God there, you might want to remember to have someone with you. Matthew 18:20 says Where two or three are gathered, there I will be in the midst.

You see, Sunday morning is the day we GATHER TOGETHER to remember Christ's death and resurrection and why He did that for us. 
It is a celebration! A wonderful time of praise to God. We should be encouraging each other. Life is hard for each of us. Sunday mornings are a refill station for my strength for the week. It realigns my steps and puts me back on track if I slid off. 
Come get filled!

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 NASB)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Relationship

You can choose your friends but you can't choose your relatives.
You usually hear this statement when something a family member does is shameful or embarrassing. 
Not all of us act just right all the time. I am sure that I probably have embarrassed my family members a time or two.
I remember once while in high school, I was staying the weekend with my cousin. We had permission to go to the football game but not the dance afterward. My aunt was coming to pick us up.
The game was  over early so we walked with our friends over to the dance and just went inside when my aunt showed up in her chenille bathrobe and slippers and pink curlers all through her hair! 
Trust me, at that time I would have very much liked to "unchoose" her.

God gives us the choice whether we want to have a relationship with Him. He wants us and loves us, even in our most shameful and embarrassing moments, even in our awful sinfulness. He hopes for us to choose Him.
He created us, He could have created us without the choice.
Why then, do you think He gave us the option?

I love to see people choose to love The Lord. I encourage people to do just that. But I cannot force anyone to do it. I cannot shame or embarrass anyone into loving God. 
I can only bring the message of God's love to them. It is still and always their choice.

 Choose  for yourselves today whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15 NASB)

Friday, September 20, 2013


Remember doing this as a child? When we open the doors of the church building now, where are all the people?
What in the world has happened to cause such a decline in faith in such short a time?
All people believe in something. Everyone holds to something's that they "believe" true in their own minds.
Our love and joy in knowing Christ needs to be so bright and shining that people will desire to have it for themselves. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NASB)

It takes all of us working together, doing our part to build up the Kingdom of God. God has given each of us grace. He tells us that His grace is sufficient for us. 
We all have gifts that will allow us to build each other up.  Think about your part today. What is your gift? How are you using it to reach others and build others?
Don't give up or grow weary.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "V engeance is M ine, I will repay," says the Lord. "B ut if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:3-21 NASB)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Treat me this way


Just the other day I posted about The Golden Rule, treating others as we want to be treated.
How do you want to be treated? Below is a list of 7 ways to treat others.
Which are easy for you? Are any of them difficult for you?

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (Colossians 3:12, 13 NASB)

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Encourager


It's Monday. Monday, the first day of our workweek. 
After the weekend we should be rested and refreshed and rearing to go. So why then do I see so many dread Monday mornings? 
And I must confess, I am not always ready to jump both feet back into work. 
Sometimes It feels kind of like cold water, I want to dip my toes in and then inch my way in until I warm up to the thoughts gradually.
But in any case, here we are.....Monday. And it's dark and rainy where I am this morning. 
For those of you that are a little slow this morning, if you are not ripping and tearing to get out the door I would like to remind you, Psalm 118:24, This is the day that The Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
God gave us this brand new beautiful gift. Another clean slate. Another chance to bring Him honor and glory. A new day to make things better.
How will you use this day?
What words can you say today to encourage someone?
What act can you do to show kindness to someone?
What lessons will you read in your Bible today that will equip you?
What will you praise and thank God for?

This is the day
This is the day
This is the day that The Lord has made
We will rejoice
We will rejoice
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Think


An easy exercise

I would like you to think back over your last three interactions with people. 
What exactly happened? What was said? What were you thinking? What was the purpose of your interaction?
Do you treat people the way you would like to be treated? 
Do you THINK before you speak?
T- is it true?
H- is it helpful?
I- is it inspiring?
N- is it necessary?
K- is it kind?

I see a lot of things circulating on twitter and Facebook that looks like jokes or funny pictures but it is just sarcasm and meanness. People become emboldened when they can hide behind the social media. 

I would like you to add another question to the ones above, "would you say it to a person's face?"

How do you treat other people? Do you hold the door for others? Do you yield the right of way at 4-way stop signs? Do you stand so others can sit? Do you let someone with a few items ahead of you in line? Do you get road rage? (I must confess that one.) Do you listen to gossip or put a stop to it? Do you spread gossip yourself? Are you an encourager or a discourager? 

What if people treated you the way you treat others?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

From our friend, Pat Pennington


Romans 12:3 tells us that everyone has been given a message of faith.
Since I was a very young man I have been told the amount of faith God has given you is equal to the assignment He's given you. Now at 70 years old I will say that statement is true.

Whatever you're facing in your life, tell yourself, "God has given me the faith to handle this." Nothing's more important than your faith. Jesus told Peter in the book of Luke, "Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail

Faith is more important than money, or career success, or reputation. Everything can be taken from you, but if you have faith you'll bounce back. Also our Mighty God restores His people of faith.

I think faith is a direct connection to God. As the prayer of faith flows up, God’s power flows down. So keep in mind that failure is never final, as long as your faith doesn't fail. There are obstacles in your life that will only be removed by faith. It's not so much the size of your faith, but the quality of it that determines your success.

We could also say the amount of time it takes for us to completely trust God with a troubled situation is an indicator of our growth in faith. A divided heart of distrust is created when we face unknowns and when we are offended, frustrated or hurt. The quicker we learn to trust God and put our faith in Him, the quicker we enjoy the grace and peace of our Heavenly Father.

But be on guard, a man or woman is made weak when their heart is divided by forces competing with faithful living. As our faith grows in our Christian walk we need to consider how fear divides but faith unites, just as pride divides and humility unites. Also anger divides while forgiveness unites. Selfishness also divides while generosity unites. Harshness divides, kindness unites. Hate divides, love unites. In this world God’s way always unites and we need to have faith in our God. He is everywhere, knows everything and is sovereign.

As dedicated Christians we need to grow into a focused faith in the Lord Jesus. Never doubt the power of our God.

<°)))>< Pat Penningtom, San Antonio, TX

Bible Pledge

How important is God's Word to you? 
Think about this question and meditate on your answer.
Would you PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE to the Bible? Do you understand what that means?

Do you use the "illumination" found there to guide your steps?
Memorizing scripture and recalling it when you need it can help to keep you from sin. 

What a wonder gift God has given for us. 
Do you have one? Please use it.
If you don't have one, message us and we will help you get one.

What does your Bible look like?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembrance


Today everyone is remembering a day 12 years ago. And everyone who is old enough to remember can tell you about that day.
It is important to remember how our country was attacked by vicious enemies that day. It is important that we use those memories to learn from and grow.
There is another day that we are told to remember. Jesus told us to remember His death. He didn't say, "remember me." Or "remember my sayings." Or even "remember all I did." 
He said, "remember My death."
His death was for us. He did that for us! 
Some do not remember Him each Sunday. They say it is too much trouble, or it becomes too common. 
But what I know is each Sunday morning as the Lord's supper is passed and I partake, my mind is thinking about what Jesus had done just for me. And my mind goes to all of the friends that I have met in churches all over the U.S. and thinking about them bowing there heads in remembrance this day as well. 
We will not forget!
Please take a moment to watch the video and let the words speak to your heart today.
Remember Him.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmmLfvs1Fag

 When  he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:24-26 ESV)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wise or Foolish?

The rains will come.
The floods will rise around you.
The winds will slam against you.
Is your faith built on The Rock?

The Wise Man Built His House

The wise man built his house upon the rock

The wise man built his house upon the rock

The wise man built his house upon the rock

And the rain came tumbling down



Oh, the rain came down

And the floods came up

The rain came down

And the floods came up

The rain came down

And the floods came up

And the wise man's house stood firm.



The foolish man built his house upon the sand

The foolish man built his house upon the sand

The foolish man built his house upon the sand

And the rain came tumbling down



Oh, the rain came down

And the floods came up

The rain came down

And the floods came up

The rain came down

And the floods came up

And the foolish man's house went "splat!" [clap hands once]



So, build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ

Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ

Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ

And the blessings will come down



Oh, the blessings come down

As your prayers go up

The blessings come down

As your prayers go up

The blessings come down

As your prayer go up

So build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Uncle


Up until I was 4 years old, I was the only granddaughter on my father's side. I had 3 boy cousins, real roughnecks;Raised in the country, played in the woods, fearless. So, to save face with them, I quickly learned to be tough.
They were forever getting me into some kind of headlock or wrestling hold and telling me, "say, 'uncle'." I had no idea what that meant but I knew 2 things:
1. If I said it, they let me go.
2. If I said it, they didn't want to play with me anymore.
Then they would wrestle each other and try to force each other to "say uncle." None would give in. They would stay locked together for long periods of time.
Over time I toughened up some more and could last longer. And every once in a while I would resort to hair pulling or a good bite. I never, ever won at wrestling and cried "uncle" so much that to this day if I see my cousins, I just want to throw my arms up and say, "uncle, uncle, uncle." Haha
Yesterday at church we heard a sermon about Jacob. Jacob wrestled with God, literally. Some believe it was an angel, some believe it was Jesus. But it truly was God whom he was wrestling.
And here's the thing, Jacob had the upper hand. The angel cried, "uncle." 
But Jacob didn't let go. They wrestled the entire night. This angel didn't resort to biting or hair pulling, no he pulled Jacob's hip out of joint! But Jacob still held on to the win.

Can you imagine fighting God? Can you imagine winning? It seems like crazy thoughts but is it?
How many times have you lain awake at night, tossing and turning with troubles going back and forth through your mind? There doesn't seem to be any peace for you at all. Who is your opponent, friends? Family? Finances? Pain? No, we are wrestling against God. 

Jacob did not receive his new name and blessing until he surrendered. We, too, have a new name (Christian, child of God) and a blessing (promise of peace and having our needs met) when we surrender to God.

Say "uncle" to God. Because when you wrestle God if you win, you lose. 

Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone. A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It's almost daylight.” “You can't go until you bless me,” Jacob replied. Then the man asked, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. The man said, “From now on, your name will no longer be Jacob. You will be called Israel, because you have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won.” Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.” “Don't you know who I am?” he asked. And he blessed Jacob. Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.” So he named the place Peniel. (Genesis 32:24-30 CEV)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Apple of His Eye


Yesterday I spoke of my love for dogs. And my love for my dogs was so well known that my kids often teased that I loved the dogs more than I did them. Of course, my dogs will wait outside the bathroom door for me to come out. They always are happy to see me. And after a long day of being in the basement while I was gone they don't pout, they are very happy to see me.
Each of my kids always teased that One of the others was my favorite child. Each of them sure that I preferred one of the other ones. Although I try very hard to treat them all the same. And I do love them all the same amount.
The phrase apple of my eye refers to something or someone that one cherishes above all others.Apple of eye is commonly used in English language, the meaning of apple of eye is: the person of whom one is extremely fond, favorite, loving, for example "She has three children, but her youngest son is the apple of her eye."  Wikipedia
Each of my kids are the apple of my eye.
And this phrase means extra to me because everyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE apples. I eat at least one each and every day. I always have. 
I love visiting the orchards this time of year when the apples are just picked and so fragrant. Oh, apple butter, apple pie, apple dumplings, applesauce, apple tarts, yum, yum, yum!
So for me to say, they are the apple of my eye is really saying something.
The Bible tells us that we are the apple of God's eye. I do not worry if I am His favorite. To me, that sounds silly. It is good enough for me to know that He thinks I am special enough to be cherished and loved by Him. I am the apple of His eye, and so are you.
It is found in the Bible in the following places.
Deut 32:10
Psalm 17:8
Proverbs 7:2
Lamentations 2:18
Zechariah 2:8


Dogs


I love dogs, I always have. It doesn't matter if they are big, small or medium. I like shaggy, curly, sleek or smooth. Color doesn't matter either. I really cannot remember a time when I didn't have at least one dog as part of my family.
I love their loyalty and love and devotion. I love how quickly they forgive. I love how I am the most important thing to my dogs. I love they comfort they offer when I am sad. I love the joy they bring when they play.
We had two dogs that went everywhere with us. Recently, the oldest one got sick. He had had cancer and arthritis. He couldn't see very well either. His cancer had progressed to the point where he was very uncomfortable all the time. He whimpered which broke my heart. We were on a trip through Connecticut so I found a vet there not too far from the truckstop and called them.
They told me to come right over so Chucky went for his last truck ride. He never did get to see the state of Montana, and now never would.
He was given a shot and very quickly went to sleep in my arms. I cried and cried and still do sometimes.
We still have our girl, Lucy. She is pretty old as well. But since Chuck is gone she is much more loved by us.
How can anyone care so much for an animal?
Do you love people that way? If not, why? Why don't we care about people as much as we do our animals? 
I think I know. I have been hurt by people. They often are not very loyal. People don't always love unconditionally and seldom forgive easily. And it seems almost as if you are hurting, sad or going through trials that they avoid you as if you may be contagious.
We cannot help how other people treat us. But we can and should help how we treat others.
Is there someone today that you can encourage or inspire? Is their someone you know that really needs to hear a kind word? Can you bring someone a little joy just by lending an ear for a few moments or praying for them so that they can hear?
Give it a try. Open yourself up to a blessing.

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10 ESV)