Devotional


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                                          Encouragement and Inspiration from the Word

                                                             Jesus said...The words (truths) that I have been
                                                                      speaking to you are spirit and life.  
John 6:63b AMPC


Don't Worry 
"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition
(definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 
And God’s peace [shall be yours,
that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God
and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding
shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
 Philippians 4:6-7 (AMPC)

I was out walking with a friend today and I asked her to pray if the Spirit prompted her , about a work situation my husband is having. She did pray there and then but she began her prayer with the words something like “in the light of eternity this is of no consequence but would you Lord….”

We continued on our walk and as I spent the day with the Lord praying, reading, thinking, I was bothered by how she made light of the prayer request. I confessed my irritation and judgement to the Lord but have been reminded..."Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (AMPC)

God reminds us repeatedly in scripture to pray about everything, nothing is too small in his estimation to escape his notice and as a good Father he longs to give good gifts to his children but he requires us to ask. Although this prayer request was a secular work situation it was not a small situation. It is actually a huge problem on a big project with a time limit. In other words a problem that requires a miracle.

My husband has been growing in his prayer life in the last year or two from a person who would roll his eyes at a request like this to someone actively seeking prayer for all sorts of things. I believe God delights to answer this sort of prayer. I believe He loves His children to have enough faith to ask big. I believe He loves to glorify Himself. I am looking to see what kind of answer He provides for my husband and trusting it will glorify Him and prove how good God is regardless of whether the prayer is answered as I expect or not. God is the Creator of the universe after all and His ways are beyond my limited understanding.


Let's not limit our awe inspiring, wildly creative, faithful, merciful, glorious God by thinking anything is beyond His notice or care.
                                                                                                                                             By Marcie Neville

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 4:10 KJV

   There is a story in the book of John of a woman who had a very troublesome past. She was not accepted by those around her. She had to come out of hiding to draw water from the public well in the heat of the day when no one else was around. I am sure that she would have covered herself from head to toe and moved very quickly to do this chore. The last thing she wanted was a confrontation from the other women after all she had a reputation!

   Little did she know that on this day she was about to have a meeting she would never forget! You see Jesus was at the well. This is what I call a divine appointment. She was about to be introduced to unconditional love, His grace. The only love she had ever known was from all the broken relationships she had encountered in her life and the one she was in at that time was no better than any of the others! She was looking for love in all the wrong places! Her life was derailed, little did she know what was about to happen.

   This day her life changed! Jesus asked her for a drink of water and in turn he told her the water He has to give (if she would receive it) would never cause her to thirst again. He invited her to taste and experience this perfect love. She tasted and received - all fear of her future left. She tasted and received - her broken heart was healed. She tasted and received- her past failures and mistakes were forgiven!

   Jesus offers us living water of His unconditional love. What do you need to draw from Him? He waits for us to ask as His supply will never run dry! Is it healing, restoration for your family, or a deeper relationship with Him? Come and Draw – If only she had known!

By Jewel Clarke


 “ [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ ( the Messiah, the Anointed One).” 2 Corinthians 10:5 AMPC

   I haven’t felt insecure for a long time, but for some reason, lately, this has been my experience almost daily. The other day, I was feeling particularly insecure. I began to pray about it and took these thoughts and feelings captive to the obedience of Christ. I had this incredible urge to have communion immediately. I gathered my children at the table and we took time to pray together. I shared what I was feeling, each of us said a prayer and then we took communion together. Immediately, the thoughts and feelings were gone and they did not return. I was encouraged by the blessing of praying and having communion with my children who are 7 and 4. I was blessed with the opportunity to teach them through the experience about the authority that we have in Christ, and how exercising it makes the enemy flee!

Thank You Father for the authority You  have given us, and the opportunities to exercise it. Thank You for giving us promises and truths to combat the enemy in every season, and for the gift of a simple reminder that You are Greater than all things. I give thanks Lord that You have planted these truths deep in my spirit to apply day to day, and that you cause a rising up in my spirit to pray and walk according to Your Word. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray, Amen.

By Inid Starrenburg


Ps 25:4 "Show me your way O Lord, teach me your paths". AMPC                 

   As I read this verse, I asked myself how many times have I prayed this and said this without fully understanding the depth of His paths. He has a path for each one of us specially designed and orchestrated to bring about His purposes and plans. No two paths will ever be the same. As I  look at my life's journey there have been many to follow; some very steep and windy, others stony and hard with many obstacles while some have led me to mountain tops and others to deep deep valleys.

   This is how I know His path is a path of growth and transformation. The key is to not grow weary but to stay focused and on course no matter what I may encounter. He knows the way. He is the Shepherd guiding and directing every step I take! When I fall He picks me up, brushes me off and places my feet in the direction I need to go. This I know that His Grace and love is always with me no matter which path I may be travelling.
                                                                                                                                                                         By Jewell Clarke


.And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 
Genesis
15:11 KJV

   Several years ago when we purchased our home in small town Saskatchewan, we found ourselves in competition with two to three dozen grackles who also felt that they owned the place. A grackle is a black bird similar to a crow, but smaller in size. They have a raucous, grating sound and are very territorial. If another bird builds a nest in their territory they will remove the eggs and take over the nest. They also swoop down at anyone who comes in the yard to guard their territory which stole the joy out of sitting outside.

   One sunny afternoon in early summer I visited my sister and had a delightful time watching and listening to the various birds in her yard. When I came home and saw grackles on the fence posts and on every tree and building  I said to the Lord, “Father I just hate these birds and I am asking you to take them out of our yard.”

   The next morning when I woke up I wondered if I was dreaming as I heard the most beautiful bird sounds coming through the open window. I raced outside and there was not a grackle in sight. That was over two weeks ago and now our yard has yellow finches, mourning doves, robins and wrens.

   A few days later I happened upon the story of Abraham offering his sacrifice and how he had to drive the birds of prey away. I knew that there was a spiritual significance in this for me. The Lord spoke to my heart and told me that although I had given my life to Him, there were times I was allowing “birds of prey” to be in my life because of my acceptance of them. It was another lesson in spiritual warfare and has caused me to examine my life more closely for negative things that need to be chased away, so to speak. I thank God for His insights and lessons.

By Helen Gwilliam


"Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words." 
Psalm 119:57 KJV

Portion means: inheritance, mine, a sense of ownership, something to be grasped and treasured. 

    These are all words that I would use to describe the relationship between God and His people. In the Old Testament the Lord God said that the people of the tribe of Israel would be His inheritance, and then later King David in the Psalms said that God was his portion and his inheritance. This all speaks of an intimate loving relationship where each side cherishes the other.  

   What does it mean for God to be our portion? As I search the scriptures I have come to realize that God has many sides to Him and when we choose to walk in true fellowship with Him, we can learn to trust Him as our portion in every situation that we encounter. 

   He is our righteousness and salvation. He is our provider and strong refuge in times of trouble. He is our comforter, deliverer and compassionate Father. He is our defender and the lover of our souls. He is our King, who is head over all spiritual powers and dominions that have been set up on this earth. He is our friend and confidant. He is the power that flows through us to love, show mercy and compassion to the broken and desperate world around us. He has lavished His love on us in that He sent Jesus Christ, His son to bring us salvation and the ability to live a life of an overcomer here on this earth. 

   Yes He is our portion, our very strong and mighty God and even as I write these words I feel an excitement rising up within me as I remember that He is my everything. Therefore my dear friend, I would like to encourage you today, to give thanks to the Lord for His mighty power in your life and that He truly is everything that you will ever need. Nothing can satisfy us like God can.

By Brenda Thomas


“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any worthy of excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].  Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you."  Philippians 4:8-9 AMPC

   Tonight as I was at the church, I prayed for a woman in our town, and then for the men and so on. However, as time went on, my thoughts kept returning to my own struggles as of late. I found myself actually praying that God would enable me to put into practice what I've heard and learned from Him. This led me to Philippians 4:8-9.

   I began to recall some of the things God has spoken and shared, and the things He has taught me over the last number of years. I was refreshed as I gave thanks. What a gift this was to me! 

   God, Thank you for leading me in Your Truth, and reminding me of Your character, Your Word, and the things you have spoken. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the refreshing. Help me to practice and keep putting into practice what I have learned, seen, received and heard from You. You bless me Jesus, Thank you.  In Your Heavenly Name I pray, amen.

From Inid Starrenburg


God our provision 

 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19 KJV

   Last spring, I wanted a bicycle and I had asked around my friend group to see who would have a bike to loan me for the summer as a I love to feel the wind in my hair as I ride around. A friend stepped up and lent me her bike for a while and I was really enjoying it. Then one day she called and asked to have it back due to the fact that she had been cleared to ride it again. 

   I was really disappointed. So I took my sulky self to the lord and complained and whined and pouted about how I really wanted a bike and that it would be a great stress reliever to ride and I thought I would throw in for good measure that I would lose weight and get some exercise. About 2 weeks later I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone when my doorbell rang. 

   I sent my daughter to answer it but we got to the door at the same time. Some precious servant of the Lord had bought a brand new bike and placed it on my front deck, there was a card on my window with my name on it, and it just said guess who.

   To say I was ecstatic was an understatement and my poor friend on the phone, kept saying “what? What is going on?”

   I was so thrilled to receive the bike, thankful to the lord that he gave me a bike in spite of my whining and bad attitude and that He had used one of his children to bring the blessing.

   God hears us when we talk to him; he is very concerned about the big and small things in our lives because he is our compassionate father. Don’t be afraid to ask him for what you need or want, because he is faithful to supply all of your needs through Christ Jesus our Lord.

From Brenda Thomas


Overcoming Fear

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 
Joshua 1:9 KJV

   Last year , my husband and I received news that the cancer had spread and that he would need to start treatment immediately; fear came to set up home in my thoughts. Thankfully God reminded me that I was not to fear, as t he had not given me a spirit of fear, I had been given a sound mind, the mind of Christ and I had His Holy Spirit within me.

   There were times when discouragement came and I felt overwhelmed by the tenth load of laundry that week or the fact that my husband was in the hospital again due to extremely high temperatures, or the fact that my kids were struggling to deal with a dad, who was reduced to a two year old and did not have the capabilities to be their dad. I felt discouraged when I would miss a milestone of one of my kids because I was at the hospital again, but God was faithful and reminded me that I needed to lay down the discouragement, giving it to him and walk in the courage of His Spirit within me.

   I threw myself into the word of God on a daily basis, to fill my heart and mind with the truth of God’s word and that is what gave me to courage to fight off the discouragement of my circumstances. God wants to strengthen and encourage us daily, and like a good friend he waits for us to come to him so that he may fill us up with his word to make us strong.

   Remember that when we don’t know the promises of God for us; when we face situations that are beyond our control the enemy can torment us with his lies. Take the time out daily to fill your heart and mind with the truth of God’s word. It will make you strong and courageous.

From Brenda Thomas


 “Come follow me.” Matthew 4:19

   Today in our culture it is interesting that the words “follower” and “following” have become so commonplace. Through social networking people have connected by either following or being followed. High profile people have a wealth of followers, but in return they are probably following only those who they personally know or those that have a similar status. Those desiring a larger following will entice others to follow them by posting “follow me, I follow back.” It is all about the numbers, and the higher the numbers the more people feel validated and gratified.

   Our relationship to Jesus is about following too. When we turn our lives to Christ it is not merely an acceptance of the doctrines of the Bible but an agreement to follow Christ. For many years I believed the Bible to be true, and I believed in Jesus. However, I knew nothing of following Him or having a personal relationship with Him.

   We read in Scripture that as Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew. His words to them were simple, “Come follow me.”   They immediately dropped their nets and began to follow Him. Following him meant wherever He went, they went. Their lives took on dramatic changes as they were taught by Him and learned of Him.

   To follow Jesus means I must keep closely connected to Him. I must watch where he is leading me, and listen for His voice. It is a daily “seek and you shall find”. Amongst all the voices there is one still small voice that brings clarity and peace. Jesus said that His sheep would not listen to the voice of a stranger, because they would know His voice.

   “Father, above all I desire to follow you because you have the Words of eternal life. All that is of this world will pass away, but your promise to those that follow you is eternal life. Please help me to follow you and to be attentive to leading.”

From Helen Gwilliam


 

Does the Word of God Excite You?!

God sent His Word for His Bride as a guide to help us and direct us as we journey on this earth with Him. What is so exciting is that His Word will never change; it is powerful, active and alive! God's word is true. If He has said it, it is settled. Each time we open it up there is something new to challenge us and show us how much He loves us.

Lately I have been hearing so many Christians are in a dry place, weary, tired and very discouraged. My first question is "What is God's Word saying to you?" There is always hesitancy in responding, as they have avoided the most important sustenance needed to feed their Spirit and that is His Word! We could never go days and weeks at a time without food and water for our natural body – so it is with our Spirit –it too needs to be fed daily. In the dry places, in the valleys His Word will always be working—it is not based on our feelings but on the truth of what He says.

Mark 4:24 amp "Be careful of what you are hearing. The measure (of thought and study) you give (to the truth you hear) will be the measure (of virtue and knowledge) that comes back to you—and more (besides) will be given to you who hear."

How exciting is that? The more we hear truth, the more we study His word; more knowledge will be given to us! Become excited over His Word – It is LIFE!!!

 From Jewell Clarke


 Making the Most of our Time

Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth away from Him] or away from home [and with Him], we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him.  For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]. 2 Corinthians 5:9 – 10 AMPC

 

   Time is of the essence. Time is valuable. Time. That’s all we have while we live on earth. What are we doing with the time we have been given? How are we spending our time? Are we making the most of our time? Is it being spent on what has eternal value? Are we making it count to the honour and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Whether we are in heaven or on earth, we care how we live for the Lord. Our aim is to please Him; it is, in fact, our highest aim. “Aim” is from the Greek word that means “to love what is honourable.” The apostle Paul demonstrated that it is right for a believer to strive for excellence, spiritual goals, and all that is honourable before God. Our highest goal is to please Him. We are passionate to please our Master.

   The believer’s highest aim is pleasing Him. We know and understand that we are accountable to Him. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat.” The judgement seat refers metaphorically to the place where the Lord will sit to evaluate believers’ lives for the purpose of giving eternal rewards. It mirrors how, in times past, victorious athletes in the Olympics would receive their crowns.

    The judgement seat of Christ does not refer to the judgement of sin since this took place at the cross. Eph 1:17. Rather, Paul was referring to all those activities that we do in our lifetime that relate to our eternal reward and praise from God. What we do in our temporal bodies will, in His eyes, have an impact for eternity. Our final rewards will be based not just on outward service, but on inner motives, thoughts and attitudes of the heart, whether good or evil so God alone can give the praise each deserves. It is not a matter of moral sin but of comparing worthwhile, eternal, valuable activities with useless ones. (1 Cor 3:12-15)

    We are all called to build through faithful ministry. The materials the Church uses to build are either quality materials such as gold, silver, and precious stones which represent dedicated spiritual service, or inferior materials such as wood, hay, or straw, implying shallow activity with no eternal value. Each one’s work will be tested by the fire of God’s discerning judgement at the time of the judgement seat of Christ. All that which has been accomplished for His glory and in His power will survive and that one will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is useless or worthless, it will be burned but she/he will be saved. We only have one life to live on earth so let us make it count to His honour, His glory, and His praise. Our highest aim is to please Him in all we do. Let’s finish strong! (2 Tim 4:6-8) We can be like the Olympic athlete waiting to receive his gold medal. Paul’s work was done; he had completed his assignment. To finish what God has asked of us, to do all that God has asked us to do; even so, let’s finish our earthly assignment well!  

 From  Corinna Bourget


  Cleaning Out The Cupboard (Part 2)

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. John 14:26  AMPC

   Returning to the cupboard under the kitchen sink we opened up the doors and my son began to shudder. He expressed that he was afraid to clean it alone. I comforted him and encouraging him saying, "I'm right beside you, just like I've been with you at all the cupboards you've done." 

   God gave me a revelation as the cleaning process took place. This was the most difficult, most scary cupboard for my son to clean. That cupboard and cleaning process is just like cleaning out our spiritual cupboard. It was hard and he didn't like it at all. I never left him and I even cleaned the hardened stuck on junk for him. We left no crumb because as we did this I understood, through God's given insight, the significance of this experience for my son. The hard to reach places we reached together. I encouraged him again, "We did it together, JUST LIKE JESUS DOES WITH US!"

Jesus,  I thank you for never leaving me alone. Thank you for always being there with me and for me, gently teaching me and leading me through life's experiences and the emotions that accompany them. Praise You for Your faithfulness. Oh Lord, I give You all glory and praise. With all gratitude, Jesus, I pray in Your Name. Amen.

From Inid Starrenburg

 


 Cleaning Out The Cupboard (Part 1)

"When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]." Ephesians 4: 26-27 AMPC

   Not too long ago, my 6 year old son had a rough morning. He was angry. Angry about getting dressed, angry that lunch time was not early enough and so on. His anger, of course, affected his attitude and it was building and building. The consequence he faced for his attitude and ongoing tantrum was to clean a kitchen cupboard. I intentionally chose the cupboard under the kitchen sink (it's the worst one). I wanted to make sure he understood how awful his attitude was. At this point, however, his anger was really peaking and he was excused to his room for a 5 minute time out. Once his time alone was up I went to him and asked if we could talk. He then said yes because now he was ready.

   Reminded of a scripture that hit my heart years ago, I talked to him about how when we let anger control us, if we give into it, we give the enemy himself a foothold- an opportunity to control us. I was privileged to share how it's important to decide and choose whether we will give him that opportunity or give our anger to God. He wanted to give it to Jesus. He came down off his bunk and shared why he was angry. We prayed together and forgave one another then moved on to the cupboard.

Father God,  Thank you for knowing my heart, and understanding me. Thank you that You are The Way, The Truth, and The Life, and that You are The God of Peace. Help me to see Lord, when the devil is trying to gain access through my emotions, and shut the door to any opportunity for him to be in control of me- before it opens. Forgive me for the times I have given into anger. I pray this with gratitude, in Jesus' Name, Amen.

From Inid Starrenburg 


"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Isaiah 26:3 KJV        

   I have learnt over the years that the greatest spiritual battles are not fought out on a battle field that I can physically walk on, but the battlefield is right in my own mind. The devil who prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour and is always looking for ways to put us into bondage in our minds because he knows that if he can do that, then it is not long before he has us fearful, fretting, angry, taking offense, gossiping about our friends, stirring up division amongst believers and a whole lot of other things.

   On television these days there are many shows depicting the various stages of depravity that man has stooped too. There are hoarders, who fear loss, people with strange addictions, people so obese they need fork lifts just to be moved out of their homes. All because they never surrendered their thoughts to the Lord and asked him to help them to think on things that were good for them, and not harmful.

   The Lord tells us that we need to daily renew our minds, in other words to change our thinking from the old man and his ways to thinking the about the Lord and His ways for us. We do this by filling our minds with the words of the bible; believing these words and then living by them, thus allowing ourselves to be truly transformed. When we do this, God promises that he will keep our minds steadfast, in other words, our minds will not wonder to places they should not go, all because we trust in God. We learn to trust God through learning about him in his word. Start renewing your mind today.

From Brenda Thomas


 " My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptation: Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 1:2-4
   We shouldn't be surprised or fearful of the trials placed before us. The Lord uses these situations to grow us up as Christians. Let me share with you an example of a trial I recently endured.
   When I found out that my husband of 19 years had stage 4 Lymphoma, (cancer of the Lymph nodes). I was still in shock at the diagnosis and suddenly fear became my constant companion. A fear of the loss of finances, fear of change and fear of the loss of my husband. Fear had settled in to my every waking moment. It was then that the Lord, who is so very gracious and compassionate, led me to this passage of scripture and I realized that it was not the end of the world as I thought, but it was the beginning of a trial that I was facing. I had a choice at that moment as to how I was going to see this trial through.
   I knew that God did not want me to throw my hands up in defeat and scream at how unfair it was and why us, but I believe that he wanted me to see that even though we are Christians; trials do come our way, and we are not to be surprised by that.
   These trials are not meant to crush and defeat us, but they are there to test the faith within us and to develop and grow us as children of God. God's ultimate goal with his children is to make us Christ like and just as Jesus was full of faith in his heavenly father, God wants to train us that we too can put our faith and trust in His goodness and mercy towards us.
   Therefore I could go through this trial with confidence and joy because I knew that I was not alone. I knew that God also knew about it, and that he would bring forth a harvest of fruit in my life, that I would not have experienced before had I not walked through this hard time.
   If you are facing a trial right now that seems overwhelming to you, I would like to encourage you to know that it is not a personal vendetta that God has against you, but that you can know without a doubt that He will use the trial to teach you more about Him and the result will be a faith greater than you have ever experienced before.
Prayer
Heavenly father, your word says that I am to consider it pure joy when I face trials because of what it will produce in me, I admit that that was not my first response, I ask lord that you open up the eyes of my heart to see your hand at work in the midst of this trial and I thank you for the fruit that it will produce in my life. In Jesus name, amen.

From Brenda Thomas


 "I will not talk with you much more for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me (he has nothing in common with Me). There is nothing in Me that belongs to him and he has no power over Me."    John 14:30 AMPC

   In this verse, Jesus was speaking to His disciples before His crucifixion. He knew what was coming as He had the Father's purpose embedded deep within His being. What popped out to me was:
1. No claim on Me
2. Nothing in common with Me
3. Nothing in Me that draws the evil one to Me
4. The enemy has no power over Me

   Jesus is our example of being in this world but not living as the world does. The question I ask myself and others is, "Does the enemy have anything in common with me?" As we walk and abide in Him the things of this world fall away from us. The key is to abide, connect and stay connected! Jesus paid a price for our freedom and His desire for His children is that we live separately as He did. Remember, "We are new creations in Christ Jesus".

From Jewell Clarke


"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom".  Psalm 90:12 KJV


   As I sit on the brink of a new year and evaluate the past year I think about the value of a year that has just passed. How do you measure a year? Much of it seems repetitive, ordinary and commonplace. Our days are filled with our jobs, meal preparation, providing for our families, paying bills, keeping our homes in repair and order, building relationships with family and friends, taking time for leisure and rest. Days can quickly fade into weeks, months and even years and we wonder if our very existence matters in the great scheme of things. We even compare ourselves with others thinking that their contributions are truly making a difference in the world, while ours are not.
    But amidst the seemingly endless piles of laundry and snow that needs to be shoveled there is a kingdom that is forcefully advancing. This kingdom advances not with the glamour and splendor that this world has to offer, but through our everyday lives. When we are connected to the true vine Jesus Christ we begin to advance His kingdom in a myriad of ways.
   The prayers we pray for others are filling up the bowls of heaven, the tears we cry over a sin sick world and the injustices that we see happening around us are being stored by the Lord in a bottle. God sees every act of kindness, every offense that we forgive and every good deed that is done because we love Him. He takes note when we quietly prefer others and give unselfishly. Even if no one else seems to notice or applaud us God is keeping a set of books that is very accurate.
   So we press on, living in this world and doing the things that must be done, but always knowing that our citizenship is in heaven and that He has called us with a purpose and a plan for our days.

From Helen Gwilliam

This Week's Verse

 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  Isaiah 41:10 KJV

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