It ain’t over yet

Quiet time! Focus time!

There was a message on the radio today that spoke of dicipline. The man on the radio was speaking of instances when we don’t want to give God our attention or time. It’s not that we don’t think of that time as important, it’s more about our ability to rationalize our way out of it. Taking the time out of each day to give to God requires a commitment to dicipline. An unchanging mindset that puts these moments at the pinnacle of our priorities.

I have for many nights now, used this time to read about God’s will. The point of view and writing in this book has changed me and I am grateful for the author and the person who recommended him to me. However, tonight I left my book in the car and didn’t want to trudge outside in the cold to go and get it. So instead of continuing my reading I just layer down and prayed. I thought of recent days, the memories, the craziness, the driving but I eventually focused on the season. Is it over? I see porches and yards, that lit the night skies a week ago, now dark.  I couldn’t help but miss the beautiful scene that has once again disappeared from our windows. But as I lay here I still feel the Spirit of Christmas for it never goes away. There was an unfathomable joy the day Christ came into this world. It is a joy we have been commissioned to share, not just at Christmas and not just with friends.

When we accept Christ as our savior 2 promises are made. One by Christ. The other by the sinner who becomes an apostle. We promised through a confession of faith to be the messengers of what has happened in Bethlehem. It is our responsibility not only to keep the Joy of that wondrous night, but to pass it along. Whether in speech or action, we must testify to what we have experienced. What we know to be true. I sometimes wonder what a glorious sound the Heavenly Hosts made that evening. I believe they are still singing with the Joy of that blessed night and sometimes when it’s really quiet and I am in prayer, focused on all that God has done, is doing and will do, I get to feel just a little bit of that Joy he has promised to all who call him Master.

I hope those reading this will help keep me accountable to my own words.

4th Sunday of advent asked to teach

I have been asked to lead a discussion on the 4th Sunday in advent. Which in reality should be an easy assignment. After all, almost everyone I will be speaking to will be familiar with the advent wreath and candles and the significance of the evergreen and candles.

Yet as I was given the materials I would need to conduct my class, I was taken back by the complexities people have assigned to advent.

For example, when I was a boy, the candles represented hope, peace, joy and love. The attributes Christ displayed during his life and ministry. But now, I have seen these symbols distorted. Yes, I believe we should remember the prophesies, a promise made to God’s people. Yes, I believe we should consider the long wait as the world anticipated the Messiah ‘ s arrival, the joy that night expressed in Heaven and on Earth as Jesus entered this world. But as I continue to prepare my for Sunday. I am noticing more and more focus being put on Elizabeth, Mary, the town Bethlehem, wise men, angels, shepherds. Entire lessons and focus being given to what amounts to minor players. I have great admiration for Mary and a ton of respect for Joseph. I love account of Angels proclaiming the good news to the lowliest of people. That picture, in my mind gives me chills. Still the focus of advent is and should always be on God and his love for us and what we learned about God through the life of Christ. I think it is critical to remember and reflect on the attributes of the Father demonstrated by the Son. Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Focus on the other things during epiphany, right now is a time to focus all attention on the Father and his only begotten Son.

I am never alone

Jesus said”I am with you, even unto the end of the world”. As a Christian these words are well known, yet as a seeker of Christ, I feel alone. It happens enough that I would call it “ordinary”. I can easily understand why some touched by the Holy Spirit can find it very difficult to stay the course. Honestly it does feel like, that at our weakest and most frightening moments. there is a feeling of isolation. I never suppose or assume to know God’s mind or will, but from what I do know, God actually wants the opposite for us. He desires to be such a meaningful part of our lives that we become utterly dependent on him for everything. Not just the big things, but in all things. So if I believe that is what God wants, then our seperation has to be related to my free will and choices I have made. Surely God’s grace is more than capable of restoring our relationship to an intimate level he so desperately desires. The only problem is finding the first step back to him. After sincere repentance and prayer, still there is a feeling of loneliness, despair and frustration. “What am I doing wrong”!!!! Leaps through my head and heart as I continue to seek him and the peace, joy and love he promises to all whom follow him. Thus. I am left with a feeling, I know is a lie. I know I am not alone, even if it feels that way. I know vigilant pursuit will merit the rewards I seek. In His time, always in His time. Some time, a week, a month, a year, maybe longer. I truly hope I can go back to this post and share it with the Love of my life, my best friend and savior. Until then, I will wait and pursue this quest despite the darkness tempting me to quit. If the Bible has taught me anything it is that I am one of his most prized creations, His love is unconditional and ready to be received. I know He is as anxious as I am to finally come together as Father and son.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

Written
by Robert Moment

As you read this article, take a moment to answer the following question, “Is there a reason for me to be thankful today?”  If you are alive to read the question, then you have a reason for rejoicing!  It may not always seem that way when troubles press in on you, but as long as you are alive, you have the opportunity to change your life and move forward.

One of the most important gifts of all is life, and it was given to you by the Lord.  Sometimes we forget the generosity of a loving God.  After all, He doesn’t need us and did not have to create us in the first place.  Yet he wished to share His blessings and so created man in His own image so that He could shower man with love.  And even when man first betrayed God in the Garden of Eden, God continued to love and protect mankind.  He forgave us our faults and sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to give us guidance and grant us forgiveness!  And God continues to do this, even though we often forget to be grateful for His kindness.

Now think back over the previous month.  Have you lived in Gratitude?  Have you remembered and acknowledged God’s grace and goodwill in your life?  It’s easy to forget our many blessings when we are stressed, but we need to re-evaluate our lives during these moments.  When your job stresses you, thank God that you are employed.  When your children talk back, praise God for giving you healthy children.  Even when you are going through a painful separation or quarrel, remember that God is there for you, and be thankful that He is there to pull you through.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.  And be thankful.”
– Colossians 3:15

When we have an attitude of gratitude, we soon discover that we attract greater good in our lives.  Be grateful for all of the good that the Lord has granted you, and you will soon reap even greater blessings.  As you read this article, be grateful for the gift of sight and the opportunity you had to learn to read and learn.  Giving thanks to God for all of the many daily blessings in your life – shelter, food, your senses, friends and family – opens your heart to all the good you have and enables you to appreciate and share your blessings.  Sharing those blessings and being grateful for them brings you closer to God.

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and power
and the glory and majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours…
In your hands are strength and power
To exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
And praise your glorious name.”
– 1 Chronicles 29:11

So as you move through your days and weeks, keep your eyes on the goodness of God and recognize that He has, in His generosity and love, given you far more than anyone else can ever give you.  Find the blessings in every situation and you will develop an attitude of gratitude for the many physical, material, emotional and spiritual blessings that have been given by God, the source of all good in our lives.  Each day, show your gratitude to God and thank Him with all your heart.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
– Colossians 3:17

Robert Moment is a Christian business coach , speaker, and author of newly published book ,
God Will Always Be There For You.

Teachers Duty

Lately I have been inspired by a teacher. It got me thinking, what attributes in him did I find most appealing.

His delivery is solid. After 35 years teaching, he us comfortable speaking in front of others without the fear of judgements.

When he teaches he allows his students to view topics through the lenses of some of the world’s greatest philisophers, both past and present.

What makes  him a great teacher is that he gives to his students indisputable facts, a variety of perspectives and demands each student form their own belief. But be wary, once you have picked a stance you must be prepared to defend it.

I get so frustrated with people regurgitating the words of someone else. We were all gifted with a mind, uniquely affected by our experiences. Be original, share your thoughts, share your perspective. Just remember to listen to another side before judging others. You might just see things differently and o what difference that can make.

Thank You God Poem

Written by Leslie Rummel

I thank You for the blessings
You give to me each day.
They fill my life with abundant joy
More than words can say!

I thank You for my growing faith
And the trials I’ve made it through.
I’m victorious and am made complete
Because of only You!

I thank You for the many times
You carry me through my strife.
I long for, with each passing day,
Your presence in my life!

I thank You for Your only Son
Who died and set me free.
I marvel at the fact that You
Think so much of me!

I thank You for Your tolerance
And a love that never ends.
How glad I am that You are both
My Savior and my Friend!

I thank You for the Holy Word
That’s powerful and true!
It’s the Plan You made and a gift
That keeps me close to You!

I thank You for Your gentleness
And desire to draw me near.
When You embrace me in Your arms
I lose all doubt and fear!

But most of all I thank You, Lord
Because You’re God and King!
I’ll praise You till the day I die;
My heart will forever sing;

I Thank You, Lord!!!!!
– See more at: http://www.christart.com/poetry/poem5170.htm#sthash.Wvb0GqNo.dpuf

Hide and Seek

Once a few decades ago, about 30 years or so, being about 10 Years old. Someone told me that if I were to seek God I would find him. And more importantly, when I found him i would live a life filled with joy. We even sang a very catchy song from a verse, straight out of the Bible. “Seek Ye First”. One day I decided that today was the day I was going to find him. I first went to our minister. Surely he could tell me where to find him. So I asked, “I am looking for God, can you tell me where he is?” With a big smile he responded, “God is everywhere, in everthing”. Look around at all he has created, there you will find him. Then along he went.

WHAT? That makes no sense!

So I tried my Sunday school teacher. She seemed to know a lot about the Bible. She had a new lesson every week. Surely she would have an idea about where I should look. Early one Sunday morning I approached her and again I asked. “I am seeking God, do you know where I can find him”? The teacher responded, “I can’t answer that for you. You see people find God at different times in their lives.” Then along she went.

Really?!

At this point, I started to loose interest. It didn’t seem all that important and no one seemed to know where to find him. If God wanted me to find him, he sure was doing an awfully good job at hiding.

My next stop was my mom.. Mom, “do you know where God is”? “Well son, that’s why we go to church, to worship God, in God’s house”. Using the only knowledge I had, I looked up at her and said someone should tell the pastor, I don’t think he knows God lives there, and my teacher said he only works part time”.

Letting Go of Resentment

How to REALLY Let Go of a Resentment
LIFESTYLE BY JESSICA RUANE

Ask yourself honestly, “When was the last time I truly felt overwhelmed with happiness, freedom, and gratitude?” If you can’t remember, then you may be holding on to resentments.

When it comes to dealing with other people, many of us find ourselves helplessly oscillating between anger and fear. We constantly try to find quick fixes to soothe moments of blind rage and alleviate anxious thoughts. However, these “solutions” are usually nothing more than temporary fixes, which allow us to white knuckle it through one more day. Meanwhile, the root of the problem continues to fester and get worse until we can’t even bear to look at it anymore.

But what if you found out that there is a permanent, lasting way to feel less angry and fearful and finally regain control of your emotions?

It’s called letting go of resentment.

Here’s how it works: resentment, anger, and fear are all connected. We become trapped in a self-obsessed cycle of being afraid of the future, angry in the present, and filled with resentment over our past. The antidote to fear is faith, the remedy for anger is love, and the solution to resentment is acceptance.

If you’re part of a 12-step program, this may sound familiar, but it can be applied to anyone’s life.

What is Resentment?

The best description of resentment I have ever heard came from listening to Dr. Drew from Loveline.

“Resentments are like swallowing poison and expecting the other people to die.”

He was not the first person to say this, but it’s still an incredibly effective way to understand resentment.

In psychology, resentment is when a person has ongoing upset feelings towards another person or place because of a real or imagined injustice.

One of the reasons resentments are so hard to get rid of is because there is so much bad advice floating around out there on how to deal with them. Exasperated friends may tell you to “Just get over it already.” Therapists might tell us to “let it go.” Other people may say “forget about it” or the even more unhelpful, “the past is the past.” Excuse me, what does any of that generic advice even mean?

I can tell you for sure that you shouldn’t do the following with resentments:

Ignore them
Fight through them
“Lock them in a closet”
Pretend you don’t feel them
Try and forget them
Instead, you should do these things:

Face them
Feel them
Deal with them
Heal from them
“Fake it till you make it” doesn’t work when it comes to deep-seated feelings we have about certain people or situations. But dealing with them is certainly easier said than done.

How Do You Accept What Happened in the Past?

Before you begin to overcome resentments, you should know the following things:

It’s a process
It may get worse before it gets better
It requires a great deal of willingness and an open mind
Resentments are negative feelings that you may have been carrying around for years. During this time, they may have done significant damage to your ability to interact with the world. I know it sounds dramatic, but these are often big, deep-seated issues. Don’t expect to be able to say a chant and—poof! They’re gone. You should know that you are embarking on a long and probably painful journey, but the destination is completely worth it.

OK, here it goes.

Follow These 4 Steps to Let Go of Resentments

Step One- Make a list of all the people you have resentments towards. If you do this honestly, then the list should be pretty long. Include ANYTHING that gives you an automatic negative feeling. You can also include places and institutions (a school you attended, an airport you had a bad experience in) nothing is too trivial or too small.

Step Two- Next to the person’s name; write what they did to cause you to resent them. Again, nothing is too small. If you resent your boss, it may be because that person gives you unreasonable deadlines, or could simply be because you don’t like their hair. The reason for the resentment doesn’t have to “make sense”—it just has to be honest. This is where it will get hard, and you will feel worse than you did before starting. Try to have faith that the end result will be worth it—because it will be!

Step Three- Now you write what part of your life each resentment affects. If you resent an old teacher who made you feel inferior, you might say that it affects your self-esteem or confidence. The point is to become acutely aware of the specific ways that the resentment is impacting your identity, and your ability to feel safe, secure, and loved.

Step Four- Next to the reason, or cause for resentment, you are going to write down your part. This is how YOU have contributed to the problem. Back to our boss example, at this point you’ve established that you resent your boss, that you resent your boss because of unreasonable deadlines. Your part in this problem could be that you never spoke up and asked for less work.

This is where honesty and willingness come in. You must be honest about your part, and willing to admit it. Otherwise, you may get stuck.

Taking It All in

Now, read from left to right. You should be able to develop a clear picture of who you resent, why you resent them, the negative ways that it affects your life, and the part you played in all of it. Understanding your resentments by breaking them down will hopefully start the process of evolving from a person who constantly lives in a generalized cycle of resentment, fear, and anger, and help you transition into someone who can identify the source of their feelings and target specific areas they want to work on.

The purpose of this writing assignment is to experience freedom by letting go of secrets, fears, and lies which we have been holding onto, and getting these issues out of our heads, and onto paper. What is done with the paper afterwards is up to you. Some people choose to share it with a trusted friend; others burn it as a symbolic gesture of surrendering those feelings.

This is a tried and true method adapted from the 12-step program model, which literally ANYONE can do. Unlike expensive therapy, this will cost you nothing, other than the price of a pen and paper. What do you have to lose?

SEE ALSO: 10 Ways We Hurt Our Romantic Relationships

Featured photo credit: this is an image about letting go via Shutterstock
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Making the Big Decisions

Divine Direction: Bringing God into Your Big Decisions
By Pam Palagyi

Divine Direction

Wisdom might be defined today as “knowledge, the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, insight, and judgment.” Biblical wisdom, however, was described by the Hebrew word chakmah. It was more than common sense and was characterized by skill and craftsmanship, cleverness and cunning, and prudence in everyday matters. Wisdom graced the lives of many biblical figures—Daniel, Ezra, Joshua—and brought them great success.

How do you find wisdom today? Where do you go to have your problems solved and questions answered? The answer is to go to the source of all wisdom, God Himself. He is the one who created you—He has placed His gifts and callings within you and understands their worth. Certainly, He is a good steward of His gifts and will develop them to their maturity.

God is also the one who understands your past and future—He has intrinsic knowledge of your weaknesses and strengths. The Lord will protect you, yet challenge you to grow in your Christian walk.

Finally, God will lead you along a path that will fulfill His plans for your life. He is the one who knows the direction you are to follow and will lead accordingly.

So, how do you begin? Here are five basic steps for receiving wisdom from God.

1. Acknowledge that God has the answer. God is the source of wisdom for all things. Realize that He not only has the answer, He is the answer. Proverbs 2:6 and 9 states, “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding… Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.”

2. Pray and ask for God’s wisdom. How can you be sure God will answer when you ask Him? James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” So simply ask for
God’s help and then…

3. Believe He will guide you. Faith is an important component to accepting God’s wisdom. You must recognize the fact that God wants to communicate with you. Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” God’s direction in your decision will become clearer and more distinct as you continue to pray and ask for His help.

4. Get in motion. You have probably heard the saying “It is hard to steer a parked car.” Begin to do your part and research your vocational options. Travel with your family and investigate the prospective area first hand. Explore the housing market, recreational opportunities, and cost of living. Your move could be a blessing in disguise, allowing your family greater financial freedom.

5. Check your decision against God’s Word. James 3:15-17 provides the characteristics of true godly wisdom: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Have the courage to ask yourself whether your choice meets these qualifications for God’s wisdom, or whether there are still any outside influences directing your path.

If you sense any anxiety or confusion, keep praying. God’s wisdom will direct your paths in a peaceful manner.

God is the source of all wisdom. Only He views your life from an eternal and comprehensive perspective. Allow Him to become part of your decision–making process and guarantee yourself a lifetime of success.

About Pam Palagyi
A gifted writer and speaker, Pam is founder and director of Arise Ministries, which draws its vision from Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” The goal of Arise Ministries is to awaken the hidden potential of believers in their individual spheres of influence so that they can truly shine for Christ.

Pam earned her Master of Divinity in Practical Theology from Regent University. Pam is a contributor to Life in the Spirit and In Touch magazine. She is also author of Altar of Grace: Introduction to Practical Ministry and The Word Became Flesh: Studies in the Gospel of John. Pam and her husband, Paul, have been married 30 years and have two adult daughters, Lisa and Laurie.

Truth that isn’t funny

Thought provokingby pray2christ

I received the following forward. A very thought provoking one. Read on:

* Funny how a $500 note looks so big when you take it to church, but so small, when you take it to the market.

* Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of basketball.

* Funny how long a couple of hours are spent at church, but how short they are when watching a movie.

* Funny how we can’t think of anything to say when we pray, but don’t have any difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.

* Funny how we get thrilled when a football match goes into extra time, but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time.

* Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a best-selling novel.

* Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert, but scramble to get a back seat at church services.

* Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a church event into our schedule, but we can adjust our schedule for other events at the last minute.

* Funny how much difficulty some people have learning  a simple Gospel well enough to tell others, but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip about someone.

* Funny how we believe what newspaper says, but question what the Bible says.

* Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven, provided they don’t have to believe or to think or to say or to do anything.

* Funny how simple it is to for people to trash God & then wonder why the world’s going to hell.

* Funny how someone can say, ” I believe in God ” but still follow Satan who, by the way, also ” believes ” in God.

* Funny how we are quick to judge, but not be judged.

* Funny how you can send a thousand ” jokes ” through e-mail & they spread like wild fire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

* Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar & obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of God is suppressed in the school & workplace.

* Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.

* Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me.