I used to be a consummate Christmas shopper. By the time December hit, I was way ahead of the game. I would have a mountain of bargain finds, admired goodies and toys to die for tucked away on a shelf just waiting to be wrapped and stowed lovingly under the tree. I found that shopping ahead spread the financial burden throughout the year and helped me avoid the last-minute holiday shopping rush.
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God has a marvelous plan for His church, a plan that will help release heaven on earth. The prophets predicted a time when salvation, righteousness, peace, joy, rejoicing and redemption will come to Israel and the world.
I recently celebrated a birthday and was blessed with a barrage of cards and gifts. Well-wishing friends and relatives called, sent cards, gave gifts and took me to lunch.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. I felt loved and special. The years, which are considerable, seemed richer as I faced yet another chapter of my life.
Someone once said, "One man's junk is another man's treasure." Or woman's in my wife's case. She loves yard sales—a lot. On Saturday mornings, when I should be allowed to sleep in, she wakes me up at dawn. She is already dressed and has the newspaper spread out on the counter. The classified section is open, and the page is covered with bright yellow circles.
“What should I wear today?” is a question many of us ask ourselves every day. From a natural standpoint it’s important to honor God in what we wear physically. However, it’s even more important that we know how to dress ourselves spiritually.
Removing jealousy from our own lives is hard enough. It's even more complicated when we encounter jealousy from others. How should we handle another's jealousy? What is the proper response? Again, Jesus is our perfect example: We should overlook it.
Jesus did not say to those who were jealous of Him, "The trouble with you is that you're jealous." That would never do.
Several years ago a couple I had not met before came to our Lake Mary office. The gentleman and his wife were old friends of several people in our company and had stopped by for a quick visit and to update the staff on what they are currently doing for a living.
They traveled with two very well dressed young men, who stood near them in the background and maintained full attention. Except for their youth these men looked very much like the Secret Service men who guard the president of the United States.
Perhaps my favorite mornings of all are those on which God awakens me with a song. So often, the song He puts on my heart is a prophetic word that not only lifts my spirit but also gives strength and direction throughout my day. On mornings such as these, it's easy to live above the circumstances. After all, His mercy, like daily bread, has been fresh again today!
Prayer is the simplest of practices, and at the same time, the most mysterious of spiritual disciplines. In it lies the master key to everything God wants for you, and yet no other aspect of following God seems more difficult to fathom. While folding your hands, bowing your head, and turning your thoughts or words toward God is as easy as sitting down to coffee with a friend, what transpires in the aftermath is the most multifaceted and mystifying journey in the universe.
At its essence, prayer is a quest surpassing anything that you could or will ever read about in any thriller novel or adventure story. It is in prayer that we probe spiritual realities, communicate with God, access the arsenal of heaven and expand God's kingdom on the earth. It is as simple as pulling aside to a quiet place and opening your heart to God, and as dynamic as tapping into the power and imagination that created the cosmos.
Babies get them in multiples. No single inoculation. In fact, the pediatrician groups them by time frame such as 2 month or 6 month. There is no real name given. Just bring them in for the "6 month" inoculations.
Recently, the Lord has impressed me to share with God's people the importance of putting a demand on the anointing. The word demand means "a seeking or state of being sought after." It means pressing forward despite obstacles to get to a place where the anointing is and expecting it to fall on you.
The woman with the issue of blood put a demand on the healing anointing and received her miracle. She expected that once she pushed through that crowd, pushed past the disappointment of years of failed treatments, and pushed against the stigma of being unclean, she would be healed.
I happened to have been named for a Hollywood actor, James Stewart. If you've never heard of him, that's understandable. He's hardly a pop-culture icon anymore. He had his day in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, dying in 1997 at age 89. But once a year—at Christmastime—he's all over the TV map. Sometimes two, maybe three channels at the same time run his famous, either-you-love-it-or-hate-it movie "It's a Wonderful Life."
Ironically, during most of that film, Stewart's character, George Bailey, is miserable. Life for him is anything but wonderful.
George was a small-town guy who had dreams of leaving his dudsville hometown, Bedford Falls, for high adventure. He was just about to get that dream started when real life slammed him. The needs of others arose, and out of his compassion he responded. Before he knew it, he had sacrificed his own education for his brother's, kept the family-run savings and loan afloat, protected the town from the greed of a greasy banker named Potter, married his childhood sweetheart, and started a family.
She had made amazing progress. Then suddenly, as she landed on the nest it started to shift. She actually spread out her wings to use them like feathered arms trying desperately to hold the nearly completed nest in place, but to no avail. The nest slid off and fell two stories to the ground below.
Have you ever heard the statement, "The battle is in the mind"? I have countless times. I've even ministered on the topic.
But have you ever asked yourself, "What battle?" The battle that goes on in our minds is the relentless siege by Satan upon our thought life that is intended to cause us first to think, and then to behave and speak contrary to the Word of God.
Years ago I took a trip from Oklahoma to Michigan driving an old, worn-out car. During the middle of the night somewhere in Missouri my car broke down. Here I was, a female with no credit cards, no AAA, no cellular phone and very limited cash, stranded in the middle of the night on the highway. I prayed and asked the Lord to help me.
Almost immediately from out of nowhere a man in a pick up truck appeared, fixed my car and made sure that I made it safely on my way. Whether he was human or an angel, heaven only knows. But of one thing I'm certain, he was sent by the Lord to help me out of a potentially dangerous situation.
When my husband and I went out to dinner one night we were served by an extremely helpful waitress. This woman seemed to anticipate our every need; she even suggested an item that was not on the menu.
Throughout the evening, she served us with both joy and efficiency. She made our evening so pleasant that the next time we went to that restaurant, we requested her as our waitress. In a society in which mediocrity has become the standard, she distinguished herself by her excellence.
It's not difficult to believe that God will take care of you or that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Rom. 8:28, NIV), though we may not believe that they are for our good at the time. We can be detached from life sufficiently to look back and say yes. It all worked out.
But when I shared my logic with him, he laughed at me (something he spends way too much time doing). When I asked him what was funny, he said: "Things simply don't work that way. I spend most of my time making course corrections."
God wants you to know His purpose for your life. My entire life changed when I discovered this one truth: The destiny of my life is hinged upon understanding God's eternal purpose, which He unveiled to man through His sacrificial love.
I was not aware of this powerful truth, despite the fact that I had finished my graduate studies in theology, including rewriting the 500 cardinal doctrines of the church for my thesis. Through my studies, I had learned how to investigate the great truths of the Bible and thought I knew something about almost every doctrine. I prided myself on my attempts to be an exegetical theologian, pastoring and carefully teaching the Word in Bible colleges for 17 years.
This promise in Psalm 91 is not elaborating on the flying wing but on the sheltering wing. One indicates strength and accomplishment, while the other denotes protection and familiarity. When you imagine the warmth of a nest and the security of being under the wings of the nurturing love of a mother hen with chicks, it paints a vivid picture of the sheltering wing of God's protection that the psalmist refers to in this passage.