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Your spirit and strength renewed .. have a Good 4th of July

.. have a Good 4th of July

Your spirit and strength renewed .. have a Good 4th of July .. One Nation .. Under God!
 

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile.”  MARK 6:31

Some people never really rest. ( I think I am one of these peoiple ) .. They are so busy with the activities of life that they appear to be a blur: always on the way to somewhere; never slowing down. Jesus did not have that problem. He purposely sought solitude for spiritual replenishment. He seemed to know just how important such times were for “re-charging” His spiritual battery, and He took advantage of them at every opportunity. What about you? How long has it been since you were quiet and still in the presence of God, with no agenda other than a desire to sit at His feet? Many view solitude as a negative prospect, and are alone only if, and when, it is absolutely necessary. But solitude rightly pursued and experienced energizes our interaction with others, and nurtures our soul. When Iowans Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey became the parents of septuplets (that’s seven babies, folks!) they were exponentially overwhelmed with the responsibilities faced by every new mom and dad. Seven to rock, seven to feed, seven to change, seven to bathe and cuddle and hold...what a challenge! But this young, Christian couple said, while they appreciated the outpouring of help they received, they looked forward to the time they could be “alone” with their young family for an entire evening. Once, after bringing the babies home, this husband and wife reported that they got in their car, drove to a nearby grain silo, parked behind it, and cried and prayed together. They instinctively knew that stepping out of the fray for a few stolen moments away would strengthen them for the task at hand. All of us have demands on our time and become weary of life’s grind. Time alone with God without phones, pagers, prayer partners, portable cd players or other human or technological distractions, is critical for allowing His Spirit to fill us. In solitude, we can receive from God His life-giving breath, emerging with renewed sensitivity and compassion for others, and intensified love for Him. This is true replenishment from the source of all strength and truth.

Sooner or later you will meet The Living STONE! Get Stoned Now!

Get Stoned Now - But Do It The Right Way.

SOONER .. OR LATER .. we shall all come face to face with The Living Stone .. will He "know you" .. or cast you aside  .. and tell you that He never "knew you" ??

 

1 Peter 2:4-12 - (NIRV) - The Living Stone and a Chosen People

Christ is the living Stone. People did not accept him. But God chose him. God places the highest value on him.

You also are like living stones. As you come to him you are being built into a house for worship. There you will be holy priests. You will offer spiritual sacrifices. God will accept them because of what Jesus Christ has done.

In Scripture it says,

“Look! I am placing a stone in Zion.
    It is a chosen and very valuable stone.
    It is the most important stone in the building.
The one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 28:16)

The stone is very valuable to you who believe. But to people who do not believe,

“The stone the builders did not accept
    has become the most important stone of all.” (Psalm 118:22)

And,

“It is a stone that causes people to trip.
    It is a rock that makes them fall.” (Isaiah 8:14)

They trip and fall because they do not obey the message. That is also what God planned for them.

But God chose you to be his people. You are royal priests. You are a holy nation. You are a people who belong to God. All of this is so that you can sing his praises. He brought you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people. But now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy. But now you have received mercy.

11 Dear friends, you are outsiders and strangers in this world. So I’m asking you not to give in to your sinful longings. They fight against your soul. 12 People who don’t believe might say you are doing wrong. But lead good lives among them. Then they will see your good works. And they will give glory to God on the day he comes to judge.

The Middle East Rebellion - Chosen People or Rebels Against God?

Middle East Peace - Jesus Is The Answer

The Middle East Rebellion - Chosen People or Rebels Against God?

Enjoying Spiritual Privileges In The Middle East should be a "given"  - instead it seems to be nothing but war, disruption, rebellion, hatred, and anger toward all things "Christian."

When God spoke in the Old Testament - he was speaking of the peoples of the middle east. When He spoke things like - being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood or .. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession who did all that include? In 1 Pet. 2:4-10 .. You are the people of God, You have received mercy .. Peter surely was not talking to Westerners was he?

If you were able to ask someone from The Middle East about Jesus of Nazereth - you'd likely hear something like - I don't believe in Jesus of Nazareth ( لا أعتقد أن في يسوع الناصري  ) .. and if you were to press farther and ask - "Please tell me about the Jesus God you don't believe in." ( من فضلك قل لي عن يسوع الله كنت لا أعتقد في  .. you might get words describing - a vengeful, unfair, arbitrary cosmic God who delights in watching the middle east stumble through life in search of meaning and direction.  وانتقامية وغير عادلة والتعسفية الله الكونية الذين المسرات في مشاهدة منطقة الشرق الأوسط من خلال الحياة تتعثر  .. After listening to that portrayal of God .. a westerner might say - I don't believe in that God either.

Most people have a warped view of Jesus of Nazareth because they can't see beyond their circumstances and the conditions that plague our fallen world. Their distorted world view keeps them from understanding God's goodness and mercy through His Son, Jesus. But we as believers understand because we see beyond the physical realm and experience His grace and kindness in many ways .. especially in our western civilization. We Believe Scripture speaks pointedly about the duties and responsibilities of Christians, but all of that is balanced by the rights and benefits that we have in Christ Jesus, and in writing to Christians who were experiencing severe persecution, the apostle Peter reminded them of their privileges and called them to praise God for His abundant grace (1 Pet. 2:9). That is our calling as well.

Let us all consider many of those privileges, including our union with Jesus of Nazareth - Our access to God the Father, His priestly role, Our spiritual security, election, dominion, and inheritance resulting from The shed blood of Jesus. The implications of them all are staggering and should be a source of great joy and thanksgiving as you study them .. read them .. in God's Holy Word.

Maybe some things to pray about this week ..
 
• Thank God for the privilege of being His child. Not a Muslim or an ISIS fighter - yet to seek Wisdom and Understanding ..
• Pray that Jesus would strengthen and encourage us all with the truths we read and hear from The Bible.
• Regardless of our circumstances, learn to focus on God's glory and grace, allowing them continually to fill our hearts with praise and worship - especially this 4th of July.

For Further Study: Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 and 2:4-10.

Ask God How You can Help Reach The Middle East for Christ?

If you have been following the news, you know that political instability is escalating in the Middle East as the jihadist group ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant, also commonly referred to as ISIS) executes the hostile takeover of major cities in Iraq and Syria. This is a dark time in history for these nations, and yet God is using sites like www.iaskGod.com  to draw as many to Christ in these and other countries in the Middle East via the internet - The World Wide Web .. and as you know, there are many others like Leading The Way which broadcasts not only domestically but internationally through their satellite channel "THE KINGDOM SAT" .. and they are proclaiming the Truth of Christ 24/7 in the Middle East, and through regular radio programming, broadcasting specifically to areas like Baghdad and Basra in Iraq, as well as the Kurdish region in the north where many are heading as they flee ISIL's trek to Baghdad.

Believe it or not, Leading The Way even has on-the-ground teams who follow up with viewers every week via emails, texts, Skype calls, and Facebook messages. just like we do as visitors to our site search for the real meaning of life and true security - that which is not found in their regions of the world. Stories like these from the follow-up teams provided us with proof that we can reach out accross the world via the internet .. 

Let's all pray for those from Iraq, Muslims who are asking many questions about Jesus Christ .. seeking and asking questions about Our Lord. Please pray that they hear the truth, and recognize the Lord’s voice and accept Him.

We get emails from all around the world through our Global Media Outreach missions involvement and in these emails people indicate that they just prayed and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior after being a Muslim all their lives .. let us all seek to ask God to give these people strength to take the step to surrender their hearts and lives to the Lord.

Please pray for wisdom in how we may all share our faith with these peoples - you may not be able to take a missions trip to the middle east or to Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanastan, Yemen, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain - but you can help us reach more and more people through the internet. While the political unrest continues, especially please join us in praying for God to draw many more to Christ during this time - and ASK GOD HOW YOU CAN HELP?
 

Fishermen, Sportsmen, Outdoorsmen and Outfitters - The Call of Jesus

Global Media Use and Outreach

Teaching Kids About Work .. About Fishing .. and thoughts on hunting too ..  

Read | Mark 1:16-20 .. and think about what Jesus says ..  “I will make you fishers of people.”

Jesus’ call to be fishers of men extends to modern believers .. wheter fishermen, hunters or outdoor enthusiasts .. In order for anyone to achieve and become all that God has in mind, it is crucial to learn the right attitude toward work and leisure - whether it relates to your vocation as a fishing guide or outfitter - and your service to the Lord.

As parents, we must teach our children these additional lessons from fishing: A fisherman must be industrious. The Bible tells us that Zebedee had some hired help (Mark 1:20). He didn't settle for simply catching enough fish to feed his own family; he built a successful business that could also sustain his employees. It is likely that Zebedee taught his sons to aspire to reach their full potential instead of accepting “good enough.”

A fisherman .. a hunter .. even a camper .. must be disciplined. He doesn't have the option of sleeping late or leaving the water early, or not properly scouting out his area even though he is tired .. or walked a long distance or spent his day out on the water. He or She .. recognizes that the work must be done - cleaning the equipment to keep it all in good repair and top condition.

Zebedee’s sons learned responsibility and self- control on their father’s boat... just as we all learned the same when we went hunting and camping. You must be persistent and consistent - sometimes the best catch or the biggest buck is often taken after everyone else gives up and comes in.  Zebedee undoubtedly taught James and John not to quit until they gave their best effort - always giving 100% - This ingrained attitude was essential when Jesus sent the disciples out to evangelize the world.

The order to spread the gospel is still in effect. The church needs committed believers who teach and demonstrate a biblical mindset .. Loving others as we love ourselves - Parents who model industry, discipline, and persistence - are most likely to raise children determined to win the world for Jesus Christ if we have taught them the "principles" of right living .. faith .. hope .. and LOVE! . 

Where the Battle Is Won .. and Lost

Where the Battle Is Won .. and Lost

You say ( just like me )  -- "I want to experience victory in the conflicts and tough decisions I face everyday" .. I meet people all the time and say to them - "I'll keep you in my prayers" .. or "I'll pray for you .. your wife .. your family " .. and then what?

Let's consider what Jesus did  .. day after day .. as he worked Himself toward His Ultimate Goal - the cross. Numerous references to the fact that Jesus went out early to pray. Now "fast forward" to the night before He died .. Our Lord fought a crucial, pivotal battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He wrestled with what lay ahead. For our Savior, the weight of sin He would bear was overwhelming. He was about to experience complete spiritual separation from the Father. He went out to a peaceful and quiet place of prayer, where He got alone before the Father and cried out to Him. When Jesus left that garden, He walked out a winner. He would still drink the cup of suffering and separation, but He knew that in the end, He would triumph over it (Heb. 12:2).

Jesus’ example reveals that the key to winning life’s battles is to come before the Father .. Our father In heaven .. alone with Him and fully surrendered to His will. Godly counsel is important, but you cannot depend exclusively on others to tell you what to do. If you don’t spend time alone with the Lord, wrestling things out until you know what He is saying, you’ll never be sure you’re doing the right thing. By making it a habit to spend time alone in God’s presence, you’ll be able to discern His perfect will as you come to major decisions with significant or even lifelong consequences. When you fully surrender to Him, you place the consequences of your choices into His most capable hands. After all, where could your decisions .. and your future ... be safer than in the control of our all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God?

Read | Matthew 26:36-46 The Garden of Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, “[a]Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”

Feelings of Being Alone - You Never Need to Walk Alone

Experiencing Loneliness

Read | Hebrews 13:5

All of us feel alone from time to time. Poor health, a jam-packed work schedule, or trying circumstances can make it hard to stay connected. Moving to a new location, job, or school can also bring a sense of isolation. Once this season passes or we adjust to the new place, the feeling goes away.
But loneliness is different from aloneness—it involves a sense of separation from people and can intensify over time. In this state, we find it harder to reach out and easier not to be around others. When our mind starts telling us no one’s interested in what we have to say or do, we build a wall around our heart and allow access to very few. The more we withdraw, the worse we feel. Peace of mind eludes us, and loneliness weighs us down.
God never intended for us to live disconnected from one another. From the beginning, He purposed that we should enjoy an intimate relationship with Him and each other. First He established a personal relationship with Adam and then provided him with Eve. Our Creator knew it was not good for us to live in isolation (Gen. 2:18).

Note the order: Intimacy with God precedes intimacy with anyone else. In the absence of a personal relationship with Him, one is never truly at peace. The only way to be connected to the Father is by trusting Jesus as Savior (John 14:6). Whoever places faith in Him receives a new nature, becomes a member of God’s family, and experiences His peace (1:12; 14:27). If you've never accepted Christ’s invitation, you can pray right now to become God’s child.
 

Men can not figure out what God is doing in the fullness of time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 .. says that .. God has made everything beautiful in its time. God has also given men a sense of what he’s been doing down through the ages .. But they can’t completely figure out what God's done from the beginning to the end.

Mark Twain once asked a baggage handler on a passenger train if the man thought his briefcase was strong enough to be placed in the baggage compartment. The baggage handler shrugged, took Twain’s case, and promptly hurled it to the pavement. “That, sir,” he said, “is what she’ll get in Philadelphia.” Then he picked it up and struck it four or five times against the side of the train. “And that,” he continued, “is what she’ll get in Chicago.” Finally he threw the case to the ground and stomped on it vigorously until the author’s books and papers spilled out, saying, “And that’s what she’ll get in Sioux City.” As Twain watched slack-jawed, the handler nodded at his now mangled case and advised, “If you’re going any farther than Sioux City, sir, I’d suggest you carry it on yourself!” In a sense, Twain was lucky. He saw before he boarded the train what the journey ahead would entail. But the best most of us can hope to do is observe the journey of life from our fast-moving train and attempt—while the scenery whizzes past us—to make some half-ordered sense of it all. Life is full of contrasts and ripe with paradox. It contains full measures of trouble and triumph, of sadness and joy.

But at its heart, there is a divine order. Although we long to see it in full and understand it completely, we cannot. We can only trust that God knows the journey, and that His view is bigger and more complete than our own.

Now Let Us Consider .. what God has to say in Isaiah 46:9-11
  .. remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.

Today .. may I humble myself before The Most High God!

Why Not Ask God And See - WHY NOT?

Why not believe God for something impossible? Why not expect his favor for you to be unstoppable? Why not ask for something so ridiculous from Him, and push your prayer life to the edge of presumption? Why not?

Why not walk each step with the swagger of a champion? Why not expect your strength to exceed that of Samson? You were not called to be sad, you were not called to be weak So why not expect words from Dad every time that you speak? Why not? Why not live your life as a victory? Why not walk like I believe that His grace is sufficient for me? Step out of your comfort zone and into the light There is a reason he strengthened you with power and might Too long you have spent on your belly in the dust So why not make today the day that you walk out on your trust? Why not make today the best day of your life? Why not live today as literally Christ?

Why not expect a miracle every hour? Why not deliver millions of people with Christ’s power? Why not expect your walk to oppress the devil? Why not make everyday his hell? Why not heal the sick and raise the dead? Why not make today the day that you’re the one in his head? You are the one with the power of life, So why not make him regret the day he crucified Christ? Why not ruin his every plan of attack, Until he is the one begging for Christ to come back? God’s word works, like He promised it would So why not expect your life to be good? Why not expect your life to be great? Why wait? Why waste another day on sickness or depression, When all you have to do is decide to let God in? Why not let today be the day that you truly forgive? Why not make the simple choice to finally fully live? You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain So why not refuse to live your life in pain? You’ve no right to be injured, but you’ve EVERY right to healing So why not soak every prayer in believing? Why not pray for something amazingly huge, Something that you alone could never do? Why not pray so big, and so impossible, That God has to prove that His power is unstoppable?

Why not live everything that you know, and And see how far you and god can really go? Make today the day that you give God’s power a shot His word always works, so don’t ask why; but Why not?

Why not? – By the Christ in Sophia Elie

Thoughts for today .. something to read, consider and Ask God about ..

Overcoming Today's Distractions .. thoughts for today - to read and consider .. Nehemiah 4:1-20

On a daily basis, we are faced with distractions .. kids play and family situations .. problems at work, thoughts of our past, lonliness amid all the things and cares of this life .. gossip and criticism of others even our own family members. What about all the financial pressures of our day - kids needing, wanting, asking for "stuff" .. always on the go .. car payments, gas for the tank .. who's making dinner .. where are we eating out .. who's going to pay for this or that?

What about the major life distractions and issues - poor health, diabetes, smoking, losing weight, working out .. family conflicts, your personal desires - ALL BOMBARD US EVERY DAY!

Any of these .. can influence us in many ways .. even to distract us and cause us to turn away from God’s perfect plan .. WHY? How? .. because we don't even stop to thing about God .. to consider His ways .. or even stop to THANK GOD . for the very day we are living in and breathing in ..

Today’s passage shows us the value of "Single-mindedness" .. Nehemiah feared the Lord and conscientiously applied himself to His work. His mind was not divided. If we set our attention solely on God’s plan, our minds will stay fixed on the task, regardless of the difficulties - Why do you think, when asked .. Jesus taught His closest friends to pray - Our Father Who Art In Heaven .. SEE: http://www.iaskgod.com/the-lords-prayer .. Today if you are asking .. seeking .. knocking and trying to find God’s favor .. remember the answer is close at hand. The Lord’s blessing is always upon us when we’re obedient to Him .. when we look to Him .. and this knowledge gave Nehemiah confidence, and it should do the same for us, even in hard times.

Nehemiah had to give a progress report ( accountability ) to the king about what had been accomplished .. and one day we’ll all stand before Jesus and account for how we used the resources and gifts He has provided .. (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Striving for consistency in our prayer life is a daily battle that quite frankly, I lose all to often! When "God's Chosen" .. the Israelites were ridiculed, they were helpless to stop their opponents’ speech. So Nehemiah prayed, and the people received strength to continue. As the plotting worsened, Nehemiah and his fellow workers cried out to God .. who not only frustrated their enemies’ plans but also provided His people with discernment about how to avoid traps. Nehemiah completed the ambitious project in just 52 days (Neh. 6:15). When we follow his example, God can achieve great things in and through us.

Which of the above points can help you overcome your distractions today? .. Will you consider stopping .. and ASK GOD?

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