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Sunday, May 11, 2014

For All the Moms

photo from Google images

You inspire us, you strengthen us
You give us hope, you give us love
You give us joy, you give us comfort
You support us, You guide us
You are an angel placed in our life by God the creator. 
We give thanks to him, for giving us you, Mom

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jesus Takes Away the Sin

Jesus Takes Away the Sin
by Max Lucado

Some people feel so saved they never serve.  Some serve at the hope of being saved. Does one of these sentences describe you? Do you feel so saved that you never serve? So content in what God has done that you do nothing? The fact is, we’re here to glorify God in our service.

Or is your tendency the opposite? Perhaps you always serve for fear of not being saved. You’re worried there is a secret card that exists with your score written on it; and your score is not enough. Is that you? If so, know this: The blood of Jesus is enough to save you.  John 1:29 announces that Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

The blood of Christ doesn’t cover your sins, conceal your sins, postpone or diminish your sins.  It takes away your sins, once and for all! So…since you are saved, you can serve!

Monday, May 5, 2014

When Your Life Feels Like a Mess

When Your Life Feels Like a Mess
RENEE SWOPE (Proverbs31.org)
"But while Joseph was there in prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden." Genesis 39: 20b-21 (NIV)
Do you ever feel like your days are filled with one messy relationship and situation after another? During those times, it's easy to label my circumstances and myself as "a mess," then wonder how God could ever use me, or my experiences, for good.
To protect my heart from discouragement, I often ask God to remind me of times when He has worked in ways I couldn't have imagined, in my life and the lives of others. Recently He reminded me of Joseph's story (Genesis 37-50). It reads like a series of very unfortunate events!
Imagine being beaten and thrown into a pit, sold as a slave and then relocated to a foreign country where you are falsely accused of a crime you didn't commit and banished to die in prison. And to make matters worse, what if your siblings had initiated this evil against you?
That's only the beginning of what happened to Joseph.
Looking behind the scenes of stories like his helps me see how God specializes in using messes to transform people into masterpieces of His grace. That's exactly what He did here:
"[Joseph's brothers] saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him ... they stripped him of his robe ... and they threw him into a pit"(Genesis 37:18, 23b–24, ESV).
Joseph was then taken to Egypt where he was sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. Could things get worse? They did when Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him, and despite Joseph resisting her advances, she accused him of attempting to rape her:
" ... she called to the men of her household and said to them, 'See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.'"
"As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him ... his anger was kindled. And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison ..." (Genesis 39:14-15, 19-20a).
In Potiphar's house, Joseph learned servant leadership and integrity; in prison, Joseph learned forgiveness, wisdom and patience. He had been wronged multiple times, yet he experienced God's guidance through the darkness that helped Joseph get out of prison:
"And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. ... And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed" (Genesis 39:22-23, ESV).
In a messy pit, the house of Potiphar and a cold dark prison, God prepared Joseph for the amazing future and role he would play in rescuing God's people and eventually bringing his family back together.
Through it all, Joseph stayed close to God and allowed his difficult circumstances to make him more dependent on the Lord. And in turn, God molded Joseph's character into a great and godly leader — who was humble, loving, forgiving, patient and wise.
Friend, you might feel like you're in a pit right now just like Joseph was, but don't despise the mess you're in — God is doing some behind-the-scenes work. He is preparing to unleash His limitless power in and through you!
Dear Lord, thank You for reminding me that You are always with me, just like You were with Joseph. When I face hard circumstances, I want to lean in and depend on You for wisdom, patience and grace. In all these things, I will remember that I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

© 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

God's Grace



Inside the courtyard of oldest home in Los Angeles, CA.

 
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, Old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak.

"I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming  toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

I stopped the lad and asked, "What do you have there, son?" "Just some old birds," came the reply.

"What are you going to do with them?" I asked. "Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm going to tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time." 

"But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?" "Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them." 

The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?" "Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old  field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!" 

"How much?" the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?" The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, then the pastor began to tell this story:
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from theGarden of Eden , and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I  just caught a world full of people down there.Set me a trap, used bait I
knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!"

"What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked. Satan replied, "Oh,  I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each  other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and  curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each  other. I'm really gonna have fun!"

"And what will you do when you are done with them?" Jesus asked  "Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly.

"How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll just hate you.They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!!"

"How much? He asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life." Jesus said, "DONE!"     

Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.