Category Archives: Recent blogs

The Captain’s Face

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to go sailing with a good friend of mine. Ray was an oil man who had literally gone from struggling to pay the bills to millionaire overnight. In the 80’s it happened to a number of guys, but Ray was a Christian and a friend, so we talked about our faith, God’s provision and his blessings often.

After his new fortune Ray bought a boat he had always wanted, it was a 38′ sailboat. He had it delivered to Grand lake in eastern Oklahoma. It’s a large lake and a great place to sail.

There was a day one spring when we both had some time and Ray asked me to go sailing with him. I was thrilled to join him. I had never sailed before and looked forward to the experience. We met at the lake and got on the boat to get underway. Slowly we motored out of the inlet into the lake and then put up the sails. It was a great experience! I loved the sounds of the wind in the sails, the waves on the boat and the experience of sailing by wind power alone. We had a great time and a wonderful visit.

Then it happened.

Suddenly, and really without warning, a storm came up. It was a big one. 50-60 mile per hour winds and gusts, 3-4 foot waves, black clouds moving overhead. Quickly the lake cleared of other boats. Within minutes we were in a storm I can imagine the disciples experienced on the sea of Galilee when they woke Jesus and declared, “Don’t you care that we are drowning?” I think I understood the fear they experienced.

Our boat was leaning with the storm winds at 50 degrees or more. The waves were washing over the deck. The skies were black. The rain was intense. I WAS AFRAID!

But then I turned around and looked at Ray as he steered the boat across the lake. HE WAS SMILING!

I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t he see what I saw? Didn’t he know this was bad? In my amazement I yelled through the storm, “How can you smile in this storm? Don’t you see the wind and the waves?” I heard the disciples in my own voice as I said, “Don’t you care that we might drown?”

Ray smiled back and said, “You don’t understand. I know my boat. It has a 9,000 pound keel. This boat was built for the oceans. This storm is nothing! We are fine! Relax, enjoy the ride.”

Suddenly, my fear subsided. I had looked at the captain’s face. He knew things about our boat that I didn’t. He knew we were fine.

Within a few moments my fear turned to calm. Because I trusted the captain I began to enjoy the ride. Nothing had changed….the wind still blew, the rains still came, the waves still washed over the deck, but something was different….I had seen the captain’s face.

The Christian life is much like this little adventure of mine. We are often caught in the storms of life and fear for our lives, our finances, our health. This life is often overcome by a storm when we least expect it. Fears overwhelm us. Death feels close. Panic is in our voices…..but then, with fear growing, we look at Jesus and discover that he is smiling! How can he smile in this storm? Doesn’t he know we are about to go down? And he replies, “You don’t understand. I know this boat. I know what I have planned for you. We are fine. I’ll bring you safely home. Enjoy the ride.” It’s funny how a glance at the face of our captain, Jesus, can change a fearful storm into an exciting adventure. A look at the captain’s face makes all the difference! …

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

9 Bible Studies

9free biblestudies

We love being a huge Christian Resource Site! We love helping you to increase your Bible knowledge and strengthen your Relationship with the Lord.

Here are 9 Bible Studies that are available for a FREE Download!  Free, as in nothing to sign up for, nothing to do, nothing to like – you just click the link and you get a free PDF Bible Study.

Enjoy!

1.  Love to the Uttermost by John Piper

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This Bible Study aims to focus our attention on Jesus as he displays his love to the uttermost (John 13:1). These meditations on the self-giving love of Christ are all excerpted from the preaching and writing ministry of John Piper.

 

2.  The Resolution for Women Study created by Jeni 

the-resolution-for-women

Get the Book by Priscilia Schrier but do the free study created by Jeni that she did with the ladies in her church

 

3.  3 Free Marriage Studies

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Free printable Bible study lessons are a great way to strengthen your marital relationship. You see, your relationship with God is an essential part of your relationship with your spouse.  For that reason, it is very important that you spend time in the Word of God Daily.  These studies are perfect for individual study or even small groups

 

4.  Good News of Great Joy by John Piper 

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5.  Esther, The Beauty of Courageous Submission by Darlene Schacht 

 

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6.  The Joy of Christian Living

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7.  Ruth, A Woman of Virtue 

 

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8.  Lesson on Living from David – By Back to the Bible 

 

Back to the Bible has several Bible studies you can download for free. Lessons on Living from David is a 31 day devotional taken from the life of David. The free PDF download also contains reflective questions and practical application for each day.

 

9.  Outside the Zone by Rachel Wojnarowksi 

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Rachel shares the stories of five people in the Bible who stepped outside their comfort zones to be used of God.

 

 

Do you have a FREE Bible Study that we can share with our readers? Please leave a link below so we can check it out!

 

 

The 10 Commandments of Motherhood

So often we get lost or overwhelmed in all the demands of being a mom.

I wouldn’t trade the job for the world, but sometimes a mom just needs a break! We also need good advice and guidelines when it comes to being the mom our children need. Over the years I have learned and tried to apply the principles of these “10 Commandments of Motherhood.”

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1. You shall spend time with the Lord everyday before your children wake up.

Spending time alone with your Creator, seeking His will and His ways, will supply you strength and wisdom for the days challenges. If mornings are not an option, find a time that suits you better. Just make it a priority every single day.

2. You shall not esteem or accommodate your children over your husband.

God.

Husband.

Children.

In that order.

3. You shall not misuse your position as mother by making ridiculous demands of your children.

Rules and guidelines bring structure to every home. Your children may not like the rules. They will challenge your authority. Stick to your guns. You are not to appease their every whim, but neither are you to exasperate them by endless angry commands. Encourage them. Praise them for a job well done or an attitude improved. As much as possible, keep a loving, joyful atmosphere in your home, finding a balance between work and play.

4. Observe a time once a week for the whole family to engage in an activity.

Let children take turns choosing and planning a weather appropriate engagement. This will help each child feel valuable to the family unit.

5. Honor your father, mother, and in-law’s presences in rearing your children.

Grandparents add a special family tie to your child’s life. Grandparents are also willing to share advice on parenting do’s and don’ts from their own parenting successes or regrets. Honor their advice. You didn’t turn out so bad, did you?  Thoughtfully and respectfully consider their advice, ultimately choosing what is best for your situation.

6. You shall not kill/crush your child’s spirit by degrading them privately or publicly.

Speak kind words. Is it really necessary to make a snide remark about your child’s behavior or are you trying to shame them into obedience? For myself, I’ve found that its OK to let them wear a mismatched outfit or have that hairstyle. Does their choice really matter or is it more about you not wanting to be embarrassed?

7. You shall not secretly or verbally wish your child was like so-and-so’s child.

Again, speak kind words. Never make them feel as though they don’t measure up. They have enough of that from their own peers. Don’t devastate them by stripping them of the security found in your unconditional love.

8. You shall steal a few moments for yourself.

Reread that!

Whether its sipping a quiet cup of coffee, indulging in a salon appointment, or hitting the gym, take some time to love yourself. You’ll feel better equipped to tackle the next demands of your day.

9. You shall not speak a lie to your child nor live a lie in front of your child.

Speak truthfully. Walk with integrity. Did you mess up? Admit it. Vow to do better.

“What we are at home, that we are indeed.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

10. You shall not love one child more than another child.

Playing favorites causes lifetime pain for your child and generations of separation in the family. Just don’t go there. I get it, sometimes your personalities clash.

The bottom line is, you are the adult. It is your job to act maturely and graciously. It is your child’s job to act like a child.

Guide them with wise words and a life that demonstrates the love and humility of Christ.

What would you add to these 10 Commandments of Motherhood? What is the most important thing you can do for your children? 

 

kaylene

 

Kaylene is just a girl with a sword, a shield and a strong cup of coffee. She finds her first ministry to be in her home living out her calling of wife and mother. In her spare time she writes to encourage women to thrive well in their current roles. Be it through sweet encouragement or an occasional dose of humor or spunkiness, her goal remains the same… to point women to the Lord.

You can follow along with her here: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faithful-Feat/260551190785913?ref=hl

Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110172231736818866452/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kayleneyoder/

 

Return to the Hiding Place

hiding place

 

Release Date March 6, 2015

Synopsis:

Based on a true story:

Corrie’s Teenage Army

Thrilling, Action, Romantic Drama

When Corrie ten Boom realizes the rising Nazi empire will swallow Holland and create the holocaust of every innocent Jew in secret death-camps, she faces the deadly threat of these “Death-Skull Storm Troopers” with a surprising remedy: an army comprised of untrained teenagers.

Around that same time, brilliant young physics student, Hans Poley, chooses not to join the Nazi party. To protect him, his parents force him into hiding in the home of Corrie ten Boom. While in hiding, he witnesses the atrocities toward the suffering Jews and decides he must do something.

Hans is drawn by resistance fighter, Piet Hartog, and love of Piet’s life – Aty van Woerden (Corrie ten Boom’s niece) into an intricate web of espionage and clandestine activities centered in the famous Hiding Place.

As part of Corrie ten Boom’s army of untrained teenagers, Hans, Piet, and their friends navigate a deadly labyrinth of challenges to rescue the Jewish people in their modern-day, panicked exodus from death while embarking on a nonstop, action-packed hunt with the underground involving Gestapo hijacks, daring rescues, codes in windswept old windmills, and stunning miracles in one of history’s most famous dramas. Climaxing in the true, breath-taking rescue of an entire orphanage of Jewish children marked for mass execution by Hitler’s assassins, audiences will both cheer and weep at this exciting, sobering tale of Hans and the youth movement that dared to resist one of History’s cruelest tyrants.

 

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReturntotheHidingPlace

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hidemovie

Website: http://returntothehidingplacemovie.com/

as well as http://hide-movie.com

 

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Old Fashioned

old fashioned

 

Old Fashioned produced by Skoche Films

Release Date: February 14, 2015

DVD Available to purchase June 16, 2015

Synopsis: 

A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OldFashionedMovie

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/OldFashionedVow

Website:  http://www.oldfashionedmovie.com/

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmlLVkObCysZSzKtvX6hbHA

 

be a woman

 

be a man

 

Have you seen this movie? Have a review? Leave it in the comments below so we can share it with others

 

 

Woodlawn

woodlawn

Woodlawn Produced by the Erwin Brothers

Release Date: October 16, 2015

Sypnosis:

A film based on an inspiring real-life story about love and unity in a school torn by racism and hate in the 1970s.

In 1973, a spiritual awakening captured the heart of nearly every player of the Woodlawn High School football team, including its coach Tandy Gerelds. Their dedication to love and unity in a school filled with racism and hate leads to the largest high school football game ever played in the torn city of Birmingham, Alabama, and the rise of its first African American superstar, Tony Nathan.

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WoodlawnMovie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/woodlawnmovie

Website: http://woodlawnmovie.com/

never give up

 

 

War Room

War Room produced by Kendrick Brothers 

Release Date: August 28, 2015

Synopsis: 

From the award-winning creators of Fireproof and Courageouscomes WAR ROOM, a compelling drama with humor and heart that explores the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives.

Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house. But appearances can be deceiving. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan’s world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a “war room” and a battle plan of prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends to his family and prove Miss Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.

Opening nationwide in theaters August 28 and filled with more of the authentic characters loved by millions in previous Kendrick Brothers’ films, WAR ROOM is a vivid reminder that prayer is a powerful weapon.

Social Media: 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/warroomthemovie?fref=ts

Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/warroommovie

Websitehttp://www.kendrickbrothers.com

 

prayer

Faith of Our Fathers

 

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Faith of Our Fathers Produced by Pure Flix Entertainment 

Release Date – July 1, 2015

Synopsis: 

With the Vietnam War raging in 1969, two young fathers report for duty. A man of great faith and a doubtful cynic. A quarter-century later, their sons, Wayne and John Paul, meet as strangers.

Guided by handwritten letters from their fathers from the battlefield, they embark on an unforgettable journey to The Wall—the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Along the way, they discover the devastation of war cannot break the love of a father for his son. FAITH OF OUR FATHERS: a story of fatherhood; a journey of brotherhood.

Starring Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Downes, David A.R. White, Rebecca St. James, with Si Robertson and Candace Cameron Bure, FAITH OF OUR FATHERS opens in theaters Wednesday, July 1.

Social Media: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithofourfathersmovie?fref=ts

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/faithfathers

he can heal every hurt

 

 

The Terrible Sin

We are becoming a world with its fist in the air to God.

The anger, resentment, rebellion of our world is growing.  We see it in the wars, the riots of our cities, the parade to demonstrate this or that.

All around us our world is coming apart at the seams.  At the core of it all is one terrible sin.  It’s the #1 sin, the worst sin.  Although all sin (a word we rarely use anymore) has the same outcome there is one that is the cause of all others.  The one sin that is #1 on the list and is the cause of most of what we see in the world is pride.

Pride was the cause of satan’s rebellion.  It was at the heart of Adam’s sin.  It’s the driving force for much of what gets me in trouble.

It’s my #1 problem!  Pride makes me jealous of someone else’s success, envious of what another has, resentful of what another does. At the heart of it all is pride.

Pride’s symbol is “I”.  I am the master of my fate, I make my own decisions, it’s my right to do this, go there, believe that.  Pride is me trying to be god.

But it doesn’t work….because all around me are other proud little creatures trying to be god as well…and so we fight, squabble, kill, steal and a hundred other things to validate what pride has made me believe about myself.

The number #1 sin?  Pride.  It’s the first sin and my biggest enemy.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Do You Believe Movie

Do you Believe produced by
Pure Flix

Released Spring 2015

Synopsis:

A dozen different souls—all moving in different directions, all longing for something more. As their lives unexpectedly intersect, they each are about to discover there is power in the Cross of Christ … even if they don’t believe it. Yet.

When a local pastor is shaken to the core by the visible faith of an old street-corner preacher, he is reminded that true belief always requires action. His response ignites a faith-fueled journey that powerfully impacts everyone it touches in ways that only God could orchestrate.

This stirring new film from the creators of God’s Not Dead is in theaters now. More than a movie, it’s a question we all must answer in our lifetimes: DO YOU BELIEVE?

Find out More about the movie here:

http://doyoubelieve.com/

Follow them here: 

Facebook – http://facebook.com/doyoubelievemovie

Twitter – http://twitter.com/dybmovie

Get Our Discussion Questions for your Small Group, Ladies Group or Youth Group here:  Do you Believe Discussion Questions

 

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Noble

nobleTitle: Noble

Produced By: Aspiration Media

Release Date: 5/8/2015

Synopsis:  

They broke everything but her spirit. They took everything but her dream. NOBLE, the award-winning feature film, is the incredible true story of a fearless Irish heroine driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and risk everything on the streets of Vietnam.

Winner of six U.S. film festival awards, including the Panavision Spirit Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the powerful biopic drama written and directed by Stephen Bradley is heralded by critics as “raw and genuinely powerful,” “captivating” and “moving.” The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a joyful and rousing affirmation of the human spirit that will resound widely.”

Noble, in US Theaters May 8th, stars Deirdre O’Kane (MOONE BOY, PATHS TO FREEDOM), Brendan Coyle (DOWNTON ABBEY, THE RAVEN, AILSA), Sarah Greene (THE GUARD, THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN) and Liam Cunningham (GAME OF THRONES, HUNGER, SAFE HOUSE).

Theater location & More Info Visit their Site: http://thenoblemovie.com/ 

Follow them here: 

Facebook – www.facebook.com/NOBLEmovie
Twitter – www.twitter.com/noblemovie

 

 

When you see this movie, we’d love for you to share your opinion with us below!

Friends

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. 

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. 
Wouldn’t you like to get away? 
Sometimes you want to go 
Where everybody knows your name, 
and they’re always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.
You wanna go where people know, 

people are all the same, 

You wanna go where everybody knows 
your name.

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/cheerslyrics.html

Those are the lyrics to the theme song from the T.V. show “Cheers”.  The lyrics speak to our common longing. We want to be known, we want someone to know who we are.  We all want friends.  And yet, in our culture today friends, real friends, are hard to find and even harder to define.

Today I had lunch with one of the guys from our church.  He welcomed me with this question and a troubled frown, “Do you consider us friends or just acquaintances?”  That beginning didn’t bode well for the visit to follow.  The reason for his question was the awareness that he really doesn’t have many friends and was I one of them?

Friends are rare.  Real friends that is.  It takes years to get to know someone and often longer to really trust them.  Chuck Swindoll said, “If you have eight men at your funeral who don’t look at their watches you had a good life.”  Isn’t it sad that most of us have so few we connect with, even fewer who know us and care about us.

In the last two weeks I have visited with several of our men and in the visit asked them, “So, do  you have any friends?”  Both answered, to my amazement, “No”.  How sad that we live in a culture surrounded by others and no one knows us, no one cares.  How have we let this happen?  Why are we so fearful of the emotional intimacy a friend would offer?

It’s even worse for our young adults.  They have grown up with electronics between themselves and others.  Many have thousands as “friends” on Facebook, but know no one personally!  It’s a tragedy that is beginning to reveal itself in the suicides of lonely people with thousands of “friends” who have never met them.

So how do we move from this loneliness to relationship? How do we connect in a way that bridges the chasm we feel between us and others?  And, even more important, what is a “friend” anyway?  That question was one we asked our waiter today as my friend and I discussed our relationship.  Even our young waiter didn’t really know.

Here’s a project for you to work on, an assignment if you wish:  Write down on a piece of paper five names of people you consider friends.  Then, call them. Talk to them. Tell them how important their friendship is in your life.  No, you can’t text them or send them a note on Facebook.  That’s missing the point entirely.  You have to talk to them. Really talk to them…and even better…meet them for a meal.  It will make a difference in your life you never imagined.  It will refresh your soul and brighten your day!

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Forgive Myself?

“You just have to forgive yourself”, my friend told me. I grievously sinned against God and another believer. My heart broke and no matter how much I asked God to forgive me I did not feel forgiven. But forgiving myself? Somehow that did not sit right in my spirit. However, I would repeat the phase to others when they felt the lack of forgiveness.

– “You just have to forgive yourself”

– “What does this mean? Is it biblical?”

Through prayer and study the Lord revealed to me why my spirit was unsettled about the statement,

– “You must forgive yourself”

As a believer I know that sin is inevitable.   Even the Apostle Paul confessed his struggle.

“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” Romans 7:19

What did the apostle Paul do when he encountered his own sin?

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25

– He acknowledged his sin.

– He acknowledged the need to be rescued from it.

– He thanked God for Jesus’ deliverance.

– He did not forgive himself.

As I continued to study I heard these questions echo in my head.

– “Did you hang on the cross?”

– “Was the sin of the world put on you?”

– “Did you endure excruciating pain?”

– “Are you God?”

Tears filled my eyes as I exclaimed

– “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

– “You did it Lord, You were the one.”

I remembered the following verse.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;” 1 Peter 2:24

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

“Why do I still feel bad after knowing that I am forgiven? I know that I stand righteous before God because I am in Christ, so why am I hurting?” Fifteen years later I got my answer during a sermon from Reverend Ken Lawrence of First Baptist Church in Hampton Falls.   I am ashamed to say I do not remember the sermon topic but I remember him saying, “Sin leaves a wound and that wound needs to heal.”

“That’s it! I have a spiritual wound that needs time to heal.”

I sat in the pew carefully writing down exactly what the pastor said. I continued jotting down verses that came to mind.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

The Word is a sword that goes deep; cutting out the sin that so easily entangles; leaving a Spiritual wound. The pain from the divine surgery lingers and we think that we are not forgiven.

We must allow our sin wound to heal. This takes time.

As the Word convicts and cuts, it also heals.

“I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.” Jeremiah 33:8

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” Psalm 119:28

Why do people say, “You must forgive yourself?”   In my case it was ignorance.   Ignorance of what truly takes place in a person who has sinned against a most Holy God. I did not realize the pain I felt was the healing of a wound surgically removed by the word of God through conviction and repentance.   I have forgiveness. I stand righteous before God in Christ. Nothing can take that Truth away.

“For He chose us in Him (Christ) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:4,7

How will you react when someone says, “You just need to forgive yourself”?  Be gentle. Remember we are all at different places in our walk with Jesus.

Maybe you are the one making this statement to others. God knows your motives. My motive was to help and encourage. Also, I was repeating what I heard.   Now I know the Truth.

So what do you say to someone who has sinned, asked for forgiveness and still feels guilty?

Have you been forgiven through Christ? Live in that forgiveness and embrace the Truth.   Please do not judge yourself more harshly than your Heavenly Father.

Give them the Word.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

Be like Isaiah. He stood before the Holiness of God, he heard the angels. The glory of God surrounded him. He was pierced to the heart with conviction and he felt ruined.

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:6-8

Isaiah did not remain in the pain; He desired to serve the Lord.

The best way to heal from a Spiritual wound is serving your God.

The power to forgive comes only from God.

I promise the pain will decrease as you bask in God’s love and forgiveness.

Cherrilynn Bisbano
Speaker/Teacher/Writer
godsfruit@juno.com

Visit Cherrilynn at Pelican Promise

Who’s Slave Are You?

As a speaker/teacher I pray about each speaking event. A study on Biblical Servant hood would be my next teaching. After all I sign my correspondence, “Saved to Serve”. I began my study by looking up the word servant. I had to carefully read and re read the online concordance. “Does the word servant really mean slave?” I checked many verses and found that in the word servant was used instead of slave. This made my skin crawl and the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. “How could this be Lord?” Thoughts of the horrific treatment of slaves in America and elsewhere ran through my mind.   As I continued my study, God showed me what biblical slavery was all about. It may not be what you think. I am not a theologian. I cherish the Truth of the Word of God and make every effort to handle it correctly. This post only touches on some of the basic points. Please do a more in depth study on your own. You will be blessed.

Servant

Old Testament-“ebed” Slave/servant

New Testament- “doulos” Slave

The Greek word “doulos” is used many times in the New Testament. It is never interchangeable with the word servant in the original text. There are about 5 other words in the bible that mean servant and doulos is not one of them.

SLAVES IN BIBLICAL TIMES

Slaves were common during Old Testament and New Testament times.   There were laws concerning the treatment of slaves.

Leviticus 25:43 “You shall not rule over him ruthlessly but shall fear your God.”

Deuteronomy 15:12-14 “If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your wine-press. As the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. “

In the New Testament Jesus did not free the slaves. He gave instructions.

“Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. ” 1 Corinthians 7:20-24

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.” God is over the master and he will deal with them if they are abusive.” 1 Peter 2:18

JESUS THE ULTIMATE SERVANT

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (doulos), and being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

WHO’S SLAVE ARE YOU?

Romans 6:16- “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Are you a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness?

My prayer is righteousness. No matter what, you are a slave.

God redeemed His children out of the pit of hell and brought them into His perfect light.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” Galatians 3:13

He purchased us with His own blood. We belong to Him.

“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

God adopted us.

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

Our relationship with God is multifaceted. Being His slave is just one.

My attitude has changed from this study. I used to wake up praying” God bless my day.” I set the agenda for my day and wanted God to bless it.   Now I wake up and ask, “What adventure do you have for your servant (doulos) today, Lord?

 

Cherrilynn Bisbano
Speaker/Teacher/Writer
godsfruit@juno.com

Visit Cherrilynn at Pelican Promise

 

 

Insulting Muhammad

I’m a Christian.

I believe that Jesus is God in flesh, the only savior, the only provision of God for man’s sin.

Islam would tell me I have committed shirk.  It’s the unpardonable sin of associating anyone with God.

I get that.  But I truly believe the bible teaches that Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity.

On many theological issues I disagree with Islam dramatically.  I know the issues.  I have taught courses on Islam.  I have read much of the Quran and studied it to know what Islam teaches.

I really love the Muslim people.  They are, for the most part, sincere passionate people of faith.  To the best of their ability they are living for and obeying the God they know.

So why would I, a Christian, insult Muhammad?  Why would I say something negative about a man my Muslim friend considers a prophet of God?  How would those statements help me relate to another person I believe God really loves?

I wouldn’t!  I couldn’t insult their prophet.  It serves no helpful purpose except to inflame and divide even more.  I truly believe that God loves the Muslim people and many millions are finding Christ as savior each year.  God is working with these sincere God seekers…he’s drawing them to him.

For me, a Christian, to insult a man they revere would only grieve the God I serve.  Instead, can I tell you more about my wonderful savior, Jesus Christ?

He is so amazing, so wonderful, he loves you and cares more for you than you will ever know.  And, as the Quran says, one day he is coming back to judge the world.

Can I tell you more about my wonderful Jesus?

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Peace, Peace….Oh For Peace

The world we live in is filled with anger, rage, violence and pain.

We look for peace, long for peace, but fail to find it.  

We call for tolerance, but it eludes us. 

How can we find that one thing we all want, desire and need….peace?

As I’ve watched the events in my own country in the last weeks I grieve over lost lives, broken hearts and bitterness of soul that has made peace, forgiveness and love more elusive than ever.

But, there is a passage of scripture that offers the solution to all of this.  It’s a difficult passage, in fact it’s impossible.  It means we have to set our own desires, our own wishes aside and put others ahead of ourselves.  It’s impossible without the help of God.  

It’s impossible unless we humble ourselves and put others first.  

Here’s how Jesus described this life that can change everything,

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  

If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.  

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.  

And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Can you imagine how our world would change if we treated each other in this way?  But it goes against all that is in us.  We each put ourselves first, we each want “our rights”…we all want what’s fair, but this  is an invitation to a way of life that sets all that aside and says that you are more important than I am.  

Without God’s help that’s impossible,  but imagine a world where this is the way everyone lives…..

…..I think you might call it heaven.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Thoughts On The Life Of Brittany

Brittany Maynard just took her own life as she faced a painful end of life from brain cancer.  I’m sure there will be many things said about this.  Many of those who write about it will be critical of Brittany’s choice.  I will not.  The whole situation is a sad one.  I feel a deep sadness for her, her husband and family.  There is no need for moralism at the moment, only grieving.

Was it the right choice?  Should she have waited for “life to take its course?”  Was there a right choice in this?  Opinions will all be voiced on the Internet.  Many will be harsh and hurtful.  The only emotion I give to this is grief.  I’m sad that this disease has taken such a young life.  I know many others suffer in the same way, but her choice to end her life in this way only magnifies the grief and sadness of her death.

We all face death.  Whatever the vehicle we will all be driven from this life to the next.  The debate over her choice is not the real issue we each must face.  Whatever we face that will one day take our lives are we ready for the life ahead?

Some will tell you that death is the end….when you’re dead, you’re dead.  Others believe eternity lies ahead.  I believe this life is only the beginning of life…eternal life.  We grieve over the death of someone we love in this life, but we rarely talk about the grief of losing eternal life.  100% of us will die physically, but it isn’t the end.  Ahead is eternity and for some a fate much worse than a painful death here.  For others eternity means real life and a walk with God that never ends.

I grieve over Brittany’s loss.  I pray she did not lose real life as well.  Sometimes I fear we argue and fret over the wrong things and focus too much on the temporal and not enough on the eternal.  I hope and pray that as Brittany made a choice about this life she had also made a choice about real life.

As you read the news and the debate about her choice remember that this choice was not the most important one….for her or for you.

Visit Mike at FinishingWell.

Fearsome Days

These are scary days we live in.  ISIS/ISIL beheadings weekly, wars breaking out on every continent, earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, Ebola, zombies, politicians (or are those last two the same thing?), and the fear inspiring news!  If you are tempted to fear, our culture and the news will help you.

These are fearsome days.  Every day we are given new reasons to be afraid and yet the bible invites us to a different focus, a different direction for our vision and emotions.  These words from the last book of the bible invite a different look, a look up, a look away from fearsome things in dreadful places to a person…but not just any person….here is the invitation to a different look,

“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”

Don’t be afraid.  Why? Because there is one who is the A to Z, the living one who died and lives forever, the one who holds the keys to everything.  In those few words following the command, “Don’t be afraid” are all the reasons you need to not fear anything ahead even as the fearsome days get worse.  

This person, as John discovers, is Jesus Christ, risen King, eternal Lord, God of everything.  

In the fearsome day Jesus’ invitation is this, trust me.  I have all of this under control, I’m Lord of it all.  Nothing happens without my permission.  I’m fully in charge and I will take care of you.  Will you let go of your fears and look to me?  Will you change your focus from a fallen world to a risen Lord?  

Don’t be afraid!  The King of Glory, Jesus Christ, is alive and Lord of all.  Relax, enjoy your day, pray for the suffering, love the lost, help the poor, let go of your fears and know that God is sovereign even when it appears “all hell has broken loose.”  Don’t be afraid.  The King is king of even this, even now, relax and rest in him.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Failure

I don’t know if you have ever felt it, that feeling of complete and total failure.  It’s one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced.

Many struggle with it.  Jobs lost, marriages ruined, relationships destroyed, children alienated.  All of these make us aware of our weakness and failure to do those things well, to be a success at something…at anything.

There is a partner to failure, it’s depression.  It may be, at times, that the depression arrives first and failures are then unavoidable, but that’s just a thought I’ve been dwelling on for a while.  I’ve noticed as well that I find myself feeling an overwhelming sense of failure when there is really nothing wrong at all.  It’s a terrible cloud, but one that plagues us all at times if we are honest.

We each struggle with failure.  We don’t think we are pretty enough, happy enough, successful enough, good enough, that we don’t have enough friends, enough money, that we don’t do anything “important”.  On the list goes, but in the midst of whatever we do many of us feel the tug of failure pulling us down constantly whispering in our ears…”you’re not good enough, you won’t make it, you don’t fit in, you won’t get that job.”

Knowing that this cloud hangs over us all at times makes it clear why we so desperately need God.  Our expectations and goals are far above our abilities and so we live with the high jump bar at 20′ knowing the highest we have ever jumped is 5′.  Failure is sure. Doom is near.

At least that’s the way it feels.

Then comes Jesus to deal with all of this in the gospels.   In those amazing encounters with failures he embraces them, loves them, forgives them.  He tells them he really likes them!  He loved eating with “sinners” and they loved him.  Why?  Because as bad as the world considered them to be and as bad as they felt about themselves there was one person who loved them and really liked them….Jesus.

The rich young ruler, the woman caught in adultery, the leper begging for help, the tax collectors, the foreign mother with a sick child and so many more.  All of them, if they could tell us their stories, would admit they felt like failures, but there was one who didn’t see them that way.  He really loved them….even in their mess.  He enjoyed their company…even when the “religious people” wouldn’t even look at them.

Jesus loves failures because failures know they need Jesus!

I’m really glad that the story of Jesus is the story of God loving broken, struggling, failing people.  People like you and me.

Here’s what God says about people like us, the failures of the world,

1 Cor. 1:26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose those the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose people that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.28 God chose the ones who are despised by the world, some of us considered as nothing at all, and used us all to bring to nothing people the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

So, if you find yourself struggling with self-doubt, the cloud of failure, failing at everything, failing at anything….know there is a God who loves people like you and me.  Isn’t that great?

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The Dark Clouds Of Depression

The choices this week of a dearly loved comedian, Robin Williams, bring to light a struggle many people live with and battle most of their lives. It’s far too common.  Just last year my niece, Dez, committed suicide in a similar way to Robin.  It’s sad, tragic, and shocking for many of us who know them and don’t often see the dark clouds they live with, the depression they can’t seem to escape.
Like many of you, I have struggled with depression most of my life.  It’s a family burden and one my mother deals with as well so I’m not simply writing thoughts as a casual observer, but as an unwilling participant.  Over the years my own struggles have made me aware of how difficult depression is to battle.  There are days that begin with the dread of what’s ahead.  It demands, for me, an ongoing battle against the darkness.

As my wife wrote recently, “depression brings a hopelessness that makes life feel like a dirty trick.”  I get that and if you have battled depression you understand it as well.

Some would say that if you are a Christian you shouldn’t have problems with depression. They would then try to help by giving you some bible verses and tell you to “just get over it!”  But it’s really more insidious than that.  It weaves its dark shadows through a life and shows up at the most unexpected times.  For my sweet niece it was the middle of the night and she could no longer live with her dark moments.  She made a permanent choice for a temporary problem and we, her family, are left devastated.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, you need to know it’s a common human malady we all battle at times. You are not alone even in the dark moments when you think no one cares. The morning sun will come and the dark clouds will lift.
Some may struggle with depression on a regular basis and come to a point where they just don’t think they can go on another day.  If that is you, don’t give up.  Talk to someone. Get help. See a doctor. Call a friend. Talk to your pastor.  The dark clouds of the moment will pass. The sun will shine again.  There are people who love you, you are not alone.
When you see someone going through a time of depression pray for them, listen to them and be there for them.  If they threaten suicide call for help immediately! Don’t wait!!  Any threat of suicide should be taken seriously.
Years ago, in my first church, one of our dear members took his own life in the bedroom of his five year old daughter on her birthday.  It was a tragedy magnified by the situation and the day.  But once he made the choice the lives of everyone around him were changed forever!
For those of you living with depression get help, tell someone, ask God for his help.  He is there and he will come to your rescue in that dark place.  There is help!  Ann Voscamp wrote about depression in her recent blog.  Her words are helpful on this topic. I encourage you to read her August 12th post at http://www.aholyexperience.com/.
One of my favorite bible authors is David, a man who battled depression in his own life.  In one of his journals (Psalms 40) he talked about being in a miry pit of despair and unable to get out.  It was a dark place for him, a time of real depression.  What he describes in these words is what everyone battling depression needs- HOPE!  There is hope and it comes from God. These are encouraging words from someone who struggled with depression and found help in God,
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord.”
Visit Mike at FinishingWell.

Little Things

Proverbs 11:1 The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.

Have you ever wondered why a verse like this is in the bible?  Have you ever read something and really didn’t know what to do with it? 
 
This is a short verse, a pragmatically simple one, that reveals God’s concern for even the little things.  In biblical days they would measure grain and other products on the scale to determine price.  Often a dishonest merchant would “tip the scale” by making the weights that counter balance the product inaccurate…thereby making a bit extra on each sale and cheating his customer.  The customer may have thought he was getting a pound and walked away with only 15 ounces.
 
Over time the merchant made a lot of extra money, but what this verse highlights is that God hates the dishonesty that would cheat a trusting neighbor in a purchase.  It’s really just a little thing, but it reveals the heart of God.  He wants us to treat each other right, to be fair, to be honest and loving in our affairs….even in how we measure what we sell to others.
 
These short words not only speak to God’s hatred of dishonesty and cheating, but they tell me how far he goes with this….even down to the weight on the scale!  And, to be honest, this isn’t about the weight of the product, it’s all about how we treat each other.  God hates it when we value stuff more than we do the people around us.  At the core, it’s a heart issue, isn’t it?  What do I value more?  The stuff I can get from you or YOU?
When I deal with you fairly I’m saying you are more important that the material goods we trade.  That’s the issue- what’s most important to us?  God’s concerned about these things even down to the last ounce of our interactions with others.
Even the little things are important to God because they speak to what is most important to us- the stuff or the people?
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

20 Absolutes Of A Happy Marriage

Marriage – the best of times, the worst of times.

So much joy and love, yet sometimes due to our human nature, we lash out so harshly at the ones we love the most, creating so much pain.

My son recently got married (4/12/2014) and my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary in October, so I wanted to give some advice to the happy couple, because no matter what stage of marriage you (we) are in, the following will always apply.

  1. Keep the Lord first – without Him, nothing works
  2. Keep your spouse second – children grow up and go on their own journey, your spouse will be with you after they’ve left the nest
  3. Keep your children and family third – yes, ministry is important and I’m 100% for it, but if you place your ministry before your children and your family then they will likely walk away from the Lord. Find a healthy balance and always….always make time for family. (Jesus always makes time for His children)
  4. Always kiss goodnight
  5. Hold hands as much as possible
  6. Read the Bible and pray together as much as possible
  7. Continue to date long after the wedding vows have been spoken
  8. The treats, treasures and surprises your spouse loved before the wedding – they still love
  9. Be willing to forgive….and often. Hurt is a part of the process, just like love, joy and compassion.
  10. Have meals together as a family, around the table and chat. (We had a no phone rule, I would suggest you establish one as well)
  11. Have some time with friends. Don’t go overboard, but still enjoy just some girl time and guy time
  12. Have fun – yes, be serious when necessary, but do fun, random and silly things
  13. Point out the amazing, wonderful qualities about your spouse….and do so often
  14. Do things without expectations – imagine if BOTH of us did this…. complete joy
  15. Pray for your spouse. Even when you are angry, hurt or mad and especially when you aren’t. You absolutely cannot stay mad at someone you are praying over daily
  16. Dream together – make plans for the future. It could be a nice vacation or a weekend getaway. Plan something together that you’ll love doing
  17. Speak kindly of your spouse – if you are always speaking well of them, that means you are always thinking well of them
  18. Don’t Compare – This is true about anything. One of my favorite quotes is “comparison is the thief of JOY” Don’t do it.
  19. Don’t Assume – Ladies, stop assuming your hints were dropped so well your husband can’t miss it. Men, if you don’t know…ask. Neither of us are mind readers.
  20. Marriage is a combination of sacrifice and commitment. Commit to it, be willing to make some sacrifices along the way and watch how God can use your relationship to help inspire and encourage others.

**Bonus – Sex and Romance are two very different, yet very necessary things. Both men and women should do their part to make sure their spouse is pleased in this area.

These are just a few things that will help our relationships. What would you add?

What are you doing in your marriage to keep it strong?

Please take a few moments to add to this conversation and be a blessing to others.

Don’t forget to leave your @twitter name so we can reach out to you there.

Visit Marie at Spreading-Joy.

Slavery vs Trust

You would think, after reading the bible as many times as I have, that I wouldn’t see much new, but every day I see something I had never noticed before.  It constantly amazes me.  How does God do this?  How does he put so many insights about life and faith in the stories of the bible?  And yet he does it over and over again.  Here is a portion of the confessions of Nehemiah and some insights into our nature,

Neh. 9:16 “But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands. 17 They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them, 18 even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, ‘This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!’ They committed terrible blasphemies.
19 “But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night. 20 You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst.
 

Did you notice the portion of the text I underlined?  Instead of trusting God they chose a leader to take them back to slavery!  I read that over several times with my mouth open.  They did what???  They chose a leader to take them back to slavery rather than trusting God to provide for them.

And then, embarrassed at how similar my life is to this, I realized I often choose slavery over trust.  I choose the bondage of the past rather than trusting God for his goodness and provision for the future.  I worry.  I fret.  I look for someone who can lead me back to bondage and slavery to the old ways instead of trusting God for the unknown promises ahead.  

As the Jewish people told Moses, “at least in Egypt we had our pots of meat and onions…but out here we don’t know where our next meal is coming from.”  And rather that trusting God for his care and provision in our wilderness we look for someone to help us become slaves again.  How amazingly stupid we are!!

At least in slavery we know what to expect. We are “taken care of”, we are told what to do, we don’t have to trust…..but when we follow God we have to trust the unseen one for the unknown.  Sadly, for us, slavery seems easier.  How amazingly stupid we are!

Trusting God means I can’t see where I’m going, where my food comes from, where I will stay.  I have to trust an unseen God for his unseen provision and yet he always provides….if we will trust him.

But for us slavery seems easier so we look for a leader to take us back.  I wondered, who would volunteer to take them back to Egypt?  Who would want that rather than freedom?  Apparently they all did!  And, sadly, given the choice of the slaveries of the past vs. trusting God for the future we all seem to choose slavery.

Lord, help me to quiet my fears and follow you into the unknown rather than returning to the slavery of the past.  Help us all to trust.  Give us the boldness to desire you and where you are leading rather than the slavery of our past, the bondage of our former masters.  Open our eyes to see the joy of beings sons and daughters walking into the unknown rather than slaves to the known.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Everyday Ministries For ANY Christian

When thinking of “ministry” think of…. Unto the Least of These…

Christian Ministry isn’t just for the Pastor and Assistant Pastors of a Church. It is for every Christian.

Yes, every one of us.

There are a million excuses for why people don’t “minister” one to another but none of them are valid or reasonable.

When you move past the guilt of wishing you could do more and focus on doing what you can with the gifts the Lord has provided you, then your ministry will be an honor to the Lord.

In Matthew 25:40 – Jesus reminds us that when we do anything…even to the “least of these” it is as if we are doing it to Him. We are also reminded that something as small as a “cup of cold water” given is huge in the Lord’s eyes. (Mark 9:41 & Matthew 10:42)

So how then can we minister to people if we are not a Pastor or Assistant Pastor?

Ministries for the Average Christian:

  • Ministry of Love (and mercy) –

o   Love the hurting – Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Churches should be a hospital for the broken and hurting to come and heal. Yes, we want people to grow in the grace of the Lord but we have to start with loving them first. Let God work on their hearts and we need to just love on the broken and hurting.

o   Love our leaders – We need to love our Pastors & their wife (family), Assistant Pastor & their family etc. We expect so much of God’s chosen but often completely forget that they are human. Love them, pray for them and encourage them. Every family should be an encouragement to the leadership of the church every month.

o   Love our neighbor – Yes, there will be disagreements but we need to love other families in church. Get to know new people in the Church. Get to know people on the other side of the church. Say hello, shake hands and smile at people. LOVE others.

  • Ministry of Encouragement –

o   Encouraging others isn’t difficult. Listen to the prayer requests, pray over them and then write a note letting that person know you prayed for them.

o   Send cards/letters for no reason at all other than to simply encourage

o   Helping people through their pain. Especially if it’s chronic pain, encouragement is a real gift for someone struggling day in and day out.

o   Encouraging people to take the next step. Sometimes stepping out on an unfamiliar journey is made a bit easier when a little encouragement is received.

o   Sharing happiness and joy with those that are celebrating blessings from the Lord.

o   Encourage your family. Don’t forget them!

  • Ministry of Giving –

o   Giving of your resources doesn’t just include financial. There are some artsy, crafty and very talented people that never use those talents for the Lord at all. Yes, give of your finances, but also, look at what you can give back from your talents and other resources.

o   Giving your time – Have you ever just went and kept someone company while they were having Chemo? While they were going through a bitter trial? While they were grieving? You don’t have to know what to say or how to say anything comforting because just the act of being there is great comfort.

  • Ministry of Volunteering –

o   Teach a class, a small group or an impromptu get together

o   Open your home for a ladies night of fun food and laughter

o   Volunteer your singing abilities or instrument playing abilities

o   Volunteer to greet people at the front door of the church

o   Volunteer to help organize a missions trip

o   Volunteer to deliver flowers or books to people in the hospital

o   Volunteer to make dinners for those coming home from hospital

o   Men – volunteer to help with the maintenance of the homes of the elderly in your church/community.

o   Ladies – help with the cleaning and upkeep of the homes for some of the elderly

  • Ministry of Praying –

o   When Chronic illness plagues your body, you can still pray

o   When you are busy mom of toddlers, you can still pray

o   When you are a busy businessman or woman, you can still pray

o   When you are a teen and still figuring out your journey, you can still pray

o   When you are a child, just learning to give, do and go – you can still pray

o   P R A Y – everyone can do this

 I could go on and on for days here but I won’t. I just want you to know that Ministry is for every single one of us. We are all called to live the way Jesus lived.

I’m Spreading Joy daily to people around me and you can be too. It isn’t expensive or hard and anyone can do it…including children. In addition to the ideas listed above, click the photo below and you’ll be taken to a list of 50 Ways to Make a Difference without Spending a Single Penny. No money is involved and you can impact your world for Christ!

Have fun Spreading God’s Joy and making a difference!

Train Up A Child

Parenting is not for wimps. It’s just not.

Until your child has children of their own, there is no way they will ever comprehend why you do what you do.

This is why it is vital to your heart that no matter how your days, months or years work out that you place your trust in what the Lord promised you.

It seems that in this day and age where we are raising a generation that I lovingly call the “Entitlement Generation” that it is becoming more and more difficult to train up a child in the way he/she should go.

Let me remind you of a few of God’s promises:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it – Proverbs 22:6

Will your child stray? Maybe.  Will they always desire their own personal relationship with the Lord? Maybe…maybe not.  But TRUST that God has them and cling to this verse.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you – Psalm 56:3

There are times when we will fear for our children.  Trust in the ONE that loves your child more than even you do!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5

There will absolutely be times that you do not understand why your child is doing what they are doing.  There may be times that your heart and soul are crushed and the tears seem never ending.  TRUST HIM even when you don’t understand

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path Psalm 119:105

When you are helping to light the way for your children, USE GODS Word.  He is ever faithful, never changing and always preparing us to honor Him in some way.

What verses do you cling to when it comes to raising Godly children?

Do you have your children memorize verses so that no matter what happens they can hide Gods word in their hearts?

One last thing…sometimes there are no words of comfort on this earth.  I’d like to share 52 of God’s Promises that you can use as a Quick Reference.

Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.