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Are you limiting yourself? Be who God wants you to be, not what others say you can be.

2 Nov

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

After physicist Richard Feynman won a Nobel prize for his work, he visited his old high school. While there, he decided to look up his records. He was surprised to find that his grades were not as good as he had remembered them. And he got a kick out of the fact that his IQ was 124, not much above average. Dr. Feynman saw that winning the Nobel prize was one thing, but to win it with an IQ of only 124 was really something. Most of us would agree because we all assume that the winners of Nobel prizes have exceptionally high IQs. Feynman confided that he always assumed that he had.

If Feynman had known he was really just a bit above average in the IQ department, we wonder if he would have had the audacity to launch the unique and creative research experiments that would eventually win him the greatest recognition the scientific community can give.

Perhaps not. Maybe the knowledge that he was a cut above average, but not in the genius category, would have influenced what he tried to achieve. After all, from childhood most of us have been led to believe that ordinary people don’t accomplish extraordinary feats.

Most of us fall short of our potential because of little things we know or assume about ourselves. And the most self-defeating assumption of all is that we are just like everyone else.

My point is this…Jesus is Lord of our lives, and He has made us unique and able to do anything within His will if we apply ourselves and honestly believe. He has made us to be different from everyone else and it’s up to us to take that uniqueness and break free of the limits that we put on ourselves. Don’t buy into what others think and say, KNOW what the Bible says and become the person of God that you were called to be. Break free of the limits you and others put on yourself and become the strength that God made you to be.

 

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The Obituary of all time-Someone else

31 Oct

Our church was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, Someone Else.
Someone’s passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, Someone did
far more than a normal person‘s share of the work.
Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone’s list, “Let Someone Else do it.” Whenever
leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results; “Someone Else can work with that group.”

It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers in our church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed
Someone Else would make up the difference.
Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing superhuman. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone
Else is gone! We wonder what we are going to do.
Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? When you are asked to
help this year, remember – we can’t depend on Someone Else anymore.

The Church, should we pay taxes?

31 Oct

Let’s talk about something that’s very controversial. In our modern times, the fear of economic failure is at the top of every politically minded individual’s list. These individuals make up many of the religious organizations through-out our country. The question I and many others are asking is, should the churches and religious organizations pay their share of taxes? As we know most religious organizations and churches are for the most part tax except. The question is, should they be paying taxes and should we be reconsidering not only the constitutional aspects of the question but also what the word of God says about it?
In Mark 12:17 (NIV) we read this. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The statement comes from a discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees and is also found in Matthew 22. Jesus was asked whether or not everyone should pay their share of taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus responded by asking whose portrait and inscription was found on the coin held by the Pharisees. The y responded that it was Caesars portrait and inscription and thus Jesus made the above statement in Mark. Could we compare the same question to money today? Whose inscription is carved into every coin? What symbols are found on every bill? What would Jesus say about this topic?
Obviously this topic is one that can come with much resistance and with much negative feedback, but should we as Christians rethink things just a little? As we know tax exemption was not always around. It wasn’t until around 1954 that the idea was introduced by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. This introduction was labeled 501c3 exception status. The problem with such tax exemption is it also detailed certain requirements of any organization approved for the exemption. One such requirement was that no 501c3 approved organization would be involved in any political candidate’s campaign or approval or disapprove of any candidate uses the religious platform. The requirement goes on from there.
A question we as the church body should ask ourselves, is have we as Christians, traded our voice for the benefit of more money for our churches? Have we traded the authority of God for the benefits of more comfort and for less religious resistance? Have a majority of our churches done wrong by applying and excepting this tax free status? I think it’s a question that at least deserves a moment’s thought don’t you? May we ask ourselves if the church’s voice has grown much more silent in the last 60 years or so?
Obviously the added revenue from all the religious organizations and churches would improve the financial status of our great country if applied correctly, but could it possibly hurt in other ways, that is a question to also ask ourselves. Currently much of the burden that should lie of the backbone of the church currently resides on the backbone of our federal government. Things such as feeding the hungry and housing the homeless are responsibilities that should be the focus point of all churches and not simply to what color carpet we should install this year in our sanctuary. Would the church as a whole be ready to stand up and act as the big brother of the helpless and the hurting in a manner much higher than we see today? To become an active voice again, the church will most definitely have to be ready to do so.

This question on taxes is not a small group thought, but is found throughout the country in growing numbers. I am a most definitely a Christian and my personal opinion is that we should reconsider our tax exemptions. I say this as a man that feels the Church’s voice has been suppressed by actions such as this and in order to regain the respect and authority the church once had, it will have to also use its resources to help the very country in which grants its religious freedom.
Some would say we as Christians should stay out of all politics all together. I ask this question however. If there are no Godly people or no godly representation found in the elected people, than how can we as Christians expect anything but evil things in return? If we want God back in our country, than we must have Godly people willing to be a voice for his church and that voice must be carried to the doors of the white house.

 

This is an article from the HUB PAGES,

Numerology, atrology etc, it’s not child’s play, it’s dangerous.

30 Oct

Try to name a newspaper or secular magazine today that doesn’t contain some sort of horoscope. The world has diluted astrology so much that many Christians forget that it is actually has its roots in an occult practice of fortune telling. While some people look to the stars to get advice, the scripture may make some Christians think twice about relying on the practice.

Astrology began as a form of fortune telling, which the Bible considers an occult, and at times, a useless practice. Astrology is based upon the use of stars and planets to “read into” a person’s past, present, and future. For many astrologists it is a belief that the position of certain celestial entities have an impact on our lives. For other astrologists there is a belief that there are gods in those celestial bodies that impact our lives. The Bible does warn against worshipping other Gods, though few Christians support the idea that the stars and planets are actually representations of other Gods.

However, the Bible does state that occult practices are wrong, and that we should not seek out fortune tellers, mediums, and practitioners of occult practices. While most of the predictions we see in the paper are fairly benign guesses, there is still concern among some Christian groups about astrology. The main concern is when Christians look to astrology for advice over God. If Christians look to astrology first then they are taking their eyes and trust away from God. Yet most Christians only glance at a horoscope to laugh at the generalized predictions, feeling no need to delve further into occult practices or divining the future.

Exodus 20:3 – “Do not worship any other gods besides me.” (NLT)

2 Kings 21:6 – “Manasseh even sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practices sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.” (NLT)

Deuteronomy 4:19 – “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. (NIV)

The Bible states that the stars, along with the sun and moon, were created to give light to the Earth. God is the one who gives Christians advice. However, the stars can be quite useful, as in the case of the wise men needing to find the baby Jesus, in providing location. In this case, God used the star to light the way.

The Bible is actually quite critical of astrologers, asserting that they cannot save people as God can. In Isaiah, the Bible points to this issue when God proclaims that Doom will come to Babylon and there is nothing the astrologists can do to save the people from it. However, in today’s era of generalized horoscopes, most Christians do not use astrology as a way to predict major events.

Genesis 1:16-17 – “God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, to shine down upon the earth. He also made the stars. God sent these lights in the heavens to light the earth.” (NLT)

Isaiah 47:13 – “All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.” (NIV)

Can you sleep through the storm?

30 Oct

Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along
the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed
applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farmhand?” the farmer asked him. “Well, I can sleep when the
wind blows,” answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around
the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand‘s
sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!” The little man rolled over
in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he
discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were
barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away.

The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired
hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm. We, as believers in Christ, secure ourselves against the storms
of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of God. We don’t need to understand, we just need to hold His hand to have peace in the midst of the
storms. I hope you sleep well!

Matthew 8:34-27 23 Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us, we’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith! Why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”

I will move the rock

29 Oct

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s mind such as: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.”

Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure, these thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. “Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort, and that will be good enough.”

And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done.

“I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

At times when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what he wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in him…

By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but it is still God who moves the mountains.

God, You call us to obedience everyday. Sometimes, I want to see beyond obedience. I want to know why, how and when. Yet, it is usually long after the obedience that I begin to realize what Your plan was back then. So help me just be obedient for today. I am learning, Lord that by being obedient today, I am stronger for tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

The Auction…where are your valuables?

29 Oct
An auctioneer and her assistants scan the crow...

An auctioneer and her assistants scan the crowd for bidders. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The upstate NY man was rich in almost every way. His estate was worth millions. He owned houses, land, antiques and cattle. But though on the outside he had it all, he was very unhappy on the inside. His wife was growing old, and the couple was childless. He had always wanted a little boy to carry on the family legacy.

Miraculously, his wife became pregnant in her later years, and she gave birth to a little boy. The boy was severely handicapped, but the man loved him with his whole heart. When the boy was five, his mom died. The dad drew closer to his special son. At age 13, the boys’s birth defects cost him his life and the father died soon after from a broken heart.

The estate was auctioned before hundreds of bidders. The first item offered was a painting of the the boy. No one bid. They waited like vultures for the riches. Finally, the poor housemaid, who helped raise the boy, offered $5 for the picture and easily took the bid. To every-one’s shock, the auctioneer ripped a hand written will from the back of the picture. This is what it said: “To the person who thinks enough of my son to buy this painting, to this person I give my entire estate.”

The auction was over. The greedy crowd walked away in shock and dismay.

How many of us have sought after what we thought were true riches only to find out later that our Father was prepared to give us His entire estate if we had only sought after His Son alone?