Archive for May, 2011

You Are So Blessed John 3:16

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John 3:16

If you woke up this morning
with more health than illness,
you are more blessed than the
million who won’t survive the week.

If you have never experienced
the danger of battle,
the loneliness of imprisonment,
the agony of torture or
the pangs of starvation,
you are ahead of 20 million people
around the world.

If you attend a church meeting
without fear of harassment,
arrest, torture, or death,
you are more blessed than almost
three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator,
clothes on your back, a roof over
your head and a place to sleep,
you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank,
in your wallet, and spare change
in a dish someplace, you are among
the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If your parents are still married and alive,
you are very rare,
especially in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile
on your face and are truly thankful,
you are blessed because the majority can,
but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them
or even touch them on the shoulder,
you are blessed because you can
offer God’s healing touch.

If you can read this message,
you are more blessed than over
two billion people in the world
that cannot read anything at all.

You are so blessed in ways
you may never even know.

1 Corinthians 13:8,13

John 17:23

1John 4:7-8

Justification By Faith Made Simple

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Indonesian Islands

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Justification by Faith

By Pastor Dennis Smith

In this book I am focusing primarily on sanctification; how the believer lives the obedient Christian life by letting Christ manifest His righteousness in and through him.  Some have called this the “imparted” righteousness of Christ.  It is essential the Christian understand this aspect of righteousness by faith because he is to become just like Jesus in order to be ready for His return (1John3:2).

The goal of this post is to enable the reader to better understand how this is to happen in their life.  It is a subject that all Christians must understand and experience if they are living when Jesus returns.

In this chapter I am focusing on the justification aspect of receiving Christ’s righteousness.  This has been called receiving the “imputed” righteous of Christ.  Justification and sanctification, the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ go hand–in-hand when one accepts Christ as his Savior.  They are two sides of the same coin.  God’s desire is for the believer to experience both in the life.  The problem through the ages has been confusion concerning what the Bible teaches on these important subjects and understanding how to experience them to the fullest in the life.  The great Protestant Reformation of the 15th and 16th centuries was caused by such men as Jerome, Hus, Luther, and Calvin becoming personally enlightened through God’s Word on this vital subject.  Through the study of God’s Word they realized the established church of their day was teaching error concerning these vital biblical truths.  Justification by faith was a precious teaching to these great Bible scholars just as it has continued to be to all who have come to understand and accept it since that time.

To be justified is to be declared free from the guilt and penalty of law breaking.  For instance, if you are accused of breaking some law you will be taken to court, tried, and judged.  If you are found guilty you will receive a just penalty for your law breaking.  If during the trial you are found innocent of the charges you will then be declared “justified.”  You will be free from the guilt and penalty of the law breaking you were accused of.

This is what justification by faith is all about for the Christian.  When a sinner accepts Christ and asks God’s forgiveness the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the accused sinner, and he becomes justified: freed from the guilt and penalty of his law breaking, which is death.

Man’s Condition

The first step in understanding and experiencing justification from our disobedience of God’s law is to know what the Bible teaches about man’s natural born condition before God.  According to the Bible we are all sinners through and through.  Not one of us is righteous; for we have all sinned (Romans 3:10, 23).  Because of this condition we are all condemned to death as unrighteous law breakers (Romans 6:23).  This terrible condition came upon mankind through the forefather of us all, Adam (Romans 5:12).  His sin brought this sinful condition upon mankind.  Along with that sinful condition came the just penalty of death.  Therefore, every human being stands before God as a condemned sinner deserving of death.  That is our hopeless, helpless condition and unless God does something for us we are all eternally lost; separated from God.  This is the reason Jesus Christ became one of us (John 3:16-18).

Once one understands this he might say; “I now realize I’m a sinner.  So I will begin obeying God’s law and He will accept or justify me; declare me free from the guilt and death penalty of sin.  I will now begin obeying God’s law, work hard at atoning for all my past sins and become righteous in His sight.”

The truth is that when we come to realize we are sinful law breakers we are powerless to then begin keeping the law of God in order to achieve righteousness and justification; freedom from the guilt and penalty of sin in our life (Romans 3:20).  No matter how hard “we try” to obey God’s law we still fall short of perfect righteous obedience.  No, we are sinners through and through; slaves to sin through our sinful nature (Romans 7:14, 18).  We are filled with unrighteousness (Romans 1:29).  Any righteousness we try to attain by trying to obey God’s law is as “filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Machu Picchu Lost City Of The Incas

One of My Heroes

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This post by: Vanessa Sanders Pham

You may contact Vanessa on Facebook: Vanessa Sanders Pham

The more I learn about Mother Teresa and read what she had to say, the more admirable she becomes. Here is one of her sayings I recently found (and I admit, I copied it without permission, but I’m pretty sure it’s public domain. Sometimes stuff is too good to not share!). Here’s what she wrote, and this is something I aim to live by:

People can be unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, hidden motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous;

Seek happiness anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, at the end, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them… anyway.

~Mother Teresa

Contact Vanessa on Facebook:Vanessa Sanders Pham

God’s Promises Are Awesome- A Brief Bible Study

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Photo courtesy of Pr Lloyd Grolimund Who Is Pastor At  Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church Sydney Australia

God always keeps his promises. It’s in the Bible, II Corinthians 1:19-20, NKJV. “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us”

God never takes back or changes His promises. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 89:34. “No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back one word of what I said.”

None of God’s promises ever fail. It’s in the Bible, Joshua 23:14, NIV. “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”

We have been promised eternal life. It’s in the Bible, I John 2:25, NIV. “And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.”

God can do the impossible. It’s in the Bible, Luke 18:27, NIV. “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.'”

We have been promised new hearts and desires. It’s in the Bible, Ezekiel 36:26. “And I will give you a new heart—I will give you new and right desires—and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love.”

He has promised forgiveness. It’s in the Bible, I John 1:9, NIV. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

God promises our sins will be far removed from us. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 103:12, NKJV. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

We are promised that our sins will be buried. It’s in the Bible, Micah 7:19, NKJV. ” He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

He has promised the fruit of the Spirit. It’s in the Bible, Galatians 5:22-23, NIV. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

He has promised deliverance from fear. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 34:4, NIV. “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”

God has promised salvation for our children. It’s in the Bible, Isaiah 49:25, NIV. “I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”

We are promised the Holy Spirit. It’s in the Bible, Luke 11:13, NIV. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

All of our needs will be supplied. It’s in the Bible, Philippians 4:19, NIV. “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

No good thing will be withheld. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 84:11. “For Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk along his paths.”

He has promised wisdom. It’s in the Bible, James 1:5, NIV. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

God has promised peace. It’s in the Bible, Isaiah 26:3, NIV. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.”

God has promised escape from temptation. It’s in the Bible, I Corinthians 10:13, NIV. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

We have the promise of health and healing. It’s in the Bible, Jeremiah 30:17, NIV. “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds.”

God has promised protection from harm and danger. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 91:10, NIV. “Then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.”

The Bible promises that the dead will live again. It’s in the Bible, John 5:28-29, NIV. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

Jesus has promised that he will come again. It’s in the Bible, John 14:2-3. “There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with Me where I am.”

He has promised an end to death, sorrow, and pain. It’s in the Bible, Revelation 21:4, NIV. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

God fulfills His promises because God Is Faithful! Psalm 36:5-7, 1John 1:9, Revelation 22:20.

Knowing Scripture

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This Post by R.C. Sproul

Renewing Your Mind

It has often been charged that the Bible can’t be trusted because people can make it say anything they want it to say. This charge would be true if the Bible were not the objective Word of God, if it were simply a wax nose, able to be shaped, twisted, and distorted to teach one’s own precepts. The charge would be true if it were not an offense to God the Holy Spirit to read into sacred Scripture what is not there. However, the idea that the Bible can teach anything we want it to is not true if we approach the Scriptures humbly, trying to hear what the Bible says for itself.

Sometimes systematic theology is rejected because it is seen as an unwarranted imposition of a philosophical system on the Scriptures. It is seen as a preconceived system, a Procrustean bed into which the Scriptures must be forced by hacking off limbs and appendages to make it fit. However, the appropriate approach to systematic theology recognizes that the Bible itself contains a system of truth, and it is the task of the theologian not to impose a system upon the Bible, but to build a theology by understanding the system that the Bible teaches.

At the time of the Reformation, to stop unbridled, speculative, and fanciful interpretations of Scripture, the Reformers set forth the fundamental axiom that should govern all biblical interpretation. It is called the analogy of faith, which basically means that Holy Scripture is its own interpreter. In other words, we are to interpret Scripture according to Scripture. That is, the supreme arbiter in interpreting the meaning of a particular verse in Scripture is the overall teaching of the Bible.

Behind the principle of the analogy of faith is the prior confidence that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. If it is the Word of God, it must therefore be consistent and coherent. Cynics, however, say that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. If that were true, then we would have to say that the smallest mind of all is the mind of God. But there is nothing inherently small or weak to be found in consistency. If it is the Word of God, one may justly expect the entire Bible to be coherent, intelligible, and unified. Our assumption is that God, because of His omniscience, would never be guilty of contradicting Himself. It is therefore slanderous to the Holy Spirit to choose an interpretation of a particular passage that unnecessarily brings that passage into conflict with that which He has revealed elsewhere. So the governing principle of Reformed hermeneutics or interpretation is the analogy of faith.

A second principle that governs an objective interpretation of Scripture is called the sensus literalis. Many times people have said to me, incredulously, “You don’t interpret the Bible literally, do you?” I never answer the question by saying, “Yes,” nor do I ever answer the question by saying, “No.” I always answer the question by saying, “Of course, what other way is there to interpret the Bible?” What is meant by sensus literalis is not that every text in the Scriptures is given a “woodenly literal” interpretation, but rather that we must interpret the Bible in the sense in which it is written. Parables are interpreted as parables, symbols as symbols, poetry as poetry, didactic literature as didactic literature, historical narrative as historical narrative, occasional letters as occasional letters. That principle of literal interpretation is the same principle we use to interpret any written source responsibly.

The principle of literal interpretation gives us another rule, namely that the Bible in one sense is to be read like any other book. Though the Bible is not like any other book in that it carries with it the authority of divine inspiration, nevertheless, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over a written text does not turn verbs into nouns or nouns into verbs. No special, secret, arcane, esoteric meaning is poured into a text simply because it’s divinely inspired. Nor is there any such mystical ability we call “Holy Ghost Greek.” No, the Bible is to be interpreted according to the ordinary rules of language.

Closely related to this point is the principle that the implicit must be interpreted by the explicit, rather than the explicit interpreted by the implicit. This particular rule of interpretation is violated constantly. For example, we read in John 3:16 that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” and many of us conclude that since the Bible teaches that anyone who believes shall be saved, it therefore implies that anyone can, without the prior regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, exercise belief. That is, since the call to believe is given to everyone, it implies that everyone has the natural ability to fulfill the call. Yet the same gospel writer has Jesus explaining to us three chapters later that no one can come to Jesus unless it is given to him of the Father (John 6:65). That is, our moral ability to come to Christ is explicitly and specifically taught to be lacking apart from the sovereign grace of God. Therefore, all of the implications that suggest otherwise must be subsumed under the explicit teaching, rather than forcing the explicit teaching into conformity to implications that we draw from the text.

Finally, it is always important to interpret obscure passages by those that are clear. Though we affirm the basic clarity of sacred Scripture, we do not at the same time say that all passages are equally clear. Numerous heresies have developed when people have forced conformity to the obscure passages rather than to the clear passages, distorting the whole message of Scripture. If something is unclear in one part of Scripture, it probably is made clear elsewhere in Scripture. When we have two passages in Scripture that we can interpret in various ways, we want always to interpret the Bible in such a way as to not violate the basic principle of Scripture’s unity and integrity.

These are simply a few of the basic, practical principles of biblical interpretation that I set forth years ago in my book Knowing Scripture. I mention that here because so many people have expressed to me how helpful it has been to guide them into a responsible practice of biblical interpretation. Learning the principles of interpretation is exceedingly helpful to guide us in our own study.

From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: Email: Toll free: 1-800-435-4343.


Simple Yet Elusive

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The Path to Discovery

Click Here For Background For This Current Post.

By Pastor Dennis Smith

However, every Christian who discovers this glorious truth of “Christ in us” has followed a similar path as their fellow travelers.   They had accepted Christ as their Savior, but were burdened and bewildered by their Christian walk that was so sporadic in obedience and unfruitful in service.  They longed for a consistently faithful walk with their Lord, but never found it.  They struggled with besetting sins, but the sins seemed to win the battle.  They prayed and studied their Bibles, but that didn’t seem to bring the victory they longed for.  After perhaps years of struggle they came to the point of despair and weariness.  Their sense of failure was overwhelming.  The life of continual victory over sin seemed impossible to attain.  Then one day they discovered the reality of the mystery of union with Christ; Christ living in them.  Once discovered they were amazed at how simple this marvelous truth was; yet it had eluded their understanding for years.  After this discovery their life was never again the same.  Their joy in the Lord was deep and abiding.  Their life was now consistently victorious, even over besetting sins.  They no longer felt burdened or anxious in their service for the Lord and their service became the most fruitful for the Lord.

Simple Yet Elusive

This book presents the truth that there is no righteousness in this earth except the righteousness of Christ.  Christ has provided both justifying and sanctifying righteousness for the believing Christian.  Christ’s justifying righteousness and subtitutionary death frees him from the guilt and penalty of sin.  Christ’s sanctifying righteousness enables the believer to live a life in obedience to God as he learns how to let Christ live out His righteousness in and through him; how to experience to the fullest Christ’s abiding presence.

The truth of abiding in Christ and His abiding in us, and how we are to experience a victorious Christian life is so simple and yet so elusive that most Christians have never discovered it to the fullest.   Today God is calling us to this amazing experience in Christ.  Why?  Jesus is coming soon.  All who are ready to meet Him will be just like Him (1John 3:2).  Their daily experience will have had to become one of complete victory in Christ if they are to be “like” Jesus when He comes.  Therefore, this wonderful biblical truth is of no small consequence to Christians living in our day.  Jesus is coming soon and God is calling us to a much higher experience with Him than most of us have ever had.  This book is dedicated to the goal of leading all who read it to understand and experience the “abiding” God is offering to us;  “Christ in us” the hope of glory for His people, which is called the “mystery” of the gospel. (Colossians 1:27).

John tells us that just before Christ returns this “mystery” will be brought to completion and finished.

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7

When this truth is understood and discovered the believer will proclaim from the depths of his heart, “Christ did it all.”   The deliverance Christ gives lays all of man’s boasting in the dust.

“That no flesh should glory in his presence.  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  1Corinthians 1:29-31

When the believer experiences abiding in Christ to the fullest extent he will claim no glory for his victories over temptation and sin.  All the glory will go to God and he will proclaim throughout all eternity, “Christ did it all!”

Spirit Baptism & Abiding in Christ

Next post is “Justification by Faith”. Just What is Justification by Faith? How Do I become Like Jesus? Justification by Faith is very important for us to understand because when Jesus comes He will be looking for those who have Faith in Him!!  Romans 3:26,5:1

The Death of Osama bin Laden: What Kind of Justice Has Been Done?

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By Michael Horton  In “Christianity Today”

The news should again remind us of the difference between the City of Man and the City of God.

What does all of this mean for our response to the news about the most notorious terrorist in recent history?

First, it means that we can rejoice that even in this present evil age, God’s common grace and common justice are being displayed through secular authorities. “For [the ruler] is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. … Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” Romans 13:4,7 Yet the divine wrath that rulers execute is temporal and finite rather than eternal and infinite. Such justice is never so pure that it is unmingled with injustice, never so final that it satisfies God’s eternal law. In view of the image of God stamped on every person, justice must always be tempered by love. Commenting on Genesis 9:6, John Calvin reminded us that we cannot hate even our most perverse enemies, because of the image of God in them. In one sense, the creation of every person in God’s image provokes the temporal sword against murderers. Yet in another sense, it also restrains our lust for revenge. “Should any one object, that this divine image has been obliterated, the solution is easy; first, there yet exists some remnant of it, so that man is possessed of no small dignity; and, secondly, the Celestial Creator himself, however corrupted man may be, still keeps in view the end of his original creation; and according to his example, we ought to consider for what end he created men, and what excellence he has bestowed upon them above the rest of living beings.”

Second, it means that we cannot rejoice in the death of the wicked any more than does God (Ezekiel 18:23). We may take satisfaction that temporal justice has been served, but Christians should display a sober restraint. When Christ returns, bringing infinite justice in his wake, his saints will rejoice in the death of his enemies. For now, however, he calls us to pray for our enemies, even for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). This is the day of salvation, calling sinners to repent and believe the gospel. We may delight in the temporal justice shown to evildoers, but leave the final justice to God.

Third, it means that the mandate to believe and to proclaim the gospel to every person is all the more urgent. After all, where would we be ourselves if Christ, in his first advent, had brought final and infinite justice instead of bearing it on behalf of his people? On the cross, Christ willingly offered himself as the lightning rod for God’s infinite wrath, rising triumphantly on the third day. The events of 9/11 did not change everything in the way that the events of 33 A.D. did. Nor will the death of Osama bin Laden on 5/1/11 satisfy the final justice that awaits him—and all of us—on the last day.

So as we take satisfaction in the honorable service of U.S. forces in bringing a terrorist to justice in the court of the temporal city, let us never dare to confuse this with “the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews11:10). In our response, let us use this opportunity to display to our non-Christian neighbors the radical contrasts between the biblical view of God, humanity, redemption, and the last judgment, and the religious and secularist distortions—even those that profess to be Christian.

Michael Horton is J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California, and author of The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. “Speaking Out” is Christianity Today’s guest opinion column and (unlike an editorial) does not necessarily represent the opinion of the publication.

Taken from “Best Practices”

Dreams Fulfilled

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This post by: Vanessa Sanders Pham

You may contact Vanessa on Facebook: Vanessa Sanders Pham

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4

For so long I interpreted this verse as, “If I please the Lord God, then He will grant me my desires.” But really, what I think this verse means is if I take delight in the Lord – in knowing Him and following Him. If I’m happy and delighted in knowing God, then God will fulfill my desires and dreams, which He has done for me.

Here are some examples. I always wanted to be a missionary. I’m working in the mission field. I always wanted to be a published writer. I’ve had over 20 articles and columns published. I always wanted to have a husband. I’m married. In my heart (I didn’t always know it) I always wanted a daughter. I have a daughter. I always wanted to explore and live in different places. Been there, done that, doing that still (and there are many more places I’d like to go!). I always wanted to perform by singing. I’ve been singing in churches since I was little and still am. I always wanted to live in a quaint neighborhood with lots of green, in an old house with character. I’m here now! And here’s a new one. I secretly always wanted to lead a church congregation in singing. I never told this to a soul, not even my husband, because I thought it impossible because I don’t have the credentials. I can’t even sight read. Well, now I’m doing it! And here’s a little thing: Just a couple weeks ago I began desiring company, and we got a surprise visit from my in-laws!

The blessings never stop. I owe all these dreams fulfilled to God. Along the way, I’ve realized that I haven’t had to work much to achieve these dreams – I only had to follow God, and He carried me to them; however, once these dreams are attained, then the work and toil set in, and it’s no picnic. For example, I got my little dream home and dream location (at least for now), but we’ve had to do so much work on this house. We’ve had to add a door, fix a door (which still isn’t completely fixed), seal windows, add shelving, add a cabinet, and I still have painting to do. All of these things come with their effort, responsibilities and challenges. To whom much is given, much is expected, right?

But God is good – He has brought these dreams to fruition. Most of them were not planned or intentional but seemed to come about by accident! But really they were no accident. God’s providential hand has always led me to these things.

So often when obstacles surface in the midst of these dreams, I complain about these very things God has blessed me with – about the very things I wished for. I realize that I’m very good at complaining, if not aloud, then in my thoughts. Yet when I look back and see how God has led me and given me the desires of my heart, I feel ashamed for ever complaining. Who am I to complain about the gifts God has given? Especially the gifts I desired? I need to be grateful, not just sometimes but always.

So now I need to use these gifts for His glory, to honor God with them, and to keep dreaming. What else might God bless me with? What do I wish for? Because if I’m faithful to Him and continue to follow Him – to delight in Him – based on past experience, I have no doubt He will continue to pave the way for my little dreams to become reality.

Contact Vanessa on Facebook:Vanessa Sanders Pham

Lessons In Life–A Short Story

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By: Ivannie Loma

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise.

The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree’s life.

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.

Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.

Don’t judge life by one difficult season

Romans 8:28.

The Secret To Happiness

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The Secret

One day, one friend asked another,
‘ How is it that you are always so happy?
You have so much energy, and you never seem to get down. ‘

With her eyes smiling, she said,
‘ I know the Secret! ‘
‘ What secret is that? ‘
To which she replied,
‘ I’ll tell you all about it,
but you have to promise to
share the Secret with others. ‘

‘ The Secret is this:
I have learned there is little I can do
in my life that will make me truly happy.
I must depend on God to make
me happy and to meet my needs.
When a need arises in my life,
I have to trust God to supply
according to HIS riches.
I have learned most of the time
I don’t need half of what I think I do..
He has never let me down.
Since I learned that ‘Secret ‘, I am happy.’

The questioner’s first thought was,
‘That’s too simple!’
But upon reflecting over her own life
she recalled how she thought a bigger house
would make her happy, but it didn’t!
She thought a better paying job
would make her happy, but it hadn’t.
When did she realize her greatest happiness?
Sitting on the floor with her grandchildren,
playing games, eating pizza or reading a story,
a simple gift from God.

Now you know it too!
We can’ t depend on people to make us happy.
Only GOD in His infinite wisdom can do that.
Trust In Jesus With Your Life!

Psalm 37:3-8, 103:1-14   Matthew 6:25-34,   Romans 3:26.

How To Live A Victorious Christian Life

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The following post by: Pastor Dennis Smith

Pastor Smith is Author of “40 Days:Prayers and Devotions to Prepare for the Second Coming”. A Great Read That Will Guide you into A Close Intimate Walk With Jesus, The Only One Who Can Save You!!

At the end of this post are a links to Pastor’s Smith’s web site and his book “40 Days”

How Can It Happen in Your Life?

So, what is the answer to how we can live a consistently victorious Christian life?  The answer is letting Jesus live out His life in us.  This truth is taught throughout the Bible.  In the Old Testament we find references to it.  David understood that victory came through God’s presence with him.

“I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:8

“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

Isaiah understood the necessity of continual connection with God for victory and peace in one’s life.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3

The New Testament is very clear about the necessity of Christ living in us in order for us to have the victory over temptation and sin.  Jesus used the imagery of the vine and branches to illustrate this truth.

“Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

Paul taught this truth throughout his writings.

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11

“…we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:16

Christ’s mind was filled with pure, holy, virtuous thoughts.  If we have asked Christ to live in us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, if we believe He does and if we believe He will manifest His love, His pure, holy, virtuous thoughts in our mind He will do just that.  It is a matter of faith; believing He will truly manifest Himself in our life.  Paul recognized this fact when he wrote:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“That he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;…” Ephesians 3:16-17

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

The Problem of Previous Definitions

I am sure that these verses are familiar to you.  The difficulty with what I am presenting in this chapter and book is that most Christians know the words and phrases I am using and bring to these their own definition of what they mean.

Usually the personal application of these verses by the Christian is the belief that we must stay connected with God in order to have His power added to our efforts to obey.  We often believe that Christ living in us means that He is there to strengthen us in our efforts to over come the temptations and sins in our life.  That is not what these verses are saying.

Remember, we have previously seen that our efforts are ineffective in overcoming temptation even when we have faith in God adding His power to our efforts.  We have all tried that method and failed again and again.  So, I challenge you to lay aside your definition of what it means to have Christ in you and prayerfully ask “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” Ephesians 1:17-18.

Until next time,  “That no flesh should glory in His presence.   But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1Corinthians 1:29-31

Holy Spirit Ministries
14945 N 159th Drive
Surprise, AZ 85379
203-389-4784    Pastor Smith’s Web Site

Click Here To purchase 40 Days

Pastor Dennis Smith will be a regular feature on this blog. Please check back SOON for his next post!

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