Saturday, July 14, 2018

MY TITHING DEBATE


Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the firstfruits of your entire harvest;   Proverbs 3:9 (KJV)

When I first gave my life to Jesus, I wanted to be the best Christian I could. One challenge was tithing. My paycheck was already stretched too far and I always needed more. I had month left over at the end of the money.

Every month when my once-a-month paycheck arrived, I listed all my bills and I had little left over, not enough to tithe—I might need something. I decided I would start over next month. Month after month, I aimed at tithing, but failed.

Then I got the idea to take the tithe out first. I sat down with my long list of expenses, but this time tithe was at the top of the list. I had asked a friend what do I tithe on—the amount before taxes or my take home pay. She replied, “Which one do you want to be blessed on?” The challenge was on.

Tithe now sat royally at the top of my list then I proceeded to withdraw my bills one by one. Surprise! I had money left over. Every month it happened the same way. If I forgot to deduct my tithe at the beginning, the income always came up short. I had learned that when I get $100.00 and don’t tithe $10.00, I’m telling the Lord He can’t meet my $10.00 need.

When we fool ourselves into thinking God is after our money, we miss the whole point. God is after our hearts and we have trouble separating our money from our hearts. It’s evident when we refuse to trust God with our finances.

Thank you, Lord, for your promise “I shall not want.”


© 2018 Lois Gosley

Friday, July 6, 2018

WORSHIP IS IMPORTANT!

 
Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.
I Chronicles 16:29b (NIV)
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 (NKJV)
 
Worship is important. It is the bedrock of our relationship with God. Worshipping keeps us clear on who He is and who we are. He is our Creator, the all-loving, all-powerful, all-wise God. He has spoken to us on every important subject through His Word, the Bible, and has shown Himself to us through the Word, Jesus.
 
Hymns and praise music in church services are intended to help each person to enter into true worship. It is easy to enjoy the music and perhaps sing along with the words.  But the important thing is what is going on in our heart. Are we truly raising praise and adoration to the One who is worthy? With or without music, sometimes true worship is difficult, but it is essential!
If we can just keep worship of God in focus, the law He has written on our hearts and His Spirit in us will lead us in the path He knows is best. We will not need to worry about detailed compliance with the written Law because everything it is intended to accomplish is already in us. For example, one of the primary commands of the Law is to worship God and Him only. My heart prompts me to do that, and the resulting loving relationship is the greatest blessing of my life.
 
Lord, I worship you! 
 
© 2018 Parker Wayland

Sunday, July 1, 2018

GOD’S PLANS


The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. 
Psalm 103:19 (NASB)

My search for a full-time job took me through five part-time jobs for over a year and a half. After 70 job applications and a limited number of interviews, I faced daunting financial challenges. As my anxiety grew, I spent more time in prayer trusting God to bring me through.  

As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story”­:  This is where God’s plan shines through in amazing ways.

Our church presents an after school Bible class in a public school, but the program ended early because the school needed to install a new air conditioning system. A boy in the class asked where they could go for more instruction, and the children were told about our church. The boy told his parents, and the family began attending services. In the midst of my ongoing search for a permanent job, this family joined our church and became active leading the youth group; the Dad became a deacon and the Mom worked in the church office.  

Later, I was told the father of this family needed additional staff in his office. I inquired about the job, applied and was offered a full-time position. 

None of this could have happened when my search began because I had not met the person who would later ask me to work for him. Those short-term jobs prepared me for this new opportunity. God knew what I could not have known, and He orchestrated the circumstances in His time because He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Father, thank You for teaching us to trust You for Your perfect timing in each of our lives. 

© 2018 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, June 22, 2018

GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH US


Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)


It is not my intention to seem ungrateful; however, there have been moments in my life when instead of second chances, I would prefer a “do over”—where time could be rewound as easily as a movie or television show. Once the scene replayed, it would not be a repeat of the previous one where I had sinned; the new scene would reflect my life in total obedience and fellowship with God.

Unfortunately, God does not give us the option to “do over” the events in our lives. While we may experience forgiveness, we must live with the consequences of our choices. Perhaps it is a reminder that our sufficiency lies not in ourselves, but in Him.

I wonder if the Apostle Paul felt the same way. When we first meet Paul, Saul of Tarsus, he is hunting and persecuting Christians. It is only after he encounters the risen Lord on the road to Damascus his life is transformed. For the remainder of his days, Paul faithfully served our Lord. Much of the New Testament is filled with his letters and encouraging words.

Paul’s life is a reminder that God is not finished with us.

As we meditate on these words, may we encourage one another to move beyond past failures and shortcomings and embrace the fullness of life God has prepared for each one of us.

Father God, Thank You for never giving up on us, even when we are tempted to give up on ourselves. Your mercies are new every morning.

© 2018 Amy A. Verzi

 

Friday, June 15, 2018

PAPA, REMEMBER ME?

Do you remember me?
I am the little girl
who sat upon your knee.
You combed my golden hair
and called me "honeybee."
Papa, do you remember me?

I looked into his faded eyes
behind the vacant stare
and tried to find the loving man
I knew had once lived there.
There was no recognition,
no warmth, no, not a word.
There was no inclination
that he had even heard.

I put my arms around him,
his shoulders gaunt and thin,
and prayed to God in heaven
that Papa would let me in.
But hope was quickly fading
and I held him close in fear.
Then behind his faded eyes
slipped a single salty tear.

Do you remember me?
Papa, I'm the little girl
who sat upon your knee.
You combed my golden hair
and called me your "honeybee."
Papa, do you remember me?

© 2018  Evelyn B. Ryan

Saturday, June 9, 2018

FINDING THE MAIN THING


Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3 (NIV)

My grandson, Zac,  wanted to spend Christmas with his family. He was aware it would take at least six hours to drive from New York City to Latrobe Pennsylvania. Anyone who has driven that route knows the hills and curves through the mountains can be treacherous.Nevertheless, Zac started out on this trip at midnight after a busy eleven hour work day. He chose Route 30 rather than the turnpike hoping for a shorter drive.

Suddenly he was caught in a "white out" He could not see more than four feet in front of him. He reported later that it was nerve wracking moving very slow and struggling to stay on the road. There were no road side places offering shelter. He looked towards heaven and said, "I now know how Joseph and Mary must have felt--alone and afraid.

Zac spoke aloud, "I must keep my mind on the "Main Thing. Jesus, You re the Main Thing. Please help me!Suddenly, a huge white truck cam barreling towards him from behind. There was no safe path to move out of the way. Some how the truck passed safely. "Thank You Lord!"

Zac followed the tire treads from that truck as best he could. He reported he prayed more than he had in all the past weeks combined. He reported to the family that Jesus is the "Main Thing" in our lives!

Thank You Lord for Your presences. You are our hope and our salvation. Thank You for teaching us  us and bring us salvation.
(C)  Christy Struben 2018

Friday, June 1, 2018

AWESTRUCK

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (NAS)

At our church I serve as a baptism assistant. It is a great joy and privilege to help others further their walk with Christ through this ministry.

During the preparation process, I am frequently awestruck by this thought—if matter cannot be created or destroyed, then it is entirely possible that some molecules of this very water ran rivulets down Jesus’ body when He was baptized as well. Baptism is a truly holy moment, that thought makes it even more sacred to me. His essence, His very presence is there rejoicing with us whether in the air we breathe or the droplets of water dripping from our “new in Christ” bodies.

We now also share the same Spirit that is in Christ. It is living in each of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior—the Holy Spirit of God. That Spirit is to be poured out in love on everyone we meet so they will see Christ in us and be drawn to Him.

Much like the cycle of water through the process of condensation and evaporation, our spirits are to be renewed by touching others for Christ and then theirs, by touching someone else. The cycle of sacrificial love resulting in drawing us back to Him goes on and on.

So, the next time you look into a cool refreshing body of water or see a fluffy white cloud drifting by, maybe you’ll think of the cycle of God’s love poured out for us and pass it on.

Thank you, Lord for the miraculous cycle of water and for renewal of our hearts through Your Holy Spirit.

©2018 Bonnie Mae Evans