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Beulah Land

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In beginning this Series a particular person hadn’t really become clear to me as to who this one would be in need of it – for there has always been a focus person, situation or circumstance in developing each one.  Little did I realize that a mirror would be needed for this one – for on this day I’ve lost a Good Man, the highest honor given a man in the Bible. With this Series it has come full around to reminding me of this song as I’ve lost a DEAR Friend, Mentor and Encourager.

Two men this week have gone on to Glory, leaving behind a rich legacy of both Christian Faith and Service.  Both of these men leave behind spouses of character, honesty and virtue – who no doubt know that they were adored by their husbands.  We focus on these things because they are what we have right here and right now – we can touch, help, move and protect those things, as we should do for certain.  My focus for a few moments will be on what they so clearly wanted others to be looking forward to after this life is gone away.

What Are You Looking For in Beulah?

Beulah can mean different things, places to many people – but we need the real sense of it, the Bride of Christ. Beulah Land is referring to God’s Heaven, which is the beginning of Eternity at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. So the question could be posed this way… Who will you be expecting and have assurance of being there in Heaven when we are gathered as Christ’s Bride called to the largest gathering of any and all peoples who have Trusted Him?

Do we truly expect to see our loved ones who have Trusted upon the Lord Jesus and have gone on before us? Do we Believe it? Of all those that you know, care for and work around – how many of them know you and I are Christians? Do they see Beulah in our lives?  It is not a scavenger hunt mindset, it is a daily living proof of the Holy Spirit resident in us that should be seen in each and every thing we do. We want others to see Heaven in and through us – just as these two men I speak of doing in their lives.

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One will not be able to find anything in Beulah that doesn’t belong there, nor will there be any person there that , save those that the Lord Jesus Christ has allowed in His Wisdom, that has not accepted Him as Saviour, King and Lord. The two Good Men that I speak of, are there because of God’s Provision of a Saviour and each of them accepting Jesus as their own person Saviour.

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There are nine (9) passages of Scripture used in this Series which give snippets of things we as Christians should be looking toward and Praising our Lord for the providing of for our sake.

Snippets of Things

Thy Land | Longing | Looking | Glorious Appearing
Throne | Follow | Keep | Abide | Heaven

No matter what time of the year it is, losing someone close to you – whether that be a family member or a person who has become like family to you – can be difficult to accept even under the most understanding circumstances.  Knowing that loved one is Born Again, having accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour, is the single MOST important live choice item there is – for it is a matter of Eternal destination.  The influences that others have on our lives can be more profound than we may realize until we do not have that person in a place to make those influences however they may be involved in our lives. From one incredible couple’s absolute youthful fancies for surprise to another caring couple’s profound reach into our family life, Beulah Land got a little easier to sing and a WHOLE lot SWEETER.  Are you and I being that someone to another person, couple or family? From Alabama, North Carolina & New York – two families made a difference in our lives, because two Good Christian Men were willing to share, invest and care for others outside of their immediate family into not only my life, but my wife and daughters as well.

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If It Be So… But If Not…

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Each of us, no matter where in the world we find ourselves, have trials, situations, challenges and tipping points that occur on a daily basis. Of those things, the “tipping points” may not be as clearly defined as the others, which may just be the most serious of them all because it is the one where the aftershocks cannot be clearly seen. A tipping point is defined as the following:

“is a point in time when a group—or a large number of group members—rapidly and dramatically changes its behavior by widely adopting a previously rare practice”

Use, in this instance, is more clearly indicated as a sociology point – DO NOT TUNE ME OUT – this just might be why so many folks are missing this. What people of Faith once would have shunned or “never” have done, Christians today are doing in reckless abandon – in part because they refuse to listen or consider their actions, how they will affect others and the detriment it will cause in their own lives because they have done so. How many times have you or I seen someone do something that we just knew would put them on the wrong track, then watch that action play out in utter destruction in their lives? How many of them just “wrecked” their own lives, not affecting anyone else? If we will be honest, with ourselves and our Heavenly Father, not much that we see happen only affects just that person – it has the potential to tear down, rip apart, decimate and destroy untold lives with just “one person” making a decision to do it their own way.

How Many Would You Say…

Parents who blindly consider their children are safe with video games to keep them out of trouble – then purchase them violent, theft, life taking, fighting and killing oriented games which are increasingly lifelike and are matched only by Rated R, NC-17 movies in their terror, vulgarity and lawlessness. How many would say they have flipped a “tipping point” in their family, house, neighborhood, street… Gangs, robbery, lack of respect for the law and overrun jails, prisons and death row wards have their victims because of it.

Friends who want to have a good time – don’t we all want to have FUN – decide to take the coming of age individual out for a drink, am not talking about a soda pop here. They proceed to live it up – this person they are celebrating has never been around alcohol or the consumption of it and has only the “made for TV” concept, not realizing that NOTHING like that really happens. After having their “good time”, this person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle and recalls nothing of what came next in the lives of a family he/she didn’t even know. How many would say this person AND those that aided in creating the situation had a “tipping point” in their lives in the hours, days and weeks following when that person kills with a vehicle – not recalling anything. I know – my Sister Rexanna was killed by a drunk driver, head on collision – it was his FIRST drinking time, she saw him coming, screamed for her family to get out of the truck – 100MPH+ collision – our family was changed forever.

Another definition, which has been made popular by a book of the same title, is the following:

“the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”
Malcolm Gladwell, Author – The Tipping Point

Very few people realize that when a critical decision is made, which is just tossed off as minor, lives can hang in the balance of that decision. We could also see a major decision be a tipping point in a positive manner. A Mom or Dad making a decision for Christ, where the entire household Trust Christ, being born again because a parent bowed themselves down, possibly in desperation or humility, willing to let go of themselves in order to get a hold of the Holy Spirit. The keeper of the prison in Acts 16 is a clear demonstration of this type of tipping point in the life of a family.

The young Hebrew boys made such a decision – it changed the course of time and has provided us with a Christophany to gain understanding of our Heavenly Father’s ability to come to where we are and that nothing is too hard for Him.

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How many of our decisions are made with such firm and resolute declaration? Actually, ALL of them should be made that way. We have to develop that Trust in Him.

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These eight (8) passages direct us in who that “we serve”, how God promises to “deliver us”, letting us know who we should “not serve”, who to “not worship and how we can clearly set things before that state “be it known” the Master we are to Serve.

Be It Known

Our God We Serve | Glory in Thy Praise
For Glory of Thy Name | Forgive Us as We Forgive
In Whom We Trust | Free From Sin
Be It Known, Forgive | Worship God

This Series can be a little hard to swallow. It was through much digging, researching and soul searching, with a SIGNIFICANT amount of prayer, that each point could be developed through completion. There are decisions made at every place where we find ourselves. Some of those decisions appear to be simple, straightforward and level headed, while others have a complexity to them that we as humans have such little understanding of the ramifications that they will bring. One thing is for certain though, just as those three Hebrew boys knew, God is ABLE and can do ANYTHING He DECIDES to do. Each action that comes to pass is to Honor, Bless and provide Recognition of Him – we must live in such a manner that our lives do the exact same thing. Today have we considered that we are to serve, honor and praise Him – no matter what comes our way? Will we, even when we don’t get the answer we want from a dire situation, or even a lessor important one, decide to Serve Him as He makes us able? What impossibility in our lives, or in the lives of others, will we say “If it be so… But if not…” with full expectation the Lord God Almighty will be Worshiped as the Great I Am?

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Seeing Clearly How The Word Takes Hold

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If only the number of times had been counted when others have said “I wish I’d done…” this or that back when there was more time to do things. Good intentions only get one so far, then comes the tough stuff – actually doing what the person said they would. You or I might be able to pull the wool over each others lives for a little while, but when things begin to become secular in nature – it will be noticed.

The more we as Christians stay involved, seeking Him constantly and working on not repeating our past failures, the more our Heart will show forth concern, spreading the Gospel and genuine care for others, and their concerns. Somehow the world has conned the Christian into thinking that our Lord and Saviour has NO idea what we struggle with from Day to Day, thus we should struggle to find answers to our daily difficulties anywhere but where we should focus. Not knowing where our heart is placed can lead to very difficult days and does not show forth the reflection of our Saviour to anyone, much less God the Father Himself.

Your Heart & Mine

At any one time or another, can we know EXACTLY what is in our hearts toward our Heavenly Father and Saviour? I believe that we can – that belief is given me from God’s Word. Some may consider this a suggestion of Perfection, but we CAN NOT be perfect here on Earth in our fleshly bodies, we each know (Saved or Unsaved) how wicked we can be – others can see those imperfections too. Then, shouldn’t that beg the question “How can we know?”…

The Word of God is an instrument that our Heavenly Father has provided for us, which gives us both a barometer and thermometer on our doings and goings – but we have to be the ones that have the willingness to seek the guidance and reproving which it provides. The only requirement needed to understand it is the Holy Spirit, which either stands on the outside wanting in, or is on the inside waiting to be heard – so that change can be made utterly.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 | King James Version

It is our “heart” that God the Father wants, which has to be cleaned to serve Him.

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Our showing forth the degree of hold that the Word of God has on us, is done in SO many ways, including: Having Peace, Having Direction, Growing in the Lord, Seeing His Work in Our Lives, Faith, Joy, Love… Having, reading and obeying God’s Word changes us on the inside such that anyone around us will easily be able to see the difference, even if they have NO idea what it took for each of us to get to that point.

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While this list is far from exhaustive, it does provide fifteen (15) ways to show others as well as yourself what the Word of God can do with, in and through our hearts!

How the Word of God Can Take Hold

To Be Rid of Anxiety and Have Peace
To Set Things Right When Life is Out of Control
To Have Direction and Know God’s Will
To Experience Healing and Deliverance
To Grow in the Lord
To Have Strength, Comfort and Hope
To Shape Yourself and Your Life Correctly
To Be Able to See Clearly
To Know What’s Really in Your Heart
To Build Faith
To Have Joy
To Understand God’s Power
To Have More Life in This Life
To Distinguish Good From Evil
To Understand God’s Love for You

Is your and my heart in it? Are you and I fully committed? What pieces of God’s Word do you and I know? Do we have a specified time, place and plan to meet with the Lord each day? What part of our lives has the VERY Word of God taken hold? In each area of our lives where Jesus reigns King, it will be because we Honor, Praise and Worship Him – with instruction/conviction given us by the application of God’s Word in our lives! The time personally spent with the Lord, pouring over His Word and seeking His Wisdom is some of the best times of my LIFE! It is humbling to know that others can see it such that it shows in the very things of my life. Not only can (should) we read the Word of God, but we might (would) be surprised how much of the intake leaks out onto/into the things we do everyday.

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Salvation is by Grace through Faith Alone

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At times the lines are blurred as to just how we see or even consider how Salvation has been given to us – for it has indeed been GIVEN, for it COST our Saviour His LIFE as the ultimate Sacrifice! Can we indeed as individuals “SEE” this Salvation in others? Do we “KNOW” how that is shown to be True to others through our lives? It is not of or in ourselves, but it is by the reflection that is made REAL in our lives. Have we stopped for others to smell the the Rose which have been bestowed in us, for He LIVES?

It is understood that each of us, Saved or unsaved, is a sinner, but Salvation grants the Believer to be Saved by Grace, through Faith – ALONE. There should be a reflection, ever so slight even on the first day, of the change in an individual that has placed their Faith and Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. What is being described here is purely Salvation – nothing more, nothing less – by Grace, through Faith – ALONE.

There Are No Other Things

This Series beginning (for which it is written about) is made from an open heart of a man who truly knew that a part of his audience in which would read his article would find some small, insignificant matter in which to use against him. The process of “mattering” has most likely been repeated in one form or another since the beginning of mankind – for Lucifer used it in the Garden of Eden. It can be thought of in this manner, gifts that come with strings attached – I know personally of a few folks that seem to only give them (gifts) when they feel they can have some form of control (of the receiver).

The question the man proposed were similar to ones we might ask in helping another Brother or Sister in the Lord:

Have I done Justice to Them as a Brother in Christ?
Did I Lead Them in the Right Manner on Matters Biblically?
Was My Time Spent Wisely on Their Account?
Were My Responses Focused Correctly upon God’s Word, not my Own?
Has My Investment of Time been God Oriented?

We can ask all the questions under the sun, still coming away with some doubt in our positive nurture of others – but there is one thing we cannot offer, nor can we deny – Salvation is NOT of our doing. We can share our Testimony – but that is not Salvation, it tells our story on our account, which is most positively the best way to be an effective witness. We are SO accustom to doing something, that accepting God’s Gift of Salvation, which was paid for by Jesus Christ, seems foreign.

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When we consider why it seems foreign, we have MUCH to learn. One of the reasons it sounds so odd and unrealistic is because we may not be spending time in God’s Word to discover just how “simple” and “true” He has indeed made it. This Series is built upon ten (10) passages that can help us realize that it is of God’s Doing and not of our own. As Christians it would do us well to learn these and further read His Word to “see” all the things He does cover in His Word. It’d surprise a great many folks, upon a little study, what His Word actually covers – a challenge would be to find something it doesn’t address, rather than what we think He missed.

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There are ten (10) phrases presented, along with corresponding passages of Scripture tied to prints which give a visual appeal to having the Word of God presented in front of us. May we as Christians realize the opportunity we have to witness others and know more than just the ABCs or Roman’s Road when sharing the Gospel with others – the Word has much to say about Salvation.

Salvation…

through Faith • He hath Clothed me • to the soul that Seeketh
to every one that Believeth • to the end of the Promise
the Glory of God • of our Inheritance • the Grace of God
a Lively Hope • Contend for the Faith

Salvation is not a “gift” that a Christian can give to another individual, each person has to accept that on their own accord and believing… It is an entirely different thing to consider whether or not another individual can “see” Salvation in a Christian – because they VERY well can how the “Gift” has changed us. As Christians we have much influence on the Saved and non-Saved alike, for the better or the worse. How we represent our God and Saviour can have a “life or death” realization in another persons life. What we show others, because of what we believe ourselves, will provide some type of influence – be it good or bad – upon that persons life. Do you as a Christian “Believe” each of the passages of Scripture used in this Series? Do these passages ring true in our lives? The better we can show from God’s Word what He Says about Salvation, the more likely we are to share His Word with others so they might have Salvation. We cannot add anything to it, but we can show how it has changed EVERYTHING in each of us because of it!

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The Christian Life

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The Christian Life can aptly be compared to the running of a distance race. To succeed, much is considered in leading up to the successful completion, a person isn’t instantly able to make a go of it without facing a mountain of difficulties.

Arguably the most widely recognized race is the marathon, which is roughly twenty-six and two tenths of a mile (26.2 miles). In order to successfully complete/finish. The beginning of any marathon requires that a decision be made, which is to accept the challenge – it is a weighty decision. To be successful in the completion, preparation must be made with an end date in mind – with as much gaining of knowledge and practice as possible.

The Race of Our Lives

Just as a successful running of a marathon takes time, so does it become in our lives. The Decision to run the race – is Salvation. Any preparation and working in the direction without Faith in Christ. Any preparation and working in that direction without Faith in Christ is without benefit or Blessing.

Once we have accepted Jesus, the Son of God, we then have the correct solid foundation in which to begin trading to run the rest of our lives.

There will be challenges that can be faced just once or twice, to ones which happen again and again. When we notice them, stop – drop & roll them into the Throne Room of our Heavenly Father. He is Mighty and Just to forgive. An example of this is given to us in Zephaniah 3:17 –

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will Save, He will Rejoice over thee with Joy; He will Rest in His Love, He will Joy over thee with Singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 | King James Version

One of the things for me is music, to whistle, play or listen. We as human beings are built to respond to sound, music, rhythm – even God Himself sings over us – that is from God’s Word – not mine.

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Another very important factor of being a paced constant runner is to keep a constant check on weights. Each of us can have a propensity to hang onto things like baggage, hurts, judgements, habits, attachments, associations and such that keep us from running as we should. We each need to take time to re-focus every single day, seeking His Direction, His Focus and His Position in our lives.

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These nine (9) passages of Scripture, both individually and collectively, help point us to how we can have the most successful Christian Life.

How We Can Have The Most Successful Christian Life

How to Run the Race
We are Not Competing
Winning May Not Be Everything
Anything that has More of You
God has Something Specific
Stop Looking at Others
Looking Unto Jesus
Our Saviour Endured the Cross
Focus on His Position

This Series has been such a good reminder to the Christian as to what really will help us run our Marathon race of the Christian Life more effectively. First of the firsts though, is the decision of Salvation. A person can choose to be the “best” person they can be, but if they do without having the most Important Eternal decision made, the race can be run, with all the expected “appearances”, having no end. We must keep in mind that our race is uniquely ours and our Heavenly Father’s – not to be compared to anyone else’s for the purpose of success or any other reason. Are you or I struggling along our race, doing well sometimes and experiencing head on struggles at others? May we look at this reminder list, considering how we are doing, asking our God to help us Please Him.

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Reason to Praise Him

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Who is God the Father to YOU? A seemingly pointed question that every Christian should ask themselves every now and then; when is the last time you asked yourself that question? Would you or I be able to list twenty-one (21) things the LORD is to us, sort of like the thought behind Twenty One Questions, reminiscent of the childhood guessing game. Instead of course a person asking twenty-one fact finding questions about a single item, would we be able to give Praise and Honor to our Heavenly Father?

Reason, Praise and Honor is a part of those additional items presented in this Series. An entire chapter of Scripture, Psalm 145 | KJV, is one of those passages where we are given just that – an opportunity to Praise and Honor Him for being our LORD and God. These are just a “peak” into vast and different ways He is Good toward us.

My God…

Each of the prints present a single verse of Scripture, with the exception of eleven (11), which has two (2) verses because of an incomplete sentence and/or thought. The prints fit into one of two categories, the first being “personal identification” and the second being “unmerited favor recognition”. There are more than twice more “personal identification” [14] than there are “unmerited favor recognition” [6] prints which follow the mindset of Him being a Personal God to each of His Children.

It helps to understand that what our Creator God wants above all else is to have a PERSONAL relationship with EACH and EVERY one of us! As we learn more about Him, His Son Jesus and the integral part of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, we will more clearly see how we can identify the Reasons as they occur to Praise Him. God’s Word, His Written, Breathed Word, the Bible, contains the Love Letter of all generations which covers everyone.

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Beginning with the very first print, the Reason we have is that we can know Him:

My God is Personal
“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.”
Psalm 145:1 | King James Version

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An incredible twenty (20) items pulled from twenty-one (21) verses of Scripture from an entire chapter of Psalms is presented so we can more fully understand how Incredible our Creator God really is to each of us.

Twenty Reasons to Praise Him

Personal | Sovereign | Great & Unsearchable | Acts on My Behalf
Majestic | Greatness | Righteous | Gracious
Good to All | To Be Praised | Known to Me | Everlasting
Helps Me | Provides | Generous | Holy
Near to Me | Listens | Preserves | Brings Justice

Is there a single something that makes you want to stop whatever is being done at a moments notice to just PRAISE the Lord? What is it that others see in you or I that gives them a clear indication Who is the One that is the object of your or my affection? As we consider how our lives count for the Cause of Christ, this Series gives us twenty (20) examples from just one chapter in Psalms. May we realize that all that we do has an impact on those around us, whether it be for the positive good or having a negative shadow cast that we’d surely never intend on purpose. On purpose we can indeed share with others the Reason to Praise Him! Who is looking for you and I to do so?

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FOUR Letter Words

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The beginning of this Series occurred from a most unlikely source, or maybe not, because we are so bombarded by the reason for it. The name of the Series was chosen specifically to poke into something that we as Christians have been flirting with for well longer than we should have been – accepting the status quo on language used in our homes, offices, cars, schools and EVEN our churches! We have become TOO relaxed with what we will allow to be “acceptable” in our presence.

It is going to be pretty hard for a Christian to convince me that being within earshot of a curse word laced conversation, whether that be person-to-person, in a group or being replayed as in a TV program or movie, that it has no power over or toward you. For starters, the Holy Spirit kicks me in the gut, causing a revolt to be set into motion inside of me – if it doesn’t you, then I’d recommend that you stop, drop and crop. Stop listening. Drop to your knees. Crop out yourself a circle. Find out WHY it doesn’t both you – here’s one thing I do know Christian, if you’ll get quiet, get serious and get alone, the answer will come…

Replacement Words

Have we ever thought to have a full arsenal of “FOUR” letter words from God’s Word to remind us of Him instead of having those “others” rotting away at our minds, testimony and witness? It was AMAZING to find SO many of them – in just five (5) minutes a quick list of 127 was scribbled down for twenty-five (25) of the twenty-six (26) letters of the alphabet, with only one not having a word associated, that being the letter “X”.

The very first one was the word “ABLE”, which seemed simple enough – read the verse of Scripture found for it:

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Titus 1:9 | King James Version

Do you know what a gainsayer is?

A person who contradicts, disputes or denies, being in opposition to what is being shown to be inappropriate or wrong.

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From the VERY first word, this Series started off with a full on “help” for Christians to be armed with a “FOUR” letter word from God’s Word to combat those that would use language that is not only offensive to man, but even more so offensive to our Heavenly Father.

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Whether you or I are bombarded with inappropriate language, or have them in use ourselves, we need these words as a study vocabulary to confront our even being exposed to them. The more of them we know, the more of God’s Word also will be known. They are presented as a representative of Godly Character, pleasing and just in God the Creator’s Eyes, Ears and Mind – all the more we should strive to know them.

A Whole New Vocabulary

ABLE | BODY | CALL | DRAW
EYES | FACE | GOOD | HOPE
IRON | JUST | KIND | LOVE
MUCH | NEED | OBEY | PATH
QUIT | ROSE | SONG | TURN
UPON | VOWS | WOOL
YOKE | ZEAL

The only letter that has been “left out” is the letter “X”, which I believe we can apply to something very important – the crossing out whatever word that is offensive, no matter how many letters it may have. Each of us need these, for NO ONE is immune to the challenge of filthy or derogatory language, but we can DO something about it. We can have an answer to it, an appropriate response to it and have a testimony that is pleasing to our God and Saviour while we are at it. Be honest with yourself before a thrice Holy God – is this a problem for you? For the first time in my life a few months back, my family and I were floored to hear language spew from the mouth of a “Christian” inside of a Church House, that would be expected to be heard in a Rated R movie. We each were mortified – just imagine, not even the meeting place of God’s Children is considered sacred in a word. It is realized that we are the “Temple” of the Holy Spirit, so by the higher token, imagine how our Creator feels when we defile His Temple when we use, hear and subject ourselves to such language. Will we choose not to defile ourselves, such that we might be the witness we ought to be?

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Take Ye Away the Stone

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Oftentimes we find ourselves in the little predicaments of life wondering just “how” did we get there, with an even more puzzling question that follows, “how” on earth do we get out from underneath it. In that question and wondering, we find the problem itself, if we are only willing to take a long, hard look. The predicament may very well be of our own doing and the place we are looking for resolution is not high enough – we default to looking to an earthly answer, when we should seek an audience with the Creator.

This Series presents a passage of Scripture that shows the direction, order and attitude which the Lord Jesus presented Himself as a model of how we should come to Him when we find ourselves in a place where we know we ought not be. The process is presented to us in John’s writings of the Gospel in John 11:29-45 (see Passage page for full text), very clearly giving us the way to identify how we fit into it today.

The Modeled Path

There is only “question” asked – we should immediately recognize and understand the Lord ALREADY knows the answer, we are being asked for our benefit, not His. The question is followed by three powerful directives which are meant to show us as Christians that He has the Power to remove any obstacle, to pull us out of any place we find ourselves, and to place us back on the path He has established for each of us. For our Lord and Saviour, it really is that simple, but just as He did then, order is paramount and His timing is Perfect.

Mary and Martha, as well as all those that had gathered there at their home, many of them Jews, had to “see” Him Work, and “hear” Him Say those things in order to Believe that God the Heavenly Father could do those things. If we will be honest with each other before a Holy, Righteous God, we are exactly the same way at times – maybe more times than we’d care even admit. Consider these thoughts:

(1) Where have ye laid him? – Jesus KNEW exactly where he was and He knows exactly where we are, but He chose to call out to those around Him so they would ponder the question.

(2) Take ye away the stone. – Jesus KNEW what was separating Lazarus from all of them, just as He knows what we hold onto, unbelief and sin that we commit, which separate us from Him. We have to be willing to lay it on the altar, willing to forsake it and turn away from it. The Lord often uses others to show us that we have locked ourselves away and are used of the Master to unhinge the doorway.

(3) Lazarus, come forth. – Jesus KNEW that Lazarus was the one that was in that “dead” place, He knows our name and wants us to hear His Voice when He calls to us – no matter where we are or have found ourselves. It is a Directive that He gives, but we are the ones who choose to listen for and to His Voice, none other can answer for us, just we ourselves.

(4) Loose him, and let him go. – Jesus KNEW what he was bound up inside of, commanding that Lazarus be freed from that bond, not to be held in that grip anymore – just as His desire is to set us FREE of those chains that can so easily bind us. We may often find ourselves believing that we are still attached to past chains, not realizing that when the Lord frees us, we are to remain FREE of them. Part of that process is having others give us godly wise counsel and be accountability partners during and well past the crisis being worked through.

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Oh, how much the more that I want to make sure that the stones NEVER get rolled into place, where my lifeline to the Father and Throne Room of Heaven get cut off from me. I also know that when they do, He wants me back in His Will, that He WILL get my attention, He WILL make me aware of my position, He WILL call me by my name so there is no doubt as to who He is calling AND that He WILL loose me from those things which bind me, providing me the helps, counsels and escapes where it is no longer my struggle by my depending on Him.

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There are twelve (12) prints that present passages of Scripture that allow each of us to see why “removing the stone” is SO important, which are individually packaged for our understanding from God’s Holy Word. We have to be willing to not hide behind the stone, relying on and in ourselves only, thinking no one knows where we are.

Removing the Stone

Where Is He | The Glory Of God | That They May Believe
Season And Time | All Thy Heart And Soul | Obedient Unto His Voice
Promise Is Unto You | How Shall They Hear | Have Mercy On Me
Open The Door | Ask Of The Father | Even Unto The End

The number one item drawn from this Series is to recognize that even when we have a “stone” between us and our Heavenly Father, the Creator God, He is still willing to see our need. As His children, He desires us to stay in Fellowship with Him, but of course with our sin nature – we are prone to wander. We should be ever thankful that we have in our own hands His Holy Word that shows us a human side of our Lord, to demonstrate His understanding to us how He ultimately has the Power to Forgive and Understanding of our disbelief’s. God’s Word gives us an incredible display of His Love, Forgiveness, Salvation, Mercy, Grace – that we should have NO doubt that He will go to ANY length to have Fellowship with His Children. What would you do for your child? How far would you as a parent be willing to go to get to your children? When would you be willing to sacrifice ALL? The God of All Creation gave His ONLY Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, for EVERY child, even those that think they cannot be found… He KNOWS exactly where you are, who you are, what struggles you are facing, and has the Power to Forgive, Heal, Save and Loose you. Is there someone that is struggling, who is watching you to see if you notice their stone, Christian? Our testimony being shared with others as a witness may help another person consider that our God can remove their stone too.

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Praying Through Depression

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This Series has been a tough one to write, a deep delve into God’s Word and an interesting one to develop. When someone mentions “depression” in this day and age, one’s mind almost automatically goes to the picture of a “person” who has become so saddened, drawn back, hardened and has trouble with even the most basic of daily functioning – who also takes a drug to manage life. If you have been on this planet long enough to learn to read this, then someone undoubtedly just came to mind that fits that description… it could even be yourself.

It has been difficult for me to complete this Series without stopping multiple times to Thank the Lord for helping me through my own times. The topic of “depression” is taboo to so many, but is REAL to everyone, which includes Christians alike. I’ve heard a few Christians, even some Pastors and Pastoral Staff, mock the very real challenge of clinical and chemical depression of an individual to the point that it become a question of their Salvation because of it. When we find ourselves in the valley, that walk becomes VERY real…

While the following verses are not used in this Series directly, they are quite fitting for us as Christians to take a “heart” look at them:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 | King James Version

If this is all you read and pay attention to, you’ve missed why it was EVEN said – go back one verse…

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3 | King James Version

King David had a moment of being depressed, by definition:

A sinking of the spirits; dejection; a state of sadness; want of courage or animation; as depression of the mind.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

One of the Greatest men in the history of the world, a Choice Servant of God and lineage directly pointed to in Scripture, to the Birth of Christ, needed to be restored. Not only do lost people get depressed, so do Christians – whether that be physical, chemical, clinical or spiritual…

Need of Restoration

We as Christians have to recognize what is causing the “depressed” state and call out to our Heavenly Father for the help we so desperately are in need of receiving. That call can be, as the first print declares – I’m Hurting – as we ask “Lord, Help Me…” with the following Scripture passage points out:

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Psalm 34:6-7 | King James Version

As this Series developed, ten (10) men (one being a group of them) were written down as reminders to me of individuals in the Bible who would fit our definition of “depressed” at one time or another in their walk with God. Those include:

Job, Noah, Kind David, Elijah, Paul
Disciples, Nebuchadnezzar, King Solomon, Jonah, Nicodemus

They each had challenges and restoration times, for indeed they were human, just like we are.

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The challenge for imbalance in the human body is one we still don’t fully understand. We must realize also that for some people it is not caused by consuming things forbidden, committing an act of rebellion or one created by our actions. Granted now, we must also understand, there are a portion of people that can and do bring these challenges to themselves, to which they get to a point where they are out of control. The diving board design of the Logo for this Series is made up of the following prayer items:

Lord, Help Me… Not Hurt, Promise, Live, Stand, Know You
to Each Day Know More, Have Purpose & Manage

These are pieces which anyone suffering and/or battling depression can use to help them understand “Who” they need to talk to AND they should find someone to talk to that they trust/get help from which can provide the appropriate counsel on steps that need to be taken to identify what they are struggling with from a human perspective.

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There are a total of sixteen (16) prints in this Series, with the first one being a Definition of what “depression” is and the perspective we can see in others from the Bible and what God’s Word says about it to Encourage us to stay in close communication with Him, but keeping our Fellowship open, honest and humble.

Lord, Help Me…

I’m Hurting
Know You Keep Promises
Know You Live In Me
Know You Stand With Me
Face Each Day
Know You Intimately Know Me
Know My Value
Know You Collect My Tears
Know My Purpose
Know We Are His Workmanship
Know We Are For The Master’s Use
Know He Is Working Inside Of Me
Manage My Depression
Understand Nothing Is Too Hard For Thee
Know All Is Known Unto You

We each will struggle with some type of setback, challenge, difficulty, roadblock or negative influence which can tailspin into focusing on the situation to a point of being or experiencing depression. No one is immune to the challenge of it – it is not an affliction experienced by only one group of segment of society, or humanity for that matter. Some would even go so far as to say that if you suffer from depression a person’s Salvation is in serious question. It simply is NOT so. Sometimes how we handle or deal with a challenge in our lives can slide us there by our own devices, where we dwell there WAY too long and strain our fellowship with others and even with our Heavenly Father. I pray that everyone who crosses this Series will take the time to read the entire site developed for it – it is longer than just his post. SO many are hurting, for I believe that a large majority of the cases for and of “depression” are because the person is hurting. These fifteen (15) passages and pointed statements are a starting point for the Christian to realize something can be done about it AND someone, God Himself, cares for them. For those that the issues is much deeper and not of one’s control, help them find someone to talk to and work to find the balancing agent which will alleviate the challenge as the Lord gives the doctors the ability to diagnose and treat them so they can get back to being the Servant God wants so desperately for them to be for Him. Are you the one that has the difficulty? Is it someone you know, love and care for? Pray for them, yourself and how you can be the person that convinces them to get help. Start with the God of All Creation and let Him Direct the path for the solution.

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Becoming Me

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An Interview
With Rising
Makeup Artist
Courtney Turner 

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Make-Up Artist Courtney Turner talks with Bobbi Brown about getting started in the make-up field. (Photo: Moon Silver Studio)

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What to Read Next

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Starting at the young age of 13, up-and-coming make-up artist Courtney Turner has always had an eye for make-up detail. “I’ve always loved art for me, make-up is living art. My skin is my canvas, so I can paint whatever I want.” Knowing she didn’t fit into the regular job careers, Courtney branched out to the beauty community. “My parents were super supportive as I was growing up.  They believed in me when no one else did.  Then I got more involved in the beauty community, finding a whole new family!”

Bobbie Brown: How did everyone else react when you told them you wanted to become a make-up artist?

Courtney Turner: My parents, of course, were very supportive; but I did get a lot of criticism from my friends and a few family members.

How did you push past that?

I was hurt at first, but then realized that they were going to be people who wouldn’t understand. I just kept telling myself to press on, and never quit.

Who are your beauty icons?

Most people say Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. Mine is my Great-Aunt Ercelle. She was truly a classy lady!

How do you describe beauty?

I truly believe you can find beauty in the little things.  Something as simple as a smile can be the most spectacular sight.  It really is in the eye of the beholder.  I really think confidence and a smile are the beautiful things anyone can wear, but a bit of lipstick never hurts.

Who were some of your favorite artists when you were growing up?

Well, first. YOU!  I loved reading your articles on Yahoo! Beauty.  My others are Sam and Nic Chapman and Wayne Goss.

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“From the first day I knew I made the right choice in education.” says Turner (Photo: Instagram)

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Thanks for the mention!  You’ve got great taste in make-up artists.  It’s nearing the end of our interview, so two last questions.  First, did you go to school specifically for make-up.

Not at first.  My first layer of education was given at Aveda Beauty Institute Chapel Hill. I loved being there!  Aveda is all about being good for the consumer, but also being good for the earth.  That was really important to me. Since graduation, I’ve gone to make-up specific classes to really bulk up on training and certifications.

I’ve heard of Aveda, sounds like a great place. Now, our last question – Do you have any advice for other artists?

Well, I’ll start with the truth… It’s going to be difficult sometimes, and there will be days you just want to give up.  But in the end, this is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done! Definitely keep pushing yourself.  Training from a school never hurt, but if you can’t go to a school, being an apprentice is very rewarding! Continue to be yourself, it will show in your creative work.  Never be afraid to go beyond the normal to create something truly unique.

Well, it has been a pleasure to talk with you Courtney, looking forward to the next time we get to catch up you.

Thank YOU so much!

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“Take joy in the little things.” Says Turner (Photo: Instagram)

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Related:

Urban Decay Launches Newest Fall Line

To Photoshop or Not To Photoshop Hollywood’s Biggest Question?

How To Be Different in the Beauty Community

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Respond Seriously Christian

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This Series is a direct result of a Mother’s response to a school assignment in the public schools system. Okay, before you tune me out, let me explain from a 40,000 foot view what pierced my heart – it wasn’t the assignment in question, nor was it the response, it was HOW the response was made. We as Christians should make responses to the daily challenges in life in light of the Holy Spirit and the Guidance He brings to our lives, through the study and learning of God’s Holy Word. I’m afraid that last part has endangered the Christian response, such that it is little different than the world’s response to the exact same set of circumstances.

Without going into all the intricate details of the incident, let me just put it this way – a child (7th grade) was given an assignment in school, which included a QR code in which to scan with a SmartPhone, that would yield an audio recording which they were to listen to for the report. The Mother’s response was actually pretty good, even the pieces of it were made on solid footing, yet there was a glaring issue that overshadowed any positiveness given.

Glaring Issue

This mother failed to consider the consequences of reflecting badly on the cause of Christ. All of the individual pieces have merit, else I would not have put this Series together as a set and warning to all Christian’s as to how we respond to worldly events and requirements. To be honest, personally was impressed at her list of Bible passages listed – they were and are INCREDIBLE as a set of tools in response as to depending on the Lord as our Provider, Rock and Saviour. The issue then? The tyrannical manner in which they were presented – it was NO better than that material presented by the school system to be taught in the classroom.

Might she have been placed in the perfect situation to be a witness to that specific teacher? Could it be that by God’s Providence that Mother might have been placed in that situation to help her child understand what God’s Word says about other false religions. Might this have been just what her child/ren could have been taught to better understand and stand up for themselves in the classroom?

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Unfortunately (which is most likely going to be the case) the Mother created a reputation for herself, where it would MORE appropriate to show through the Reputation of God, His Mercy, Love and Compassion – than herself, as any sinner would. What are those things that are hot buttons for us individually? Do we stop before we write, share or speak to consider the Representation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we are making? Majority of her “physical” responses could have been made into pluses, positives, supports – but they were clouded about with terrible personal witness – such that any good intended, will most likely be so buried – little good may possibly come of it.

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Fortunately, we have a firm set of reminders, found in God’s Word, that can and will help us with our responses if we will think of them FIRST – the responding accordingly. The responses developed from the Word of God is SURE and the Holy Spirit residing in each of us as Christians will keep us in His Will when we choose to rely upon Him.

Sure Responses

Strong in the Lord
Wait Upon the LORD
Love the Lord
Grace is Sufficient
A Very Present Help
Be Thou Not Far

Each of us have had those situations occur where we were PERFECTLY right to be angry, upset and want to provide a response. The challenge to that entire thought is the word “want” – it is our want-er that needs to be affected by the leading of the Holy Spirit. How we say things, no matter how absurd the situation may appear to be, can be the most impact robbing and long lasting. Our intent may be that we want to give this person or that person a “piece of our minds” which something comes up. Even when there is a fundamental challenge being faced, there is always a right and a wrong way of approaching each of those situations. Would our Saviour be pleased with our responses over telling the world where they can stick their stuff? My Bible tells me that would NOT be the case. What part of the Bible are you going to show people who seem to be on the wrong side of the tracks? Your Actions, Emotions, Reactions, Words, Body Language, Attitude may be telling a completely different story than the one coming off your lips, thus out of your heart. May we point them to Him, instead of turning them away.

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On My Toughest Days

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This Series has VERY little resemblance to what it originally started out as, both in content and development. The beginning concept being presented by the idea source was actually presenting verses of Scripture as “healing” verses. The reason for the change in approach is simple – we do NOT command the Lord, our Creator God or the Holy Spirit to “do” anything. A vast majority of the Scripture presented as the “case” were taken out of context and chosen because they presented an individual in dire need of healing by miraculous means, but failed to recognize why those words were used.

Our definition of “healing” is considerably different that what the Bible teaches. Much of the challenge of “healing” was and is tied to Faith. An often used verse is Matthew 17:20, with the comparison of the “faith of a mustard seed” (our English vernacular).

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Matthew 17:20 | King James Version

Jesus says it is because of the lack of belief that things were not accomplished. Notice also that His Faith description is “have”, an active and present tense Faith, not a “had”, stalled and past tense Faith. Even further noted in the Scripture passages, is the attitude and function of Service. It is abundantly clear that it is our recognition of Who He REALLY Is that makes those passages of Scripture come to life, as they were presented in those people’s lives given to us in the Bible.

Presentation Given

Each of the passages, whether it be Old or New Testament, have a specific instruction set and/or reception requirement. REMEMBER – the “have” rather than “had” explanation. The words are active, as in “diligently”, “serve”, “forgive”, “give”, “bless”, “cry”… The list goes on and on as reminders to us that God our Creator is ACTIVE, not PASSIVE. Most of those actions are things we SHOULD be doing in our daily Christian lives as we seek to please Him in all that we do, where we go and how we do things in light of Him being placed first in our lives..

Oftentimes we forget God’s Will in our actions, those things that happen around us and to those who claim the name of Christ, we must Believe Him, Believe in Him and Believe on Him for all things we experience, which are different for each person to a degree. In the “Speak the Word” print, the reference is Matthew 8:7-8, which says:

And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
Matthew 8:7-8 | King James Version

The Faith of that Centurion is one worth reading, studying and wanting to model – but at FIRST glance and just reading – there is ZERO indication it was because of the Centurion’s FAITH that Jesus mentioned and then followed through in Healing of the Servant of the Centurion. What it does say is that the Centurion realized that Jesus was Lord and that he himself was “not worthy”. To get that Faith piece, you have to have the rest of the context including verse 10:

When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Matthew 8:10 | King James Version

which then ends up with verse thirteen (13) of Matthew 8:

And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
Matthew 8:13 | King James Version

It is good for us to have the pieces, but more perfect for us to understand what we are asking, seeking or to whom we are making petition.

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Little would someone realize the importance of the “other stuff” if they have NO idea what they are repeating. We are to understand the Word, be in the Word and have the Word in US! The Lord Jesus Christ healed the Servant because of his Master’s Belief – as strong as he Believed, would be as strong as the Healing. There were three people involved, NOT two and certainly NOT one.

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This Series is about Encouraging ourselves through the reading of God’s Word in specific incidences, not just row-repeating Scriptures in the thought they are like a magic potion that will cure this or that. IF that were so, doesn’t it stand to reason that Paul would have been cured/healed and he would have healed every individual he came in contact with? Have to be careful here, because he actually did offer to everyone the cure of the Ages – the Messiah, if they would only Believe.

Challenging Words

Incline | Redeem | Hearken | Deliver | Serve | Remember
Esteem | Consider | Praise | Call
Ask, Seek, Knock | Arise | Believe | Give | Manifest | Abide
Perceive | Faith | Raise | Follow | Speak | Be An Example

This Series really caused me to focus on how my challenges physically have changed how things are done and my approach to challenges, difficulties and problems. Through the changes in medication regiments, pain management treatments and hospital stays to get it back under some form of control – there has been ONE constant – my Faith. The Believing that my Saviour would never leave me and is the One in control of my life. The One thing that I have had desire of, no matter where, when or the circumstance – is to sing, read, hear, share, write about how GOOD He is to me. If every person could just repeat some Scripture and be healed, how would those that are the care givers, medical providers and services coordinators going to see “proof-in-the-pudding” examples as has been done in my life? On those days when others have to care for me, these are some of the stories that can be shared with them such they might come to understand how Marvelous, Kind, Gracious, Merciful and Powerful my God REALLY IS! Who needs to see your reflecting of Christ in your life as they see you battle some of things that might hinder you? Will they say “He must be a Christian… because….” about your life? If not, or even if so, there are twenty-three examples are used in this Series for each of us to be reminded of His Goodness, especially on those “tough” days.

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UNTO The LORD

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This Series was started some nine (9) months ago as a research topic/item for the word “UNTO” to go with the starting passage of Scripture in Psalm 105. Besides the mind boggling 9,003 references for the word “unto”, it was of interest that the ENTIRE Bible has that word used in it – all sixty-six (66) books. That is NOT what this Series has in it!

As the “phrases” for the Series were narrowed down, a phrase did finally become settled, “unto the LORD”, which still netted 511 matches – not counting the ones that were close to the same meaning. The passage which stood out to me was one which incredibly formed a poem, at the beginning…

At The Beginning

… of every verse utilized in this Series, there is a phrase or statement made which is presented in the following diagram:

O give thanks…
Sing unto Him…
Glory in His Name…
Seek the LORD…
Remember His Works…
He is LORD…
He Remembered…

Reading them in that manner, leads us to an understanding in just eight verses of how much we really can depend on Him for in our lives. It is a stepping stone planner set before us to engage, show love toward, to be in adoration of and reminder that we desperately need HIM. Keep in mind, this is but a “short list” of things we need to be aware.

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Along with beauty that our Heavenly Father has on display for us in His perfectly created world before we messed it up with sin, He also gave us His Word – which we not only should be thankful for, but LIVING it for Him. Our daily lives are those things when we draw close to Him – these eight (8) verses are provided to remind us.

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This Series has been developed from the first eight (8) verses of Psalm 105 which remind us of the Forever Covenant promised which we as Christians have benefit of today.

Giving Thanks UNTO The LORD

O Give Thanks
Sing & Talk of Him
Glory & Rejoice
Seek
Remember
Our God
For Ever Covenant

How often are we able to take the Bible and directly apply it to our daily lives? If the answer is rarely, then I’ve some VERY uncomfortable news to share with you… Something is wrong with your daily walk – which should include reading/studying God’s Word, along with prayer, meditation on His Word, daily Worship, godly music, a devotion which provides a Christ-like awareness and reflection in/around you… These are just a FEW of those things we should have in our lives, our growth, our maturity and our witness. God’s Word is designed to provide soul searching, conviction by the Holy Spirit and to change us from the inside out. The pressure by the world on the outside is why we cannot change from the outside to others on the outside – all they see is what they have seen and know already. As the Word is read, our hearts and minds are changed, as will our spirit also change – that Spirit resides inside of us. In order for that Spirit to reflect in the most effective manner is for us to give God His Place, realizing Who Jesus Is, what He has done for each of us – only then will our reflection over-power the wickedness of the world, allowing for the Light of Christ shine such that others would come to know Him, and Give Thanks UNTO the LORD!

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In Your Pain

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Am reminded over and over again that what one person is experiencing cannot be used as a yardstick, so to speak, to compare to what another person is going through – emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, physically – or what is most likely the case – all of them. Oftentimes people are just trying to be kind and understanding in their own manner when they say “compared to what you suffer, I should not be saying anything at all” or something close to that, not realizing that just might be making that person feel a bit embarrassed for even saying anything to begin with. Then of course there are the times when we discover, quite to our shock, when a person is in dire straights before we may recognize there is any difficulty being experienced in the first place.

There usually seems to be two extremes in this area of difficulty recognition, one where EVERY ONE knows about the difficulties, or where NO ONE knows of the challenges faced by the individual in living, daily, hourly and even moment-by-moment. Those kinds of difficulties can lead to despair, depression and even despondency in a person given their situation and place in life. We as Christians are NOT immune to these challenges in life, but we do have something the world doesn’t have – we have God’s Promise to help us. He made the promise to Save us, if we would only Believe and Trust on His Son for Salvation. He also made the Promise to never leave nor forsake us, once we are His. But, did you realize that even through our pain and suffering, He has Promises made to us too?

Do You See His Promise?

Everything is dependent on Who makes that Promise to us as Christians – the very Creator God of Ever’thing is Who we have making that claim. The question that arises is this: What Are You Experiencing? Take a look at the verse which is on the very first print:

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the Praise of His Glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14| King James Version

For those who Believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and have accepted God’s Son as Saviour, seeing His Promise is a matter of Trust. Of course, reading about those matters in the Bible SURE does go a LONG way toward being able to be at Peace with whatever comes our direction. What is stated in Ephesians previously is that we can Trust Him for Salvation, His Glory will show through in our lives by way of what we are experiencing.

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This Series actually is a formula of sorts which expands on what His Promises are to us – the secret is in the “reading” and “taking to heart” those things which are Promised to us as His Children.

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There are seven (7) passages of Scripture presented in this Series which describe what specific Promises that God the Father gives us individually and collectively, especially important when the world is trying to tell us that having challenges in our lives must be coming from our lack of Faith.

The Specific Promises

Cast Your Cares | Bears Your Burdens | Love and Consistent Faith
Calls Out Those of Little Faith | Comfort Others Hurting
Understanding Our Pain | Interceding For Us

For my very own situation and those that are known of those who are close to me, God’s Word is a comfort, reminder and Encouragement. Sometimes I do wonder how people go through their daily lives with such seeming struggle, but yet appear each time to come out on top the victor and praising the Creator’s name. I want that person who shows such courage, love and vitality to be ME – it can be and is when the Person of Jesus Christ is High and Lifted UP in my life, instead of focusing on any individual trial or tribulation. Leaning on the Promises of my Saviour is what causes me to keep going! What is it Christian that keeps you moving? And sharing? And telling? And rejoicing? Are these SPECIFIC Promises ones you claim as your own? If not, why not? Ask Him from His Word – He Promises to Listen to you and Help you.

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Taking A Critical Look

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This Series actually started in a manner very different than the “bee” in the first print, which of course is CUTE in its own right! The original direction came from a challenge a counselor gave a couple seeking assistance with each other of being overly critical of each other. The activity given was to look into the Bible to find references about criticism.

An example of the use of the concept of being critical follows:

“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”
Proverbs 15:31 | King James Version

Looking For A Word

While there is not a direct reference to the word “criticism” in the Bible, there are plenty of items where we can go as Christians need to take a critical look toward. The original “assignment” was a tough one for the couple because they were not quite ready to be handed the task which has zero actual hits.

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For the purpose of this Series, an absolute phenomenal change occurred when the word “criticism” turned into “Taking A Critical Look”. The difference allows for us to explore a new view which our Heavenly Father has provided in His Word, to look at things we may consider common sense, that is because they are!

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An interesting find of a portion of the “critical” items found in God’s Word, the Bible, yielded eighteen (18) points for us to make a part of our lives in dealing with those things we incur in our daily walk of life.

Critical Points

Wisdom | Rebuke | Tongue | Speak | Words
Measure | Gate | Brass | Charity | All Things
There Be | Fault | Edifying | Likeminded | Esteem
Confess | Forgave | Scripture

How many times have we struggled with one area or thought, only to seek help from a source that appears to have answers but is not based on a biblical world-view. As Christians we need to a re-align our view, just like the Christian Counselor did for the couple to the Bible Common Sense area. How will you apply those Bible Answers to your life and those who may need to hear them from you. Will you join me in “Taking A Critical Look” in God’s Word see how to respond and answer our struggles and troubled thoughts on the things we experience in life…

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Soon and Very Soon

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The question of “where are you going…” is one which each of us has experienced and may well use during an opportunity to witness to others. One of those questions which is very familiar to soul-winning Christians is the following:

“Do you know if you were to die today if you would go to Heaven? Are you 100 percent sure about it. or 75%, maybe 50% sure.”

Each of us as born-again, Blood Bought, Saved Christian’s should be 100 percent SURE of where “We are going” and to Whom we will be seeing when we get there. That is something we have reason to CELEBRATE each day of our lives! Heaven is our Eternal HOME in Him.

How Soon We Celebrate

The beginnings of this Series began with the Hymn “Soon and Very Soon”, one which immediately begins to swell up inside of me until I begin to sing – usually not just to myself. If my daughter is within earshot, the voices get raised a couple of notches – with absolute JOY! Here are the words to verse one of this Hymn:

Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King;
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King;
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King;
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
We’re going to see the King.

The first print has those same words displayed upon it, after stating “We Are Going”…

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It does matter how we feed ourselves spiritually as to what attitude you and I have with each situation we face. Others will want to know how specific items are being handled, where from their perspective was or is in pure chaos. People not only can tell when something is absent, but they also will have a keen sense when our attitudes and belief’s are different from the worlds. Where are you indicating you are going?

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The following nine (9) statements are ones garnered from looking at who and what causes us to want to see the King… Surprising statements and instructions given us, by our doing so…

A Few Good Statements

Who Desire to Fear Thy Name
Woe is Me!
Except Your Righteousness
Seek Ye First
The Seed is the Word of God
The Eyes Which See
See The Kingdom
Exhorting One Another
To Him be Glory & Dominion

None of us know the day nor the hour of the Return of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we are told He will return as He left, from the Eastern sky. We have the Promise as Christians that we will meet Him in one of two manners, by Rapture of His Church or by death – either way, We are Going to See the King, Our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ. How soon that will be, no man knows, only the Father knows that exact time, day and hour. This Series gives us a glimpse of what we should be doing until His Return and a Hymn to remind us of His, in light of Eternity, Soon Return. Questions include these: do we desire Him, do we recognize our state, will we seek Him, do we read His Word, is the Kingdom real to us, will we Exhort others… I’m afraid we’ve lost the sense of urgency and realization of that imminent return, otherwise we’d be seeker’s who would be doing all we can to sow the Seed of the One who Glory and Dominion is due…

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What To Emphasize

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This Series was inspired directly from a blog post of a missionary, albeit modified just a tad, to gain a perspective of focus. This day and time seems have the Christian bouncing all over the place as to how we are to be “doing the Lord’s Work”, or as the Bible says of Jesus:

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
Luke 2:49 | King James Version

His Father’s Business is GREATLY contested in our day, with a myriad of Works Salvation, Name-It-And-Claim-It Salvation, the Prosperity Gospel and the Health & Wealth crowd to just name a few. As is often said from the pulpit of our home church, the Bible NEVER says that we are going to have a “yellow brick road” Christian life once we are Saved and living for the Lord. With that said, what are we supposed to be doing? Who are we to be conforming to if we are not to be like the world?

Conforming to the Image

We indeed are supposed to be what we are Justified to be – to be seen as God sees His Son Jesus, a reflection of Him in us – a direct result of the Holy Spirit taking residence in us. The following verse is the launching point Scripture that sets the stage for each of the seven (7) prints made:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
Romans 8:28-30 | King James Version

Notice that it was not said “an” image, but rather “the” image – He gave us all that we need, it is NOT necessary to make up things for us to do – they are spelled out for us by His own Word. We’ve gotten so tied up in what “program” or “theme” we must have in order to be the “testimony” sharing Christian’s we are supposed to already be – even at the EXACT moment of Salvation. Our own experience with our Saviour and listening to Him – He did Speak those Words we should realize.

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Those “red letters” are Christ’s Word, spoken not only to be heard by his Disciples and those within earshot, they have been preserved for EACH of us as a Child of God. They are those things which were SO important that they were written down for all the ages – that MEANS our age, our time, our instruction and for us to EMPHASIZE to everyone we have the opportunity… These embody Who He Is (notice it is not stated “was”), both then and now, as well as will forever be. In order for those to be a forever, they must be shared first today, so that others will gain access by them for Eternity.

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There are seven (7) items in this Series which should be recognized with special importance and prominence from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – because He spoke them and gave us the example of them being proven in real situations, changing real lives for all of Eternity.

Jesus Did Emphasize…

Emphasize | repentance, denying yourself, forgiveness toward enemies, caring for the poor
Emphasize | loving God, loving others, discipling others

The end result of this Series has more than surprised me, it has reminded me of the things that I am doing right and has pointed out a thing or two that I need to work on for His Sake. Absolutely rewarding to walk out the verses, read them in context and field a few of them for other Series ideas – that means there has been study that caused personal growth. We often speak of wanting to grow in our personal walk with Christ as Christians, but how many times do we find His instruction in the growing? As we look, investigate and follow through – have we considered RIGHT where we are? As we grow, are we taking anyone else along with us? As Christ went place to place, He was the Witness, He was the Teacher, He was the Example… The Instructions are made clear to us… The Direction has been pointed out to us… We need to walk the Path given us… Jesus paid for all of it, leaving Scarlet letters to show us the way.

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Keep What You Committed

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This Series hails from a very interesting beginning, that of a Men’s Retreat whose focus was squarely placed on not losing the Next Generation. It might be a natural leading, but in order to reach another people group, generation level or culture, some type of “commitment” has to be made, with all those participants deciding to do whatever is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. For that reason, the specific topic of being and remaining “Committed” rang my own personal bell of review before the Lord in a profound manner. A dictionary definition of the word “committed” follows as such:

Committed (as an Adjective) | a Feeling of Dedication and Loyalty to a Cause, Activity, Job; Wholeheartedly Dedicated

Other words had come to mind, including: dedication, witness, testimony, daily walk, promise and keeping a promise. That is when the cogs started turning inside my head so to speak, which caused me to discover something that I’d not considered in such a manner before – most of the commitments made to God the Father in the Bible are not written there to show forth how Faithful His people had been, rather it is a humbling consideration in humiliation. The most time spent in the Word of God was the digging, the more aware I became of our need to return to Personal Worship and Commitment to the Lord – we are missing the opportunities we’ve been given by the droves.

Opportunities Missed

In the world we live in today, it is ever more difficult to discern which way the Christian is being influenced by the world system, but somewhere we have as a whole have missed the boat completely. Many people will invite in the “worldly” culture and “honesty” system to a point where it becomes nearly impossible to differentiate which side a person is providing the viewing direction. Because we as Christian’s have not maintained a cultural level of difference, we have melded into fray, where even we cannot tell the difference. Any opportunity to be a witness and influence for the cause of Christ has been diluted, or downright mired by we ourselves looking, feeling, talking, smelling, acting just like world which Satan has dominion.

The study for this Series is SIGNIFICANTLY larger than this Series shows, but I did want to show that out of 170 verses with just the word “commit/committed”, had a DIRE warning in it for our time – the topic of most choice chastening:

Adultery, Fornication, Idolatry, Sacrilege, Lust, Lewdness, Whoredom, Iniquity, Wickedness…

126 verses of the 170 were strewn with such things that are rampant in today’s culture and lifestyle choices, even those in our churches – with a great number of them falling onto those in positions of authority and influence.

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Of all those verses, ten (10) of them presented a means for the Christian to put anchor, such that we can turn the tide, provide a desperately needed witness to the Next Generation. We MUST Stand Firm Till The End!

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Simply AMAZING that in 185 uses of the word commit/committed, that ten (10) of those times are used in this Series as something we each can do as our part to move forward in our Christian Walk. We will have to be the commitment takers in the world that we live in for now…

How To Make The Commitments Work

Marvellous & Exalted | Bought, Therefore Glorify | Glorify, Obey & Keep
Sound Words Keep In Us | Covenant & Mercy | Willingly & Without Charge
Nevertheless Persuaded | Spirit Redeemed Truth | Way, Trust and Pass | Thoughts Established

In one manner, this Series could viewed as coming across negatively or have a tone of defeat, but it is not meant to at all – but if it is convicting, take that up with the Holy Spirit! We think we have advanced so far in this world that we live in that we’ve forgotten that the problems that we face as humans is the same now as it was thousands of years ago – we have a pride issue and a sin problem. Just as there is Hope in Christ our Saviour, there is also Hope in God’s Word, for we have ten passages in this Series to show us just that. We can Exalt Him, Glorify Him, Obey Him, Commit to Him, Confess to Him, Willingly Follow Him… Those are just a few of the ways we can be Committed to Him – if you haven’t already today, begin this very moment and continue while you have breath in you! Stand Firm Till The End!

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Satisfied With Jesus?

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We live in such an upside down world, tossed from one thing to another, with so much to experience, take advantage of and waste away our time. Does this sound like a CD that has a deep scratch in it, which skips and plays the short bit of the track over and over and over again? That advancements of the past century have changed the lives of most folks that are alive today cannot really get their minds to comprehend. With that has also come what I believe to be one of this time periods greatest tragedies – we are SO difficult to satisfy…

How Are We Lacking?

The lack of satisfaction permeates nearly every facet of our lives, including: clothing, entertainment, personal goods, electronics, lifestyles, accommodations, transportation, cuisine, information, all of which just begins to touch the tip of what we have for the most part immediate access. Notice though, them are some big words – to which all of the teachers reading this are already cringing… It could have been said in this manner: we’ve gone from… Basics in clothes to brand names in everything, shoes, belts, pants, jackets, hats and so on. Entertainment used to include family games of Frisbee, badminton and horse shoes – those things that can be played OUTSIDE. Personal goods might have included more than essentials, but now it is as if you are not “in” if you don’t have a designer labelled fragrance to match every place one goes. Electronics are the rage of the age – kids now have devices that cost hundreds of dollars each and multiples of them – wired to social media as if they cannot communicate otherwise. How do we go on….

Lifestyles is a controversial topic because of the redefinition of it over time, it is difficult to tell who is coming out of closet and who is being put in the closet, and for what? If the top five (5) percent of the population on the planet live like Kings and nobility, that casts a shadow on the rest of us – especially concerning where we reside or “live”. So many in the world want to get bigger, better and more elaborate places to call home, all the while working so much they truly don’t know who is in that house at any given time. One hundred years ago, very FEW people owned a vehicle, now we have so many models and manufacturers, the sky is the limit with few ever considering if they are right sizing for their family, for themselves or in consideration of anyone else. Cuisine is just a fancy word for FOOD, but we sure do have a hankering for that too – we eat more food today than ever in history, but we also throw away more than anyone realizes.

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What will it take for us to be satisfied with anything? Even the information we can look through today is progressing at such a rate that few believe it can not be easily tracked any longer because of the sheer volume of it. We can flip on the news channel, to learn what is going on around the globe, where in the matter of mere seconds to minutes, tragedy can strike close to home. We’ve grown restless in leaning on the Everlasting Arms for our satisfaction.

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We SHOULD be satisfied! But there are others too, which is what leads me up to this point – each of us need to be Satisfied and it should surely show through our lives with Whom we are indebted by His greatest Gift, His Son. The six areas are interestingly enough from the Old Testament – God knew what He was doing – I’ve just got to follow.

Who Shall Be Satisfied With Jesus?

I Shall Be
The Meek Shall Be
We Shall Be
Life Shall Abide
Continually
My People Shall Be

This Series DID NOT start out this way… It began with Him being Satisfied, but as a little deeper digging took place, it dawned upon me that if we would be Satisfied in Him, He will be Satisfied with us naturally to Him. Can we put down all those things that are SUCH a distraction to us, to get alone with Him once again? Call me old school, but I like getting out my Bible in looking up contexts of passages of Scripture, journal writing and getting off by myself to pray and meditate. As much as technology is used in my daily routine of assisting others, it reminds me that God the Creator is the High Tech One because He Built us, we don’t have to show anything off to Him. Are you Satisfied with Christ in your life? Does He satisfy your every need? Does He provide everything for us already? Will we, as His People, be Satisfied with Him once again, such that it is evident that He Reigns Supreme in our lives? As much as I want Him to be Satisfied with me, it is realized that actually is performed the other way around – I must be Satisfied with Him being my All in All and my Ever’thing!

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Thankful Quotes About Life

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Without so much as a thought at times, a phrase is shared as a tidbit of Encouragement, or possibly added as a quip to things we say to others, in an effort to bring emphasis to something we are trying to convey or get across in a more lighthearted manner. It appears that all the “good” stuff seems to have already have been “dreamed up” or has already been said, which is then when we depend on quotes from other people, some famous and others not so famous. Amazing to note, many of them have a basis and founding in the Word of God, the Bible.

How many times have we quoted someone, without fully realizing where the thought behind the quote may have actually come from? There are possibly more quotes about, concerning and throughout the Bible than we may have considered. Christians and non-Christians alike use them, in such regularity that those who even deny the Deity and Existence of Christ, use them. This Series has been driven by the impressing upon my heart, by the Holy Spirit to show each of us, how even in the lives of non-believers, they are affected by God just being God!

How Quotes Affect Us

Quotes have the power to affect people’s thinking. How and where they are used can boost or stifle the intended purpose, because the quote giver is eliciting a specific response from those who are being exposed to the hearing of it. A positive reminder to do something, like say “thank you” and “you are welcome” would be an example of this solicited behavior that a person may try to reinforce with a “quote” like the following:

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”
–Ralph Marston

This quote, which is used in the composition of the first print, serves several purposes. The first of which is to say “Thank You” and the following one is to do so without expecting any kind of reward for do the kind act. By doing so, as well as being genuine, others will more enjoy being around you and take pleasure in being so.

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Not just those that are kind to you should be the only ones you consider, Jesus said even of your enemies shall you be tempered in your response.

(35) But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (36) Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Luke 6:35-36 | King James Version
Tall orders, but ones that we can and should put forth as Christians – all through the sharing of a quote… Indeed if we will walk with Him daily, the Habit will become a natural part of how we Worship our Lord and Saviour.

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There are thirteen (13) Quotes that are utilized in this Series which each have a founding in the Bible to remind us that what we use in everyday conversation has rooting in the Word of God. So much of our culture and structure of living is more influenced by biblical definition that many realize.

Quote Areas

Making Habits | Being True | When We Rise | Encounter Changes
Wonderful Happens | Dwelling in Him | Share Our Faith | Take Heed
God’s Reach | Simple Direction | God-Given | Gratitude Living | Thankful Mode

Are there things that you say that would remind others of things that can be found or related to in the Word of God? It may surprise you that many of the common sense things we hear today have a strong hold, reach and rooting in the Bible. Knowing this is the case can provide us an opportunity to share the Gospel with others as they may express an interest in where that “quote” may have originated. Maybe even a conversation starter could be made of that something familiar a person can relate to, which could well be the Holy Spirit working in the heart of an individual to draw them to Himself. We cannot dismiss the opportunity to share with those that develop that interest in how we know or knew how find the basis in which a quote is built upon. There are thirteen (13) of them to begin with – pure amazing that conversation starters can be found which have basis in where we would like to take those we are witnessing to, hoping that starting will become a life changing event for them when they Hear from the One and True God, as they consider His Word for the only basis of and for their Salvation. It is when we consider death, that life become so much more IMPORTANT and others are more open to hear what God and His Son have done for each of us who makes a choice to Believe.

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