Prayer

Christianity is not a legal relationship, it is a love relationship. Ten thousand “don’ts” will never make you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Himself Who makes you like Him. But you need to spend time with Him. I want to give you five factors for spending some quiet time with Him each day.

The Proper Period

You must find the right time. Your quiet time should last at least half an hour. But some time is better than no time, so if you can’t start at thirty minutes, begin with ten. It should be your very best time. Don’t give the Lord your leftovers. And don’t try to find time – make time, and make it a priority. Also find time early in the day. Psalm 5:3 says, “… in the morning..” You don’t take the trip and then read the map, do you? Spend time alone with God to begin your day, if you just can’t do mornings any time of the day is good as long as you make it a daily part of your life.

The Proper Preparation
A quiet time is fellowship with a Holy God. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for this time. First, be physically alert. Find a time when the cobwebs are out of your mind and you can think clearly. Second, be mentally aware. Be focused, and know He’s there. Emotion doesn’t really have all that much to do with it. And third, be morally pure and clean. Some people don’t have a quiet time because they feel uncomfortable looking God in the face with sin in their lives.

The Proper Place

Find a place where you can focus. Jesus said enter into your closet and pray (see Matthew 6:6). That simply means find a place of isolation where you can shut the door on the world and open the windows to heaven. Jesus sought out places where He could be alone, and so should you.

The Proper Provisions

In order to have an effective quiet time, you need the right tools.
Bible – Invest in one with plenty of room to jot notes in the margins.
Note pad- Expect God to give you something and write it down. Also use it to record things you’re praying about.
The Proper Procedure

Finally,
Get still and quiet. The Bible says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Focus your mind on Him.

Thankful

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,
that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
”   Hebrews 13:15

Giving praise to the Lord is one of the best ways to express our thanks to God for His blessings and yet how many of us do it on a regular basis? Yes, we normally go through our routines of thanking God for our food before we eat, sometimes we even thank Him for the clothes we wear and praise Him for the sunshine. Around the Thanksgiving holiday we may even list out our blessings and reflect on what God has done, but to do we really “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually” as our theme verse, Hebrews 13:15, states?

Continual doesn’t just mean once a year or even once a day for that matter. It implies that it is repeated without interruption. David said in Psalm 34:1, “…His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” He also said, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.” (Psalm 119:62)

When’s the last time we found ourselves up at midnight thanking the Lord? Later on in that same psalm David says, “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.” Do we stop seven times a day to praise God? Do we even stop once or twice to praise Him?

Now that we know that we need to praise God continually, how do we do it? If you think that all praising God involves is sitting in a small group in a quiet place, whispering quiet praise songs–think again! Praising God is an active thing.

The Bible says the following about praise. “shout for joy” (Ps. 32:11) “O clap your hands” (Ps. 47:1) “sing” (Ps. 47:6) “make a loud noise” (Ps. 98:4) “lift up your hands” (Ps. 134:2) “with the sound of trumpet” (Ps. 150:3) “upon the loud cymbals” (150:5) “make a joyful noise” (Ps. 98:4) “rejoice” (Ps. 98:4) “with harp” (Ps. 33:2) We are not to keep praising God to ourselves. We are to “…make known his deeds among the people.” (Psalm 105:1) In other words if you receive a blessing–tell someone about it.

If we are going to develop a lifestyle of praise to God continually we need to put things in perspective. Realize who God is and we who are not. “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3,4) We need to recognize that all of the things we find in our blessing basket come from above.

Wade’s Wednesday

Using Time Well

By Charles F Stanley

The Lord gives us resources and abilities, and He desires that we use them well. One such gift is time.

In order to manage our coming days effectively, we should continually review the one we’ve just lived: What activities did we choose? How much time did each take? What were the results? This discipline will reveal what is most important to us.

In looking closely at our assessments, we can determine what drives our decisions about how to use time. Some people merely respond to circumstances for a majority of their day. They jump from one thing to the next, handling whatever appears in their world at the moment—whether personal, family, or business matters. But this style of living misses the mark.

Other people spend their time according to desires. They want to relax, so they get home and watch television for the evening. Or they love to hunt, so they use their time to research equipment and locate wildlife in the forest. Desires are not bad, but they should not drive the bulk of our actions.

Thankfully, there are also people who live according to what they deem important. Loving God and serving others, for instance, are two biblical values that should, ideally, determine what we do with our time.

If you itemize your activities and their time consumption over the course of a week, you might be surprised at which are the predominant events. Each moment is a gift, so set aside a few minutes each evening to plan the next day. Then revisit how you spent the last 24 hours. This will help you to live purposefully.

Tuesday with Karen

So thankful for how God blesses His children day after day! KI
Thanksgiving & Praise

Thanksgiving & praise, we give unto God,
Who loves His children and changes not;
He keeps us within the shadow of His wing,
It’s enough to make our grateful heart sing!
Thanksgiving & praise, we give to God today,
He listens to our prayers, hearing all we say;
He blesses more than our heart deserves,
Faithful & True to each promise in His Word!
Thanksgiving & praise, our heart, to Him gives,
The One who gives us each breath as we live;
He’ll walk beside us every step of the way,
God never forsakes us, even when we stray!
Thanksgiving & praise, God has from our heart,
Savior & Redeemer, His blood sets us apart;
Redemption, eternal life, and so much more,
Loving grace is ours when we know the Lord!
11-14-19
**Thanksgiving 2019

The Hand of Comfort

By Randy Kilgore

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . .
who comforts us in all our troubles
. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

“Patient is combative,” the nurse’s notes read.

What she didn’t realize until later was that I was having an allergic reaction as I awakened after a complicated open-heart surgery. I was a mess, with a tube down my throat. My body began shaking violently, straining against the straps on my arms, which were there to keep me from suddenly pulling out my breathing tube. It was a frightening and painful episode. At one point, a nurse’s assistant to the right side of my bed reached down and simply held my hand. It was an unexpected move, and it struck me as especially gentle. I began to relax, which caused my body to stop shaking so badly.

Having experienced this with other patients, the nurse’s assistant knew that a hand of comfort could minister to me as well. It was a vivid example of how God uses comfort when His children suffer.

Comfort is a powerful and memorable tool for any caregiver, and Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 it’s an important part of God’s toolbox. Not only that, but God also multiplies the impact of His comfort by calling us to use the memory of the comfort He gives us to comfort others in similar situations (vv. 4–7). It is but another sign of His great love; and one we can share with others—sometimes in the simplest of gestures.

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us, either directly or through the acts of Your children. Help us to see where we can apply that same comfort to others in and for Your name.

Simple gestures can bring powerful comfort.

A Treasure Map

By Max Lucado

In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.                                                         —John 1:1

The Bible has been banned, burned, scoffed, and ridiculed. Scholars have mocked it as foolish. Kings have branded it as illegal. A thousand times over it the grave has been dug, and the dirge has begun, but somehow the Bible never stays in the grave. Not only has it survived, it has thrived. It is the single most popular book in all of history. It has been the best-selling book in the world for years!

“There is no way on earth to explain it. Which perhaps is the only explanation. The answer? The Bible’s durability is not found on earth; it is found in heaven. For the millions who have tested its claims and claimed its promises there is but one answer – the Bible is God’s book and God’s voice.”

The purpose of the Bible is to proclaim God’s plan and passion to save His children. That is the reason this book has endured through the centuries.  It is the treasure map that leads us to God’s highest treasure: Eternal life.

The Bible is a book that has not come from the will of man, but the will of God. God put Himself into the Bible, and that is why it is still the number one selling book of all times.

If you blow into a balloon, your life, your very DNA, is in that balloon. The Bible has the DNA of God, and that is why it is a living book.

Wade’s Wednesday

Longings of the Soul

By Billy Graham

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled. —Matthew 5:6

It has been my privilege to know what it means to walk in the way of Christ. What a thrilling, joyous experience it is to wake up every morning and know His presence in the room! What a thrilling, joyous experience it is to know in the evening, when the sun is setting, the peace of God as you go to bed and to sleep, and to sleep the sleep of only those who know Christ! What a joy it is to walk in the eternal and permanent experience of Christ!

Do you hunger for such a walk? Do you long for such joy, peace, contentment, abandonment, and adventure in your own soul? If this is your hunger and desire, then God will do exactly what He has promised to do: He will fill you. Every promise God has ever made, He has kept—or will keep.

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour
Help Is On The Way
Help is on the way, for the broken hearted,
Over loved ones our life has seen departed;
He knows the depth of our grief is so real,
And His voice still whispers, Peace, be still!
Help is on the way, when we face the foe,
The Lord is there, He never leaves us alone;
Like a roaring lion, Satan seeks to destroy,
But God is with us, it’s reason for pure joy!
Help is on the way, for anything we face,
Nothing ever comes, without Him giving grace;
He knows all things, & gets there before we do,
He’s willing & able to lovingly lead us through!
Help is on the way, in a life that deeply hurts,
In all we have to face, He will get there first;
For His fulfilling or to see your joy replaced,
Do not be discouraged, help is on the way!
6-12-17
**After Bro. Curtis preached this.

Wisdom

by Charles Stanley

A growing number of people in our world fail to seek God for His wisdom. Instead, they strive to satisfy their passions and desires without regard to their futures or to the consequences of their decisions.

This is a spiritually dangerous way to live. When we try to live apart from the counsel of God’s wisdom, we suffer disillusionment, fear, doubt, worry, and frustration. Our lives fall apart when we do not involve the Savior in our decisions.

The wisest approach to life’s challenges is to seek God for His plan, direction, and spiritual insight. But how can we do that? The next time you face a challenge or an important decision, seek God’s wisdom by doing the following:

• Seek Him—If you want to know God’s heart on a given issue or when you have to make a difficult decision, ask Him. Take time to pray—but in your times of prayer, don’t do all the talking. Listen for God’s still, small voice whispering His words of guidance and encouragement to you.

• Meditate on God’s Word—You will gain insight into God’s mind and heart by studying Scripture and meditating on its truth. Difficult decisions become easier to make when God is the One guiding you.

• Obey the principles of Scripture—When you set your heart on obeying God, He will teach you how to apply His truth in your life. Then you will know the way of wisdom.

• Observe the faithfulness of God—The Lord has never failed to keep a single promise He has made. The Bible is full of testimonies that celebrate His goodness and love. Learn to claim His promises as you read His Word.

• Heed godly counsel—God can use a pastor or trusted Christian friend to help you see beyond your weaknesses. Don’t hesitate to share your needs and fears with those who love the Lord and you.

• Associate with wise people—Choose your friends wisely. Include God in every relationship, and you will establish a strong, godly base of counselors to support you in making wise decisions.

Because God loves us, we have no need to worry about the future. He has a plan, not only for our lives, but also for every problem we face. Oswald Chambers said, “All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.” Take time today to renew your trust in God and His ability to provide the wisdom you need.

The Truth

The Truth
Shall Make You Free

By Adrian Rogers

Have you ever been to a circus and seen an elephant chained to a stake in the ground? Why doesn’t he break free? Because as a young elephant he was tied to a tree. And try as he might, he couldn’t break free. Now the thought that he cannot break free is ingrained.

How true that is of you and me who have ingrained thought patterns in our lives. We say, “I am chained to this habit and I can’t break free.” Or we say, “I’m not good enough.” All kinds of lies keep us in bondage, but real truth is what God says, not what we think.

Are there any strongholds in your life that keep you chained to the past? Memorize these verses and break free from the lies of the past as you tell yourself the truth!

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

2 Corinthians 10:4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;”

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.