Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

Ps. 89:15 Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

Worship is not confined to one day a week. Worship happens whenever we turn our hearts and mind to the Lord. Worship does not depend on an agenda to make it happen. It is the spontaneous reaching upward to God. Worship is what we do in response to who God is. It is praise, thanksgiving, meditation, singing, and waiting. It is confession and adoration. It is the filling of our souls with God. It can happen anytime and anywhere. It can last for a few moments or it could last for hours.

The call to worship is a joyful call. All of nature sings forth the praises of God. Birds do not sing a sad song. The varied sounds of nature are not a death song. All of creation testify to God’s greatness and glory. It is a wondrous thing to draw near to God. God calls us into worship. Oh, what a joyous occasion worship is!

Think about it. God calls us to into His presence! We are allowed to enter into pure light, into the splendor of His holiness. We are allowed to linger in the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We linger and are purified by His amazing presence and touch.

Worship changes us. It changes our perspective on life and how we live it. It changes how we react to what comes our way. How can it not? When you leave worship and mingle amongst men, can they see that you have been with Jesus?
C Through Marriage

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chaper on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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Suffering is Painful by Heather Bixler

Suffering is Painful by Heather Bixler

Suffering is painful. It is often something I thought as just what we go through in this life. Often I think we get to a point in our suffering where we feel as if we just need to grin and bear it. We think this has just become our lot in life, it will never end, and therefore we just look forward to the reward we will receive in heaven.

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. Psalm 71:20

God has definitely spoken to my heart about the reward certain people who live a life of suffering will receive in heaven. It’s a reward that we cannot see, and God has assured me that it is something far greater than I can ever imagine.

But lately God has also been showing me the beauty of restoration. He has shown me that whatever the enemy has stolen God will return double to us here on this earth.

We may not be able to understand loss in our life, or even suffering. Some suffering is temporary, but some is not. All loss will last a lifetime.

The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14

If you have ever lost a loved one then you know the grief, and the pain you suffer, around that loss doesn’t completely go away. If you suffer daily from a chronic illness, or have a loved one who does, then you know that unless the Lord intervenes and heals the body, then this suffering will be for the rest of their life.

Loss and suffering isn’t something we can avoid, but our hope is always in the promises of God.

His promise is this: Everything we lose and suffer goes into a box called “all the things the enemy has stolen from me.” THEN GOD takes all of that and redeems it. We have hope in knowing that even though it may not end the way we hope, God will turn it into something even greater than we could ever imagine. That’s not including the reward we will receive in heaven…

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.– Psalm 23:3

About the Author:

Heather Bixler

Hello, My name is Heather! I am a mom of three, married to a firefighter, and I am a writer. In 2005 I ventured into the online world to simply start an online community for moms. Little did I know the adventure God had in store for me. It has been a roller coaster with many ups and downs, but each step has led me to where I am today. My heart is to share God’s word with you in a loving and practical way. If you are looking to find a way to connect then please check out my upcoming online Bible Studies here:http://heatherbixler.com/online-bible-study/

 

The Gifts They Have by Staci Stallings

The Gifts They Have by Staci Stallings

My children have taught me so much. One of the things they continue to teach me is the brilliance of the Master’s Plan. I know it’s His Plan because this looks nothing like mine.

You see, my children came pre-set with personalities and gifts that I did not put there. Yes, I see flashes of things my husband and I liked, but overall, these kids are put together differently than either of us.

First of all, there’s my oldest who has a strong organizational streak. She love photography and graphic design. Putting slide shows together is like drinking water to her. In fact, she has now been commissioned to put one together for her school after she did such an excellent job on the one for her class last year. On the chores front, she likes to unload the dishwasher but not to load it. Don’t know why. It’s a God-thing, I guess. She seems like a timid little vulnerable flower, but she’s got a will of iron. However, she will be a good sport about just about anything–so long as no one was harmed in the event.

My second daughter takes music to a whole new level. I had assumed (because both my husband and I were musical) that oldest daughter would follow in that path. I was wrong! She took piano one year and suffered through it. Second daughter, however, was born with rhythm in her veins. She now plays drums very loudly but also quite well in our basement. She is teaching herself piano, and will take pieces she’s learned there and transfer it by memory to the bells and the marimba. It amazing to watch how quickly she picks up an instrument. Violin, guitar, piano, drums, bells, mirimba… It must be fun!

My son loves electricity. He loves to wire stuff up, change out light bulbs, and make things work. Snap Circuits are the best toy ever invented for this one. He can play with them for hours. His other love is stuff animals and making plays. So who knows, maybe his destiny lies in the theater or in lighting the theater… or maybe in drawing and creating children’s books as he is remarkably good at that as well.

I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re a parent or a teacher, help your child find THEIR calling. Don’t superimpose what you want them to do over them. Beyond the basics of math, writing, and reading, let God’s plan for them take over and guide them. You will be amazed at the gusto with which they pursue their passions–even at very young ages.

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2011

About the Author:

Staci StallingsNow a #1 Best Selling Christian and Inspirational Romance author, Staci Stallings, astay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors includinghttp://CrossReads.com, http://Graceandfaith4u.com, andhttp://StaciStallings.net.

Don’t Be Job’s Friends by Kari Trumbo

We’ve all been there, that moment when you hear terrible news from one of your friends. The fact is, there are only two outcomes in this scenario, you will comfort them in the knowledge that you are thinking of them and care or you will end up saying something that hurts them. Nothing you say will make the situation better. Your words can not take away someone’s pain, even if you happen to be the cause. That pain will still be there until they can process the situation in their own time with the Lord.

At age thirty-something-approaching-forty, I’ve had my fair share of those Job situations. People do get sick. People die. Friends and relatives suffer terribly. As Christians, as sharers in the hope of Jesus Christ, how can we avoid being modern-day friends of Job? Let’s take a look at what not to say.

“If you pray for release, you’ll get it,” or “If you had more faith, you’d be healed by now.” No one knows exactly how the Lord will answer prayer. He is not some cosmic vending machine doling out a blessing at the drop of His Name. Sometimes we must endure hardship. He never said we wouldn’t. If he did, people would be running to join our ranks in droves just to be spared the tragedies of life.

“God is teaching you through this,” or “He will bless you richly for your suffering.” As much as pain can be a learning experience, it can take YEARS of working through the pit to get to the light and some never do. It comes across as cold and unfeeling. We are called to be loving and compassionate. As to the blessing, yes Job may have been richly blessed after his trial, but I doubt he counted the blessings as outweighing his loss.

“Look at So-and-So, they made it, you’ll be just fine” or “It could be worse” These phrases are not only holier than thou, they also undercut the scriptures which say that we can have our season to mourn. The Lord doesn’t compare our sin to anyone else’s, nor does He compare our hurts. To do that to a fellow believer could lead to the false teaching that He does.

So, if those are things not to say, what can you say that might comfort someone who is suffering?

“I can’t begin to know what you are going through, but I love you and I’m praying for you.” This may sound obvious but knowing people are praying for you will not make it worse. It doesn’t make them feel they have done anything to deserve the plight they are going through, nor is God going to magically fix it, but at least the request is in.

“Can I do anything to help you?” Understand, the person will probably tell you no. If you have a mind to, do something anyway. Bring a meal, send some flowers if they like them, have a book delivered, you could even send a card. You are thinking of them not only right now in the moment, but when you walk away as well.

You could opt to not say anything at all, but not in a cold shoulder way. Perhaps the words on your heart would be best expressed by a hug or a written note. In some instances, a hug conveys more meaning than the floweriest words.

The book of Job used to bother me. I recently read it again and came to an interesting personal discovery. Maybe Job wasn’t written for people who are hurting, perhaps it was written for those of us responding to those who are hurting. Job’s friends did him no favors. If there had been buses in Job’s day, his friends would have thrown him under one. How they responded to Job could give us a clear indication of how not to be a friend of Job.

About the Author:

Kari Trumbo

Kari Trumbo is an aspiring author, freelance editor, wife and mother to 4 vibrant children. She homeschools, teaches 4-6th graders for Kids Club at the Paynesville Bible Church, crafts, and reads voraciously.

Lord, May I? by Heather Bixler

Lord, May I? by Heather Bixler

1_corinth_10_23

But he gives us more grace.

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” – James 4:6

I think most of our prayers begin with:

  • “God, can you?”
  • “Lord can I have?”
  • “God I want…”

I remember in second grade I had a teacher who use to always make us say, “May I go to the bathroom?”

If we ever said, “Can I go to the bathroom?” She would always respond with “I don’t know, can you?” It used to drive me crazy. Having to use the words “may I” was a break down of my seven-year-old pride!

It felt awkward to say, “May I go to the bathroom.” I would often wonder why I had to say it that way especially when I didn’t have to at home.

It should be no surprise to you (my readers) that God has been working on the topics of humility and obedience with me. You see I have issues, and I am working on bringing them all to the light. One thing that has always been a huge problem in my life was submitting to authority. For some reason I feel I know enough to not have to submit to those in authority over me. …But this is NOT TRUE!

Today in prayer God gently convicted my heart in how I approach certain situations, and even my prayer to HIM. Often I tell people what I’m going to do, in particular I tell my husband what I’m going to do. I do not ask his permission enough, and I know that.

Then there is God, and my prayers to Him. I often approach Him with a huge sense of entitlement.

  • God give me this!
  • I’m just SO frustrated!
  • I want THIS!

Then today I just tried to approach Him by ASKING Him. I didn’t ask Him if He COULD give me something – of course He can give me ANYTHING.

Kind of like when the teacher asked if we could go to the bathroom, of course we can use the bathroom but we weren’t asking if we could, we just needed permission to do so.

It’s not a question as to whether God CAN but a matter of us gaining His permission to have the desires He has placed on our hearts.

Honestly, I think God is waiting patiently to show us His generosity. I can even say this when several desires of my heart have yet to be fulfilled.

God is a generous God.

He has always been faithful, even in the trials. He has always shown me that He sees me, and He is there. Never once does He allow me to remain in my own self-pity thinking that there is not a purpose, and reason, for the prayers that have not been answered the way I had hoped.

I know God doesn’t take our requests lightly, but sometimes I FEEL like He does. However, today as I learned to ask for permission instead of demanding results right now, He has been GRACIOUS, and I received my answers a lot quicker than usual.

Prayer has always come pretty easy to me. Writing out what I think and want comes naturally. I can have a conversation with God, no problem.

But the hard part is reconciling the “NO” with “Ask and it shall be given to you,” and God knows this. You see I was able to ASK Him the painful question, and He was willing to answer.

I have a problem with people who say God will never say NO to a prayer. Honestly that little bit of “encouragement” has always left me baffled. Didn’t he basically tell Jesus NO in the garden before His crucifixion? Didn’t He tell Adam and Eve they couldn’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Obviously we have convinced ourselves that God will never tell us NO so that we could have faith for the things we want.

But ask and it shall be given to you is simply God inviting us to ASK His permission to have the things He has already given to us.

Changing our prayers to asking for permission will drastically change how we pray. To often we approach the throne of grace with entitlement instead of thanksgiving. We are entitled to nothing, and yet God has given us EVERYTHING He ever loved and cherished through JESUS!

Asking for permission does one important thing, it brings God into Your life and you are opening up your heart to hear His guidance.

If we want God’s direction in our life, then we need to approach Him for guidance instead of praying for the things we want…

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