Weekly Spiritual Readings

December 2, 2016

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.  Psalm 25:4-5

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Every time we experience a trial, the world watches to see the substance of our faith - watches to see if we maintain our love and devotion; watches to see if God will see us through this difficult time. There may often be no better way to minister to others than to simply praise God in the middle of our own trials - no better way to show that God is real than by making Him real in our own life. - Steve Troxel 

What is at the forefront of your mind? As you pray now, clench your fists and picture the issue being held tightly in your hands. Open your hands and release it to God.

No matter what is happening in your life, know that God is waiting for you with open arms.

God has a purpose and plan for us that no one else can fulfill.

The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not be sufficient for you.

When we call out God’s name, He gives us His undivided attention. Christa Kinde

When we take time for prayer, we'll find time for all the other things that need our attention.

An attitude of praise and thanksgiving is a choice, an act of our will. Sometimes we will not feel like giving thanks. But consider the results of doing so: a change takes place in us and around us; things begin looking up. We can cultivate an attitude of thankfulness and have thanksgiving every day. What can we thank God for today?

Jesus Christ is changing the world, one soul at a time.


It's not our circumstances that steal our joy; it's our attitude during our circumstances.
It is easy to think "If I could just get a new car, a bigger house, a better job, or more money, then I'll be happy." We tend to view happiness as a commodity attainable by wealth. However, as the old saying goes, "money cannot buy happiness."
Indeed, no amount of money or things will ever give you lasting joy or contentment; that's because joy and contentment are not based on circumstances. Therefore, if you're not content with what you have, you won't be content with what you want.
Although at first it may seem difficult, it is very possible to be content even during harsh circumstances. Paul said, in Philippians 4:11-12, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
In those two verses, Paul is saying that he could be content—that is, have joy—regardless of his circumstances. Joy should not be dependent on circumstances; it should be present regardless of them.
When Paul said that he could be content "in any and every situation," he truly meant everything—even the tough times of testing. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, he lists some of the tough times that he has endured: "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."
Even in all these things, Paul had "learned to be content." Clearly, it's not our circumstances that steal our joy. You, too, can learn "to be content whatever the circumstances."
Stop thinking that you will have joy after you buy a new house, after you get married, after you buy a better car, after your in-laws treat you right. Don't put off joy until after everything goes your way; decide to have joy now! For you can have joy whatever the circumstances! Weekly Wisdom


His Calm Within The Storm
Trust Him more and experience His calm within the storm.
In the message "Patiently Trust His Timing" we considered Abraham and Sarah as they waited for God's promise through the birth of Isaac. Waiting for God's direction and blessing can be a great test of our faith, but waiting on God for our rescue can be an even greater challenge.
There are three great storms detailed in the New Testament. The first occurred when Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee with His disciples. Jesus was asleep when the storm began, and the disciples became afraid and woke Him: "Lord save us! We're going to drown!" (Matthew 8:25). Jesus rebuked the disciples for their fear and proceeded to calm the storm; "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" (Matthew 8:26).
The second storm occurred immediately after the miraculous feeding of over five thousand people. This time, Jesus sent the disciples across the sea by themselves. When the storm rose up, Jesus went out to meet them...walking on the water. As Jesus again calmed the storm, He spoke the same message against fear; "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid" (Matthew 14:27).
The last storm occurred about thirty years after Jesus was crucified. Paul had proclaimed the gospel through much of the Roman empire and was being transported by boat to stand trial in Rome. A storm arose which blew the ship terribly off course. The ship was battered and tossed for several days; "We finally gave up all hope of being saved" (Acts 27:20).
It must have been difficult to trust God's timing as the storm continued through the many long days and sleepless nights. But as hope was fading away, God sent an angel to Paul with a familiar message.
Acts 27:23-24 - "Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, 'Do not be afraid.'"
There may be times when our ability to trust is severely tested. But our faith in God - in His ability to hold us secure - must be independent of the force of the wind. Though the winds may blow, we remain in His hands and must not fear; "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, but even if He does not..." (Daniel 3:17-18).
Most storms last longer than we prefer. But our Heavenly Father is leading us to the place where we can have peace, contentment, and even joy, whether the sun is shining or the storm is raging. He is calling us to be free of fear; calling us to trust Him more and experience His calm within the storm. Have a Christ Centered Day! Steve Troxel


What's Bugging You? by CBN
Randomly tidying up my house, I lifted and shook out the blanket my dog slept on the night before. Immediately, I encountered a most disturbing sight – a huge water bug – lying on the floor under my dog's bedding! I stood perfectly still, watching to see which direction it would take to escape me. It remained in its place - frozen. Thankfully, it was already dead.
"Great," I muttered as I plodded down the hall for my broom and dustpan. "Now we'll need to spray the whole house with insecticide." My disgust for the situation mounted as I pondered why we call them water bugs, these roaches on steroids. They are just horrible - huge, fast and creepy.
When I returned with my water bug removal tools, I bent down to the floor to make sure the intruder was all-the-way dead before daring to whisk it into the dustpan. Heaven forbid it should wiggle while en route to the trashcan and cause me to freak-out.
"What?" I had to chide myself when I got the close-up view.
This was no roach at all. It was a balled up, flattened out piece of blanket strings that my puppy had chewed up – conveniently posing as a huge water bug! "How silly of me to get so worked up over this would-be bug anyhow," I thought.
As I swept the imposter into my dustpan, I felt that beautiful nudge that comes from the Holy Spirit. The message to my soul was about my attitude.
You see, I am involved in a project that's been weighing heavy on me. It's taking way longer than I expected, has several unresolved problems and I'm not able to do my part of the project without running into barriers out of my realm of fixing. I've really let it get me frustrated and a bit overwhelmed.
This was God's subtle message for me: when I look at the project, I am seeing a water bug! But, it's not a water bug. It may look like one to me, but it's not.
Ah, the reminder that I can get worked up over things that don't deserve that much energy or emotion! My vision and understanding are limited. God's aren't.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
Just because I run into difficulties, does not mean that I need to become the judge and jury of how things are. I don't know everything. God does.
So, in response to this edification, I confessed my ugly attitude to the Lord God and asked Him to help me apply and remember this lesson. Because of His power to change me when I am sincere, I adopted a new outlook on the project. I'm at peace with what's going on with this project and not on edge about it anymore.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
My relationship with Jesus is no more special than anyone else's. He loves us all the same. He's willing to remove fear, arrogance, judgmental spirits, self-pity, anger – you name it, He's got the removal tool. Change comes when we see what He's showing us and respond to His gentle nudge in anticipation of something good, straight from heaven.
I don't know how the project I'm working on will have all its kinks straightened out. My goal is to do my part with a servant's heart and not look at the difficulties as large, encroaching and menacing bugs. They are merely a collection of old chewed-up strings.
What's bugging you today? Is it really a bug at all?


If you want true life, you must have the Word of Life.
To many people, physical life is deemed to be the measure of whether or not one has life. However, true life—spiritual life—requires more than a beating heart. That's because we are spiritually hungry and thirsty people constantly looking for answers to life's persistent problems. Often, we look to idols like education, money, and success for those answers. However, real solutions for real life come only from the Author of Life—God, himself.
True life—the type so many people hunger and thirst for—can only be found in Christ. In John 6:35, Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." Obviously, Jesus isn't talking about physical hunger; instead, He is talking about spiritual hunger.
Not only will Jesus satisfy your spiritual hunger, but He will also quench your spiritual thirst: "To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life" (Revelation 21:6).
That verse refers back to Isaiah 55:1-2, where God says, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare."
Therefore, stop trying to seek worldly things for satisfaction, because worldly pleasures are temporary. Instead, heed the advice of Isaiah 55:6: "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near."
God is the source of all life, and if you want true life, you must have God's Word of Life. Weekly Wisdom


What You Were Made to Do
Many people stop short of their destiny. They settle for someone else’s story. Grandpa was a butcher, Dad was a butcher, so I guess I’ll be a butcher. Everyone I know is in farming, so I guess I’m supposed to farm. Consequently, they risk leading dull, joyless, and fruitless lives. They never sing the song God wrote for their voices. They never cross a finish line with heavenward-stretched arms and declare, I was made to do this! They fit in, settle in, and blend in. But they never find their call.
Don’t make the same mistake. Ephesians 2:10 says: “It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” Your existence is not accidental. Your skills are not incidental. God shaped each person in turn! From Glory Days


Flee the Pea! By Greg Allen
Charles Spurgeon told the story of a preacher who was strolling through a village. As he walked along, he saw a man going down the road with a herd of pigs following in line behind him like sheep following behind a shepherd. This was a very unusual sight, because pigs, ordinarily, are very self-centered, independent creatures that never follow anyone. So the preacher asked, "Sir, how do you get those pigs to follow you like that?"
"Oh, it's easy," the farmer said. "I have a sack full of peas in my pocket; and I just keep walking, occasionally dropping a pea on the road behind me. The pigs follow along wherever I drop a pea and gobble it up, never caring where I'm leading them."
"That's very clever!" said the pastor. "By the way; where are you leading them?" And the man said, "To the butcher's shop, of course."
The devil often follows the same strategy. The Bible warns us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8; NKJV). But he rarely carries a big sign that says, "Follow me, so I can devour you." He knows we wouldn't follow him if he was that obvious. Instead, he works subtly to draw us away from God's good will for our lives.
Just like the farmer in that story, the devil drops little, fleshly temptations in front of us through the elements of our culture: a suggestive movie or television show here; an off-color story or inappropriate joke there; a seductive advertisement or pop song here; a pornographic magazine or web page there. And if we aren't alert, we follow along behind, picking such things up and thinking, "I can handle this. This isn't so bad. It's just a little pea, after all. It tastes good. Who's it going to hurt? Who's going to care? Who's going to know?" We gobble these tempting little "peas" up, one after another; never realizing that they're forming a straight line that is leading us down a slippery slope to destruction and loss.
The answer that the Bible gives to such things is summed up in one word:
"Flee" (1 Corinthians 6:18).
As followers of Jesus Christ, let's remember the devil's strategy; and by His help, let's "FLEE THE PEA!"


When I say good morning I mean to say:
O-ffers us His
D-evotion to
M-ake us
O-bedient &
R-eady for a
N-ew day with Him.
I-nspire others please, and
N-ever forget
G-od loves you!
-- Author Unknown


Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
In a vision I saw a small plateau on the way up a mountain. It was peaceful, and we were calm and happy. The sun was shining and the air was clear. It was beautiful. And, I heard the Lord say, "Enjoy this time of refreshment as your spirit is being renewed. This won't last forever, but the strength and encouragement that you receive now will help carry you through days of adversity." Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

In the world darkness abounds, but I have called you to walk in light and truth. Allow Me to bring light where there is darkness and truth where there is error. Do not deviate from that path. I will show you the way that produces life, says the Lord. John 12:46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness."

Search your soul for unrighteousness; find that place of darkness in your heart and repent. Know that your repentance is real when you are horrified and mortified at your sin. Seek Me for deliverance, and I will forgive and restore you, says the Lord. Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

You live in times of great evil and adversity. Your only place of escape is in Me, says the Lord. You must come and hide yourself in truth and righteousness so that the enemy cannot touch you and nothing can dissuade you from My purposes and your life in Me. This is a deliberate commitment and takes effort to maintain, but I will give you the help and strength you need. Don't get caught up in the issues of life and worldly concerns; keep eternal focus. Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

Stop and take a deep breath. You have been in a spiritual whirlwind, but now I want you to consider where you have been and how far you have come. Let this be a time of reflection and rededication to the kingdom and of allowing My word to propel you forward into faith and righteousness, says the Lord. Refuse to allow worldliness to steal your peace and joy. Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Refuse to react emotionally to upsetting circumstances. I will show you ways to deal with stress with peace and civility, says the Lord. Trust Me to give you wisdom and direction in all things. But, it will be up to you to exercise self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

It is more important than ever for you to walk and live in the Spirit. Opportunities will arise to deal with those who intrude into your personal space. And, you might also have to evaluate your intrusion in the personal space of others. Watch for issues of manipulation and control, and be sensitive and gracious as you endeavor to keep the peace while establishing and maintaining good boundaries, says the Lord. Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Where is your love? I speak to many who started your spiritual journey with true love in your heart for Me. Then, you allowed that love to fade into religious tradition and service. I would have you remember the love and stir yourself up not only to love Me, but to know Me, says the Lord. My love for you has never changed. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.


The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
I have brought you into the kingdom, for such a time as this, that you might grow exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that you can imagine or think of as My work is being developed and demonstrated in you. For, I am the Lord of glory. I am about to bring you into the glory of this age. Strengthen yourself. Understand that in this season I will make Myself known to you in ways that you have not known Me before. So, allow your faith to soar. This is a time when the greatest of My people shall arise to their positions of glory and demonstration by the power of faith, says the Lord.


The Holy Alphabet
Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame.
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know.
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be,
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee.
Move out of "Camp Complaining"
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone.
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command.
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
X alting God Most High.
Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!


Take My Life and Let It Be by Frances R. Havergal, 1874
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.


Your Creation Author Unknown
The many colors of autumn
remind us of the great variety in your creation,
each having value and worth.
Fill us with a sense of wonder and praise
for the manifold signs of your love
and presence in all creatures.
Let us respect and protect them
from those that may bring them harm.
Your glory shines through what you have made.


Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Ephesians 4:29-31 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13

Colossians 2:6-7 – Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 3:17 – Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. - James 5:16


DEAR CHILD: I just wanted to remind you today of how beautiful you are because there is a father of lies who will try to deceive you. He will try to tell you that you are not good enough, not attractive enough, not thin enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, not righteous enough, and that you are simply unimportant to Me.
He will try to tell you that you have broken one too many promises, that you have fallen one too many times, that you have lived one too many lies, and that you've been going in the wrong direction so long that it is pointless to turn back now.
But guess what?
You see, you are My creation. My workmanship. You have been borne of My thought, every part of you placed together by My hands. You have My thumbprint upon you. You are a prince/princess, did you know that? You are My child, the child of THE King!
I look at you and see a precious, priceless pearl. There is no ocean I would not swim, no mountain I would not climb, no price I would not pay to have you and to be with you and call you My own.
I already have.
I have done all that I could, given all that there is. I desire to be with you every moment of every day. How I long for you to talk to Me every day. My love for you never grows cold. My promises are never broken (contrary to what he might lead you to believe). My character never changes. And you, my child have been made in My image.
I love you dearly, unconditionally and completely. I understand every emotion that you have. I've been there. I count every tear that you cry. I know every hair on your head.
And do you know what?
I even know your weaknesses and your failures and your fears. I know those hidden parts of you that you wish would go away. Those dark corners of your world that you stuff deep down, praying that no one will ever see. I have already seen them and they will not change my love for you.
Nothing will.
I love your heart and I desire all of it.
I just wanted to remind you today of how beautiful you are and how precious you are to Me.
With Unmeasurable Love,
Your Heavenly Father


Holy Father, I am humbled by Your willingness to love and forgive me. Please take the broken pieces of my life and don’t allow me to grab them back. I surrender to Your healing. Mold me and shape me into a reflection of Your beautiful glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Read Through The Bible
Psalm 43
1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. 2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. 4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.


Dear God, thank you for the miracles you bestow on us and for never giving up on us. Amen.

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Jesus is calling you to live a life that matters.
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