Weekly Spiritual Readings

August 28, 2015



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The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as God whispers ever so gently, "I'm here." --Max Lucado

Don't let your problems intimidate you. No matter how big the enemy may seem to be, remember that you have God's power on your side. And He is greater!

Sometimes when we get overwhelmed, we forget how big God is. — A.W. Tozer

God loves us and will always take care of use. God will continue to lift us up, set us on a high, safe wall, and refresh us with living water.

When the way seems impossible, God provides a path forward.

All who accept Christ receive a fresh start.

We are strengthened by the changes God makes during our fallow seasons. God cares for us. God knows exactly what to remove and what to preserve so that we will bear fruit in the coming seasons.

Whether walking or stumbling, we are God’s children.

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Facing Adversity Over and Over by Alan Smith
Did you hear about the teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put his boots on? He asked for help and she could see why. With her pulling and him pushing, the boots still didn't want to go on. When the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost whimpered when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet." She looked and, sure enough, they were.
It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on-this time on the right feet. He then announced, "These aren't my boots."
She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, "Why didn't you say so?" like she wanted to. Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off. He then said, "They're my brother's boots. My Mom made me wear them."
She didn't know if she should laugh or cry. She mustered up the grace to wrestle the boots on his feet again. She said, "Now, where are your mittens?" He said, "I stuffed them in the toes of my boots..."
As I read that, I thought about how many of our frustrations come about as the result of having to do something over and over. Let me give you an example. A number of years ago, I was having some back trouble and the doctor told me I needed surgery. I counted down the days until I could find some relief. The surgery went well (in fact, I went home less than 12 hours after surgery), but the recuperation didn't go as planned. Instead of getting relief, I found myself back under the doctor's knife six weeks later.
I remember that the greatest source of frustration wasn't the surgery itself. It was the fact that I thought I was getting better, but I had to start all over again. Just when I thought I was making progress, I encountered a setback. I was able to easily muster the emotional strength to face the first surgery, but it was much tougher the second time.
I've seen the same thing happen in a number of different areas. I suspect you have, too. Maybe you were hoping to get bills cleared up only to be hit with an unexpected dentist bill or car repair. Maybe it's harsh criticism you're dealing with, a situation at work that's making it difficult to maintain your Christian standards, or perhaps the struggles of dealing with a rebellious child. You think, "I can handle the difficulty I'm going through as long as I can see the light at the end of the tunnel". Only just when you're about at the end of the tunnel and you've taken about all you can take, you realize that there's more adversity ahead and the light is barely visible. I understand; I've been there.
The Christian life is long and sometimes difficult. There are times we feel we just can't take it anymore and we want to give up, especially when we've had to face the same adversity over and over and over again. May this passage serve as a source of comfort and strength to you:
"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." (Isa. 40:29-31).
I pray that your strength will be renewed this day as you wait upon the Lord. Hang in there!

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New Things by Os Hillman
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13b-14
Our past can be a hindrance or a help in moving toward God's purposes for each of us. For some, the past has meant pain and heartache, and grace is required so that we do not let our past dictate our responses to the future. If we allow our past to make us a victim, then we have not entered into the grace that God has for us. If we live on memories of past successes and fail to raise our vision for new things, we again are victims of our past.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Is. 43:19). Our past should only be viewed for what we can learn from it. We must move forward. Many have allowed their past to dictate their future. God is always about doing new things in our lives. He gives fresh revelation of His purposes in our lives. Do not live in the past. Do not hold onto bitterness that may hinder God from doing new and exciting things in your life. He turns our wastelands into streams of water to give life, not death.
How have you viewed your past? Has it hindered you in some areas of your life? Have you relied on past successes to dictate what you will do in the future? Put aside such thoughts and allow God to do a new thing in your life. Ask Him to help you see the new things He wants to do in and through you today.

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Attitude by Chuck Swindoll
“Your attitude (your mind set) should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company. . .a church. . .a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. . .we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. . .we are in charge of our Attitudes.

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Focus on God Author Unknown
Once there were three boys playing on the snow-covered ground. Along came a man who suggested that the boys race, with the winner receiving a prize. The boys readily agreed.
The man explained the rules for the race. He would stand at the end of the field. When he gave the signal, the boys were to start to run. The boy who had the straightest footprints in the snow would be the winner.
The race started and the first boy kept looking at his feet to make sure his steps were straight. The second boy kept looking at his contestants to see what they were doing; but the third boy just ran on with his eyes firmly fixed on the man at the end of the field.
The third boy was the winner, because his footsteps were straight in the snow. He had kept his eyes on the goal ahead of him.
Life is like that race. If we take our focus off Christ and begin looking down at our circumstances, we will fail. It is easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day struggles that we encounter, but we must realize that God will take care of us. We can never be the man and woman that Christ wants us to be if we lose our focus.
A focused life is a life built on faith. When we trust God to take care of the circumstances, we will be free of the worry and doubt that will throw us off track.
Quote: A man focused on God always knows the direction he is headed.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

 
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WHAT ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT? Author Unknown
I heard about a patient in a mental hospital who was holding his ear close to the wall, listening intently. The attendant finally approached. "Shh!" whispered the patient, beckoning him over. The attendant pressed his ear to the wall for a long time. "I can't hear a thing," he said. "I know," replied the patient, "it's been like that all day!"
Have you ever worried so much about things going wrong that you begin to worry when everything goes right? Worry probably does more than anything else to keep us from having peace of mind.
Psychologists (with nothing better to do) have come up with some statistics about our worries. They say that 40% of the things we worry about never happen, 30% of the things we worry about have already happened (and thus can't be changed), 12% of our worries focus on health concerns, and 10% of our worries are over insignificant things.
That means that over 80% of our worries are about things which are unimportant, or that we have absolutely no control over.
So, what have you been worrying about lately? The scriptures tell us, "Don't be anxious, don't worry about anything, but trust in God with everything. He will give you his peace about every situation you face."
"Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplica tion with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
Don't be anxious. Stop worrying.


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Majestic Mountains By Ann Brock Ludington
“Then in the Spirit He conveyed me away to a vast and lofty mountain and exhibited to me the holy city of Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God”. ~Revelation 21:10
Mountains are often known for their majestic beauty. They are often referred to as a place for people to go for a retreat; for prayer; a place of solitude; for refuge; and for safety.
In central Greece there are monastic structures on the top of a gathering of pillar mountains. According to the website wikipedia.com, “Studies suggest that the pinnacles were formed about 60 million years ago during the Paleogene Period.” The Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Eastern Orthodox monasteries in central Greece. Meteora in Greek literally means: “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air”, or “in the heavens above”.
The story goes: “Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets...This required quite a leap of faith--the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only...when the Lord let them break...”.
The exact date of the founding of the monasteries is unknown. By the 14th century there were more than twenty. Six have endured the test of time, and many, many prayers have been offered up to the heaven above to God from the top of those particular mountains. Currently, they are accessible by “staircases cut into the rock formations”, and they are popular tourist magnetisms.
In the Old Testament in the Book of Psalms, David referred to the mountains as a place where he sought refuge and safety from his enemies. He also stated: “I cried out to the LORD, and He answered me from His holy mountain.”. He referred to Mount Zion, as being the “the holy mountain” as the “city of the great King!”.
In the New Testament, Jesus often went up the mountain to pray. He also took His disciples with Him up the mountain, and He would sit with them to pray. One day He took James, John, and Peter up on the mountain to pray, and “to show them who He really was (NLT)”. It was during that time, on that mountain top, that Jesus was transfigured. His “countenance became altered, and His raiment became dazzling white. Then Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus (AMP).”.
While the majority of God's people will not visit Greece to see the monastic structures on the mountain tops, as individuals, they will have many personal mountains to climb such as illness, discouragement, and hopelessness. God's community of believers may go to the their personal mountain top to find refuge and safety, and to pray, just as David and Jesus did. Millie Stamm stated: “We, too, need the transformation, that comes from prayer. Fellowship with Christ through prayer transforms our character so that we reflect the glory of the Lord.”
God is reaching down with His ladder to you from the heaven above. This is the way up to surmount the mountains as you face them. Through your prayers, you are able to obtain His comfort, peace, wisdom, and security.
Lord God, thank You for continuing to reach out to us. Help us to always grasp Your extended hand. Amen.

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Third Eye by Julie Bowles
Psalm 121:2 – My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (NIV)
For the past few weeks, I have been using my road bike more than my trail bike. Both bikes have a side mirror attached to the left handlebar that allows me to see traffic as it approaches from my left. Due to hand and arm placement on my road bike, I find myself having to move my arm to see traffic in the mirror. Off to the bike store I went to see if I could find something better. Home I came with a small mirror that was to fit on my helmet. To me, it looked like a third eye.
After a few frustrating attempts at trying to fit it to my helmet, I went back to the bike shop. There the bike specialist helped me to fit it to the correct place, only I still couldn't see clearly with it. "Everything seems blurry and out of focus," I said. The tech assured me that it was placed correctly. Confused, we looked at a few other mirrors that might work. Then it came to me: I wear glasses with a prescription mostly in the left eye. In order to look at the mirror on my helmet, I had to turn my eyes to the left, past the edge of the prescription lens in my glasses, and everything in the mirror was blurry and out of focus. So here I am back to the other mirror that I started out with.
As I biked today, I felt the Lord impress upon me that He also has His eyes upon us.
Psalm 34:15 – The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. (NIV)
If we take our eyes from Him then the world becomes blurry and out of focus, even dangerous.
Psalm 25:15 – My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. (NIV)
Here is another verse that I have memorized:
Hebrews 12:2 – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NIV)
Just as I have to be alert when biking, we also need to be alert spiritually when we are out and about, or things can easily become blurry.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to shine a light into a world filled with despair and darkness. May our eyes be in focus with You so that we may bring clarity to others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
I want you to learn to be quiet and shut out all the noise and voices except for Mine, says the Lord. You cannot have sound judgment or make good decisions when there are too many voices around you. You cannot discern properly until you can find a place of peace both externally and internally. Be focused and still. Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

In a vision I saw a man making his way up a very steep mountain to reach the place where he would build his house. As he climbed he got tangled in vines and weeds that hindered his ascent. And, I heard the Lord say, "I'm taking you, My people, to a new dwelling place in the Spirit. It is higher than you have ever been. However, the enemy of your soul will try to prevent your progression. You must resist the temptations that entangle you and keep you from your destination. I am with you." Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

If you will watch and learn, I will give you fresh perspective that will help you better understand where you are and where you are going. But, you must pay close attention to what I show you, says the Lord. Positioning yourself according to My will and purposes will guarantee your success. Proverbs 5:1-2 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.

This is a time when small corrections will reap big benefits. Don't overlook anything that grabs your attention even for a moment, for I will show you the power of paying attention to details. And, I will cause the insignificant to become significant, says the Lord. Sharpen your focus to see the tiny things, and magnify your ability to hear My still, small voice. Proverbs 4:1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding.

A shift in direction and priorities is in process, which could cause you to feel lost. If you will refuse to allow your emotions to gain control at this time and keep moving forward, you will realize that you are not lost at all. You are changed, and the changes that you have endured will ultimately make you more stable, says the Lord. Ask and I will give you the anointing of ease. Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
I saw storm clouds gathering and out the clouds came lightning with thunder. And, the Lord spoke to me and said, "Tell My people to find themselves in safe spiritual habitations for the days ahead of them will be laced with danger and judgment. Come into secure habitations. First and foremost you must walk in the Spirit, for evil is about to rain down."

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My Guide by Hildur Sheady Christensen
I know not what the future holds,
The days I have not planned.
But I know Who holds the future,
And I know Who holds my hand.
He Who hath led will lead
All through the wilderness
He Who hath fed will feed,
He Who hath blest will bless.
He will not leave nor delay,
He never forgets His own.
He Who hath led will lead
All the way home.

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My Only Question by
Mara McWilliams
Do you look upon me Lord,
with a smile or a frown?
Am I a joy for you?
Or do I let you down?
I wish to know the truth God,
that only You can bring.
Fill me with these answers,
so I may better serve thee.

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The psalmist wrote, “In the day of trouble [the Lord] will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” - Psalm 27:5

Paul wrote, “I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:13-14

"You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." - Leviticus 20:26

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 1 Chronicles 16:10

9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27:14

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17

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The World's Most Expensive Trash Bag By Roy Irwin
It's always the small things.
During the annual running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race several years ago, the lead car began to overheat and was forced to make an unexpected pit stop. The crew frantically inspected every area of the car looking for the cause of the problem. With each passing second, the car fell further behind in the race. Unable to identify the problem, the crew sent the car back out onto the track.
The car continued to overheat, with sensors indicating the temperatures were now reaching critical levels. The car was again forced to make a pit stop. Again the crew checked over the car. They inspected the car's engine, hoses, belts and fluids. Quite by accident, one of the crewmembers looked into one of the air intakes and saw something unusual. He reached in and removed a small plastic trash bag.
The bag had been pulled into the intake and had been blocking the airflow, preventing it from properly cooling the engine. The car went back onto the track but by now was so far behind it had no chance of winning the race.
A plastic bag. It costs less than .01 cent. Yet it prevented this racecar from winning the hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money associated with this race. You could call it the 'World's Most Expensive Trash Bag'.
It's always the small things.
Throughout history we are reminded of this again and again. With Adam and Eve it was their decision to eat the fruit from the tree God had told them not to eat from that forced them out of paradise. With Esau it was a bowl of soup that he traded for his birthright. With Judas it was for 30 silver coins that he betrayed Jesus Christ.
Fruit. A bowl of soup. 30 silver coins. A plastic bag. Small things, really. By themselves they are harmless, innocent, good and useful. Yet they are symbols of larger decisions that resulted in tragic consequences.
It is a question that I am forced to ask myself all the time. What am I giving priority in my life? What is it that is standing between myself and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Is it Pride? Time? Money?
We are given a simple directive in Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well." (NIV) It is my sincere desire to put Jesus Christ first in every area of my life.
How about you? What is it that may be keeping you from experiencing a closer walk and deeper relationship with Jesus Christ? What are the things that you need to let go of - as you seek Him first?
"Dear Lord Jesus, There is nothing more worthy of our praise than you. Help us to put You first in every area of our lives every day. Amen."


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Jesus, increase our faith. Help us surrender to You, so the Holy Spirit can produce Your character in us. Help us follow where You lead. Whatever it takes, make us more like You.

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Read Through The Bible
Job 19
1 Then Job answered and said, 2 How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me. 4 And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself. 5 If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: 6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. 7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. 8 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. 9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. 10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. 11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. 12 His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. 13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily stranged from me. 14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. 15 They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. 16 I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. 17 My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. 18 Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. 19 All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. 20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. 21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. 22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? 23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. 28 But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? 29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

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Gracious Lord, By your grace we commit ourselves to be the salt of the earth, to help bring together your family into one community under your love and care. Help us share your message of redemption and love. Amen.

Wherever you are in life, whatever you've done, you can begin again. If you do not have Jesus in your life and wish to ask Jesus into your life please go to this link now to do so:  http://www.bluidkiti.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130  .  
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