Weekly Spiritual Readings

August 29, 2014



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God is our hope and our comfort.  --The Daily Upper Room Devotional

Today I will act on what I know God wants me to do. --The Upper Room Daily Devotional

All that God seeks from you is the devotion of your heart. God is love. Those that love God will know God and do His will.

When I think of any of my successes, I am thankful to GOD from whom all blessings flow, and to my family and friends that enrich my life.

Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.

Check with God, He will always guide and direct. He will keep us pressed into His service and sometimes His service is merely a kind smile to a stranger. It may be that He wants you to do something new and will declare this to you.

St. Theresa's Bookmark
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing make you afraid,
All things are passing,
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is lacking to the one who has God--
God alone is enough

The LORD watches over you.

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THE HOMELESS MAN Author Unknown
It was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church. As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face.
He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the church. We all fellowshipped for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.
A few moments later church began. We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us the Word, when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit he took off his hat and coat.
My heart sank.
There stood our preacher...he was the "homeless man." No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand. "Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today." Then he started singing the words to this song. "If I can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a word or song. If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong. Then my living shall not be in vain."

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The Medication by Lynne Phipps
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)
Lucy, our old goat, and Mama, our old horse, have one thing in common: they suffer from arthritis. What they don't have in common is their attitude about their medication.
Lucy accepts the apples dipped in the powdered medication with relish, munching and crunching her way through them. Mama, however, turns her nose up at any and all such offerings, refusing to ingest that which would bring her the reward of pain relief.
The difference between these two creatures has often made me wonder if I might at times be doing the same thing as Mama, in regard to a certain aspect of my Christian walk. Let me explain.
People are marvellous. They are made in the image of God. And yet, is it just me, or have you, too, noticed what a total pain they can be from time to time. Their actions can be most painfully annoying, inconsiderate, rude, frustrating, obnoxious, and counterproductive.
And yet what does God say? Love your neighbour as yourself, and do not become weary in doing good. Mmmm … yeah, right … that's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow. That's what I sometimes think about some of my so-called neighbours and these commands. And yet, the psalmist has written:
Psalm 119:103 – How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (NIV)
He had obviously lived long enough and had been obedient enough to know that all of God's commands, all of His words, are good and right and lovely and reap a wonderful harvest if we will only choose to ingest and employ them as we should.
So, the next time I find my neighbours' actions painfully annoying, frustrating, rude, obnoxious, inconsiderate, and counterproductive, I am going to choose rightly. Like Lucy, the goat, I am going to take the pain relief medication God is offering me. I am going to choose to love my neighbour as myself and not grow weary of doing good, believing that at the proper time, I shall indeed reap a harvest of just reward. How about you?
Father God, help us this day to ingest and employ with relish the sweetness of Your words which leads to the health of both our own and our neighbours' well-being. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

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In the Midst by Heidi & Rolland Baker
I used to think most of the Christian walk was about “toughing it out”—enduring suffering, living with disappointment and struggling through hardship. But I have realized something very precious, especially in the last year, as God has been teaching me and training me.
James 1:2–4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Suffering has purpose. Understanding this changes how we feel about undergoing it.
Having joy because of trials in this way bears so much fruit. It actually leads us to a place where we are truly mature in Christ and lack nothing. Joy fills in the gaps.
In 2 Corinthians 8:2, Paul writes, “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” Joy doesn’t change circumstances, but it does change our attitude toward what we face.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is part of the Holy Spirit’s character (see Galatians 5:22). He loves to bring “the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).
What about you? Are you a carrier of joy or misery? How would people describe you? Would they say you lighten the atmosphere around you, or do you add to the heaviness? Being joyful is not the same as being happy. Happiness depends on outward things, but joy wells up from within.
All of us can feel relief and contentment when we have come through a hard time. We can rejoice and praise God for how He has brought us out of it. But the challenge is, how joyful are we in the midst of it?

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Plane Truth by John Stuart
John 5:20 – For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. (NIV)
When I was twelve years old, I ran away from home. I caused my parents a great deal of grief and dismay. When I returned in the wee small hours in the morning, I expected to be punished. Instead, my Mum and Dad embraced me. For the next couple of weeks, my Dad took me in to his work and showed me around the engineering factory where he was manager. At night time, we both worked on a project — the building of a small, wooden, red biplane.
The biplane was a replica of a drawing taken from one of my favourite comic books. My Dad was a superb draughtsman, and it fascinated me to watch him create a blueprint for the wings, fuselage, wheels, and propeller. He was putting a lot of time and effort into this project, more than he could really afford, because he was a very busy manager. By the end of the month, we finished the biplane and I proudly displayed it on my bedroom table. It was the first thing I saw each morning and the last thing I looked at each night.
By taking time to make the biplane, my Dad was showing me all that he did. He was also giving me all of his attentive love. Ever since then, I've loved model aircraft, and when I take some precious time to build one, it takes me back to those days when a troubled and insecure boy found strength and love in his father's patience, forgiveness, and care.
No matter where we are today, what we are experiencing, or whatever we may have to endure, our heavenly Father embraces and abides with us, showing us His love through all that He does.
Lord Jesus, You lead us to Your Father in heaven, who offers us peace of mind, strength for our hearts, and blessings to our souls. When we are lost, Your Father finds us. When we are insecure, Your Father protects us. We thank You for sharing Your Father with us and for the gift of His amazing love, which promises us of greater things to come. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

 
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Get Connected To Goda Author Unknown
But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
As we move through our busy, hectic lives on a synchronized mission of daily events plotted out in bold headlines on our calendars and "to do" lists, we realize the importance we have placed on functioning technology to pull us along and keep us gripped to our everyday schedules, while allowing us to efficiently manipulate and accomplish many tasks in our daily lives.
Our cell phones and computers require charging and plugging into a power source. We need cell towers, data plans, Internet providers, power surge protectors, fire walls, and secure passwords - and that's just to be able to be linked to everyone and everything immediately. It's all for the purpose of making the busy even busier by allowing us to cram more into our 86,400 seconds we have in a day.
Have you ever thought about how much trust and reliance we place in these devices to run our lives?
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
This Bible verse arrests me in my thinking and gives me great reason to rethink everything.
What if we stay plugged in and connected to our Creator with the same unmatched enthusiasm? What if we were to give God the same dedication, reliance and trust that we give to our small plugged in know-it-alls?
Would we not have the most amazing life if we started our days supercharged in the Lord and completely connected to the ultimate of all power sources? The connection that is always reliable, the one that is never subject to error, the one that can't break down or become obsolete.The one source that can never be hacked, breeched, or compromised! The highly functional, trustworthy, super intelligent, miraculous, omniscient kind of connection that can conclusively never fail!
God is the power source and by us being the branches stemming from the vine we are plugging into God and simultaneously we become fully functional as a result. We as humans and Children of God require the recharging that we get from being connected to our very own Creator in the same way we must plug in a lamp in order for it to give off light.
Without it's power source, what good is a lamp? It is just a useless piece of metal glass and wire incapable of functioning in the purpose for which it was created.
Likewise what good are we? What purpose are we serving if we aren't plugged in to our power source every day? We need to be connected to the Lord to work properly and in the direction of our divine purpose through Him. We also need to be a light! Without our source, we too will be a broken lamp in the darkness.
God wants a "yes" from each of us.
Sometimes the greatest battle is not fought against outside opposition but rather in our own choice to yield our will to God's word. We must start our days filled with the word of God, seeking God and his righteousness first and before anything else. Then we will be anointed and equipped to handle all things through Him. He is unfailing.
Stay fully connected to the divine love and wisdom of our Heavenly Father, by wholeheartedly trusting in Him. By praying, reading The Word, and following His deep and divine purpose for our lives, we will stay rooted in Him. Worship Him and surrender our days to Jesus Christ. Without Him we can do nothing, we are nothing. Like a branch pruned from the vine, it will surely die.
Stay connected to God and LIVE!
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me – Philippians 4:13


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THE ALPHABET PRAYER Author Unknown
A little shepherd boy was watching his sheep one Sunday morning and he heard the bells of the church ringing. As he watched the people walk along the pasture where he was, he happened to think to himself, "I would like to communicate with God! But, what can I say to God?" He had never learned a prayer.
So, on bended knee, he began to recite the alphabet. Repeating this prayer several times, a man passing by, heard the boy's voice and peaked through the bushes. He saw the young boy kneeling with folded hands, eyes closed, repeating the alphabet.
He interrupted the boy. "What are you doing, my little one?" he asked. The boy replied, "I was praying sir." The man seemed surprised and said, "But why are you reciting the alphabet?" The boy explained, "I don't know any prayers, sir. But I want God to take care of me, and to help me care for my sheep. And so I thought, if I said all I knew, He could put the letters together into words, and He would know all that I want and should say!"
The man smiled and said, "Bless your heart, God will!" And he went on to church knowing full well that he had heard the finest sermon he could possibly hear that day.
Never believe the lie that God does not hear prayer. The Lord doesn't look for eloquence of speech or a life of righteousness in order to hear our prayers, but rather looks at the intent of the heart that is seeking Him. We are to come before Him humbly seeking His guidance and direction for our life and asking the Lord to forgive us of our iniquities and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. He is a loving and merciful God and will hear the hearts cry of His children. Be encouraged to seek the Lord daily in prayer sharing with Him your trials, tribulations, desires, questions, triumphs and anything else that comes to mind. He is your Father and desires to be in communion with you. (1 Samuel 16:7) (Isaiah 26:9)


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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
When you fail to accomplish what you set out to do, refuse to see yourself as a failure. Rather, see failure as an opportunity to make a course correction instead of sinking in the mire of condemnation. You are Mine; you belong to Me. I am with you to show you the way to victory, says the Lord. Be strong and courageous. Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

It's not the end of the book, but there are chapters in your life that are about to close. Do what is necessary to bring closure to areas of your life that have not only been unproductive, but have also been painful. Now is the time to break free into the liberty that will be necessary before you can move forward. Do so with confidence, says the Lord, for I am with you. Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed."

Harvest time is upon you, says the Lord. You will begin to reap a harvest from the spiritual seeds you have sown, but the enemy has also planted things that you will need to deal with first. I will show you the things that have tried to overtake the goodness and bounty of this season if you will quiet your soul and be sensitive to My leading. Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."

Have you listened to Me as I have advised you to stop worrying? And, have you ignored the wisdom of this advice? It will do you absolutely no good to continue to fuss over things that you have no control over. It only demonstrates weakened faith. Let freedom reign in your circumstances by trusting Me with things that cause you to be stressed, says the Lord. Matthew 6:30-34 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
Lift up your heads, My children, and walk with Me. I have not forgotten you. I’ve watched over you from the day of your birth. I have followed you on the path of life. I have brought you through circumstances even as I brought the three Hebrew children through the fire without the smell of smoke on them. I have been with you, I have loved you, and I have shown you the way. I am for you and not against you. I will reveal to you the hidden mysteries. I will bring a present truth into your life that will create the dynamic of this next season that we call, the season of the dove--the amplification of the Spirit, the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. Those nine ways that I amplify Myself through you are gifts of My Spirit that will come upon you and flow through you. The gifts will change the atmospheres around you, will deny the devil access, will bring the power of healing into your life, provide for you the miracle that is necessary, and will bring the voice of power that will sustain you and become the fresh manna of this day. So, I say, come and dine, My beloved, come and feast on present truth. For, it is the dish that I am serving in this day, says the most Holy. Come and receive and make it yours by faith this day.

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I REFUSE! Author Unknown
I refuse to be discouraged, To be sad, or to cry;
I refuse to be downhearted, and here's the reason why:
I have a God who's mighty, Who's sovereign and supreme;
I have a God who loves me, and by grace I'm on His team.
He is all-wise and powerful. Jesus is His name;
Though everything is changeable, My God remains the same.
My God knows all that's happening; Beginning to the end;
His presence is my comfort; He is my dearest Friend.
When sickness comes to weaken me, To bring my head down low,
I call upon my mighty God; Into His arms I go.
When circumstances threaten to rob me of my peace;
He draws me close unto His breast, Where all my strivings cease.
When my heart melts within me, and weakness takes control;
He gathers me into His arms, He soothes my heart and soul.
The great "I AM" is with me. My life is in His hand.
The "Son of the Lord" is my hope. It's in His strength I stand.
I refuse to be defeated. My eyes are on my God;
He has promised to be with me, As through this life I trod.
I'm looking past all my circumstances, To Heaven's throne above;
My prayers have reached the heart of God I'm resting in His love.
I give God thanks in everything. My eyes are on His face;
The battle's His, the victory mine; He'll help me win the race.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

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"His Eye Is On The Sparrow" by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel
Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion,
My constant Friend is He;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free;
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
"Let not your heart be troubled,"
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears,
Tho' by the path He leadeth,
But one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
Whenever I am tempted,
Whenever clouds arise,
When song gives place to sighing,
When hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him;
From care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.


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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a good future.” Jeremiah 29:11

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:23-24

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

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. 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

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28

Jesus said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." John 15:12.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16

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A Second Chance Author Unknown
As the football season begins, I am reminded of a great football story. On New Year's Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played the University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his own teammates, Benny Lom, outdistanced him and downed him just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory.
That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: "What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?" The men filed off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby.
If you have played football, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half time. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time.
Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, "Men the same team that played the first half will start the second." The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. The coach looked back and called to him again; still he didn't move.
Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, "Roy, didn't you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second." Then Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man's tears.
"Coach," he said, "I can't do it to save my life. I've ruined you, I've ruined the University of California, I've ruined myself. I couldn't face that crowd in the stadium to save my life."
Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel's shoulder and said to him: "Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over." And Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played that second half.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of a second chance. Jesus offers us the chance to start anew - clean and fresh. No matter how badly we've blown it, no matter how many times we've failed, we can start over. Today is the day for a fresh start. Get back in the game! The second half has just started.


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Dear God, thank you for your continuous presence with us as we struggle at the border of life's adversities. Thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Read Through The Bible
Ezra 1
End of The Babylonian Captivity
1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem. 5 Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. 6 And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered. 7 King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; 8 and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, 10 thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. 11 All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.


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Loving Father, help us to share with others what you have given us. When we do, Lord, take our gifts however small and use them to bring your light into the world. 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  .  
Jesus is calling you to live a life that matters.
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