Weekly Spiritual Readings

July 31, 2015



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If you long to have a deeper relationship with God, then find a quiet spot and a small portion of Scripture and spend time with those words every day for several days.  --Valerie Hess and Marti Watson Garlett

The Bible can help us see through God’s eyes.

Even when we cannot find the proper words, God understands our prayers.

Each of us has been blessed with different gifts that God wants us to use. Incredible things will happen when we allow Christ’s love to work through our gifts to serve God and our neighbors.

No matter where we are on our journey, God is with us.

Let us live as if Jesus is sitting beside us, right here in it all—because he is. He is right here.

Christ gives us the strength to be content in any and every circumstance.

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Practicing God’s Presence by Mrs. P's Devotional
God has promised you His constant presence (Hebrews 13:5), but are you conscious of His presence every day? When you are conscious of His presence every day, you will experience a peace that gives you rest, joy inexpressible in your spirit and a power that nothing in this world can offer. In fact, you will begin to be peaceful and powerful like Jesus. You will speak and behave like Him. This is because you cannot be in God’s presence without His beauty, love, peace, power and glory rubbing off on you.
But how do you practice being conscious of God’s presence?
Start by seeing God with you in whatever you do and wherever you are. For example, at your board meeting, while deliberating on issues, see the Lord there in the boardroom with you, guiding you in your thinking. And you can be sure that His presence will bring clarity of thought and wisdom to you. You will find yourself flowing with great and sound ideas.
If you are going for an interview, see the Lord there in the interview room with you, putting answers in your mouth. Your nervousness will melt away as you see His favor on you bringing on smiles and approving nods from the interviewers.
Perhaps you are going for surgery. Well, see the Lord in the operating theatre with you, guiding the hands of the surgeons. Your worries will dissipate because nothing can go wrong in the Lord’s presence.
If you are in the middle of an argument, see the Lord standing within earshot. Your words will change and your body language will become more reconciliatory as you see Him right there with you extending His grace to you. There will be a restraint which is not borne of willpower, but which comes supernaturally when you know that the One who loves you and watches over you is with you.
My friend, when you become conscious of God’s presence in your life, worries and fears will have no foothold in your mind. You will see Him maximizing your joy and fun, and prospering you in what you say and do!
Matthew 1:23 “…and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

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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 supplication 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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IN MY NEXT LIFE
You may have seen this bit of humor making it's way around the Internet:
In my next life, I want to be a bear...
If you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.
Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat whole lot. I could deal with that, too.
If you're a bear, you birth your children while you're sleeping (who are the size of walnuts) and wake to partially grown, cute cuddly cubs. I could deal with that in a big way.
If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.
If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.
Yup...gonna be a bear!
I admit it sounds tempting -- especially the part about being able to eat and sleep (and growl!). But for us, here's something even BETTER than lies ahead. What could possibly be better than that?
How about a life where there's no more pain and no more heartache? A family reunion where you're surrounded by people who all have a heart for God. A place where you don't have to live in fear and suspicion. A place where all your needs are met. An eternity in the arms of your heavenly Father.
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.' Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:3-5a)
I don't know about you, but in my next life, I don't want to be a bear......I want to be with God!
Have a great day! Alan Smith

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"F" Author Unknown
There it was, big and red, at the top of my quiz: F.
I’ve never failed anything before , I thought as I got my things together for nursing school. My first three semesters I’d gotten good grades. But now, in my last semester, I was doubting myself. The day before I’d gagged when I emptied a bedpan. How would I perform under pressure if I made mistakes like that in school?
I tucked the quiz in my bag and went out to my car. “God,” I said as I started it up, “I thought you wanted me to be a nurse. Now I just don’t know.” Maybe I should drop out before I do real damage.
Traffic slowed to a crawl. A man lay in the road, a few feet from his overturned motorcycle. No one stopped to help. They probably didn’t know how. But I did.
I pulled off the road and rushed to his side. His vital signs were strong, but he was bleeding from a deep skull laceration. I pulled compresses and alcohol wipes from my pockets. “A good nurse keeps her pockets stuffed with things she might need in a crisis,” my teacher had said.
“Did you get his vitals?” someone asked. A uniformed paramedic was at my side. I updated him on the man’s condition. More paramedics arrived. I forgot my worries and thought only about the patient. Once he was stabilized and in the gurney, the first paramedic turned to me. “Are you a doctor or a nurse?”
“I’ll be a nurse soon,” I said proudly. No doubt about it.
 
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Let God Be God by Timothy Jackson Jr.
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with his hand." (Psalm 37:23-24)
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
As a child, I would try and cut the grass with my Dad. The lawnmower was wayyyyy too big for me, but I was only trying to help my dad out. One day he decided he was going to take a break.
But I didn’t feel like taking a break. So, when he went in the house, I began to cut the grass myself. Of course, it didn’t work out too well because the mower was too big for me and my Dad really didn’t need my help. I simply needed to learn how to let Dad do what he knew how to do.
There are times in our lives in which it seems like God has gone in the House and has forgotten about our situation. When we see that He is not moving, we decide to take matters into our own hands, only to end up messing things up. We have to learn to allow our Father to do what our Father knows how to do, when He wants to do it, and how he wants to do it.
As tempting as it gets, we cannot give in to the self-induced temptation to help God out, because the situations we face are wayyyyy too big for us to handle. Therefore, it’s time to put down the mental calculators, put away our clocks, put away our solutions, put our ideas aside, step away, and simply “let God be God.”


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Be Anxious For Nothing by Mrs. P's Devotional
When faced with a challenge or crisis, our tendency is to get all anxious about it. But God does not want us to react this way. He does not want us to be anxious about anything. Instead, whatever the problem is, He wants us to go to Him in prayer and supplication, telling Him what we need and thanking Him for the answer. When we do that, His peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds from all worries, anxieties and fears.
The apostle Paul said it. Yet, it was not him he was prompted by the Holy Spirit. And when Paul wrote that, he was a prisoner under house arrest in Rome. He had been sent to Rome because he had appealed to Caesar regarding his death sentence. The Jews in Jerusalem wanted him to be put to death. (Acts 28:16–20)
Yet, under those trying conditions, he wrote these words: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
My friend, if you are anxious or worried about something, remember those words. Let’s say that you are anxious about a huge debt. Go to the Lord and pray, “Lord Jesus, I no longer want to be anxious about this problem. I hand it over to You and ask for supernatural cancellation of this debt. It is in Your care now. You are in charge. I thank You for taking care of it.”
God is true to His Word. As you pray this prayer and cast your care to Him, you will find His peace setting your heart and mind at rest. So be anxious for nothing. Let the One with whom nothing is impossible take care of it for you
Philippians 4:6–7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
Come softly into My presence, says the Lord. Experience the sweetness of righteousness and purity. This is your place of escape from the hassles of the world and all the filthiness of flesh. Come and rest. Be healed and restored. Let go of all corruption and defilement that seems to be inescapable except for rising up in the Spirit to commune with Me. Psalms 71:2 Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me, and save me.

Make a decision to be flexible. Changes, both small and great, will require your ability and willingness to accept them so that you can progress. If, at any point in this process, you refuse to incorporate these changes into your life experience you will get stuck spiritually. I am moving you into positions that will result in maximum benefit to you and those around you, says the Lord. James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

You are transitioning into a time that will ultimately look very different compared to where you have been. Hold the past loosely and move forward with expectation. Simplicity is the order of the day as you establish yourself in greater spiritual freedom, says the Lord. Let Me lead you. Psalms 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name’s sake, Lead me and guide me.

Quiet your soul and ask for My wisdom and direction before you do something you will regret. Take this time to draw near to Me and be close so that you can stay on course. Refuse to allow your emotions to take the lead, says the Lord. Otherwise, you could find yourself far from what is right and purposeful. 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!

Do not despair when things do not seem to be working out for you. Refuse to speak negatively about your circumstances or lose heart, but quietly wait for My leading. I will show you ways in which you can make the course corrections necessary to your victory, says the Lord. Let faith, hope, and love be your strength. Psalms 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
I hear the Lord saying, "Absolutely, without hesitation, move into this position of freedom and liberty in the Spirit. For, it will become even more necessary in this the end of the age that you learn to live in the liberty and freedom of My Spirit; that you learn to live in unity with Me. And, that you learn to hear My voice more precisely than you’ve heard it before so that I can lead you and guide you and protect you. In these days that are ahead of you become one with Me and remain in a position of freedom where joy is free flowing in your life."

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The 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
Xalting 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!
"I AM Too blessed to be stressed!"
The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.
Love and peace be with you forever, Amen.
PS: GOD LOVES YOU...PASS THE WORD ON TO MORE

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God of Wonders
Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of all creation
Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of all creation
Of water earth and sky
The heavens are Your tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on high
God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy holy
The universe declares Your majesty
You are holy holy
Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth
Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light
When I stumble in the darkness
I will call Your name by night
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Hallelujah to the Lord of heaven and earth
Performed by Paul Baloche


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I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, The Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. ~ Psalm 121

Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. - Philippians 4:8

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace. - 1 Peter 4:10

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. - Deuteronomy 31:8

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him. - Isaiah 30:18


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An Unusual Follower by LuAnn Edwards
Has someone or something ever followed you around? Perhaps a small child who idolizes you or a pet that stays close to your heels? What about a duck?
We were living on a farm in Tennessee, and our back porch overlooked a small pond. I loved to stroll down by the pond and sit along the edge watching turtle heads pop up in the water. Sometimes a duck or two would visit. One year, I had a very special encounter with a beautiful male mallard.
He arrived at the pond one day. I slowly approached so I wouldn't scare him off. He quickly swam away as I gently talked to him and tried to coax his return to the water's edge. The next day, I brought him a treat of bread crumbs. As I tossed them into the water, I could see him watching me, but he kept his distance. After a few minutes, I left him alone to enjoy his treat and continued to watch him from the back porch.
This became a daily ritual. I brought out the bread, he would swim away until I left him alone, and then he would come up to eat. After a few more days, he started to swim towards me along the edge of the pond when he saw me approaching. Just as this duck's trust in me was growing, we can trust the Lord is always near to care for us and know He does not want to harm us in any way.
Apparently, one day the duck thought I was taking too long to get outside so he decided to come and find me. We were inside the house and heard a tap, tap, tap on our sliding glass doors. This little duck was knocking with his beak! He wanted to spend time with me. He was ready and waiting for my visit and my treat. Didn't Jesus say, "…knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7 NIV)? I opened my door to the duck and met his need. Jesus opens His door to us welcoming us with open arms. He supplies all our needs as well. We should persistently seek Him, hunger for His Word, and spend time in fellowship with Him.
Some people have dogs that follow them everywhere; not me, I had a duck! There were times when I would be walking down our long driveway, turn around and the duck would be following behind. It was the cutest thing! Jesus wants us to follow after Him, too. He said, "Come, follow me…" (Matthew 4:19 NIV). We can faithfully follow after Him and strive to fulfill His plans for our lives.
Something became more important to the duck than spending time with me. He flew away never to be seen again. I believe, however, there is no better place to be than in the presence of Jesus following after Him in complete trust.
When you come to Him and follow Him, He will never leave you. You can trust Him to always be there for you, wherever you are, in whatever circumstances you face.
Psalm 9:10 "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you" (NIV).


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Lord our God, please encourage us to seek help through Your guidance. You are the great provider. You know what we need before we ask. Help us, Lord, to remember that You are always with us, waiting for us to ask You for the help that we need. Amen.

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Read Through The Bible
Job 15
1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, 2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? 3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? 4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God. 5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. 6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. 7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills? 8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? 9 What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us? 10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father. 11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee? 12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, 13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? 14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? 17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare; 18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it: 19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them. 20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor. 21 A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him. 22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword. 23 He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand. 24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle. 25 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty. 26 He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers: 27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks. 28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps. 29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth. 30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away. 31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence. 32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green. 33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive. 34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. 35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

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A Morning Prayer
"O, God, for another day, for another morning, for another hour, for another minute, for another chance to live and serve You, I am truly grateful.
Do this day free me from all fear of the future, from all anxiety about tomorrow, from all bitterness toward any one, from all cowardice in face of danger, from all laziness in the face of work, from all failure before opportunity, from all weakness when Your power is at hand.
But fill me with Love that knows no barrier, with Sympathy that reaches to all, with Courage that cannot be shaken, with Faith strong enough for the darkness, with Strength sufficient for my tasks, with Loyalty to Your Kingdom's goal, with Wisdom to meet life's complexities, with Power to lift me to You.
Thank you for your wonderful, faithful presence. Use me as You will. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen."

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Jesus is calling you to live a life that matters.
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