Weekly Spiritual Readings

October 24, 2014



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Because He is God, He is able to weave together every single aspect and event in  your life and produce something good.  --Elizabeth George

God wants to speak into areas of your life you have never even considered. He wants to give you words and wisdom you didn’t think were possible. He desires to do exceedingly more than you can hope or expect. --Margaret Feinberg

You and I can go to God when we are too tired, too lazy, too uncommitted, too sick, or feeling too sorry for ourselves. In fact, moments like these are precisely when we need to call upon God and be filled with His faithfulness. --Elizabeth George

One of the most powerful, though difficult, lessons we all need to learn in our spiritual pilgrimage is that even when bad things happen and we do not understand why, we can trust God to be present and working on our behalf. --Henry Cloud and John Townsend

When God dwells at the center of our lives, peace and contentment will belong to us just as surely as we belong to God. --Beth Moore

When you feel your best God is right in your heart. When you are fearful, frustrated, alone and struggling God is right there in your heart. He is never so far away that you cannot find him. He is never so out of touch that he does not understand. In your greatest moment or your worst fear God is in your heart willing and able to see you through. He feels with your pain, cries with your tears and giggles with your greatest joys. --Melinda Clements

Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it? But, if we are living in the high tower of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives. We shall be quiet from the fear of evil, for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the high tower of God. Even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, the psalmist could say, I will fear no evil; and, if we are dwelling in God, we can say so too. --Hannah Whitall Smith

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Even for Leaves by Sally I. Kennedy
"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 hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
A few years back we had such a warm, dry autumn. The leaf colors didn't peak as in other years. That beautiful fall foliage didn't arrive in all of its splendor like some other years. It did come....just late, and slowly.
The leaves had a hard time changing. Change is hard for me too. Seems the older I get, the less I welcome it. The old and familiar is so comfortable. Letting go and letting God seems to be the best way. Certainly the most painless. Probably the most effective, too.
Good thing God doesn't tire of growing and changing us. He'll do it as fast as we let him. And He is never content to leave us where we are. So that means change!
Change is hard .....even for leaves. But it's the perfect plan. And, it's good to remember that wherever we go, God is already there. That's good news.

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I DON'T WANT TO LISTEN by Alan Smith
I love to hear stories about the humorous things children say, but this has to be one of my all-time favorites:
In a kindergarten class, there was a boy who wasn't listening to the teacher. The teacher said to him, "Since you don't want to listen, you sit at that table by yourself."
After a few minutes, a little girl in class raised her hand and said, "Teacher, I don't want to listen either. Can I sit with him?"
We may not always be willing to admit it out loud, but most of us have experienced situations where we thought to ourselves, "I don't want to listen." It may have been a teacher we didn't want to listen to, or our parents, or that co-worker who won't seem to shut up. "I just don't want to listen."
There's a danger, though, that we may take the same approach with God. Jesus said of some of the Jews, "For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears..." (Matthew 13:15). Basically, their attitude toward Jesus was, "We don't want to listen."
But, if we don't listen, we can't learn. And if we don't learn, we can't grow. May we all take to heart the advice of James -- "Be swift to hear!" (James 1:19)
"Lord, please forgive me for those times when I have been so intent on doing things the way I wanted to do them that I closed my ears to what you had to say. Teach me, guide me and counsel me with your wisdom. I want to listen! In Jesus' name, amen."

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Little Pogo Sticks by Sally I. Kennedy
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
The happy flock of sparrows were jumping and hopping as if they were on little pogo sticks. They were, indeed, having a fun afternoon in the sun outside the coffee shop.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says that sparrows are very social and the most cheerful of birds. As I watched them, I thought I could take a few lessons from them. Not jumping on a pogo stick but simply enjoying the moment, rejoicing in the present, choosing joy and being cheerful.
'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care.' (Matthew 10:29) Our Father's love and care for us is priceless; with or without pogo sticks.

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CHOOSE YOUR ROUTINE CAREFULLY by Steve May
On a rugged highway somewhere in Alaska a warning sign says, "Choose your rut carefully. You'll be in it for the next 50 miles." Though I'm not fond of the word rut, this is actually good advice for life.
It would be better to say: "Choose your routine carefully. You'll be tied to it for awhile. It determines what your future becomes, so make sure you're comfortable with it."
People often refer to the daily routine as if it's a negative thing, as if it's something you need to break in order to fully live. But what if your daily routine was designed in a way that could make your life everything you've dreamed it could be? Wouldn't this be a routine worth living for?
King David said, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)
Another way to say it: "Help us understand that life is short. What we do every day really matters."
Our challenge is to organize our days in such a way — to create a daily routine that includes time for everything important. Stephen Covey said it this way: "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
Look at today's to-do list. It will take you either somewhere good, or nowhere good.
It depends on whether you've chosen a rut or a routine.

 
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WHAT IS YOUR GIFT by Russ Lawson
The question of personal or spiritual gifts or talents is often confusing. Folks often want to understand more about the gifts they might have and how to use them. Perhaps more important to some is the question of "what will be expected of me if I discover my gift or talent?"
One of my favorite sources of illustrations is the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. In one of the strips, Calvin is talking to Susie (remember, his arch enemy) about a test they had just taken.
Calvin asked her: "What grade did you get?" Susie says, "I got an A." Calvin replies, "Really? Boy, I'd hate to be you. I got a C." Curious, Susie asks, "Why on earth would you rather get a C than an A?!" Too which Calvin smugly replies "I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep everyone's expectations."
Some of you may be afraid to do too much, afraid that people (or even God) will expect more than you are currently doing. You're right, people may, but God already knows what you are capable of; you can't hide it from him like you can other people.
I guess through the years since the beginning that's been a constant problem. Far too often people want to do only what they have to do, not what they are capable of doing.
I remember many years ago some of our family visited my Grandmother Lawson. When you went to grandma's you were put to work. She took my cousin Kenny and me out to their huge garden and told us, "You boys pick beans until you fill up this bushel basket." Now we were probably only around 12 years old and not much interested in picking green beans. We came up with a plan to fill bushel basket faster. We took the time to stack each bean in the basket so that it leaned on another bean, yet left a lot of empty space. Now looking back I see that we probably spent more time stacking beans than if we had used the time to pick the beans in the first place. But as I said, we were only 12 years old; wisdom wasn't our strong suit at that time.
I've seen other folks who spend more time avoiding work than doing it. They generally live miserable or at least unhappy and unfulfilled lives. God has given us so much in this life. He has granted us the right to have eternal life after this one on earth ends. Could it be that just maybe we need to look at what we can do instead of how not to do it?
In Luke 12:48b Jesus tells us, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be required." Personally, I think he still means what he says, how about you?

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WHEN WINNING REALLY ISN'T WINNING by Russ Lawson
I have known some people in my lifetime for which winning an argument is one of the most important things they can do. They are not secure unless they get the "last" word in or make the last jab. The problem is that even though they may win the argument or at least silence the one they are arguing with, they may be the looser in the long run.
Have you every asked yourself; just what winning that argument cost you? What about the respect of others, friendships, your ethics, your sense of well being or your ability to sleep nights?
I received the following story from some unknown author that kind of fits right about here. "Last year I replaced several windows in my house and they were the expensive, double-pane, energy efficient kind. But this week I got a call from the contractor complaining that his work has been completed for a whole year and I had yet to pay for them.
Boy or boy did we go a round. Just because I'm old doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So, I proceeded to tell him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year, "that in one year the windows would pay for themselves." Well, there was silence on the other end of the line, so I just hung up and I haven't heard from them again. I guess I must have won "that" argument."
Now I know that the story is probably just that, "a story," but after I read it I chuckled and felt good for the fellow for being so witty. At least I did until I started to think more about it. Maybe you did too, but think about it for a moment. The fellow in the story may have won the argument and even saved a bunch of money and you may be saying, "That's right! He was able to win one!" But what was the cost to his integrity? What about the contractor who had to pay for the windows and the labor? What does our reaction to the story say about our value system, our honest our sense of right and wrong?
There is a simple scripture that fits here, yet one which we don't use nearly enough. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 that we are suppose to live in such a way that people can see our good works and glorify the Father. He also said that we are to treat others, as we would like to be treated ourselves.
How about it, is it time to re-think your value system, your sense of right and wrong, your ethics? My prayer is that God will open the eyes of our hearts and help us to daily take on more of His values.

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
Weep and mourn for those who once walked with Me and have turned again to their own foolishness. Their eyes have grown dull and their hearts have grown cold to the reality of My kingdom. Everyone, hear My call to wake up and know the times and seasons and understand the futility of carnal living. Stir up your faith and rise again to acknowledge My presence and power. Trust in Me, says the Lord. 2 Peter 2:21-22 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."

Be aware that you are likely to be uncomfortable and even indecisive in this season. There will be a sense of urgency to figure out what to do. You will be tempted to get drastic and be radical in changing your direction. However, you must persist and stay on track. Refuse to get upset. Maintain peace, stay calm and have faith. This is all about learning to trust Me in the midst of chaos, says the Lord. Stay the course and see My handiwork. Psalms 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Some of you, My people, tend to trust Me for the big things, but not the little things. And, some trust Me for the little things, but not the big things. But, I want you to begin to deliberately come to a place of faith and trust in all things. Depend on Me for wisdom, direction, and the power to overcome, says the Lord. James 1:6-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Cry out from the depth of your heart. Reach up and let Me pull you out of every darkness of the soul into light, truth, and life. Your eternal self must rejoice in My availability to you when you reach and search. Consider life in transition, change and transcendence. Yield with nothing held back; nothing that I cannot touch, have or possess in you, says the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Allow Me to mold you and remake you. I want to remove everything that opposes truth and righteousness. Will you put yourself in My hands without protecting your offenses and secret sins? Will you humble yourself under My might and power to transform you from being natural into being spiritual? Release yourself from the past and truly become Mine, says the Lord. Jeremiah 18:2-4 "Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
I hear the Lord saying, "Come on, stand up, and be counted. Come in to that which I am providing in this season. Let your faith arise and reach out to receive all I am doing in this time. The times are changing for your benefit. Receive that which I am doing, so that I can give you the goodness of this new place. Believe and receive." 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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I'M TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED and TOO ANOINTED TO BE DISAPPOINTED! 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 is almighty; who is sovereign and supreme;
I have a God who loves me, and I am on his team.
He is all wise and powerful; Jesus is His Name; though everything else is changeable, My God remains the same.
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 am looking past my circumstances, to heaven's throne above.
My prayers have reached the heart of God.
I am resting in His love.
I give thanks to Him in everything.
My eyes are on His face.
The battle is His; the victory is mine; He will help me win the race.
I repeat, I'M TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED!" You have just taken a dose of encouragement. God's love to you.

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The Morning Glory by Sandra Lewis Pringle
I awaken to the glory of the morn',
sunshine streaking, birds cheerfully cheeping,
another day is born.
The Morning Glory inaudibly climbs,
and shares its shy beauty, so rare.
And, we know that behind its mystery,
Our Creative God is there.
He blesses us with sunshine,
He blesses us with rain,
because it's only through the showers,
that do we not, remain the same.
So, as this new day awakens,
and I'm cradled securely in Your arms,
May Your love forever keep me safe,
and sheltered from all storms.


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For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Psalm 117

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:2

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The Power of the Gospel by Harvest Ministries
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. —Romans 1:16
Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize, also was the man who created dynamite. When he came up with this new, explosive kind of technology, he needed a name. So he spoke with a friend who knew the Greek language well and asked him what the Greek word for "explosion" was. That word was dunamis, and so Nobel named his invention "dynamite."
When the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes," the word "power" is translated from that same Greek word: dunamis.
So think of dynamite, think of something dynamic, think of an explosion, and you will have an idea of what Paul was saying. There is explosive power in the simple message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is an explosion when the gospel goes out. And the way it goes out is through preaching. As 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."
I preach the gospel because I am a man under orders. My commander-in-chief, Jesus Christ, has commanded me to go into all the world and preach the gospel (see Mark 16:15).
Some might say, "That's right! So go do it, Greg, and we will pray for you!"
But I am not the only one who has been commanded to do this; Jesus has given this command to all of us. And though not all of us are called to be evangelists, all of us are called to evangelize. That means you. And that means me. We all have a part to play.


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I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:17-21

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Read Through The Bible

Ezra 9
Intermarriage with Pagans
1 When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this trespass.” 3 So when I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down astonished. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice. 5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God. 6 And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day. 8 And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. 9 For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments, 11 which You commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity. 12 Now therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this, 14 should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor? 15 O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”

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God, Your love for us is beyond measure. Thank you for your love. Help us to grow in our faith and in our love for you. In Jesus' name we pray. 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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