Weekly Spiritual Readings

July 29, 2016

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Have faith. Forward All Issues To Heaven.

You matter to God, as does every person you know — and those you don’t know.

The Lord is my shepherd, that's all I want. - Small child misquoting the Bible's 23rd Psalm

Our life on earth is an adventure, and it’s exciting because we have Jesus as the Lord of our life. Our faith gives us a certainty that even when sadness overtakes us, all will be well because of the love of Jesus. We can find joy in allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in serving others. We can also look forward with faithful anticipation to our heavenly future.

We all face challenges. Some are small, and we easily work through them. Others become more difficult and seemingly life-altering. But we can stand firm and face them because God is with us. No matter what giants we face — unemployment, health issues, loss of a loved one — we can take our focus off the overwhelming situation and turn it to God. Then we may overcome the obstacle in an unexpected way. God helped David defeat Goliath with a few smooth stones, and God can show us how to overcome our situations and be victorious. We can face any obstacle with God’s help.

When we make a habit of reading the Bible, memorizing it, and recalling it, the reassuring words of God can replace our worries. They are always close at hand when we need comfort or assurance in our daily lives. Daily Bible reading helps me remember God’s presence.

No matter how often we become cracked or marred, in God’s hands we can become beautiful again as God shapes, molds, and recreates us in the divine image. We are made in the image of God.

When I wait, whether for a traffic light to change or for family members to get ready, we can relax and pray for the people around me. We feel the joy and excitement of being ready for whatever God has in store for us. Today let us pay attention to God’s leading to pray for others.

We may be afraid of many thing. Whatever it may be, we can pray and allow it to flow through our souls, bringing peace. God can be trusted in all situations and with all our concerns.

Whether we are happy, sad, grateful, worried, sick, or at peace, God speaks to us.


Can Anybody See God? Author Unknown
A small boy once approached his slightly older sister with a question about God. "Susie, can anybody ever really see God?" he asked.
Busy with other things, Susie curtly replied: "No, of course not silly. God is so far up in heaven that nobody can see him." Time passed, but his question still lingered so he approached his mom: "Mom, can anybody ever really see God?" "No, not really," she gently said. "God is a spirit and he dwells in our hearts, but we can never really see Him."
Somewhat satisfied but still wondering, the youngster went on his way. Not long afterwards, his saintly old grandfather took the little boy on a fishing trip. They were having a great time together - it had been an ideal day. The sun was beginning to set with unusual splendor as the day ended. The old man stopped fishing and turned his full attention to the exquisite beauty unfolding before him.
On seeing the face of his grandfather reflecting such deep peace and contentment as he gazed into the magnificent ever-changing sunset, the little boy thought for a moment and finally spoke hesitatingly: "Granddad, I - I - wasn't going to ask anybody else, but I wonder if you can tell me the answer to something I've been wondering about a long time - can anybody - can anybody ever really see God?".
The old man did not even turn his head. A long moment slipped by before he finally answered. "Son," he quietly said. "It's getting so I can't see anything else."


The Spirit and a Dime by Alan Johnson
Several years ago a pastor moved to Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him ten cents too much change.
As he considered what to do, there alternately appeared to him little angelic figures sitting on his shoulders and whispering instructions into his ears. One said, "You better give the dime back. It would be wrong to keep it." On the other shoulder a voice said, "Oh forget it. It's just ten cents. Who would worry about this little amount. Anyway the bus company already gets too much fare. With their millions everyday they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet."
When his stop came he paused momentarily at the front door, and handing the driver the dime he said, "Here. You handed me too much change." The driver replied, "Aren't you the new pastor in town? I have been thinking lately about going to church somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you ten cents too much change."
When the pastor stepped off the bus he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, and held on, and said, "O God, I almost sold your Son for ten cents."
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." (Romans 8:5)


THE WATER Author Unknown
It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through. Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn't see some rain soon...we would lose everything. It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort...trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods.
This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house. Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen...as he was obviously doing important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them...maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand.
When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house; to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn't ask me to help him.
It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride. The rain that came that day saved our farm...just like that actions of one little boy saved another.


Night Shift Author Unknown
Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion. (Psalm 134:1-3)
Years ago when I was attending seminary, I worked the night shift on occasion. It paid a little more money than the day shift, but I was a bit lonely. If you've ever had to work the night shift, you will appreciate Psalm 134.
God never slumbers or sleeps. Therefore, we can serve and praise Him any time of day. The psalmist says there were priests who prayed and praised God in His temple at night. There was a constant repetition of praise and prayer from the temple.
We can bless the Lord in the night seasons. It's not easy when we are going through the nighttime experiences of life to lift our hands and bless the Lord. But He does give us songs in the night. Paul and Silas were able to lift their hearts in praise to God while in the Philippian jail (Acts 16).
They were on the night shift. They knew that God was awake, so they blessed Him, and He sent deliverance. We can get some strange blessings in the night seasons, for God speaks to us in different ways. Others may not see your praise at night, but God sees and hears.
Whether you are in the sunshine or in the darkness, whether you are serving on the day shift or the night shift, remember that you are serving the Lord. Because He never slumbers or sleeps, He hears your prayer and praise at all times, and He will bless you.


A teacher once told each of her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. For every person they refuse to forgive in their life's experience, they chose a potato, wrote on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of their bags were quite heavy.
They were then told to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week, putting it beside their bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to their desk at work.
The hassle of lugging this around with them made it clear what a weight they were carrying spiritually, and how they had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.
Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty smelly slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity.
Forgiveness is a not a gift we give to the other person, rather, God's gift to us. --Author Unknown


A Time and A Season Author Unknown
A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.
What?" Mom asked.
"Let 's run through the rain!" She repeated.
"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.
"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.
This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet? "Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!"
The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's' life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith..
"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...
So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.


Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
If you will come into My rest and find the peace that I provide, I will be able to show you the things that hinder you. I will reveal places of bondage that were established long ago that you have not yet released yourself from. I will show you the way to a level of freedom that you have yet to attain, says the Lord. James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Refuse to allow the issues of life to overtake and debilitate you. I have given you the power to overcome every attack of the enemy, even that which has the potential of taking you down. Be strong. Move in the direction of breakthrough in every situation, says the Lord. Know that I am with you to strengthen you. Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I see your heart and know your desires for true relationship with Me, says the Lord. Your faithfulness to Me and My people will be rewarded with My presence. Refuse to be distracted from spiritual pursuit. Stay on course and be steadfast. Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Rise above the clamor and turmoil in the world around you and see that I have put a fresh hunger in you. This is not a natural hunger but one that can only be satisfied by My word and the revelation that comes from seeking My face, says the Lord. It is as soft as a light breeze and as refreshing as a rain shower, so you will have to be quiet enough to discern this work and yield to it. Come to Me and be renewed. Isaiah 40:31 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.

You are in the third wave of the storm that began some time ago. Just when you think you can move on, you can't. The storm is for the purpose of giving you opportunities to deal with issues in your life that prevent spiritual elevation. Look beyond the raging storm to see what is keeping you from living and walking in the Spirit, says the Lord. Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

Watch for new opportunities that could bring variety and interest to your life. However, not every opportunity will be right for you. You must exercise discernment to know what is right for you and what is not. Choosing that which is right will enhance your life and give it fuller meaning as opposed to being a burden, says the Lord. Choose well. Hebrews 5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
Stay in touch with Me so that you know what I am doing and understand the directives that I give you in the journey you are on. Stay in touch with Me. Don't go off by yourself . If you go off by yourself without Me you are going to wind up off in the weeds of this life. You are going to make wrong judgments and do wrong things, and whatever you sow you will reap. So, stay in touch with Me so that I can guide you through these perilous times, through the maze of these few months that are before you. Stay with Me. Be one with Me, says the Lord.

Do not be troubled. Do not allow anxiety to torment you. But, indeed, come to Me this moment where you and I can be one. In that position of unity you will be strengthened, healed, and encouraged. You will receive the wisdom that you desire and need. Come and hear My voice, for I will reveal the direction that you should go. I will show you. I will keep you steadfastly on the path of righteousness and cause you to know Me better. So, lay aside all hopelessness, all discouragement, all worry and all anxiety and come be one with Me, says the Lord.


My Father
My Redeemer
Prince of Peace
My Savior
My Shepherd
You are all I need
My Joy
My Salvation
King, Lamb and Light
I pray today and cling to You
Please see me pure in Your sight
Please wash me clean with your precious blood
And rid me of all past sin
I accept you as my everything
So let this love begin
And now I vow to always try my very best with You
I hope dear Lord I make you proud
It’s all I want to do
And if by chance I look away for not a second more
You’d gently lead me back to this great Love that I adore


Because You're Here by Virginia Santoro
I'm okay because You're here...
with You there is nothing to fear.
Regardless of the events of the day,
I know You're beside me every step of the way.
I'm okay because You're near...
when I get still, it's You I hear.
I find the perfect words to say,
whether at work, at rest or play.
I'm okay because You care...
Your warm embrace is everywhere.
When other people let me down,
I feel Your presence all around.
I'm okay because You're here...
there's nothing else that I can need.
What all else I come across...
is icing on the cake, of course.
But I'm SO okay ~ because You're here!


Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! - Psalm 150:6

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. - Psalm 46:1

The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.” - Jeremiah 18:6

Many plans are in a person’s mind, but the LORD’S purpose will succeed. - Proverbs 19:21

The psalmist wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” - Psalm 56:3

Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:22-25

"The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:8-13

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Someone will say, "One person has faith, another has actions." My answer is, "Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions." James 2:18


A New Day by John Stuart
Isaiah 45:6 – From the rising of the sun to the place of its setting, people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. (NIV 2011)
I'm usually awake before each sunrise, so I get to watch the sun's red glow permeate slowly across the morning sky. It is a peaceful and sacred time which helps me get into the right frame of mind for my daily work. Soaking in a sunrise enables me to embrace the day ahead by allowing me some quiet time to collect my thoughts and plan out my working hours.
Today's chosen verse also reminds me that each day comes as a gift from God as another opportunity to praise and serve Him in all that I seek to accomplish. My life belongs to God, so whatever I do should reflect both His goodness to me and my glory of Him. I don't always get it right, but when I do, I draw nearer to God and deepen my relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. Then, when sunset occurs at the end of the day and I rest my head upon my pillow, I can smile as I pray and thank God for all that I've experienced and completed.
As we embrace this new day, let's look for the opportunities that God gives us to share our faith with others, through Christ's compassion, care, and love. If we set out to do this, then the people around us may come to know of God as our living Lord.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for the gift of another day. You know all that we seek to accomplish; You understand all that we need to do. Help and guide us to do whatever we can to accept, support, and encourage others, so that we may serve You effectively, positively, and lovingly. In Christ's holy name, we pray. Amen.


Loving God, Mold our lives in such a way that we reflect the beautiful creation you desire us to be. Amen.


Read Through The Bible
Psalm 25
1 Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. 4 Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. 6 Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O Lord. 8 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. 9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. 10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. 12 What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. 13 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. 14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant. 15 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. 18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. 19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. 20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.


Thank you, God, For unexpected opportunities to connect with you. May we never be too busy to listen and follow. Thank you for peace that overflows our souls when we trust in you. Amen.

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