“‘Finally, 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). The Bible makes it clear that our thought life is important. Because of this, we need to guard our thoughts by focusing our attention on things that honor God. Philippians 4 gives us some examples of what thoughts to focus on; whatever is
True – Real and genuine
Noble – High quality
Right – Good and just
Pure – Free from corruption
Lovely – Moral and beautiful
Admirable – Inspirational
Excellent – Superior
Praiseworthy – Deserving of praise
I encourage you to consciously focus on these things today. Joy will fill your heart as you think on them!” —–An excerpt from Christine Caine’s daily email newsletter, “First Things First with Christine”
A lot of Christians are like wheelbarrels – not good unless pushed.
Some are like canoes – they need to be paddled.
Some are like kites – if you don’t keep a string on them they fly away.
Some are like footballs – you can’t tell which way they will bounce next.
Some are like balloons – full of air and ready to blow up.
Some are like trailers – they have to be pulled.
Some are like neon lights – they keep going on and off.
And we would like to add –
Some are like a good watch: open face, pure gold, quietly busy, dependable and loyal. —-Author Unknown
I heard Kenneth Copeland on his BVOVN station yesterday as he was teaching on love and made these profound statements. “God is love. He can not love. (There is nothing you can do to make God not love you.) God is love. Pure goodness in the eyes of evil is the same as hate is in the eyes of goodness, I hate the devil, but I don’t have any hate in me. So how am I going to hate the devil? I don’t have any fear or hate. It’s been removed. I do not exercise hate. I do not use it. If some reason or other it even acts like its going to get to me, I do my best to repent of it and get it out of my life. I will not tolerate it. Why? I’ve been commanded not to and I’m keeping that commandment. But how am I going to hate him, I hate him with the love of God. Do you understand the use of that kind of a term. The love is so powerful, it is the worst thing you can do to pure evil cause there isn’t any change in him – no change in him. He’s got to be destroyed. GOODNESS ALWAYS DESTROYS EVIL. It always destroys it.”
Everyone knows that God loves them with their head, but how many people really experience it. Brennan Manning shares his experience in his book, “Refections for Ragamuffins”. “In the winter of 1968-69, I lived in a cave in the mountains of the Zaragosa Desert in Spain. On the night of December 13, during what began as a long and lonely hour of prayer, I heard in faith Jesus Christ say, for love of you I left my Father’s side. I came to you who ran from me, Fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched, beaten, and affixed to the wood of the cross. These words are burned on my life. Whether I am in a state of grace or disgrace, elation or depression, that night of fire quietly burns on. I looked at the crucifix for a long time, figuratively saw the blood streaming from every pore of His body, heard the cry of His wounds: “This isn’t a joke. It is not a laughing matter to Me that I have loved you”. The longer I looked, the more I realized that no man has ever loved me and no one ever could love me as He did. I went out of the cave, stood on the practices, and shouted into the darkness, Jesus, are you crazy? Are you out of your mind to have loved me so much? I learned that night what a wise old man had told me years earlier: “Only the one who has experienced it can know what the love of Jesus Christ is. Once you have experienced it, nothing else in the world will seem more beautiful or desirable.”
Veteran’s Day was celebrated in many different ways this past weekend. I thought this one was unique. Eric Comfort, who lives in Georgia shared his experience on the Internet.According to a Facebook post he published, when he walked into a local Chick-fil-A, he discovered a “Missing Man Table” that contained a single rose, a Bible & a folded American flag, as well as a plaque which has the following explanation: “This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms. The tablecloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s toast. The chair is empty to symbolize that they are missing.” The store manager, Alex Korchan, explained that his team members had set up the table because they “wanted to honor veterans.” Furthermore, he offered free meals to all veterans and their family members on Veterans Day. Korchan also put up a poster so that customers could write in the names of loved ones who they have lost. “We’ve had a lot of people who have come in and seen it and been touched by it, ” Korchan continued. “It’s been special to see.”
Alveda King was on Fox & Friends Saturday dicussing the objections to the third verse of the national anthem. She says something that was so profound. She said that it occurred to her that “it wasn’t the song, it’s not the flag, it’s not the confederate statues, but it’s our hearts. We need a transformation of the heart. We’re one blood, Acts 17:26. (“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” NKJV.) We’re all human beings. So we’re still fighting and wanting to bury the hatchet in each other’s back. Not take the hatchet out, embrace each other and get healed….We need a blood transfusion. You know, our hearts need to be transformed. My uncle Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘We have to learn to live together as brothers’….We have to be like little children and love each other and want to embrace each other. And how can we do that? Somebody just has to say stop, cease fire. We got to call a cease fire.”
Gloria Copeland shares on how we hear from God in her and Kenneth’s devotional, “Faith to Faith”. “Do you ever have trouble hearing from God? Do you find yourself caught in confusing circumstances needing guidance, and yet even after praying and reading the Word—you’re still not sure what God wants you to do? I’ve had that experience. I knew His written Word and acting on it changed my life. But I was uncertain when I had to make decisions about things the Word didn’t specifically address. Things like whether to move to one city or another, for example. What held me back was my ability to know that I was doing the right thing. You see, God’s written Word and the inward witness are two different things. They never contradict each other, but they’re both a vital part of our walk with God….But exactly how, you may wonder, does God speak to us? Does He just shout down at us from heaven? Not usually! Romans 8 says the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit. That means that God’s directions come from inside, not outside, of you. At times when you hear His guidance, you may even wonder, Was that me, Lord, or was that You? That’s because God doesn’t normally inject thoughts directly into your mind from the outside. Instead, He speaks to your spirit, and your spirit translates it into a thought. Tune in today to that inward witness, to that quiet knowing, that urging, prompting and leading arising within you. If when you hear it, it sounds like you, don’t be surprised. It is you! It is your spirit being influenced by the Spirit of God! After you’re born again, your spirit is a safe guide because you are born of God’s Spirit. You have His nature. And the Holy Spirit lives in your spirit to teach you and to give you direction.”
Did you know that God loved you before you loved Him? One simple way to keep your love for Him burning is to tell Him you love Him…every single day…several times a day. Be fueled by these facts.
– One God created your inmost being; He knit you together in your
mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).
– He knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7).
– He delights in you and loves your company (Psalm149:4).
– He designed you with a purpose and has good plans for your future
– There is nothing you can do to make Him love you more or less
– And, yes, you are able to love God ‘because He first loved us’ 1 John 4:19)
So build your love for God by speaking words of love to Him every day. Sing of your love. Show your love by spending time with Him and worship, prayer, and reading His Word. ——An excerpt from Christine Caine’s devotional “Unshakeable”
God’s love for each one of us is simply not based on what we do. It is not based on performance or who we should be. It is just based on who we are. That is truly Brennan Manning’s theme in all of his books, and his favorite saying was that “God loves us as we are, not as we ought to be”. I really like his quote in his book, “The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens When God’s Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives”. “In a moment of naked honesty, ask yourself, ‘Do I wholeheartedly trust that God likes me’…in this moment, right now, right here, with all my faults and weaknesses?’ If you answer without hesitation, ‘Oh yes, God does like me; in fact, He’s very fond of me.’ you’re living in the wisdom of accepted tenderness….The heart enveloped in the tenderness of God passes that tenderness around indiscriminately, making no distinction between the worthy and the unworthy.”
“I want to make sure that you know the secret of the beloved, which is to know that you are deeply, deeply loved by Almighty God. Knowing this truth will cause you to be established in the unmerited favor of God and to always carry a sense of favor–consciousness wherever you go…. Ephesians 1:6 says, ‘to the praise of the glory of His grace (unmerited favor), by which He made us accepted in the Beloved’. It is not possible for us to make ourselves accepted. We are accepted by the glory of the Lord’s unmerited favor….’Beloved’ is a warm and intimate term that was used by God at the Jordan River to describe Jesus. The Bible tells us that when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, as soon as He came up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ In these Scriptures you can see the triune God – God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit….God the Father spoke publicly and His words were recorded for you to know that to be ‘accepted in the beloved’ means that God is well pleased with you today….When God looks at you, He doesn’t see you and your failures and shortcomings. He sees you in Jesus’ perfection and loveliness! Because you are in Christ, God says to you, ‘You, ___________ (insert your name here), are My beloved in whom I am well pleased’. Jesus is well pleasing to God because He kept the law perfectly. You and I are well pleasing to God because we are accepted and highly favored in the Beloved, who took all our sins and fulfilled the law on our behalf!” ——An excerpt from Joseph Prince’s book, “Unmerited Favor”