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Discussion in 'Discussions about Religion.' started by beensetfree, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Unexpected gifts

    There are Christmas miracles and then there are good parents. I have seen both and generally I prefer good parents, if I must choose.

    Every Christmas is a miracle, but not every parent is good. My parents were excellent and so Christmas was not just miraculous, but also fun.

    At some point Dan and I realized that getting presents for Christmas depended, in part, on the size of the Christmas bonus from the Church. Dad was a working hard kind of pastor and the churches where he worked were as generous as they could be, but we were sometimes Austen-genteel poverty and never Osteen gratuitous wealth.

    Dad and Mom did a good bit of shopping just a few days before Christmas. My Dad liked to point out that we should not “over expect” and I never recall wanting more than I knew we could afford. Some years, Mom and Dad would warn us, were lean. Dad and Mom worked hard to help folks every year, yet if the economy was struggling, folks could not give as they wished.

    We got it and did not over expect and so learned to love the whatever of Christmas. Until she died, my Granny Reynolds bought us undergarments every year, same kind, though the changing sizes marked the passing years. This was not an exciting gift, but we laughed about and so looked forward to getting that package.

    I wish Granny was around to buy some underwear for Christmas this year.

    Anyway, we knew that there were lean years and super-abundant years and that this had nothing to do with how hard Dad and Mom worked. We waited in hope that the last Christmas offering might take us in the more super-abundant direction! Don’t judge us too harshly: we were kids.

    One year things had not just been lean, but very lean. We were jolly, but suspected that our ambitions would have to be tempered. There would be less than usual under the tree and so there was. I recall getting up, going downstairs, full of eagerness to finally see prizes Mom and Dad had found. Presents were opened and were quite wonderful, but not particularly fun. A lean Christmas for a kid can lead to a less than stellar Christmas afternoon with nothing new to do.

    Eventually everything was opened and we were happy. Tight times? Yes, but the jollification was just the same. Mom and Dad had done the best they could and, after all, Christmas was not about presents. Like most people, we liked gifts, but somehow Mom and Dad had convinced us that fun was better than fun stuff.



    Thank God.

    We were mucking about with what there was when Dad asked Mom if they had not, perhaps, missed something. Had we opened all the gifts?

    We perked up. What? This was new. Our Christmas morning ritual was more set than a pre-Vatican II Catholic liturgy. We did what we did and what we did was timeless, until now. Mom and Dad went upstairs and brought down a new Vic 20 computer for both of us.

    We were gobsmacked: a computer with color. We spent the afternoon typing in a program that created a tank game. There was no way to save it, but you could play it. It worked. It was real. We were owners of a computer.

    But mostly, the thrill was the unexpected super-abundance. I have never loved a computer as much as that machine. Eventually, I owned a tape drive that would save the program so I did not have to type it in every time I wished to play. There were cartridge games and eventually we bought those as well.

    We were living Star Trek. We each had our own computer. In our era, this was like having someone tell us we could have our own starship.

    Mom and Dad always bought thoughtful gifts and we were often suprised, but nothing ever topped that year for the shock of it. We were happy, genuinely good, and then we were even happier.

    That is how I have found God to be. God is good. We get more than what we deserve generally, but we know roughly what that will be. We do not over expect, but then it happens. God dumps super-abundant awesome goodness into our lives: grace, mercy, and joy.

    We are fine, happy even, with the way things are and then God surprises us with more. That’s life.

    Thanks Mom and Dad.
     
  2. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Like Father, Like Son

    I have followed in your footsteps,
    you have taught me many things,
    shown me many more.

    Like, what it was to be a caring son,
    takes to be a devoted father,
    means to be a loving grandfather.

    I will never forget all you taught me,
    always treasure what you have shown me.
    In life, it is less important what you are,
    than what you become.

    I can become, as a caring son,
    devoted a father, loving a grandfather,
    It will be your legacy I keep.
     
  3. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Have you ever found a treasure?”, I once asked my father. He smiled a big smile and told me this story. That was many years ago and I have never forgotten it.

    “Once when I was about ten years old” my father told me, “I went treasure hunting with my older sister. She had heard some people talking about a treasure chest that was supposed to be hidden in a hillside cave, way at the back of an empty lot about a mile from where we lived. One day during our summer vacation we went there and spent two or three hours looking for the entrance to the cave. Then, as I was trying to squeeze between two big boulders, I suddenly fell into a hole. It was the mouth of a tunnel that led to the cave.

    My sister and I crawled through the tunnel into the cave. It was very dark but we had brought a flashlight and as we shined it around we were shocked to see that there was a large wooden chest about ten feet ahead of us. Neither of us had thought we would really find a treasure.

    We ran to the chest and pulled it open. It was filled with silver and gold coins. I started to count them but my sister told me to stop. This is only money she said. This is not a real treasure. If you want money all you have to do is work for it.

    I was going to argue with her when I suddenly noticed a big metal chest on the other side of the cave. ‘That must be the real treasure.’ I yelled and we both ran over to the metal chest. This chest was harder to open and we were very excited when we finally opened it.

    The chest was filled with statues of men and animals. Some of the statues were made of ivory, some were made of marble with diamonds for eyes and rubies for lips, and some were made of gold. I took one of the gold statues out of the chest and stood it up. Since I was knelling it almost reached my chin. ‘Don’t do that!’ yelled my sister. ‘This is only beauty and art. It is not a real treasure. There must be something better here.’

    But there was nothing else in the cave. We searched and searched but the two chests were all there was. Then the battery in the flashlight started to die. The bulb grew dim. We got scared and crawled back to the tunnel. I wiggled through but my sister got stuck half way into the tunnel. I tried to pull her out but I couldn’t. I began to cry. ‘Find someone to help me.’ my sister said.

    I ran up and down the street knocking on doors and begging people to come with me to help my sister. Nobody would come. Some were watching TV or playing video games. Others were busy eating, or talking on the phone. Some didn’t believe me and some didn’t want to get involved.

    The only one who would help was a girl about my age. She got a rope and a spade and a water bottle. We returned to the tunnel and after about a half an hour we got my sister out of the tunnel.

    We never told our parents about what had happened. I became good friends with the girl who had helped us. I asked her why she helped us even though she had never even met us before. She told me that there was a commandment in the Torah that said, “Don’t be a bystander when someone else is bleeding.” (Leviticus 19:16)

    I grew to admire her very much. She was very responsible, charitable, faithful, kind and loving. I learned a lot from her and when we finished college I realized that she was more than a very good friend. She was the woman I wanted to marry and live with for the rest of my life. That’s your mom.

    I also learned that my sister was right. Wealth and great art are nice but as the good book says, “Who can find a capable wife? Her worth is far above rubies. Her husband safely trusts in her. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the Torah of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:10,26)

    In your mother I found the best treasure in the world.
     
  4. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Over there.

    If there is anguish in a heart
    And you don’t care,
    Someday you’ll have to answer
    Over There.

    You may think you’re in the right,
    But ask the Lord before you fight
    For compassion also matters
    Over There

    In the Bible there is scripture
    That reminds us to forgive;
    And if you want to go to heaven,
    That’s the way that you should live.

    So if you turn vindictive
    And your methods then are cruel,
    It’s best that you remember
    This one important rule:

    In earth’s venue, what you say
    and do along the way
    Is written in your record
    Over There.



     
  5. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Can we celebrate Christmas without Christ?

    Many Americans apparently do.

    Yesterday the New York Times highlighted a new Pew Center survey to show only “55 percent of Americans said they celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday.”

    While the study notes 90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas in some form, just over half celebrate its religious aspects. Further, only 32 percent of Americans noted they were bothered by the view of the religious elements of Christmas being celebrated less.

    As a person devoted to the one who came on the first Christmas, this greatly concerns me. While it has become more acceptable to say “Merry Christmas!” in the White House, many houses across America vaguely know the original Christmas story.

    Countless pages have been published to research the history of Christ’s coming. However, one of the best pieces of “literature” concerning this story originates from an unlikely source.

    Luke 2:8-14 provides the words of Jesus’ birth. Linus provides the narration. If you are unaware or have long forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, take two minutes of your time to hear it now.

    8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

    9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

    10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

    11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

    12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

    13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

    14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:8-14).
     
  6. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Six
    =========

    A man asked his wife what she'd like for her birthday.
    "I'd love to be six again," she replied.

    On the morning of her birthday, he got her up bright and early
    and off they went to a local theme park. What a day! He put
    her on every ride in the park: the Death Slide, the Screaming
    Loop, the Wall of Fear - everything there was! Wow!

    Five hours later she staggered out of the theme park, her head
    reeling and her stomach upside down. Right to McDonald's they
    went, where her husband ordered her a Big Mac along with extra
    fries and a refreshing chocolate shake. Then it was off to a
    movie - the latest Star Wars epic, and hot dogs, popcorn, Pepsi
    Cola, and M&Ms.

    What a fabulous adventure!

    Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed.

    He leaned over and lovingly asked,
    "Well, dear, what was it like being six again?"

    One eye opened. The wife said,

    "You idiot, I meant my dress size!"

    The moral of this story is: If a woman speaks and a man is
    actually listening, he still may get it wrong.

    Merry Xmas everyone.
     
  7. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The subject of fear is an interesting thing when we consider both life and God. You see, I don’t believe I’m afraid of dying and yet I know that as long as I am alive, I will resist death; and perhaps even in my final moments I will not be able to reconcile myself to the inevitability of dying in any time that I call NOW. Instead, I suspect I will believe that it is imminent and yet still in the future—always in the future. I think that is the optimistic frame of mind that God gives to all humans and that death, coming as it does after years of declining health, still “sneaks up” on us most of the time.

    That brings me to Fear. You see I am afraid of a lot of things—some of them involving a fear of a method of death but the main one just a fear of fear itself. For instance, I enjoy the process of flying and viewing all the earth below me, but even though I deeply doubt that the exact plane I’m on will plummet to earth, I am afraid all the time I’m flying, because I am afraid of the fear I would feel on the way down if that terrible thing were to happen.

    While actually the abrupt jolting of my soul from my human body would be easier than the pain of a long, lingering illness, I just don’t want to face that particular fear—that knowing that the time for death is NOW.

    I’m also afraid of roller coasters. I think if I took a ride on one it is likely that I would come back to the starting place all in one piece as thousands of people do every year, but I would be so afraid. So I don’t ride roller coasters.

    The same goes for driving too fast. Who wants to risk life and limb to get there faster? I don’t want to see another car unexpectedly appear in front of me and know I am going to suffer the impact. That scares me.

    What does not scare me is going home to be with God. I just want to go there by his gentle invitation; I don’t want to go crashing in heaven’s gate unexpectedly.

    I don’t think God minds that I’m afraid of things that hold more elements of danger than day-to-day life usually engenders. I think he wants me to hold my life dear and submit my soul to him only when he gives me that quiet call.

    I’m not ashamed of being afraid of taking chances with my life; I would be ashamed if I wasn’t. I would be ashamed to not hold the wonderful life God gave me in the esteem this great gift deserves.
     
  8. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The very first Christian song most children learn is “Jesus Loves Me.” If there were a best-seller hit list among the preschoolers, this very simple but precious song would have to be at the top of the charts. Yet few people know that “Jesus Loves Me” began life not as a song but as a part of one of 1860’s best-selling novels.

    Anna Warner was well aware of the coming of the war between the states. She lived with her father and sister on Constitution Island. Their home was practically next door to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and from her front porch she constantly heard the rumors of war. Yet even in the face of uncertain times, every Sunday Anna taught Bible classes to the cadets.

    She realized that if the southern states made good on their threat to withdraw from the Union many of the boys she knew could be killed or wounded in the war that would follow. While it broke her heart to consider the dismal fate for those too young to have experienced the many blessings of life, she also fully comprehended the importance of leading each of them to Jesus now. With an urgency brought about by a nation on the brink of dividing, sharing Christ’s love became her mission in life.

    Besides her teaching, the forty-year-old Anna also wrote. With her sister
    Susan she had written several novels, using the pseudonym Amy Lothrop. In
    1860 the sisters’ Say and Seal became the country’s best-selling work of
    fiction.

    Written for the masses and the moment, not fueled by timeless
    struggles or epic writing, the book would quickly pass from the public’s
    fancy, lost with thousands of other period pieces of the time. Yet, thanks
    to one very special scene on but a single page, the essence of the book and
    of Anna’s faith would live for decades after Say and Seal and Anna herself
    had been forgotten.

    In one chapter a child lay dying. Nothing could be done to ease his pain or
    give him a second chance at life. As his ultimate fate grew nearer, the
    novel’s focal character, Mr. Linden, attempted to comfort the small boy.
    Looking into the child’s eyes, he slowly recited a poem that began, “Jesus
    loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

    The words of the poem made the boy’s last moments of life much easier. These
    simple lines also moved thousands of readers to tears. Hauntingly beautiful,
    composed straight from Anna’s faithful heart, “Jesus Loves Me” quickly
    sprang out of her book’s pages and became one of the most beloved poems of
    the era.

    No one can even begin to calculate how many times it was said on
    the battlefield, in the homes of children whose fathers were engaged in the
    Civil War, from pulpits and in Sunday school classes, and even at the White
    House itself. Ringing so clear and true, Anna’s sixteen short sentences had
    touched the hearts of millions with verses meant only to calm the soul of a
    dying fictional character.

    One of the scores of readers who memorized the poem was William Bradbury. A
    teacher of voice and organ, in 1854 Bradbury had formed a piano company with
    Ferdinand Lighte and Henry Newton.

    Besides heading up his business, the
    noted musician also continued a practice of setting his faith to music by
    composing his own songs. By the beginning of the Civil War, Bradbury had
    built his own music company to publish and distribute his works. It was
    during the time when his music business was taking off that he first read
    and fell in love with “Jesus Loves Me.”

    Although an accomplished composer of what many think of as high-church
    music–he had already lent his talents to such hymns as “Sweet Hour of
    Prayer, …. He Leadeth Me,” and “On Christ the Solid Rock I


    Stand”–Bradbury was moved in a much different fashion when he decided to
    add a melody to Anna Warner’s poem. A lover of children’s voices, as well as
    a proponent of music education in both school and church, Bradbury allowed
    the child in his own heart to spring forth when writing the simple musical
    notes for “Jesus Loves Me.” Then, to fully complete the work, he added the
    following chorus:

    Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible
    tells me so.

    The marriage of Waner’s words and Bradbury’s music was one of the most
    beautiful gospel efforts of all time. Yet the song “Jesus Loves Me” might
    have been as quickly forgotten as the novel Say and Seal if Bradbury’s music
    company hadn’t published it.

    Through the publisher’s established
    distribution network, the new children’s song quickly worked its way across
    the North and South. In the face of the most horrible fighting this nation
    had ever known, both sides were singing about a Savior who died, yet had
    risen and still watched over everyone with equal love and compassion. It was
    an ironic message for a very ironic time.

    Almost a hundred and forty years after this song was first published, few
    know of the writings of Anna Warner or recognize the name of William
    Bradbury. But even though the writer and the composer have been forgotten,
    everyone knows their song.

    Children and adults of all races and even
    millions outside the Christian faith can sing “Jesus Loves Me.” How many
    millions have clung to this message on lonely nights or rocked babies to
    sleep while singing this song is unknown.

    But what can be most assuredly
    stated is that “Jesus Loves Me” is the foundation on which many children not
    only first come to know Christian music but also come to know the love and
    sacrifice of the Lord who inspired it. And this message is what keeps them
    singing the gospel throughout their lives.


    Lyrics for “Jesus Loves Me” Song

    “Jesus loves me! This I know,
    For the Bible tells me so.
    Little ones to Him belong;
    They are weak, but He is strong.

    Chorus:

    “Yes, Jesus loves me!
    Yes, Jesus loves me!
    Yes, Jesus loves me!
    The Bible tells me so.

    “Jesus loves me! This I know,
    As He loved so long ago,
    Taking children on His knee,
    Saying, ‘Let them come to Me.’

    Chorus

    “Jesus loves me still today,
    Walking with me on my way,
    Wanting as a friend to give
    Light and love to all who live.

    Chorus

    “Jesus loves me! He who died
    Heaven’s gate to open wide;
    He will wash away my sin,
    Let His little child come in.

    Chorus

    “Jesus loves me! He will stay
    Close beside me all the way;
    Thou hast bled and died for me,
    I will henceforth live for Thee.

    Chorus
     
  9. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Researchers at the University of Virginia have found that most people perceive a hill to be steeper than it really is, especially if they are tired or carrying a heavy load. When asked to estimate the slope of a hill, test participants consistently misjudged it, thinking a 10-degree slant was about 30 degrees, and rating a 5-degree slope as nearly 20 degrees. Hardly any of them believed they could be that far off.

    When we are burdened and exhausted, even a minor problem can seem too big for us to handle. As we encounter a trial in life, we are tempted to sit down at the base of that difficult hill and stay there, convinced that the grade is too steep for us.

    That is why we need the encouragement of God’s Word. It draws our attention to our untiring God, who knows our need. Isaiah wrote, “The Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might – He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:28-29).

    Because we so easily misjudge life’s difficulties, we need courage to keep going when we are tempted to quit. Take a step of faith today and join those who depend on the Lord, who run and are not weary, who walk and do not faint (v.31). In His strength, you can conquer any difficult hill.

    As we live for Christ and follow Him,
    The way may seem quite steep;
    But if we trust His grace and strength,
    Our steps He will guide and keep.

    God always gives enough strength for the next step.

    He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
    ISAIAH 40:29
     
  10. sohbuckkong

    sohbuckkong Alfrescian Old Timer

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    U will surely goto hell if christ exist.

    U r obsessed with postings here. And obsessions come fm satan.
     
  11. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Christ be with me
    Christ before me
    Christ behind me
    Christ in me

    Christ beneath me
    Christ above me
    Christ on my right
    Christ on my left

    Christ where I lie
    Christ where I sit
    Christ where I arise
    Christ in the heart of every man

    who thinks of me
    Christ in the mouth of every man
    who speaks of me
    Christ in every eye that sees me
    Christ in every ear that hears me
    Salvation is of the Lord.

    http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/188/from-saint-patricks-breastplate/#ixzz52QobPiX2
     
  12. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Walking down a path through some woods in Georgia , I saw a water puddle ahead on the path.
    I angled my direction to go around it on the part of the path that wasn’t covered by water and mud. As I reached the puddle, I was suddenly attacked!

    Yet I did nothing for the attack was so unpredictable and from a source so totally unexpected.

    I was startled as well as unhurt, despite having been struck four or five times already. I backed up a foot and my attacker stopped attacking me. Instead of attacking more, he hovered in the air on graceful
    butterfly wings in front of me. Had I been hurt I wouldn’t have found it amusing, but I was unhurt, it was funny, and I was laughing. After all, I was being attacked by a butterfly!

    Having stopped laughing, I took a step forward. My attacker rushed me again.

    He rammed me in the chest with his head and body, striking me over and over again with all his might, still to no avail.

    For a second time, I retreated a step while my attacker relented in his attack. Yet again, I tried moving forward. My attacker charged me again. I was rammed in the chest over and over again. I wasn’t sure what to do, other than to retreat a third time. After all, it’s just not everyday that one is attacked by a
    butterfly. This time, though, I stepped back several paces to look the situation over. My attacker moved back as well to land on the ground. That’s when I discovered why my attacker was charging me only moments earlier. He had a mate and she was dying. She was beside the puddle where he landed. Sitting close beside her, he opened and closed his wings as if to fan her. I could only admire the love and courage of that butterfly in his concern for his mate. He had taken it upon himself to attack me for his mate’s sake, even though she was clearly dying and I was so large. He did so just to give her those extra few precious moments of life, should I have been careless enough to step on her.

    Now I knew why and what he was fighting for. There was really only one option left for me. I carefully made my way around the puddle to the other side of the path, though it was only inches wide and
    extremely muddy. His courage in attacking something thousands of times larger and heavier than himself just for his mate’s safety justified it. I couldn’t do anything other than reward him by walking on the more difficult side of the puddle. He had truly earned those moments to be with her, undisturbed. left them in peace for those last few moments, cleaning the mud from my boots when I later reached my car.

    Since then, I’ve always tried to remember the courage of that butterfly whenever I see huge obstacles facing me. I use that butterfly’s courage as an inspiration and to remind myself that good things are worth fighting for
     
  13. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Lo, I am with you always.”

    Matthew 28:20

    The Lord Jesus is in the midst of his church; he walketh among the golden candlesticks; his promise is, “Lo, I am with you always.” He is as surely with us now as he was with the disciples at the lake, when they saw coals of fire, and fish laid thereon and bread. Not carnally, but still in real truth, Jesus is with us. And a blessed truth it is, for where Jesus is, love becomes inflamed.

    Of all the things in the world that can set the heart burning, there is nothing like the presence of Jesus! A glimpse of him so overcomes us, that we are ready to say, “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” Even the smell of the aloes, and the myrrh, and the cassia, which drop from his perfumed garments, causes the sick and the faint to grow strong. Let there be but a moment's leaning of the head upon that gracious bosom, and a reception of his divine love into our poor cold hearts, and we are cold no longer, but glow like seraphs, equal to every labour, and capable of every suffering.

    If we know that Jesus is with us, every power will be developed, and every grace will be strengthened, and we shall cast ourselves into the Lord's service with heart, and soul, and strength; therefore is the presence of Christ to be desired above all things. His presence will be most realized by those who are most like him. If you desire to see Christ, you must grow in conformity to him. Bring yourself, by the power of the Spirit, into union with Christ's desires, and motives, and plans of action, and you are likely to be favoured with his company.

    Remember his presence may be had. His promise is as true as ever. He delights to be with us. If he doth not come, it is because we hinder him by our indifference. He will reveal himself to our earnest prayers, and graciously suffer himself to be detained by our entreaties, and by our tears, for these are the golden chains which bind Jesus to his people.
     
  14. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “And the LORD shall guide thee continually.”

    Isaiah 58:11

    “The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but Jehovah shall guide thee. He said he would not go through the wilderness before his people, an angel should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel's guidance: he himself leads the van.

    You may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice the word shall — “The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it! How sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills” are better than men's oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

    Then observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes, but we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at his heels, we shall not err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in. If you have to change your position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should happen that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers, or cast among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee continually.”

    There are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if you live near to God, and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and eternal power to defend you. “Jehovah”—mark the word—“Jehovah shall guide thee continually.”
     
  15. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    It takes strength to be certain,
    It takes courage to have doubts.

    It takes strength to fit in,
    It takes courage to stand out.

    It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain,
    It takes courage to feel your own pain.

    It takes strength to hide your own pains,
    It takes courage to show them.

    It takes strength to stand guard,
    It takes courage to let down your guard.

    It takes strength to conquer,
    It takes courage to surrender.

    It takes strength to endure abuses,
    It takes courage to stop them.

    It takes strength to stand alone,
    It takes courage to lean on a friend.

    It takes strength to love,
    It takes courage to be loved.

    It takes strength to survive,
    It takes courage to live.
     
  16. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    5 Great Ways To Change Your New Year

    Have you made New Year’s resolutions before? Have you kept them? Here are resolutions that may last more than a month.

    Mind over Mattress
    One of the keys to changing your new year is to get up a little bit earlier in the mornings so you don’t have to rush around and forget to do certain things. One morning I was in such a rush, I forgot to shave, and read my Bible (more important). I determined to change that, so I set my alarm clock 10 minutes earlier.

    It gives me a bit of a cushion to get my day started off right. I’m not sure who said it, but its like, “mind over mattress.” When I moved back my alarm clock, I found wasn’t rushing around in the morning. I could actually take my time, but I also had more time to pray and read my Bible before the day started. For me, it’s “Bible before breakfast.” I’ve noticed that if I don’t start my day off with time in His Word and prayer, then God’s obviously not a priority for me that day.

    I am actually showing God that my own routine takes precedence over Him. It’s like saying, “I’m in a hurry God, and You’ll have to wait.” I certainly cannot honor God when I don’t even give him the first portion of my day. The father of the Methodist church, John Wesley, rose up every morning at four o’clock spending one hour on his face before God.

    I really believe if every Christian woke up at least 10 minutes earlier and devoted at least five minutes for prayer and five minutes for Bible reading, they would not only grow spiritually, but they would be better prepared for whatever the day brings. Interestingly, sometimes the very verses I had read in the morning fit perfectly with the circumstances at work.


    Memorizing Scripture
    One reason to memorize Scripture is to resist the temptation to sin. The psalmist wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Notice he stored up God’s Word so that he might not sin.

    Perhaps what he is saying is that when he is tempted, he can recall a Scripture and that helps to keep him from sinning. That’s why memorizing at least one Bible verse a week will equip you to resist the pulls of the flesh and the Devil. Try this: Write out one Bible verse per week and put it on a 3 by 5 index card where you can see it every day of the week.

    One verse a week is very easy, but by memorizing one verse a week, you can memorize 52 Bible verses in a year. Bible verses such as 1 John 1:9 which says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Some of my favorite memory verses are 2 Corinthians 5:21, John 10:28-29, Hebrews 9:27, Romans 5:1 and several others. One advantage of memorizing Scripture is you can share the gospel without needing a Bible.

    Prayer Journals
    I have a lot of prayer requests and so I had to simplify and organize them, so I bought a 5 subject, wide-ruled notebook that I write down prayer requests. I put down the date so that I can look back to see how God has faithfully answer certain prayer requests. It quickly turns into a prayer/praise journal. You can organize it like this:

    Person’s Name Praying For

    Their Prayer Request

    Date Requested

    Date Answered (when it comes)
    Daily Witnessing
    I went to Moody Theological Seminary, so naturally I learned about D. L. Moody, and one of the things I admire about him the most was his faithfulness in obeying the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). D. L. Moody was a relentless witness because he loved people. After he was saved, he would go out and seek young men to come and attend Sunday school, and he always encouraged them to do the very same thing.

    He also inspired many a young man to be faithful witnesses for Christ, and despite the rejection, scorn, sometimes facing hateful, angry words. Yes, there are times when I have failed, but I keep hundreds of Bible tracts with me at all times so that I am continually leaving Bible tracks everywhere I go, and handing them to people I don’t even know. After his death, D. L. Moody left such an impact that the Chicago Bible Institute was renamed the Moody Bible Institute and the Chicago Avenue Church was renamed the Moody Church. And why not? He built it with his relentless pursuit of the lost.

    Prayer and the Word
    This may sound easier than it actually is because many Christians do just what I did for years. I climbed into bed each night and prayed sleepy-time, bed-time prayers, but I frequently fell asleep before I ever finished them.

    Then, I started a routine of reading my Bible and then praying to God just before bedtime. It’s fine to pray in bed, but it doesn’t work for me. The routine of reading the Bible and praying just before bed are the bookends to my day. I start the day with prayer and Bible reading and I end the day with Bible reading and prayer. I can assure you that this is going to make your life a lot richer in many ways.

    When I start out the day with prayer and Bible reading, I’m more prepared for the unexpected. When I fail to do this, I seem to fail at other things during the day too, so I begin each and every day with prayer and Bible reading, and I end it in the same way. What you’ll discover is that you go to bed with so much more peace of mind. I begin by reading and meditating on the Word of God, and then praying for others, and finally for myself, including asking for God’s forgiveness. If you do these things, you’ll discover that God “gives to his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2c).

    Conclusion
    Resolve to make this year a more productive year by disciplining your body and mind to take in the Word of God and to consistently pray for others. If you spend more time reading the Word of God and praying, you’ll not only take in the Word, but you’ll take the Word with you. Get into the Word and the Word gets into you. Examine the Word and the Word examines you. Go through the Word of God and the Word of God will go through you. Not only will you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ, it will pay immediate benefits, but also benefits into eternity.
     
  17. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Consciousness of God

    Is only known by man;

    But go ahead, use logic;

    Rebuff Him if you can;

    But when argument is over,

    You will see what must be true—

    Were there not a God,

    There would also not be you.
     
  18. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Master of all

    Can you count the stars in the sky

    Or the trees around the earth?

    Can you count the raindrops that fall

    Or the joy at a baby’s birth?

    Can you count the angels dancing on pinheads

    Or the ants deep in their holes;

    Can you know the substance needed

    To create a human soul?

    Can you count the extent of love for us

    That comes from our Precious Lord?

    Can you count the price of the world he gave

    Complete with necessities stored?

    Is there anything too great for God;

    Is there anything too small?

    No, my brother, there’s nothing;

    He is Master of it all.



     
  19. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    What Is…
    What is within …
    What is within the depths of my soul …
    What is …

    What created what is.

    What lies without …
    What lies in the serenity of a morning
    hike through the forest, along side a
    mountain stream, slowly and steadily
    cascading a bed of mountain stone.
    What is mighty and majestic as
    the roar and tumble of the ocean’s
    tide at storm.
    What is as gentle as the touch of the gardener,
    tending the rose.

    What is …

    Gentle, Calm, Mighty,
    and Majestic from the depths of my soul
    to the world around me…

    God is All-Surrounding.

    Magnificent, Unfathomable, Astonishing…
    His vastness is beyond comprehension…
    His mercy unceasing …
    His love…undying.
     
  20. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.”

    Matthew 10:34

    The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up his cross, know ye not what your Master said? “I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household.”

    Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, he brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities.

    Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth's sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master's steps, for he has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.
     

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