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“An Unexpected Witness”

CAPEWhen I worked in Connecticut, I would sometimes stop by a local D&D on my way to work for some nice freshly brewed iced tea.  I never thought anything about it, I just drove through, gave my order, paid and left.

One day, as usual, I was in my car wishing the line would move faster because I needed to get to work. I finally ordered and drove my car around. I wasn’t thinking about anything but not wanting to be late. When I finally got up to the window, the girl gave the total and took my money. When she gave me the ice tea, she looked at me and asked “Are you Pentecostal?” I was taken aback. She couldn’t really see much of my hair, I had it pulled back and flipped over a huge beret, so I knew she couldn’t see the length. I never got out of the car, so she could not see my skirt. We sat there with a line of cars on a busy morning and talked. She wanted to know if I knew a pastor in the next town over and I did. She had family that used to attend there and she and her fiancee were looking for a church. I gave her a our church information and my name and phone number to call me for a Bile Study. After I left, knowing I was going to be late but not caring too much at that point, I felt such a swelling in my heart. I knew that without thinking about it I had somehow acted Christ like enough for her to see who I was. Through those grumpy days, I still remembered to say “please” when I ordered and “thank you” when I paid. I would sometimes tell them to have a good day. Even when they got my order wrong, they would apologize and I would say, “No problem, that’s okay,” with a smile even when I was a little annoyed.

So, I was feeling pretty good about myself, when I left, but then it hit me…. I was being a witness without knowing it. I had no idea that those few just minutes a few times a week could have an impact on another person without me making any effort to do so. That thought scared me a little. A few minutes a day had such a big impact, what about when we are walking around a mall, or checking out in a grocery store? How about at work? These are places where we spend more time. I knew I had not been the witness I needed to be all the time. Now that I think about it, I’ve even talked to people at gas pumps and didn’t even think that I was being an unexpected witness.

When we don’t think about what we are doing, are we still showing Christ to the world? It should be that natural to us. No matter what our lives are like, people should always see Christ in us, after all we are all “unexpected witnesses.” I pray that I am still doing that and that I can continue to be that way forever!

Mattew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 

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What is in the Heart Will Come Out

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Mathew 15:18-19:

18But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

What is in your heart? Happiness, love, fear, hate, anger, comfort, grace, mercy, lust, bad thoughts, contentment, maybe even revenge? 

Have you ever truly thought about the condition of your heart spiritually? What prognosis or diagnosis would your spiritual “Doctor” give you if He looked into your heart right now? 

For some, you can honestly say, “I have a heart full of love and peace,” while others might cringe once they begin to examine themselves. We can only fool others for a short period before the true content of our hearts comes pouring out, and we cannot fool God at all, for He sees straight into our heart. Being born into sin does present hurdles in our lives as Christians, but God gave us His Spirit and His Spirit gives us the strength we need to jump those hurdles. At times, when we take our eyes off Jesus and our feet somehow get caught on one of those hurdles, we fall. What causes us to take our eyes off Jesus? Are we spending time with Him like we should?

Have you ever wondered why it is that we seem to speak nothing but negative words at times? I am about ninety-nine percent sure that if we would each take a look at ourselves when we notice we are speaking negative or acting in an unfriendly manner, that we will find we have not spent much time with God or in His word for a period of time (whether short or long.) 

If we are feeling energetic, peaceful and our joy is overflowing even when tough circumstances creep up, will probably notice that we have spent some time with God or in His word of late. 

What we need to do is understand this; when we spend time with God and in His word, it penetrates our hearts and His attributes and words begin to flow from our mouth and show in our actions.   This is true for whatever we spend our time in. If we never allow God in our hearts, and we fill ourselves with things of this world, what do you think will show up in our words and actions? Ponder that for a couple of minutes.   

The point I am trying to make is that we should try to spend some time each day talking to God, reading a couple of devotionals and/or some scripture. We will soon see a difference in ourselves if we do.

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Anger Might Be Your Exhaustion

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Anger is exhausting and that is why we are so tired and it’s why we do not have energy for joy.
When I recently heard this statement, a light bulb went off in my head. I said to myself, “That is so true!”
Anger is why people, who are always angry, are always exhausted and rarely joyful. Anger literally kills your joy. For some reason, I keep getting on my soapbox about work these days. Perhaps it is because the company I work for has made many changes over the last couple of years, and those changes hit my department hard. Moral is very low and many of my colleagues are angry and complaining. I admit, I do get sucked into it more times than I would like. One thing I noticed is that I have been more exhausted over the last couple of years than I have been my entire life. Here I was chalking it up to getting older and hitting my mid thirties. Go figure!
Any way, upon hearing this statement, I immediately understood the cause for my exhaustion. Now, I hope I did not ruin your perception of me, as I am very far from perfect. I still live in this thing we call flesh, and at times my carnality gets the best of me. However, now that I have this new revelation (okay, so I am slow,) I can treat the cause (anger) and not the symptom (sleepiness/exhaustion/fatigue, etc.) I noticed that subconsciously, I began trying to escape the world of exhaustion. I observed that now, when I see someone who is complaining or someone who is always angry, I do not stop to talk. I still say “good morning” and when I do talk to them, I try (key word) to talk as little as possible about what will make me angry. It is not entirely possible to always get by without hearing the angry complaints (and I can’t really blame them for being in such a state.) Now, when I am in that situation, I think to myself, “Is this going to benefit me?” or “Is it something I can change?” If I answer no, then I try to shake off the anger as soon as I can by quickly asking God to rid me of the feeling that is beginning to swell up inside me.
I also pray this in the morning, “Lord, let me be an example to someone today and help me not to complain and be angry.” Let me just say, I have noticed a difference and no, I have not mastered the art of not being angry. It still happens, but less frequently. I have found I am slowly turning back in to the person who use to laugh at everything and I am feeling much more joyful than I have over the last two years. I am thankful that God allowed me to be in the right place at the right time to hear those words of wisdom. They have changed my life a lot

    Ephesians 4:26:

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath
Going to bed Angry makes you wake up exhausted. Ask anyone. Always talk to God before sleeping. If you are angry and you are married, you should try your level best to talk to your spouse and douse the anger before sleeping, otherwise a gap will begin forming along with the squashing of your joy.

    Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Lord, help us to be like You!

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Running Hard (Expanding on yesterday’s thought)

 

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1 Timothy 6:11-12 (The Message)
11-12But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life, a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.

There are times when is seems that God is blessing everyone around us and we keep getting missed. God knows what is coming and what we will face, and he is making provision for what we need to get through it. We live for the moment, but God lives for eternity.
If we do not learn the lesson when God puts us in the classroom exercise, then we’re going to have to repeat it again until we learn. God wants us to see something! He is trying to teach us something when he are going through trials and storms.

When God provides us with the opportunity to rest, we should take that time. We need it so we don’t get run down and burnt out. God doesn’t bless us just to make us feel good. He blesses us so that we are equipped and prepared for the ministry coming our way.
(Big thanks to Bishop for prompting my mind with his awesome teaching!)

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Thought for the Day

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Who says the love of money is not the root of all evil?
1 Timothy 6:9-10(The Message)
But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.

Do not put your faith in money, put your faith in the God that is the Provider! He will provide even when the money is gone! He makes a way where there seems to be no way possible! God is God! He can do anything.

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Ressurection Day

 

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Many will be celebrating "Easter" soon. Chocolate bunnies and painted eggs along with baskets of candy will cause delight in many children as they celebrate.  I do not celebrate Easter, but I do celebrate "Ressurection Day."  The tradition of Easter has long since taken away the reality of the true meaning of that day.  Not to get off topic, but as a side note you may want to research at a later time, Easter is actually named after a pagan holiday. I want to discuss is the seriousness of the crucificiton.  Do you really know what it meant to be crucified? The agony and suffering that is caused by this type of punishment can be understood when seeing or hearing a physician giving the medical aspects of what happens to the body during a crucifiction.  Please read the below description, and remember this all happened to Jesus after he had been tortured relentlessly and had to drag a heavy cross on His already wounded body.

Below is an excerpt taken from cbn.com called “A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ”. Please read it and think on it. Have a blessed ressurection day, knowing that Christ did what he did for your eternity.

The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms to tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” is nailed in place. 

The left foot is now pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain — the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves.

As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.  At this point, as the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Jesus experienced hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins — a terrible crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.  One remembers again the 22nd Psalm, the 14th verse: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” 

It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level; the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissue; the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps His fifth cry, “I thirst.”  One remembers another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death.” A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionaries, is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn’t take any of the liquid.

The body of Jesus is now in extremes, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, “It is finished.”  His mission of atonement has completed. Finally He can allow his body to die. 

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Our Strong Tower

 

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We go through many seasons in life, and sometimes we become “weather worn.” Those seasons that leave their mark on us are the seasons that draw us closer to God, to depend more on Him. Many times, we feel that we are being ripped apart by the gusting wind or frozen solid during the bitter and blustery blizzard. That is when we need to run to our strong tower! Call on the name of Jesus! The season may not leave, but peace will definitely come!

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.