In Everything Give Thanks – Try It!

These circumstances intended to discourage and pull down will be the same ones you use to transform for your purposes of good and glory

These circumstances intended to discourage and pull down will be the same ones you use to transform for your purposes of good and glory

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Do we really have to take this verse seriously?  Yes.

What if I’m not grateful?  Then Praise God

We may not feel thankful for bad things that happen. Yet, this verse tells us to be thankful in everything, not for everything.

When we can’t see our way through difficult circumstances, then we consciously choose to Praise God.  He is able to work in our circumstances.  He often lets people make poor decisions which can impact us.  Through praise we can invite Him into the middle of the muddles.  He can turn things around.  This isn’t a guarantee that He will turn things around.  He acknowledges that He can.

His love guarantees our triumph over the test.  He may simply walk though the difficult spot with us.  He may send someone to walk alongside us.  He may change things miraculously.  He may not. He may have other purposes at work that have nothing to do with us.  In praising God we are agreeing with God about His goals, even if He hasn’t outlined them to us.  Some things we simply don’t understand or don’t like.  God doesn’t like it when people choose bad behavior.  Their bad choices have impact at several levels.  Praise in God reminds us that He can redeem things in His way and in His time.  It’s not like the incidents never happened.  He just uses it for His purposes and not the enemy.

Praising God is agreeing with Joseph’s conclusion, “You intended it to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  Genesis 50:20.

Heavenly Father, I choose to be thankful for all my circumstances today and every day.  Show me how you can make things work together for good even when I can’t see it.  I choose to Praise You.  You are bigger than the mountain of difficulty in front of me.  Thank you for offering to walk alongside me and never leave me.  Again, I am choosing to praise you and be thankful in everything.

 

 


Deciding Where to Put Your Anger

Let Prayer be Part of the Journey from Forgiveness to Health

Let Prayer be Part of the Journey from Forgiveness to Health

The Living Bible translation of Proverbs 19:3 states, “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.”  Absolutely true.  People make all kinds of foolish decisions and when the resulting consequences follow, they often get mad at God for the way things are.

If someone doesn’t have a concept of a good God and a bad devil where everything good comes from God and everything bad comes from the devil, then it often leads to conclusions that God has done something to them.  If bad things happen and their world view includes only God, or worse—no God, then they think it’s about trying to stay on God’s good side it doesn’t seem clear on how to do this.  They live with a suspicious relationship to God wondering if they can really trust Him.  If there’s no God, fate determines circumstances.

Anger is a logical response to frustrating events.  The best decision we can make is to realize where that anger ultimately stems from and get mad at the source—our supernatural enemy.  We do this by learning how to “get back” at the enemy, or the enemy at work in people. Jesus says to be kind to people who are our enemies and treat them with respect and pray for our enemies.  These are the things that surprise a person who isn’t expecting such. These are the keys to seeing turnaround.

Realizing that an individual’s behavior stems from listening to bad behavior suggestions doesn’t mean one should continue letting a brute do damage to oneself or someone else again and again and calling it okay or, unbelievably, calling it love.  All experts advise getting away from the brute and realizing how trapped the brute is in their poor behavior and making a wise decision about not putting anyone in known danger.

Having an appropriate attitude offers the middle ground of making wise decisions to set boundaries and not allowing ourselves to hate the person.  Yes, we can not like the behavior.  But pure hatred involves judgment.  As best we can keep our hearts clear by continuing to give that person over to God for God to deal with them as He will.

Being angry at God when He is the one person that can help us in our trials and suffering doesn’t make sense.  As we learn to embrace Him as the powerful God He is who loves us, then we start to see our circumstances turn around.

 


Steph’s Recipes: WATERMELON SALAD WITH MINT AND FETA

Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta is a Family Favorite During Summer

Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta is a Family Favorite During Summer

This is a strange sounding mixture of ingredients at first glance.  Go ahead and try it.  It has become a family favorite.  People will ask you to bring this to potlucks and then ask for the recipe.

 

WATERMELON SALAD WITH MINT AND FETA

 

1 (5 pound) seedless watermelon

1 Vidalia or other sweet onion

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

6 whole mint sprigs

 

Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding any seeds, and set aside.  Peel and slice the onion into rings.  In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time.  Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large owl, combine the melon, onion, and feta.  Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed.  Garnish with mint sprigs.

 

 

 


Making Good Decisions Pre Determining Positive Behavior Action Points

Making Good Decisions Involves Making Good Pre-Determined Behavior Action Points

Making Good Decisions Involves Making Good Pre-Determined Behavior Action Points

One way to make good decisions in life is to pre-determine certain decisions.

In all families there are things that we wish had been different in our growing up years.  We might have wished our parents had shown more affection for each other, or that the words, “I love you” had been verbalized more. We might have wanted more sports encouraged for women or more traditions insisted upon.  When we get our own families we can decide in advance, “This is the way our family will be.”

We can pre-determine that when we go to certain events, we will limit ourselves to a certain time or how many drinks we will have or to whom we will speak (or not speak.) These are choices we make in advance for a desired outcome.  This avoids the chaos that comes from, “We’ll see what happens when we get there.”  One can pre-decide what will not happen in Las Vegas before one goes to avoid guilt or shame later before God.

In scripture we have a great example of a young man who was taken from his family as the Jews went into exile in Babylon, made into a eunuch, forced to serve around sorcerers and astrologists, and be taunted by a king’s constant tests.  In order to serve God, Daniel had to get past the hurdles of offenses that might have been the normal response to such circumstances, and choose to learn about God and want to honor God.

The Bible says that, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”  Daniel 1:8. Daniel “purposed” in his heart a choice of action points.  God gave Daniel favor among his superiors and Daniel excelled in physical strength as well as intellectual and spiritual knowledge.

Decide in advance who you are shaping up to be as a person of character.  Determine in advance what you will do and no do in advance of certain challenges and tests to be victorious in life.  Unexpected circumstances come to all of us in the course of life.  Yet there are many pitfalls we can avoid by pre-deciding in advance to choose good behavior action points that won’t take us on unwanted detours in life.

Lord, Guide me in all the decisions I need to make today.  Give me your wisdom concern my life.  Let me make in advance all decisions that will help me today.

See more on making good decisions by pursuing holiness.


Prayers for the Parched: Memo from God

Prayer Allows Us to Partner with God in Every Detail of Our Lives

Prayer Allows Us to Partner with God in Every Detail of Our Lives

Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!  Psalm 66:20

“I am God.  Today I will be handling all of your problems.  Please remember that I do not need your help.  If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box.  It will be addressed in my time, not yours.  Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it or remove it.  Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem.  If it is a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayers to be sure that it is the proper resolution.  Because I do not sleep nor do I slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep.  Rest my child.  If you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away.”

Unknown Author”Roll your burdens on to the Lord.  Trust also in Him and He worketh for you.”  Psalm 37:5


10 Reasons to Celebrate Positive Social Markers in the World

Child Mortality Rates are the Lowest in History.

Child Mortality Rates are the Lowest in History. (Chart from the web.worldbank.org)

Johnny Enlow spoke at an Aglow conference in Sacramento in May 2014, and outlined these 10 positive Social Markers.  The media and many forwarded group emails highlight enough bad news and reasons to mourn events in the world that bring trouble and sorrows to many.  Before Christ comes back for His spotless bride (the church), there will be an Age of Restoration of

All Things.  This is a time to rally our faith and raise our requests to the Lord expecting to see His glory unfold on the earth in positive ways.

To counter so many bad news headlines, let us look at some positive trends our of world statistics.

A Fresh Look at the Societal Marker Scoreboard

1.  Evangelism Statistics

There are 2.6 billion Christians on planet earth currently.  That’s 1 in 3.

In 1900 it was 1 in 27 people who claimed to be Christians

150-200 million are in China.

30,000 are coming to God every day

35 million Christians live in India

 

2.  Holy Spirit Knowledge

700 million people around the world claim a relationship with the Holy Spirit

That is roughly 1 of every 10 people on the planet.

120 million are Catholic charisma tics.

Pope Francis encourages people to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

3.  Extreme Poverty Rate

In 1990, 33% of the world lived in extreme poverty

In 2014, 20% of the world live in extreme poverty

Bill Gates hopes that by 2020 we could have extreme poverty eliminated

Bill Gates is contending against extreme poverty rates

God will bless whoever worked toward this goal.

Eventually the church will embrace this role.

Heaven passes around good news.

 

4.  Child Mortality rates

2.65% decrease every year since 1990

Child Mortality rates are at the lowest in history

 

5.   Teen pregnancy in USA

Down 60% since 1990

Lowest since 1940 (when they first started tracking the statistics)

 

6.   Abortions

In 1990, there were 1.4 million abortions in USA

In 2013,  800,000 in USA  (Lowest ever)

Less abortions in 2013 than before Rowe v Wade passed

87 abortion clinics closed in 2013

7.  Sexism Against Women

Discrimination against women has been improving.

We live in a time where it  is the best stage ever for women.

Things have never been better

There are laws in place that protect women that are being enforced.

8.         Racism

Best state ever in history or our country.

USA voted for an Afro American president – twice.

This is an amazing fact.

Some minorities think, “If a black man can be elected President, I can do anything.”

It’s happening, whether we know it or not.

“No bullying” is a policy that many communities are adopting.

Awareness on this issue his been increasing.

Valuing an individual comes from heart of God

Those fighting for this have God’s heart

9.         Government Accountability

In general, it’s never been harder to be a dictator.

Cameras around world capture so many things that force honesty.

Truth comes out with social media – electronic trail

10.       Malaria

Lowest rates in history

The effect of the momentum is positive.  Be encouraged!

 


Great Dads Reflect a Positive Relationship with God – Part 2

We learn about our Heavenly Father through our Dads on earth

We learn about our Heavenly Father through our Dads on earth

1 Corinthians says to believe the best in people.  God believes the best in you. He approves of you—even if not every choice you’ve made so far  God never expected perfection out of us—just like we don’t expect any kid to walk perfectly the first time or get perfect scores in every subject of every level of learning.  (Parents who expect this are projecting their need for perfection on kids.)  Most parents are thrilled when we take the first few steps, even if we fall down.  We get up and keep trying till we’re walking.

All of God’s favorite kids (our heroes in the Bible) had flaws and weaknesses and made bad decisions.  Luckily, our Daddy is really big. He’s so big that He can still make things okay when we mess up.  Even with Adam and Eve, He continued his plan for earth even after they flunked their first test.  God works with us humans knowing we are not perfect.  Jesus worked with flawed disciples and He still changed the world in three short ministry years.  After He ascended to heaven, the well meaning fishermen became emboldened with the Holy Spirit anad carried out God’s plan to take the good news of Jesus to every corner of the world.

There’s less consequences (to us) when we make good decisions. God works with who we are and whatever we give him.  We remind ourselves that our Heavenly Father is a Big God, a loving God and a God who is for us.

Let us honor our earthly Dad’s for all that is honorable.  And let us also take time to worship our Heavenly Father today.

Have you thought about the fact that our Heavenly Father never grows old? He doesn’t have bad hearing or becomes forgetful.  We’ll never heave to take care of Him.  Our Heavenly Father really is perfect.  He is holy and honorable in every way.  Praise God, our Father.

Psalm 37:5 says, Roll your burdens on to the Lord. Trust in Him and He worketh.

Catch the first part of this article Great Dads Reflect a Positive  Relationship with God – Part 2


Great Dads Reflect a Positive Relationship with God – Part 1

We learn about our Heavenly Father through our Dads on earth

We learn about our Heavenly Father through our Dads on Earth

Great Dads reflect a positive relationship with God.  They offer love, loyalty, belief in us, family pride, nurturing, encouragement, fix-it help and advice.  To the point they can, Dads who love a woman (hopefully our mothers) model love to their kids.  They know how to establish friends and can earn a living and be good providers.  Good Dads are good at whatever skill God gave them to develop.  They put on kindness and gentleness.

With not-so-good Dads, we project a father’s worst traits on to God, instead of the enemy who deserves it.  It makes it harder to see God and his goodness.

Breakthrough happens when we realize all our frustrations with God usually belong to the enemy and not God.  Every good gift is from God above.  James 1:17. If we can grasp this, and fully believe it, we move into victory realm.  The Dad we always wanted is there for us in Father God.  For all our Dad’s foibles, we must learn to turn to our Heavenly Father to get the missing piece from our perfect Father.  We can let our earthly Dads be the imperfect human Dad  He too can get his needs met from the Father.

Our Heavenly Father is love.  And He has already made the decision to love us (from the beginning of time,) to create us, and to design us for His delight.  He’s delighted with you.  He’s given each of us everything we had for a joy filled life of abundance.  We come more as a kit project.  He wants to build the project of us with Him..  He and we are a team and we are a part of a larger design of family and community.

See also: Great Dads Reflect a Positive  Relationship with God – Part 2


Let God’s Word be Spirit and Life

His presence is on His Word.  "Not one thing has failed that the Lord has spoken."

His presence is on His Word. “The Mind Set on the Spirit is Life and Peace.”

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6

We live with the gift of scripture available to us at all times.  Some of us try to conduct daily devotions.  Devotionals help.  Looking up the scripture and putting it in context takes it one step further.  Using Bibles with cross reference scriptures often takes me to other parts of the Bible and catch my attention even further.

At some point one of the scriptures jumps off the page and feels like a word just for me that day.  It comes alive.  Smith Wigglesworth describes it as scripture that is touched by the Spirit of God.  He adds, “In the right sense, it becomes Spirit and Life when it its touched by His hand alone.”

John 6:63 quotes Jesus saying, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”  Jesus spoke the rhema word to people.  He only spoke what the Father said and did what the Father said to do.  When we read Jesus’ words, they have life on them because they ring true through the ages.  Isaiah says that the word of God lasts forever.

I encourage you to allow the verse that stays with you all day to be your whisper from the Lord for that day.  If it rings true, there must be a reason.  It may not even be a new word to you; but it probably is a now word.

If we choose to dwell on the truth God gives us, it becomes life and peace to our spirits and souls.  Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”

Lord, speak to me today through your word.  Highlight for me what you want me to know.  May your truth dwell deeply in my spirit and soul bringing life and peace to my mind, my will, my emotions and my body.  Thank you for giving us your living word.  Let it live in us at all times.

 

 

 

 


Prayers for the Parched: Getting Dressed

Let Us Put On the Full Armor of God Every Morning to be Ready for Whatever Comes Our Way

Let Us Put On the Full Armor of God Every Morning to be Ready for Whatever Comes Our Way

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13

 

Oh Lord

I am putting on my spiritual battle clothes today

Let these protect from the fiery darts of the enemy

Let these serve your purposes today

 

I put on the helmet of salvation

I put on the breastplate of righteousness

I put on the belt of truth

I pick up the shield of faith

I take your word with me as a sword

I put on the shoes of peace

 

I’m ready for the day

Let’s go together