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ATTITUDE NOT APTITUDE
Jesus' message here is that everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. Dave Stone says that "service is the language of grace."
One day a couple of church members were out distributing loaves of bread in a low-income housing complex. They came to an apartment where they heard arguing through the door, but they decided to knock anyway. A man opened the door and asked what they wanted. One of the visitors said, "We don't want anything. We just wondered if you know anyone who could use some loaves of bread?"
"Why are you doing that?" the man asked.
"Just to let people know that God loves them."
"What did you just say?" the man asked, rather anxiously.
"We're just handing out loaves of bread to let people know that God loves them."
The man stared and said, "I can't believe this. We just buried our three-week-old son yesterday, and now here you are at our door."
The visitors offered to pray with them, and the couple accepted their offer. As they were leaving, and the door was being closed, they heard the husband say to his wife, "See, honey? I told you God cares. We thought he wasn't paying attention to us, but he sent those people here to make sure we knew."
Too many people make excuses as to why they can't serve. Can you bake a cake? Can you cook some food item? Can you cut someone's grass? Can you call people and give them an encouraging word? Can you do housework? Can you do handy work? Can you donate anything of value? Can you stop along your way and give a smile? Can you take an interest in someone else's life?
The big thing is that you have to be ready to serve. You have to open your eyes and your ears to the needs of others. 1 Pet. 4:10 -- "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
(From a sermon by Michael Luke, The Demonstration Factor, 5/5/2011)
In her book, THE HIDING PLACE, Corrie Ten Boom relates an incident that taught her to be thankful for things we normally would not be thankful for. She and her sister, Betsy, prisoners of the Nazis, had just been transferred to the worst prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and infested with fleas. Their Scripture reading from their smuggled Bible that morning in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. Corrie finally agreed to somehow thank God for even the fleas.
During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings in their barrack without guard interference. Several months later they learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.
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Walking in the Confidence of God
Christians walk in confidence because they serve a "Providential God:"
Christians serve a Lord whose plans and purposes come about. Psalms 33:4-11 says, "For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; He puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD! Let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations."
In gratitude toward God, Job writes, "You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence you watched over my spirit." (Job 10:12) Job was recognizing that he owed God his entire life because God had given him constant vigilance and had absolute control of his life.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia gives us this explanation of "providence." It "implies more than just seeing in advance. It is anticipation causing one to take steps to meet a need through making a plan. It is in a sense that pre-vision becomes pro-vision... Applied to God, providence obviously includes the divine foreseeing, but God's foreseeing has a fuller and broader reference in view of divine overruling. Providence, then, is the preservation and superintendence of all things by God. It is divine governance whereby all possible events are woven into a coherent pattern and all possible developments are shaped to accomplish the divinely instituted goal."
Many Holy Spirit illuminated Christians have seen the Lord provide for a real need in their lives. Walking in the Confidence of God begins with accepting His provision through Christ, who died for your sins so you may have eternal life.
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Herbert Schlossberg, in his book Idols for Destruction, astutely observed: “Western society, in turning away from the Christian faith, has turned to other things. This process is commonly called secularization, but that conveys only the negative aspect. The word connotes the ‘turning away from the worship of God while ignoring the fact that something is being turned to in its pla...
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IN GOD WE TRUST
I think it quite appropriate that on this day we celebrate who we are as a nation and reflect on how we came to be the nation we are. It is because we still stand firm in our national motto,” IN GOD WE TRUST”.
Did you ever wonder where it came from – how did these words come to be a reflection of who we are as a nation?
One of the first times the motto was expressed is found in an unheralded verse from Francis Scott Key’s poem that became our national anthem. “...And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
In 1864, when the Civil War brought a return of Christian sentiment to the nation, the words were first added to new coins. At that time there was much concern for our nation and many appeals came in to the government to recognize God’s role in the history of our nation. Those appeals spoke to the heart of the then Secretary of the Treasury who then passed this request on to the director of the US mint in Philadelphia. His letter reads like this.
Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.”
Many phrases were considered, but the phrase that most precisely stated God’s role in our country was the simple phrase, In God We Trust. On July 11, 1955, during the height of the cold war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law making it mandatory that all of our currency be ascribed with the one phrase that separated us from other nations.
As we celebrate today I want to help you see that we trust in God and because we do He still has a great plan for us.
(From a sermon by Mike Rickman, In God We Trust, 7/2/2010)
A STORY TO TELL
(A poem to honor our military veterans )
By Pastor Bobby W. Jenkins Jr.
A story to tell, one we can’t fully understand
One of sacrifice and bravery of so many men
A story to tell of a perilous fight
That cost so many their lives and gathered such might
A story to tell of the unity of a nation
A global conflict beyond our imagination.
A story that must be told of our Soldiers of old
Who stood up for Old Glory strong and bold
A story that must be told of those who arose to the occasion
Who stood for the right without persuasion
A story to be told of many who have been laid to rest
We honor them by promising them our best
That we will stand for that which is righteous and true
The freedom of mankind and the red, the white, and the blue
A story to be told of that which is not yet
We will begin by promising not to forget
Those who fell on the battlefield and those who came home
Those who gave all and that all gave some
May God make us worthy of the story that’s been told
May our story be that we have made their cause our own.
ONLY IN AMERICA
1- Only in America can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.
2- Only in America are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.
3- Only in America do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.
4- Only in America do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a DIET coke.
5- Only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our junk in the garage. Hello.
6- Only in America do we use answering machines to screen calls and have call waiting so we w...
BUT BEFORE THAT...
In 1992, when our own Govenor, Kirk Fordice stated unreservedly “America is a Christian nation” the response bordered on hysteria.
But before that -- Congress, declared 1983 to be the “Year of the Bible” — stating that the Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the US as a distinctive and blessed nation....Biblical teaching inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the US (Public Law 97-280, Stat. 1211, approved 10/4/1982).
But before that -- Former Chief Justice Earl Warren, 1954, said, the history of our country and the documents/charter exhibit the same objective: “A Christian land governed by Christian principles...”
But before that -- Abraham Lincoln, April 30, 1863, appointed a National Fast Day and declared, “It is the duty of nations as well as men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”.
But before that -- George Washington Oct 3, 1789, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore his protection and favor.”
But before that -- Mayflower Compact 1620 was a covenant “in the presence of God,” “In the name of God, Amen...by the Grace of God...have undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Chri...