It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

Glass tongues

“If ONLY our tongues were made of glass . . . how much more careful would we be when we speak”?  by Shaun Shane

Our tongues are the strongest muscle in the body, proportionally speaking, so we can lift the spirits of our families and friends. What will you do with that which is in your mouth?  Bridle it or unleash it?  They both make a long lasting impact. Which will you choose?

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”.  Ephesians 4:29

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue:  and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18:21

 

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What’s tucked in your backpack?

On this journey through life, we get banged up, broken bones and hearts, accumulate scratches, marring & scars, bodies altered, cut, and lose limbs, become deeply wounded, experience death and disease, etc.  All, which come in the categories of emotional, spiritual and physical.

Some of that may come from our own doings, and some from the choices others.  ALL, which we have NO CONTROL over.  Nonetheless, God has allowed these circumstances for a greater purpose than what we realize in the moment as well as enduring our suffering.

1) to bring him glory in our weaknesses, hurts and failures

2) to establish a platform of victories, that we might reach out and help others find victory through defeat

Satan hopes our horrible experiences will cause us to live in the past.  No way!!!  This pilgrim is moving forward, but I DO keep my experiences tucked in my backpack.  It serves me along the way to be of help to another soldier in battle.

LOOK today for those in need of encouragement, as the Lord has given each one of us a platform to be HIS hands and feet!

Hebrews 3:13  “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today . . .”

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Flow through me

Lord I want to be Your witness of what I’m living here below

but words cannot express the feelings deep within my soul

so Jesus take my life today and somehow let it be

that when somebody looks at me, Your love is all they see.

 

FLOW THROUGH ME like a beautiful melody

shine though me like a lighthouse by the sea

Lord let my life reflect Your life like a mirror polished clean

Jesus . . . live through me!

 

IF I could have but one request I know what it would be

that I could show the whole wide world the picture that I see

cause if they saw You Jesus, dying on that cruel tree

I know they couldn’t help but love You if only they could see.

Forgive me for the things I do that often bring You shame

and change me into someone that brings honor to Your name

Take away all of me and fill me full of You

this is what I ask today I’m pleading NOW with You.

 

FLOW THROUGH ME like a beautiful melody

shine though me like a lighthouse by the sea

Lord let my life reflect Your life like a mirror polished clean

Jesus . . . live through me!

 

The lyrics to this song has been running through my heart and mind all day long.  I desire to have a life that reflects my Lord and Savior.  However, I am a work in progress and know that he is faithful to complete the work he has begun in me!  Let your life be a witness of what he has done and is currently doing in you!  Allow Christ to flow through you.

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Can you successfully hide your deceit?

Obedience brings blessings . . . Disobedience brings curse.   Deuteronomy 28

How will your life play out based on the choices you make as well as the motives behind what you do?

You cannot make a good choice with an impure motive and come away smelling like roses or sneak by the hand of God.  Consequences DO come.  Some will be immediate, while some are far reaching.  Nonetheless, consequences will not escape those who choose to deceive.

In Genesis 27, Jacob is given instructions by his mother to deceive his father for a blessing.  Jacob is aware that he will be deceiving his father, yet follows through with his mothers instruction.

Jacob, in his younger years (whose name means deceiver, heel grabber) experienced the receiving end of deception.  He was manipulated and deceived by Laban, his father-in-law, (his mother’s brother).  Jacob purposed to honor what he said he would do, yet his father-in-law deceived Jacob by not giving him the woman he asked & worked seven years to gain.  As a result, Jacob had to work an additional seven years (totaling 14 years) to obtain the woman he intended to take as his wife.

It wasn’t until years later, Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32, that Jacob chose to “grab” onto God.  God achieved a firm hold onto Jacob causing him to quit deceiving and rely upon God.  God is capable of getting our attention.

Are you like the young Jacob causing God to track you down in your own deceit?

Can you think of a time where God has made himself known to you as he did to Jacob?

At that point of change Jacob walked much differently purposing no longer to deceive.  That day, Jacob saw God face to face and his name was changed to Israel.

Numbers 32:23  . . . be sure your sin will find you out.”

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Money vs. Time

Something to ponder as everything around us vies for our time, luring us away from that which is a priority:

If money were time . . . would you waste as much money as you do time?  If you lose $100 bill, you could possibly work a few extra hours or days to make it up, but the time you lose can never be redeemed.

None of us know how much “time” we have left. Redeem the time and live each day for Christ!

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Who Is He . . . Really?

There is a natural tendency within us to try and make God who we think He is or who we think He ought to be.

If all is well in our world, our view of God is unchallenged.  He is good.  He is loving.  He is fair.  But when things start to go awry, that is when our true view of God is revealed.

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A New Perspective

Imagine going to a job each morning where you can set your own schedule. You arrive when you want, take breaks whenever you want, and leave for an extended lunch hour without anyone breathing down your neck. Answering your phone calls and emails is regulated to a minimum each day, and the work responsibilities and goals you have are varied. There is no dress code or security passes to wear around your neck, and no one cares if you eat at your desk or play your favorite radio station. Your boss is off-site, and you can manage your workload to best suit your needs. Your work is rewarding and exciting, and you usually see immediate results from your efforts. Wouldn’t we all love to have a job that fits this description? As a homeschooling parent, you do!

Many homeschooling parents get caught up in the fact that they never receive a paycheck like their working counterparts. However, if you look at the God-given task of teaching your children at home from a new perspective, you begin to see what a blessing the career choice of homeschooling is for you. So many drawbacks of the typical job do not relate to your world. You have the freedom to pursue your position in ways many parents who work outside the home never do.

Too many times in my years as a homeschooling mother, I failed to see the bigger picture of what God was doing in my life and the lives of my children. I needed to have my eyes opened like Elisha’s servant who saw the whole army of heaven around him (2 Kings 6:17). From God’s perspective, what you are doing as a homeschooling parent has long-lasting and eternal value.

As you homeschool today, picture yourself at the best job you could ever have. The grass is greener on this side of the fence, and your regular paycheck of hugs and kisses from your family is more rewarding than what any company can pay you. Enjoy the freedoms you have as a homeschooling parent and be the successful teacher God intended you to be! “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Jesus, what a wonderful opportunity You have given me! Not only do I get the blessings of being a parent, but You have also blessed me with an awesome career of being a teacher. Help me keep my eyes on You each day as I homeschool. In Your name, Amen.

AOP Homeschooling Devotions

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Our Old Nature

Our old nature is like the pig and the raven, always looking for something unclean on which to feed.

Our new nature is like the sheep and the dove, yearning for that which is clean and holy.  No wonder there are so many struggles in the life of the believer!

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Faith on Fire

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 
—John 20:24-25

The resurrection of Jesus was the best possible news the disciples could have received, yet not everyone was immediately on board with the story. Thomas was absent when the Lord made His group appearance on that Sunday evening, and gave a skeptic’s response to the announcement that the other disciples had been with the risen Lord: “But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’”

Some have been very harsh about Thomas’ reaction. He seems kind of demanding and disrespectful. Who does he think he is? Actually, though his words may strike us as odd, they were not prideful. Thomas wanted to believe, and he wanted his faith to be authentic.

John 20:20 holds an important detail in Jesus’ original appearance:“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.” Thomas was only asking for what he had missed. He was expressing a willingness to believe based upon the same evidence given to the people around him. His request was not unreasonable. He didn’t want to doubt; he wanted to believe!

Thomas sincerely longed for what the other disciples had experienced. He was gathering the wood and getting a match—he wanted a faith on fire. Thomas named the obstacle and was looking for the reasons he too could stand on authentic faith in Christ. This is the lesson: faith is kindled when you name the obstacle.

Identify the obstacle to faith in your life. I got hurt. I have a question I don’t have an answer for. I’m discouraged. I don’t honestly understand how Christianity can be true. Now bring it before the Lord: “God, thisis the barrier between You and me.” Produce your strong reservations and give God an opportunity to put faith where there’s doubt. Once you have honestly prayed this way, give God time to answer. Wait on Him.

This is not a casual challenge. If you’re a doubter, get on your knees every night before you go to bed and bring your barrier before God. You are expecting Him to provide an answer. Pray every day for thirty days. God did not disappoint Thomas and He will not disappoint your sincere approach. Name the obstacle before God and He will kindle your faith.

Pastor James MacDonald

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Your Limitations

When you decide you can’t do something specific because you have “limitations”, then you are not living your life to its fullest potential.

We say we can’t sing because we don’t like our voice.

We say we can’t act, yet we are great manipulators.

We say we can’t teach, yet we seem to know it all.

We say we are not athletic yet we don’t have any problems putting our sibling into a “Full Nelson” headlock.

We say we can’t love our spouse, yet we CAN love our neighbor.

When we put our limitations in God’s Hands, moving forward and trusting in Him and how HE has created us, then when anything great comes from THAT, we KNOW that God used our limitations to shine brightly in our lives.

Will you stop limiting God, by limiting yourself?  Decide to live the abundant life.

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