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beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Again Lord


I have looked away from You Lord
again
Lord let me look upon You
again
I have walked away from You
again
Lord let me walk with You
again
I have not read Your Word
again
Lord give me a hunger for Your Word
again
I have lost my faith in You again
again
Lord give me faith to trust You
again
I have disappointed You Lord
again
Lord strengthen me so I will not disappoint You
again
Free me Lord from this circle, grant me the victory found within You, in the power of Jesus Christ’s blood.
for always..

Amen

Romans 8:1-2
So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit-and this power is mine through Christ Jesus-has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God.”

Acts 27:23

Tempest and long darkness, coupled with imminent risk of shipwreck, had brought the crew of the vessel into a sad case; one man alone among them remained perfectly calm, and by his word the rest were reassured. Paul was the only man who had heart enough to say, “Sirs, be of good cheer.” There were veteran Roman legionaries on board, and brave old mariners, and yet their poor Jewish prisoner had more spirit than they all. He had a secret Friend who kept his courage up. The Lord Jesus despatched a heavenly messenger to whisper words of consolation in the ear of his faithful servant, therefore he wore a shining countenance and spake like a man at ease.

If we fear the Lord, we may look for timely interpositions when our case is at its worst. Angels are not kept from us by storms, or hindered by darkness. Seraphs think it no humiliation to visit the poorest of the heavenly family. If angel's visits are few and far between at ordinary times, they shall be frequent in our nights of tempest and tossing. Friends may drop from us when we are under pressure, but our intercourse with the inhabitants of the angelic world shall be more abundant; and in the strength of love-words, brought to us from the throne by the way of Jacob's ladder, we shall be strong to do exploits.

Dear reader, is this an hour of distress with you? then ask for peculiar help. Jesus is the angel of the covenant, and if his presence be now earnestly sought, it will not be denied. What that presence brings in heart-cheer those remember who, like Paul, have had the angel of God standing by them in a night of storm, when anchors would no longer hold, and rocks were nigh.

“O angel of my God, be near,
Amid the darkness hush my fear;
Loud roars the wild tempestuous sea,
Thy presence, Lord, shall comfort me.”
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
In His Mother’s Footsteps


It was a busy day in our Costa Mesa, California, home. But then, with ten children and one on the way, every day was a bit hectic. On this particular day, however, I was having trouble doing even routine chores-all because of one little boy.

Len, who was three at the time, was on my heels no matter where I went. Whenever I stopped to do something and turned back around, I would trip over him. Several times I patiently suggested fun activities to keep him occupied.

“Wouldn’t you like to play on the swing set?” I asked again. But he simply smiled an innocent smile and said, “Oh, that’s all right, Mommy. I’d rather be in here with you.” Then he continued to bounce happily along behind me.

After stepping on his toes for the fifth time, I began to lose my patience and insisted that he go outside and play with the other children. When I asked him why he was acting this way, he looked up at me with sweet green eyes and said, “Well, Mommy, in Primary my teacher told me to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. But I can’t see him, so I I’m walking in yours.”

I gathered Len in my arms and held him close. Tears of love and humility spilled over from the prayer that grew in my heart, a prayer of thanks for the simple yet beautiful perspective of a three-year-old boy. This experience has served as a reminder to me of the vital role of a mother. While it is sobering to realize that I am a crucial link between my children and the Savior, I need to remember that since a mother is a copartner with God, I am in a position to receive guidance from one who truly cares and wants all of us to walk in Heavenly footsteps.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him.”

Isaiah 3:10

It is well with the righteous always . If it had said, “Say ye to the righteous, that it is well with him in his prosperity,” we must have been thankful for so great a boon, for prosperity is an hour of peril, and it is a gift from heaven to be secured from its snares: or if it had been written, “It is well with him when under persecution,” we must have been thankful for so sustaining an assurance, for persecution is hard to bear; but when no time is mentioned, all time is included. God's “shalls” must be understood always in their largest sense. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until the day-star shines, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it shall be well with the righteous.

It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better, for he is well fed, he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed, he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed, he dwells in God; he is well married, his soul is knit in bonds of marriage union to Christ; he is well provided for, for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed, for heaven is his inheritance. It is well with the righteous — well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance.

O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we laugh them all to scorn. Blessed be God for a faith which enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict him. It is, says the Word, at all times well with thee, thou righteous one; then, beloved, if thou canst not see it, let God's word stand thee in stead of sight; yea, believe it on divine authority more confidently than if thine eyes and thy feelings told it to thee. Whom God blesses is blest indeed, and what his lip declares is truth most sure and steadfast.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.”

Isaiah 2:3

It is exceedingly beneficial to our souls to mount above this present evil world to something nobler and better. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are apt to choke everything good within us, and we grow fretful, desponding, perhaps proud and carnal. It is well for us to cut down these thorns and briers, for heavenly seed sown among them is not likely to yield a harvest; and where shall we find a better sickle with which to cut them down than communion with God and the things of the kingdom?

In the valleys of Switzerland many of the inhabitants are deformed, and all wear a sickly appearance, for the atmosphere is charged with miasma, and is close and stagnant; but up yonder, on the mountain, you find a hardy race, who breathe the clear fresh air as it blows from the virgin snows of the Alpine summits. It would be well if the dwellers in the valley could frequently leave their abodes among the marshes and the fever mists, and inhale the bracing element upon the hills. It is to such an exploit of climbing that I invite you this evening.

May the Spirit of God assist us to leave the mists of fear and the fevers of anxiety, and all the ills which gather in this valley of earth, and to ascend the mountains of anticipated joy and blessedness. May God the Holy Spirit cut the cords that keep us here below, and assist us to mount! We sit too often like chained eagles fastened to the rock, only that, unlike the eagle, we begin to love our chain, and would, perhaps, if it came really to the test, be loath to have it snapped. May God now grant us grace, if we cannot escape from the chain as to our flesh, yet to do so as to our spirits; and leaving the body, like a servant, at the foot of the hill, may our soul, like Abraham, attain the top of the mountain, there to indulge in communion with the Most High.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
I’ve always loved the story of Jesus appearing to Thomas.

Maybe it’s because of the skeptic in me. Growing up in the megachurch movement, I watched thousands of people around me every Sunday, swallowing a self-help gospel hook, line, and sinker. It wasn’t the Joel Osteen style, “you were born to win” sort of self-help gospel. I think that’s what it was so easy to digest to the usual churchy, Christian crowd.

(By the way, despite what the megachurch movement would like you to believe, they are jam packed with the usual church, Christian crowd, not by scores and hoards of newly attracted disciples.)

This kind of self-help gospel was a different style. It’s therapeutic quality was shrouded by claims of absolute morality, inerrancy of Holy Scripture, and the utter simplicity of the Christian life. It was out of this movement that a lot of the common quasi-spiritual cliches were born, catchphrases of self-reliance or pithy abdication, baptized with Christian culture god-language.

“God never gives us more than we can handle.”

“If he brings you to it, he will bring you through it.”

“God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

“God has a plan for your life.”

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“God is in control.”

“You can’t put God in a box.”

I have a visceral reaction to this sort of thing. Always have. These are the kinds of things we say to convince ourselves. Diluting a historic Christian faith into bumper sticker form with nonsense sayings can really only serve to momentarily soothe our anxieties. But this world is stark, ugly, tragic. The beauty of creation remains, but the pangs and pains of sin and brokenness are all around us. If we don’t realize this, if being a Christian and following a crucified and risen Christ seems like the easiest thing in the world, our faith is vain, anthropocentric, and utterly meaningless.
To persist in the path of K-LOVE Christianity is a farce to me. I can’t do it.


So, please forgive me for what I’m about to say. I can so easily see myself in Thomas. I don’t see him as stubbornly harboring unbelief, I see him as being in profound faith. To doubt the stories of the other witnesses, no matter how convincing, well, it’s normal. To question your faith, to struggle with its complexities, to grapple with paradox, that is the stuff of following Jesus.

So don’t malign your inner Thomas. Don’t explain him away as sin. Embrace him.

Jesus can handle your questions, he can handle your doubts.

God is not an abuser with dignity so frail and insecurity so strong that would make God snap at the very idea of being questioned.

Let’s face it: the Christian story is foolishness to our human minds. It is ludicrous. That we would believe in a Savior crucified and risen is nothing short of absurd.

But yet we believe. In faith, we believe the day will come when we shall see Christ as he is, with wounded hands and broken side, and we shall bow and proclaim as Thomas did, “My Lord, and my God.”

Until then, let us continue to proclaim our faith in Jesus crucified and risen.

No more we doubt thee,
Glorious Prince of life!
Life is naught without thee;
Aid us in our strife.












 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
A lady recently asked her co-worker what it was like to be a Christian?

The lady replied, “It’s like being a pumpkin: God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you may have gotten from the other pumpkins. Then he cuts the top off and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

This message was passed on to me from another pumpkin that was picked from the patch. Share this with others including those who may still be in the pumpkin patch.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
In recent decades, a plethora of evangelical ministries has emerged designed to “engage the culture”. A Google search for “engage the culture” returns more than half a million results. Moreover, a huge number of operations designed to inculcate a Christian worldview and provide apologetics training are booming. In short, the evangelical effort to reverse America’s slide toward secularism and decadence has been vigorous and pervasive.

It has also been, largely, a failure. The evidence is plain. In spite of the resources poured into these efforts, American culture has increasingly embraced the cultural and sexual Left. Any impact of evangelical efforts to reverse this trend has been vanishingly small. How can millions upon millions of evangelicals have so little effect on the culture around them?

The answer is that evangelicals have failed to reckon with the fact that Christian belief is a mark of low status, and has been so for a long time. This has been the case at least since the Scopes trial and the unflattering media portrayals of traditional Christian believers that accompanied it.

In the middle of the 20th century, it was more difficult to see Christian belief as a marker of low status. After all, during that period America was still dominated by a form of Christianity as its civil religion. Some religious figures were widely admired, Billy Graham being the most obvious example. Millions of people still attended church.

But, even then, in elite circles, Christian belief was a mark of low status. In such places, traditional Christian belief was largely considered the province of the weak, the bourgeois, the misinformed, the gullible or the wicked. At the same time, Protestant liberalism dominated. This less stringent form of Christianity sought to relax the tension by accommodating traditional Christian belief to the worldview of America’s secular elite. Eventually, that project failed.

We have now arrived at a moment when this dynamic can no longer be hidden. The hostility of our elite institutions and those who run them is well documented. Just consider Harvard University’s recent treatment of a traditional Christian group.

Only now, as the reality of Christian belief as a marker of low status has become undeniable, have evangelicals begun to take note. The failure to do this earlier explains the previous ineffectiveness to “engage the culture” profitably.

The idea behind the “engaging the culture” movement was that, rather than withdrawing from the surrounding culture as their fundamentalist cousins did, evangelicals should go forth to meet it. The expected outcome of this going forth was a revival of Christian faith.

It sort of makes sense. If enough evangelicals,the idea was, could be trained to engage the surrounding culture, especially in the culture-making arenas of politics,education and the media, eventually these well-placed agents of change could turn things around.


What this plan never took into account is the dynamics of social status. Evangelicals sought to engage the culture by being relevant, by creating works of art , by offering good arguments for their positions. None of these addressed the real problem: that Christian belief simply isn’t cool, and that very few people want to lower their social status by identifying publicly with it.

Many evangelicals sensed something was going on. They responded as though the problem were a matter of style rather than content. They created churches calculated to prove evangelicals could be as hip as anyone else. The result was churches that had rocking worship bands, superb lighting, a million cool programs and no cultural impact.

The only lasting success to come from this trend was to make the hip pastor in a goatee and skinny jeans a universal object of derision. When the elites see him, they aren’t impressed. Rather than seeing someone so cool they want to emulate him, they see desperation. They see a low-status guy craving their approval, and they are rightly repulsed.

This is just one example of how evangelicals misjudged the context in which they operate. They could not see that Christianity has fallen from its place of cultural dominance not because we haven’t had enough worldview seminars, cool clergy or “God’s Not Dead”-style movies. Christianity has become marginalized because Christian belief has become an obstacle to getting what most people want: social status and the privileges which accompany it.

Rod Dreher was one of the first to recognize this. Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of his “Benedict Option” solution, it is an attempt to grapple with the reality of our situation. In the end, few will heed his advice. The worst, and most probable, response evangelicals could offer here is to continue doing what they have been doing: offering solutions to problems most people don’t have.

The right path forward is murky. But, whatever that path requires, it requires the truth. To continue acting as though the approach of the last two or three decades is productive is to avoid the truth. Let traditional Christians, of all people, embrace the truth. And perhaps, in doing so, we will set an example that might finally make an impact on this culture.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
I am a child of God—

Though I am wrinkled and steeped in age,

Though I need bifocals to read a page,

I am a child of God.

What does God want for his own child?

Does he want me to sigh and moan?

Does he want me feeling blue alone?

No, God wants the best for me.

Why do I not rejoice in Him?

Perhaps I fail to kneel in prayer

And succumb to bitter thoughts and cares;

When I should remember what I mean to Him.

What does God want for his own child?

He wants me home with him someday

And he wants contentment on the way.

God make me worthy; I am your child.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
What Caused Lucifer Or Satan’s Fall?



What caused Lucifer to fall from being over the throne of God to being cast out of heaven?

The Fall
When God created the angels, long before He created the earth (Job 38:4-7), they were holy and blameless. It was only later that Lucifer rebelled and brought one third of the angels with him in trying to overthrow the throne of God. More than that, he wanted to be worshiped as God is worshiped. He wanted to sit in the place of God. Apparently, Lucifer wasn’t satisfied to dwell near the throne of God.

Prior to Lucifer’s fall it says, “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezk 28:15). In what appears to be a reference to Satan, Isaiah wrote, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low” (14:12), but Isaiah gives the cause of Satan’s fall: “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north” (14:13). Satan’s pride had so distorted his created ability that he actually believed, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14).

Victim of Pride


Prior to Lucifer’s fall, it says, “You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezk 28:14-15). That blamelessness ended when he tried to usurp the throne of God and become as God. He beheld his own glory and became lifted up with pride, and pride is a bad thing for angels and men.

Solomon wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov 16:18). We know what pride is, but what is “a haughty spirit” that comes before a fall? The word “haughty” means: “to be blatantly and disdainfully proud and having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people.” That’s just what Satan’s attitude was (and is!). He got too full of himself. Isaiah writes, “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” (Isaiah 28:17a), so pride, even if it’s for real beauty or genuine reasons, can easily corrupt our minds, and affect our wisdom.

It’s one thing to be proud of an accomplishment, but it’s another to advertise it on the local TV station, so the problem was, Satan started believing his own stuff, and since his pride corrupted his decision making, he tried to overtake God and His throne, and was cast down to the earth. Isaiah wrote, “I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire” (Isaiah 28:16b). God seemingly taunts Satan, saying you were lifted up, but in the end, “I cast you to the ground” (Isaiah 28:17b).

No Human King



Some believe that the descriptions given about Lucifer are not about him but about an earthly king, the king of Tyre, but do you remember Satan’s temptation of Christ where Satan wanted Christ to circumnavigate the cross and receive “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory,” if only He would bow down to Satan (Matt 4:7-8)?

The implication is that Satan had the kingdoms to give over, so even though the King of Tyre was a human, Satan could well have possessed the king. That means the king’s kingdom and all its resources, would have been under Satan’s rule, however, no human besides Christ is blameless (Ezk 28:5), certainly not the human king of Tyre, and no human has ever walked “on the holy mountain of God” (Ezk 28:14b). And, the king of Trye wasn’t old enough to have walked “in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezk 28:13a), so clearly, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 are not about an earthly king, but about the ruler of the present world who blinds many to the gospel.

The first parts of Ezekiel may refer to earthly king of Tyre, but there is no way that what follows is about a human being (Ezk 28:12-16). The Apostle Paul writes, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4), and few things can blind us better than pride.

Conclusion
Being proud of someone for accomplishing something like graduating, having a child, getting married, or getting a new job, is not the pride that is sinful. Of course, even this kind of pride can also get carried away, but pride and a haughty spirit are still causing people to fall. We are all victims of pride at one time or another, so it is true that a haughty spirit comes before the fall, and in fact, pride may even cause a fall.

The lesson is, God resists the proud, and will only give His grace to the humble (James 4:6), so what caused Lucifer’s fall (pride), can also be our downfall, although not falling out of the family of God, but falling out of fellowship with the Father. That doesn’t mean falling out of a relationship with God, but our fellowship suffers when we overestimate our self-worth and importance. Eating crow for dinner and having a slice of humble pie for desert will leave a bad taste in your mouth. I know. I have learned, the more someone is lifted up, the harder they fall. Christians should always remember that we are no better than anyone…we are only better off.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
His name is John. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kinda esoteric, and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day John decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so John starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now people are looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.

John gets closer and closer to the pulpit and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!) By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward John. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, a three piece suit, and a pocket watch. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, “You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?”

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The people are thinking, “The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.” And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to John and worships with him so he won’t be alone.

Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control he says, “What I am about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“We would see Jesus.”

John 12:21

Evermore the worldling's cry is, “Who will show us any good?” He seeks satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the quickened sinner knows of only one good. “O that I knew where I might find Him !” When he is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say, “Take it away: I want to find Him .”

It is a blessed thing for a man, when he has brought his desires into a focus, so that they all centre in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a mere of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields.

Happy is he who hath one desire, if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have been realized. If Jesus be a soul's desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, “I want Christ; I must have him—mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul's desire. I would see Jesus!”

Is this thy condition, my reader, at this moment? Hast thou but one desire, and is that after Christ? Then thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven. Hast thou but one wish in thy heart, and that one wish that thou mayst be washed from all thy sins in Jesus’ blood? Canst thou really say, “I would give all I have to be a Christian; I would give up everything I have and hope for, if I might but feel that I have an interest in Christ?” Then, despite all thy fears, be of good cheer, the Lord loveth thee, and thou shalt come out into daylight soon, and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Doing God's job.


What’s this world coming to
We hear somebody say
Those words are getting famous
We hear them everyday

But if you’ll just take a moment
To look around, you’ll see
It’s not the world that’s changing
It’s folks like you and me

There’s people in the white house
That wants to change this land
But ONLY if it fits their needs
And not their fellowman

But of all the things through this world
That saddens me most to hear
Is all the big new clinics
That’s spread both far and near

Where they can take a little life
Before it’s ever born
No looking back,no second thought
No one to ever mourn

Another precious life is gone
It never had the chance
To look upon its mother’s face
She had no backward glance

So many churches of today
Their doors flung open wide
But look around and you will see
That GOD is left outside

Some have gotten so corrupt
That Angels fear to trod
And it’s all because we think that we
Can do the job for God

The moral of this story
Has a meaning sad but true
And we’re all guilty of these things
Including ME and YOU

It’s people that messed up this world
And it started way back when
We thought that we was smart enough
To do God’s job for Him
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.”

Genesis 32:12

When Jacob was on the other side of the brook Jabbok, and Esau was coming with armed men, he earnestly sought God's protection, and as a master reason he pleaded, “And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.” Oh, the force of that plea! He was holding God to his word—“Thou saidst.”

The attribute of God's faithfulness is a splendid horn of the altar to lay hold upon; but the promise, which has in it the attribute and something more, is a yet mightier holdfast—“Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.” And has he said, and shall he not do it? “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Shall not he be true? Shall he not keep his word? Shall not every word that cometh out of his lips stand fast and be fulfilled?

Solomon, at the opening of the temple, used this same mighty plea. He pleaded with God to remember the word which he had spoken to his father David, and to bless that place. When a man gives a promissory note, his honour is engaged; he signs his hand, and he must discharge it when the due time comes, or else he loses credit. It shall never be said that God dishonours his bills. The credit of the Most High never was impeached, and never shall be. He is punctual to the moment: he never is before his time, but he never is behind it.

Search God's word through, and compare it with the experience of God's people, and you shall find the two tally from the first to the last. Many a hoary patriarch has said with Joshua, “Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass.” If you have a divine promise, you need not plead it with an “if,” you may urge it with certainty. The Lord meant to fulfil the promise, or he would not have given it. God does not give his words merely to quiet us, and to keep us hopeful for awhile with the intention of putting us off at last; but when he speaks, it is because he means to do as he has said.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Inspiration for “Footprints In The Sand” – The Story behind the Poem



Margaret’s boyfriend Paul proposed. While happy, she was hesitant. She and her boyfriend seemed so different. They decided to take a little walk along the beach to discuss marriage and its importance. When they reached the far end of the beach and were about to begin their return journey, Margaret glanced down and noticed that their footprints had washed out to the sea. Turning to Paul she said, ” Well, if our married life is to be like this, we don’t stand much of a chance.”

Paul replied, “When things are tough for me, you will help me – and when things are tough for you, I’ll help you.”

They continued walking, until Margaret glanced down again and saw that only one set of footprints had washed out to sea. Again, Margaret suggested that their life together didn’t appear to have much of a future. This time Paul responded by gently lifting her up in his arms and carrying her along the beach. Finally, he set her down and said, “Margaret, I want to impress upon you that when life is so bad that we can’t seem to help each other, God will carry us.” Then, pointing to the single set of footprints the two of them had just created, Paul added, “If you just looked at the set of tracks we just made, you couldn’t tell that I carried you – but I did.”

Margaret found his words and the thoughts behind them very beautiful. that night she couldn’t sleep, so she got up and wrote these words; One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

This beautiful piece, printed time and time again, has a love story all it’s own. She called the piece “Footprints” Today, “Footprints” is one of the most widely distributed inspirational pieces in existence. It can be found on plaques, cards and jewelry. Its power lies in its message – the message of the greatest love of all. And yes they did marry.

Love – is an eternal source.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
The Duality Of Biblical Prophecy

The Bible has former and latter’s, and an Old Testament and New Testament, but there are more dualities in the Bible than you may realize.

The Captivity of Sin
After King Solomon’s reign, the nation of Israel split into two different nations. One was known as the Northern Kingdom and was referred to as Israel, so when Israel is mentioned in Bible prophecy, it refers to the Northern Kingdom, which consisted of ten of the tribes of Israel. The Southern Kingdom became known as Judah (or the Jews) and was comprised of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi.

The Northern Kingdom, or the ten of the tribes of Israel, dwelt in Samaria, while the Southern Kingdom remained in control of Jerusalem and the southern half of Israel, so ten of the tribes of Israel were in the Northern Kingdom, while Judah, Benjamin, and Levi remained in Judah, so some Old Testament prophecies refer to Israel, and some to Israel’s sister, Judah (Jer 3:6-10). The striking thing is the prophecies are very similar concerning their coming judgments.

Some of the prophets wrote about the coming judgment of Israel, while others wrote specifically to Judah, but in both cases, the nations were judged and sent into captivity for idolatry. Even though the nations were taken captive at different times, the reasons for God’s judgment were the same, and so was the judgment (captivity). The point is, if God judged His own people for their sins, then why would He not do the same to others? That’s why I believe that many of the Old Testament prophecies are applicable to the nations today.

They may not be falling in front of a stone image to worship it, but whatever is above God is an idol nonetheless, so unless they repent and trust in Christ, their judgments will be similar. It may not be a physical captivity, but as Jesus said, “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34), so they really are captives…captive to sin. The Apostle Paul asked, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Rom 6:16)?




Now and Then
Today, there is no shortage of people who are self-proclaimed prophets of God, and it is just as it was in Jeremiah’s day where many of these claim to speak for God, but in biblical times, if you spoke for God, it was considered Scripture, so just as in Jeremiah’s day, we would do well to “not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes.

They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jer 23:16). God tauntingly says to these false prophets, “who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened” (Jer 23:18), saying, “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied” (Jer 23:21), so “who among them has stood in the council of God?”

I believe that number is zero! Even in the New Testament, Paul prophesied that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4). All we can do is stick “To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Isaiah 8:20), or light from God.

Former and Latter
When Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives and prophesied what was to come, much of it was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman Army, under Titus, destroyed Jerusalem, killing over a million Jews. You can also find similar prophecies in the Old Testament that have direct application to our day. Jesus said that before the temple is destroyed, and of course that would naturally mean Jerusalem, He warned that “many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains”
(Matt 24:5-8). Today, we see nations rising up against other nations, sometimes meeting in the middle (i.e. Syria), and we are seeing an increase in famine and earthquakes (in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas) in places where they used to be rare. And just as Jesus said it would be leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction, “lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:12).

Dualities

When the Roman Empire fell, some historians noted that it fell for the same reasons many other nations fell, including Sodom and Gomorrah, and even Israel and Judah. When Ezekiel was prophesying to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, he noted similarities between Judah and Sodom and Gomorrah, writing, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it” (Ezk 16:49-50).

Today, the disparity between the rich and the poor is widening. There is no indication that famines will decrease, the poor will get richer, or the hungry will be fed better. God will judge any nation what Sodom and Gomorrah did, including His own chosen one. The Apostle Peter wrote, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Pet 4:17). Obviously, the outcome will be horrendous.


Conclusion
There is a duality in the Bible too. There is the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, there is the Old Testament and the New Testament, and there is a day of salvation (today), and a day when God will judge the world (Dan 12:2-3; Matt 25:31-36; Acts 17:31; 1 Cor 6:2; Rev 20:12-15). For some, that judgment will come after death (Heb 9:27), so it’s exceedingly better to trust in Christ today.

If you haven’t already done so, come to Him. If you do, He’s your Savior, but if you reject Him, He will be your Judge tomorrow. Grace and mercy are still available to all who come to Him…but if you delay, then you may have to pay for your own sins. It is infinitely better to have Christ pay for your sins than to pay for them yourself. With one way (John 14:6), your saved by grace (John 19:30; Eph 2:8-9), but without “the way,” you’ll pay forever.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset

The Master plan.


There is never a moment in life

That we don’t need God standing by;

He is the answer we’re seeking

When we ask the question “Why?”

It’s all a matter of faith,

The faith that allows you to pause

And remember the full importance

And immutability of God’s laws.

He’s standing there beside you,

And in faith you can always see

That God has a plan for forever

Though its unknown by you and me;

So with Him in control you can focus

On performing as well as you can

The duties he wants you to handle

While He handles the master plan.
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.”

Psalm 91:5

What is this terror? It may be the cry of fire, or the noise of thieves, or fancied appearances, or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow, we may therefore look for ills as well in the night-watches as beneath the glare of the broiling sun. Nor should this alarm us, for be the terror what it may, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he? Let us put it more closely, why should we?

God our Father is here, and will be here all through the lonely hours; he is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without his direction, for even hell itself is under his control. Darkness is not dark to him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around his people—and who can break through such a barrier? Worldlings may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them; but we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these through rich mercy.

If we give way to foolish fear we shall dishonour our profession, and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we should vex the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. Down, then, ye dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions, God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor shut up his tender mercies; it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.

“Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from thee;
Thou art he, who, never weary,
Watchest where thy people be.”
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
We know what it means to lay aside sin, but what does it mean to lay aside “every weight” that so easily slows down our race to the finish?

Sin
Sin is defined as transgressing the law of God (1 John 3:4). It is missing the mark…the mark of perfection that God requires to enter the kingdom of God (Rev 21:27). Thankfully we can receive the righteousness that is required by God from God Himself through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul writes, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

This means a person who has been brought to repentance and faith in Christ will be a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and they will no longer be enslaved to sin. This doesn’t mean that they are sinless, but over time, they will find that they sin less! Paul told the Galatians, “you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal 4:7), reminding them (and us) that “when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more”
(Gal 4:8-9)? Jesus said that “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34b), however, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

We will be set free from the domination of sin in our lives, but not from the absence of it. We have a new nature, but the old nature still tries to have his way. Paul still battled the flesh, writing, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 8:19), so sanctification is a lifelong process. We have been freed from sin’s penalty (Rom 6:23), but even though we still sin, “sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Rom 6:14).



Obvious Sins
The author of Hebrews told the Jewish believer’s about the heroes and heroines of the faith (Heb 11) in order to encourage them and help them endure their walk with Christ. When chapter 12 begins, the author says, “Therefore,” so what’s the “Therefore,” there for? It looks backward at what was just written, and essentially says, “Because of this,” so in that light, he writes, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1-).

We are to lay aside every sin in our life, but again, never being able to be sinless. For some people, it takes longer to overcome certain sins, but for others, they can overcome them quickly. Each of us are so different from one another and so we have unique struggles than greatly differ from what our brothers or sisters might struggle with, but even the “saintiest” of saints are still overcoming sin on a daily basis. Only when we enter the kingdom will we be saved to sin no more.

What a joy that will be! Until then, we strive to live by the Spirit and not in the flesh, which in times past, meant sins like “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these,” but then Paul writes, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21). By practicing these things as a lifestyle, they show that they are not those who will enter the kingdom (1 John 3).

Every Weight
The late Dr. J. Vernon McGee (Through the Bible) once said that there are sins and there are weights, but they are not the same thing. He explained that drinking may not be a sin to someone, provided there is no drunkenness, but that can prove to be a weight in a person’s life. He didn’t see it as sin, but as a weight that can slow them down in “the race that is set before” them.

Things like sports, shopping, eating, video games, and Facebook time can all slow us down in the race set before us. They take our eyes off of Christ. They can come dangerously close to skirting with idolatry if we’re not careful. I heard one old pastor say, “If it doesn’t glorify God and if it doesn’t promote the kingdom,” then it could be a weight…not a sin, but a weight. If you’re not shamed to do it in front of others (even Christ or children), then it could be a weight and not a sin. Those explanations from Dr. McGee and that old pastor are about the best I have heard for Hebrews 12:1-2. This “weight” can drag a person down in their walk with Christ, and if they’re not careful, it can lead to a powerful addiction that can lead to sin.




Conclusion
If there is a non-essential area but it seems to be an essential to someone else, we must use caution and not cause others to stumble on account of the freedom we have in Christ. What might seem fine for us might be hard for others to accept, particularly new believers. For me to sit down at a Bar-B-Que and have one cold beer would not be sin, but it could be a weight. Drinking puts people at risk for alcoholism, DUI’s, and destroyed relationships, so the weight is just not worth it. I choose not to drink because it’s a weight I don’t need. I don’t want to take that risk. I don’t want anything to hinder my running “the race that is set before” me. How about you? What weight do you need to lay aside?
 

beensetfree

Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug.

He wasn’t a Scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men. But he didn’t believe all that stuff about an incarnation which churches proclaim at Christmas. And he was too honest to pretend that he did.

“I am truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, who was a faithful churchgoer, “but I simply cannot understand this claim that God became man. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

On Christmas Eve, his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He declined to accompany them. “I’d feel like a hypocrite,” he explained. “I’d much rather stay at home. But I’ll wait up for you.”

Shortly after his family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier.

“If we must have a Christmas,” he reflected, “it’s nice to have a white one.”

He went back to his chair by the fireside and began to read his newspaper. A few minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He thought that someone must be throwing snow balls at his living room window.

When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window.

I can’t let those poor creatures lie there and freeze, he thought. But how can I help them?

Then he remembered the barn where the children’s pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and galoshes and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light. But the birds didn’t come in.

Food will bring them in, he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn. To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction – except into the warm, lighted barn.

“They find me a strange and terrifying creature,” he said to himself, “and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety.”

Just at that moment, the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for a while, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow.

“Now I understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why you had to do it.”
 
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