Gems From Pastor Jim 12/1/2020

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by Jim Hughes

CrossJoel 2:12-13 That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you.

If you have turned away from the Lord, hear what He is saying to you today. Turn to Him while there is still time! You don’t know what is ahead of you. You may not even finish reading this today. Right now is the time to turn to Him and give Him your heart. Don’t let pride get in your way. Humble yourself before God and seek His face. Admit your sins, confess them before Him, ask Him to forgive you right now while you can.

The Lord is gracious and merciful; He will not turn you away. He will not reject you just because you have rejected Him. He is gracious and merciful and not easily angered. He has open arms to all who would turn to Him and repent. He longs to have fellowship with you. He longs to pour out His love and blessings on you. The only one who can stop Him from doing it is you.

The Lord is full of kindness and is eager to not punish you. He takes no delight in punishing anyone for sin, but He must if they don’t repent. God is holy and will never let sin go. He patiently waits for the soul to return to Him, but there always comes a point in which His patience runs out. He knows the soul and will continue to try to woo us back to Him while we are still able to return. Don’t let sin harden your heart to the point where God can no longer penetrate it. Return to Him now while you can.

If you have not forsaken the Lord but find yourself not as close to Him as you once were, now is the time to turn back to the Lord before you drift farther away. Today is the day of salvation. You may never have another chance to get back right with God. Do it now while you can. If all is well with your soul, praise the Lord for it and pray for those who need to return to Him.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chaper on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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The Point Is … The Three-Legged Chicken

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by James Collins

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

Many years ago, a man was driving on a country road when he saw something very strange. A chicken was running beside his car. Suddenly, the chicken ran even faster. The man glanced at his speedometer. He was going 50 miles per hour. Incredibly, the chicken was outrunning his car. 

The man pushed on the accelerator and increased his speed to 60 miles per hour. Remarkably, the chicken still outran his car. 

He drove faster, 70 miles per hour. The chicken was still faster. 

The chicken made a right turn and darted into the driveway of a small farm. The man watched as the chicken disappeared behind the farmhouse. The man was so amazed by the speed of the chicken that he parked his car and knocked on the farmhouse door. A farmer dressed in overalls opened the door and the man said, “Sir, do you know you have a chicken that can run over 70 miles an hour?” The farmer replied, “Oh you must mean our three-legged chicken. Yes, she’s really fast. 

The man said, “I’ve never heard of a three-legged chicken.” The farmer said, “I run this farm with my wife and son. When it comes to eating chicken, each of us loves the drumstick. So, we decided to breed three-legged chickens.” The man said, “That’s amazing. How has it worked out? How does a three-legged chicken taste?” The farmer replied, “I don’t know. We haven’t caught him yet!” 

The three-legged chicken is symbolic of the pursuit of happiness in today’s world. If you are chasing anything other than a richer, deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, then whatever you’re after is your three-legged chicken. You will never catch it. 

Your three-legged chicken can come in many varieties. Money. Fame. Sex. Pleasure. Success. Instead of chasing after something that you will never catch, Jesus wants you to chase after Him. The road to true contentment is the one where you give your life to Christ and then go deeper into a relationship with Him.  

What are you living for in your few fleeting years on this earth? A thousand years from now, some of the things you think are so important  your date for the winter formal, who won the Super Bowl, the make and model of your car, working overtime to make more money – are not going to be so important. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but they are not lasting.  

The point is: The only One worth chasing is Jesus Christ. Get to know Jesus better. Grow in His grace. Go deeper in your relationship with Him.  

Are you chasing after Jesus or three-legged chickens? 

The Point Is...

James Collins

James Collins

James Collins is pastor, columnist, and author. You can write to him by email at james@thepointis.net.

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Thank You 11/27/2020

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by Suzanne D. Williams

Thank You for the sunrise.

Thank You that I am alive today to witness it. Thank You that it follows the pattern You set into motion at the beginning of time. You are so faithful, never-ending, enduring, and eternal.

Thank You for its warmth, which gives life to fauna and flora, causing growthThank You that it highlights the clouds You created, spreading the colors of heaven around the earth. It is beautiful as You are beautiful.

Thank You for the light, which needs no other element to shine. It is singular and depends on nothing. It is powerful like You. In fact, it is a piece of You, the essence of all You are. You are light, and in You is no darkness at all. None. (1Jn 1:5) 

Thank You for the sun, but also thank you for the stars, the planets, and the moon. Their movement are Your fantastic design. You set it all in place. You called it all by name. You formed skies and galaxies. You created tides. You created ocean waves. You told the sea to come only this far upon the sands and go no further. (Job 38:11)

You decided the water molecule would fill everything. It is in the air we breathe, in what we drink, in the soil we walk on. It is everywhere as you are everywhereIt gives life as You give life. It is essential. We cannot survive without it. We cannot escape its presence, though we turn our back.

This how You are, heavenly Father. You are in all things and in control of all things. You are God even in the chaos. Nothing is bigger than You. Nothing is stronger or wiser than You. Nothing takes You by surprise, and You never stop working.

Even before the sunrise, when we can’t see itwhen the birds still take their rest, when the blue sky is cloaked in gray, even then, You are workingWe don’t know how the day will go or how it will end, but You have it all in Your hands. You planned it all, from start to finish in precise, infinite detail, and the outcome will be to Your delight.

It is magnificent, multicolored, a masterpiece. Like You. 

Thank you for the sunrise 

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Glass

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About the Author

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or www.suzannedwilliams.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at @SDWAuthor 

 

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Out of the Darkness

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Out of the Darkness

by Sandra Sanders

Out of the Darkness

The story is about a woman who left her family, ventured out in darkness and in an unfamiliar territory, lost, alone, and broken. That was when encounters with Jesus Christ began through other people including a homeless man. She was rescued and saved by Christ, and through her salvation Christ told her what would happen in her life next.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Jesus, Savior and Friend & The Long Road Home

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

Jesus, Savior and Friend

Personal Meditations from the Gospels

by Robin McKinley

Jesus Savior and Friend

Not only is Jesus our Savior and Friend, but He was also one of the most fascinating people that ever walked on the earth. How do we know that He is the Messiah? When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent his disciples to inquire of Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”Jesus didn’t give them a yes or no answer. He told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” Some of these miracles were not seen in the Old Testament, but we were told that they would happen. In Isaiah, it says, “And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” Ultimately, we know He is the Messiah because he conquered death and now sits at the right hand of the Father praying for each of us. Why? Because He is our Savior and Friend! I pray you will be drawn closer to Jesus as you read these 65 devotions just as I was as I wrote them.

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The Long Road Home

(A Bluff Creek Novel Book 1)

by Amanda Mason

The Long Road Home

Sometimes the hardest road we travel is the one that leads us home.
Jake Rawlings knew he had been born for more than life in the sleepy rural town of Bluff Creek. Being naturally athletically gifted and the son of one of the most renowned high school football coaches in the South, Jake knew he was destined for the life of a professional athlete and he wouldn’t let anything or anyone get in his way. However a series of unfortunate events lead to the loss of Jake’s dream. Bitter and angry over the path his life has taken, he distances himself from his family and his hometown. Vowing that when and if he does return to Bluff Creek, he will once again be the envy of the town. In his relentless chase for fame and fortune he finds himself at rock bottom with his sports bar on the brink of bankruptcy. Desperate to keep his business afloat and its financial woes a secret from everyone, including his wealthy- albeit, spoiled- fiancée Whitney Peterson, Jake makes decisions that could cost him more than just money. While his life seems to be unraveling before his very eyes, he is suddenly called home to attend the funeral of his once beloved grandfather. And he’s shocked to find that the answer to his troubles might actually lie in Bluff Creek.
At the tender age of eight, Julie Wooten fell in love with Jake Rawlings, only to have her heart crushed by his singular pursuit of fame and fortune. Julie’s life has changed dramatically in the years since Jake left town. Her hopes and dreams put aside in an effort to keep the secret that altered her path forever. She had thought that she could live a peaceful life in Bluff Creek running her grandmother’s diner. But when Jake is forced to spend more time in their hometown than either of them would like, Julie feels anything but peace. And while she is determined to avoid Jake at all cost, he seems to be everywhere she turns. The more she sees him around town, the more she is torn between remembering why she fell in love with him to begin with and keeping him out of her life completely.
Forced to stay in town longer than he planned, Jake is suprised to find the more time he spends in his hometown, surrounded by family, the more he feels an inner calm. And while he and Julie seem to be at odds at every turn, he also can’t seem to get her out of his mind. But choices from the past surface to disrupt any calm he might have found and threaten to alter not only his life, but his relationships forever. Faced with decisions that will change both of their lives completely, will Jake and Julie rely on God to lead them or will they continue to forge their own way causing pain for not only themselves but everyone around them?

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Gems From Pastor Jim 11/24/2020

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own wisdom. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your path.

Either you trust the Lord or you don’t. There is no middle ground. If you don’t trust the Lord in all things, how can you say you are trusting in Him? We flee to Him with those things that are too big for us and try to handle things which are within our ability to handle. Is God only able to handle the big things? Or, is He so big that he doesn’t care to be bothered with the little things? Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord with ALL things in his heart.

When we depend on our wisdom, we often don’t do things right. There is so much we don’t know about life and what is before us. We base our actions on what we know, and our knowledge is very limited at best. It is always in our best interest to trust the Lord and not depend on our own wisdom.

When we seek the Lord’s will in all we do, He will direct our path. We cannot expect the Lord to guide us if we don’t seek Him out for guidance. If we are constantly seeking His will, we can be assured that we are in His will for us. He never lets those who are seeking His will wander around outside His will for them. He will lead us on the only path that leads to eternal life. He will not let us lose our way, but we must be willing to let Him lead us. Jesus is the only way to God; every other path leads to hell.

If you do not have the will to trust the Lord with all your heart, you will not know what it is to be led the Lord in all you do. You cannot have it your way and expect to be on a path that pleases God. You will never find your way home to heaven by walking on the path laid out by you.

We are not wiser than God. Let our heart’s desire be, “Where He leads me, I will follow.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Finding Praise in the Storm 11/23/2020

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by Ruth O’Neil

I’m not sure another girl was so totally blessed as I was. God blessed me with parents that walked out excellent examples for me to emulate. My dad never met a stranger. There were times we would be out in public together and next thing I knew, he was missing. That’s because he had stopped talk to someone and make a new friend. 

He was always just as eager to share his testimony. I could tell so many stories about my dad, but his patience and strength in difficult times are what stand out to me the most. The first time he had cancer the doctor found it only because of an ultrasound scanning for kidney stones. After treatments and minus one kidney, when he was able to be out in public again, I heard him start countless conversations with, “Thank God for kidney stones?” He didn’t care who he was talking to. And he meant every word. 

Where most people would have seen cancer on top of kidney stones and as only another negative, Dad looked at it a little differently. He saw that the kidney stones that caused him pain alerted doctors to a much more serious problem that only would have caused pain when it was too late for treatment. That was typical for my dad, finding praise in the midst of a storm. And believe me when I tell you, this is not the only storm he ever faced, but this is how he treated them all. 

Maybe that’s how we should view difficult times; open our eyes and look for the positives. Do we turn those difficulties around and give glory to God? Some people talk a lot about what God has done for them and how amazing He is, but then their actions show something completely contrary to the words that are coming out of their mouths.  We can say anything we want to people around us, but it is what we do that they truly take note of.  Which would you rather be: someone who talks the talk or someone who actually walks the walk?   

No matter how many tears you may cry over your difficulty, know that God is there beside you even when you may not be able to feel Him. I promise you, He’s there, weeping every tear you shed.

About the Author:

Ruth OneilRuth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles in numerous publications. She loves to touch the emotions when she writes. “If I can make one person laugh or cry, I’ll consider myself successful.” Her first novel “Come Eat at My Table” has just come out in ebook form and can be purchased on her website. She homeschools her three children (well, one now, as two have graduated). She and her husband have been married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading. You can visit her on her blog at ruths-real-life (dot)blogspot.com or her website at ruthoneil (dot)weebly.com

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The Point Is … The Clock Is Ticking

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by James Collins

Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. Psalm 144:4

 “I like 6 o’clock being 7 o’clock a whole lot better than I did its being 5 o’clock.” I said. 

“What?” my wife, Amanda, asked with a look of bewilderment on her pretty face. 

“I said, I like 6 o’clock being…” 

“I heard what you said, but what did you mean?” 

“I just simply meant that I like slow time better than I do fast time.” 

“You have lost me. I have no idea what you are talking about.”  

After living with her for over two decades, I should have remembered that mine is the scientific mind in the family. Amanda is more romantic than scientific. So, I carefully explained. “Remember we have to turn the clocks forward tonight. When we do that, 6 o’clock, which had become 5 o’clock when we had to turn the clocks up last spring, became 7 o’clock because we turned them back this fall.” 

“I don’t think you know what you are talking about.” she said. 

“Let me try again. You see,” I started slowly because I could tell this was going to take a while for me to explain. “You see, cold air is heavier than warm air and in the winter months it presses down on the earth. The cold air slows the rotation of the earth down and that’s why scientists must turn the clocks back so we can keep time in pace with the slower rotation. But, then in the spring when the air becomes warmer it doesn’t press down on the earth and the earth spins faster. Therefore, the government makes us set our clocks forward. We have to adjust our clocks to keep up with the fast time. 

“Honey, time is time. An hour is an hour no matter if it’s hot or cold.” she said. 

I smiled at her and said, “Okay.” It was pointless to continue. Since she is not scientifically minded, I should not have been surprised that she didn’t understand my reasoning. 

Flawed logic is everywhere. Take, for example, the logic of a lost person. Someone is reading this right now, and you are lost without Jesus Christ. Your life is focused on things that perish with the passing of time. You are busy chasing money, possessions, and pleasures while the days are flying off the calendar. 

Last week, I was visiting with an eighty-seven-year old man. At one point in our conversation, he said, “It seems like I was a young man just yesterday. The years have passed by me so quickly. I feel like I wasted so much of my life.” My heart hurt for that man as he looked back on a life filled with regrets.  

Your time on this earth is limited, but you are eternal. If you are not careful, you can let the passing dominate the permanent. You can spend your life pursuing things that will pass away and ignore your eternal soul. 

The point is: Your life on earth is like a shadow that passes with time. Even though your days on earth will end, you will not. You will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. There is only one way out of hell and into heaven and that is salvation through Jesus Christ. If you have never received Christ as your personal Savior, do it today. Believe that Jesus shed His blood on the cross to forgive your sins, and that He conquered death by rising from the grave. Ask Him to save you today.  

Don’t wait. The clock is ticking.

The Point Is...

James Collins

James Collins

James Collins is pastor, columnist, and author. You can write to him by email at james@thepointis.net.

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Off the Streets

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Off the Streets

(Another Chance – Book 1)

by Janice Cole Hopkins

Off the Streets

When Gwen McAllister is accosted behind the soup kitchen where she volunteers, she wants to repay her homeless rescuer, so she talks him into going to her home for a meal. Despite her son’s and sister’s objections, she trusts Hunter.

Hunter Nash reluctantly goes with Gwen, but he leaves as soon as he can. With the baggage he carries, the widow and her three children don’t need him around. However, circumstances put them together again, and Hunter finds it hard to keep his feelings turned off and remain uncaring. But he’s determined to protect Gwen, even from himself.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Demons in the Bible & Lydia’s Lot

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

Demons in the Bible

by Sonny Shanks

Demons in the Bible

having a desire to find out if demons are real, metaphor, or “mental issues”, i have researched the scriptures to see what the Bible has to say about them. i was quite surprised. i share answers in this book, beginning with the backstory of what led me to this study.

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Lydia’s Lot

(Westward Home and Hearts Mail-Order Brides Book 7)

by Lisa Prysock

Lydia's Lot

Forbidden to marry Heath, the one man she truly loves, Lydia Catherine Hayden, an American heiress from Boston, boards a train and heads west to become a mail-order bride when matchmaker, Milly Crenshaw, introduces her to Wyatt from Iowa. Five years have gone by, and she isn’t interested in any of the society gentlemen of whom her father would approve. Her love for Heath has turned to a mild hate since hearing he married someone else.

When the Wild Whitman Gang involved in an Iowa train robbery use orphans traveling west as human shields to make their escape, they converge on Lydia’s marriage ceremony to Wyatt, killing him and abducting the heiress in the process. Things don’t seem to be going well for the architect’s daughter and she’s in a heap of trouble.

When Heath, now a widowed U.S. Marshal in Des Moines, returns home to Boston to visit family, he decides to sign up for Milly Crenshaw’s mail-order bride agency services in hopes of settling down and becoming a farmer. After Milly learns Lydia is now widowed and being held captive somewhere in Iowa with seven orphans from New York City, she pulls Heath into the case, urging him to find her, and marry her if possible. But first, he has to track down one of the most notorious, dangerous, gun-slinging gangs the Wild West has ever known. Then, he has to win Lydia’s heart all over again, if he isn’t shot and killed first in the process.

Get your copy of “Lydia’s Lot” today, an exciting new addition to the ‘Westward Home & Hearts’ series. You’ll be turning the pages in this sweet, suspenseful, Christian Historical Western Romance to find out what happens next. Easily read as a stand-alone.

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