Faith’s Checkbook: Regulated Chastisement – 10/19/2018

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I will correct thee in measure” (Jeremiah 30:11).

To be left uncorrected would be a fatal sign: it would prove that the LORD had said, “He is given unto idols, let him alone.” God grant that such may never be our portion! Uninterrupted prosperity is a thing to cause fear and trembling. As many as God tenderly loves He rebukes and chastens: those for whom He has no esteem He allows to fatten themselves without fear, like bullocks for the slaughter. It is in love that our heavenly Father uses the rod upon His children. Yet see, the correction is in measure”: He gives us love without measure but chastisement “in measure.” As under the old law no Israelite could receive more than the “forty stripes save one,” which ensured careful counting and limited suffering; so is it with each afflicted member of the household of faith-every stroke is counted. It is the measure of wisdom, the measure of sympathy, the measure of love, by which our chastisement is regulated. Far be it from us to rebel against appointments so divine. LORD, if Thou standest by to measure the bitter drops into my cup, it is for me cheerfully to take that cup from Thy hand and drink according to Thy directions, saying, “Thy will be done.”

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Steampunk Short Version

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by Mary C. Findley

Sophronia Belle Lyon drinks tea, creates mechanicals, shoot when she can, travels widely, and writes Steam Pulp Literary Tributes. A certain mysterious man with fabulous shoulders is the genius who inspires her never say die heroes and eccentric inventors. She was a Cauldron Spirit in 4th Grade and has taken apart her share of clocks. Airships carried her to Italy by way of Iceland and Luxembourg. She was privileged to miss the Swiss Alps due to the misfortune of steaming through them at midnight in pitch darkness.

Characters made the leap from classic 1800s novels to band together against human trafficking and the rise of a slave empire. Implacable villains mean to turn the social order on its ear, creating a web of deceit, domination, and debauchery. These adventurers combine steam and gear technology with families, friendship, faith, and fortitude.
Let me share a few reviews
A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist:
“Not only surprised but intrigued. I have never read much Steampunk it just didn’t seem to reach me. I could not stop reading this little jewel. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Belle has in store for her readers next.”

“I don’t usually read Christian fiction, so I was a bit surprised. The steam-punk/Victorian lit. connection is super fun!”
A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist is the first book in the series, and the ebook version is free.  It also has a print and illustrated version. The Pinocchio Factor is the second book, and features a grown-up Oliver Twist as an eccentric inventor. The third book is The Most Dangerous Game, featuring Pecos Bill and hi wife, Sluefoot Sue (in case you ever wanted to know what her riding that giant catfish was all about). 

Jeremiah 15:19-21 

These verses made me think of how we fail the Lord sometimes … Get distracted and fall away from wholehearted service, or become rebellious and stubborn. The Lord invites us to return, and His forgiveness will restore us to “stand before him”, like a servant stands ready to do his master’s bidding. 

Then I thought about writing Steampunk, and how man takes good things and twists them, making them evil and vile, or real-life people who corrupt the innocent. Classic themes, characters, and settings become vehicles for sex-peddling, feminist diatribes, exalting the occult, and all the other things Steampunk sometimes does.  But the verses above say God urges us to “take forth the precious from the vile”. He says … *shivers running up and down my spine* … “thou shalt be as my mouth”. I get to speak for God. I get to speak for God! 

there’s a strong caution in the Jeremiah passage. I can use Steampunk for His glory, but I have to be careful not to let my hunger to extend my reach — to use this offbeat but popular genre to attract people into the sphere of God’s influence — God says, “let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.” It’s the old analogy of the person standing on the chair trying to pull up the person on the floor. I can’t end up on the floor. I can’t get down on the world’s level. I have to bring them up into that “Sun” Keppler talked about. I also have to remember that I’m supposed to be rescuing souls, real, precious lives, not just writing a book about it.

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Gems From Pastor Jim – 10/16/2018

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 29:1 Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair.

We don’t like to be criticized. We don’t like it when someone points out to us our faults and failures. We like to think of ourselves as too good to be criticized. We want others to see us in our strengths and not our weaknesses. We take pride in ourselves and take it as a personal attack when someone criticizes us.

What we need to remind ourselves of is that criticism is not all bad for us. It is good to know what others see in us that is wrong. Otherwise, how can we know what we need to fix? We know we are far from being who we could or should be, so knowing what we need to work on is good for us.

Now granted, attitude is everything when criticisms are given. If it is done in love with the intent of helping, then it should be welcomed with open arms. We need help in order to grow into godliness. We need to spur one another on in faith. We need others to help us because sinful pride often keeps us from seeing ourselves as we should. If it is not done in love and received in love, criticism will create harsh feelings and a resistance to change.

Criticism should be handled with humility and thankfulness. Thank the Lord for those who love us enough to help us improve our lives before Him. Accept graciously what others are saying and ask the Lord to help you to do better. And when it becomes necessary for you to do the criticizing, do it in love and with much grace. Ask the Lord to check your attitude to be sure you don’t do it with maliciousness. Ask Him for proper words and the proper timing. Let the Lord guide you so that in all you say you will edify to the glory and honor of His name.

Criticism is an essential part of healthy spiritual growth. No one gets it right all the time. We need to know how others perceive our walk with the Lord. Not being open to criticism hardens the soul and prevents the Lord from helping us to become holy and acceptable in His sight.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending 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.

This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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In The Stillness

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by CJ Peterson

In this chaotic world, do you take any time to relax and enjoy the world around you? There are birds singing, squirrels gathering, deer enjoying their afternoon meal, and any other myriad of forestland creatures indulging in what nature has to offer…are you?

As the world continues momentum toward its reliance on computers, and the concrete jungles, how do you find peace? How do you center yourself? When you go on vacation, are you actually on vacation, or are you running around, trying to do everything, or thinking about work?

When I think about peace and stillness, there are two verses that come to mind:

Psalm 46:10

Psalm 46:10 – “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Exodus 14:14

Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Hmmm…looks to me as if God wants us to be still and rest in Him. In the stillness, we can connect with Him. When things are crazy, or you’re terrified, you can find peace in the stillness of Him.My challenge to you (and myself) is to find some time for yourself to be with God each and every day. Make it above and beyond your devotional and prayer time. Just close your eyes and soak in His presence. It will allow you to recharge and find your center in God. Let Him help you find peace…in the stillness.

About the Author:

CJ PetersonI was raised in a Christian military home, but it was far from tranquil. Like many young people, I left home as soon as possible, and went my own way, thinking I knew better. To me anything was better than where I was. Unfortunately, some of the choices I made led me away from the Lord, and sometimes that path was a dangerous one.
God is faithful, even when His children are lost and wandering. When I needed Him most, the Lord was there for me. He led me out of that danger and into a new life…a life where I am loved and appreciated. He taught me what ‘real love’ is, and what it’s supposed to look like through my family and wonderful husband.
Who knew that “Prince Charming” actually existed? I hoped and prayed he was out there, and I found him! He is a 24 year Navy veteran and the love of my life! With his encouragement, I rediscovered the creativity I thought I had lost a long time ago, and have begun to publish the books I have written through the years. The words in these books helped me through my struggles, and my prayer is they will help others.
The way in which I write my Christian Books, is unique to say the least. I am a realistic Christian. People are people, they stumble, they fall, they trip, but God continues to dust us off, and set us back on the path again, if we just learn to trust in Him.
The challenges faced in my past give me a perspective on the realities of living the Christian life that some people may never see. There are times we wander away from God…there are times when we draw closer to Him. In our arrogance we think we can make it on our own. However, the One who made this world, and who made you, has the answers, and thankfully, He forgives our impudence and petulance and loves us through it all. God is a God of love, mercy, grace, and guidance. He loves us and only wants the best for us.
Those who have read my books, describe them as encouraging, frustrating, and a wonderful read all at the same time. The same character that could have you crying one minute, will have you cheering the next! One of my editors, stated that ‘she was so into the story, that she forgot to edit, and had to go back to do the editing’.
I pray you will enjoy my books as well!

While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.

Visit CJ’s websitehttp://cjpetersonwrites.com/

Follow her on FB http://www.facebook.com/writingbycjpeterson

Follow her on Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/authoress_cj

Follow her on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/authoresscj/

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Faith’s Checkbook: Mark of Covenant Grace 10/12/2018

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul that thou mayest live”   (Deuteronomy 30:6).

Here we read of the true circumcision. Note the author of it: “The LORD thy God.” He alone can deal effectually with our heart and take away its carnality and pollution. To make us love God with all our heart and soul is a miracle of grace which only the Holy Ghost can work. We must look to the LORD alone for this and never be satisfied with anything short of it. Note where this circumcision is wrought. It is not of the flesh but of the Spirit. It is the essential mark of the covenant of grace. Love to God is the indelible token of the chosen seed; by this secret seal the election of grace is certified to the believer. We must see to it that we trust in no outward ritual but are sealed in heart by the operation of the Holy Ghost. ote what the result is-“that thou mayest live.” To be carnally minded is death. In the overcoming of the flesh, we find life and peace. If we mind the things of the Spirit, we shall live. Oh, that Jehovah, our God, may complete His gracious work upon our inner natures, that in the fullest and highest sense we may live unto the LORD.

If you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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Trailer: Her Billionaire Jackpot

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by Patricia Bell

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Gems From Pastor Jim – 10/9/2018

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 28:23 In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.

Flattery makes us feel good, for a little while. Everyone likes to have their ego stroked. We all want to be noticed and appreciated. We are geared to being liked. Some will go out of their way to be liked. Some will do drastic things in order to be liked. Some will even impose evil things on others in order to make themselves feel important in the eyes of others. Some people crave flattery so much that they are driven to portray a persona that they are not in order to be looked up.

However, no matter how much flattery a person may receive, it doesn’t last. No one always does things that are worthy of flattery. No one is so good all the time that others can sing their praises. In fact, feasting on flattery is damaging to the soul. It makes us feel good, but it cannot make us good. When all we hear is flattery, it goes to our heads. We get the delusional idea that what we hear is who we are. Away from the limelight, we know that we are not always what others seem to believe about us.

Frankness is far more beneficial to us than flattery. When others will tell us the truth about us, we can help ourselves to change. Frankness is needed. Everyone needs to be surrounded by people who are not impressed by them and are willing to honestly tell them what others either don’t see or won’t tell.

Being frank with someone is good, but it should always be done with love. The Lord wants us to help one another to grow and become instead of tearing each other down by the things we say or the way we say them. Whenever you are inclined to be frank with someone, pray before you speak. You should care enough to speak out when it is needed, but you should always do it with the desire to help and not hinder a person.

And, when someone is loving enough to be frank with us, we should accept the truth with grace and love. We should never be so proud to think that we don’t need to be corrected and helped. We should never think of ourselves in a flattery, but false, way. We should accept what we hear with welcome hearts and ask the Lord to help us to do and be better children of God.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending 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.

This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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Faith’s Checkbook: Never Alone

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken”   (Isaiah 62:4).

“Forsaken” is a dreary word. It sounds like a knell. It is the record of I sharpest sorrows and the prophecy of direst ills. An abyss of misery yawns in that word forsaken. Forsaken by one who pledges his honor! Forsaken by a friend so long tried and trusted! Forsaken by a dear relative! Forsaken by father and mother! Forsaken by all! This is woe indeed, and yet it may be patiently born if the LORD will take us up. But what must it be to feel forsaken of God? Think of that bitterest of cries, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Have we ever in any degree tasted the wormwood and the gall of “forsaken” in that sense? If so, let us beseech our LORD to save us from any repetition of so unspeakable a sorrow. Oh, that such darkness may never return! Men in malice said of a saint, “God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him.” But it was always false. The LORD’s loving favor shall compel our cruel foes to eat their own words or, at least, to hold their tongues. The reverse of all this is that superlative word Hephzibah “the LORD delighteth in thee.” This turns weeping into dancing. Let those who dreamed that they were forsaken hear the LORD say, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

If you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

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Faith’s Checkbook: At God’s Bidding

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men”   (Micah 5:7).

If this be true of the literal Israel, much more is it true of the spiritual Israel, the believing people of God. When saints are what they should be, they are an incalculable blessing to those among whom they are scattered. They are as the dew; for in a quiet, unobtrusive manner they refresh those around them. Silently but effectually they minister to the life, growth, and joy of those who dwell with them. Coming fresh from heaven, glistening like diamonds in the sun, gracious men and women attend to the feeble and insignificant till each blade of grass has its own drop of dew. Little as individuals, they are, when united, all-sufficient for the purposes of love which the LORD fulfills through them. Dew drops accomplish the refreshing of broad acres. LORD, make us like the dew! Godly people are as showers which come at God’s bidding without man’s leave and license. They work for God whether men desire it or not; they no more ask human permission than the rain does. LORD, make us thus boldly prompt and free in Thy service wherever our lot is cast.

f you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

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Limitless

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by Precarious Yates

A few years ago, I watched a movie called Limitless. The premise scared me a bit. A struggling writer gets hold of a drug that helps him become limitless. He does a whole lot more than just write a best-seller.

Why did this premise scare me?

For me, there are few temptations stronger than to be limitless like this. There are so many things I want to do in this life, but health, time, and other factors limit what I’m capable of. I don’t have the money or time to write five to six full length novel every year. I haven’t written a best-seller yet. I don’t have the financial backing to make a movie, run for public office, start safehouses in Cambodia (or even next door), or take the private language lessons that would enable me to do diplomatic work. But I still have the desire to do these things.

If the work I want to do benefits others, is it automatically a righteous desire? If it benefits me while it benefits others, is it automatically self-serving?

These sorts of questions are uncomfortable but necessary. It’s good to take a good hard look at the origin of our desires. The answers may surprise us.

Not all desires have evil origins. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Not only does God give us some good gifts that we always wanted, He will also deposit dreams and desires in our hearts that we never even considered before. If He gave a desire, He won’t call that desire evil or self-serving. (Although, of course, it’s important that we don’t pursue the answer to that desire through a pill, bribery, or other such means.)

If we pray about a certain desire that doesn’t violate God’s word, and that desire fades, we can let it go. If that desire doesn’t let us go, we can treat that desire as a gift. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights.

What about the desire to become limitless?

God’s word has an answer for that. “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)

If God gives us a desire, like to write, do diplomatic work, or make a movie, and it currently looks impossible, He doesn’t give us those desires just to frustrate us. Maybe He wants to do something miraculous. Maybe He wants to show His power and might THROUGH us!

Remember, “With God, all things are possible!” (Luke 1:37)

“I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!”

So, instead of dismissing or repenting of desires that seem like megalomania or delusions of grandeur, turn it back over to God, and submit yourself to Him as a living sacrifice. Then watch the miraculous take place THROUGH you! Watch Him be limitless THROUGH you!

Here’s to dreams come true!

God bless you!

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Links:

Facebook Amazon Author Page

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