Shine as Many Stars

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever”   (Daniel 12:3).

Here is something to wake me up. This is worth living for. To be wise is a noble thing in itself: in this place it refers to a divine wisdom which only the LORD Himself can bestow. Oh, to know myself, my God, my Savior! May I be so divinely taught that l may carry into practice heavenly truth and live in the light of it! Is my life a wise one? Am I seeking that which I ought to seek? Am I living as I shall wish I had lived when I come to die? Only such wisdom can secure for me eternal brightness as of yonder sunlit skies.

To be a winner of souls is a glorious attainment. I had need to be wise if I am to turn even one to righteousness; much more if I am to turn many, Oh, for the knowledge of God, of men, of the Word, and of Christ, which will enable me to convert my fellowmen and to convert large numbers of them! I would give myself to this, and never rest till I accomplish it. This will be better than winning stars at court. This will make me a star, a shining star, a star shining forever and ever; yea, more, it will make roe shine as many stars. My soul, arouse thyself. LORD, quicken me!

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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Wisdom

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by Ruth O’Neil

Years ago I prayed for wisdom about a certain situation. Now, pray for wisdom doesn’t have quite the same results as those who prefer faith or patience (which we should all do time to time), but it definitely opened my eyes to see surprising things. Praying for wisdom has become almost a constant prayer as I have raised my children and have made daily decisions. If you make praying for wisdom a habit God will answer in ways you never expected.

One week, probably a year ago or more, the same book was mentioned (raved about) to me three times in one week. I figured this was a good book to add to my TBR pile. Finally I was able to pick up and read, or at least start reading. With every page I turned in question popped into my head.

“Will this book get any better?”

“Who thought this was a good book?”

“Who told this author he/she could write?”

Then there was the last question that popped into my head, “Wait, is that what the Bible really says?”

That was when I began to do a little research. I looked up the reviews on Amazon, and there were a lot of them. There were plenty of four and five star reviews, but I skipped over them and went right to the one star reviews. It was then I received confirmation of my thoughts while reading. I wasn’t alone in my beliefs. Some nice people had even taken the time to look up Scripture passages against what the author said.

Then, God gave me peace. I had my convictions and I stood by them.

You may have had similar circumstances. Sometimes standing on your convictions can put you in a very small minority; but we have to have faith that God has spoken to our hearts. Sometimes people get so caught up in the feel-good aspects of life that they don’t look any deeper or seek out God’s wisdom. They take everything in place value and don’t ever realize repercussions could be damaging.

In our writing, we often need to make choices. Should we include that graphic scene or leave it out? Do we use “realistic” language, or do we come up with another way to get our point across? Don’t worry, as a Christian writer, if you ask God what you should do, He will answer. But we must also remember that we all have different convictions.

Make it a point to day to ask for wisdom in everything you do. Even the smallest of choices can have the biggest consequences.

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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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 10:21 Doing wrong is fun for a fool, while wise conduct is a pleasure to the wise.

Have you ever watched a fool having fun? They are everywhere. Take a few minutes and just watch with a critical eye those who are playing in sin. We know that those who live in sin are heading straight to hell. Do the things the fool does make much sense to do, knowing where it is getting them? How long does their sin give them the pleasure they are seeking? Is the fool ever satisfied with the momentary thrill they may get? Does sin ever make a person a better person? Who can ever say that sin has been good for their life, that it has given them a worthwhile purpose for living? Has doing wrong ever been worth dying for?

Everybody wants to have fun in life. It is our nature to do things that bring us a sense of pleasure. We feed on making our lives more enjoyable. We create many different ways to enjoy ourselves. There is nothing wrong with having fun in and of itself. It is good for the soul to break away from the normal routines of life once in a while and do something that brings us pleasure. But when fun leads us away from the Lord whom we profess to love, is it really fun after all? When we are plagued with guilt and shame is that really good for us? When we participate in things that honor Satan rather than God, is that what we should be doing? Do we really think that God is pleased with us when we seek fun by doing those things which are wrong, those things which allow sin to enter into our hearts and minds?

On the other hand, when we seek pleasure by doing things that do not harm our souls with sin, it is good. There are many wonderful and creative ways to have fun without entering into the sin world. God has provided a wonderful world for us to enjoy and explore. There are many opportunities for fellowship with other believers that do not involve sin. There are many different ways we can build up our souls and have fun doing it. We can simply get away for a while alone with God in His creation and rest our souls in Him. We don’t have to indulge in sin in order to thrill our souls. When we delight ourselves in the Lord and the things that satisfy the soul, it is not here today and gone tomorrow.

Don’t be foolish. Do not seek pleasure in the things that destroy. Do not let sin take root in you. Do not glorify sin in your heart. Wise are those who seek pleasure in the things that God approves of.

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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A Choice of a Lifetime

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by BJ Robinson

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Mark 10:25

Born in New Orleans, I have always devoured books about the South. As an avid reader and lover as well as writer of such novels, I hope you will enjoy my bayou books titled Cypress Hideaway Bayou Series. There will be three novels in the series, and this is the first one.

Years ago, I visited Cutoff and loved it. Recently my husband and I vacationed in Grand Isle and drove through Golden Meadows and Cutoff. From the salty air, marshes, shrimp boats, crabs, seagulls, and sand to the purple and orange hues of the setting sun, I deeply love the area and love to visit. As a teen, I once read a book from the library I have not been able to find again. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was about a young girl who spent a summer in Grand Isle and had a friend she thought was real. Later, she discovers the little girl she played with on the beach had died years before. I think it was in a hurricane. Sure wish I could find that novel again. I loved it. One of my favorite things is riding down the bayou roads and being able to gaze at the water lapping and the shrimp boats. It’s like going down the river in a car. I love it and just enjoy riding down bayou roads gazing at the scenery.

Ever since I read that novel as a teen, I always wanted to visit Grand Isle, and I finally got to as an adult. My husband and I have often vacationed and fished there. I’ve read so many wonderful authors work just to read about the area, and I decided to write my own series about the place I love so much. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing the novels. The main character, Jo, has a choice of a lifetime to make, one that will impact her life and her future children’s. Will she make the right choice?

Cypress Hideaway is the first novel in the series and my current work-in-progress. A choice of a lifetime is the theme. Below is a short blurb about the first book in the three-book series:

Cypress Hidaway

Airboat swamp tour guide Josette (Jo) Breaux’s only problem is choosing between Victor Blanchard or Bernard Bergeron, two of the small bayou town’s most-sought-after men competing for her hand in marriage. To Jo, there’s really no competition. Bernard Bergeron is her best friend’s brother, and they’ve been pals since she was knee-high to a crawfish. Jo is comfortable around Bernard and can be herself. She loves his shining brown eyes, brown hair, handsome build, and his voice. He is hardworking, an animal lover, and would give anyone the shirt off his back. Bernard has a heart full of love to offer, and he’s deeply in love with her, but all he can offer is an old rundown camp on the bayou given to him by his parents, Cypress Hideaway.

Victor can offer a mansion when he inherits Sugarcane Plantation, but he is controlling just like his father. He has deep blue eyes and dark black hair and could have any girl he wanted, but he wants the one he can’t have, Jo. He expects her to dress befitting his lifestyle. That isn’t Jo. She’s just a tee shirt and jeans kind of gal.

Meanwhile, something is not right in Gumbo, Louisiana. Bayou country never has much crime, maybe a stolen boat motor or fishing boat, but never a murder. Jo calls the Chief of Police and Sheriff, Uncle Adam Landry, and reports her find. The town’s only road in and out becomes a crime scene when two men are run down and left for dead on the side of the road, like Louisiana road kill. Next, the body of a local fisherman is found in the bayou. How many more accidents can Jo stomach? Is there a bayou serial killer? Surely, all these deaths can’t be accidents. They say the bayou will heal you if it doesn’t kill you first. Will it heal Jo? Will Bernard’s shining brown eyes full of love and the love of a golden retriever be enough with Cypress Hideaway, or will the bayou killer strike again and take away the choice of a lifetime?

Since Jo is a Christian, she must use God’s Word in making her decision, and she bases it on the three above-captioned scriptures. Victor will be a rich unbeliever, but Bernard is a poor, humble believer, so whom do you think she will choose in the end? Meanwhile will a bayou killer take away the choice of a lifetime for some? Will the killer take away Jo’s lifetime choice? This is a sweet Christian romance, but also romantic suspense.

The first novel will be released in by September, if not before. Thanks to Donna Hale, beautiful covers have been made for all three novels in the series since I like to have my covers before I write the books.

The three scriptures above fit this novel beautifully, and if you’ve never read a bayou book before, I hope you will give these a chance. As you know Louisiana and Texas have problems with floods from all the rainfall. The last novel in the series ends on this note and how the people in the affected areas come together to help each other during a crisis, which brings to light God’s Word about loving your neighbor.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ©1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Bio

B. J. RobinsonB.J. Robinson writes sweet romance, historical romance, short stories, and contemporary romance for the Amazon Kindle. She writes in various genres to provide reader choice. A mother of five and grandmother of thirteen, she hugs her children and grandchildren with prayer and was blessed to see two more graduate from high school this year. She loves animals and flowers and is also a fur-baby mom to a golden cocker spaniel named Sunflower, a golden retriever named Honi, and a husky named Cherokee. She is hard at work on Cypress Hideaway, and it is coming soon! Watch for it. If you would like to check out the selection of her work, please check her Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/B.-J.-Robinson/e/B007DNJIKU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1458731934&sr=1-2-ent

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Walking in Purpose

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by Paulette Harper

How can I live in my purpose? While it is important to define what purpose is, I believe purpose must start with God. When I began to recognize my purpose for living, I realized it was about producing a life that was fulfilling, complete, and satisfying. As a believer in Christ, I believe that I am in a place where I am fulfilling the purpose for which I was created.

What I find most rewarding is making sure I’m doing what I believe the Lord will have me to do. I’m a strong believer in the fact that if God wanted me to do something else, I would be and if He wanted me to be somewhere else, I would.  True happiness comes when a person identifies his purpose and lives his dreams with God in the center of everything he or she does.

Inside each of us is a yearning to know why we are created and for what reasons we exist. I don’t believe we will be satisfied in life or even enjoy the life we have been given apart from walking in our divine purpose.  Finding your purpose in life should be one of your greatest goals. For one to fulfill his role and assignment here on earth, one must be aware of his own skills, talents, passions and abilities. Once those qualities are identified it makes doing what we love easy.

Some of my life’s challenges and struggles lead me to God’s divine purpose and plan for my life.  I found that in my own personal struggles there were ideal and dreams that God had birth inside me that where pulled out when I went through the most challenging times in life.  I learned that God’s purpose and will in my troubles were being fulfilled through my life’s experiences.

I live by my own motto…”Intentionally Living Life on Purpose.”

Secret Places Revealed

About The Author

Paulette HarperIn addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole and the 2017 Emma Award winner of Secret Places Revealed, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, The Sacramento Observer and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

 

Paulette resides in Northern California.

To book a speaking engagement or learn more about Paulette, go to her website www.pauletteharper.com or connect on social media at www.facebook.com/authorpauletteharper  or paulette@pauletteharper.com

This article content is provided free of charge by the author. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through Paulette Harper at info@pauletteharper.com

All other standard copyrights apply.

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A Review Revisited: Blood of a Stone

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by Paula Rose

This review appeared on Books-N-Reviews on Publishers Marketplace by Paula Rose http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/booksnreviews/

Publisher: Tuscany Press, LLC | Published: March 17, 2015 | Format: eBook (392 pages), Paperback (392 pages), and Hardcover (392 pages) | ASIN: B00TKHQ15C, ISBN: 9781936855315, and 9781936855308 | Origin: NetGalley

Blood of the Stone

Cover: Courtesy of Tuscany Press

Thoughts:

Inside Jeanne Lyet Gassman’s Blood of a Stone, we are transported back to the first century into the dusty lands within the Roman Empire!

Immediately, we meet a lad named Demetrios who has no mother but does have an abusive father. Lured away from his home, this father sells his son into Roman slavery. This master hates him and his infirmity, but it’s Demetrios’ impetuous behavior that triggers an assault that nearly kills him. While we watch, Demetrios’ kills the Roman and flees with another slave to escape the punishment that will befall them. As they try to survive and make it to freedom, we are turning the pages to discover a life we’ve never lived in a time we know much about.

***This opinion is my own.***

Preview:

Blood of a Stone by Jeanne Lyet Gassman leads a Gentile and a Jewish male into a changing world from where religion had ranged from pagan gods, sorcerers, and the Jewish God to now include a new Messiah called Jesus of Nazareth.

To get to the land further from the Roman reach, Demetrios and fellow slave, Elazar, have traveled long and found good fortune along with unfortunate situations. However, these two men endure and come to build a new life with a new successful business, and the many scars from the past have begun to heal. Elazar’s advanced age merges into a desire to reconnect to his Jewish heritage and begins to create friction.

At the outset, Elazar had taken care of this young man, but these men share a damaged past that includes a trail of blood. Can either man really be free of the past or each other?

The pair’s relationship goes into a downward spiral, as Elazar wants to follow his Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth has cleansed the elder follower of his shared sin, leaving the man’s confession to infuriate Demetrios. Elazar betrayed his trust. Didn’t Elazar promise to never speak of this sin again? Does Elazar not realize the punishment if Jesus of Nazareth tells the Roman’s they killed one of theirs?

His mind works up what must be done, and a sorceress only confirms it.

Demetrios must kill Jesus of Nazareth to save himself and Elazar from their Roman punishment for the death of a Roman, crucifixion.

About the Author:

Paula RoseAuthor Paula Rose brings an “average” family into extraordinary situations, brushes with life-size strokes of reality, adding just a touch of humor, and coats with suspense inside Christian fiction. Paula’s research gives readers a panoramic view from law enforcement and lends to character authenticity. She enjoys writing in the romantic suspense, suspense, and mystery genres, but when she’s not writing, Paula Rose is reading or playing amateur photographer. Member of ACFW. 2015 Genesis Contest judge. NetGalley member. 2014 Grace Awards judge.

Where can people find you on the Internet?

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/booksnreviews/
http://paularosebooks.com
https://twitter.com/PaulaRoseauthor
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392724.Paula_Rose
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Rose-Books/1514088292150972
https://www.pinterest.com/paularoseauthor/
https://instagram.com/paularoseauthor/
http://anaiahpress.com/PRose.html
http://www.bookfun.org/profile/PaulaRose
http://about.me/paularoseauthor

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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 10:19 Don’t talk too much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow!

Some people just like to talk, maybe you are one of them. Some of us have no problem whatsoever finding things to talk about. It amazes me how freely some people talk to one another. I am not one who can just talk on and on about a wide variety of subjects. I run out of things to talk about. I tend to be able to talk well about things that really interest me, but struggle to find things to talk about off the top of my head.

It’s okay to be able to talk. In fact, it is essential for good fellowship. A good conversationalist makes for good company. But like just about everything else, too much of good thing is not good anymore. Some people talk to the point where they no longer are being heard. There are many reasons why some people dominate a conversation and I won’t get into that. But, one thing that does happen is that often a person begins to talk others down. They begin to say negative things and sit in judgment of others. They tend to talk about things they really don’t know much about. They spew wrong information. They tend to make themselves look good in comparison to others or at their expense. Too much talking often leads a person into sin.

It is much better to exercise discretion and shut off the flow. Wise are those who know when to shut up. The Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We learn a lot more by listening to others than we do by talking all the time.

The Lord tells us to wait before Him. We are to be still and know that the Lord is God. We tend to want to do all the talking when we go to the Lord instead of listening to what He has to say. We struggle to really know the will and mind of the Lord because we are too busy talking to hear His voice. The Lord has much to say to us and it is far more important and valuable than our thoughts. We need to rediscover the value of listening. When was the last time you were still long enough in the Lord’s presence to really know you heard His voice talking to you?

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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Seeing is More than Believing

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by Mary Hamilton

Did you know that if you’re deprived of sight when very young, you lose more than your ability to see? A child learns depth perception by reaching for things he sees, crawling, climbing, and yes, falling. For most of us, this happens organically as we grow and our brain develops. It takes place at a definite period of our development, but once past that period, the brain loses its ability to learn how to distinguish distance and depth even if sight is restored.

For someone who regains their sight (usually through a corneal transplant) after being blinded as a child, colors may also provide a challenge. Imagine seeing the color blue for the first time. But navy blue is very different from baby blue, and both are different from royal blue. Or how can a woman with yellow hair, a child with almost white hair, and a dog with honey-gold hair all be blond?

Recognizing faces can also pose a problem for someone who never learned to identify loved ones by facial characteristics. And the expressions that tell us how someone feels have no meaning for one who has never learned to associate the emotion with the facial expression. Even differentiating between genders can be difficult if you’ve never had the opportunity to learn the social cues that distinguish men from women.

Steven Miller, main character in my YA novel, See No Evil, lost his sight when he was very young. Throughout the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series, he’s the upbeat, confident and able camper. But when I considered giving him a corneal transplant for his starring role in the third book, I discovered there were definite issues he’d need to overcome. While such a story would make for fascinating reading, I decided to keep him blind.

But how can a blind teenager struggle with pornography? Find out in See No Evil, Book 3 Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series.

See No Evil

Blurb:

Steven Miller guards a dark secret.

Dad drilled into Steven that blindness should never be used as an excuse. So when Steven, 17, finds an old triathlon medallion among Dad’s belongings, he’s inspired to follow in his footsteps. Maybe it’ll quiet the guilt he’s carried since Dad’s death three years ago.

In his final summer at Rustic Knoll, Steven enlists his buddy, Dillon, to help him train for a triathlon. But a serious illness has kept Rustic Knoll’s beloved Nurse Willie from managing her clinic. When Steven teams up with his friend, Claire, to encourage Willie’s recovery, his feelings for Claire grow beyond friendship.

Dillon’s attraction to Claire complicates matters. He sees nothing wrong with receiving sext messages from a girl back home. But when he shows an interest in Claire, Steven feels compelled to protect her while urging Dillon to resist the pull of pornography.

Can Steven keep his friend from falling into the trap of pornography without exposing his own shameful past?

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Rustic-Knoll-Bible-Camp/dp/1546619372/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr

Author bio:

Mary HamiltomAward-winning author Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. Her experiences during twenty years of living at the camp, as well as people she knew there, inspired many of the events and situations in her novels. Mary is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Authors Network (CAN), and Texas Association of Authors (TAA). When not writing, she enjoys a little amateur  photography, knitting, reading, and spending time with her family. Mary and her husband live in Texas.

Connect with Mary:

Website/blog: http://www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

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Natural

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by Sherry Chamblee

I hear the phrase, “Well, it’s only natural” so often. I use it myself. We use that word, natural, to explain all sorts of behavior.

But thing is, there’s this huge misperception these days about what it means when some action is natural.

Being natural does NOT mean it’s excusable.

Being natural does NOT mean it should be tolerated.

As Christians, the natural man is something were supposed to overcome, not give in to.

1 Corinthians 2:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

We don’t naturally understand Godly things. We don’t naturally want to do what’s right all the time. We don’t naturally treat each other right.

It’s not natural to put someone else ahead of ourselves. It’s not natural for us to love someone like God loves them.

What’s natural to us is to understand our perspective, to work hard to defend ourselves, to justify our actions – to ourselves and to others. It’s natural for us to love someone else because of how they make us feel, or because they bring out the best in us, or because they make us feel good about ourselves.

Do we love someone else when they can give us nothing in return? Do we love them even when they don’t love us back?

What’s natural is not what God calls us to.

God calls us to the Super-natural.

Understand, God gets that certain things come naturally to us. We’re prone to wander. Yet He still commands us not to.

So while saying “it’s natural” may be something we need to consider, it shouldn’t be a stopping point. It’s just an aspect to consider. Being natural for us doesn’t make it ok.

With God’s help, we can rise above the natural.

About the Author:

Sherry Chamblee

Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.

Sherry Chamblee can be found at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com Or check out her books at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Chamblee/e/B00BA06RJ2/

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Devotional for July 5, 2017

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by Mark Malcolm

 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without cause.

 In return for my love they act as my accusers; But I am in prayer.

Psalm 109:3-4 (NASB)

If you read all of Psalm 109 you get the sense that this is more a request for revenge or retribution rather than an act of selfless compassion. I do not believe it is an act of selfless compassion, yet that is what these two verses taken together, and out of context read as, an act of compassion. That is at once a cautionary tale to always read in context and a warning when selecting scripture of any type.

What this selection of scripture does point out is that despite the content of the prayers being uttered, the author (we presume it to be King David as it is labeled as such) is unquestionably in prayer. This, then is our goal, prayer. While the content of this prayer may or may not be worthy of us looking to help others, prayer is a worthy goal and the circumstances surrounding this one are worthy of attention as well.

Not everyone we set out to help is going to be grateful. Some will see our assistance as intrusive. Others might want that assistance to come in a different form and be unwilling to accept what we have to offer. Take for example the homeless person with a sign that reads “will work for food” when offered to be taken to the grocery store. Some insist on the good Samaritan simply providing money. Should we provide the cash? Should we argue the point? Should we simply go on our way? I don’t know, but the Holy Spirit does.

Prayer is never a bad thing to do for someone. Even if we were to believe the non-believer who scoffs openly at prayer, our willingness to think nice thoughts about another human being is nothing short of reaffirming their worth if nothing else. But what if it isn’t just words? What if it isn’t just thinking about someone else? What if it really is everything scripture tells us it is?

If prayer has the power ascribed to it in scripture, then a true believer of the faith is not just a powerful ally to have on your side, but a miraculous one. Scripture tells us if we ask a mountain to move, if we pray for that mountain to be shifted from its bedrock, and have faith as tiny as a mustard seed, IT-WILL-MOVE. Now, Christ taught in parables and so does God. I don’t for a moment believe we can pray and move a mountain off the rocks of the ground by the words of the prayer. I DO believe that Christ’s point was and is that the faithful can do amazing things through the power of prayer when asked for from a faithful heart.

How are those two positions not incompatible? Simple. I believe in a God of honor, truth, and fairness. God set the rules in motion for this thing we call Life, and He keeps them. That doesn’t mean He can’t break them if He wants to. It means He won’t. So how does God fulfill prayer if He doesn’t break the rules? That’s simple too. He’s God. He understands the totality of this physical existence fully. He understands the physical laws, He understands the spiritual laws, and He understands the laws of human interaction completely. He created it all, after all. He can provide stimulus, encouragement, or opportunities that can produce any outcome desired. Whether He does or not is up to Him, and we will only truly understand why He did or did not when we see Him and talk about it with Him.

Bio from my web site :

Smiling Mark IIMark Malcolm is a child of God, husband, father, project manager, technical writer, gamer, fiction writer, Marine (’87-’91), has practiced Shao Lin Kung Fu and Tai Chi, been published in magazines and newspapers (editorial anyway), and seen the Southern Cross.

The goals he has currently are to more accurately identify the path God has for him to walk, continue to provide for his family, establish a solid web presence, build a career writing novels through both traditional and independent publishing, and learn to better relate to the people around him.

http://www.firstchevalier.com/about-the-cavalier/

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