My Gift!!! By Lorieen D. Henry

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Lorieen Henry
I received revelation through John 6:1-15 known as “Jesus Feeds the 5000”. When you read the story, Jesus was in the mountains with the disciples when a crowd gathered. Jesus asked Philip about buying food already knowing the miracle He was about to perform. Philip responded that it would take more than 8 months wages for each person to have a bite. Andrew, on the other hand, found a boy with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread but he knew it wasn’t enough. Verse 11 says, Jesus took the food and gave thanks. Then He proceeded to distribute as much as the people wanted. After everyone had eaten, Jesus told the disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost”.

#1 The boy gave what he had. It didn’t meet the need, but it was a start.

#2 Jesus gave thanks for that which wasn’t enough and it became enough. Actually, it was more than enough.

#3 Jesus distributed the food to the masses.

When it comes to my gift (using this parable as inspiration), I must:

#1 Surrender my ALL to God!

#2 Give thanks to God for my gift.

#3 Share my gift for the glory of God.

The boy’s gift was just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. It was nowhere near what was needed, but God is a problem solver…a multiplier when we trust Him.

I extracted this from the story:

#1 Know the Word! Study it! This gives us confidence.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

#2 Have a childlike spirit! – A willing and humble heart.
Matthew 18:2-4 2And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

#3 Give Thanks/Praise!
Psalm 106:1 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

There are many messages that can be taken from “Jesus Feeds the 5000”. I wanted to share what I saw. It doesn’t matter who you are nor what the situation looks like…GOD can use You. It is my prayer that God ministers to your heart that you might use your gift (big or small in your eyes) for His glory.

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes for 10/28/2014

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 25:10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees.

Many of us today believe that once we are saved, the rest is up to God. We can rest and not worry about it if we sin because grace covers our sins. Yet, the Word declares over and over again that we have an active role to play in our salvation. We must keep His covenant and decrees. We must obey the Lord. We must not allow sin to take hold of us. We must work out our salvation. Transformation takes place at Calvary that is life changing. We get rid of our sinful ways of living and take on the righteous living of Christ. The fact that we are indeed saved is seen in how we live.

If we don’t allow this transformation to take hold of our souls, we have no right to expect God to continue to pour out His love on us and faithfully keep us safe from sin and its consequences. For a believer to continue to freely sin is a mockery of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. The Lord is our righteousness and holiness from God and He cannot dwell in a sinner’s heart.

Our works cannot save us nor can they keep us safe in the arms of Jesus, but they are an essential part of our Christian walk. Our obedience and submission to Christ is measured by what we do and don’t do. The meat and bones of holiness is our living.

The Lord never fails to lead His children faithfully in love. He will never take us in a direction that will lead us away from Him. He will never ask us to do anything that He knows we can’t do or is not best for us. He will never stop working in us and on us as we walk humbly before Him. The Lord always has His children on His mind and heart. He will never leave or forsake those walking with Him.

The Lord will lead us, but He won’t drag us against our will.
C Through Marriage
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Halloween is upon us and I wonder if… by Tina Webb

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Tina Webb
I am the only mother that doesn’t let their kids trick or treat?

Yes, I loved dressing up and trick-or-treating as a child, but as a college student my views changed. I discovered that the many things that I thought were fun and harmless weren’t necessarily fun and harmless to God. It was a rude awakening to my half Christian and half secular worldview.

I owe that awakening to a scripture, a bible study and loved one that did more than dabble in the occult.

One of the first scriptures that I learned was Hosea 4:2, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.

After reading this scripture, I went on a marathon of learning for several years. During one bible study on fear, the leader pointed out the number of times that the phrase “Fear not” is written. It made sense to me that if God so opposed fear, then He must oppose anything that causes fear. So I stopped watching horror movies. Was I going overboard? Maybe, but I was just trying to let my revived conscience lead the way.

Years later, my husband and I decided that our kids could go to church Harvest parties on October 31. These parties were a way to let the church kids avoid the door bell ringing of trick or treaters. The kids played non-themed games led by area college volunteers. It was a nice time to socialize with other parents too.

The decision to abandon Halloween really wasn’t that big a deal for me. When I was around eight years old, someone put needles in candy bars and as a result my mother chopped up all of our candy to make sure there were neither needles nor fragments of glass. Trick or treating became eating crushed fragments of Three Musketeers or Reeses cups. Not fun.

When I found out that a loved one had been involved in the occult as a teenager, I was shocked. I’d never heard of such things. However, the reality of spiritual warfare and the demonic realm became more real for me than the average Western Christian will ever know. This person learned to levitate things. How? He was told by his “psychic occult teacher” to invite his spirit guides to help him. They certainly did! It took months of special ministry to help him overcome this oppression. The demonic realm is a reality that Jesus contended with regularly and he admonished us to do the same.

My husband and I learned the origin of Halloween from a local pastor and decided that while we didn’t have to let our kids wear ‘scary” costumes or be entertained by scary themes; merely participating was getting too close to entertainment that glorified darkness rather than God. Each Halloween, we prayed for the safety of runaways, delinquents and other probably victims… after all we had learned that the Black Sabbath was real. Satanists do participate in human sacrifice even today.

Sometimes I continue to wrestle with our decision. It’s so much easier to let my kids join their friends in group fun. Peer pressure for parents is a reality. But I have to remind myself that according to Ephesians 6:12, there is a very real and evil world that I cannot see. Tradition and contemporary culture cannot define our decisions. The reality of Jesus’ teachings must supply that definition.

“Parenting, while daunting, is easier when we ask ourselves: how does the Father parent us?” (Selah, Daily Quotes for Daily Meditation)

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Author Interview with Parker J. Cole

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Parker J. Cole
Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a writer and radio show host, diehard Star Trek fan, avid sci-fi lover, choir girl, dog lover and recovering Mountain Dew addict.

Can you give us insight into your publishing journey?

My journey began the day I was laid off from work in 2010. I worked in a high pressure environment that always had deadlines to meet, competition among the reps and demands from management. Approximately two months before I was laid off, I developed a twitch over my left eye. The day I departed that job my twitching eye stopped and never twitched again. While I was at home, I worked on my virtual assistant business; but I knew I didn’t want to do that forever. So one day, I was looking over a manuscript I had been writing on for about ten years and I told myself, “I’m going to get this published by my birthday.” I had worked on this book for so long and I was tired of it being on my computer. So with a little help from some friends, I did it. The first time I actually published the book was in 2011 on my birthday. Then a vanity press called me and I was sucked into the sales spiel and published my book under their name in 2012 on my birthday, again.

What’s really significant about this book is that it would not have been written without the help of my critique partner. I met her online in a Facebook group and she became my biggest supporter. I had planned on publishing via self-publishing methods again but I ended up, through her, finding an agent. The rest, as they say, is history.

What are some things you wish you’d known before pursuing your writing career?

There are about three major things I’d wish I’d known previously before beginning my dream.

Wishing to be a writer does absolutely nothing but keep you from accomplishing your goal. Until we find Aladdin’s magic lamp, we have to make something happen with the help of the Lord. Secondly, I’d wish I’d know how to build my platform earlier than now. Platform building is so important so whether it’s blogging, radio show, YouTube channel, or some other venue, an author should begin to build before they even finish their books. Third, marketing is essential to getting the word out about your book.

What is the title of your newest book and what is it about?

The name of the book is The Other Man. Leah loves her husband Jacob but she can’t even over the feelings that still exist for her ex-flame Vincent. Jacob loves his wife, but he can’t let go of Rachel. So even though Jacob and Leah love each other, their pasts continue to cause fractures in their marriage. We also get a chance to see Solomon and Celeste make brief appearances from Many Strange Women.

How have readers responded to Many Strange Women?

I can’t tell you how wonderful the response has been. I’ve received personal emails, and private FB chats about how the book has touched the reader’s lives. I had no idea God would use this story in such a way and I’m thankful to Him for giving me the gift to write.

How would you categorize your books?

I’d categorize it as edgy Christian romance. One of my pet peeves with some Christian fiction is that sometimes the characters are so holy you can’t relate to them. I’m not saying that’s the case with every Christian fictional work but I want to make my characters more realistic and hope that readers can relate.

Where can we buy your books and get more information about you?

You can by the book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and at my publisher’s site, eLectioPublishing.com. For more information about me, feel free to check out my website at http://parkerjcole.com.

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Words of Wisdom from Charles Haddon Spurgeon for October 22 Morning

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I am posting the Morning devotional for the current day from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals. If you would like to have your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals for your eBook reader click on the image:

For the Kindle

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

Words of Wisdom from Charles Haddon Spurgeon for October 22 Morning

“I will love them freely.” – Hosea 14:4

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: “I will love them freely.” Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, “I will love you freely.” We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” “I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish.” “I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire.” Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when he said, “He that believeth on him is not condemned.” It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! “I will love them freely.” These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such-“I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father’s face.
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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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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 25:4-5 Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD, point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

This is a prayer that the Lord will answer every time. The Lord wants us to know the way to Him. He wants us to stay on the path to Him. He wants what is best for us and for us to be on the path that gets us there. He wants us to clearly know the truth. He wants us to learn the things we need to know in order to live holy lives.

The path that leads to the Lord is a rugged path because it is not worn down by many travelers. It is rugged because we are constantly battling Satan along the way to stay on it. It is rugged because it requires much determination, commitment, and work on our part. It is rugged because it’s the only way we will ever develop our spiritual muscles to sustain us in life. It is rugged because sometimes it’s a very lonely road since most do not travel on it.

We must be careful that we don’t get on the wrong road. Only one road leads us to Christ and it is the road of Mount Calvary. We have to ask the Lord to help us because it’s so easy to get off track and start traveling on the wrong path. One thing to look out for is if everything is easy with no struggles along the way, you are traveling on the wrong road. On Calvary’s road, we must pick up our cross and carry it along with us daily.

As we travel this journey of life we must always be led by God’s Word if we want to see Jesus. We must make it a priority in our lives to learn God’s truth and live it. We must never be satisfied with what we know, or think we know. We must always remain teachable. We must never get out from underneath its teachings.

Only the Lord our God can save us. He alone is the only hope we have for making it to heaven. Let us stay the course and always follow in the footprints of Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation.
C Through Marriage
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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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Think by Ada Brownell

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Writing occurs first in the mind. Authors think.

You can think anywhere. I used to take notes beside the sink as I washed dishes and cooked. I often keep an idea pad in my lap when we’re traveling. Pen and paper are in my nightstand. Every great book or article begins in the author’s brain, and that’s where we also should work out the kinks in novels or come up with great illustrations and original story angles.

Meditate on the things of God and listen for His voice. Often my best ideas come while I’m on my knees.

Here’s my advice if you’d like to stretch your writing to include Christian publications or other genres.

1) Read and study the publication or the book genre for which you would like to write.

Make notes. Copy guidelines and other info you notice. Stick these and samples of the publication. If you’re writing a book, collect website addresses of potential publishers’ book lists. If you plan to go Indie, look up books for sale in the genre you hope to target. You can buy and download e-books you want to study into your computer. Then ask yourself whether you can write and market similar stories or articles.

Clive Cussler, who was formerly in advertising, spoke years ago at a writers’ meeting and told us he used another novel as a model for his first book. He didn’t plagiarize. Instead, using his characters, setting and plot, he mimicked the style of the other author, creating a hook for each chapter as the author did, weaving in description and back story like the other writer, dropping in complications when the other person did, writing the dialogue in a similar way. He sold his book. I still see his byline on displays in airports and stores. He learned by thoroughly studying a successful novel.

2) Flesh out your ideas. With fiction, create character sketches, do scene research for the background and history on the location for your story—or draw a map of your fictional city and create your own history. Then identify your main character’s problem or goal. Don’t have mercy on your characters–create complications, or in other words, disaster. My editor of The Lady Fugitive told me, “Ada, you’re mean.” But she said it was a great cliff hanger at the end of that chapter.

You use some of the same fiction techniques for short fiction for Sunday school papers. A character with a problem and something or someone causing conflict. Conflict can be described as

1) Man against nature 2) Man against himself 3) Man against someone else 4) Man against evil. The areas of literary conflict are listed differently in some places.

Keep your eyes open for ideas, and learn to observe life everywhere. Rebecca McClanahan devotes a whole chapter in her book Word Painting to opening our eyes. She titled it, “The Eye of the Beholder,” and she highlights the many ways we can observe things around us.

3) For non-fiction: What do you know or what have you experienced that qualifies you to write the article or book? I used things I learned as a newspaper reporter for my books, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal; and Imagine the Future You. But I also drew on years of study, amazing life experiences that partly came from raising five children, writing more than 50 years, and teaching youth.

But no matter what you’ve experienced, we need to think. What do you know that will help others? What have you experienced that affected you greatly—that caused you to grow in some way, or conquer a huge problem?

4) Research facts about your subject. On my blog recently I wrote a story about feet http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-wonder-of-our-feet.html and later I submitted it to a Christian publication, informing the editor it appeared on my blog. The article came from thinking and remembering, but also through research. Notice how I used info about feet from the Bible and medical experts. Find applicable anecdotes and illustrations for your non-fiction. Interviews are great helps, too.

Use fiction techniques in your non-fiction, whether it’s a book or article, especially showing instead of telling. One of the best reviews I’ve received on my motivational Bible study, Imagine the Future You, said “It reads like fiction.”

5) Write. Edit. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, edit and send or publish. Forget that piece of writing and go on to your next project. If you’ve done your best, it’s in God’s hands. We sow and sometimes reap. God gives the increase.

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Ada Brownell

Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and write books with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. She is critique group leader of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Among her books: Imagine the Future You, a youth Bible study (November 2013). Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, (Jan. 15, 2013); Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, (Dec. 6, 2011); and Confessions of a Pentecostal, out of print but released in 2012 for Kindle; All the books are available in paper or for Kindle.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdaBrownell
Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement
Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
BarnesandNoble.com http://ow.ly/rFSW3

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God’s Way by Laura J. Marshall

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Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12 that he pleaded with the Lord three times for the thorn of his flesh to be removed. God answered him “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Most of us are very aware of the thorn or thorns of our flesh. They keep us humble, human, and can cause us to need – turning outward instead of inward. If we had it all together, would we still love the way He wants us to? Is it through our broken hearts that the need for another is found?

We reach out for comfort or hope or strength and we give back the same when we see another’s struggles or desperation.

It is in and through our brokenness that God moves. I read a few weeks ago of a Japanese art called Kintsugi. It is the act of fixing broken pottery with gold, silver, or platinum. Wiki defines its philosophy “as it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.” These vessels are more beautiful for the break, not despite it.

Kintsugi
(Image from Wikipedia)

We are beautifully imperfect. These imperfections, individual to each of us, cause us to be able to have the capacity and compassion to relate to and love others.
Sometimes God must break our hearts to teach us to live (and love) His way.

It does not come naturally. It is the divine in a repaired vessel reaching out as the imperfections drive us, to a world who needs to see the beauty of the Lord’s work in us.
———-

About the Author:

Laura Marshall

Laura J. Marshall is a full-time mom of five boys. When not on active duty, she is the best-selling author of Christian romance, nonfiction, and Archibald’s Bible Adventure series for kids. Visit Laura’s website at http://www.LauraJMarshall.com

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All We Like Sheep by Lynn Mosher

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Lynn Mosher

Sheep intrigue me. I started a small collection of little sheep figurines with the ones found in an old crèche set. I love them. I place them around a shepherd that looks like he might have been David with a precious lamb wrapped around his shoulders. I always think of him as Jesus carrying me.

The figurines have different looks on their tiny faces as they stand in different positions. Some look up adoringly at the shepherd and some graze at his feet. Reminds me of the different times in my day. Sometimes gazing up into His face in thanksgiving; sometimes falling on my face before Him in heartache or in praise.

If we compare sheep’s characteristics with those of humans, we’ll find they are very similar. No wonder Jesus lovingly calls us His sheep. How similar? Let’s see…

Sheep are not very intelligent!

Actually, they are notoriously dumb! They have the IQ of a rubber tree plant! Because of this brain deficiency, they are the only herd-type animal that requires a custodian or guardian to give them constant care and supervision 24/7. A shepherd must commit his whole life to watching over his flock.

Because they have a strong instinct to follow a leader, when one sheep decides to wander off, the rest of the flock usually follows, no matter where it takes them. For example, if the lead sheep jumps over a cliff, the others will more than likely follow.

Because of their lack of intelligence, they…

…are not trainable…

They also need constant supervision because they are not trainable. You’ll never see them in the circus doing tricks on command.

Though they are not teachable, they will imitate the exact thing the one in front of them does. For instance, I read that, if you hold a stick in front of the first sheep in a line and it jumps over the stick, the rest of the flock will mindlessly follow suit, leaping over the stick, even when it is taken away!

Because they are not trainable, pain and punishment have little or no effect on their behavior because they have no memory and do not learn from their mistakes. They keep doing the same dumb things over and over.

…will wander off, go astray, and, with no sense of direction, get into trouble.

And since they will senselessly follow the one in front of them, they will all wander off in any direction and probably get into trouble. Therefore, with no sense of direction, if one sheep wanders off and gets lost, the rest of the flock will follow right along, even if, like I said, the sheep jumps over a cliff.

As people…

Please don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t mean people are as dumb as rubber tree plants, but sometimes I wonder about the things we humans do. Sometimes, I don’t think we learn. We do the same dumb things over and over, going around, as some say, the same ol’ mountain again and again. It takes a while for us to be trained, if at all. If we could just learn a lesson the first time around, we wouldn’t suffer some of the same consequences.

This is why we need a guardian for constant care, just as the sheep do.

We have a strong instinct to follow a leader, but we need to make sure it is the right Leader. We will wander off aimlessly and follow the flock right over the cliff if we do not listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow His footsteps.

With no sense of direction, we will always pick the wrong way without the Shepherd. We will continue to go astray and get lost.

The disciple Peter recognized that we all need the true Shepherd. Having known Him himself, Peter wrote, “Like sheep you wandered away from God, but now you have returned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25a TLB)

* Do you repeat the same mistakes over and over?
* Have you wandered off aimlessly and lost your way?
* Or do you listen to the Shepherd’s voice and follow in His footsteps?

May you be blessed with the Great Shepherd’s constant care, guidance, and love.

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes for 10/14/2014

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 25:4-5 Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD, point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

This is a prayer that the Lord will answer every time. The Lord wants us to know the way to Him. He wants us to stay on the path to Him. He wants what is best for us and for us to be on the path that gets us there. He wants us to clearly know the truth. He wants us to learn the things we need to know in order to live holy lives.

The path that leads to the Lord is a rugged path because it is not worn down by many travelers. It is rugged because we are constantly battling Satan along the way to stay on it. It is rugged because it requires much determination, commitment, and work on our part. It is rugged because it’s the only way we will ever develop our spiritual muscles to sustain us in life. It is rugged because sometimes it’s a very lonely road since most do not travel on it.

We must be careful that we don’t get on the wrong road. Only one road leads us to Christ and it is the road of Mount Calvary. We have to ask the Lord to help us because it’s so easy to get off track and start traveling on the wrong path. One thing to look out for is if everything is easy with no struggles along the way, you are traveling on the wrong road. On Calvary’s road, we must pick up our cross and carry it along with us daily.

As we travel this journey of life we must always be led by God’s Word if we want to see Jesus. We must make it a priority in our lives to learn God’s truth and live it. We must never be satisfied with what we know, or think we know. We must always remain teachable. We must never get out from underneath its teachings.

Only the Lord our God can save us. He alone is the only hope we have for making it to heaven. Let us stay the course and always follow in the footprints of Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation.
C Through Marriage
======================================================
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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