Vision, Planning, Courage

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by:  Staci Stallings

Recently I’ve taken a leadership role in a local church organization.  When I first started, I didn’t realize the intense spiritual opposition that would be creating conflicts and obstacles with every step we tried to take forward.  As I worked and worked through problem after problem, some small, some quite large, I became aware of a process I have employed most of my life but one I had not previously thought about or through.

The more I have thought about this over the past couple of months, the more I see how I do things when opposition hits or when I have a goal I feel called to pursue.  I call this process “Vision, Planning, Courage.”

Vision

Have you ever heard the old adage that you can’t hit something you’re not aiming for?  Well, that is as true in an organization as it is in an individual life.

I have a daughter in college right now, and one of the issues I see time and again with those she is going to school with is lack of vision.  They are in college.  Why, they’re not really sure.  For what, well, they’re hoping they’ll figure it out.  For now, they’re just kind of marking time.

One of the things I saw a lot when I first started in the organization (and others I’ve been in) is a lot of marking time.  Why do we do it this way?  Because that’s the way it’s always been done.  What if it’s not working?  Well, it would be too difficult to change it, even if circumstances have changed drastically.  Call it marking time in the midst of an earthquake… hoping if you just keep moving in one place eventually things will settle down.  Very often, they don’t.

So the first thing I did with the problems we were facing is ask, “What is the vision?  Where do we WANT to be—even if that sounds impossible?”  Once you have a target identified, you’ve begun the process of setting your direction to get there.

I see this so clearly with my books.  My original “vision” was that I had stories I loved to tell myself and I wanted to capture them so I could enjoy them over and over again.  Now, God had a plan for that vision I never could have imagined back then.  But that’s where this writing journey started for me.

However, there are some people who have BIG visions but somehow they stay just that—visions.  “Dreamers” – that’s what people call them as if that’s a bad thing.  It’s not!  We NEED dreamers, but we need dreamers who can then work through those dreams to create a plan.

Planning

I can have a dream of building a waterfall in my backyard, but if I simply dream of it, trust me, the waterfall never materializes (I know because I’ve tried this!).  However, if I make a plan for my waterfall—draw up blueprints, figure out where I want it, how big I want it, how much and what supplies I will need, contract with someone to build it…. Now, I’m on my way to actually seeing the waterfall become a reality.

So with my books, when my “vision” expanded to consider sharing these stories, I then had to think through HOW to get them out there.  That wasn’t easy, and there were a lot of bumps and changes along the way, but it was my willingness to make a plan that allows you to read my books today.

Courage

There is, I think, one final step and that is having the courage to take action.  The best laid plans will still be laying there if you don’t put some foot soles to the pavement.  Yes, action is hard.  In fact, that’s why I think I started this step not with “action” but with “courage.”

Let’s face it, it’s hard to step out there.  It’s hard to put your dream on the line and work to make it happen.  There is nothing “easy” about it.

Even now, even with “best seller” tacked to my name and to many of my books, it’s not easy.  It takes concerted effort—advertising, writing for blogs, putting out new books, learning new online systems, rolling with all the punches the distribution sites throw.  It is NOT easy.

But oh, how much fun it is to see what once was just a “vision” come to life and explode into reality!

So if you’re facing a problem today or if you have a dream, know it’s time to put Vision, Planning, and Courage to take Action to work in your life.  Those three twined and laced with God can work miracles!

*~*~*

Looking for ways to inspire your life?  The author of this article, Best selling Christian Romance author, Staci Stallings has many books that give insight, hope, and vision!  Feel free to check out her current best-seller, “More Than This” which is available on Kindle for only 99cents or on Kindle Unlimited!

 “Staci Stallings is a brilliant writer weaving stories
containing delicate issues in an extremely entertaining yet healing and helpful way”

 

More Than This

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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CrossPs. 66:16 Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me.

Dear friend, may I take the liberty today to tell you what the Lord has done for me? The Lord refused to give up on me. He pursued me and would not let me keep going on the path of sin I was on as a teenager. He constantly confronted me with my sin until I agreed with Him that what I was doing was sin and needed confession. If the Lord had not relentlessly pursued me, I would probably not be alive today.

The Lord placed His hand on my life and gave me purpose and direction. He clearly made me understand what He wanted me to do with my life. He did not leave me alone in the process of becoming who I am today, but graciously watched over me and kept me from messing up my life with bad choices I was making. He has watched over me and spared me from life threating situations. He miraculously healed me.

The Lord has patiently and firmly taught me many things about myself and Him. He has given me the knowledge and understanding that I need to know in order to do what I do for Him. He has placed wonderful people in my life who have all played a significant role in my spiritual development over the years.

He blessed my life with an awesome woman who became the wife that was meant for me and has blessed us with a wonderful family whom we love dearly. He has enabled us to weather many storms of life together. He has allowed us to serve Him together in and outside of the church for many years.

He has supplied all of my needs throughout my life. I have always had enough of whatever I needed whenever I needed it. He has given me a reason to live and an even greater reason to die. I am so blessed and am not ashamed to declare my allegiance to Him. I love the Lord with all my heart and long for the day in which I will see Him face to face.

Dear friend, do you have a story to tell? There are many who need to hear what the Lord has done for you. By telling your story of God’s amazing grace, others will be encouraged and perhaps some will even come to saving faith because of it. Tell your story in and outside of the church. Tell it to all who will listen. Tell it until Jesus comes for we serve an awesome God.
C Through Marriage

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 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.

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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Words of Wisdom from Charles Haddon Spurgeon for August 10th 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:

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Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

Words of Wisdom from Charles Haddon Spurgeon for August 10th Morning

The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. (1 Samuel 2:7)

All my changes come from Him who never changes. If I had grown rich, I should have seen His hand in it, and I should have praised Him; let me equally see His hand if I am made poor, and let me as heartily praise Him. When we go down in the world, it is of the Lord, and so we may take it patiently: when we rise in the world, it is of the Lord, and we may accept it thankfully. In any case, the Lord hath done it, and it is well.

It seems that Jehovah’s way is to lower those whom He means to raise and to strip those whom He intends to clothe. If it is His way, it is the wisest and best way. If I am now enduring the bringing low, I may well rejoice, because I see in it the preface to the lifting up. The more we are humbled by grace, the more we shall be exalted in glory. That impoverishment which will be overruled for our enrichment is to be welcomed.

O Lord, Thou has taken me down of late and made me feel my insignificance and sin. It is not a pleasant experience, but I pray Thee make it a profitable one to me. Oh, that Thou wouldst thus fit me to bear a greater weight of delight and of usefulness; and when I am ready for it, then grant it to me, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

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Growing All Around by Naty Matos

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Growing is a part of life, but not always an easy one. Physically, it’s a very basic process…as the time goes by and as long as we are generally healthy it will happen without our intervention. Emotional and spiritually growth requires a little bit more intervention.

Part of the spiritual growth requires that our relationship with God and the one with ourselves grows as well and how do we accomplish that. I’m don’t have all the answers, but these are some of the things that I’ve noticed recently that have made me feel like I’m growing closer to God.

* Honesty-Everyone says that they want to know the truth, but do you really? As long as the truth is not something negative about ourselves, of course we do…well, that’s not living in the whole truth and partial truths are considered lies. First of all I think being brutally honest with yourself makes a difference. I’ve had to learn to stop and ask myself my motivation behind my actions. Do I want to do this because I like it, because I want to do it or because I feel forced to do it? In doing this am I trying to please God or please people? I can go on with the questions, but I think you get what I’m trying to say. In order for us to solve a problem we need to know what the problem is. If we’re trying to improve ourselves we need to be honest with ourselves, brutally honest!

The second part about honesty is to be brutally honest with God. Some of you stopped breathing for a second. I know, the first time I thought about it I did too. Now take a breath and bear with me. I don’t know about you, but growing up I had this concept of God, like a big eye in the sky who could see everything I do and was waiting for me just to screw up to zap me out of this world. As I grow to understand his love and mercy I have a different view, but I also couldn’t be honest with Him. He, the Lord, could not be “tainted” with the garbage in my life. I couldn’t bear to tell He who died for my sins that I was having bad thoughts or temptations, that I was about to do something that I knew was wrong and that I needed help, because it was a way to negate what He had done for me, that’s what I thought.

Then I came across this scripture, “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” Romans 7:17-19

Wait a minute, that’s me! I want to do good, I want to do right, but I just seem to not be able on my own. It took me months reading that scripture almost twice a week to get it, (I’ve always said that I’m slow). Then something happen, I was in the middle of a situation and I knew I was about to do the wrong thing and I remembered the scripture and I prayed. I was totally honest with God like I had never been before. I told him my thoughts, my motives and intentions, I recognized that I was aware that I was wrong and I said, “ I know I can’t stop myself, but I know you can stop me”. I gave him permission to intervene( remember our free will, he will not intervene in our lives without our consent)…something I had never done before. Guess what? He did. Something came about and I was unable to do wrong. It was totally weird, I thought it was coincidence, so the next time I was on a verge of doing something I knew it was wrong, I tried it again and it worked just like the first time.

The funny thing is that this doesn’t seem to be God’s plan just for me. I was talking to a friend and she has had the same experience. Some people don’t understand when they are told that they need to surrender to God , I think this is a great place to start. Be honest with him and allow him to be God and do his part.

* Accountability– I know I say this a lot, but it is true. I know for me it is. We do better in front of people that by ourselves. That doesn’t mean we’re hypocrites, it’s just that peer pressure works both for good and for bad, therefore let’s use it for good. I know that if I didn’t have a gym buddy I would have dropped that like a hot potato long time ago. It’s a proven fact, I’ve paid whole gym memberships that were not used…more than once (remember…slow).

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

If we find someone who can really be there for us when we struggle and we are there for them when they do, life it’s a lot easier. It doesn’t meant someone telling you what to do or you telling them what to do. In accountability you have to open yourself to be honest and vulnerable to another person. I know it’s scary, but remember that this person has committed to do the same with you. It means to encourage each other when one is down or in need of support. To be honest with each other when the issues are hidden behind denial, but also love each other when one or the other falls. Finally it means that you agree to pray for each other. Probably you have many people praying for you and you don’t even know who they are, but at least now you know that this person had committed to pray for you and you have committed to pray for them.

* Counsel

I have not used my friend Webster in a while. Webster (dictionary) says that counsel is advise given as a result of a consultation. This means you need to go (action word) and seek the counsel, it will not come to you. I liked the second part of the definition where it states plan of action or behavior. Basically you want to do something and you need a plan to do it and you need advise to do it if you want to better your chances at succeeding.

There are many scriptures regarding this subject. I have chosen a few to share, but the bottom line of this premise is this. You need to know what you’re doing if you want for things to go well. Also asking someone who has been down that road may save you some grief and you may still make mistakes but it is possible to learn from other people’s mistakes. Obviously we start with God. We ask him if what we’re doing in his will for our lives “ -Job 12:13 “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”

We have a lot of people in our lives who may be wiser and more mature in their emotions and spiritual walk , regardless of their chronological age. It’s good to keep those people around and talk to them about our plans, our struggles and seek their recommendations. How many times we’ve messed up because we didn’t know any better or were to prideful to ask for help? We need mentors and counselors. People who are filled with the spirit of God and his wisdom and that could show us the right way. “ Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Word of caution: When selecting an accountability partner or a mentor, make sure that you are familiar with their walk. Also, do not chose for the only reason that the person is easy to talk to, they may be very relatable, but their counsel may make you fall or they can’t relate to the things you’re trying to do. How would that help you in the end? There may be someone who is not so easy to approach, but you know holds that wisdom that you need and it would be a sign of maturity to accept that and seek what may not be as comfortable, but more beneficial to you.

About this author:

Naty Matos

Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at http://www.therisingmuse.com

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Author Interview With Paula Rose

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Today, we are interviewing Paula Rose. Thank you Paula for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.

Question #1 What is the best thing about being an author? Telling the story the characters dictate. Sometimes, the end is even a surprise to me!

Question #2 What are some of the challenges of being an author? Keeping your writing time as scheduled. Life can get in the way, but my writing time is a priority even when characters don’t cooperate. I still write something even if it’s just my journal.

Question #3 Describe a Typical Day for You The day hours are dedicated to most of life’s duties and needs, while the night hours keep me writing.

Question #4 What genre(s) do you write? And why or how did you chose them? I write romantic suspense, suspense, and mysteries, because I always enjoyed stories with a puzzle.

Question #5 Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not? Yes, but I also read in multiple genres plus nonfiction as my reading tastes are eclectic. I review what I read on my Publishers Marketplace Blog at: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/booksnreviews/

Question #6 What is something that readers would be surprised to know about you? I keep a writing journal. In it you’ll find sketches of stories or characters that burrow into my mind or some of the writing trials or dilemma’s that won’t leave.

Question #7 When and how did the writing bug bite you? I was a child who liked reading and the writing bug started young as my own stories rumbled and tumbled inside my head.

Question #8 When you write, do you plot everything out or not? Why does that work for you? I start with a story sketch and work from there. I have plotted and outlined, but sometimes, the characters don’t always keep to the script. In Revenge, Detective Lt. Phillip Landon was supposed to be an Alpha male, however, this character became someone totally different on paper leaving me to squirm with the plot! Meanwhile, Olivia Foster didn’t like playing the role of damsel in distress and became proactive and daring. Her unexpected moves left the author with some real catching up to do.

Paula Rose

Question #9 What is the best thing a reader or reviewer has ever said about you? Enjoyed this book and hoped to see more from Paula Rose!

Question #10 What is the worst thing a reader or reviewer ever said about you? How did you handle that? Someone once said the early version needed much work. I knew this to be true! However, the editing process made all well in the end.

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 by Jim Hughes

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CrossPs. 56:3-4 But when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. O God, I praise your Word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Fear is something that is common to man. All of us are afraid of something or someone. Fear is a good thing when it helps us to stay alert to danger and cause us to take extra care to not get in harm’s way. Fear is a bad thing when it takes over our lives and causes us to be afraid of everything and everyone. Like everything else, there must be a balance in our lives.

The way we can maintain a healthy balance on fear is to put our trust in the Lord. He calms our fears by just being there for us. He is the controller and ruler of the universe, so there is nothing that He can’t handle. When we trust Him, He leads us through all the dangerous situations of our lives that rob us of peace. The Lord reassures us that everything will be alright, that He has a plan and purpose for all that comes our way and it is for our good and His glory.

God gives us many promises that we can latch onto in our fearful moments. When we trust the Lord and not ourselves, He reminds us of those promises. His Word addresses whatever we may face. When we recall God’s Word there is a peace that floods our soul as we are reminded that God will take care of us and protect us. Praise the Lord for the precious promises of His Word!

There is nothing to be afraid of in this life except for God. Others may be able to harm or kill the body, but they cannot touch the soul. No one can take you out of God’s hands. It is God who determines the eternal destiny of the soul. It is God whom we must answer to. We should concern ourselves only with the status of our relationship with God and trust Him with everything else. There is nothing to fear when we put our trust in the Lord.
C Through Marriage

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 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.

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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Don’t Spread by Sherry Chamblee

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The other night, my kids went in to clean the kitchen. We’d cleaned earlier, so this was just straightening up before bed.

One of the kids picked up the plastic bin of popcorn kernels, and for some reason, opened the lid. Some discussion about the proper placement of this bin then took place, and I knew there’d be trouble. Before I could get there though, the inevitable happened. Tripping, a little tugging, and suddenly, you guessed it, tiny kernels all over the floor.

The kitchen was literally cleaner before they went in there to ‘clean’ it.

Well, the spill was easily swept up, the room put in order, and the kids on their way to bed. But it got me thinkin’.

Sometimes we go in trying to clean up a mess, and wind up spreading it around worse. When we try and fix things our own way, without thinking things through or praying about it we can make things worse than they were before. We may assess a situation incorrectly, or perhaps we are approaching the need in the wrong way.

Something may need to be ‘cleaned up’, that’s true, but if we come at the thing out of fear or with anger, we can easily trip up and make the whole thing much bigger than it really needed to be.

Fear overreacts. Anything that you’re overreacting to looks far worse than it really is, and you can’t clean it up right if you’re overreacting to it.

Anger makes things messy. Anger taints what you’re seeing, pushing out other people’s perspectives and making your own point of view the only thing that counts. You can’t clean up something right if you’re only thinking of yourself.

And that’s just a couple examples of reasons we may come at something in the wrong spirit.

Just like those popcorn kernels all over the kitchen floor, it can be cleaned up, but it took extra effort and extra time to do it.

How much better is it to do things the right way the first time?

Take extra time, pray, think before rushing in to fix a mess.

Proverbs 3:6

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths.

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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Truth & Trust by Heather Bixler

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Psalm_46_10

As my husband handed my two youngest children’s birth certificates and social security cards to the receptionist, I wanted to snatch those two pieces of paper up and yell, “NO! They’re my babies! You can’t have them!”, and then run out of there as fast as I could!

I know that may sound crazy, but at the time I truly felt like I was handing them over to someone else. You see they have been somewhat homeschooled since they were in Kindergarten. Even though my two little ones are 16 months apart, I started homeschooling my youngest daughter with her brother when he started kindergarten. They are both now in the fourth grade.

Last year we enrolled them into a blended charter school where they went to a learning center two days a week and then were home three days a week. It took so much FAITH to let them go. All I could think about was how it would be so much easier if I just kept them home with me. That fear made me realize that this school was where they needed to be.

Over the last 21 days of prayer and fasting our church did I was intently praying about their education. Finally God confirmed to me the fear I had about putting them into public school, and He gently encouraged me that it was TIME to release that fear, and to enroll them into our local public school.

It’s been such a journey, and one filled with a lot of turmoil and pain, including the scene I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

You see, faith refined means releasing ANY and ALL fear that might be living in your heart.

FAITH takes TRUST and sometimes it’s just plain HARD to trust anyone, even God.

So now we prepare for the journey ahead. The journey where my two babies will be in school FULL time, away from me. I know one thing I will be doing a whole lot more, I will be praying for them even more than I do now. I will be sitting at the feet of Jesus, even more than I do now.

I will have TIME on my hands, and I trust God will fill it up with His kingdom purpose. I trust that my children will be a light shining for Jesus in a very dark world.

I have an author friend who said, “The faith walk isn’t a cake walk.” Isn’t that the TRUTH!

Truth & trust, just two things we undervalue in this world. I cling to His truth and I trust that His plan is GOOD, that’s my journey today and everyday…it’s where my hope lives.

Disclosure: Some affiliate links have been used within this post.

About the Author:

Heather Bixler

Heather is a Christian Stay at home homeschooling mom of three, married to a firefighter, and a writer. She is founder of www.CSAHM.com among other websites for Christian mothers, and women. Heather is passionate about sharing God’s word in a practical and loving way.

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Love – Who Loves Most and Why by Cathy Bryant

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To Be A ChristianLove isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s usually hard work. Sometimes I struggle with loving others the way God commands, until I pause to consider…

What Is Love?

If love were just a feeling the whole concept would be so much easier for us to manufacture. But true love isn’t just mushy sentiment. It’s action.

Remember at the end of the book of John, when Jesus is with a handful of His disciples? Peter, the brash and outspoken disciple–the one who had denied Him three times right before He was crucified–joins Jesus in a conversation.

“Peter, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord, You know I do.”

“Then feed my sheep.”

Three times this dialogue is repeated, indicating that feeding the sheep is an action which expresses love for Christ. God’s definition of love hasn’t changed. True love is a verb, not a noun. It’s service dressed in work clothes.

So how can we cultivate this kind of love in action for God and our fellow man?

Forgiven Much, Love Much

In Luke 7:36-50, we get a very vivid picture of love in action. An unnamed woman, known only by the designation of “sinner” or “immoral woman,” arrives at the house of a Pharisee named Simon.

Can’t you just imagine the hushed shock as she boldly strolls into the room with her alabaster vial of perfume? You can almost here the low murmurs and whispers. “What is she doing here?”

Shock must have turned to utter dismay and perhaps even loud protests as she uncorked the bottle and poured it on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her tears and hair.

Being the devout Pharisee that he was, Simon immediately questioned Jesus in his thoughts. And Jesus, being the divine Son of God, knew it. “Simon, I have a question for you. A wealthy benefactor forgave two men who owed him money–one ten dollars and the other ten thousand–which one will love him most?”

“I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.” In his answer, Simon condemned himself. You see, he saw the woman as sinful and himself as without sin. His answer revealed not only his understanding of who Jesus really was, but also his lack of love.

To drive the point home, Jesus lectured Simon on his lack of hospitality, then turned to the woman: “Your sins are forgiven.”

Where We All Stand

I love the fact that the ground at the foot of the cross is level. All of humanity stands on an even playing field, with no one more holy than another. According to God’s Word we’re all in the same condition. Sinful.

And our sentence for being sinful creatures? The death penalty.

But thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.

While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners (emphasis mine), Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. -Romans 5:6-8 (AMP)

Wow. Pause and calmly think on that.

Christ, fully God and fully man, took our death penalty for us, forgiving our sins and reconciling us to holy Father God, while we were still sinners.

Only when we comprehend just how much we’ve been forgiven can we love God and others completely. Only then can we forgive the inexcusable in others, because we recognize that God, in His great mercy, has forgiven the inexcusable in us.

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A Bridge UnbrokenAVAILABLE NOW!

A BRIDGE UNBROKEN

(Book 5 in the Miller’s Creek Novels)

Letting go to build a bridge…

A frightened runaway wants her painful past to disappear. A plan to start afresh is derailed when she co-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with the man responsible for the scars on her heart. But he isn’t the only ghost from the past. Someone else is out to get her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will they be able to lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and bridge, or will evil forces sabotage their attempt at forgiveness?

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About the Author:

Cathy Bryant

Cathy Bryant loves spinning tales about the fictional town of Miller’s Creek, Texas, where folks are friendly, the iced tea is sweet, and Mama Beth’s front porch beckons. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Cathy rummaging through thrift stores or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years. You can find out more about Cathy and the Miller’s Creek novels by visiting her website at www.CatBryant.com or by connecting with her at the sites below.

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | Google+ | YouTube

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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CrossPs. 51:6 But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.

Are you an honest person? You cannot be trusted beyond your level of honesty. An honest person tells the truth regardless whether or not it is convenient or self-serving. An honest person does not take advantage of others or embellish the truth. It is the kind of heart God desires for us to have.

Honesty of heart defines who we really are. God is Truth and there is absolutely no falsehood within Him. The more like Him we become, the more truthful and honest we become. Honesty comes from the heart. We cannot be what is not within us. What we are in our souls will show in our living.

An honest person knows what he is really like and is not afraid to admit it. He is transparent before God and others. He does not put on a front pretending to be who he is not. Let’s be honest; we re good at not being honest about ourselves. We think we are more righteous than we really are. We don’t approach God with a sense of sinfulness very often. We hide ourselves behind our perception of righteousness. We shut our eyes to our need for repentance. We don’t easily accept responsibility for what we do and say.

Wisdom is simply the right application of truth. It is the ability to take what God teaches us and apply it to living. It involves submission to Truth, which means that we allow Him to change the way we think about things and thus live. God wants us to be honest in our hearts. He wants us to not make excuses for our behavior or thoughts. He wants us to admit it when we sin so that we can be right with Him.

Be honest with yourself about yourself. Listen to what the Lord says to you about you. Be open to what the Lord is saying and humble yourself before Him. Wise are those who do it.
C Through Marriage

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 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.

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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