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Stacey Pardoe
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Verse of the Day
Monday
Oct272014

Signs and Wonders

A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Matthew 16:4

I was stuck on verse four of this chapter this morning.  Jonah was commanded to go and warn the people of Nineveh that the Lord was going to destroy the city.  Jonah, in disobedience, ran to the city of Tarshish by boat.  Jesus sent a severe storm and Jonah found himself in the belly of a fish!  The people of Nineveh, after having an eye witness account of Jonah’s deliverance from the whale, repented from their wicked ways.

Matthew 16:4 packs a punch!  Simplistic truths are sometimes the hardest to accept and follow.

  1. There are definite consequences for disobeying our Lord.   
  2. The Pharisees saw many more signs and wonders than the people of Nineveh, and yet the Pharisees remained in their disbelief.  
  3. Is the healing of the blind and mute, the demon-possessed, the sick and bleeding enough?  Is bringing back to life the dead enough?  Is His shed blood on the cross enough?  Are all of these things enough for us to believe?   We have all of the signs and wonders we need.   It’s a choice to believe or not believe.

A few friends of mine have been noticing that God seems to not be answering their prayers in the same way He used to.  I have found that to be true in my own life.  As we mature and grow, He expects us to know Him.  Signs and wonders are never going to be enough. We must spend intentional time with the Creator Himself in order to understand that He alone is enough.  Even if He gives not one more sign that He is real and majestic…He still IS.  He will always Be.  He is enough.

Braelene

Monday
Oct202014

Time with Dad

As a child, I did whatever I could to steal away precious time with my dad.  He spent his career as a school teacher and football coach, and especially during football season, moments with him were fleeting.  He was also an avid hunter and outdoorsman.  And so I took up those passions as well, in an effort to spend time with him.  We spent hours in the woods together looking for deer, and I could navigate a river in a canoe and run a trap line independently by the time I was fifteen. 
 
Many years have passed since I last spent a wet November afternoon checking the trap line, and my hunting trips with my dad are scheduled around naps and the schedule of my own child now, but I still crave that time with my father.  It's so good just to be in his presence.

 
 
God blessed me with a dad who set a strong example of the love of the Heavenly Father.  Many have not been so richly blessed.  Whatever the case in our own lives, the reality is that God the Father longs to spend time with us.  He waits for us, and he continually calls us to set aside time to be in his presence.
 
I want to long for time with my Heavenly Father in the same way I long for time with my earthly father.
 
I want to rearrange my schedule willingly so that we might share in fellowship together.
 
Let's pray that we would be known for the presence of Christ upon us.  Just as spending time with our earthly fathers imparts a certain piece of that presence, spending time with our Heavenly Father imparts his presence on all we are.  It's a presence we can find nowhere apart from intimate relationship with him.
 
As schedules fill up, and the pace of life threatens our moments of stillness, let's pray that we would prioritize time spent in the presence of God.  Let's pray that our devotional time would look less like an obligation through which we rush and more like a conversation through which we are filled up.  Let's pray that this presence of the Living God would transform us as we set apart time to meditate on all he is, bask in his love, and worship him.
 
Pray that this would be the light that shines for through us into the dark world around us.
 
To God be the glory!

Stacey

 

Monday
Oct132014

Louder Still

When I am confused, I fix my thoughts on you...you: noble, true, good, honest, worthy of praise. 

When I am in tired, I infuse my aching, sagging frame and dragging frame of mind with your words...of eagles and flight. 

When I am joyless, I force a quiet refrain to rise out of my thick throat, then I sing a little louder and then LOUDER STILL until my very being is FLOODED WITH echoes of YOUR JOY. 

When I am lonely and lost in the darkness, I schooch over beside you and snuggle up against you and KNOW I am not, cannot be, will never be alone.  I reach for your hand; I find it; I find you; I find LIGHT. 

In the midst of those days, hard, cold, dark days, I will forever praise you.  No matter what.  I choose to praise you, for from those praises come clarity, determination, joy and comfort. 

Myra

Tuesday
Sep302014

Stubborn Wheels

"In this world you will have troubles but I have overcome the world..." John 16:33 

I picked the cart with the wobbly wheel. The lady gliding along in front of me at Aldi's, our local discount grocery store, turned around smiling knowingly, "I put that one back." I smiled back, pushing the cart with one elbow down now, willing the stubborn wheel to work me towards the eggs. Well, it was my cart now. So I decided to make the best of it. Did I tell you I also have a cast on my left wrist? Yes. The picture gets a bit more laborious. But, to modify the poet Frost...many groceries to get before I go, and many miles before I go...

For some reason, this grocery trip became joyful suddenly. Despite cajoling a strong-willed cart full of heavy groceries with one arm through the store, I started thinking of what was on the other side...Home. There was purpose in this trip, and it became calmly joyful.

Praise God.

As I went through the checkout line, I saw the cashier start rapidly placing my goods in a different shopping cart beside her, one without a stubborn wheel. My smile broadened. Aha! Yes, that is the way it works at Aldi's; your groceries go out of the store on the empty cart of the person in line ahead of you. A fresh cart.
Feeling lighter, I seamlessly pushed the new cart like butter in a hot pan.

Glorious!

When I strolled out into the parking lot, you guessed it, the sun was shining and pleasantly warm. My heart was thankful. Soon there would be no cart at all, stubborn or not. All that would remain would be me, and I would be Home.
 
My brief and potentially painful and frustrating trip through Aldi's, bearing the cart with a lazy wheel and a broken hand to push it with, was short. My life on earth is short compared to my eternal life in Heaven, my true Home, as a believer in Christ.

The moment the new cart was pushed outside, I felt the promise of the sunshine, and then realized I wouldn't have a cart at all anymore after this life, It reminded me that although many troubles will come in this life, not may...will, my hope is fixed on Heaven and the promises of my Lord and Savior.

He doesn't say we will not have trials. And many believers have tremendous trials in this life on earth. What He did promise is that He will be with us through all of them. And for those who believe that Jesus died to save them from the penalty of their sins (death) new life on earth and eternal life in Heaven are theirs. God has the power not only to change your perspective about our stubborn wheels and our broken places, but He also has the power to transform our earthly life and give us a Heavenly life that will far surpass our imaginations.
 
Sisters in Christ, I am praying for you, whatever your stubborn wheels of this life may be and whatever trials you may be walking through. I am praying for God to wrap His arms around you, encouraging your heart with His promises and His steady love that will not fail, Sister, He sees you.

He loves you.

May you gain beautiful glimpses of joy in the midst of struggle and of purpose in the midst of pain. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. He has overcome the world. 
 
For those of you, precious ladies, who do not know God yet as your savior and redeemer, He loves you. He loves you better and more completely than any human has or ever could.

His love Saves.

It saves from focusing too much on the tremendous struggles of this world and gives hope and a future of heaven. His love looses captives from chains of generational sins and habitual harmful habits.

His love frees and transforms the mind and the heart. It doesn't just "get you into heaven"; it transforms your life and your purpose here on earth.

And one more thing...He can use anything, and I mean anything and everything from your life, past and present. Everything can be used to bring Him glory and to draw you and others closer towards your true, heavenly Father.
 
1. Every person does actions that are wrong. These are called sins. They separate us from God.
2. God is a Holy God. He hates sin and cannot look upon it. But He loves us.
3. There is a price for sin. The price for sin is death in an eternal way. Hell is eternal death. But sin also brings a form of death during earthly life, too. It destroys relationships, joy, peace...
4. The sin must be paid by a sacrifice. According to the Old Testament of the Bible, blood must be sacrificed from a pure and spotless source of life. You and I are not spotless. Jesus is. He paid the price by becoming the sacrifice on the cross. He died for our sins out obedience to His father's will and out of love for man.
5. If we accept that Jesus paid the price for our sins and call him Savior, we are claiming the free gift that He has given us. We no longer need to live a life filled with death and destruction on this earth and after our life go to hell, but now we live with hope, no matter the trials of life, we live being transformed by the renewing of our minds by the Bible. We live in new Victories each day and each year by the power of the Holy Spirit. The God of the universe (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) loves us and wants to have a transforming relationship with us. Finally, the free gift of spending life after death in heaven, a glorious place beyond our imaginations, is given to believers. 

Beth

Monday
Sep292014

Bless, Not Impress

I was reading a book one time and it asked us to think about whether we were focusing on blessing people, or impressing them.  At that point in my life, I remember this standing out to me so much.  I put that little catch phrase, "Bless, don't impress" in my brain and have thought of it so often over the years.  

I try to keep it in my when I have company over - am I scurrying around the house to clean it all up and make it look perfect in order to bless others, or impress them?  I try to keep it in mind when I go out in public with my children - am I cleaning them up and trying to keep them quiet in order to bless others, or impress them?  I try to keep it in mind when I'm in a conversation with a friend - am I telling stories and bringing up things in order to bless them, or impress them?

Where is my heart? 

There is a portion of 1 Peter 3:9 that says, "Bless, for to this you were called."  Just above that Peter tells us to have brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. This runs so contrary to the competitive and comparative world we live in, yet is exactly how Christ is calling us to live.

How can you bless someone today?  

Maybe it's by leaving a bit of a mess around when someone comes over so that they feel like they aren't alone in their struggle to have everything together.  

Maybe it's by sharing a story that might not make you look so good, but will allow others to see your humanity and feel connected enough to share their own struggles.  

Maybe, just maybe, by putting aside our desire to impress others, we will actually BLESS them.  

The world is longing for people who are brave enough to be real - are you willing to be one of them?

In this journey alongside you,

Stephanie