*What’s Happening with Craig Kirk Tyndall Today

*What’s Happening with Craig Kirk Tyndall Today

Craig Kirk Tyndall

MAY 18

Today’s Scripture

            “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

(Psalm 23:6, NKJV)

What’s Chasing You?

            In the Bible, David was known as a man after God’s own heart. What kind of attitude did he have? Here in Psalm 23, he says, “Goodness and mercy are following me.” David lived with an attitude of expectancy. One translation says, “God’s kindness chases me everywhere that I go.” David’s attitude was “something good is going to happen to me. Everywhere I go, I know God’s blessings are chasing me. Favor is following me around.” No wonder he saw God’s goodness! No wonder he overcame his obstacles and accomplished great dreams. He knew good things were chasing after him.

            Do you know what’s chasing you right now? Not debt. Not failure. Not mediocrity. Not defeat. Not lack. Not at all! You are a child of the Most High God. You have been crowned with favor. You have been redeemed from every curse. God has set you apart as His own special treasure. When you look back in your rearview mirror, you’d better get ready because you have a tailgater! There’s something coming toward you at a high rate of speed. You know what it is? Blessings, favor, supernatural opportunities, restoration, divine connections – God’s goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for Your abundant grace and mercy. Today I look for Your goodness. I look for Your favor and blessings. I set my heart on You. Show me Your love in a new way today, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen


MAY 17

Today’s Scripture

            “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”  (Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT)

New Mercy

            Isn’t it good to know that no matter what happened yesterday, no matter what you said, no matter what you did, God’s mercy is new for you today? Mercy is empowering. It gives us the chance to let go of the our mistakes and move forward in Him. We have to always remember that God is not condemning us. Romans tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. God wants to love us and equip us to overcome in this life.

            Do you need new mercy today? Receive it by faith. You don’t have to beg God to forgive you. He forgives you the first time you ask, but it’s up to you to receive that forgiveness. Open your heart today and receive His mercy. Let Him wash over you with His peace and joy. Then choose to extend that mercy to others. Remember, you are God’s representative in the earth. As you show His love and character to others, He’ll pour out His blessing on you and use you in ways you never dreamed!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, today I receive Your mercy and forgiveness. Thank You for cleansing me of all unrighteousness. Thank You for making me new. I love You and bless Your Holy Name, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

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LAWS

“I understand more than the aged, because I keep Thy precepts.”  (Psalm 119:100)

            On a recent trip to our state capitol in Des Moines, I was impressed by the sheer size of the law library.  Besides being housed in a building of vast proportions and magnificent architecture, the library in mind-boggling in content.  There are four floors, each floor has walls and walls with shelves and shelves of books.  Since this is a law library, the books obviously relate to legal issues – every imaginable crime or damage, individual rights, and myriads of other topics relating to the justice system.  The books are arranged by content, and I only skimmed through one of two of the thousands.  My question was, “How could anyone find the book he wants when he needs it?”

            We have a Law Book called the Bible.  The law books in Des Moines are grouped by eras, and new ones are written as times change.  But unlike any other book, the Bible is timeless and absolute.  Its message is always relevant and current.  Its directions are for all mankind, its rules never changing.  “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth:  but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

            The Bible is infinitely accurate.  It deals with human nature, which never varies.  We face the same temptations that people did in ancient times, and our tendencies are equally as sinful, corrupt, selfish, proud, and wicked as those of our ancestors.  God is just, and likewise the intention of secular law is justice.  But God also loves mercy, so He sent Jesus to provide forgiveness for all who repent.  May we hate sin and have hearts filled with love for God’s Word as the psalmist wrote:  “Oh how I love Thy law!  It is my meditation all the day”.

By John Ropp

Read: Psalm 119:89-112


MAY 16

THE NATURE OF SEEDS

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  (Galatians 6:7)

            I’ve been thinking.  Seed suppliers are quite wise in appealing to gardeners and orchardists with pictures of the beautiful flowers and luscious fruits the seeds are supposed to become.  No one would be interested in  pictures of the little shriveled seeds in the packets.  As buyers reach for their wallets to pay for the seeds, their minds are filled with images of a bountiful harvest.

            Someone should carry this idea into other areas of life.  It would be wise, for example, to clearly display the harvest that seeds of covetousness will produce.  Buy now!  Pay later!  Fast, easy, and convenient!  Send no money now!  No interest for six months!  Advertisements gaily offering the seed of easy credit could show a man frowning over a stack of credit card bills as he examines a monthly statement of his depleted bank account.  For added impact they could include images of a stress-induced quarrel between husband and wife.  They could graphically portray bank foreclosure and even court bankruptcy.  After all, advertisers of easy credit should be just as truthful as advertisers of flowers in showing what the harvest will be, should they not?

            Satan has seed for sale too, but he does his best to glamorize the seeds and obscure the harvest from those seeds.  He does not show the animosity from other people that seeds of pompous boasting will bring.  He does not reveal the guilty, loneliness, and insecurity that result from seeds of infidelity, nor does he show the broken homes that follow.  He does not inform people about the ruined minds and broken bodies resulting from recreational drug, tobacco and alcohol use.

            Oh the other hand, seeds of godliness are always sown in anticipation of what the harvest will be.  And there will be a harvest; that is the nature of seeds.

By Gary Miller

Read:  Matthew 13:1-23

            The seed we sow will surely grow!

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10 Surprising Teachings from Song of Solomon

With so many biblical scholars disagreeing on interpretation, is it any wonder many find Song of Solomon confusing? Some say it’s a drama or musical, and elaborate that there are two or three main characters. It’s often called Song of Songs, and even the Canticle of Canticles. Most agree it that shows a beautiful picture of God’s design for love and the marriage relationship. Read more…

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Today’s Scripture

            “..Freely you have received, freely give.”  (Matthew 10:8 NKJV)

Freely Give

            Every command God gives us in His Word is for our good. He is a good God, and He works all things together for our good because He loves us. He wants to bless us, multiply us and fill us with His exceeding joy and peace, but we have to do our part. We have to obey His commands in order to set the blessing into motion.

            One of the best ways to see the blessing of God operating in your life is by sowing a seed of your time, abilities or resources. Proverbs says that those who scatter seed generously reap even more. That’s because when you give, God promises that it will come back to you in abundance – pressed down, shaken together and running over. But, you have to freely receive in order to have something to give.

            Remember, giving is tied to receiving. Victoria and I have found that the more we freely receive from God, the more we desire to freely give to others. Today, I encourage you to keep your heart and mind open to what God has for you. Look for ways to sow seeds. Freely give and set the blessing in motion in your life today!

A Prayer for Today

            “Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness in my life. I choose to honor Your Word by freely giving to others. Help me to find creative ways to give the way You have given to me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victorian Osteen

 


MAY 15

Today’s Scripture

            “Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”  (Psalm 103:4, NIV)

A New Route

            When God puts a dream or a promise on the inside of you, He deposits within you everything you need to accomplish it. He wouldn’t give you the desire to do something without giving you the ability to fulfill it. In fact, the scripture tells us that God gives us the desires of our heart. In other words, He puts the desire inside of us and then works with us to bring it to pass.

            Oftentimes, people set out to accomplish their dreams, but they face a setback or disappointment, and then they feel like their time has passed. But know this: no matter where you’ve come from, no matter what’s happened in your past, God wants to make you new. He wants to give you a fresh start. If you feel like you’ve missed opportunities in your life, if you feel like your time has passed, remember, today is a new day. You are a new person, and God has new opportunities in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father God, I come humbly before You today. I give You my past, present and future knowing that You will redeem my life. I release those who have hurt me. I choose forgiveness so I can be free to move forward in the new route You have for me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen


MAY 11

Today’s Scripture

            “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27:13, NIV)

See His Goodness

            David was going through a tough time when he made the declaration in today’s verse. Things weren’t going his way. But he said in effect, “I’m not worried. I’m not upset. I am confident I will see God’s goodness.” In other words, “This situation I’m in may be rough, but that’s not going to steal my vision. That’s not going to cause me to give up on my dreams. I am confident that this year, I will see God’s favor in a new way.”

            That’s what our attitude needs to be today because what you focus on is what you will see. No matter what the medical report says, no matter what your finances look like, no matter how bad that relationship may seem, be confident that you will see His goodness! He is the all-powerful, omniscient Creator of the universe, and He holds you in the palm of His hand. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Take hold of this truth by faith and focus on His goodness today. Allow His peace to settle in your heart and mind as you move forward in His blessing all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father in heaven, thank You for Your goodness in my life. I choose to focus on You today no matter what my circumstances may look like. Give me Your peace as I keep my mind stayed on You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen


MAY 10

Today’s Scripture

            “…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”  (Galatians 5:6, NIV)

The Only Thing That Counts

            So often, it’s easy to get caught up in our to-do lists of life. You might even have a spiritual checklist, so to speak, of all the things you think you need to do in order to please God. And we should have the desire to please Him and follow His commands, but pleasing Him starts with our heart condition.

            Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians that only faith, hope and love will last into eternity. The point is that we have to adjust our focus and make sure that we aren’t just going through the motions in our spiritual walk. We can do a lot of “good” things, but if we don’t have love, they won’t matter in eternity. We can have a lot of knowledge, but if we don’t have love, it won’t do us any good. When love is the foundation for everything we do, it’s a different story. Love honors God and opens the door for the life of victory and blessing He has in store!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for Your blessing and peace on my life. Today, I choose love, knowing that it fuels my faith. I don’t want to go through the motions; I want to love the way You love me. Show me ways to grow in love as I keep my heart and mind fixed on You, in Jesus’ name. Amen”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

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5 Exciting Ways Jesus Is With You Always – by John D. Barry – 5-10-18

If Jesus seems distant to you, you are not alone. For many, Jesus is abstract. He is like that piece of modern art you just don’t get and have trouble relating to. But this is not the Jesus in the gospels nor of early church tradition. Jesus is right here, right now—and that idea will renew your life.  Read more…


 

MAY 9

Today’s Scripture

            “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…”  (Deuteronomy 8:18, NKJV)

He Gives You Power

            God wants to do something great in and through you. He has promises and blessings in store for you that you haven’t even thought of yet. The scripture tells us that He gives us power to gain wealth. Wealth is simply having abundance. God wants you to live in abundance so that He can use you to be a blessing to others. When we are willing and obedient, we open the door to His promises. In other words, when we live in excellence and integrity, when we follow the Word of God, we will walk in His blessing. Like a tree planted by the water, your leaf will not wither because you are connected to an unlimited supply line.

            Notice one more thing about this verse: it says that “He gives us the power to get wealth.” See, God gives us the ability. He gives us creative ideas and inventions, but we have to be diligent, do our part, and step out and use what He’s given us. We have to sow seed in order to see the harvest that He has promised. Receive His power today and choose a life of integrity so that you can move forward into the abundant life He has prepared for you.

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for giving me the power to live in abundance. I choose to be faithful to You and Your Word. I choose to diligently follow Your commands and ask that You bless everything I set my hands to in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

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DON’T TEMP GOD

“Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:7)

            We learn from Christ’s temptations that the first business of life is to obey the Father.  Regardless of what life hands us, strict obedience is the only right response.  The words that proceed from the mouth of God form the basis of life.  The devil’s second suggestion was that Christ throw Himself off a pinnacle of the temple.  He quoted Scripture to suggest that the angels would save Him.  How often have we thought we were exercising faith by walking on thin ice when the devil suggested it, even quoting Scripture to persuade us?  We must not tempt God.

            In the third temptation, the devil promised to give Christ all the kingdoms of the world if He would only worship him.  Jesus answered again from the Word of God.  Only God is to be worshiped.  We all face the same temptations in one way of another.  They are designed to have us put God to the test, show off in God’s name, and indulge in pride.

            From Christ’s temptations we also learn that Christ would never do anything to please the devil, and neither should we.  We want only what pleases God.  Christ said in Matthew 21:22, “Whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”  Many people have been tempted to tempt God with this statement, hoping to see a miracle without considering, “Does God really want what I want?”  What He wants might differ greatly from what I want.

            As faithful Christians, we would rather die of hunger than say to stones, “Be bread” in order to please the devil.  We would rather endure the sneers of a mocking world than take a flying leap off a rooftop at the devil’s suggestion.  As stated earlier, the first business of life is to do the Father’s will.

By James Baer

Read Matthew 4:1-11


MAY 8

Today’s Scripture

            “…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”  (Romans 4:17, NKJV)

Call It Like You See It

            One thing I’ve learned is that God calls the things that are not as if they already are. He doesn’t call you what you are; He calls you the way He sees you. That’s because He creates with His words, and you do, too.

            When I stepped up to pastor the church after my father went to be with the Lord, I’d never ministered before. I was afraid. I felt unqualified, inexperienced and intimidated. The whole time, on the inside, I could hear that still, small voice saying, “Joel, you are well able. You can do all things. You have what it takes. You are strong in the Lord.” God was calling me something that I was not. I was not strong and bold and confident. I was weak, insecure and intimidated. Somehow, I had the faith to believe what God said about me. It didn’t happen overnight, but little by little, I became what God called me.

            Today, follow His example and call things that are not as though they are. Look through your eyes of faith and call it like you see it. Don’t use your words to talk about your situation; use your words to change your situation. Keep speaking words of faith, keep praying, keep believing and keep moving forward into the bright future He has for you!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father God, today I choose to look through my eyes of faith and call things that are not as though they are. I declare victory over every area of my life no matter what is happening around me. Thank You for the gift of faith, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

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Please help us pray for these good friends.

Family of Frank McGee – he passed away 5-7-18

Wayne Secrest – bass player for Confederate Railroad – in hospice on 5-8-18

https://chattanoogaentertainers.com/entertainers-prayer-list/


MAY 7

Today’s Scripture

            “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared.”  (Numbers 14:17, NIV)

As You Have Declared

            Scripture tells us that there is creative power in the words we declare. In the same way that God created the world with His words in Genesis 1, we “create” our own world with our words. We can create an atmosphere of peace, joy, power and love with our words, or we can create an atmosphere of strife, confusion and defeat.

            Today, I encourage you to use your words to open the door for God to move by declaring His Word over your life. Declare that His strength is at work in you. Declare that no weapon formed against you is going to prosper. As you declare God’s Word over your life, you’ll see it come to pass. You’ll feel His strength, joy and victory rising up inside of you so that you can embrace the life of blessing He has prepared for you.

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, I recognize that there is creative power in the words that I speak. Help me, by Your Spirit, to use my words for good. Remind me to always declare Your truth over my life and over the lives of others. I bless You today and always, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

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Bible Wisdom

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. Psalms 1:1-3


MAY 4

Today’s Scripture

            “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…”  (Romans 8:26, NLT)

He is Strong in You

            Sometimes, people get distracted by what they consider to be a disadvantage or weakness in their lives. It may be something about their personality or looks that they don’t like. Or, maybe they’ve been through an unfair situation: a divorce, a bad business deal or a bad break. We all have things that can feel like disadvantages; things that make it harder on us. It may even be a physical handicap, and you can’t get around like you used to. But just because you have a “disadvantage,” just because you’ve been through a tough time doesn’t mean you’re supposed to sit back and settle where you are. God still has something great for you to do! He wants to show Himself strong in and through you, and He’s given you His Holy Spirit to equip you in this life.

            Today let the Holy Spirit help you when you feel weak. Let Him empower you with truth that will set you free. Stay in faith and don’t get negative toward yourself or your future. Let God take what you think is a liability and turn it into an asset! Let Him take what you think is a disadvantage and turn it around to be an advantage! Remember, you are more than a conqueror today and every day because He is strong in you!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, today I give You all that I am. I invite You into the weak places in my life so that You can turn them into strengths. Thank You for working in my life and filling me with faith and expectancy in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen


MAY 3

Today’s Scripture

            “The earth was formless and empty…and God said, ‘Let there be light’…”  (Genesis 1:2–3, NIV)

Something Out of Nothing

            Do you need a miracle in your life for something that seems impossible? With man it may be, but we serve the all-powerful God, and He can create something out of nothing! He can make a way when there seems to be no way and open doors that seemed closed forever!

            Genesis tells us that in the beginning, God created the heavens and earth, but before He spoke the world into existence, it was formless and void. If God can make the world out of nothing, He can take the empty places in your life and create something beautiful, too! He can speak light into your darkest hour. He can take your formless dreams and give them shape. He can resurrect your dormant gifts and talents! He can make your crooked places straight!

            Remember, you are created in the image of almighty God. There’s power in your words, and there’s power when you’re in agreement with Him. Start saying what God says about your situation. Speak life to your broken dreams today. Speak hope into the hopeless places. Keep an attitude of faith and expectancy because He will turn things around for you and create something out of nothing!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, I trust that You are willing and able to make a way for me where there seems to be no way. Fill me with Your peace and hope. Give me a vision for all You have for me and thank You for making something out of nothing, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

 


MAY 2

Today’s Scripture

            “…His favor is for a lifetime…”  (Psalm 30:5, AMP)

You Have the Advantage

            One definition of the word “favor” is an advantage for success. When you put God first, when you obey His commands, you open the door for His favor which means you have the advantage for success! Even if someone may have wronged you and it looks like they have the upper hand, even if it looks like things are never going to change, keep reminding yourself, “I have an advantage. God is in control of my destiny. He’s fighting my battles for me. He is my Vindicator. And it’s just a matter of time before things change in my favor.”

            In Hebrews it says, “Don’t cast away your confidence.” One translation says “payday is coming.” In the difficult times, you have to remind yourself that payday is on the way! God is a faithful God. If you’ll keep doing the right thing, honoring Him and expecting His favor, God promises that He will pay you back. He will restore everything in your life that the enemy has stolen. Remember, you have the advantage today!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for Your grace, mercy and everlasting favor. I open my heart and mind to You and receive everything You have for me. Thank You for favor and healing in every area of my life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen


MAY 1

ADORNING THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16)

            Jesus is portrayed in John 10 as the Good Shepherd, compassionate and ready to sacrifice His own comfort and life for the sheep.  Are we content within His sheepfold, or is our life like that of a sheep without a shepherd?  It is imperative that we hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him, lest we be led astray by the voice of a stranger.  Like our Shepherd, we need to be compassionate and seek the well-being of others.

            Christ was a friend of sinners and was sensitive to their needs.  He was like a good doctor with effective remedies for people’s problems.  That remedy is the blood of Jesus Christ, which must be applied to our sinful nature and then shared with those around us.

            Christ revealed that His kingdom is within reach of all who want to enter it.  Do we present His kingdom as attainable and desirable?  Christ is not looking for just another church to spread the Gospel; He wants people fully dedicated to His cause.  To be such people, we must be humble and surrendered, and have Christ in control of our entire being – even our thoughts.  We should have such a close relationship with our heavenly Father that we can forgive those who wronged us.

            We need to offer the world a life-changing Gospel.  If the Gospel we represent hasn’t already changed us, we have nothing to offer.  We cannon convince people of the power of the Gospel message if it has had no effect on us.  Can we tell others that Jesus in the answer, if we are still questioning God’s provision?  Christ offers eternal life.  If others follow our example, will they inherit eternal life?

By Denver Yoder

Read:  James 3

True Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;

rather, it has been found difficult and left untried.

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Today’s Scripture

      “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  (Romans 10:17, NKJV)   

Grow Your Faith

     Scripture tells us that every person has been given a measure of faith. Faith can grow and increase, or it can be diminished. Notice today’s scripture doesn’t say, “Faith comes by having heard the Word of God one time.” It’s by hearing—present tense. Sure, God’s Word can transform us in an instant. But most of the time, we need to hear God’s truth over and over again in order for it to become active in our lives. The more we hear the Word, the more His truth chisels away at the doubt and unbelief that’s been built up over the years. His truth sets us free and causes our faith to grow!

     Just as a seed needs water daily to grow, your spirit needs the Word of God daily. Your faith needs to be watered by His Word. It can be as simple as selecting a few scriptures to meditate on daily. Write them down and carry them in your purse or wallet. Read them out loud over and over. Let His truth sink down into your heart and move you forward into the freedom and victory He has prepared for you!

A Prayer for Today

     “Father, thank You for Your Word that is living and active and growing in my life. I submit myself to You today and ask You to teach me Your ways. Give me insight into Your Word so that I may know You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

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Why Christians Should Be Careful About Boycotting Hollywood

– By Ben Kayser – 5-1-18

https://chattanoogaareachurches.com/why-christians-should-be-careful-about-boycotting-hollywood

 

 


APRIL 30

Today’s Scripture

            “…Freely you have received; freely give.”  (Matthew 10:8, NIV)

True Success

            There are a lot of people who are successful in this world. They’ve accomplished their goals in the public eye. But being successful isn’t just about what you make happen for yourself, it’s about what you make happen for others. It’s when you realize, “God has blessed me not to just sit on my throne and let everybody see my accomplishments; God has blessed me to be a blessing to others. God has helped me to win so I can help somebody else win.” In other words, it’s when you realize, “God helped me overcome this addiction, now I’m going to find somebody and help them overcome.” Or, “God has blessed me with a happy family. I’m going to go find a family who is struggling and help them get back on track.” That’s what being successful is really all about.

            Today, look for ways to help others succeed. Reach back and give freely of the talents and abilities you’ve been given. As you do, you’ll rise up higher and live in the fullness of the blessing God has prepared for you!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for giving me so much. Thank You for blessing me with talents and abilities and the desire to bless others. Show me ways to reach out and help others move forward and be successful so we can all rise higher together, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen

 


APRIL 28

MOTIVES AND METHODS

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your way My ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

            “I don’t question your motives; it’s your methods that concern me.”  I don’t remember the details of the incident, but my dad was giving me some fatherly counsel.  His point was that the end, however good, does not necessarily justify the means.

            When Sarai gave Hagar to Abram as his wife, she had the best of intentions – to help God fulfill His promise of giving them a son (Genesis 16).  Moses had the good motive of delivering the smitten Hebrew when he killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2), and Peter was trying to rescue Jesus from a hostile mob when he drew his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18).  Yet while all these motives were commendable, each of the methods was counterproductive.

            It is true that sincerity and good intentions are essential Christian virtues, but godly wisdom is also necessary.  Without it we are forced to rely only on our own feelings and human wisdom, which often results in disappointment if not disaster.  “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity” (Psalm 94:11).  The apostle Paul gave the warning, “Be not wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16).  Godly wisdom enables us to understand that methods which seem foolish to man may actually be the most productive.  The concepts of returning good for evil and praying for our enemies are alien to the natural man but are in perfect harmony with God’s wisdom in His Word.

            We have the promise, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).  May we all earnestly seek that bountiful wisdom so that our methods as well as our motives may honor our loving Lord.

By Pete Lewis

Read:  1 Cor. 3:18-23, Phil. 2:1-8

There is no right way to do wrong,

but there are wrong ways to do right

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Tommy Jett

TOMMY JETT – JULY 26, 1940 TO APRIL 25, 2018

https://chattanoogaentertainers.com/tommy-jett-july-26-1940-april-25-2018/

The family will receive friends on Saturday, April 28th from 3-7pm. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home & Crematory, 
A celebration of Tommy’s life will be held Sunday, April 29th at 2pm. in the South Crest Chapel


APRIL 27

THE HANGING HUMMER

            “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

            I drew closer and peered harder at the spectacle before me.  Here was something new:  a hummingbird hanging upside down on the electric fence.  He was dead and dried out, but his feet still clung to the wire, much as they were the instant he died.  What had happened?  This jewel of a bird had landed on the wire close to a steel post adorned with a yellow fence insulator.  Possibly he perceived the insulator to be a flower and poked his beak at it to sip some nectar.  He got too close to the steel post, which was well grounded in the earth.  His beak completed the electrical circuit.  Wham! – end of hummer.  I felt sorry for him, but realizing he had no soul I took no time to consider his eternal destiny. 

            As Christians we live in this world but are not of this world.  We drink the sweet nectar of God’s Word.  But our enemy, “the prince of this world,” would have our souls.  He sets up lures, solidly grounded in “all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1John 2:16).  When we get lax in our Christian lives, these substitutes look like flowers with sweet nectar.  One lure says, “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Proverbs 9:17).  Another says, “This immoral act will give you great pleasure.”  Like Eve of old, we stretch out our hand to take the forbidden… Wham!  There we hang upside down, all withered and dried, spiritually dead while we live.

            We have a soul.  Right now, even if we are hanging there dead, Jesus stands offering life before the second death kills us forever.  What shall we choose?

By Kevin Mast

Read:  Deuteronomy 30

            We choose our destination by choosing our route.

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Today’s Scripture

            “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  (Romans 8:31, NLT)

God is For You

            There are many misconceptions about God in the world today. Some people think He’s mad at them, and other’s think He’s keeping a list of all their wrongs. But that isn’t what Scripture tells us. Scripture tells us that God is gracious, patient and loving; that He is forgiving and doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. Scripture tells us that God is for us, and if God is for us, who can be against us?

            Think about that for a moment. The same God who created the heavens and earth, the one who spoke the universe into existence and knows everything about you, He is on your side and wants the best for you. Today’s verse is a great reminder that when God is for you, no one can win against you. Not the pain of your past. Not any mistake you’ve made. Not the forces of hell, your worst enemy, a bad economy, a difficult housing market or anything else on this earth.

            Today, instead of dwelling on what you’re not, dwell on what He is—He is faithful, He is loving, He is with you, and He is for you! And with God on your side, you are headed for victory all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, You are good! Thank You for choosing me and equipping me with everything I need in this life. Thank You for being my Defender, my Hope and my Victory. I bless You and glorify You in all that I do, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Joel & Victoria Osteen

 


APRIL 26

5 Things You Should be Doing with God’s Word

By Michael J. Kruger – 4-26-18

Psalm 119 is an amazing Psalm. Not only is it the longest Psalm (176 verses!), but it is also the Psalm that deals the most directly with the topic of Scripture. Virtually every verse, in one way or another, refers to God’s Word.

David (who is most likely the author) uses a variety of terminology to describe God’s Word: commandments, law, statutes, precepts, ordinances, rules, words, testimonies, etc. These all refer to the Scriptures as they existed in David’s day (essentially the Pentateuch).

Thus, Psalm 119 is one of the best examples of Scripture speaking about Scripture. It is the Word about the Word.

And in it, we find David interacting with the Word of God in five ways that should be paradigmatic for all believers:

  1. Trusting the Word of God. Time and time again, David expresses his belief that the Scriptures are true (v.151). He believes in them (v.66). He trusts in their reliability (v.42). He states: “The sum of your word is truth” (v.160).

This first step is key. If a believer doesn’t really regard the Word of God as being fully and entirely trustworthy, then none of the other steps below will follow. This is why the church needs to be quick to deal with the repeated criticisms of the Bible that so often permeate our culture.

  1. Studying the Word of God. David doesn’t just believe the Word; he is a student of the Word. He learns it (v.73), he seeks it (v.155), he has memorized it (v.153), and regularly meditates on it.

This step ought to naturally for the follow the first one. If God’s Word really is true, then we ought to commit ourselves to being diligent studiers of the Word. We need to embrace it with our minds, as well as our hearts.

  1. Using the Word of God. It’s one thing to believe and know the Word. It is another thing to rely on it. To look to it as a guide during the difficulties and challenges of life. To lean on it for encouragement and hope.

David repeatedly affirms that he uses the Word of God as a “counselor” (v.24), to give “strength” (v.28), and to bring “comfort in affliction” (v.50). He states, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v.105). In short, the Word of God is the very source of life for David (v.156).

This reminds us a very important attribute of God’s Word: it is alive. It is powerful and active. When we talk about the attributes of Scripture, we must remember that it is more than just a true book (encyclopedias can be true). It is also a living book. It is the place where the God of the universe meets us and manifests himself.

  1. Delighting in the Word of God. What is amazing is that David takes things one step further than we might expect. It’s not just that he trusts, studies, and uses the Word of God. He actually has affection for it. He has a deep emotional affinity towards it.

He “loves” God’s Word (v.159), he “rejoices” at his Word (v.162), the Word is “wondrous” (v.18), it is “better than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (v.72), and “sweeter than honey to my mouth” (v.103).

I am convinced that this is the missing piece for most believers today.  For many, the Bible is viewed almost in a utilitarian fashion—it is a mechanical, sterile tool that Christians are supposed to use. It’s like taking your medicine.

In contrast, David has passion, zeal, and excitement for the law and commandments of God. And the reason for this is not hard to find. David loves God’s law not because he is a closet legalist. He loves God’s law because the law reflects God’s own nature and character. He loves God’s law because he loves God—and who God is and what he is like.

Any Christian who says they love God but then despises God’s law is living a life of contradiction. Indeed, they are living a life that is the opposite of Psalm 119. To love God is to love his law.

  1. Obeying the Word of God. Not surprisingly, the prior four characteristics naturally lead to this last one. David repeatedly expresses his desire to actually obey God’s law. He wants to follow it, keep it, and fulfill it.

In our world today, the concept of “obeying the law” is not a popular one. Many see this as contrary to grace. However, two things should be kept in mind. One, David is not keeping the law in order to earn salvation—he is obeying out of love for God. He is obeying out of a heart of faith.

Second, we should remember that Jesus himself was very much about “obeying the law.”  Before we too quickly despise the concept of law-keeping, we should remember that Jesus delighted in keeping his Father’s law. And he kept it absolutely perfectly—for us. He obeyed on our behalf, and his righteous status is imputed to us by faith.

Indeed, Jesus embodies all five of these characteristics. He trusted, studied, used, delighted in, and obeyed God’s Word. In fact, he did all these things even more than the first David. While David certainly serves as an example of what to do with God’s word, Jesus is the ultimate example. One greater than David has come. And he loved God’s Word.

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Today’s Scripture

            “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Galatians 6:2, NIV)

Fulfilling the Law of Christ

            When we live in peace and unity, it pleases God. When we love and serve others, putting their needs above our own, we are honoring Him. When we carry each other’s burdens, we are fulfilling the law of Christ, which is to love others.

            What does it mean to carry each other’s burdens? There are many ways to reach out to people and help shoulder their load, so to speak. Just by giving an encouraging word or smile, you can help lighten the load for someone. When you pray and intercede for others in their day of difficulty, you are helping to carry their burdens. Maybe there are other ways to help the people around you. Maybe you can pay for someone’s groceries or give someone cash at the gas pump. Anytime you help others and reach out to those in need, Scripture says you are directly lending a hand to God Himself.

            Today, look for ways to lighten the load for the people around you. Be a burden lifter. Remember, in God’s kingdom what you sow, you shall reap. When you help others, God promises to repay you. He’ll pour out His victory and blessing on you all the days of your life!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, I want to fulfill Your law of love by serving and helping others. Show me how to be a blessing to the people around me so that I can help carry their burdens, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen


APRIL 25

Today’s Scripture

            “Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.”  (James 5:7, NLT)

As You Wait

            God has placed dreams and desires in every person’s heart. But most times, there’s a season of waiting involved. Maybe you’re waiting for a relationship to improve, waiting to get married, waiting for a promotion, or waiting to overcome an illness. Much of life is spent waiting. But there’s a right way to wait and a wrong way to wait. Too often, when things don’t happen on our timetable, we get down and discouraged or anxious and fretful. That’s because we’re not waiting the right way.

            Notice that today’s verse doesn’t say “if” you wait, it says “as” you wait. The fact is that we’re all going to wait. It goes on to say that we should consider how the farmer waits—patiently and eagerly. We’re not supposed to sit around discouraged; we’re supposed to be hopeful, positive and full of expectancy!

            Today, no matter what you are praying for, expect things to change in your favor. Today could be the day that God turns it all around. As you wait with patience and expectancy, you’ll see God open the door to the abundant harvest He’s promised in every area of your life!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, today I choose to wait expectantly for You. I trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I put my faith and hope in You knowing that You have good things in store for my future, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Joel & Victoria Osteen

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You Are Strong Enough!

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)

In your Dream pursuit, you must understand that Mental and Spiritual Strength is required!  As you navigate through obstacles and difficulties, Be Diligent, Focused and Determined! Know, that you are Strong Enough to Win!

Father, I thank You for giving Your people Strength to Focus and achieve every Dream You have given them.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Michael Chitwood

 


APRIL 24

FAITH MADE PERFECT 

For if Abraham were justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.” (Romans 4:2)

            There is no conflict between today’s Bible reading and key verse.  Christians generally believe strongly in being justified by faith, and tend to despise a works religion.  But there is a very practical side to faith.  If we have faith in a vehicle, we place the key in the ignition, turn it to start the engine, place the gearshift in drive, and down the road we go.  We say the car works!  But sometimes the starter grinds or just clicks, or everything is completely dead.  We say the car doesn’t work!

            Consider our testimony of faith in God.  What happens when He inserts His key into our life, turns it, and says there is work to do?  Do I grind or click, sputter or spit, and resist being put into drive?  If so, God will have to say, “He doesn’t work.”

            Today’s key verse refers to incident early in Abraham’s journey of faith.  Later when the command came to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham did so, and his obedience perfected his faith in God.  Our faith too is perfected in very practical ways, such as by showing mercy, avoiding partiality, and giving food and clothing to the destitute.  Our appearance, occupation, recreational activities, and many other things show the genuineness of the faith we profess.

            The bible speaks of dead works, and we easily understand that works are dead if they are not vitalized by faith.  But James 2:26 pictures the reverse:  “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  It may be hard to visualize faith as a physical body, and works as the spirit that vitalizes the body.  But this is what the Bible teaches, and we must accept it if we would be saved.

By Daniel Stauffer

Read:  James 2:10-26

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20)

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Today’s Scripture

            “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  (Ephesians 2:4–7, NKJV)

The Greatness of His Favor

            Oftentimes, people set their focus on what God has done in the past—how He parted the Red Sea, or stopped the sun for Joshua, or fed thousands of people with just a little boy’s small lunch. Yes, God has performed many amazing miracles throughout history, and it’s important that we give Him praise and glory. But at the same time, we also have to look forward to what God wants to do in our lives today. In this verse, Paul says that “in the ages to come” God would do things that far supersede anything He’s ever done before. I believe that the “ages to come” that he’s talking about is this day and time we’re living in right now. God wants to outdo Himself in our generation!

            Remember, God is a God of increase. Where you are today is not where you are supposed to stay. He has greater levels of His favor and blessing in store for you. Dare to dream big! Dare to keep a God-sized vision in front of you! Dare to take hold of every blessing that the Lord has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for Your faithfulness in my life. Today I open my heart and mind to You so that I can see the greatness of what You want to do in my life. Use me for Your glory. Thank You for Your favor, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen


APRIL 23

Today’s Scripture

            “Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains.”  (Colossians 4:3, NLT)

Look for Opportunity

            Paul was writing these words while he was in chains in prison. He was arrested for preaching the gospel. Everything in his surroundings shouted “limitations,” but instead of looking at his surroundings, Paul kept his eyes on the limitless God. He kept looking for the open door of opportunity that God would have for him next.

            No matter what “chains” you may feel like you are in today, remember, we serve a God who’s in the business of setting people free. Remember, He has equipped you with His power. He’s promised to walk with you all the days of your life. When doors look closed all around you, when your surroundings look limited, when you feel like you’re in chains, remember, God is still at work in your life. Like Paul, keep your hopes up. Keep expecting. Keep believing. Pray for those opportunities to be opened to you. If you fall, get right back up and press forward with even greater determination to accomplish the dream that God has planted in your heart. The prayer of the righteous avails much, so keep praying because He promises to break the chains and open doors of opportunity in your life.

A Prayer for Today

            “Father in heaven, I choose to take my eyes off my surroundings and focus on You. I choose to focus on the passion and dream You’ve planted in my heart. I trust that You are working behind the scenes, and opening doors of opportunity, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen – 4-23-18

 


APRIL 20

Today’s Scripture

            “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  (Luke 6:28, NIV)

Hold On to Your Peace

            I’ve learned that in life, some people are peace stealers. They feel like it’s their calling to aggravate you, try to make you look bad, and tell you what you can’t do. They’ll try to bait you into an argument to get you upset, annoyed and frustrated. But don’t take the bait! Nothing is worth losing your peace over. They may think they’re getting the best of you, but in the end, God can use that to take you higher. When people come against you, choose to keep your peace. Choose to forgive. Pray for that person because that’s how you disarm the enemy against you.

            Scripture says your battle isn’t against flesh and blood. In others words, that person isn’t your enemy; the accuser—Satan—is your enemy. He’s trying to bring division and get you upset. But when you choose to keep peace, when you keep walking in love and keep a smile on your face, you are overcoming his tactics. That’s how you win. Today, choose peace, choose to walk in love, and choose the victory God has prepared for you!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for giving me Your peace and strength today. I choose to hold my peace and bless those who come against me. I choose to walk in love and forgiveness so that I can honor You in all that I do, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen – 4-20-18

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6

The Hungry and Thirsty

We have often heard it said that the world is hungry for the Gospel of the grace of God.  But if this were so, the whole world would be saved in a very short time.  The truth is that people of the world hunger and thirst, not for righteousness, but to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16, 17).  This yields no lasting happiness.  By faith Moses chose to suffer affliction alongside God’s people, rather than enjoy the passing happiness and fleeting pleasures of sin.  The happiness of sin is short-lived, but the happiness of the godly life is eternal (Heb. 11:23-29).

The Scriptures describe two kinds of righteousness:

            (1) Legal or self-righteousness, which is man’s vain effort to establish his own righteousness by his own works – works of the law (Rom. 10:1-3).  Such “law works” cannot save (Titus 3:5); Eph2:8,9); they produce only self-righteousness, which in the sight of God is “filthy rags” (Is 64:6).

            (2) The righteous of God in Christ.  “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom 10:4).  Faith alone brings lasting happiness.  “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:10).  Believers live the righteousness life, but they do no not in order to be saved, but because they know they are saved.  Happiness is salvation’s reward; in this life there is no greater joy.  And there is even better to come:  John said “We know that when He is revealed (when Jesus comes again), we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).  We shall see Him in all His glory.  This will be heavenly happiness.

 


APRIL 19

Today’s Scripture

            “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  (Psalm 37:23, KJV)

Right this Way!

            The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord! Many people today might find it difficult to see themselves as “good” in the eyes of God, but did you know that in the original Greek, this word means “strong” like a warrior? In other words, when you stand strong, when you are willing to fight the good fight of faith, you are giving God something to work with. He is ordering your steps. He’s making a way when there seems to be no way. He’s clearing a path for you, and He is delighting in you. That means He is pleased with your attitude of courage. He is pleased that you are taking a stand for what is right. He is pleased that you are putting Him first place and relying completely on Him. Remember, God loves your passion for Him. He loves it when you come boldly to His throne of grace. He is honored when you stand and fight the good fight of faith. If you are facing difficulty today, know that God wants to lift you up and give you His strength. Receive it by faith today. Dig your heels in knowing that He is ordering your steps; and when God is leading you, He’s always leading you in the path of victory!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for giving me Your supernatural joy and strength. I choose to stand strong in You no matter what is going on around me. I choose Your ways and thank You for ordering my steps. I bless You and praise You for Your goodness and faithfulness in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen – 4-19-18

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PLEASE – Come and support us on SATURDAY – APRIL 21

GLORY ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH (Rossville GA), 3336 Lakeview Dr., “Glory Road Benefit” Gospel Concert and Mini Revival with Living Right Trio, Three Purple Crosses, Flat Bottom Band, Sam Sampson, Keith & Carolyn Bobo, Shelia Reed, Howard Yarbrough, Deborah Sansing, Clarence Garrett, Debby Faye EastCraig Kirk Tyndall, Rose Whitaker, Renee Barton, The Carpenter’s Praise Band, and many more. Pastor’s scheduled to speak include Brother Labron Brandon, Pastor James Palmer, Pastor David Winton, Pastor Jerry Davis, Pastor Jason Brown, Pastor Francis Keith, Pastor Keith Bobo and Pastor Richard Kinnett. 11am to 8pm.  423.802.9130 or 404.801.6292

https://www.facebook.com/events/960615814089880/

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APRIL 18

Today’s Scripture

            “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”  (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

Accept God’s Plan

            No matter what may be happening today, God has good things in store for your future! It may not be easy to see now, but God has already lined up a new beginning, new friendships and new opportunities for you.

            Maybe you’ve experienced some setbacks, but don’t make the mistake of expecting the same for your future. Instead, accept God’s good plan for your life by declaring His truth. As believers, our attitude should be, “Even though the economy is down, I’m not worried. I know God is going before me, and He has promised He will make rivers in the desert.” Or, “The medical report may not look good, but I have another report that says God is restoring health unto me. I believe God has already released healing, health and victory in my future.” Or, you may have a child who is not on the right course. In the natural, it seems impossible. But our report should be, “I know God can do the impossible!”

            Today, be encouraged and don’t give up on your tomorrows. Accept the good plan God has for you—a plan filled with hope, purpose, blessing and increase in every area of your life!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for giving me hope and a future. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for choosing me. Thank You for delighting in me. I invite You to renew my heart and mind to the good plans You have for me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel & Victoria Osteen – April 18, 2018

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BAD DAY FOR THE ANTS

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:25)

            It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and Jayden was working outdoors.  As he was blowing through the yard with a backpack leaf blower, he came across a huge pile of ants on the edge of the playground.  That pile of ants might have reminded an observer of a close-knit group of believers gathered on a Sunday morning to worship their Creator.  God is pleased when He looks down on such a scene.  He loves to see kindred spirits and like-mindedness.  But Jayden pointed the blower directly toward the pile of ants.  There was no tornado siren and no cloud in the sky to give those ants any warning.  They blew apart so fast that they never knew what happened.

            Satan looks on a group of believers with scorn and a sneer.  He despises the sight and devises ways to blow them apart, because he knows how hard it is for a Christian to remain faithful without the support of a church.  Satan does not always use a big blast; he may come “softly” as the south wind did in Acts 27:13.  He knows that he can cause divisions by using small, subtle things such as the spirit of discontentment.  Many people have turned their backs on their church over matters of little real substance.

            As sincere believers, let us lovingly work through each issue as it comes, whether it is a church matter of a problem in the family or neighborhood.  We are not ants.  We do not have to allow even a strong gust to blow us apart.  We have power through Jesus Christ to cling tightly together regardless of any winds of adversity.

By Norman Schmucker

            When the winds of trouble blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.

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How to Pray for Your Daily Bread

https://chattanoogaareachurches.com/how-to-pray-for-your-daily-bread/

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PLEASE – Come and support us on SATURDAY – APRIL 21

GLORY ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH (Rossville GA), 3336 Lakeview Dr., “Glory Road Benefit” Gospel Concert and Mini Revival with Living Right Trio, Three Purple Crosses, Flat Bottom Band, Sam Sampson, Keith & Carolyn Bobo, Shelia Reed, Howard Yarbrough, Deborah Sansing, Clarence Garrett, Debby Faye East, Craig Kirk Tyndall, Rose Whitaker, Renee Barton, The Carpenter’s Praise Band, and many more. Pastor’s scheduled to speak include Brother Labron Brandon, Pastor James Palmer, Pastor David Winton, Pastor Jerry Davis, Pastor Jason Brown, Pastor Francis Keith, Pastor Keith Bobo and Pastor Richard Kinnett. 11am to 8pm.  423.802.9130 or 404.801.6292

https://www.facebook.com/events/960615814089880/

 


APRIL 17

Today’s Scripture

            “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  (2 Timothy 4:7, NIV)

It’s About the Way You Finish

            So often, when people make mistakes, they get down on themselves and think, “If only…” “I should have…” “What if…?” It’s easy to feel like you’ve missed the best plan for your life. That’s when people get discouraged and stop pursuing their God-given dreams. But understand today, just because you’ve made a mistake or failed in some way doesn’t cancel God’s plan. God never disqualifies you. He never says, “Go sit on the sidelines. You’ve blown it too many times. You’ve got too many weaknesses.” No, God always gives you another chance!

            Some of the great people in the Bible made very poor choices. The apostle Paul started off as a murderer, yet his destiny was bigger than his mistakes. He ended up becoming a great leader and writing over half of the New Testament.

            What am I saying? Our mistakes, our failures, our poor choices don’t have to keep us from our God-given destiny. With God, it’s not about the way you start in life, it’s about the way you finish. Receive His grace today and embrace the bright future He has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

            “Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy to me. I trust that my days are ordered of You. I ask that You strengthen and empower me to fulfill Your call on my life. I love You and bless You today, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Joel & Victoria Osteen – April 17, 2018


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GRAHAM A TRAVELING WARRIOR FOR GOD

Editorial by Clint Cooper – 2-22-18

The pre-eminent Christian evangelist of the 20th century was once told in Cleveland, Tenn., according to one story, that he would not amount to much after quitting Bob Jones University.

Billy Graham, who died Wednesday at the age of 99, told the university president he was withdrawing from the then-unaccredited, evangelistic school after about six months there.

Jones, according to a later version of the evangelist’s biography, allegedly told him leaving made him a “quitter” and that he would not be successful. Another version of the story has a not-so-strident Jones telling him that with his mellifluous voice and smooth delivery he still might make something of himself.

By anyone’s standards, Graham, often termed “America’s pastor,” certainly did that.

His messages were heard by hundreds of millions of people across the globe, including 215 million during his more than 400 crusades in 185 countries that began in 1947. Indeed, he preached, according to his evangelistic organization, to more people in live audiences than anyone in history.

Among those, a Chattanooga crusade at Warner Park in 1953 was said to have drawn 300,000 people.

Graham also authored 34 books, and he and his wife, Ruth, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a private citizen.

The onetime North Carolina farm boy also was listed by Gallup as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men” 61 times, including for 55 consecutive years.

Graham, in addition, was a friend and adviser to presidents and had met or prayed with each one from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

Former President George W. Bush credited a walk and talk with him at the family’s Kennebunkport, Me., home as a younger man with causing him to quit drinking and become more serious about his faith.

With piercing blue eyes, square jaw and flowing blond, then gray, then white hair, Graham had a commanding presence, a sense of humor and a speaking ability that transcended the Elmer Gantry-ism of tent revivalists and lent an aura of studied knowledge to a simple faith.

When Graham told members of the crowd at the end of his messages to “come forward” and that their “buses will wait,” they believed him and came, as the mass choir sang “Just As I Am, Without One Plea,” many later saying it was their first connection to the Christian faith.

“This is not mass evangelism,” he often said, “but personal evangelism on a mass scale.”

Graham also was accessible to many because, while Southern Baptist with a Reformed Presbyterian background, he didn’t proclaim a hard and fast denominational bent.

In fact, according to the evangelist’s historians, he preached his first sermon while attending Bob Jones University at Charleston (Tenn.) Methodist Church and his second at Antioch Baptist Church on Chattanooga Pike.

Graham also didn’t dwell on the particular red-meat concerns of the day, whether — as the country grew more secular — it was co-habitation, abortion or gay marriage. Instead, he stuck to his calling.

“I’m just going to preach the Gospel and am not going to get off on all these hot-button issues,” he said. “If I get on these other subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I’m promoting. I’m just promoting the Gospel.”

Opposed to segregation before the civil rights era, Graham was praised by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said his own “work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been” without Graham.

His 1953 crusade at Warner Park, in fact, often has been cited as the first such intentionally integrated event.

“In Chattanooga, Tennessee, back in 1953, we began insisting that our meetings be purposely mixed,” Graham wrote in his syndicated newspaper column “My Answer” on Feb. 25, 1974. “I took this stand before the Supreme Court decision of 1954 and before I had ever heard the word ‘integration.’” That Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. the Board of Education, declared segregated schools unconstitutional.

According to biographers, the evangelist arrived early at the field house on March 15, 1953, to tear down the ropes that separated the white and black sections. Even when the head usher resigned after the action, he did not back down on his desire to hold an integrated campaign.

“You stay in the stadiums, Billy,” King later told him, according to a 1997 autobiography, “because you will have far more impact on the white establishment there than if you marched in the streets. Besides that, you have a constituency that will listen to you, especially among white people who may not listen so much to me.”

Graham did more than preach the grace and saving power of Jesus Christ, though. He lived it.

Though charismatic as a speaker, he was humble in person and devoted to his wife. He never got caught up in the various scandals that other evangelistic leaders found themselves in, and he was quick to cite his own faults, admitting to not being home enough for his five children when they were growing up, for not doing enough for civil rights and for being unswervingly supportive of former President Richard Nixon during his Watergate misdeeds. “I despise all this attention on me … I’m not trying to bring people to myself,” Graham said, “but I know that God has sent me out as a warrior.”

So a warrior he was, a warrior for God, a warrior who always knew his real place in Creation.

“My home is in Heaven,” Graham once said. “I’m just traveling through this world.”


RED FLAGS FROM IVORY TOWERS

Editorial by Roger Smith – 2-22-18

The words of academic elites are often overlooked by those of us busy with life. However, there are a number of recent articles from college professors who espouse political perspectives contrary to fundamental American values that should concern all of us.

The first was a recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Harvard psychology professor Steve Pinker. In “The Enlightenment Is Working,” Pinker presents some compelling figures to support his thesis that modern civilization has progressed through science and reason to offer us a world even royalty could not have dreamed of several generations ago. Not only do we have incredible smart phones and comfortably heated and cooled homes, but life spans, infant mortality, the environment, education, freedom, equality and peace are at previously unimaginable levels. Great stuff. Who could disagree?

But he didn’t stop there. People are healthier and happier, Pinker relates, because modern, enlightened world leaders rely on science and reason and courageously discard the shackles of a “father in the sky” (religion) that held humans back for centuries. Pinker severely chastises President Donald Trump for leading the march toward enlightenment backward by praising American exceptionalism and refusing to bow at the altar of liberal global governance.

Never mind that fascist and communist governments guided solely by science and reason killed 26 million people during World War II. Both were outgrowths of enlightened secular societies. Never mind that secular minds gave us weapons of mass destruction, video games that desensitize our youth to the horrors of killing fellow humans, and abortion on demand that snuffs out the lives of millions of the most innocent and unprotected in our nation every year. Science and reason, unchecked by morality and faith, can be every bit as dangerous as they are a blessing.

Next is an article in this paper, “The Complex History of ‘In God We Trust” (last Sunday, page E1), by Temple University professor David Mislin. He argues that the words “In God We Trust” are not reflective of traditional American values.

Mislin quotes President Trump speaking at the recent National Prayer Breakfast: “Our rights are not given to us by man” but “come from our Creator.” Then, Mislin points out that such remarks were previously rejected by Americans. He says Trump is out of touch with American history. He and the GOP are simply embracing a “particular political, economic, and religious perspective” as previous politicians did by placing “In God We Trust” on our money.

Really? How about the Magna Carta, that foundational document of Western culture that states that kings, like all men, are equally answerable to God? Or, consider our Declaration of Independence: All men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Such words clearly imply the existence of a Creator, and one that cares deeply about his creation.

Thomas Jefferson understood the American sentiment and put it into words in our founding document. In fact, he clarified his position later, asking the rhetorical question, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of people that their liberties are the gift of God?” Jefferson recognized the relationship between our freedom and our faith in God.

Likewise, our Founding Fathers acknowledged that without faith in a higher power, mankind has no moral compass, and without a moral compass, people become their own little gods, determining good and evil by their own standards. By contrast, “post-modern” educators like Pinker and Mislin espouse the opposite: Men, not God, are the highest authority. In their view, men like Trump (and our Founding Fathers) simply use God as a pretext to advance a political or economic agenda. Perhaps, they would replace “In God We Trust” with “In Government We Trust,” “In Hollywood We Trust,” or even worse, “In Liberal College Professors We Trust.”

Roger Smith, a frequent contributor to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, is the author of “American Spirit: A Story of American Individualism.”


Billy Graham Talks About Looking Forward To Heaven

By Billy Graham – His Final Column – Tribune News Service (TNS)

Editor’s note: For more than 60 years, the Rev. Billy Graham wrote a regular column that has appeared in newspapers across the country. The following column, Graham’s last, was written shortly before his death.

Q: Mr. Graham, how would you like to be remembered? — D.F.

A: I hope I will be remembered as someone who was faithful — faithful to God, faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and faithful to the calling God gave me not only as an evangelist, but as a husband, father and friend.

I’m sure I’ve failed in many ways, but I take comfort in Christ’s promise of forgiveness, and I take comfort also in God’s ability to take even our most imperfect efforts and use them for His glory.

By the time you read this, I will be in heaven, and as I write this I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the day when I will be in God’s presence forever.

I’m convinced that heaven is far more glorious than anything we can possibly imagine right now, and I look forward not only to its wonder and peace, but also to the joy of being reunited with those who have gone there before me, especially my dear wife, Ruth. The Bible says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But I won’t be in heaven because I’ve preached to large crowds or because I’ve tried to live a good life. I’ll be in heaven for one reason: Many years ago I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to make our forgiveness possible and rose again from the dead to give us eternal life. Do you know you will go to heaven when you die? You can, by committing your life to Jesus Christ today.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


 


 

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