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Archive for July, 2013

The following is an excerpt from the lost biography of George Washington.

“George, son, did you chop down the cherry tree?”

“No, Dad.”

Several months later…

“George, I’ve heard from others that you did chop down that cherry tree last
winter. Did you? Your punishment will be much worse for you if you lie. Now,
tell me the truth!”

“Dad, I answered your question truthfully. Yet, I must take complete
responsibility for all my actions. While my answer was legally accurate, I did
not volunteer information. Indeed, Dad, I did cause the cherry tree to be lying
on the ground. To do this was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment
and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely
responsible. I know my answer to you gave a false impression. I misled you, my
own father. I deeply regret that. I can only tell you I was motivated by many
factors.

“What I did, Dad, was use a saw to cause the cherry tree to fall. Only after the
tree was already down did I go get my axe to chop off individual branches.
Therefore, legally, I told the truth. I ask you to turn away from the spectacle
of this fallen tree and to return our attention to a solid family relationship.
After all, who’s going to remember a cherry tree as a symbol of my character and
ability to lead?”

[forwarded by Steve Sanderson]

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Somebody finally invented a a solar-powered laundry dryer! It’s called a
“clothes line.”

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MIKEYSFUNNIES.COM

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Relating to a Legal Approach

Romans 7:1a

Do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to men who know the law…

In our passage today, Paul is speaking not only to his Jewish brothers who were well versed in the law, but to us as well. Many Christians today wonder: “Exactly what Law is Paul speaking about, and how does it apply to me?” It’s a good question, because many of us consider our day and age of fuzzy boundaries to be in sharp contrast to Paul’s — where just about every element of daily life was governed by Law.
Often times we think of the law as only The Ten Commandments, but it is also inclusive of every other law we’ve read about in the Old Testament, plus all sorts of interpretations and other specific instructions. How did it get so complicated? The same way our own legal system did — by law breakers trying to find loopholes. For example, on the surface the fourth commandment from Exodus 20:8-10 might seem pretty straight forward: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy… On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.” Then an attorney asks: “Exactly what is work?” The answer might be: “Well, any kind of work.” The legalist comes back: “Is doing chores around the house work? If so, then isn’t taking out the garbage work? Therefore I should let it pile up on the Sabbath — right?” So new laws must be written for when it is appropriate to take out the garbage — and when it is not.
I think you can see where this is going. The law, if left to man, can become very detailed and overly complex — a minefield of requirements which no one can keep. Remember what Stephen said in his defense in Acts 7:52: “You who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.” And in Acts 15:10 Peter called it a yoke “that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear”.
So how does this apply to us? Very simply — legalism is any system of beliefs that says: “I can earn God’s approval by working for it.” If we think that by attempting to follow the Ten Commandments, praying more, attending church, or performing charitable acts we will earn God’s grace — then we are sadly mistaken.

I am always concerned when long time Christians give new believers rules for Godly living — which on the surface seem reasonable — yet become a legalistic trap if any believer (long time or new) believes any act of his own can save him from sin. Instead we need to turn our lives over to the Spirit of God, yield to Him, and let Him do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Have you made rules for your own Godly living? What happens when you fail? Where does God’s grace come in? Have you learned to rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit or do you still think rules will save you?

POCKETPOWER.ORG

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If I told you that you have one hour to live, what would you do?

Think about it for a minute.
Would you waste precious minutes feeling sorry for yourself?
Would you waste precious minutes worrying about problems you would have had to face tomorrow?
Would you waste precious minutes watching TV or playing video games?
Would you waste precious minutes on the hurtful words someone said to you yesterday?
I highly doubt it. You would probably want to be with those you love, to express your love, to reassure them, to make sure they know how you feel. You would probably want to make last appeals to those you love who don’t know Jesus because you are concerned about their eternity.
So why don’t we live every moment of every day like that?
Jesus told us to be prepared, to be found faithfully fulfilling our duties when he returns. He told us that the matters of the Kingdom are the priority and all that matters in the Kingdom is our relationship with God and getting the word about Jesus.
Jesus told us this is such a priority that it is worth leaving everything we have to go in search of the lost. Do you recall his story of the lamb that had wondered off and the shepherd who left what he had to retrieve it? Do you recall the charge he gave to his disciples when he ascended? Did he not tell him to go throughout the world telling everyone about him, making disciples, not church goers? Does the Word not also say that our citizenship is no longer found in this world but in the Kingdom?
So let’s look at our attitude for a moment.
How entrenched have we become in this world? Do we consider our work a means to provide for the Church in its mission or to provide for ourselves? Do we see our Father as our provider in this place? Are we trying to make a name for ourselves here or is Jesus enough for us? Is money our big concern? Do we need possessions? Is our joy effected by the amount of money we have? When we have it, do we make sure the church is provided for and then do we spend it on others, or is it all about our needs?
What decides our thinking on right and wrong? If it is accepted in society do we accept it as good? Or is it the Word of God that sets our standards? Do we make knowing and understanding the Word our priority? How do we make it a priority? Do we cut out other things to give it priority or do we fit it in around other interests? Do we want to know what God thinks? When we find out what he thinks, do we make it a priority to allow him to instill it in our lives? Is there more to our relationship with Jesus than emotions and music? Do we do what Jesus commanded as long as it is convenient to us or are we willing to give up our life to stand by what he said?
When we say that we love God with all our heart, mind, soul, body, and strength, how is that worked out in our day? How would it be worked out if we only had an hour to live? A week? A month? A year?
We sing songs that express that Jesus is the air we breathe and that he is all we need. So, today, everything of this world will be stripped from you, including your freedom. You will be locked up in jail, cut off from all that you love. You will be told you have 24 hours before your execution. Will you still be able to sing? You are told you will not be put out of your misery in 24 hours but will be locked away for the rest of your life, to rot in your cell. Is he still the air you breathe? Does he remain all you need? Do you still have joy and peace?
How entrenched are we in this world? Which system is more important to us? Are we able to see the Kingdom of God through our dependence on this world? To whom do we belong? Who do we serve? What do we love? How will we spend the next 60 minutes of our life?
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthhhy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” – Jesus Christ
PASTOR PAUL VAN BUREN

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Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

– 1 Peter 2:13-15 (NIV)
Today’s commentary by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org
Just before this passage Peter calls us a royal priesthood and a holy nation, now he talks about submitting ourselves to human institutions (and this was in the time of Caesar!). This is an important progression because the royal priesthood sets us apart from every other people group, but by submitting ourselves to local authorities we cannot segregate ourselves from the culture at large. In others words, our unique identity is meant to be expressed in the mainstream of life and not in isolation. Our salt is for those who don’t believe. Our light is for those who are in darkness.
THEDAILYBIBLEVERSE.COM

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When Did God Change?

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The year was 1978. My father had a Ford Station Wagon that was green, with brown paneling on the side. In those days, station wagons were made with a backseat that faced the traffic in the rear.  It was great to make faces at oncoming cars and to get truckers to honk their horn.The day was December 31st. We were on our way to baptize my brother, Keith. I remember as if it were yesterday. It was unusual to have thunderstorms in St. Louis in December. It was raining hard. Thunder was loud. Lighting lit up the sky. As I was sitting in the far backseat on our way to the church, I was scared. Not scared of the loud thunder or the flash of lighting, but scared that if Jesus came that night or I was hit by lighting and died, I wouldn’t go to heaven.I was 12. I heard all the fire and brimstone sermons. Preachers pounded the pulpit. The same question sermon after sermon, “If Jesus were to come today, would you go to heaven?” At 12 years old, I was so afraid that I wouldn’t go to heaven. I wanted to go to heaven! I wanted God to love me and not be mad at me.As my father drove, I sat quietly. Praying. “God, if you get us to the church building safely, I will give my life to you. I will be baptized. I will live my life for you.”

We made it! Our family entered the church building and my brother Keith was preparing to be baptized by my brother Jim. I sat on the front seat with nervousness. “I made a promise to God,” I said to myself. I finally got the nerve to go to my dad and say, “Dad, I want to be baptized, too.”

My dad asked, “Why do you want to be baptized?”

I said, “Because I want to go to heaven. I want Jesus to be Lord of my life. I want to be a preacher and tell others about Jesus, too.”

God has always been about grace!

  My father wrapped his big arms around me and gave me a big hug and said he was proud of my decision. After Keith was baptized, it was my turn. My brother Jim baptized me on a rainy night in December. As I resurrected from the water, I knew! I knew that something changed within me and connected me to God, Jesus, and Spirit. It was more than any feeling I had felt before. It was powerful! 34 years later, I can still feel what God did at my baptism.

During the last 34 years, I’ve gone against God’s best for me. I sin. I’m weak. I feel the pressures of life. Early in my life, I only heard about the punishing God. The all-seeing eye watching every move we make kind of God. If we get out of line, he will surely punish us.

That was then. Today, I know a God who is deeply in love with his children. I also know that God does not call us to be perfect; he calls us to trust him. He will get us through all the difficulties we get ourselves into. When we love him with all our hearts, soul, strength, and mind our attention is taken off ourselves and placed on God. We will do our best to serve and be involved in kingdom work, not because we are trying to please God, but rather, we desire to glorify God.

The faith journey is not perfect, but his forgiveness is limitless:

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 1:9 NLT).

Our spiritual life will have traces of weakness — but his grace is sufficient:

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness… (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT).

We will get weighed down by pressures, life struggles, and sufferings. Yet Jesus said we can always come to him:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out…Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life (Matthew 11:28 MSG).

God has always been about grace! He has never been the all-seeing looking out to catch those doing wrong. God has always been the all-seeing Father who cheers our victories, hurts when we do wrong, forgives when we’re sorry, lifts us up when we are down, and loves at all times.

God has always been mercy! God has always been a forgiver!  God has always loved us deeply and forever!

Today, I know a God that I didn’t know 34 years ago. He hasn’t changed, but thankfully knowing grace has changed me!

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While proudly showing off his new apartment to friends, a college student led
the way into the den.

“What is the big brass gong and hammer for?” one of his friends asked.

“Oh, that’s the talking clock,” the student replied.

“How’s it work?” the friend asked.

“Watch,” said the student, then proceeded to give the gong an ear-shattering
pound with the hammer.

Suddenly someone screamed from the other side of the wall: “KNOCK IT OFF, YOU
IDIOT! It’s two-thirty in the morning!”

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The difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

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MIKEYSFUNNIES.COM

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Never Let Others Put Words In Your Mouth & Dictate You

Have you ever been in a situation or several of them where there are people in your life that put words in your mouth, that dictate you and your every move and whatever you say? Do some people in one’s life tend to assume all the time about you, about what you are feeling, what you are or not interested in and who to speak to, who not to talk to, who to accept as a friend, who not to accept as a friend. I am sure in one point in our lives it has happened, and sometimes you cannot control it and sometimes you can be afraid to retaliate. In my life, I have had several people do that to me, they make my decisions for me, they decide what I have to say, what I have to do, who to be friends with, who not to be friends with. I mean we all have personal issues behind closed doors to deal with and what human being doesn’t have problems? I am sure we all do, and there are people who do not accept that and end up dictating your life because you have such a soft heart, always accepting of everyone, regardless of anything.
People then assume that you are not interested in something, where you are interested, then people start putting words in your mouth and then you are stuck in the middle and confused about it. I have been through this many times and I said this is the last time I will let anybody make my decisions for me. I am an adult now, and old enough to do that, and I will not let anybody else tell me what to feel, tell me what to do, tell me what to say, and then again I fall for it, and then at the end I suffer for it. Well, this time it is iron clad, I will not be letting others walk all over me. Yes although sometimes it is great to assist people, and care about what people do in their lives and how they live their lives, and who they talk to, or whatever, and it is great to see people genuinely care and everything which is awesome, but then again you shouldn’t let people overpower you all the time. You are an individual, and there is going to come a time where ultimately the decisions that you make you have to do it yourself. You have to develop independence, you have to develop a self of being just you, and you making whatever decision that reflects you.
Sometimes we make choices in life that we are not proud of and we all make mistakes, we all sometimes get vulnerable in certain situations, but if it is something that you don’t learn from and you keep making the same mistakes day in and day out, then that is a course of concern. Stand up for yourself, even if it means standing alone. When you are deciding something as a group, when its something that is a mutual agreement, mutual understanding, and mutual decisions or decisions as a team and if you all are on the same page on something than that is great, but then when you are not on the same page, and you know in your heart it’s not such a great decision made, then that means that you should speak up and be heard. If it means that you lose those friends, that means they weren’t your true friends to begin with, so I would rather stand alone then have people make decisions for me.
Assumptions are a big hazard and it can destroy friendships, relationships and bonds and you have to be very careful when you assume things on other people, it can backfire on you and you will not have a great outcome on it. The next time someone decides to dictate you and what you have to say about something or acting on something, just tell them kindly, you know I appreciate your willingness, and your strong personality and telling me what to do, and what to say, and being forced into things, but I am going to have to disagree with you and tell you my feelings and my thoughts on this certain situation. the point I am trying to make is that don’t let others force you into things that your heart and mind are not into, and don’t let others force you how to feel, what to say, what to do. Ultimately it is your life and how to deal with it, and don’t let others ever govern your life. Stay away from people like that. You will know who your true friends are and you will know who sticks behind you 100% when that happens. Just think about it, and go with the flow.
I am always here for everyone, and I am always here to help you on your journey, give advice, and hopefully give great advice that you will take with you in your life span. All the best to you and remember, you are you, and don’t let others tell you otherwise. I wish you all the best.

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